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Bill Belichick Press Conference - 12/13/2010

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, December 13, 2010.

BB: Back in the warmth of Foxborough. As I said after the game, I thought it was a real good job by our players of a short week, preparation, going out there and really being ready to go. [We] did some real good things early in the game and all the way through to the first half: defensive stops, plays in the kicking game [and] offensive production. [We] got some long-yardage plays which are tough to get. Overall, I thought it was definitely a good win for us. Tough conditions and things we had talked about [and] worked on, we got to actually use in a game, game situations, game applications. So, that was good. I'm sure that will service well going forward here. We have three regular-season games left, and I wouldn't be surprised if some element of that game shows up in another one. On to Green Bay. On to Green Bay.

Q: You said last week that the cold feels colder when you're down 21-0. Did it feel a little warmer when you were up 21-0?

BB: Yeah, it felt a little warmer. The temperature went up a few degrees; that's right.

Q: How do you feel about your offense in the second half? You only score six points, but you kept the ball for 20 minutes.

BB: Well we moved the ball; we just didn't have a lot of points to show for it. We got stopped down in the red area a couple times. [We] definitely would have liked to have more point production, but I thought there were still some good plays. We moved the ball. We held onto it for the last six minutes of the game, whatever that was. So, there were some good things there, but we didn't have very many points to show for it. So, we'd like to be more efficient when we get down there in the red area and get up on the board.

Q: When you refer to a four-minute offense, that's what you mean, right?

BB: Trying to get first downs. Not really trying to score, but just trying to keep possession of the ball and not give your opponents another possession.

Q: Did you move into that midway through the third quarter?

BB: No, I was talking about the last possession of the fourth quarter.

Q: But Tom Brady was snapping the ball with only one or two seconds left even early in the second half.

BB: Well, we might try to take a little more time off the clock, but we were still running our normal plays.

Q: Deion Branch told us about the last play of the first half from his perspective, what is yours?

BB: Well, we were in a no-huddle mode. I thought it was a real smart play by Tom at the end of the half, knowing that there was really only time for one more play. I think when the ball was snapped - three, four seconds, whatever was left on the clock - it would have been the last play, so he took a shot down the field on a vertical pattern and the safety, [Major] Wright, slid in there and took the seam. Deion got behind [Charles] Tillman and Tom pumped the safety and looked out there and saw [Branch] and hit him. So, it was a real good play by Tom and Deion. I think the timing of it was something that Tom knew what he was doing, obviously - that he was running the last play to have a shot and throw it down the field and if was there, great, and if it wasn't, then the half was over and we had a 27-point lead or whatever it was.

Q: Was that a case where Brady looked at the personnel and decided he was able to run the play? And if he didn't have the right personnel, he would have taken a knee?

BB: No, I think he would have run a play - that one or another one that would have given us an option to get the ball down the field. Then, after the ball's snapped, if you have a chance for it, great. If you don't, then you don't take any chances and go in [the locker room] with a solid lead.

Q: Can you talk about the way your rookies have developed off the field? How impressive has that been for the draft class, as a whole?

BB: Well I think that that group has learned a lot about the whole process and with each game further that you go into the season, you have another game to look at of your opponents. I think that they've learned a lot about film study and [from] watching our veteran players. Just going through it with the team, they've learned a lot more about how to study film than they knew when they started - at least the way we do it. So, I think they've all improved on that. I think they still have a long way to go, as a group, but I do think that they're heading in the right direction and making progress. There are times when you can really see the preparation show up on the field and there are other times [when] you see situations that they should be more prepared for, based on their film study but they kind of get caught by surprise and aren't sure what to do when, really, those shouldn't have been hard situations. So, I think it's a little bit of that, too. There's definitely some learning in the whole process.

Q: Over your whole career, is this defense one of the most fun to coach? They seem very coachable.

