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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 10/13

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 13, 2017.

Q: What attracted you to tight end Will Tye and made you want to work with him?

BB: Yeah, I mean, he's played, been a roster player. We'll work with him and see how it goes.

Q: Is evaluating a practice squad player any different when he has as many NFL snaps as Tye has had in his career or is it similar to any other signing?

BB: Well, yeah, I mean those guys have more experience than some of the other players we have on our practice squad that really have never been in a regular season game. Trevor [Reilly] is in that category, too. Geneo [Grissom] was in that category from earlier in the year. I think those guys are a little more experienced, have a little more game experience. How that all transfers and, again, every position on the team is a little bit different. That could change in a hurry so a lot of practice squad is depth for going forward, not really knowing what going forward is, so you just try to prepare the team and have as much depth as you can at as many positions as you can.

Q: What is it about Trevor Reilly that you guys have liked?

BB: Well, yeah, again, Miami signed him off the practice squad. He was available so we brought him back. We were never looking to move on from him in the first place, but he had a better opportunity and was able to play down there. We played against him. He played well against us. It's good to have him back.

Q: What have you seen from Austin Seferian-Jenkins this year?

BB: He's done a good job for them. He's made a lot of key catches, I'd say, on third down, red area, some critical situations. A big guy, very athletic. He's performed pretty consistently for them both in the passing game and the running game. He's long, runs well, but they've thrown the ball to him in a lot of critical situations, so I'm sure that [Josh] McCown has a lot of confidence in him. The coaching staff does, too. You know, just schematically this offense with Coach [John] Morton has the tight ends having a lot more involvement in it than Coach [Chan] Gailey's offense did previous years. That's probably something to do with it, too. He's had some opportunities and he's delivered.

Q: Is Ryan Lewis a guy you had your eye on leading up to the draft or did he catch your eye during the preseason?

BB: Yeah, both. I mean, yeah, I'd say the process is guys that we have graded highly in the draft – relatively speaking now – I mean, these guys, a lot of them are undrafted players or late draft choices. We're not expecting teams to draft guys in the third round to release those players, so later draft choices and free agents. We identify those players on the other 31 rosters going into training camp. Here's four or five guys from each team, let's call it, that are based on the position if they don't keep all of the players at that position then somebody is going to be out there whether it's a player from the draft or maybe it was a veteran player. Who knows? Whatever that position is. So, Nick [Caserio] and Dave Zeigler and pro personnel and his scouts track those guys throughout the league and we kind of monitor them and the guys that are available we follow up on. A lot of players that get released at the 53 cut that we might be interested in then re-sign with their team's practice squads and those players are never really available. Then there are other players that don't for whatever reason, and then we've worked out dozens of them. You sign some, so we follow up on those guys. Some of that is a function of the player. Some of it is a function of our situation. Some of it is a function of – when I say a situation I'm talking about at our position. Some of it is a function of roster spot availability based on what our other practice squad needs are relative to depth and also relative to practice. Sometimes there are guys out there that we would want to add to the practice squad. We just don't have room for them. Sometimes there are guys that we add to the practice squad that maybe we'd rather have another guy but we need the player at that position because of the practice needs. It's a little bit of a balance of that. When you can find a player that you want at a position that you want to add a guy to then that's a pretty good fit. I mean, that's easy. Usually, it doesn't work that way, but that's alright. Then you have to make a choice between practice and let's call it developmental. We've had a number of players – Jason King was one – that wasn't here and then he came back. He could certainly be back again. There are other players that, again, a lot of times you bring a guy on the practice squad, you work with him for a week or two weeks and then for some reason you need to maybe sign somebody else. But then later on you have a chance to come back to that player if he's still available. Then you can come back to him. A lot of times if you don't know the player that's helpful to have had him for a couple of weeks. Again, Jason is a player that we had in training camp so we knew him pretty well. But, you know, the guys last week like [Alex] Carter as an example. We don't really know him but had a couple of days with him. That was good. But we made other decisions here the last two days that we felt like were better or necessary for the team, so that's what it was.

Q: Is speed something that stands out with Ryan Lewis?

BB: Yeah, size and speed; yeah. I mean, we'll see how it goes. I mean, he hasn't played and we're not going to know how he plays until he plays. I mean, obviously, the guys that we have here we want to work with. As long as they keep working hard and improving and we don't get a situation that overrides a normal practice squad situation, like a lot of injuries at a particular positon where we have to go get somebody and somebody has to drop off, then we want to keep working with the players that we have. We've had very little roster turnover. We've had quite a bit of practice squad turnover. Some teams have had to bring guys up from the practice squad and put them on the roster. Really Geneo was the only guy [for us]. That was for [Vincent] Valentine. So, we had that one, really, roster move in the first five weeks, but we've had a number of practice squad transactions. Again, sometimes, again, it's hard to predict how that's going to go. You just do the best you can when those situations arise.

Q: How would you characterize Jonathan Jones development here in his second year?

BB: Good. Yeah, good. I mean, he was good last year. He did a good job for us. He's been an impact player in the kicking game and his role on defense has been good when he's been called on. He's been called on numerous times in multiple positions. He's played outside, he's played inside, he's played the nickel, the dime and played on the perimeter and done a lot of things for us in the kicking game. He's a tough kid. He works hard. He's ready to go every day. He gives you a great day's work on the practice field and in the games. He's been very dependable, very consistent. For a young player he's a professional guy. He takes his job seriously. He's on top of things, ready to go. He's shown all of us that we can count on him every day.

Q: How has the Jets defensive line looked this year without Sheldon Richardson?

