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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon Jun 01 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 11/23

BB: Alright, well it seems a little unusual to be this late in the season and having not played the Jets yet, so certainly we'll get a good look at them. As it's been in so many of our games with them in the last few years, been very competitive, so everything we do this week is going to be very important towards the outcome based on how tight all of those other games have been - the overtime game, one, two, three point games, last possession and so forth. The Jets are, as we know from our games against them last year, very good defensively, great front four, great group of defensive lineman, very experienced in the secondary and at linebacker with [David] Harris. Coach [Todd] Bowles runs a varied scheme where you can get anywhere from a three-man rush to everybody blitzing pretty much on any play from first-down, second-down, third-down, red-area, two-minute, all of those situations, so there's a lot to defend, a lot of good players. Offensively Coach [Chan] Gailey does a great job with the balance in his offensive system, running game, passing game. The backs have been very productive for them, both [Bilal] Powell and [Matt] Forte. The receivers have been very productive. [Ryan] Fitzpatrick is averaging 26 points-per-game the past three weeks, so I think we all know what he's capable of. We've seen him many times. [They're] good in the kicking game. [Josh] Martin's done a real good job for them covering kicks so we'll see how their return situation goes here with their signing yesterday. We have to be ready for that as well. We know it'll be tough down there, a hostile environment. [We had] a very competitive game down there last year in overtime. They had a great drive there to start the overtime period, went 80 yards. We're ready to battle 60 minutes or longer if we need to. That needs to be our mindset this week.

Q: How valuable are Danny Amendola's contributions in the red area and on third-down?

BB: Yeah, Danny [Amendola] does a great job for us in whatever we ask him to do; return kicks, punts, block, play in the red-area, play on third-down, play in two-minute. He's a really dependable, consistent player; tough. He seems like he always has his best plays in those critical situations when you need them most. He's been very valuable for us, especially for a guy that missed all of training camp, really didn't start practice until the first week there before we opened with Arizona. But he's done a great job for us. He's helped us win a lot of games.

Q: How does Darrelle Revis look for this Jets defense?

BB: [He looks] well. You just go back to our game [last year] - really, he had a big interception against us down there. I would never underestimate that player. He's got good skills, he's a good competitor. I would never underestimate him.

Q: In your experience what is the correlation between being able to create turnovers on defense and a team's overall success going forward?

BB: Well, we had the ball come out quite a few times in the San Francisco game. We just didn't get them. We had our hands on a pass or two. The same thing in the Seattle game, so I think we've just got to do a better job of taking advantage of those opportunities. They aren't infinite. When they come we have to capitalize on them. I think we had the ball out two or three times in the San Francisco game. I can't remember exactly, but the ball was out. We've just got to keep hustling and make those plays, but I think the main thing is we're getting the ball out. We're getting our hands on the ball. We've just got to finish them.

Q: Is there an element of luck involved in recovering fumbles based on the way the ball bounces?

BB: I mean the ball can bounce however it bounces. The more guys you have there then the better chance you have of getting it. Sometimes it could be one against three and it bounces to the one guy and he makes the play. But, you know, you've got to recover it, too. The ball is not easy to get. We've all seen it squirt out. It looks like one players going to get it and somebody else gets it. When we get our chances we just have to capitalize on them. That's what we'll work on going forward.

Q: Have you found time this week to study the film of the Butt Fumble?

BB: Yeah, I don't think we'll get to that. Great question though. Really, that's awesome.

Q: What have you learned about Kyle Van Noy since his arrival here?

BB: He's been good to work with. [He's] a versatile player. Played on the line, off the line, defensive end, played in the kicking game. He's good in pass coverage, can rush. I think he's got a lot of versatility for us. He did a little bit of all of those things last week, played in the kicking game, rushed, covered, so we'll see how it is going forward; see how it all works out. It might change a little bit from game to game depending on game plan and situations and so forth. It looks like he has a good variety of skills, a good skill set.

Q: Kyle Van Noy mentioned he had a lot of contact with your organization coming out of college. Has he pretty much projected at the pro level the way that you had anticipated he would?

BB: Well, we have our system. Other teams have their system. So I can't really comment on what happens somewhere else. If we would've had him we have a certain idea and concept of things that we would try to do or want to do with him, so we have that now so we'll work on that now. What happened with some other team, some other situation, another system, is out of our control [and] out of his control. So we'll just have to move forward with what we do and how he fits into that, which so far looks very positive. It's a little bit of the same thing with [Shea] McClellin. He ended up in a different system than we play, which it is what it is. So with us this year, of course we had the advantage with Shea of going all the way back to training camp and OTA's and so forth, so there was a much deeper base laid. All that being said, it's similar but different with him, but the same type of thing in a different system. Our system is a little bit different. We'll see how it fits with Kyle [Van Noy] going forward but I like what he's done. I like how hard he works. So we'll see what happens.

