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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 10/19

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

BB: Look at this. How cute. Is this [baby onesie] from everybody or just somebody special?

Q: Yeah.

BB: It's all of you guys? Nice. Well, once again looking at Pittsburgh, they look good as they always do. This is really a great franchise that I have so much respect for. Just the way they do things as an organization, the continuity, the consistency they've had. I know Coach [Mike] Tomlin runs a great program. They're always good, they're always tough, they're a very disciplined team. They are a very, very good team. They have a lot of talent and playing at Heinz Field is always a big challenge. That's a great environment. I'm sure we'll get a real warm reception there. But it's the kind of football game you want to play, you want to coach in, so the Steelers are good. They do a good job. Offensively they're so explosive. They just have quality players at every positon, a great offensive line, quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, big plays, very explosive players, can score from anywhere on the field, run the ball extremely well, have great depth at that positon, score well, score in the red area, score in two-minute, just very, very good. Defensively [they're] a pressure team, a lot of secondary blitzers, turnover driven team. I think the play last year in the Cincinnati game, literally where they're a minute and a half from being eliminated, [Ryan] Shazier strips the ball out, they get it, comeback and win just is kind of the hallmark of their defenses. Their ability to get the ball out and turn it over whether it's their trapping corners in their blitz-zone scheme, whether it's strip-sacks on the pass rush, whether it's stripping the ball out of runners as they struggle for extra yardage, things like that. They find a way to do it. [They're] very good in the red area defensively, haven't given up a lot of points. They give you a lot of scheme challenges and then very explosive in the kicking game; big-play returners. They're a good rush team. They put a lot of pressure on us with their punt rushes last year, blocked a field goal last week against Miami, they're a good rush team and obviously a very explosive return team. Whether it's [Justin] Gilbert, [Sammie] Coates, or [Antonio] Brown they put players back there that can hit the home run and go the distance and score in a hurry. We're really going to have to get a great game in all three phases this week. Need a great week of preparation. This is a tough team to prepare for. We haven't seen a lot of this type of zone-blitzing and so forth in a few weeks so we'll really have to do a good job on that, and again, the explosiveness that they have offensively is pretty much unparalleled in the league, along with their great protection system and blocking schemes so their quarterbacks don't get hit much and they hit a lot of big plays. Those will all be big challenges for us.

Q: What is it about playing at Heinz Field that is so tough for visiting teams?

BB: Yeah, I don't know, just their record though. I mean you just look at it - they've won so many games there. Their record is pretty impressive. So it's a hard place to go in and win. You saw what happened to the Jets, Kansas City; we've already seen it this year. It's only a handful of games but that's kind of typical of the way the Steelers play in that environment.

Q: What have you seen from quarterback Landry Jones in the limited tape you have on him?

BB: [He's] athletic, good arm, quick release, doesn't hold the ball. I thought he played well last year when he played in Arizona and Kansas City. Got some shots of him in the preseason. [He's] another good player, experienced player, he knows their system. They have a lot of experienced players in their system. I mean they have a few rookies, a handful of them, not on offense but a few on defense and they're playing [Sean] Davis and [Javon] Hargrave and [Artie] Burns, but I mean overall they're a very experienced team and he fits into that category. They have a number of guys that have been with them two, three, four years and then they start playing - guys like [Jordan] Dangerfield - so people like that that have been around and then eventually they get the chance to play and he falls into that category.

Q: Le'Veon Bell looks like a guy that can really stress the defense. What kind of challenges does he present?

BB: Oh my god. Oh yeah. He's a tremendous player, great hands, catches the ball, very quick, makes people miss, strong, breaks tackles, excellent balance, tough, doesn't run out of bounds, fights for extra yardage, a great player. DeAngelo Williams, I mean he led the league in rushing the two weeks where he played earlier in the year when he had a lot of carries. He's had a tremendous career. Really one of the all-time great careers statistically. He's been tremendous. Again, they have a lot of depth at every position. They have a lot of depth at running back and it doesn't matter who's in there - they're a problem. But [Le'Veon] Bell's as good as anybody we'll play.

Q: Does the fact that they are more willing to go for two-point conversions affect the way you need to game plan at all?

BB: Well, I mean it'll be a game management thing. We'll see what the score is and what the situation is and that may affect our decision making. Sure, it's possible, yeah. But again, they're good at that. They've done it this year, did it a lot last year, were successful in it in '14, so yeah we've got to be prepared for it.

Q: In his few starts last season Landry Jones averaged quite a high yards-per-attempt. Is that a result of him being able to push the ball down the field or more a product of their catch-and-run ability at the skill positions?

BB: Yeah, both; both. He does a good job - comebacks, in-cuts, deep balls, throws all of those well. But the catch-and-run plays, if you drop back and take those away, those are a problem, too. They do a good job on the crossing routes and obviously I mean they get the ball to the backs; those guys are dangerous. Tight ends really show up a lot in the red area so he doesn't discriminate. He gets the ball to everybody. That's the tough thing about defending the Steelers is that they get behind you it's all over in one play and if you take that away then they get chunks of yardage on catch-and-run plays and the running game. So they're very hard to defend, very explosive.

Q: Is Antonio Brown one of those guys that you simply cannot cover one-on-one?

