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Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcipt

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

BB: I'm really proud of our football team today. I'll tell you, we had a lot of guys battle through stuff - coming off a short week, getting ready for this football team. The Chargers are a good football team, but ultimately the turnovers and getting the ball in the end zone was big for us. We had a lot of guys step up. Really, it's a good team win all the way around. We had good plays in all three phases of the game. We played hard for 60 minutes and that's a good football team. It's good to win. It's good to win and then we've got to go to 2-0 Buffalo, so we've got a tough one coming up, so we can't celebrate this one too long. We've got to go on to other challenges next week, but it's nice to be 2-0

Q: Can you talk about the fourth-and-one stop on the goal line?

BB: Yeah, huge. Spilled the ball outside, looked like we got a good push inside and the runner never really got turned up because he ended up going sideways and we were able to make the play. It was a huge play. It was a first-and-goal on the three or something like that; they were down there on all four plays, so it was huge for us.

Q: With Mike Tolbert, I imagine you figured he would probably get the ball on that?

BB: I don't know. Norv [Turner] is a great play caller. He keeps you off balance. No, we didn't know. We were just trying to play goal-line defense. We didn't know what the play was.

Q: Your 99-yard drive tonight was nowhere near as efficient tonight as it was last Monday.

BB: Yeah, it was just good to get the ball out of that field position. Our offense did a nice job there. We stalled out a little in the third quarter, but overall I thought we moved the ball pretty well, again, against a good defensive group. To get the ball out of the shadow of your goal line is important, and then the one time we had to punt out of there we got a great punt out of Zoltan [Mesko] and coverage out of Slate [Matthew Slater], so that was a big play, too.

Q: Was the decision to go for it on fourth-and-four tied to Zoltan Mesko's health?

BB: Yes.

Q: As good as your offense was, your defense came up with quite a few key turnovers. Can you talk about those?

BB: Four turnovers are big and then as Tom [Curran] mentioned, the goal line stand was really another stop there. Sergio [Brown] made a real nice play on the interception and Vince [Wilfork], hey, we've seen him catch punts and intercept passes. He's got good hands; we know that. Of course the two fumbles were big. Yeah, you can't say enough about those turnovers. That had a huge impact on the game and the goal line stand. They moved the ball, just fortunately, they didn't get enough points, but they certainly moved it.

Q: What did you do to take Antonio Gates away?

BB: You can't really take him away; you just compete against him. [Philip] Rivers is good and so he found some other guys and they ran the ball, they threw it. But the guys that covered them - [Patrick] Chung, Sergio - the linebackers tried to jam them. We tried to make it hard for them, but you just try to compete against him. You can't really stop him.

Q: What was your take on Vince Wilfork's interception - I think it led to another touchdown?

BB: It led to a field goal before the half. Again, Vince is a tremendous athlete. People don't realize how good his hands are, but he can throw it, catch it, catch punts. He wanted to return punts after we put him back there when he was a rookie in training camp. He's a terrific athlete and he's got really good hands, obviously.

Q: With how strong Tom Brady has started this season, is he playing as well as you've seen him play?

BB: I don't know. I think our offense has played well and that's everybody. That's the line that's blocking, the guys that are running the ball, the receivers that are catching it, the quarterback that's throwing it, the backs and tight ends that are picking up the blitz. One guy can't go out there and move the ball; you've got to have a whole team. Tom's doing a good job. The backs are doing a good job. I think overall, we're pretty efficient. [We're] not turning the ball over, so that's good.

Q: Does that surprise you a little bit that the offense has been in such a rhythm with no turnovers, given the lack of an offseason?

BB: Well, we actually expect to go out there and play good football. I know maybe that's not everybody else's goal, but we actually expect to go out there and move the ball on offense and stop them on defense and kick it in the kicking game and return it, so that's what our goals are. We actually try to play good football.

Q: With Drew Bledsoe being honored at halftime, is there a game or memory that jumps out at you from his career?

BB: Oh yeah, there're a lot of them. Drew did so much for this franchise when they drafted him and in the years that he played here, the years that I coached against him in New York, so he's had a tremendous career and did a lot for this franchise. And then of course you have to remember the Pittsburgh AFC Championship game, but there are a lot of other ones, too: the '96 season against Jacksonville. He had so many big games: the Minnesota game and the Cleveland game - he beat us in '95. He's got a great legacy and is certainly very deserving of the recognition, and Jon Morris, too. I coached Jon at Detroit with the Lions after he had been with the Patriots for 11 or 12 years. Nobody is more professional than Jon. Jon Morris and the other people that played with him have just done so much for the game. Now it's a multi-bazillion dollar industry, but it's the Jon Morrises that really were some of the building blocks that made this game as great as it was - players like that that played in the '60s and '70s and he was certainly one of them, so I'm really happy for Jon and I know he certainly appreciates the honor, as does Drew. Those guys looked pretty good out there in those red blazers. They looked sharp - make me look bad.

Q: How would you characterize the defense overall?

BB: Well, we're 2-0. We did some good things; there are some things we've got to do better, things we need to work on. I'd characterize the whole team that way - offensively, defensively, special teams. We've done enough to win two games. We beat two good football teams, but we've still got a lot of work to do.

Q: On the third-and-four play preceding the fourth-and-four play, it seemed like Brady saw something quick out there with Welker and wanted to get it out quick. Given the situation with Zoltan Mesko, would you have maybe liked to see him give it a little more time and get a play set?

BB: Well, a lot of things were happening out there pretty quickly. I think that the players - all of them - did the best that they could in the situations that they were in. Could we have coached better? Could we have made better decisions out there at different times? Yeah, of course we could have. I'd say that's true for all of us, but at the same time, I think everybody was doing what they thought was best. They were trying hard. I don't think there were plays where we were just asleep and just got caught napping or something like that. We tried to do what we thought was best. It didn't always work out. Maybe it wasn't always the best decision - myself included - but I think we all were trying to do the right thing, trying to do the best thing. But when you're playing a good football team like that, it doesn't always work out. They made some plays, too, and they've got a lot of good players and they're well coached.

Q: Were there any kind of guidelines for that? If it had been, say, fourth-and-10 from your 20, would you have punted?

BB: We could sit here and make up hypothetical situations all day. All I can do is look at the ones that we had and make the decisions based on what actually happened.

Q: Would Zoltan Mesko have been able to kick if you had to punt the ball?

BB: Well, we didn't even go through it, so...

Q: You used Nate Solder a few times as a third tight end. Was that something you had in mind with him?

BB: I don't know. That's something we used in the game plan this week. Whether that will be part of the game plan another week or next week, I don't know. We'll figure that out then. Again, we've used linemen in those positions before - a tight end or a fullback or things like that. So, based on the personnel that we have and what our options are, we'll do what we feel like is best and try to win the game or put a game plan together that we feel like gives us the best opportunity to run plays we feel like we need to run.

Q: What did you feel like that package added to the offense?

BB: Obviously, the Chargers have a very good defensive front. They have outstanding guys on the end of the line with [Travis] LaBoy, [Shaun] Phillips and [Antwan] Barnes, so just having another guy out there to handle them or another guy on the wing with Dan Gronkowski just puts a little more presence on those positions. Those guys are hard to handle.

Q: Can you describe Tom Brady's performance in these first two weeks?

BB: I think I already answered that. He's done a good job. The offense has done a good job. We've been pretty balanced and Tom has made a lot of good decisions.

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