Q: Does Matt Forte look as solid as a Jet as he did with the Bears?

BB: He's done a good job for them; yeah. He's done a good job in the passing game. He runs well. He's got 900 yards from scrimmage, third-down conversions, good in short yardage. Yeah, he's done a good job for them. Both of their backs - [Bilal] Powell, too. 

Q: Is he used the same way as he was used in Chicago?

BB: I don't know. I'd have to go back and look at Chicago. I mean, Chan [Gailey]'s system is pretty much Chan's system. He's had a lot of success with it. His backs have always had good production in his system and [Matt] Forte and [Bilal] Powell have both had it this year, so I don't think that's any surprise.

Q: With Dont'a Hightower using the green dot helmet to perform coach-to-player communication on field, does it hurt the defensive communication when your rotate him off of the field on some plays?

BB: Well, it's an adjustment. I don't know if I would use that word but somebody else puts the dot on or we signal, either way. We're ready to signal anyway when the system fails, which there's usually some point where we have to deal with that. We're prepared to signal, we're prepared to work with the green dot, and if a green dot player is out we can give the green dot to another player. 

Q: Can you just put it on another helmet to allow that player to have the communication role?

BB: Yeah, we just switch helmets. So just say High [Dont'a Hightower] didn't have the green dot, then you just give him a helmet without the green dot and somebody else wears the green dot, or if he's out of the game it's the same thing.

Q: Who generally would you give that responsibility to after Dont'a Hightower?

BB: Linebackers, safeties - it would depend on the situation. It would depend on how we practiced it that week. Against a team like San Francisco that you kind of know is going to be in no-huddle, a high tempo team - that's one thing. Not every team is like that so not every situation will be the same.

Q: It seemed like Ryan Fitzpatrick played pretty well against you guys last year. What have you seen from him on film this year?

BB: He sure did. He's a dangerous player, very smart, has control of the offense, has the ability to get into plays that he likes. They use their receivers in the running game on look-passes, things like that. He's tough. You see him scrambling for extra yards, diving forward, blocking on running plays if the runner reverses his field and things like that. He's a fearless player. He's tough, very competitive, and you're right, he's played very well against us whether it was in Buffalo or with the Jets, so we have a lot of respect for him.

Q: Is he as much of a scrambling threat as Tyrod Taylor or Colin Kaepernick?

BB: Well, I wouldn't put him there with Tyrod [Taylor]. Tyrod's one of the fastest players - [Colin] Kaepernick for that matter - I would say those are probably two of the fastest players in the league and they play quarterback.

*Q: Is the improvisational aspect of Fitzpatrick's game similar to those other quarterbacks? *

BB: Yeah, I would say he's quicker than fast. He can run a little bit but he's got good quickness and he's a good decision maker. When he sees space on third-down and he knows he can get it, he gets it. If he can't get it and the defense has done a good job containing him then he can throw the ball. Again, he runs when he needs to run. I don't think he runs just to run, but he can definitely pick up yards in critical situations so you have to account for him, either account for him with somebody or account for him in a way that he can't really get out.

Q: How has Dont'a Hightower done as a captain for the first time and how important is his leadership at a position where you have several new bodies?

BB: Yeah, I think Dont'a [Hightower]'s done a good job for us. I meet with those guys [captains] every week. I think he has a good pulse on the team, on his teammates, what the defense needs to do and so forth. I rely on him and the other players that are in there. Devin [McCourty] is the other defensive player, so I rely on them a lot. I think they do a great job with the overall communication and preparation of their respective units and the entire defense. I mean, that's a little bit the nature of that positon, too. Safety, linebacker, quarterback, center - those guys that are in the middle of the communication are more involved in communication, adjustments, overall coordination of that part of the play or that part of their unit. Inherently that comes a little bit with the position but he's done a good job of it.

Q: How important are those meetings with the captains every week and how long have you been doing it?

