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Bill Belichick Postgame Transcript 11/2: 'We're not playing fantasy football here'

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media following the team's Week 9 game against the Denver Broncos.


BB: **Once again, I thought it was a great job by our players this week. These guys really worked hard on our preparation. Denver is a real hard team to get ready for. They're a real good football team. They had the extra time after the Thursday night game and all that, so we knew that they'd be really, have us tuned in. But I thought our guys worked hard after the Bear game, we turned around quickly, came out tonight and played well on all three phases. Again, [we] got another big play in the kicking game. I thought that was big for us. The turnovers, the fourth down stops on defense – it's a hard team to stop and they have a great offensive team, great quarterback, they're well coached. You have to give our players a lot of credit for the way they competed out there tonight; just hung in there series after series after series and went toe to toe with that group. I'm really proud of the way that they played; we have a long way to go. Seven wins isn't going to get anything in this league. We're going to have to do a lot more than that. I think we can still do better at some things. Hopefully we'll be able to work on those and improve them. But it's a good team win tonight. [We] got a lot of contributions from everybody. It was good, solid effort.

Q:I'm curious about the work of Dont'a Hightower. He seems tuned in getting people aligned and in several different formations.

BB:Yeah, I think that's kind of the way it is against [Peyton] Manning. You have to have a quarterback on the other side of the line of scrimmage to deal with what they do. They formationed us, they had a lot of different formations, empty looks, the tight ends outside, tight end – [Julius] Thomas – they're all in different places. High did a great job. It's obviously tough losing Jerod [Mayo] in Buffalo but you know, High has really worked hard with [Defensive Coordinator] Matt [Patricia] and [Linebackers Coach] Pat [Graham], spending a lot of extra time going over calls and adjustments and communication. I thought he and Jamie [Collins] worked well together today too, along with some of the communication with Rob [Ninkovich] and Akeem [Ayers]. High is kind of at the center of that. He did a fabulous job against a tough offense too. It's not easy.


Q: **You put such a high premium on execution and everyone doing their job. What does a game like this do for you as a coach to get everyone to buy in, or have they already bought in?

BB:That's what we try to do every week. We try to have a game plan and go out there and execute it. I don't see where it would be any different next week. It will be a different game plan, a different matchup obviously, but we'll try to do the same thing next week that we did this week, that we did the week before, that we've been doing for the last 15 years. I don't really see it much differently.

Q:When you come into a game like this defensively, do you say, 'I think we have it down,' but when you play a team with that many players –

BB:Yeah, you never have it down. They do a great job of adjusting. They see what you're doing and they attack it. They've seen – Manning's seen every coverage, he's seen every look there is. Once you give him something, he's got something to attack it with. You have to be able to defend that or move on to something else. You just can't – you're just not going to be able to do one thing against him and the type of offense they have. There's no way.

Q:How has Rob Gronkowski's versatility, particularly where he can line up, play a role in his production?

BB:I mean it's the same thing that Denver does with [Julius] Thomas. It forces different matchups and different coverage adjustments. Or it doesn't, and then you live with what you have out there. So, we've been down that road before. You have to ask Denver that, how they felt about it. But that's what we're trying to do, is create adjustments, create matchups, see what they want to do.

Q:Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards, but holding them to 21 points, is that about the best you can expect, considering the way they put up points?

BB:Well, you know, I thought we had a couple chances in the red area – the first touchdown was on a third-and-10 interference call. I mean there are still things we can do better. But look, they're a good team. It's not like they're not going to make some plays out there. But we just have to try to keep making more of them. I mean, we always have to try to play good in the red area. That's where the points come from.

Q:I know it's not until January, but do you think there's a good chance you might see the Broncos again?

BB:Right now I think there's a good chance we're going to see Indianapolis [in the next game].

Q:This a few weeks in a row that you've converted third-and-18, third-and-19 and third-and-20 tonight. What does that start at? Is it practice?

BB:Yeah, we've worked on that since the beginning of camp. Tom [Brady] does a great job of being aware [of] all situations: down, distance, score, alignments, formation adjustments and so forth. He did a great job of keeping the play alive. He did it again last week. That's one of the many things Tom does well. But you have to know what you need.

Q:It's not the way you draw it up.

BB:Yeah, no, it's definitely not the way you draw it up. But it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. The longer the play extends, then the more separation there is between that underneath level and the deep level. You can either [get] catch-and-run plays or you get an opportunity to find a seam in there and our receivers did a good job of that. A couple times today that came up and Tom did a good job of hitting them.

Q:How much is the production that Tom's been having the last couple weeks a credit to the way he has been distributing the ball and spreading it around?

