PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK PRESS CONFERENCE
BB: Alright, well obviously the [New York] Jets are doing a lot of things well. It's a good football team – they're big, they're physical, they're playing very good football. Turnovers have been a big part of their success. They've done a great job of that defensively and protecting the ball on offense. They don't have a lot of negative plays, not many sacks. Obviously, a very good running game, good runners. [Chris] Ivory's been outstanding. A lot of explosive players on offense – [Brandon] Marshall, [Eric] Decker – and in the kicking game like [Jeremy] Kerley. Defensively, the secondary's good, front's good, they've got a lot of talented guys up front. They play them all. They're all productive. It'll be a big challenge this week, work cut out for us, we're going to have to do a good job of matching up in all three phases and handling the things that they do, but they're doing them very well, so it'll be a big challenge for us Sunday.
Q: Do you know them well as a divisional opponent or does that change with the coaching turnover?
BB: Well, I mean, they're a pretty experienced staff. The kicking game was from Oakland, and Chan [Gailey], obviously a long history with him. Coach [Todd] Bowles was in Arizona, so we're pretty familiar with what they've done in the past, but you know, this is five games, sixth game of the year so it's not like it's opening day. They've done what they do, they've done it well. I wouldn't imagine that they'd want to make a lot of changes. I mean I wouldn't. They're leading the league in it must be 15 different categories – top two or three – whatever it is. You know offense, defense, they're doing a lot of things well. I can't imagine that they'd get too far away from the success that they've had.
Q: Do you see less exotic blitzes from Coach Bowles than you did from Rex Ryan?
BB: No, no, they don't do what they did last year, but I mean I don't think anybody's blitzed more than Coach Bowles the last couple years. They bring plenty of pressure. It's a different scheme, but they bring a lot of pressure.
Q: Do they use their defensive linemen interchangeably?
BB: Well I mean they just got [Sheldon] Richardson back but no – they're all in there at once. You've got to block all of them. You can't target, give help when you have five, six guys to worry about, plus they're bringing [Calvin] Pace off the edge or [David] Harris up the middle or [Demario] Davis off the edge. You've got to block them. You've only got so many guys. They force you into a lot of one-on-one situations, but then they also overload blitz. They bring everybody and peel with the guys that release so they always have one more than you have so you've got to deal with that, too.
Q: How much improvement have you seen from Patrick Chung's coverage ability?
BB: Patrick's always covered well. He's played the slot position for us in the past. I remember a lot of one-on-ones with him out here and [Wes] Welker when he was here before he went to Philadelphia. For a safety, he's a good coverage player. He's got good quickness, he's got good playing strength, runs well, smart, he's been in those situations, he's comfortable with them, so he does a good job.
Q: How does having safeties that can line up at cornerback help out the coaching staff?
BB: Well it's definitely a plus in terms of pass coverage. I think you're seeing more and more of that throughout the league. I mean we kind of saw that last week, a couple former corners playing safety. We see that with a lot of teams. Buffalo did it. I think that's part of what it is. Jets did it. [Marcus] Gilchrist, there's another guy that's drafted as a corner. He's a safety but he can cover, so I think you see a lot of that in the league – safeties that are able to handle the spread formations and handle the passing game. We're just seeing less and less tight box formations with kind of the traditional strong safety role from a couple decades ago that's just – getting fewer and fewer of those.
Q: What is it that makes Ryan Fitzpatrick prone to mistakes against you and do you think he's moved past that?
BB:I think he's a really smart player. They've put a lot on him in terms of running the offense. They check plays and take the best look and things like that. In the passing game, I think he throws into some tight coverage situations, but he's got big receivers like Marshall and Decker and gives them a chance to make plays on the ball and they're making them. I don't think we're going to fool this guy too much, I don't really think that's part of it. We've got to do a good job of executing what we do in the running game and in the passing game. The pass rush, you know he's hurt teams scrambling. He's hurt several teams picking up third down conversions coming out of the pocket, scrambling for a touchdown last week against the Redskins, so we're going to have to handle all of that.
Q: Will he still take the chances throwing into tight windows?
BB:I think he gives his big receivers a chance to make plays on the balls, whether it's [Quincy] Enunwa or – I mean obviously I know he's out – but whether it's him, Marshall, Decker, he'll throw it in there and those guys go up and get it. I mean the play that Marshall made last week against Washington, you know, he went up there, took the ball away from the corner, broke the tackle by the safety and it's a 30-yard touchdown or whatever it was. That's the kind of plays that those guys are capable of making and he gives them the chance to do that. Do they make every one of them? I mean, no but they make enough, and their receivers go up and get it, and they go fight for it.
Q: Are there any big picture reasons as to why they are better at forcing turnovers this year as opposed to years prior?