BB: I've been doing it since I've been a head coach. I mean, for us it's a good opportunity to, look, I can't meet with every single player. That's really not practical. I rely on those meetings to get feedback from the players or sometimes I explain things to the players that I feel like the team needs to know and let them convey the message in their way or at least understand what the thought process is from my standpoint or the staff's standpoint. But I talk to them and they give me a lot of feedback every week. They do a great job of I'd say not telling you what you think the coach wants to hear but telling you what they think is important, what we need to do, where there's an issue, what we need to address, and then that helps me address it. Most important thing for us is on Sunday is everybody being ready to go, being on the same page, going in there collectively ready to perform our best. Between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon there's still plenty of time to sometimes make some changes, or adjustments, or go back over something, or whatever the situation happens to be and address it. That's very valuable. This is a good group. Rob [Gronkowski], and Slate [Matthew Slater], and Devin [McCourty] and High [Dont'a Hightower] have done a good job.

Q: Have you ever come across a situation in a game that you haven't seen before or been prepared for?

BB: Any situation?

Q: Are there any situations on the sideline where you say 'We haven't seen this before or we weren't prepared for this?'

BB: Sure, yeah. I mean, you might have seen it before but maybe you haven't practiced it with this group that happens to be out there. It might have been a different place or different time or that type of thing. Yeah, but look, we know the proverbial 'They could come out with nine foot line splits.' I mean, what are you going to do? We're not going to practice nine foot line splits every week but what if they come out with them? If there's an unexpected situation that comes up then we have a call that we would get to or it could be two calls depending on maybe what personnel we have in the game or something like that to kind of be sound and just play through the down and figure it out.

Q: You mentioned that being a captain could in a way be inherent of the safety or linebacker position due to the communication required there. Is that a little bit more difficult for a captain like Rob Gronkowski because tight end may not typically be one of those positions?

BB: Yeah, well I mean I'm not saying that those positions have to be captains. I'm just saying those positons are inherent in the communication of that particular unit, just like the personal protector is inherent in handling the communication on the punt team and so forth. We've had captains at other positions. Troy Brown was a receiver. Rob [Gronkowski] - I don't think that was a prerequisite. I'm just saying when it comes to making communication on the offensive or the defensive side of the ball that basically it starts on the inside and works its way out. You don't have receivers and corners being the primary person in the communication because who's going to be able to communicate with them? The guy next to them and then it's going to have to go from there. Those guys - Rob Ninkovich, Mike Vrabel - those guys have played on the end of the line. I mean, they were great captains and great leaders. Again, I don't think there's a prerequisite for the captain positon. 

Q: What does Tom Brady add to the situation as a captain?

BB: Yeah, again, there's another [position]. I mean, the offense runs through him. His input on where the team is offensively on Friday going into the weekend is usually going to have some bearing on what happens the next couple of days and then into Sunday just like High [Dont'a Hightower] and Devin [McCourty] would have on defense or Slate [Matthew Slater] in the kicking game. Again, it's the same thing. If you had 10 people in there you'd have input from probably 10 good people. But I mean it's hard to have a captains meeting with 15 captains. I'm not saying you can't do it, I'm just saying you better decide how you want to set it up. We've usually historically had a couple of guys on each side of the ball, somebody in the kicking game. Our players in the kicking game have been pretty consistent. It was Larry [Izzo] pretty much to Slate, but you know, obviously we've had other great leaders there, too. We've had them in the past - the Tracy White's to Nate Ebner's to the returners and so forth. However you set it up we try to get a couple of guys from each general area, whoever the players select. I mean, really it's not my choice; it's their choice.

Q: How often do things get changed after those meetings or are those more for establishing the plan and then executing it throughout the week?

BB: I'd say they change every week. I mean, if a player tells me in that meeting 'Look coach, we've worked on this. We're not really comfortable with it. I think there's too much confusion here,' [then] throw it out; no problem. Get rid of it. I don't want that to happen. Or sometimes it's 'Look, we're having a little of trouble with this. I think if we just get a couple of more times I think we've got it. We like it, it's a good idea, it's going to work, we just don't quite have it down yet.' Well, maybe we add a couple of plays in practice that we hadn't planned on having to cover that situation. Or it could be on the punt team like 'Hey coach, we just need one more look at this rush that they're running. We've got it but can we just see it one more time?' Yeah, sure; things like that. Or they might tell me that 'Hey, this guy is down a little bit. I think he needs a little confidence. I think if you said something to him that would really help him.' OK, good. I wasn't aware of that. I'll definitely do it. I mean, it could be a million different things. There's no set formula but it's just about communication and feedback.

Q: With football being such an important part of Thanksgiving will you be watching it at all during the holiday?

BB: Yeah, sure. So we'll watch, especially Detroit this year with Bob [Quinn] out there. We'll see how he's doing. [Thanksgiving] is a great holiday. It's about family, friends, good food, and football. I mean, how can it get any better than that? It's one of the all-time greats. I hope everyone has a good holiday. We'll see you Friday.

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