BB: Well, I do think that the group is improving. They work hard. They've done what we've asked them to do, but we've still got a long way to go. Hopefully we can keep getting better and keep improving on the things that there's still room to improve on. Some of the things that we're doing with some constancy, we can continue to do that. But each week is its own challenge. One thing I do like about the group, overall, is that they've come in ready to go every week and tried to turn the page on the last game and get on to the next game plan and the next team and the next tendencies and all that, and put whatever happened the week before behind them. That's what we have to do, but I think they've done a fairly good job of that. By the end of the week, it seems like we have a pretty good grasp of what we're trying to defend, how we're trying to play it. We don't always get it done exactly right, but I think we're getting better at it.

Q: How far away do you feel like you are now from the type of football you want to be playing in the playoffs? Do you feel like you're starting to hit a stride these last five games?

BB: Well, I think each week is its own challenge. This week is a huge challenge with the Packers. Offensively, they have a great offensive football team. They can throw it. The quarterback is very mobile and active. [They have] an outstanding group of receivers: long, intermediate, short. They make big plays. They give you as many formations and looks as any team we'll play all year - and that's a lot. We've seen a lot of them, but these guys take it to another level. So, it's a whole new challenge of Green Bay and that's what we'll be focused on this week. Whoever it is after that, it is. We'll worry about that later.

Q: How much does it add to the challenge [of preparing for Green Bay] not knowing which quarterback you might face?

BB: Well, we always have to prepare for all the quarterbacks. That could happen on one play, any play. We know that [Aaron Rodgers sustained a concussion] earlier in the year and he was back out there the next week. He's a great competitor and he's a terrific quarterback. I'm sure he will do everything he can to be out there. Wherever that leads, wherever it ends up, it ends up. That's out of our control. What we can control is our preparation. So, we'll work on all the players at all the positions that could possibly play in the game and be ready for whichever ones end up out there.

Q: Do you have enough film of Matt Flynn to get an idea of how he plays?

BB: Sure.

Q: From the preseason?

BB: Yeah, and from last week [yesterday]. I mean, their offense is still their offense. For them, [if] they change quarterbacks, it's not like they have a hundred new plays that they haven't run before just because they put one guy in there. They still run the plays that they run and I'm sure [Flynn's] reads are still [the same] reads. You don't have plays and have reads for this quarterback and reads for that quarterback or that type of thing. You run your offense [and] whichever quarterback is in there, executes it. Each guy has his own set of skills and it certainly is important to know who's in there. But, at the same time, defensively, you are preparing for the same basic offense. The individual skills of the players within the offense, that may change, but you have to be aware of who they are and adjust accordingly.

Q: On a scale of one to ten, how serious would you say Devin McCourty's rib injury is? I don't think we've tried it that way before.

BB: Well we can give the same answer that we usually give on Monday which is, 'We'll see on Wednesday.'

Q: What was your initial reaction to Urban Meyer's decision to step down?

BB: I talked to Urban and I think whatever he had to say about it, I think that accurately expresses his feelings. Urban's an upfront, honest guy and I think what he said is what he wanted to say. Take it at face value. The main thing from my point of view is just our friendship and making sure that he is okay and I would say that's definitely the case.

Q: He is kind of a young age to be retiring.

BB: Well, I kind of think each of us has to do what he feels best for our own personal, individual and family situation, whatever that happens to be. We make our decisions from the time we are old enough to make them to the time that we aren't capable of making them anymore. So, whatever those are along the way, we all have them at different points in our lives.

Q: Your team has seemed to be getting better each consecutive week, why do you think that is?

BB: I think each week is its own challenge so it doesn't really matter what happened last week, one way or the other. We'll see what happens this week.

Q: Is it a testament to the veterans that the rookies continually seem to improve?

BB: Well, I think everybody in that locker room from the head coach on down to the assistant coaches, the players and everybody else has a job to do. It's up to each and every one of us to do our job as best we can. I don't think anybody can do anyone else's job. You certainly wouldn't want me out there playing. I think there are a whole lot of players that I wouldn't want out there calling plays. So, you know, we all have a job to do and we do our job. I think the players that are out there performing deserve the credit for their performance.

