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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 10/5

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.

BB: Alright, we've spent obviously quite a bit of time here on Cleveland the last couple of days. It's been really getting to know a team that the last time we played them there's not a lot of carryover; one coach and six players, or something like that. So, a lot of work to do there in terms of our familiarity with this team but I think that Coach [Hue] Jackson's done a great job. You can see them improving every week. They're obviously offensively a very explosive team with their skill players and excellent running game. Coach Jackson has done a good job of utilizing the backs as well as [Terrelle] Pryor with some of those plays, keeping the defense off-balance. They do a good job of getting the ball down the field. They've got explosive plays in the passing game, explosive plays in the running game, a number of different formation variations, personnel variations and so forth that are difficult to defend, similar to what he did in Cincinnati. Defensively they're very sound, aggressive. They capitalize on a lot of offensive mistakes with their effort and aggressiveness. We've got to do a great job of taking care of the ball and staying out of long yardage. They're a very good third-down team, longer yardage situations, so those are hard to convert and very aggressive in the secondary. They've got good experience back there with [Joe] Haden, [Tramon] Williams, [Jamar] Taylor, [Jordan] Poyer, guys like that, guys that have been around for a while that are smart, instinctive players. We've got to do a good job there. Special teams, you know, Chris Tabor does a good job with that unit. They're very aggressive. We've got to do a good job with our protections, handle their skill players. They do some different things to keep you off-balance that we'll have to be alert for, as they always do. Playing at home I'm sure we'll see a lot of energy with this team and their fans like there always is in Cleveland. They have great fans and very supportive so dealing with crowd noise and all of those kinds of things will be challenging for us as well. We obviously need to do a lot better job at what we're doing than where we were last week so we need a good week on the practice field, a good week in meetings, a good week in preparation against a team we don't know very well to be able to get that done. That's where we're at for this week. 

Q: How do you relay to the team that Tom Brady's return is not going to fix all issues?

BB: We've all got to do our job. We've got to do our job better. We've all got a lot of things to work on. That's easy.

Q: Do you feel like you can finally exhale now that Brady is back?

BB: I feel like we need to go out to Cleveland and play well in order to win. That's what we're going to try to do.

Q: A lot of fans think that his return will inspire the team to play even harder than they have been. What do you think about that?

BB: I think our team needs to prepare well to go out and play well against Cleveland in Cleveland. That's what we need to do.

Q: Does Tom Brady seem ready for Cleveland physically and mentally?

BB: We'll go out in practice today and see where our whole team is. You'd have to ask Tom how he's personally feeling. That's something that I can't answer.

Q: When it comes to how they use Terrelle Pryor, is there a suitable comparison to another player over the past few years that has done similar things to him?

BB: Well, I mean, I think it's similar to some of the wildcat-type formations we've seen from other teams. He's just got more experience as a quarterback than some of those other players do, so I don't know.

Q: What's the key to a player like Terrelle Pryor having success making a switch in positions, and how much of that is strictly a willingness to learn a new position at this level?

BB: Yeah, I mean I don't know. Each situation is different but you know Pryor's a very skilled athlete. He's big, he's fast. You can see him at Oakland running away from people and being elusive in the open field which he's done this year after the catch with some catch-and-run plays. He has shown an ability to go up and get the ball, take it away from defenders with his length and ball skills and jumping ability and so forth. We obviously didn't see that before but you see that now. He does a good job for them. I mean I think you'd have to ask him and some of the people there specifically what he's done and so forth. I don't really know that.

Q: What did you see from Glenn Gronkowski in the pre-draft process and in his time in Buffalo this summer?

BB: He played a little bit of fullback, played a little bit of tight end, played a little bit in the kicking game. I don't know, we'll see. We'll take a look at it and see what it looks like.

Q: Is there an area in particular that you see Hue Jackson has left his imprint on this Cleveland team?

BB: Well, I mean they get better every week. They're constantly improving which is what this game is all about. I'd say offensively they have a very well-balanced attack. They're difficult to stop. They run the ball well, they throw it well, he's gone through some changes on the offensive line and at the quarterback position but they've continued to have high production in those areas. The coaching staff, players, they've done a good job and they have a lot of good players - Joe Thomas, [Joel] Bitonio - those two guys are about probably as good as we'll see on one side of the line. Thomas obviously, his career is remarkable. It's incredible, really. Over 9,200 straight plays; never missed a play. I mean you just don't see guys like that very often. He's rare but very good production at the tight end position from [Gary] Barnidge. I mean they've got a lot of good players but they're well-coached and they're fundamentally sound. They make it hard for you. You've got to play good. They don't make a lot of mistakes and they're well-coached. There are not a lot of great opportunities. You just have to create them. You have to play good. They don't give you a lot of easy plays.

Q: Danny Shelton looks like he has lost some weight from year one to two. How much different of a player does he look like out on the field?

BB: Yeah, again, we didn't face them last year but I'd say on tape he's very impressive. He's very strong, powerful guy, hard to block and he runs well. He has good range, he makes plays on the perimeter. He does a good job of getting off blocks and he's definitely a presence in the middle of the defense. But more than just a big guy in there, he can extend and make plays out in the C-gaps and on the perimeter and screens and things like that. He runs well. So yeah, he's a tough guy to handle in there. He eats up a lot of blockers and he's a hard guy to block.

Q: Do you find over the years that it's easier to get your team ready for the next game after a win or after a loss?

BB: I don't know. Each week is its own week, so we'll just try to do the best we can this week to go out and play well in Cleveland, that's all. I don't really care what happened last week.

Q: What have you seen from Cody Kessler in his short time in the league?