BB: [He's] very difficult. He's got a tremendous skill set, very quick. He almost always can create separation in his route. He's a very good technique route-runner so he does a great job of setting up routes. He does a really good job of getting on top of the DB's [defensive backs], almost stepping on the toes before he goes into his route so they can't get any kind of - they can't really anticipate it. He does a great job of stacking the defenders where he gets a step on the defender then he kind of cuts him off so that the defenders like a full man behind him so he can use his body to protect the ball on the deep balls. He's hard to jam on the line because of his great quickness and then as I said, when he gets that half a step on the defender, not that he necessarily outruns everybody on the field, but once he moves in front of them and stacks them then he is on top of them. The skills with the ball in his hand as a runner are exceptional. You see that on the punt returns. You see it on a lot of those under routes, catch-and-run plays, so you don't want to back off of him and let him catch it and break a tackle or if you get up on him he runs behind you. That's a problem and he's a good intermediate route runner, too; in-cuts, comebacks, curls, things like that. He has great quickness coming out of cuts so he's very, very hard to cover. And he's seen a lot of double-coverage, too. I don't think that really bothers him either. He knows how to beat that. When you double him I mean at some point he attacks one guy so it really becomes single coverage. He takes the other guy out of it and then he beats that guy. So he's tough. He's really tough.

Q: How have the Steelers been able to maintain such success over the years much like your own franchise has?

BB: Well they have great continuity. I mean they've had three coaches since what - the late '60's? Coach [Bill] Cowher, Coach [Mike] Tomlin, that goes what - 25 years? Two general managers, two coaches; they've had a lot of continuity. When you have continuity like they have in their organization - they haven't really changed defenses much over that same quarter of a century - so as a scout, I mean I could scout for the Steelers. I mean I've seen them, they do the same thing, they stay with it, so you know what kind of players they're looking for at each positon. They build up, they have a very extensive scheme through their continuity so they do quite a bit in terms of the volume of their plays that you have to defend but they can do them because they've been doing them over and over again and they have a lot of the same guys doing them. I mean offensively it's really all of the same guys here for the last couple of years. They've lost a couple of guys, you know, like Heath Miller's not there but the guys that are there have pretty much been there. Or guys like [Jesse] James who have come up through the system over a couple of years. Maybe he's gotten more playing time now but it isn't like he's new to their system. Same thing on defense, so a lot of continuity, and again they've built their team on explosive playmakers and guys on defense that can turn the ball over with speed. So that's [Lawrence] Timmons, that's [Ryan] Shazier, you know, that's [Vince] Williams. They've drafted guys like [Artie] Burns and [Sean] Davis who are fast. They can turn the ball over, so they've got some great size and athleticism up front; [Stephon] Tuitt, [Cameron] Heyward, guys like that that are very big and athletic. They've got good players, they're well coached and they have a good program. It's all good.

Q: Have you officially decided what you'd like your granddaughter to refer to you as?

BB: Yeah, we'll keep all of that stuff personal. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Q: Do you ever envision yourself in a situation where you're telling her 'Do your job and eat your carrots?'

BB: Hopefully not.

Q: How much does Ben Roethlisberger mean to this team?

BB: Again, they have great depth at every positon. I mean when you watch Landry Jones play he's a good player. [Ben] Roethlisberger's a good player. And again, they have great players so when they get the ball to [Le'Veon] Bell, [Antonio] Brown, [Sammie] Coates, [Darrius] Heyward-Bey, [Jesse] James - it doesn't matter who it is; [DeAngelo] Williams - I mean you've got to stop all of those guys, too. That's what a good quarterback does. He gets the ball to his skill players and they do the damage really. I think we've seen their quarterbacks be able to do that whether it's Ben or Landry or whoever it is and then you've got to stop all of those guys. I don't think Roethlisberger's going to run for 100 yards. I don't think Landry Jones is going to run for 100 yards but I think they're going to get the ball to guys that can move the ball quickly and score points in a hurry and we're going to have to defend all of that.

Q: You've said before that you don't really know your own team until the middle of October. Do you feel you have a pretty good grasp on who this team is now?

BB: We're learning more every week, sure, yeah. We're learning more every week. [There are] some things that we have done fairly consistent. We feel confident about those. Some things we've been up and down on. Hopefully we can improve those. Some things we haven't done well we either need to change or throw out or alter in some way. You've got to find a way to make them better or do something different. Yeah, I think you learn that and we'll learn more as we go. No question. 

Q: How much can the Steelers take advantage of putting you in a hole on early downs so it is tougher to put together a successful drive?

BB: Yeah, huge, and well that's what they do. They have a lot of pressure schemes and if they get you on a negative play and get you in long yardage then they're very good on third-and-long. One of the best defenses in the league on the longer yardage situations and offensively they have very few negative plays in the running game. They're one of the top teams in the league on that. They don't take a lot of sacks, they don't have a lot of negative runs so the ball's moving forward. It's first-down, either they get a first-down on first-down, which they do that a lot, or its second and they're not in a real bad situation. And then third-down they're not in a real bad situation there either. You get the first-and-10, second-and-13, now what do you do? Now its third-and-long and third-and-long in this league is a 20-percent conversion, maybe less. You start getting in third-and-10-plus, nobody's picking up many of those. That's just not where you want to be. Penalties, negative plays, sacks, negative runs, I mean those are drive stoppers.

Q: Is that even a bigger problem on the road?

BB: Well, I mean look, Pittsburgh's good regardless. But yeah, sure it's tougher there.

Q: Does their success over the past provide a better measuring stick for you when you play them in the regular season?

BB: I mean look, wherever the schedule is we actually have to play it. So this week we're in Heinz Field playing Pittsburgh. That's where we're going to be. It's a great team. It's a great challenge and we're going to do our best to be ready for it. But whoever's there then that's the one we've got to meet that week. That's where we are this week. I have tremendous respect for the Steelers, their program, their coaching staff, their players, the way they play, the way they compete, so hopefully we can match that and be competitive on Sunday but that'll be a huge challenge.

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