BB:OK, on to Buffalo here, big week for us. I think that the Bills are playing really well here, played very well against Miami, ran the ball for 220-some yards, whatever it was. Big win against the Jets, got contributions from all three phases – big play on the kickoff, defensively played well, offensively another 150 yards rushing against the Jets, which isn't easy to do. They have a lot of good skill players, very good on defense, good core special teams players, so this is a good football team that's playing well. We need to have a good week here and be ready to go. It's always tough against them.
Q: Have you seen a difference in LeSean McCoy the last couple weeks?
BB:They all look pretty good. He always looks good. He's fast, he's quick, he's got good vision [and] he's a good runner. The more space you give him, the worse it is. We've got to do a good job of tackling this week – all of them, all the skill players, the backs, quarterbacks, tight ends, receivers. They have a lot of good talented players in their skill spots.
Q: What's the timetable right now for Dane Fletcher and Chris Jones?
BB: I think the final day for them is after the Buffalo game – Tuesday or Wednesday after the Buffalo game, whatever it is.
Q: How have they looked up to this point?
BB:They're working hard. They're working hard. There's a lot of ground to make up, but nobody works harder than those two guys.
Q: How would you assess the Bills pass rush this year?
BB:Good, good. They have a lot of good players and they pressure, so you've got to … It's not just the defensive linemen. You've got to block the linebackers and their secondary blitzers, so it's challenging.
Q: Are you surprised they've only managed 14 sacks so far?
BB:They do a good job defensively. I think that's a great stat for the media and fans. I don't think that's really what it's all about.
Q: What is the advantage of rotating players on the interior defensive line?
BB:All those guys have done a good job for us and I think we've settled into a little bit of certain roles or rotations depending on the particular game, but it's given everybody a chance to focus a little more specifically on one area as opposed to all of them – maybe not one area – but a little bit more of a definition to what they need to do rather than doing everything. They've all embraced that. They've worked hard. The playing time has been pretty balanced in there. We've gotten good production from all those guys, really all five of them including [Dominique] Easley because that's primarily where he plays. They've done a good job for us.
Q: What have you seen from Sealver Siliga this year?
BB: I think Sealver has improved throughout the course of the year. He's a strong run player. He's got a great strength, playing strength, plays with his hands well, and is a hard guy to block. And again, they've all done different things and they've all played in the 20, 25 plays a game type range, somewhere in there over the last few weeks. Again, he's a strong guy. He's made a bunch of plays for us in the run game. Our run defense has been improved and he's been a big part of that.
Q: Jerod Mayo had a significant injury last year. Are you seeing him grow physically as this year goes on?
BB:Yeah, definitely. Nobody works harder than Jerod and he does everything he can and I think he's made improvements from back in August. He practiced but then he had contact in the Saints' practices and the following week playing against Carolina, so going all the way back there it's been steady work and improvement.
Q: When you lose a significant player on your offense, it seems like there will be a trial-and-error period as the offense has to re-invent itself. Is that fair to expect?
BB: I don't know. We have players that have been here all year. Whoever plays, we expect them to play well. That's what they're here for.
Q: I guess just what plays work and which guys fit well …
BB:That changes every week a little bit depending on what kind of coverages we're getting or what type of situations and so forth. It's not like we got out there and run the same play 20 times in a row. There's a variety to that. The execution and timing and awareness of what the defense is doing and how a certain play unfolds – that's always in flux.
Q: How much has Rex Ryan used Leodis McKelvin at safety?
BB: I think he's played over 70 plays in these last two games – some at safety, it looks like some at the dime back depending on what the matchup is, what they want. They have several different substitute packages with multiple defensive backs, so it's not always the same guys. They move them around from game to game and sometimes even within a game they'll have two or three different ones depending on how they want to match it up. But he's played primarily inside. He's played a little bit outside but most of his playing time has been not as the perimeter corner.
Q: Has Tyrod Taylor grown over the course of the season?
BB:He's played well. He played well against us. He's a hard guy to tackle, he's elusive, he runs, he's fast, he's got good vision, he's a hard guy to tackle, he's completing 70 percent of his passes and they're not all screens and check-downs either. He's throwing the ball downfield to [Sammy] Watkins, [Charles] Clay, [Robert] Woods, all those guys. They're playing well offensively – 20, 25 points a game – whatever it is. So they're moving the ball, scoring points. They're running the ball well – one of the highest rushing teams in the league. There is a lot to stop. He's done a good job. It all runs though him. He's been very productive for them.
Q: How have you seen Chris Harper develop this season?
