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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 10/28

Q: What did you take from your experience coaching under Bill Parcells?

BB: Quite a bit. Bill and I were together for a long time. I think Bill has got a lot of strengths. One of them would be the big picture.

Q: When you say the big picture, what do you mean?

BB: Just the big picture. What are the three, four, five most important things we have to do this year, this week to be a good team? I mean, there are a thousand things, but he would identify what the big things were and concentrate on those. You can't lose sight of those.

Q: Dan Campbell played for Parcells for three years down in Dallas. Have you seen anything from him the last few weeks that connects to Parcells and your experience coaching under him?

BB:I don't know. They've obviously played very well, so how closely that's connected or not connected, I don't know. That's probably something Dan could speak on.

Q: Tom Brady talked yesterday about being balanced. Was that a point of emphasis this week given the lack of production in the running game last week, or is that a goal every week?

BB: Our goal every week is to win. It's not about balance. It's not about stats. It's not about anything except trying to win. Really that's all we try to do is win. I mean the rest of it I don't really care about.

Q: Willie McGinest will be honored at halftime as part of his Patriots Hall of Fame induction. How much do you enjoy having Willie back?

BB: It's always good to see Willie, yeah, all those guys. It will be great to see him. I'm not sure how much we're going to see him. Willie, he was here when I got here in '96 and then here when I came back in 2000. Great football player, great Patriot, great leader, very versatile, tough. We could go on and on.

Q: Has the notion of balance become outdated? It seems like you don't need to have a good running game to set up the passing game anymore, and that short passes can take the place of the running game entirely.

BB:It could. I think that's kind of – not that I ever coached under the West Coast philosophy – but I think that's a little bit of the West Coast philosophy in terms of the passing game and the running game, which goes back to the Paul Brown days.

Q: Does it matter whether they're handoffs or short passes?

BB:A lot of people count handoffs and completed passes and combine that number and use that as a formula for their offensive production. I don't know. You can have the statisticians look up those kinds of numbers. I'm not really sure.

Q: During the Jets game, was the look they showed on the third-down play in the first half where they blitzed and sacked Tom Brady similar to the look they showed near the end of the game when Tom found Rob Gronkowski for the touchdown?

BB:I mean we just obviously made a mistake, just didn't coach it and play it right. But at the end of the game they brought everybody.

Q: Were there any similarities between the defensive looks?

BB: They got us on a look that we didn't handle properly and they got us.

Q: How has Dion Lewis looked in practice this week and what's your sense on his availability to play tomorrow?

BB:I don't know. We'll see tomorrow. I mean, we didn't really practice this week. Based on that … A lot of us could have got through practice. My mom probably could have got through practice.

Q: So you'll see how he warms up tomorrow and go off that?

BB: Yeah, most of those decisions are game-time decisions. Sometimes they declare earlier than that, but generally you don't want to take a player out a day and a half before the game and test him when you could give him another, what's called 36 hours, and test him because you might see a different result. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q: What is your philosophy at the end of a half when deciding between kicking a long field goal and having Tom throw it downfield in the end zone?

BB:My thought process is always really the same – try to do what's best for the team based on the situation, whatever the conditions are and so forth. Believe it or not, I always try to make the best decision for the team. If I thought that the best decision was to kick a field goal, I'd kick a field goal. If I thought it was to go for it, I'd go for it. I'm not saying they're all right. Probably a lot of them are wrong, but I try to do what I think is best. So whatever all the factors are that go into that, then that's what we do.

Q: I think you've said before though that the decision at halftime is different than the decision at the end of the game. Is that right?

BB:I don't know about that. It's definitely a lot different than it is in the first quarter. I mean, you miss a long field goal in the first quarter and they've got the ball at midfield. If you miss a field goal at the end of the half then the half is over. But if you get it blocked or we've seen in some other big games where somebody puts somebody back there and now you're trying to cover a long field goal with a bunch of guards and tackles out there. I don't think that's a great play. If you think you can make it, that's one thing. If you can't get it there, now you've given the ball to probably one of their better players. You've got a bunch of offensive linemen trying to cover against that. I don't personally think that's very smart to do if you know you're not going to be able to get it there or if you've got like a one percent chance of getting it there. I don't think that would be a good decision. Now if it's the last play of the game, it's your only chance, it doesn't make any difference if they run it back or not at that point. But if that's a factor in the play, then that's part of the whole decision making process, too. I'd say it's one thing to miss it; it's another thing to get it run back. It's another thing to get it blocked. It's a combination of all those things. Somehow you put it together and try to do what you think is best.

