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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 9/11

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Friday, September 11, 2015.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="357956"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: To the innocent eye, it looked like Malcolm Butler competed pretty well against Antonio Brown, who may be the toughest receiver you face this year. How do you think he played?

BB: First of all, Brown is a great receiver - there's no doubt about that. I thought Malcolm competed really well. Both guys made some plays. But, I agree with you - it won't get much tougher than that. Antonio is really a good player that's good in the deep part of the field, he's good on catch and run plays - the screens they try to throw to him and the under routes and stuff like that and the intermediate routes. He ran a real good route on a double move. I think it was a good battle. Hopefully we can learn from it all the way around. I thought it was a great battle. They've got a great receiver and a great quarterback. There were a couple plays there and even the play on the sideline to [Markus] Wheaton, the coverage obviously wasn't good enough, but it was a great throw and a great catch. Sometimes you've got to give it to them and say it was a great play. 

Q: Is there any precedent in your coaching career to play four tight ends at the same time? How does that formation complicate things for the defense?

BB: I think you see that position relative to a fullback. It's different but it's comparable. I think you look at it that way. It's not that unusual. Three tight ends and a fullback or four tight ends, it's approximately I think the same. I think the defenses look at it the same. Maybe the formations might be a little bit different, but not anything that abnormal. Obviously without [James] Develin we have to make some modifications on what we do with some bigger people, so we'll see how it goes. That was one of our options. 

Q: How difficult is it to play with three rookie offensive linemen? How do you think they performed?

BB: It's kind of been like that all the way through training camp and into the spring. Those guys have taken a lot of reps, and they keep getting better. They learn every time they go out onto the field, learn every time they get into a competitive situation like we had last night. There were some things that came up that they did really well. There were some other things that we missed or just a couple cases that we hadn't seen or maybe seen enough of that particular situation. They continue to work hard and improve. I think we had Josh [Kline] in the rotation there, too. I think that was good to have a little bit of his experience. And we have pretty experienced tackles, so that's good and an experienced quarterback. I thought they hung in there, they fought hard, they had some really good plays and they had some other plays that they need to improve on. I think we can continue to work with them and coach them because they're trying really hard and they're working hard. They're giving us all they've got. We've just got to bring them along quickly.

Q: I know you were asked about the communication issues last night and you said that you didn't receive any answers as to why that happened. The NFL released a statement that we all saw. Did you get any answers beyond that statement that the NFL released?

BB: No. I'd just say it's pretty common. I mean, look, there is a lot of stuff down there. There is the coach-to-quarterback stuff, offense and defense, there's the headsets to the press box, there's the tablets. There is a lot of stuff going on there. Like just as an example, we had some problems in the first half and then it seemed to be OK, and then we got to the end of the game, and the most problems we had were our last possessions - our last two possessions on offense and defense. Sometimes it goes along and it's fine and then for some reason something happens and then you go the guys on the sidelines - the blue hats or the purple hats, whatever they're called - and you tell them about it and they fix it. I don't know enough about technology to know how any of that works, but that's how it goes. We ended up hard wiring a couple of our headsets to kind of eliminate the wireless part of it. It's not an uncommon problem. We ended up having to signal a couple our plays offensively, and we couldn't get them in. We look at it as something you have to be ready for every week, and we practice it. Home, away - I don't really think there is any common denominator on that. I'd just say, kind of tying this in with a couple things from last week or earlier in the week, I just think overall it's kind of sad, really, to see some stories written that obviously have an agenda to them with misinformation and anonymous-type comments and writing about warm drinks and trash cans and stuff like that. I think it's just sad commentary and it's gone to a pretty low level. It's sunk pretty deep. First of all, let's say that I think that our program here is built on competition and trying to improve every day and trying to work hard, and it's not built on excuses. We just try to go to work and improve and find a way to get better. This organization has won a lot of games, but particularly in reference to the great teams from '01, '03, '04 and back in there, all the great players that played on those teams - Ty Law, [Lawyer] Milloy, Otis Smith, Rodney Harrison, [Tedy] Bruschi, [Larry] Izzo, [Willie] McGinest, [Mike] Vrabel, [Anthony] Pleasant, [Richard] Seymour, Matt Light, [Joe] Andruzzi, Steve Neal, [Deion] Branch, Troy Brown, [Tom] Brady, Antoine Smith, Kevin Faulk, Corey Dillon, Lonie Paxton, [Adam] Vinatieri - to take away from what those guys accomplished, what those teams accomplished, how good they were, how many great players we had, how well they played in big games, how they consistently showed up and made big plays and game-winning plays, it's just not right. Those guys, they were great players - and many more - but those are a few of them, and great teams, so I'm not going to get into a back and forth on it, but that's the way I feel about it. 

Q: I was going to ask a question along the same lines. You might choose to answer a different way or you might defer to the answer you just had.

BB: Yeah, I'll just leave it at that. I'm not going to get into a back and forth on this. 

Q: Tell me if this qualifies - I was curious if you have a lot of these same issues on the road, too.

BB: I'm just focused on the game here. I'm not going to keep talking about it - I'm really not. I've said all I have to say. 

Q: Was last night about as extensively as Dion Lewis has been used in his career, in terms of overall catching the ball, running the ball inside and outside?

BB: I think Dion has got a good skill set to do a lot of things. We had him returning kickoffs. He can catch the ball and have a role in the passing game. He had a couple blitz pickup opportunities that I thought were OK, and as you said, he had some inside runs, some outside runs. I think we've seen that all the way through since back in the spring when we worked on all those things, particularly in the passing game. Blitz pickup and things like that, we didn't really know that much about him, but he's shown to be dependable and reliable in that phase of the game. Even though he's not the biggest guy, he's tough and he knows what to do. He's shown really the ability to help us on all four downs, including the kickoff return area. I wouldn't say that anything that happened last night was a big shock that it hadn't been seen before. You're right - it did kind of show up in one game there. He's done a good job of that. That being said, I think there are still a lot of things he can improve on and do a lot better. He had some really good plays last night and then there were some other things that I'm sure when he sees them today he'd like to have a couple back. But that's the way it is for all of us. We all have those calls and plays during the game. But overall, he gave us some good production running the ball and catching it. He's got some versatility. 

Q: I think people are going to be stunned about your revelations of your feelings about the past accusations. What pushed you to talk now - was it the headset thing last night or was it the articles this week?

BB: Yeah, that's all I've got to say. 

Q: Do you have any kind of belief about opening game performances in terms of omens?

BB: No, not at all. I don't think there's really any correlation from one game to the next. Look, we know Buffalo is a good football team. We know they're well coached. We had a lot of trouble with them last year - they beat us last year at the end of the year. If we don't go up there and play well, it's not going to be good. I don't care what happened last night, it doesn't make any difference. We've got a whole new team, a whole new challenge. They're not the Steelers. They have a lot of strengths, and they're a good football team. We're going to have to play very well to win in Buffalo, we know that, and nothing that happened last night is really going to help us next week. We're starting all over again. We're down at the bottom of the ladder and we're going to have to climb it up rung by rung each day that we prepare for them and then on Sunday when we play them. 

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