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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 9/18/2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 18, 2012.


BB:We turned the page here to Baltimore. It's obviously a real good football team, strong in all three phases of the game like they always are. [They] had a big win against Cincinnati in the opener and a hard fought game against the Eagles last week. I'm sure they probably have the same feeling there that we have here. As usual, they've added some good young players to their roster to go with a solid veteran group. They're very well balanced, well coached, like I said, good in all three phases of the game. As always, they're a hard team to prepare for because they do a lot of things and do a lot of things well. We need a good week of practice here and a good week of preparation to go down there and be ready to go. It should be a great atmosphere down there Sunday night like it always is in that stadium. They have a good football environment; [it's] a good opportunity for us.

Q:What are some of the main differences you see from the Ravens preparing for them compared to the AFC title game last year?

BB:They run a lot more no-huddle offense. That looks like a big part of their package. There are some different players in there for one reason or another. Some of the matchups will be a little bit different; of course that's true of us too. Some of their younger players have started to really mature and become very good players, guys that are really getting into the prime of their career, like [Dennis] Pitta or [Ed] Dickson, Lardarius Webb, guys like that, [Pernell] McPhee. They've added some young guys that have shown up in the kicking game, like [Corey] Graham, [Christian] Thompson, obviously [Courtney] Upshaw, who's shown up on defense too. They're the same but they're different. Of course, Dean [Pees] is the coordinator. He has a couple different wrinkles from what we saw last year as well. I wouldn't say they're major but I would say they're definitely significant; put a little different twist to it for us.

Q:How much are those wrinkles something you're familiar with? Are they based on stuff he was doing with the Patriots?

BB:I don't think we're seeing anything revolutionary; things that are a little different from some of the things they did last year or things they're doing more of this year – wrinkles in their dime package and things like that. It's not anything that we've never seen before, like I said, some of the percentages of it or the emphasis on it, those things change from year to year. Even if the coordinator didn't change, some of those things would change anyway.

Q:With the game tape showing Baltimore playing very efficiently in Week 1 and maybe not so effectively the next, how do you get an accurate read on what kind of team you're dealing with?

BB:I think they played pretty well both weeks. Philadelphia is a good football team, too. They have a lot of weapons and are pretty good defensively and the Ravens were able to score on them. They had plays in the kicking game both weeks. The Cincinnati game was a very competitive game until the fourth quarter, late in the third quarter, then it kind of got out of hand. Cincinnati is obviously a good football team too. I think they're a good team, they've played well. I'm sure they'd like to have played better; they'd like to have scored more points or given up a few less last week. That's obvious, it's the same feeling we have. I don't think that takes anything away from them as a football team. They're good and that's shown up every week.

Q:What have you seen from the guys, you mentioned Courtney Upshaw and Pernell McPhee earlier, who have been tabbed to fill Terrell Suggs' role?

BB:They all are a little bit different. [Albert] McClellan is in there too. They're all a little bit different but they're talented players and they're still very good defensively. They play well as a unit and the players that have stepped in for him, which is a combination of all those guys, they all do a good job.

Q:It sounds like you guys are going to be adding Kellen Winslow. What does he add to the mix?

BB:I'm not going to talk about any players that aren't on the current active roster.

Q:From a historical standpoint, how have expectations, whether it's from you or the coaching fraternity, changed with regard to kickers when it comes to making field goals through the years? It seems like the improvement level has gone up drastically since you've entered the game. How does that play into your expectation as a coach?

BB:I think just fundamentally, anytime you send your field goal unit out onto the field, there's only one reason why you're sending them out there. As a coach, if you're not confident in that unit then you shouldn't be putting them out there on the field. The only reason they go out there is to score points. Why else would they be out there?

Q:When you were coaching in the '70s and early 80's, was it 'OK, we're sending them out there but our fingers are crossed'?

BB:No, I can honestly say I never felt like that, no. I coached special teams for a number of years early in my career and I've been a head coach for quite a few years and I can honestly say… I think one time when I was with the Giants, we tried a 73-yard field goal with one second left at the end of the half or something like that. Other than that kick, I can't think of a time that I've ever sent that unit out onto the field that I wasn't confident that we would score.

Q:Any update on Aaron Hernandez?

BB:We will have one Wednesday, tomorrow after practice.

Q:You talked about Baltimore doing some up-tempo stuff but it also seems like they can push the field vertically whether it's Torrey Smith or Jacoby Jones and Joe Flacco doesn't seem to have any problem driving the ball down the field. Is that something that you've seen and you see as a challenge leading into the week?

BB:Definitely and that's something that we saw last year as well. And their tight ends too – don't forget about [Ed] Dickson and [Dennis] Pitta. Those guys are very good down the field, along with their receivers, [Anquan] Boldin and they have guys like Ray Rice that they can hand the ball off to or throw it to out of the backfield on screens or whatever routes he's on. We all know he can take it the distance too. They're a very explosive group all the way around. They can throw it, they run after the catch, they can hand it off to one of the top backs in football. Ray Rice is a very special player and he can score from anywhere on the field on any play – on a pass, cutback play, outside play, inside play, it doesn't matter what it is, he can hit the home run on you. This is a very explosive group, no question.

Q:When you sign a player during the week, what's been your experience with how much you can rely on a player to put him right in a game that week?

BB:It would definitely depend on the player. When I was in Cleveland, we signed Mike Tomczak and started him at quarterback that week after our other two quarterbacks got injured.

Q:How did that go?

BB:Mike did a good job. He came in and worked hard, learned a lot through the week and actually played pretty competitively and I thought he had a pretty decent year for us that year. Obviously it's not an ideal situation but we did that last year too. We brought guys in, played them in the nickel or started them; played them for 30 or 40 plays in the game. [We] signed guys and didn't play them at all. It depends on all the circumstances that surround the player, the game, the situation and so forth. I don't think there's any real book on that.

Q:What are your thoughts on how Ras-I Dowling is progressing?

BB:Way ahead of last year, no question about that. Had a good offseason, had a good training camp, had an opportunity to get a lot of playing time in the preseason games. I think he's a lot farther along than he was at any point last season. Ras-I is a real smart kid, he learns very quickly and he studies hard, he's well prepared. He's worked hard on his technique and our different coverage schemes. I think he's definitely making progress. He's way ahead of where he was last year.

Q:What did you see on the false start on the field goal attempt? Did he clutch there or can you re-adjust the ball?

BB:I guess you really should talk to the officials about that or talk to the league office, since they're the only ones that can comment on that. The explanation that was given to me, which I don't really know, this is just what I was told, that one official on the side said that he had an offside call and then when they went in a conferenced it, the other official said that the ball moved and that's what caused the offside. That was the explanation that I was given but I would say that if you have any questions about the officiating or the call or anything, you should talk to the league office and have them explain it.

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