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Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 1, 2012.

BB:It's good to finish the year 13-3. We've got to give the players a lot of credit; they did a good job this year. Unfortunately we had another slow start. We blew a 21-point lead in the first game [against the Bills] and overcame a 21-point deficit today. Good job by the players of battling back. We made some plays as the game went along. I thought it was a good win. We'll move on now to try to keep working to get ourselves better and then see what next week brings. I thought the players did a good job today once we got going. You've got to give them a lot of credit. Buffalo was ready to go; they played well early. Fortunately we - the players - were able to bounce back and make enough plays to win.

Q:To what do you attribute the defensive turnaround?

BB: Playing better. The players played better.

Q:Was there anything you did tactically adjustment wise?

BB:No, I don't think anything dramatically. The players stepped up and made some plays. We didn't turn the ball over, got a few stops on third down. All those things were good. The same thing offensively; we couldn't do anything offensively and then finally we got it going, made a few plays. That's what it's about.

Q:It looked like Devin McCourty was able to give you some good snaps at the safety position. Can you talk about what led to that decision?

BB:We're just trying to improve our team. We worked with him and Patrick [Chung] back there all week and thought it looked good this week in practice, so we went with it during the game. I'm sure it could be better, but I thought they gave us some things back there. James [Ihedigbo] came in a played a solid role for us, too. We got good play out of all of those guys. We had some guys step up at the corner position - Sterling [Moore] Antwaun [Molden], so that was good, too. We got a lot of snaps out of Julian [Edelman].

Q:Prior to today, were you able to identify any common threads in your slow starts?

BB:Well if we did, we would have done something about it today. I guess not. We weren't trying to start that way. Again, give the players credit for turning that around. They made plays, they played good. Good on the coverage teams; we had good field position defensively; we had punt and kickoff coverage; the specialists kicked well.

Q:From a coaching standpoint, how disturbing is it to have similar starts like that the last two weeks?

BB:We just try to play 60 minutes every week. We try to start fast and finish strong. We've done some of both and some of neither. We have to keep trying to get better every week.

Q:You looked really good on the ground. At this point in the season, do you feel like you've really established a dual threat at the running back position?

BB:It doesn't really matter; whoever we play next, we'll have to go out and play well against that team, whoever it is. We have confidence in all of our players. We got good snaps out of all of our backs: Benny [Green-Ellis] and Stevan [Ridley], Danny [Woodhead], and [Lousaka] Polite when he was in there. He gave us some snaps, too. Whoever was in there, we have confidence in them and hope that they can be productive, which they have been.

Q:There were several reports today that Bill O'Brien is a candidate and maybe even has accepted the head coaching job at Penn State.

BB:We were just trying to beat Buffalo today and now we're moving on to whatever's next. I don't have anything to say about any other situation other than the New England Patriots.

Q:These last two weeks, is it more encouraging because of the comeback or discouraging because of the slow start?

BB:Well, every week is its own week and its own set of challenges. Whatever our challenges are next, we don't know yet; we don't know who that opponent is going to be, so we'll keep working on the things that can make us a better football team. Whoever our opponent ends up being, we'll try to prepare and do the best we can against that team. It's the same thing we do every week.

Q:Was it encouraging seeing Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung back out on the field?

BB:Sure, yeah, it was good to have a lot of the players that we had back - at least out there getting some snaps. It's always good to have as healthy a team as you can have. No question, it was good to have them back there. I'm sure they'll be able to build off today and get more reps in practice and get their timing back and all that. I don't think it was necessarily great in every area, but it was good to have them back and it looked like they did some things to help us win, so that was good.

Q:Can you talk about the accomplishment of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski this year?

BB:I mean, they've obviously had great years. No question, they've had great years

Q:You talk about complementary football. Is that the case where your defense gets energized by the offense starting to come back?

BB:Yeah, sure, we talk about it. We try to do it. Sometimes we do it better than others. Of course, if we get good field position - our special teams gives us good field position defensively and then we can get it back for the offense, especially if we can get it back in good field position for them, and then they're knocking on the door. Then it can snowball a little bit. Especially with the kickoff rules the way they are now, you can either have good coverage or get a touchback. I don't know how many touchbacks we had today; we must have had five or I don't know - it was a lot. You have a chance to start with good field position defensively after a score and then if you can hold it and get the ball back and set your offense up and it gives you a chance to go on a run. Or vice versa, if you give up a score and then they pin you back, then you can't get out of the hole then they go on a run. That changes the dynamics of it a little bit. Sure, we try to feed off each other and give each other the best opportunities that we can.

Q:What does it mean in a year that you go 13-3 to have given up as many yards are you have?

BB:It's good to be 13-3. That's our goal - to win every week. I know that's not a big priority with everybody else, but it's a big priority with us. If we win at the end of the day, then we've done more good things than bad. Is there room for improvement? There's always room for improvement.

Q:Jimmy Graham was in the lead for the tight end yardage record and it seemed like you threw one more to Gronkowski to help him get the record.

BB:Yeah, that last play I had Billy [O'Brien] call that because I wasn't sure exactly where he was and I though he deserved another chance to go up and try to make another play. He's had a great year and he's worked hard. I thought he deserved that. I'm not really sure where it stands or doesn't stand, but we threw it up there one more time to him. He made a nice play.

Q:You played much more man under or two-man than we've seen. Is it important to have that in your arsenal going into the playoffs?

BB:I mean, it depends on what the other team is doing. It could be. I don't know. It depends on what you're trying to stop. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of our calls, our defenses, all of our plays. If there's an advantage to doing something, then we'll try to do it, but I don't know what the next challenge is going to be or whether some of the things we ran today would even be in the game plan two weeks from now. I have no idea. We can't really worry about that. We just try to go out there and win each game and play the best we can on that given day and then we'll worry about next week next week.

Q:Sterling Moore seemed to be at the right place at the right time.

BB:A couple times, yeah, he did a good job of recognizing the route pattern and undercutting the route or playing the route aggressively and being able to make a good play on the ball, too. We got our hands on some balls; we don't always catch them, but we caught a few of them today. He made two real nice catches - one with the receiver kind of on his back and then the other one where he undercut it. It looked like he bobbled it a little bit on the catch. They were both tough catches and plays that he anticipated well and made the play on, so it was good.

Q:Do you think that some of the changes you made in the secondary has helped you come a long way. Do you feel good about that position?

BB:I don't know. There are a lot of guys that we had at the beginning of the season that we don't have now. and that isn't going to change a whole lot in some cases. Brandon [Spikes] played, Patrick [Chung] played, but there are a lot of guys we haven't played with for a very long. We have what we have; so does everybody else. Everybody in the league has had to deal with injuries and that kind of stuff. We dealt with them; so has everybody else. We do the best we can.

Q:How important is the No. 1 seed?

BB:I don't know. What's important is how the teams play next week and then the following week. We've seen the number six team win the Super Bowl, we've seen first seed team win the Super Bowl, and we've seen teams in between win. I think what's more important than where your seeded is how you play in the playoffs. We'll try to play the best we can. That's what we'll do.

Q:With this win, you're now the only head coach to lead a team to a 3-win regular season five different times. What does that mean to you?

BB:Really, I think it's a compliment to the players. They're the ones that won them and went out there and earned all those wins. I didn't make any blocks or make and tackles or catch any balls or make any kicks. Give them the credit. They're the ones that went out there and won it today and they deserve it. It's been a privilege for me to coach some of the great players that I've had the opportunity to coach in my career, both as an assistant and head coach. I think all those wins are reflective of the team and the players that were out there making the plays. They're the ones that really deserve the credit.

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