BB: Well, you know, they really played him as – they played him a little bit as an outside linebacker and they also moved him inside in some of their four-man line. But their defensive line is good. I mean, you know, [Steve] McLendon does a good job inside and [Leonard] Williams and [Muhammad] Wilkerson are hard to block. They have good depth there. Their linebackers are fast and those defensive linemen eat up a lot of blocks so that [Darron] Lee and [Demario] Davis can run. They both run very well. They cover a lot of ground on outside plays. A lot of times when they step up into the line they're either not blocked or not blocked cleanly because blockers are getting tied up on the down guys. Obviously, if they leave the down guys too fast to get to the linebackers then a lot of times you're leaving one of their good down linemen in the gap or in a place that affects the running plays. That's a good group. Look, they're a good defensive front all the way across the board. They haven't given up a lot of points, don't give up a lot of big plays, tackle well, run well, good speed at linebacker, safeties are young. Down the middle between the two young safeties and Lee is another young player. I mean, they have good, young players in the middle of the defense.

Q: Duron Harmon is playing a significantly higher number of snaps this year than in previous years. What has allowed that change to occur or is it strictly a game plan situation?

BB: Well, he's been playing over 50 percent for us. We're one of the highest nickel teams in the league statistically. We see a lot of 11-personnel. We see a lot in the 12-personnel. A lot of times the second tight end is more of a pass-catching tight end, so we've played a lot of nickel against that. I know last week with Patrick [Chung] playing kind of the nickel position and then we were really in a three safety nickel, if you will, most of the time instead of splitting that between three safeties and three corners, like we have with [Eric] Rowe earlier in the year and Jonathan Jones at other times. Some of that is game planning. Some of it is situational. Some of it is injury related. Whether he's 60 percent or 80 percent, whatever it is, 70 percent, whatever it ends up being – look, we want him on the field. He does a good job for us. Some of it is situation or personnel related but he's going to be out there a pretty good amount one way or the other.

Q: Is Mike Gillislee a good example of someone who has made the most out of his brief opportunities throughout his career?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, in the opportunities that he's had to carry the ball he has been very productive with it. We haven't used him a lot in the kicking game because we have pretty good depth there as a team. He can certainly play in the kicking game and he can catch the ball. I like having Mike. There are a lot of things that he does well for us. I don't know that we've been able to get to all of them with any of our backs to be honest with you because they've all been productive and we've utilized really all four of them – not counting Brandon [Bolden] – Rex [Burkhead] when he played earlier in the year, and then Dion [Lewis], Mike and of course James [White]. We really like having any of those guys on the field. They've all been productive and we have a lot of confidence in all of them. They've all been good with ball security. It's been a very productive group. Mike has certainly given us a lot of tough yards. He's an explosive player. He hasn't really hit them yet but I don't think there's any doubt that those are going to happen. He's been close a few times so hopefully he'll start this week.

Q: Is it hard to incorporate a guy like Rex Burkhead back into the game plan on a weekly basis when you have had production from the other running backs?

BB: Right. Yeah, well again, look, as a coach I can't control a player's performance. That's up to him. So we put the players out there and let them compete and let them play and try to play the ones that earn the playing time, earn the opportunities, so that's up to each individual player to do. Sometimes circumstances enhance or can restrict those opportunities, but the most important thing is taking advantage of them, kind of like we just talked about with Mike, taking advantage of them when they come. So, when Rex's come, how he does with them and how it goes will affect how many more are coming after that. Yeah, I don't think it's zero. I don't think that's the number. But, you know, can you put him into a high number right off the bat? I don't know. It depends on where some of the other players are and how they're doing and how he's doing. Look, this is a production business. The more production you have the more opportunity you get. The less production you have the more somebody else is going to get those opportunities. It doesn't matter what positon you play, coach or anything else. We all know that's what it is.

Q: It seems that some people have misread the Jets competitiveness this year. What have you seen from them from a competitiveness standpoint thus far?

BB: High; very high. I mean, you look at the play in the Miami game. That's a great example right there where McCown goes back to pass, [Cameron] Wake kind of flushes him up in the pocket. [Ndamukong] Suh hits him as he's throwing the ball. The ball goes sideways off to the right. Is it a fumble? Is it an incomplete pass? Miami's got one guy running to the ball. The Jets have four guys running to the ball and, ultimately, McCown ends up recovering a fumble 25 yards off to the side of the play and they got four guys right there. He came up with it but it could have been one of the other three guys, too. Miami's got one guy there. I think that's a good example of their competitiveness as a team. They hustle, they tackle. They're alert. They've taken advantage of the fourth-and-21 play against Jacksonville on a fake punt or [Marcus] Williams catches a ball and breaks a couple of tackles, gets a first down. Last week against Cleveland they're out of field goal range with six seconds. They run an out-of-bounds play, kick a 57-yard field goal, win by three. Exchange punts against Jacksonville in overtime with two minutes to go, get a punt return, kick a field goal and win in overtime. I mean, the other team has as good a chance at winning as they did. I'd say they outcompeted them, out-executed them, outperformed them in critical situations. I mean, look, it's a two-point play against Buffalo to tie the game at the end of the third quarter. That was a very competitive game, too. Even I would say in the Oakland game even though they didn't win that game, they fell behind at halftime, but I thought they competed very hard through the end of the game. [Jermaine] Kearse scored at the end of the game. They made a lot of plays, made a fourth-down stop at the end of the game – or it was a third-down stop that led to a fourth-down stop – so they've played good in critical situations. They've played good at the end of games. They've played good for 60 minutes. They play hard. I mean, whoever is saying that I don't know what games they are watching. Maybe it's fantasy football or some garbage. I don't know. I don't know how you can watch that team play and not think they're one of the most competitive teams we've played.

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