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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 11/9

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 9, 2015.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="381266"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: Do you have any update on Dion Lewis? What did you think of the team's run blocking yesterday?

BB: No, I don't have any update on Dion. I thought our run blocking was good at times. We definitely had some space in there. I thought that LeGarrette [Blount] ran well. Well Dion and Brandon [Bolden] ran well, too, they just had fewer opportunities. But I thought LeGarrette ran well. I thought our receivers really blocked well. We did a pretty good job of not allowing penetration and getting the back started. Sometimes there were bigger holes than others, but they definitely competed hard against a really good defensive line. The Redskins have a lot of good players there and they have good depth, they play a lot of guys, so they always seem to be pretty fresh, pretty active in there. But I thought we competed well in the running game and we had a couple guys playing positions they hadn't played a lot of. I thought they handled the assignments and overall the adjustments with some of those running plays pretty well. 

Q: On the onside kick, was that something that was called on the sidelines before the kick? Or did you wait to see if you got a certain look before doing that?

BB: Well that was the first kickoff, so we didn't really have a chance to look at it. We just felt like it was an opportunity to make a play, so that's why we did it. Any time you call a play like that, some risk involved obviously, but you try to give yourselves an opportunity to do it with good execution, and we got a little bit of a break on the play the way it went and we took advantage of it. 

Q: How has Brandon Bolden grown in his role over his four years with the team, and what does he bring to the team?

BB: Brandon has grown a lot. He came in as we know undrafted and kind of earned his spot on the team, but he's shown to be a dependable player on all four downs, plays a lot for us on fourth down, but made plays in the passing game, made plays in the running game yesterday. He's done that for us in the past. He's got good size, good run skills. He's a good blocker in pass protection. He catches the ball well. He's got good run skills. And I'd say each year he's gotten a little bit better and understands his role, is always ready and prepared and has stepped in and consistently done a good job for us. I'm glad we were able to get him extended last year. He's been a valuable player for us for several years, but really he's allowed us in a lot of cases to just carry three backs to the game because he can really back up running or passing situations, however the first two guys, however that goes, but he's able to give you quality depth there really on all four downs. 

*Q: Is there more emphasis now on the running game at this time of year? Is LeGarrette Blount ideal for that? *

BB: Well I think we've seen LeGarrette have a lot of big games for us running the ball. He can definitely make some tough yards. He's very athletic and can make players miss in space and as he showed yesterday, he's a hard guy to bring down. There were a couple times he came out of a pile there that it didn't look like he'd be able to get out of. I think that's really a credit to his running ability, his vision, his balance, his size, his power, bulk and just overall running skills. I think you certainly have to be aware of the conditions at this time of year playing where we play, how they can affect the game, but that doesn't mean that they will affect any game or every game. I still think you've got to be ready to play whatever kind of football you need to play. There will probably be times when you have to run it. There will probably be times when you have to throw it. Defensively, there will be times when you have to stop the runs, and there will be times when you have to stop the pass. There will be certain situations that will kind of declare themselves in the game and you have to be able to handle those situations when they come up. That's the way we approach it every week. I don't think we really approach it too much differently at this time of year than any other time of year. Although as I said you do have to be aware of the potential for weather conditions that could alter or possibly dramatically alter what you can do or what you have to defend, depending on which side of it you're on. 

Q: Bryan Stork played center, guard and tackle yesterday. How rare is it for somebody to do that, and what is it about him that allows him to be able to play all three spots?

BB: Well he's been more of an inside player than he has a tackle, but when we got into that situation yesterday with Sebastian [Vollmer], that was really the easiest move for us, and Bryan competed well out there for a position that he hasn't played in quite a while. But again, we were short on the offensive line, so on the touchdown with Shaq [Mason] going to fullback if you will, then we had a little bit of rearranging to do there. I'd say it's unusual. I can't think of a time when I've done that before, especially in the same game, but Bryan is a pretty adaptable guy. He just wherever you put him he's going to go out there, work hard and give you his best and doesn't get too fazed on whether it's center, guard, tackle, left side, right side, whatever it is. He's just a football player and likes to prepare, likes to play, likes to compete. There's really a lot to be said for that. 

Q: How does this team fill the void when captains are injured? Does leadership come more from the whole team rather than a few captains?

BB: I think the latter. You really identified it there. Everybody on the team has leadership. You don't have to be a captain to be a leader. You don't have to be a 10-year veteran or anything else. Rookies give us leadership. Veterans give us leadership. Captains represent the team in various ways, but in the end, I think every player that's a participant on the team provides leadership. If they have a good attitude and they work hard and they put the team first, then that's really what leadership is all about. We have a lot of guys who have played quite a bit of football for us, and they all have a role in that. It's not just the captains, but even whether it be last year with Jerod [Mayo] or this year when Wendy [Ryan Wendell] wasn't playing, before he was actually on the field and then even for yesterday, we still get a lot of good leadership from those guys. Even if they're not playing, they still do what they can do and that's helpful. I think it's a combination of all those things. I think leadership is really something that comes from your whole team, not just one or two guys. Not saying that one or two guys can't have some influence, but I think it really can be a whole team thing as opposed to just counting on one or two guys to do that. That's kind of where we've been for a while. I don't see this year as being too much different than the past. 

Q: Can you talk about Jonathan Freeny's development since he came on board this year? It seems like he's really stepped up and made good progress this year.

BB: Yes he has. Jonathan has had a real good year for us, good spring, really good in the offseason program, good in OTAs, smart, picks things up well, does a good job for us in the kicking game. He's got good size, runs well, very professional, works hard at his job every day, trains hard, I mean really just does everything he can do, and we've been able to count on him and he's come through for us when we've asked him to do various things. He can play for us on all four downs. I thought he had a good training camp and a good preseason in the running game, playing downhill and making plays into the line of scrimmage and his pass coverage and his length back there, kind of like some of our other inside linebackers - taller guys that take up more space in the middle of the field - give you some definite advantages in pass coverage. And of course he's played well for us in the kicking game as a four-phase player. He brings size, toughness and good speed on those units, too. He's really done a good job for us all year, glad we have him. 

Q: Where do you think Cameron Fleming has progressed the most from year one to year two?

BB: Cam is a very intelligent guy. He makes very few mistakes. You only have to tell him one time, he processes and learns very well. We saw that even last year when he missed most of the spring because of finishing up school at Stanford and then when he came in here, he still knew an awful lot and learned it all quickly. But that being said, still more experience in the system, working on techniques, his overall athleticism, bending, playing with leverage. He's a big, strong, tall guy, so he's always working to play with better pad level, knee bend, more quickness and balance, so that would help any player, but he's worked really hard at those things and just using his hands more, like all linemen eventually learn how to do. So, it's a lot of little techniques. He's always worked hard, he's always been well prepared, and like I said learning and assignments and all that, that's never been an issue. So, I'd just say the techniques, the little things, the anticipation, communication on the offensive line with teammates on different adjustments and so forth. That's kind of the first-to-second-year growth - significant, but a lot of little things as opposed to just one thing to put a big stamp on. 

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