Q: Is the confidence there with Darius Butler that he could step in and start if he needed to?

BB: Well, yeah. Darius has played a lot of football for us over the course of the year, some earlier and some more recently. So, absolutely, he's out there - whoever's out there, anybody that's on the field - if we don't have confidence in them, then we wouldn't put them out there.

Q: How much enjoyment do you get out of teaching players and integrating them into your system, especially this year with so many young players?

BB: Well, I think every year, you certainly go through your integration of new players into your team. That process starts in the spring after you draft them. [You] bring them in for rookie mini-camp and then the spring OTAs, training camp and all that. So, you're working with young players there and teaching fundamentals and teaching them the basics of your system, trying to get them to understand their individual techniques, but also the bigger picture of how they have to execute certain plays in their system, but also how, eventually, they can find a role to fit into your football team. So, that process continues throughout the course of the year with deviations along the way depending on what the circumstances are. So, it's pretty much like that every year. Some years you might have a few less rookies or a few more rookies, but you still have to take that group of players and bring them up to a certain level. But, at the same time, you have new players coming in from other organizations, free agents, what have you, trades - however you acquire players - along with players that were here previously, so you have to have some way to transition everybody into the same funnel, into the same direction. Even though it's a wide net there that it starts with, it all has to come together as a football team. That's really no different than it is any year. Again, sometimes it's more or less at the exterior parts of that net, but, eventually, it all has to come together as a team. So, I don't really see this year as any more significant in terms of what we do or how we do it. There may be a few more younger players than we've had in other years, but you still have to go through the same process. So, whether you're teaching it to five guys or ten guys, you're still doing it.

Q: Do you find that guys have bought into the mantra, "We haven't accomplished anything yet," or do you see them starting to look ahead, now that you've clinched the playoffs? Do you have to tamp that down at all or does the Cleveland game act as an example of what lurks there?

BB: Well, sure, I think that game was a real life example of not being ready to play as a total team - coaches, players, everybody - not doing a good job and not having a good result. But, again, each week we have a big challenge. It is a huge challenge this week against the Packers. This is a really good football team. But, we played a good team last week and before that and before that and we got them ahead of us. So, each week, we just try to isolate the opponent and look at ourselves and try to find the matchups and understand the game plan, understand how we want to play the game and then go out there and practice it and try to get to the best position we can by Sunday to execute it. And then do our best on Sunday. I mean, really, we try to do the same thing every week. I don't think it really matters what the record is or who we played last week or even what the score was last week. It didn't after the Cleveland game and I don't think it matters this week. It didn't after the Jets game. Sometimes you go from a bad game to a good game. Sometimes you go from a good game to another good game. Sometimes you go from a good game to a bad game. We've seen plenty examples of those. I think you just have to take each week and try to make the most out of every single opportunity you get.

Q: Do you have to reinforce that message every week?

BB: I think it's the same every week. We don't go in there one week and say, 'Alright fellas, there's really nothing to do this week. Let's just roll out the ball and see how it goes.' And then the next week say, 'Geez, we got to really buckle down this week, this is really going to be a big preparation week for us.' I mean, every week is a big preparation week for us. Every team we play has good players, good coaches. They have good schemes. They do things that give us problems and their opponents problems. And we have to be able to figure out how to handle those and execute the things that we want to do at a high level. If we don't, then it won't be a good result. I don't care who the opponent is.

Q: Do you think that you guys have played a full 60 minutes yet? If not, how close are you?

BB: There is always room for improvement, absolutely. I think you could look at any of our games and you can certainly find plenty of room for improvement - some more than others, obviously - I understand that. But there're still a lot of things that we can do better and ways that we can be more consistent. [In] a lot of cases, there are times when we do things well and then at other points in the game - earlier or later, we do the same things not as well or not as efficiently, so we're just striving for that consistency.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, December 13, 2010.