Q: On plays like that, I think of Arizona in 2004 when you guys threw to the end zone and Deion Branch got injured on the run back on the final play of the half.

BB:I mean look, you can't take out insurance on players, so you've got to go out there and play the game. I don't know who's going to get hurt, when they're going to get hurt, what play they're going to get hurt on or what's going to happen in the game. I don't know how anybody … Once you can figure that out then you need to get out of your business, I need to get out of my business and we can all do a lot better doing something else once we know the answers to those questions.

Q: I'm just talking about the relative upside of those plays.

BB: Yeah, I think when you call a play I don't think you're thinking about that like, "Am I going to call this play because I think this guy might get hurt?" I don't know how you could coach a game like that. I couldn't coach it like that. I don't know.

Q: How big of a challenge is it for an offensive line to keep Cameron Wake in check for a full four quarters?

BB: He's tough. He's tough. I mean, their whole defensive line is good. They've got good depth. They've got a lot of good players. They're good inside, they're good outside. [Olivier] Vernon is good. Wake is good. [Ndamukong] Suh, [Earl] Mitchell, [Derrick] Shelby – they roll them all through there. They have a lot of depth. They have a lot of good players. Wake is a huge challenge for anybody. We'll have different guys on him, but whoever is blocking him, he's a big challenge. But so are the other guys. You can't double all of them. And when they blitz you can't double any of them because you've got to pick up the blitz. You've got to block them. They have a very good front, very disruptive. He's got a great knack of strip-sacking, getting his hand on the ball – sometimes it's his right hand, sometimes it's his left hand – but he's got a great presence and just instinctiveness, whatever it is to not only make the sack but a lot of times get the ball or get the ball when he's not even going to make the sack but he's able to swat at it and knock it out of there. He's a big force. But that whole front is good. Any of those guys could kill you. We're going to have to do a good job all the way across the board.

Q: When you trace the trajectory of Julian Edelman's career, it seems like you have the first four years in the league and then the last three years have been something completely different. Do you see it that way?

BB: His first hear he caught like 37 passes or whatever it was, however many it was his rookie year. Then the next three years I don't think he caught 37 total. I could be off on that but something like that. That's another good question. Not everybody's development is straight line. There are some ups and downs, some downs and ups. I'd say the most consistent part of Julian's progression has been the punt returning. That has gotten better in a step-up fashion like you would expect it to. Some of it is opportunity. His case, some of it was definitely health, which affected his production some of those kind of lesser productive years. I think it's another thing for a player who's been a productive player who has timing with the quarterback in the passing game and so forth to be out and come back. It's another thing for a guy who's never really established that to miss it and then try to come in and establish it in a fairly short amount of time. Then that time goes by and there's another setback. It's just hard to get that consistency.

Q: How do you see James White's progression? He played more snaps last week than he did his entire rookie year.

BB:I think James has done a good job for us all year. Last year he really didn't play very much and didn't have much production. This year, even in preseason, I would say in his opportunities to play, he was productive running the ball, catching the ball and as a blocker in pass protection. He's a smart kid. He doesn't make many mistakes. He had a couple pretty good guys playing in front of him. It's different, I'm not saying it's the same, but some of the same things you said about [Shane] Vereen his first two years here that he wasn't any good, but he was playing behind [Danny] Woodhead, he was playing behind some pretty good players, so he didn't have much production. And then there were a lot of comments about how good he wasn't, but the fact is once he actually got a chance to play, he was pretty productive, too. So, I would say in White's case, last year, look, some of that is the opportunity the player has, you've got to make the most of it, but sometimes when you have good players playing in front of you and they're productive it's hard to get in there. You only get one ball, so it's hard to get in there and get those opportunities. I'd say this year he's had the opportunities, he's done more with them, and he's gotten more, whether that's partially because of him, partially because of the opportunity, it's a combination of both. You definitely have to be able to take advantage of those opportunities when you get them and I'd say he's done a pretty good job of that this year. There is certainly room for improvement, but a lot of times the development of the younger players is a function of opportunities. Like similar to the Edelman situation, sometimes it's in their control, sometimes it's not, but it's definitely a factor.

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