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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 1/25

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, January 25, 2016.

BB: I'd say after going through the game this morning, I feel pretty much the same as I did last night. I have a lot of respect for the way our team competed. I'm proud of it. [We] had guys battling right to the very last play with a chance to tie or win, however you want to look at it. I think each of us that competed in the game, players, coaches, all feel the same way – probably a couple plays, couple calls, couple whatever, that we'd all like to have back. In a close game like that, I think you always feel that way. This is no different. Denver is a good football team. We had some opportunities, but in the end just came up a little bit short and that's obviously a disappointing feeling at this time of the year. [We'll] turn the page here and move on, and start the process all over again. That's where we're at.

Q: With all the talent you have, why is it so hard to win a playoff game in Denver?

BB: It was a very competitive game yesterday, and like I said, it came down to a couple plays and they made one or two more than we did. That's the way I saw it.

Q: Why have road playoff games given you a problem?

BB: Well, I gave my thoughts on yesterday's game. That's the game we're talking about.

Q: How would you describe this year as a whole?

BB: I mean we did a lot of good things, won a lot of games and came up short in the end, so it's bittersweet. 

Q: Have you already started to think about things for next year? Is there anything in particular that you're going to be looking at?

BB: We'll do the same thing we do every year. We'll look at everything that we did, try to analyze that. We'll look at whatever the opportunities are going forward and whatever areas those fall in, make the decisions that we feel are best for the team to improve – same thing we do every year. There's no change.

Q: How did the process of challenging the Broncos' forward pass go down? Who tipped you off?

BB: Well, I think when we saw the play live, it looked questionable in terms of the forward pass. It's a tough play for the officials to see because the guys on the line of scrimmage can't see it and the referee and the umpire are behind where the quarterback is throwing the ball, so you don't really see that straight-line throw. It's not like the quarterback is under center and he throws the ball out and you have a line-of-scrimmage official there. So I know it's a tough play to officiate based on the location of where the ball was released and so forth. And so it was close, and we looked at it upstairs. I felt like, again, by rule the ball has to be going forward, not parallel but forward, and I just didn't think it was.

Q: What were your thoughts on Jonathan Freeny's awareness to pick up the ball?

BB: Good, that's what we teach them day one. So he did what he's been taught to do, and it was a good reaction on his part.

Q: What made you elect to receive at the start of the game?

BB: It was a combination of factors, and we felt that was the best way to go.

Q: Was one of the factors potential weather in the second half?

BB: It didn't look like it was going to be much of a factor in the game. I mean as you know, I'm not going to really put any stock into what the reports are. At that point I'll go with what I see, and I didn't really see much there.

Q: We saw you exchange words with Peyton Manning at the end of the game. What are your thoughts on possibly playing against him for the last time?

BB: No, I don't have anything to share. I shared it with Peyton.

Q: How much time do you give yourself to go over the film from last night's game versus prioritizing on things you need to look at in the offseason?

BB: Well, we'll take care of that game first. I've already done that. Although there is more to do, but I'll do that first and then move ahead. But we have a lot of things to do today with the players coming in. [It's] the last time we'll see some of them for a period of time here, so there are definitely some things to take care of with the team. 

Q: It looked like there were some issues with the tablets on the sideline. Was that resolved to your satisfaction?

BB: It is what it is. It is what it is. It's a pretty common problem. We have ways of playing, working through it. There's really nothing you can do. It's not like the headsets where the other side is really affected. You deal with what you deal with, and we've had it at home, we've had it on the road. Other teams have had it. It's a fairly common problem. That didn't affect the outcome of the game. I mean, no way, but it's just part of it. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't.

Q: Do you have access to the old school pictures?

BB: Yeah, we take those as a backup. Absolutely, we take those as a backup, or well, in some cases we use those in lieu of the tablets. In some senses that's more dependable.

Q: Do you ever second guess yourself personally on calls or looking back at a game or a season? Do you ever personally reflect on yourself looking back at a season or a particular game?

BB: All the time.

Q: Is that frustrating? Do you learn? What are some of the things you look back on?

BB: We look at everything. We look at everything. We look at various points in the year and look back on training camp, the draft, OTAs, each and every game, end of the season. We do all that. And we critique ourselves. We critique all the things. We do it all. We try to find areas we can improve in, and we try to address those.

Q: Do you regret anything about your approach to the Miami game and not winning that game and not getting home field advantage all the way through?

BB: Again, we evaluate everything. So those evaluations, we look at them, we take them and we try to move on from them.

Q: Stephen Gostkowski is taking the loss really hard. Can you share anything you said to him?

BB: Any conversations I have with the players – our players and other players – will be between myself and that player. I hope you respect that privacy, and I try to keep that. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it will always be.

Q: Any thoughts about Gostkowski?

BB: Steve's a great kicker. He had a great year for us, and as I said at the beginning, I think every player and coach who participated in the game wishes there were a couple of things they would've done differently. I feel that way. Everybody I've talked to feels that way. I can't imagine anybody who participated in the game doesn't feel that way. 

Q: He says he feels like it was his fault.

BB: I think we all feel that way – I feel like it's my fault. I'm sure all the other players who played feel like it's their fault.

Q: With 6:03 left in the fourth quarter, you decided to go for it instead of kick the field goal from the 16-yard line. What is the thought process when you're making that decision?

BB: Time and number of possessions that you have left and what you need to do and the number of opportunities that we had to do that. It wasn't very many.