BB: Back in the warmth of Foxborough. As I said after the game, I thought it was a real good job by our players of a short week, preparation, going out there and really being ready to go. [We] did some real good things early in the game and all the way through to the first half: defensive stops, plays in the kicking game [and] offensive production. [We] got some long-yardage plays which are tough to get. Overall, I thought it was definitely a good win for us. Tough conditions and things we had talked about [and] worked on, we got to actually use in a game, game situations, game applications. So, that was good. I'm sure that will service well going forward here. We have three regular-season games left, and I wouldn't be surprised if some element of that game shows up in another one. On to Green Bay. On to Green Bay.

Q: You said last week that the cold feels colder when you're down 21-0. Did it feel a little warmer when you were up 21-0?

BB: Yeah, it felt a little warmer. The temperature went up a few degrees; that's right.

Q: How do you feel about your offense in the second half? You only score six points, but you kept the ball for 20 minutes.

BB: Well we moved the ball; we just didn't have a lot of points to show for it. We got stopped down in the red area a couple times. [We] definitely would have liked to have more point production, but I thought there were still some good plays. We moved the ball. We held onto it for the last six minutes of the game, whatever that was. So, there were some good things there, but we didn't have very many points to show for it. So, we'd like to be more efficient when we get down there in the red area and get up on the board.

Q: When you refer to a four-minute offense, that's what you mean, right?

BB: Trying to get first downs. Not really trying to score, but just trying to keep possession of the ball and not give your opponents another possession.

Q: Did you move into that midway through the third quarter?

BB: No, I was talking about the last possession of the fourth quarter.

Q: But Tom Brady was snapping the ball with only one or two seconds left even early in the second half.

BB: Well, we might try to take a little more time off the clock, but we were still running our normal plays.

Q: Deion Branch told us about the last play of the first half from his perspective, what is yours?

BB: Well, we were in a no-huddle mode. I thought it was a real smart play by Tom at the end of the half, knowing that there was really only time for one more play. I think when the ball was snapped - three, four seconds, whatever was left on the clock - it would have been the last play, so he took a shot down the field on a vertical pattern and the safety, [Major] Wright, slid in there and took the seam. Deion got behind [Charles] Tillman and Tom pumped the safety and looked out there and saw [Branch] and hit him. So, it was a real good play by Tom and Deion. I think the timing of it was something that Tom knew what he was doing, obviously - that he was running the last play to have a shot and throw it down the field and if was there, great, and if it wasn't, then the half was over and we had a 27-point lead or whatever it was.

Q: Was that a case where Brady looked at the personnel and decided he was able to run the play? And if he didn't have the right personnel, he would have taken a knee?

BB: No, I think he would have run a play - that one or another one that would have given us an option to get the ball down the field. Then, after the ball's snapped, if you have a chance for it, great. If you don't, then you don't take any chances and go in [the locker room] with a solid lead.

Q: Can you talk about the way your rookies have developed off the field? How impressive has that been for the draft class, as a whole?

BB: Well I think that that group has learned a lot about the whole process and with each game further that you go into the season, you have another game to look at of your opponents. I think that they've learned a lot about film study and [from] watching our veteran players. Just going through it with the team, they've learned a lot more about how to study film than they knew when they started - at least the way we do it. So, I think they've all improved on that. I think they still have a long way to go, as a group, but I do think that they're heading in the right direction and making progress. There are times when you can really see the preparation show up on the field and there are other times [when] you see situations that they should be more prepared for, based on their film study but they kind of get caught by surprise and aren't sure what to do when, really, those shouldn't have been hard situations. So, I think it's a little bit of that, too. There's definitely some learning in the whole process.

Q: Over your whole career, is this defense one of the most fun to coach? They seem very coachable.