BB:I don't know. Look, everybody plays a role in the offense. It doesn't really – it's not really that important who gets it or how it comes as long as we get it. We use different people and so one guy gets it or multiple guys get it, as long as we're producing, we're moving the ball and scoring points, we're doing the right things. That's the idea. It's not about a bunch of stats and stats this and stats that. We're not playing fantasy football here. We're trying to win.


Q: **How much fun did you have watching Rob Gronkowski make a great one-handed catch?

BB:Yeah, that was a great play. We've seen Rob make a lot of those. But, I was trying to do my job.

Q:What is it about Brandon Browner's skill set that allows him to move around a little bit? It looked like he was lining up in a lot of different spots.

BB:Everybody lined up in different spots today. They all do a good job of that. They work on versatility. We've done that since the beginning of training camp. This is a good example of it today with all the different formations that Denver uses. There were a lot of situations where we had to vary our alignments to match up for one reason or another. So, everybody has been doing that. I think [Cornerbacks] Coach [Josh] Boyer, [Safeties] Coach [Brian] Flores in the secondary, Matt Patricia, Pat Graham, those guys have done a great job with our coverage players and having that versatility to do different things and being able to play coverages from different alignments and that kind of thing. We've had to do that all year, going all the way back to the Miami game with [Charles] Clay and right down the line. I'm sure we're going to see more of it as the year goes on. It came up today, but it's been coming up all year.

Q:What did you see on Rob Ninkovich's interception and the role it played?

BB:That was a huge play. We had pressure up the middle, I think it was from Jamie [Collins] and Rob dropped out. It looked like, again, it was a combination of team defense: pressure [and] coverage. I know, again, Rob, as we've talked about many times, has a great instinctiveness for finding the ball, whether it's stripping the ball, recovering fumbles, intercepting passes, getting his hands on balls. He's just got that sixth sense of getting the ball. It was a great play by Rob;

Q:What are your thoughts on Julian Edelman's punt return touchdown?

BB:Yeah, another big play. It was kind of a crazy play. We should have blocked the punt. [Britton] Colquitt dropped the snap. We just didn't finish the play on the front end of it. Then, you know, he actually got off a decent ball. Our vice did a good job on their gunners. Julian made a couple guys miss, got outside, it looked like [Jonathan] Casillas made a good pull off there at the end to not get a foul. It just kind of looked like Denver's coverage kind of got compressed into the middle of the field. Once Julian got kind of out there towards the numbers, then there wasn't anybody left until he cut it back on about the 30-yard line. Again, our punt return team has been working really hard all year at those plays. That was a big play for us last week in the Chicago game. I know Julian was disappointed he didn't score on that one. He scored tonight and that was a great run. But again, it takes 11 guys out there all doing their job; it's not just the returner. So you have to give a lot of credit to the rest of the guys on that unit. [Danny] Amendola was the short guy. He did a good job of knocking that first gunner off to get Julian started. That was probably the key block to get us going. Julian made a couple guys miss and we had good effort hustling down the field. That was a huge play in the game.

Q:Can you appreciate the historical significance of players of the caliber of Manning and Brady facing each other?

BB:Yeah, I mean they're two great players, but right now, we're just focused on this game.

Q:Will you share at all what your message was to the team after the win?

BB:No, what I talked with the team about is between myself and the team. That's the way it always is.

Q:What were your thoughts on the conditions? It snowed during the day, clearing the field and then the wind? How did affect the game?

BB:Similar to last week, I think it was kind of similar to what we saw against Chicago. There was definitely a favorable wind from the lighthouse end down kind of from our bench to the quarter of the field down there by the lighthouse down to their end. I think that was somewhat of a factor. I think it affected the kicking game more than it affected the passing game. That's what it looked like to me.

Q:Danny Amendola returned the punt prior to the one Julian returned for the touchdown. How do you decide which guy will return the punts?

BB:What we did tonight, when we had one guy deep, it was Danny. When we had two guys deep, which we did on the scoring play, then Julian was the deep guy and Danny was the short guy so it was a two-deep look. It was a different formation, if you will.

Q:You dropped some of your linebackers late and when you played trips, you dropped Darrelle Revis and kept guys on different levels. Is that something you've done a lot recently or something you pulled out for this game?

BB:As I said earlier, I think you have to change up what you do against Peyton Manning. You just can't do the same thing all day. I mean that's not the way to go. I'm sure there were a lot of different things that we did tonight with different players to try to, dependent on the formation, dependent on the call, what options, that we tried to keep them off-balance a little bit. I thought our players did a good job of that, of communicating those changeups and adjustments. Obviously we had a few problems out there, but I think we got a few of them right and caused them some problems somewhere along the line too, at least I hope we did.

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