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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript: 'Their team speed and overall athleticism, all problems''

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Q: What stands out as different about the Broncos from the last time you saw them in the AFC Championship Game?

BB: Well, I think there are some, obviously, a few different people personnel-wise. But, there's a lot more carryover than there are differences. But, there are definitely some new players there. Scheme-wise I think it's, you know, similar. Again, [there are] a few differences but not dramatic. I think the players are the main difference. We all know who they are.

Q: At running back, what do you see from Ronnie Hillman that might be different from some of the other guys they've had in that position in the past?

BB: We've seen Hillman in the past and he's been a very explosive and dynamic guy. It looked like his playing time was diminished a little bit last year with some ball security issues, but they haven't shown up this year. He's a quick, elusive player that has a good burst through the hole, good vision, explosive guy. He can turn a short play into a long run or catch. He's got a lot of big-play ability, a lot of quickness and speed. He's a dangerous guy back there.

Q: How have you seen the Broncos try to make the most of Emmanuel Sanders' skill set this season? He's had big games the past few weeks.

BB: They have a lot of, obviously, very good players on offense at all the positions on the offensive line, all the skill positions. It looks like they're very athletic. They pretty much go to whoever's got the best matchup or wherever the lightest the coverage is, whether it be in the running game or the passing game. I know Sanders has certainly been an explosive player for them. I think their receiver average is a little bit misleading because they throw a bunch of bubble screens and look passes and things like that out there. Sanders is certainly a big play, has big play potential. He's got very good speed and receiving skills. [He's] a good receiver down the field. He's dangerous on – they're all dangerous on catch-and-run plays, but I'd say Sanders is like [Demaryius] Thomas: dangerous on vertical routes, routes where he can run through the defense. So, they use them all in a combination of ways. It's just not one thing. You stay back on them, they'll throw short. If you get up on them, they'll throw deep. But those guys that have the real good deep speed, like Thomas and Sanders, have made some plays over the top of the defense. That's obviously a concern in terms of defending the Broncos.


Q:** With regards to Denver's defense, what has been the key in watching them the last couple years in their ability to defend the run so well?

BB: They give you a few different looks up front. [Terrance] Knighton is a big force in the middle. They have a lot of good run players up there; good, solid guys like [Derek] Wolfe. They do a good job of defeating blocks, playing good technique. They have good team speed at the linebacker position, whether it be [Danny] Trevathan or [Brandon] Marshall, [Nate] Irving, obviously Von Miller. Whoever it happens to be in there, those guys run well. Even when there's a hole, it doesn't seem like it stays open very long. They close quickly, converge quickly. They have a lot of runs for no yards, one yard, in addition to some of the negative plays. There's a lot of times where there's just nothing there in the running game and now it is second-and-long or third-and-long and they've got you where they want you. So, a combination of good inside players, multiple schemes in terms of blitzes and moving the front a little bit, giving you a different look on the front – Knighton inside. Their team speed and overall athleticism, those are all problems.

Q: Have you had any feel for if there would be a move today before the trade deadline? Is there anything in the works you could shed light on?

BB: I've been watching Denver film all morning. That's all I can tell you.

Q: Brandon Bolden had an impressive special teams tackle on Sunday. How much has his value on special teams as a core guy affected how you've approached filling Stevan Ridley's void and Jonas Gray getting more time? If you put Brandon in that role, it might affect your ability to use him in the kicking game.

BB: I think all those things are considerations. We have to play all three phases of the game: offense, defense, special teams. There are a lot of defensive players involved in the kicking game. There are a few offensive players involved in the kicking game. Bolden and [Matthew] Slater would be the top two of those guys. That is a consideration. Certainly running back on offense is a consideration too. Brandon has filled a lot of different roles for us the three years he's been here now: early down running back, third down sub-type situations and fourth down. So, he has a lot of versatility. We have other players at his position, other players on the team not at his position that are involved in the kicking game. I think all that just kind of is a little bit of how it fits together, what the priorities are, what our options are. But Brandon is a good option for us because he does a lot of things for us. He's a smart kid and doesn't have many missed assignments. He's able to do multiple things for us. It's just a question of how it all fits together in that particular game or game plan.


Q:** What is it about Peyton Manning that makes him so hard to defend? Has anything changed with him this season with Knowshon Moreno gone?

BB: I think it doesn't really matter who is out there with him. Whoever it is, he finds a way to utilize them. He's had different players at different positions and different combinations and guys have been out and other guys have been in and all that. But no matter who it is out there, he does a good job of finding ways to utilize the skills of the particular group that is out there relative to their defensive matchup. It seems like he causes every defense a problem every week for the last 15 years or however long it's been. You have to know who the other people are out there. Everybody has to do their job to defend them. You can't just stop one guy or one thing. But he does a great job of utilizing his players, his resources relative to what the defense is giving him and what looks best – a combination of his personnel versus where the defense is soft. He's good because he does everything good. Really I don't think there are any weak points in his game. He's very smart. He has a great understanding of concepts and timing, game management, clock management, situational football – third down, red area – great utilization of the field from sideline-to-sideline and attacking the deep part of the field, very accurate, great decision-maker, quick release. He has very few negative plays, plays where something happens that just a quarterback might be able to keep the team out of. He very rarely puts his team at risk on plays like that, where there's an unblocked guy right at the point of attack or those kind of things. He's always able to get to something else that doesn't create a problem, is somewhat of a soft entry point to the defense one way or another. It's pretty much everything really, I don't think there are any weaknesses in his game.

Q: From what you've seen, has Terrance Knighton had any effect on helping their pass rush?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. He does a good job in the pass rush too. A big part of [DeMarcus] Ware and Miller is coming off the edge, coming outside. If the quarterback can step up into the pocket then he's able to kind of get away from those guys a little bit, although they bring them inside on stunts and that kind of thing too. The quarterback definitely wants to be able to step up away from those edge rushers but when the middle of the pocket is being pushed and they can't step up, that just puts the quarterback that much closer to the edge rush and closer to Miller and Ware. Knighton is a big part of that. We certainly had a lot of trouble with him last year. He was a big factor in the AFC Championship Game, in both the run and the pass. So, blocking him and being able to neutralize him is going to be important in attacking the Broncos. He does a good job in the middle. They have good edge guys. If one becomes a problem then that just makes the other things more of a problem, if that makes any sense. We'll have to do a good job all the way across the board. He's definitely a problem.

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