BB:Chris has worked hard. Yeah, he's worked hard. A lot of times, like last week he was playing [Odell] Beckham in practice, so we've had a hard time with him in practice. I think he's taken the preseason and built on that and built on his opportunities in the regular season, particularly in practice, whether it's running the other team's routes or at times where we just compete against each other and go offense-defense. A lot of those plays he was running in the early part of the year, it was only a few times he had done them. Now those numbers are a lot higher. He's worked hard. He's improved a lot.
Q: Has Aaron Dobson done a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunities he's been given?
BB:Yeah, the big thing for Aaron really since the start of the year is he's been healthy and he's been out there every day working hard. He's another guy who shows up in practice a lot, similar to Harper, makes a lot of catches in practice against the defense and gets open. Again, a lot of times he's playing the other team's best receiver or Chris is, depending on who the guy is or what the position is. So yeah, he's been out there, but his timing, his overall technique and consistency has improved, and he's had a good … I know it doesn't always show up on Sundays but I'd say he's had a good year.
Q: This is Danny Amendola's third year in the program. Have you learned anything about him that you didn't know before he got here?
BB: I mean, Danny is a really consistent guy. I think anybody in the program would speak to that. His work ethic, his toughness, his intelligence – he's ready to go every day and there are no days off for him. Every play for that matter – he works hard on every play. But I'd say it's pretty much as advertised. It's no different than what Josh [McDaniels] said from what it was in St. Louis and I'd say the first spring that he was here he stood out daily in the OTA work, whatever it was, whether it was short routes, deep routes, catching the ball, quickness, returns. He's really looked good since the day he's got here. Now he missed some time, but other than that, I'd say his overall play and performance … He's made a lot of big plays for us in critical situations, very dependable guy, great hands. Buffalo two years ago, the catches he made in that game were remarkable.
Q: Do you see his role changing at all now with Julian Edelman out?
BB:He's going to basically play the same position and do the same things that he's done. We're not moving him to tackle or anything. He's going to do what he does.
Q: Can he handle punt returns?
BB:We've been fortunate we've had good punt returners here. Troy Brown was a great returner for us. We had Kevin Faulk, Edelman, Danny – they've all done it. Julian and Danny have kind of … Sometimes it's been one, sometimes it's been the other, sometimes they've both been back there in some nine-man looks. We've been fortunate that we've had really good production and depth at those positions since I've been here all the way through. So it's not just one guy. We've had other players that can handle the ball. But Danny's done a good job for us there. He takes a lot of pride in that and the play he made last week was a great play – great awareness as well as his running and explosiveness to turn really nothing into an 80-some-yard return. Yeah, he's done a great job for us there. We're really fortunate that we have depth at that position.
Q: Chris Harper played in that role in preseason as well.
BB:Yeah, Chris gave us some plays in preseason, too. Again, that's not the easiest positon to play at that time of year. A lot of the players that you have on your return team, some are inexperienced, a lot of them haven't even played there because they played defense in college or they were the big stars in college or whatever. So a lot of times the blocking and the timing was pretty not perfect, let's put it that way. But I thought Chris handled the ball well in those situations and again he was productive at Cal with the ball in his hands, and he showed that in preseason.
Q: You brought in Joseph Fauria for a workout yesterday. Is it fun to connect that to his uncle, Christian?
BB:Yeah, it's a sign of my age. Austin Hill – I coached David Hill at Detroit. It's good, but kind of bad in a way.
Q: In Joseph's case, do you hold the bloodlines against him?
BB:Yeah, he'll have a lot to overcome there. I'm sure Christian will have plenty to say on this one.
Q: How much does it benefit the team at all to have the game on Monday night?
BB:We play them when they schedule them. With every long week, there's a short week. With every short week comes a long week. It is what it is.
BILL BELICHICK CONFERENCE CALL TO BUFFALO MEDIA
Q: What goes into replacing Julian Edelman?
BB:It's a team sport, so we're going to have to find contributions from everybody somewhere along the line to kind of compensate. We'll just have to see how it goes.
Q: Tom Brady seems to keep getting better with age. What have you seen from him that has allowed him to keep getting better despite getting older?
BB:I think Tom's been pretty consistent really through the years – his training, his preparation, his practice habits and routines, his games, he's had a lot of consistency. That's the kind of person he is. You get a real solid, strong effort from Tom every single day, whether it's in April or November. He's very consistent, professional, smart, works hard, and it's just kind of been like that for 15, 16 years – whatever it's been. It's not really any one thing that I would point to. I definitely wouldn't say it's any big difference between this year and last year or last year and some other year. I just don't really see that. He's very consistent for us.
Q: What is your concern level about the health of the offensive line? How much does it make you alter your game plan?