Q: So when you're reviewing it, do you still feel that it was the right decision?

BB: At that time, yeah. There was no hesitation in doing that, yeah.

Q: Was the thinking similar when you went for it again later in the quarter?

BB: There were like two and a half minutes to go in the game. Two and a half minutes to go in the game down by eight, 4th-and-5 or whatever it was. Yeah, we felt like the best thing to do was to go for it at that point, yeah.

Q: You described the feeling at the end of the game as a crash landing because it ended so abruptly. How challenging is that for you to just get over that and move forward? Does it ever get any easier with your experience?

BB: No. No, it's the same basic feeling 31 teams, 30 other teams have, and another team is going to have it next week. We've been in those situations. We've been on all sides of it. We've been on the good side of it. We've been where we are today, so that's life, we move on. 

Q: Do you envision yourself being invigorated for 2016 to do that with the team? Do you ever need yourself to step back? I know you always say it's never good to make snap decisions right after a season.

BB: Absolutely, the emotion of the game is still with all of us, but the process still has to start. So we'll start it and do things in a normal course that we do them.

Q: What are your thoughts on the longer PATs this season?

BB: Whatever the rules are, we play by them. We don't make the rules. Those are decided by the league. Whatever they are, they are. Whatever changes they make, they make.

Q: Did it result in what you thought it would?

BB: Again, that's not really something for me to decide. [I'm] just trying to coach the team and do the best job I can for the New England Patriots.

Q: As you look ahead, how encouraged are you by the talent you have coming back?

BB: Again, we'll do what we always do. We'll try and make the best decisions we can for the team, put our team in the most competitive position we can for 2016. 

Q: As far as the fans are concerned, do you have a message to them about how this year unfolded?

BB: That was my opening statement. That was it. 

Q: What did you like about this team?

BB: Just what I said at the beginning — competitive, tough, hard workers.

Q: Did the Broncos break from tendencies defensively? Was it less of a pressure game?

BB: No, I wouldn't say so. They played a lot of dime defense, which we played a lot of sub offense so that wasn't a surprise. Lost a lot of their pressure came from their base defense where they bring five. They didn't do a lot of that on their sub defense. They did a little over the course of the year, but percentage-wise, a lot less than in their base. So I wouldn't say ... I mean, obviously we got double coverage on the players that we expected to get it on, but that's what they do against the player, you know, whoever the other team's good players are, there's a lot of double coverage on them, too. And Wade [Phillips] does a good job. Wade is an excellent coach, has a good scheme, does an excellent job of defending the team that he plays against, and he's done that throughout the course of his career. So I wouldn't say it was anything that was, you know, revolutionary to football. It was well executed, well designed, well coached. They did a good job.

Q: What is the first step in starting the process over?

BB: Well there are a lot of steps. There are a lot of different areas here to talk about. We're entered into the whole draft process, which we haven't, I personally haven't touched. We have other people in our organization. There's the team building. There's the schematics. There are other things that come up, some of which I don't even know what we're talking about yet, that will happen over the next whatever time frame.

Q: When do you start to delve into that?

BB: I'm in it.

Q: How much of a factor was the noise? What do you try to do to manage that?

BB: It's like that on the road every week. Either you're in silent count, which you usually are. Occasionally you're not, but for the most part, let's call it silent count on the road. It's silent count, so silent is silent.

Q: Is it hard to change timing with that? Are there only so many options when you're using silent count?

BB: I mean, there are only so many options you have when you're not using it. I mean, you use those and try to change up and do the best you can to keep the defense off-balance. It is what it is. Silent count is silent count. You can put it in whatever stadium you want to put it in. It's still, that's what you're dealing with.

Q: The offensive line was able to keep the pocket pretty clean against Kansas City, but they struggled to do that last night. Now that you've had a chance to see the game, what made them struggle more last night?

BB: I would say it was a combination of things. Again, I thought Denver did a good job defensively. It's all interconnected between the receivers, the quarterback, the offensive line, the timing, the execution, the balance in the running game, longer yardage situations. I mean, it's all part of it, and in the end it just wasn't as good as what it needed to be yesterday, period, in any area. I wouldn't put in on any one guy or any one situation or one position or anything like that. It was just, in the end, we came up short.

Q: What stood out to you in terms of managing the high volume of injuries you've had all season?

BB: Yeah, but again, that's part of football. So whichever ones you have, you have, and you try to do the best you can to prevent them, try to do the best you can to get them back. And the guys who aren't able to play, you have to have some way to manage that position or that person or whatever it happens to be. So that's what we try to do. I mean, I don't rank it from one year or one position or one whatever. You just go forward week to week and manage it with whatever you have to work with. I mean I don't think the process is any different. Sometimes the people, you know, lost a starting quarterback in 2008, played without a starting quarterback. Lose another player, it's what you do.

Q: How does the number of injuries that occurred this year factor into how you evaluate things like offseason training and conditioning?

BB: Yeah, we evaluate that every year, and that's always part of it. We go back and look at the previous year, look at historically the information that we have, what the nature of the injuries were, where they happened, what the circumstances were, practice, game, whatever it is and try to find trends or try to find ways based on the testing of the athletes prior to their injuries, whether there was any type of indication that there might be a vulnerability in some particular body part or imbalance or whatever it happens to be. So we're always working on that. Continue to do that as much as we can. Try to stay ahead of it. 

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