BB: Well, I do think that the group is improving. They work hard. They've done what we've asked them to do, but we've still got a long way to go. Hopefully we can keep getting better and keep improving on the things that there's still room to improve on. Some of the things that we're doing with some constancy, we can continue to do that. But each week is its own challenge. One thing I do like about the group, overall, is that they've come in ready to go every week and tried to turn the page on the last game and get on to the next game plan and the next team and the next tendencies and all that, and put whatever happened the week before behind them. That's what we have to do, but I think they've done a fairly good job of that. By the end of the week, it seems like we have a pretty good grasp of what we're trying to defend, how we're trying to play it. We don't always get it done exactly right, but I think we're getting better at it.

Q: How far away do you feel like you are now from the type of football you want to be playing in the playoffs? Do you feel like you're starting to hit a stride these last five games?

BB: Well, I think each week is its own challenge. This week is a huge challenge with the Packers. Offensively, they have a great offensive football team. They can throw it. The quarterback is very mobile and active. [They have] an outstanding group of receivers: long, intermediate, short. They make big plays. They give you as many formations and looks as any team we'll play all year - and that's a lot. We've seen a lot of them, but these guys take it to another level. So, it's a whole new challenge of Green Bay and that's what we'll be focused on this week. Whoever it is after that, it is. We'll worry about that later.

Q: How much does it add to the challenge [of preparing for Green Bay] not knowing which quarterback you might face?

BB: Well, we always have to prepare for all the quarterbacks. That could happen on one play, any play. We know that [Aaron Rodgers sustained a concussion] earlier in the year and he was back out there the next week. He's a great competitor and he's a terrific quarterback. I'm sure he will do everything he can to be out there. Wherever that leads, wherever it ends up, it ends up. That's out of our control. What we can control is our preparation. So, we'll work on all the players at all the positions that could possibly play in the game and be ready for whichever ones end up out there.

Q: Do you have enough film of Matt Flynn to get an idea of how he plays?

BB: Sure.

Q: From the preseason?

BB: Yeah, and from last week [yesterday]. I mean, their offense is still their offense. For them, [if] they change quarterbacks, it's not like they have a hundred new plays that they haven't run before just because they put one guy in there. They still run the plays that they run and I'm sure [Flynn's] reads are still [the same] reads. You don't have plays and have reads for this quarterback and reads for that quarterback or that type of thing. You run your offense [and] whichever quarterback is in there, executes it. Each guy has his own set of skills and it certainly is important to know who's in there. But, at the same time, defensively, you are preparing for the same basic offense. The individual skills of the players within the offense, that may change, but you have to be aware of who they are and adjust accordingly.

Q: On a scale of one to ten, how serious would you say Devin McCourty's rib injury is? I don't think we've tried it that way before.

BB: Well we can give the same answer that we usually give on Monday which is, 'We'll see on Wednesday.'

Q: What was your initial reaction to Urban Meyer's decision to step down?

BB: I talked to Urban and I think whatever he had to say about it, I think that accurately expresses his feelings. Urban's an upfront, honest guy and I think what he said is what he wanted to say. Take it at face value. The main thing from my point of view is just our friendship and making sure that he is okay and I would say that's definitely the case.

Q: He is kind of a young age to be retiring.

BB: Well, I kind of think each of us has to do what he feels best for our own personal, individual and family situation, whatever that happens to be. We make our decisions from the time we are old enough to make them to the time that we aren't capable of making them anymore. So, whatever those are along the way, we all have them at different points in our lives.

Q: Your team has seemed to be getting better each consecutive week, why do you think that is?

BB: I think each week is its own challenge so it doesn't really matter what happened last week, one way or the other. We'll see what happens this week.

Q: Is it a testament to the veterans that the rookies continually seem to improve?

BB: Well, I think everybody in that locker room from the head coach on down to the assistant coaches, the players and everybody else has a job to do. It's up to each and every one of us to do our job as best we can. I don't think anybody can do anyone else's job. You certainly wouldn't want me out there playing. I think there are a whole lot of players that I wouldn't want out there calling plays. So, you know, we all have a job to do and we do our job. I think the players that are out there performing deserve the credit for their performance.