BB: I mean he runs their offense. I don't think there's been a big change in their offense. Kessler had a good career, a very productive player in college in a passing offense. Threw the ball well, he's athletic, he can definitely buy time in the pocket with his feet, with his quickness. He's an accurate passer, he throws the ball well short, intermediate and long. Can move out of the pocket, again, on some bootleg plays and scramble and that kind of thing. He has done a good job for them. He's handled their offense. Again, they do a number of different things; shifting, motion, change formations, things like that. He obviously can handle all of that. They keep doing it and they give him some checks at the line of scrimmage. It looks like he gets them into the right play based on what the defensive looks are. He protects the ball pretty well. He has done a good job for them.

Q: How different is Cleveland's personnel for Hue Jackson as opposed to what it was when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati?

BB: He has got big, fast perimeter receivers like he had in Cincinnati. He's got good backs, he's got kind of a third-down back in [Duke] Johnson, kind of a first-down back in [Isaiah] Crowell, sort of like they had in Cincinnati. He's got a bunch of tight ends. They brought another one up on the roster yesterday. It's different but he's running his offense and that offense is a good offense. He's got good players, he's got a good scheme, he's got a good system and they're productive. They do a good job with it.

Q: Do you feel fortunate to come away with a 3-1 record without Tom Brady for the past four months?

BB: Right now our focus is on Cleveland, trying to get ready to go in Cleveland. We can't do anything about what it was or wasn't the last four weeks. We're into the Cleveland week and that's all our focus is. We're not worried about last week, we're not worried about next week, we're not worried about last year. We're worried about this week against Cleveland. That's it, period. This week, Cleveland. 

Q: Isn't that a net positive that you were able to get out to a 3-1 start?

BB: We're focused on Cleveland this week, period; Cleveland.

Q: How, if at all, is your process different this week in helping Tom Brady get acclimated again to the offense and the game plan?

BB: I don't know. We'll just work through it. We'll just do the same thing we do every week. There are always players that fall into that category whatever the positon is. We'll take it day by day.

Q: What are your thoughts on getting Rob Ninkovich back as well?

BB: We're thinking about getting ready for Cleveland, thinking about playing Cleveland.

Q: Are you happy he's back? What are your thoughts?

BB: We'll see how it goes. I mean, yeah. We'll go out there and practice with those guys today and see how it goes. I don't know. I haven't seen them.

Q: Do you recall what the circumstances were when you brought in Terrelle Pryor for a workout? Was it more of an in case of emergency situation or was it just doing due diligence?

BB: Mike [Reiss], we've worked out probably a couple thousand players here. Maybe more, I don't know but we work out a lot of players.

Q: Would you have signed him at the time if you didn't have other roster considerations or was it more just doing your due diligence on an available player?

BB: I mean every workout, anybody we evaluate, everybody we workout is to find out more about them, to learn about that player, to learn about his situation at that point of time. Sometimes our situation changes, sometimes it doesn't. It's the same process for all of the other thousands of players we've worked out. It's not anything different with one guy.

Q: What are some of the things you can expect from a Ray Horton coached defense?

BB: Right, well we played against Coach Horton three of the last four years - Arizona, Cleveland, and Tennessee. [He has a] Pittsburgh kind of background. I think that there's certainly been some changes or modifications in his system from the Pittsburgh system if you will. I think there are definitely some similarities, but again, they're a 3-4 base team and a 4-2-nickel team. Really they don't take those two inside linebackers off the field in any situation. It's just a question of how they structure the front and the coverage. I mean they play a little bit of dime but they're primarily a two-personnel grouping. But they use a lot of personnel, particularly in the front. They use a lot of different combinations of people with the front four or front five, however you want to look at it. The two inside linebackers are pretty constant. I would imagine the secondary would be constant but they've dealt with some injuries back there. Guys have missed a game or two and they've had to replace them, but I would imagine that would probably be consistent, too, if they were all healthy. A lot of different guys upfront but the same basic alignments, again, similar to Pittsburgh. I mean they don't blitz zone as much as Pittsburgh does. I don't know if anybody does. It's not the same but it's that foundation.

Q: What are your thoughts on Demario Davis and how he has helped contribute to their defense this season?

BB: Yeah, well he really played 'Will' [weakside] linebacker for the Jets and [David] Harris played the 'Mike' [middle]. At Cleveland he primarily plays the 'Mike' and [Christian] Kirksey plays the 'Will', if you will. A very productive guy, he's got good speed. Both of those guys are really fast. You can't outrun either one of them. Davis plays downhill, he's an excellent tackler, he's a physical player and he has been highly productive for them, as has Kirksey. Those guys, they make a lot of plays, they get to a lot of balls. They play a lot of zone defense so there's quite a few passes they get thrown in front of them so they close the space quickly. They rally to the ball in a hurry and they tackle well, so I think they fit what Coach Horton's trying to do. I think they fit their system well. He's got two good players at that position. Like I said they really never come off the field. I mean they're out there all the time. But you know if they had to come off, the few plays that [Tank] Carder has played - Carder's similar to them. He's another fast guy that runs 4.6 [forty-yard dash]. Very good in the kicking game. Carter gives them a lot of leadership and playmaking on special teams and he gives them solid depth at that inside linebacker position along that same mold and along the same lines as Demario Davis and Kirksey.

Q: What specifically are you going to be watching for at practice from Tom Brady to see how he is adjusting to being back on the field?

BB: We'll do the same thing on this Wednesday that we do on every other normal Wednesday. We go out there and practice, we make the corrections, we come back in and go over some new stuff for tomorrow, for Thursday, and try to correct the things on Wednesday that need to be corrected. That's what we do.

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