BB: Well, I mean they've got to two pretty experienced corners – well, three including [Buster] Skrine. They make good plays on the ball, they've gotten ahead, they force teams into passing situations and they've taken advantage of those. They knock the ball off them, off the runners, quarterbacks, they do a good job of stripping the ball. They're very ball conscious I would say. When guys are getting tackled you see a lot of defenders either trying to get the ball out on the tackle or reach in to get the ball as they come in, the second and third guy coming into the pile to punch it out or rake it out. So we're going to have to do a great job with our ball security. I'd say the majority of those they've, let's say caused, as opposed to like a fumbled snap or something that just rolled right to them. They've gone in there and they've caused them, so we're going to have to really, we always are, but we're going to have to really do a good job of that – be aware of it.
Q: What's the benefit of having Brandon LaFell on the sideline talking to fellow receivers?
BB: I'd say in Brandon's case, he's a player who will at some point be back on the roster. We'll see exactly when that is. I'm not sure. So the fact that he wasn't with us in preseason, as it's moving in that direction, I think being there on game day, going through the whole preparation, the Saturday night, game day and so forth, I think it gets the player in a more comfortable mode when he actually does that. The things that he can talk to the other players about – particularly we have a younger player like Keshawn Martin who hasn't been in our system very long – to see things during the game that might help him out without getting in the way and all that, which Brandon doesn't do. It's kind of got to be the right setup, but I think it helps him, and I think it helps the player that he's trying to instruct.
Q: What similarities or differences do you see between this team and the teams in 2004 and 2007?
BB:I haven't even thought about it. I don't even care about any of those other teams. I'm just trying to work on this year. I don't care about anything in the past. I don't really care about anything in the future. Right now, I'm just worried about the Jets.
Q: When you bring in a player like Darrelle Revis, what expectations do you have? Are they always met? Having him here for one year and seeing him go elsewhere, did you learn anything about him that you didn't know prior?
BB:I think any time you work with a player, you learn more about the player, sure. But that's the NFL and players come and go every year. There are guys who are new to our team this year. There are guys who were on our team last year that aren't on our team this year. That's the way it's going to be next year, that's the way it was last year, and that's the way it's going to be every year on every team. I mean, you can't find another team where it's not the same situation, so that's the National Football League.
Q: How much has Brandon Marshall's presence changed what they can do offensively?
BB: Well, they use him the way they use him, so I think Chan does a real good job of using his personnel wherever it is, wherever he's been. We've coached against him in the past, but whatever he has, he uses productively depending on what those players' skills are. So I think he's done a good job of that with Marshall, Decker, Ivory and other players he's coached in the past. He's an excellent coach in terms of using his personnel and putting them in positions where they can be productive. And he's done that with Marshall for sure.
Q: Have they been strict with their corners or do they move them around as matchups dictate?
BB: Both, they've played some left and right, and they've matched.
Q: What have you seen from the Jets offense in terms of being able to keep a clean pocket? Do they get the ball out really fast, or does the offensive line just perform well?
BB: They've done a good job in the running game. They've been able to throw, for the most part, on their terms. It's not like they're behind. I mean, they fell behind in the Philadelphia game, but even that game wasn't, you know, it really wasn't out of hand. But he does get the ball out quick, but if there's pressure, he's been able to escape from it, taken advantage of that a number of times in terms of converting third downs with scrambles. They scored a touchdown yesterday from the, whatever it was, 20-yard line on I think it was a first-down scramble. So, he's gotten out of trouble himself, and he doesn't take long to make a decision and get the ball out. And the offensive line has done a good job. And they run the ball well, so it's not like you just play against the Jets and say, "OK, we're going to really tee off on the passer." You've got to be ready to stop that running game, too. So they have good balance, and I think all those things are probably a factor.
Q: When it comes to stopping the running game or slowing it down, how important has the defensive line rotation been?
BB: Look, the more players you have, the better, but I'd just say overall, I think we've got to do a better job of coaching and playing, run defense, pass defense, turning the ball over, pretty much everything. There's a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully it will come this week.
Q: Dominique Easley seems to have an exceptionally fast first step. Is that something that can be taught?
BB: Well, I think that's definitely a strength of his. He's a very explosive player, and he does have very good initial quickness. A lot of times he wins right off the bat on the play – first, second step. I think as a coach you can improve everything, so I think we can improve that with every player. But obviously some players have it at an elite level, some players have it at an average level, and some players have it at a below-average level. You can still improve it, but I don't think you're necessarily going to go from below average to elite. But you could go from good to very good or below average to average or whatever. So yeah, it can be improved, but some guys do it at a very high level and other guys, you know, they have other strengths.
Q: Would you say Easley can do it at an elite level?
BB:I think that's a strength of his game, yeah.
Q: If you need a third guy at the offensive tackle spot and Marcus Cannon isn't available, is Michael Williams an option?