Q: Is the confidence there with Darius Butler that he could step in and start if he needed to?

BB: Well, yeah. Darius has played a lot of football for us over the course of the year, some earlier and some more recently. So, absolutely, he's out there - whoever's out there, anybody that's on the field - if we don't have confidence in them, then we wouldn't put them out there.

Q: How much enjoyment do you get out of teaching players and integrating them into your system, especially this year with so many young players?

BB: Well, I think every year, you certainly go through your integration of new players into your team. That process starts in the spring after you draft them. [You] bring them in for rookie mini-camp and then the spring OTAs, training camp and all that. So, you're working with young players there and teaching fundamentals and teaching them the basics of your system, trying to get them to understand their individual techniques, but also the bigger picture of how they have to execute certain plays in their system, but also how, eventually, they can find a role to fit into your football team. So, that process continues throughout the course of the year with deviations along the way depending on what the circumstances are. So, it's pretty much like that every year. Some years you might have a few less rookies or a few more rookies, but you still have to take that group of players and bring them up to a certain level. But, at the same time, you have new players coming in from other organizations, free agents, what have you, trades - however you acquire players - along with players that were here previously, so you have to have some way to transition everybody into the same funnel, into the same direction. Even though it's a wide net there that it starts with, it all has to come together as a football team. That's really no different than it is any year. Again, sometimes it's more or less at the exterior parts of that net, but, eventually, it all has to come together as a team. So, I don't really see this year as any more significant in terms of what we do or how we do it. There may be a few more younger players than we've had in other years, but you still have to go through the same process. So, whether you're teaching it to five guys or ten guys, you're still doing it.

Q: Do you find that guys have bought into the mantra, "We haven't accomplished anything yet," or do you see them starting to look ahead, now that you've clinched the playoffs? Do you have to tamp that down at all or does the Cleveland game act as an example of what lurks there?

BB: Well, sure, I think that game was a real life example of not being ready to play as a total team - coaches, players, everybody - not doing a good job and not having a good result. But, again, each week we have a big challenge. It is a huge challenge this week against the Packers. This is a really good football team. But, we played a good team last week and before that and before that and we got them ahead of us. So, each week, we just try to isolate the opponent and look at ourselves and try to find the matchups and understand the game plan, understand how we want to play the game and then go out there and practice it and try to get to the best position we can by Sunday to execute it. And then do our best on Sunday. I mean, really, we try to do the same thing every week. I don't think it really matters what the record is or who we played last week or even what the score was last week. It didn't after the Cleveland game and I don't think it matters this week. It didn't after the Jets game. Sometimes you go from a bad game to a good game. Sometimes you go from a good game to another good game. Sometimes you go from a good game to a bad game. We've seen plenty examples of those. I think you just have to take each week and try to make the most out of every single opportunity you get.

Q: Do you have to reinforce that message every week?

BB: I think it's the same every week. We don't go in there one week and say, 'Alright fellas, there's really nothing to do this week. Let's just roll out the ball and see how it goes.' And then the next week say, 'Geez, we got to really buckle down this week, this is really going to be a big preparation week for us.' I mean, every week is a big preparation week for us. Every team we play has good players, good coaches. They have good schemes. They do things that give us problems and their opponents problems. And we have to be able to figure out how to handle those and execute the things that we want to do at a high level. If we don't, then it won't be a good result. I don't care who the opponent is.

Q: Do you think that you guys have played a full 60 minutes yet? If not, how close are you?

BB: There is always room for improvement, absolutely. I think you could look at any of our games and you can certainly find plenty of room for improvement - some more than others, obviously - I understand that. But there're still a lot of things that we can do better and ways that we can be more consistent. [In] a lot of cases, there are times when we do things well and then at other points in the game - earlier or later, we do the same things not as well or not as efficiently, so we're just striving for that consistency.

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