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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 9/28/2015

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, September 28, 2015.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="364651"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: Is there ever a bad time for a bye week, or do you just play it as it comes?

BB: Yeah, whenever it's scheduled, there's nothing really we can do about it, so we just try to take advantage of the time we have and use it the best way we can use it. I don't think I've ever been on a team where anybody was unhappy to have a bye week, whenever it comes. So, you take advantage of the chance to rest, get caught up, take some time analyzing what you need to work on and have a good plan to do the things that can help your team improve during this time and when the team returns to really start in on our preparations for Dallas.

Q: When you scout and work out players, what qualities are you looking for other than talent – like leadership qualities for example?

BB: We're really fortunate we have a lot of good players and we have a lot of guys who really care a lot about the team and give a lot of themselves and have good chemistry with their teammates. I don't think that's anything that you can really orchestrate or as a coach try to determine the way it's going to go. You just have to let it run its course. I think you can help the process by putting people together on the team that have a chance to bond and have some chemistry, guys that have things in common like wanting to work hard, wanting to do extra things, wanting to be a good teammate and being unselfish. So, guys that have those characteristics usually have good leadership qualities. But it all has to kind of come together by itself just like it does in any group. Nobody can really orchestrate it. It just has to work its way through. But we have a lot of players that fall into that category, and I don't think even though positions like captains are important on the team, each player brings his own leadership to the team. So, every day, every guy comes to work, they come with an attitude, they come with a work ethic, they come with a purpose, and the more positive that is, the more it rubs off on everybody else, and everybody kind of feeds off each other. 

Q: Is the bye week as much mental as it is physical?

BB: These guys have been going really hard since the end of July. Even though we've had a couple days here and there, training camp rolled right into the opening game of the year, which came on Thursday, so there was a lot of urgency just coming out of preseason and into the start of the season without really any cushion. Then we had an extra couple days there for Buffalo, but Buffalo is always tough so there was a lot of catching up to do that week. And then we rolled right into Jacksonville, so these guys really haven't had much of a cushion from the end of July. And I'd say usually you get some of that during that last week of training camp and prior to starting your preparations for the opener and all the roster cuts that weekend and kind of Thursday, Friday before the weekend, but we didn't really have that this year. So, this is an opportunity for some of these guys and really all of them, players and the coaches, to after seven games and nine-plus weeks of training camp and football here to catch our breath for a short time and then we've got a long stretch ahead of us. 

Q: Does the bye week coming in the fourth week affect your self-scouting because you have limited tape on your own players?

BB: The self-scouting and really everything else you talked about is on somewhat of an abbreviated basis. It will be the best we can do; we just don't have as much information as we would if our bye was in Week 10 or 11 or something like that. But it isn't, so we'll take what we have and look at that and just do the best we can. You can't control any of these situations, so whatever the opportunity is, you just try to make the most of it and try to take advantage of whatever time or opportunity that's presented to you and figure out what's the best thing you can do with it. There is really not a lot of thought about, 'Well if it was some other time it'd be this or that.' It isn't, so there is no point in wasting time on that. Just take it for what it is and try to make the most out of it.

Q: What's the biggest advantage of having the bye week this early in the season?

BB: Like I said, I don't think I've ever heard anybody complain about having a bye week, so whenever it is, that's when it is. 

Q: How much of a parallel is there between a coaching staff coming together and players coming together during a particular season?

BB: Obviously, if you have changes on your staff, that definitely affects how the staff comes together. When you don't have changes or you don't have a lot of changes with the coordinators and position coaches, like our offensive and defensive staff, I think it's more of just the team coming together rather than the staff coming together. I don't mean the team, the players; I'm saying figuring out what's the best way for us to win, what's the best way for us to play offense, what's the best way for us to play defense. It may be the same group of people making the decisions, but they're different decisions, so whether that's myself and Josh [McDaniels], Matt [Patricia] and Joe [Judge] or each of those staffs independently, it still kind of comes back to some of the same conversation of figuring out what's best for this year's team, these players, our situations, who we're playing, what we're dealing with, rather than what was or wasn't in some other year.  