BB: Well, depending on what our game day roster is and how things go and so forth, we'll do whatever we think is best. So I don't know what that is depending on what the circumstances are and what our options are. But Mike played tackle against the Jets in preseason with the Lions. So, I don't know if that answers you question or not, but he must've played 30, 40 snaps, whatever it was, maybe the whole second half or something like that. I mean, it was quite a bit in that game.
Q: With so many athletes like Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis relying on sports performance centers when they're doing offseason work, how much freedom do they have when it comes to technique? How consistent is what they've learned? Does that make sense?
BB: Yeah, well it does make sense, and it's a good question and an interesting point. I mean look, first of all, we're not allowed to work with the players, so let's start with that. So from the end of the season to the middle, end of April, we can't work with the players. We can't do anything with them. We can't tell them anything. We can't instruct them, so that's the way we wanted this CBA created. That's what was agreed on. So, that's what it is. There's no coaching, there's no guiding or getting players to do whatever it is you want them to do in the offseason, whether it's their personal conduct, whether it's football related, whether it's anything. There's zero of that from the team, and then all of the sudden they show up here in April, and all of the sudden it's like, well there's some problems. I mean, that shouldn't really come as a big surprise. But I take it as a positive that the players take that time from the end of the season whenever that is until the start of the offseason program – let's call it late April, mid to late April – that they take it upon themselves to work on something that will help their game, help them be a better player. They can't get it from us or any other team. So where are they going to get it from? They've got to go get it from somebody else, so I think that's a positive that they do that and they proactively try to seek instruction, training, physical conditioning, whatever you want to call it, some component of all of those, to become a better player. I think that's a big trend in the league. I mean there are a lot of players who do that – certainly not all of them, but it's a high percentage. I don't even know what the percentage is, but I'd say it's a significant percentage certainly on our team and other players that I'm familiar with. But that's their only choice because the teams aren't allowed to do anything, so that's the way we set this up. Is that the best way to develop professional football players? I don't know. That's what was decided on, so that's what we do. But is that really the best way to develop a guy in the NFL – go train somewhere else, come back, and then figure out what the team wants you to do? I don't know. It wasn't my job to do that. My job is to coach the team, but the amount of time we have to coach the team is restricted. So, what happens in that other time is totally out of our control.
BILL BELICHICK CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW YORK MEDIA
Q: What do you see with the Jets now with Todd Bowles and in particular what he's done with the defense?
BB:I think the Jets look good in everything they're doing. They've been very impressive. They run the ball well. They throw the ball well. The quarterback has made a lot of plays. Playing good defense, turning it over, stopping the run – they're right at the top of the league in almost every category defensively and a lot of categories on the offensive side of the ball. Coach Bowles has them playing very well with a lot of confidence, great execution. They've looked really good.
Q: What are the challenges that Chris Ivory presents for your defense?
BB:We know Chris is a great back. He's got good vision, good power, good speed, and he catches the ball well, so he can really do it all – tough guy to stop.
Q: What has Brandon Marshall added to the Jets offense this year?
BB:He's made a lot of plays for them – big, physical receiver, catches the ball well, is hard to tackle, makes plays like he did last week against Washington after the catch, good red-area player, made a big play to open up the Miami game. He's done a good job. He's another hard guy to stop.
Q: What has been clicking so well for your offense this year?
BB:I don't know. Our players, they've produced. We have good players and they've been productive.
Q: What did you take away from coaching Darrelle Revis last year?
BB:Really good player, very smart, instinctive. When you don't coach a guy, you don't just have that day-to-day relationship with him. You just see him the times you compete against him. He was a pleasure to coach and really has a great understanding, instinctiveness to the game, studies his opponents well, always well prepared, very professional. Obviously, he's a great player.
Q: Do you think Revis had an influence on the other defensive backs when he was there?
BB:Yeah, I'm sure he did, yeah, absolutely. I think everybody has a lot of respect for the way he goes about his job, the way he prepares, the way he plays, and he's a great person for any player, but particularly at that position, to try to emulate and pattern themselves after – absolutely.
Q: How has Malcolm Butler done adjusting to the starting role?
BB:He's been there all year.
Q: I meant from last year to this year, how has he done so far in his first five games?
BB:Malcolm has done a good job for us. He really took over that position from the first day of training camp all the way through. He's still a young player, still improving, but he has a lot of great qualities to work with, works hard, he's tough, he's got good skills, he competes well. He's working hard and still getting better.
Q: Do the Jets look any different defensively under Todd Bowles than they have in the past?
BB:Coach Bowles has his system, which we saw in Arizona, and he's brought it there. It's been very successful. They've obviously played great defense this season. Yeah, there are some different things about it.
Q: Do you think Tom Brady is playing with any added motivation this year?
BB:Tom always prepares hard, always works hard, always tries to do his best on the practice field, preparation on Sunday, so it's been like that for 16 years.