BB:We pretty much do the same thing every week. We look at the players that we have available and we look at our opponent and try to match up and figure out what we feel is our best way to compete against that team with the resources we have and the strengths that our opponent has. We kind of look at it the same way every week. It's different every week, but it's sort of the same process, so we'll do the same thing this week and every other week. The guys that can play can play and the guys that can't play, if they're out, they're out. There will be some guys you probably don't know about until game time or later on in the week, and we treat those the same way as we normally would. If we have them we have them and if we don't then we know what our adjustments are for their substitutes.
Q: What have you seen from Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore?
BB:I think they're both playing very well. They've been in on a lot of plays. They've made a lot of plays breaking up passes. They tackle well. They do a good job of hitting the receivers, rerouting them at the line of scrimmage. They're good. They're a really solid defensive football team, but that position has been very strong for them this year.
Q: How does this Bills offense look different to you than it did in Week 2?
BB:I think the Buffalo offense is playing very well now. Great production in the Miami game and then came back last week and ran the ball well against the Jets, which is not an easy thing to do because that's a good defensive football team. Then they obviously won the game with turnovers, interceptions, strips, fumble recoveries. Playing well as a team, but offensively they have a good balanced running attack, the backs, the quarterback and the receivers and tight ends making big plays for them. They're looking good, impressive.
Q: What has allowed Chandler Jones to be as effective as he's been so far?
BB: Chandler's been a very productive player for us since we've gotten him. He missed some games last year but when he played he was productive and very effective. Chandler works hard, is a very smart individual. He understands what we're trying to do defensively and communicates well on the field the adjustments that we need to make. He trains hard. He's long. He's got good strength, good quickness. He's a good technique player, has good pass-rush technique and good run technique. He's improved in the running game. But he's done a good job for us all the way around.
Q: Have you ever identified a certain attribute or set of attributes that you target in a player that makes him an ideal fit for your team?
BB:Well, I mean first of all, you can't create a player. You can't go into a lab and create something. You evaluate the players that are available to you based on draft or free agency or players that aren't committed to another team and then you can definitely look at those guys and whatever all the characteristics that they bring, whatever they are, then that's what they are. However tall a guy is and his work ethic, his intelligence, his arm length, his speed – all those things – they are what they are. You do the best you can to find people that you think will fit into your system. A lot of times it's for a particular role or something. Maybe it's not everything that you would like to have at that position but they have certain characteristics that are positive that you can build on and work with. But again if you're looking at the whole thing, there are a lot of players that we don't ever have on our team for one reason or another, and we try to pick the ones that we feel, based on them and sometimes what our needs are, that we feel are best for our team and then we do our best to coach all of them.
Q: Your team was involved in a controversial play last week with the Odell Beckham catch that was ruled not a catch. Is it frustrating for you as a coach to have the rule the way it is ad do you think the NFL needs to change the catch rule to make it clearer?
BB:I think pretty much every week when the league sends out their officiating videos to the coaches, it seems like almost every week there is a play or an explanation of a play in that catch-no-catch kind of area, and I think that Dean Blandino and his staff have done a very good job of trying to explain and clarify what the rule is and how they interpret it. That being said, there are a lot of bang-bang, really close plays in that area in the league almost every week. I mean, the players are so skilled, it happens so fast, the defenders get there at the same time the ball does and it all comes down, and is it catch, isn't it a catch – it's tough. I think that all the plays that they've shown and explained – I understand what the rule is, how they're trying to officiate it. But I'd say it's tough. There are a lot of close plays that could go either way … I think that rule and the interpretation of that rule has certainly been the subject of a lot of discussion and thought. Is there a better way of doing it? I don't know. That's probably something you should ask somebody else. I think it's a hard thing to do. I think the officials do a good job, but again, those are tough calls to make. And then you watch them in real time and then you watch them in slow motion, sometimes you see it differently. Overall I think they do a good job. There is always room for improvement for all of us, but I think everybody is trying to do the best they can to get it right, but I don't think it's easy.
Q: Brian Daboll is a local guy who went to the University of Rochester. How did you come across him and how is he doing as a coach?
BB:He was here, he was one of the first people that I hired when I got here in 2000, and he's done a great job for me. Came in and worked on the defensive side of the ball and then eventually flipped over to the offensive side of the ball, coached receivers, now he's coaching the tight ends. But he has a big role on our staff and is somebody that I have a lot of confidence and trust in because of his experience and the amount of time that he's been doing our system. He helps me with some of other bigger picture things, but I think he's a really good coach – could probably coach any position on the field, defensively or offensively. Works hard, has a very extensive knowledge of the game. He's done a great job for us. Glad we have him.