Q: Jordan Richards got his first defensive snaps yesterday. Is that an indication of the positive progress he's made thus far in practice?

BB: I think we have real good depth at that position. We have confidence in all those guys. They've all played for us, they've all done well. I thought Jordan showed up positively yesterday. He's a young player who's worked hard and played well when he's had an opportunity to do that, so we'll see. But we have confidence in all those guys. It's a pretty good group and they've all been on the field, they've all been productive for us. We'll just see how it goes, but it was good to see him out there and I'm glad we have him, glad we're working with him. 

Q: Statistically, it looked like your run defense improved yesterday. Do the numbers match your eye test on your end?

BB: I think there were some good things. We've still got to keep working on it. We'll see a real good running team in our next game, so we still have a lot of things we need to improve on, but I think we're doing things better in Week 2 and 3 than we were in Week 1, better than in training camp and a couple of preseason games. We still have a long way to go. I think we're making progress. We're heading in the right direction. I don't think we're there yet in anything we're doing. We are making progress, and some of it is collectively as a unit and some of it is individually with individual techniques, some of it is a combination of both. But we still have a long way to go, too. We're definitely not there yet in any phase of the game.

Q: Before the Dion Lewis touchdown run, Tom Brady called a timeout. What didn't he like about the look he was seeing? And what did you see on that touchdown run?

BB: We were kind of just caught in between in that situation and it just ended up taking a little longer than it should have. I'd say that's really probably more of a coaching issue. I've got to do a better job. I've got to do a better job on that just cleaning it up. It just didn't happen in as timely a way as it should have. That's really my responsibility more than anybody's. Dion made a good run. I mean, look, it's like any other … Every team in the league is doing the same thing – try to get the back started, get him some space, get him into the line of scrimmage, get him going, and then good backs make yards on their own. Dion has done a great job of that for us. He runs with good power, he's a hard guy to tackle, and he's got some quickness to make defenders miss in space or in short spaces. I thought he did make a good run on that. We had good blocking to get it started. We got some movement on the line of scrimmage. Our tight ends and our offensive line have been doing a good job with the running game at times. We need more consistency, but there are certainly plays every week where we're getting something that we want, something that we can work with, to give our backs something to work with. Unfortunately, we don't do it all the time and we have some plays in there where the backs don't really have much of a chance to get started. But that was a good play for us. The whole play sequence and the way that all came down, we've got to do a better job of coaching.

Q: You guys made the challenge in the first half on the incompletion/fumble from Blake Bortles.

BB: That was a good call. I thought it was a good call. Walt Coleman was right on it. It was an open hand that came through. It definitely was a fumble. They made the correct call, and they shouldn't have overturned the play, and they didn't. They absolutely made the right call on the field. It was a great job by the officiating crew. 

Q: How do you balance the fact that the team is off to a good start and there is a lot of excitement in the area, but you're only 3-0 and you haven't really accomplished anything yet? What is that like when you're sending the message to your team?

BB: Yeah, pretty much exactly the way you put it. It's nice to be 3-0, but big deal. Three wins isn't going to get anything in this league, I'll tell you that. It will probably just get a lot of coaches fired. And then the players will go right behind them when the coaches go. It's not a big deal. We have a lot of work to do. We have a long way to go. I don't think we're doing a good enough job coaching or playing really in any area. We need to execute better. We need to be sharper on a lot of things. I think we're improving and I think we're making some progress, but we need to move faster and just do everything better. So, we'll work hard on that. I'm sure we'll be saying the same thing in a couple weeks, because there is still going to be a lot of football left and we need to keep getting better all the time. We leave some plays on the field and some things we can definitely do a better job of coaching on and just really everything. I don't think there's really any balance to it at all. It's pretty clear cut. We've got 13 regular season games left. Three wins in this league isn't going to get you anything. 

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