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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 11/9

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

BB: Alright, this is really a big week for us. [We're] watching Seattle. We've had a lot of chances to watch them going all the way back to last week and certainly through the weekend this week. There's no team or organization I have more respect for than the Seattle Seahawks. I think that John [Schneider] and Pete [Carroll] have done a tremendous job with that organization. We've spent a lot of time studying what they do both on the field and in terms of their building - team building. So we've learned a lot from them from the outside, obviously. I have tremendous respect for Pete, the way he coaches the team, the way they play. They have great physical toughness, mental toughness. They compete extremely hard. [They're] one of the best teams, one of the best organizations that I've gone up against in my coaching career. I just have tremendous respect for them. They have great players in all three phases of the game. It will be a big challenge for us. They have tremendous talent and they play hard and they're tough, so really kind of no weaknesses. They can run the ball, stop the run, they can throw it, they can defend it, cover kicks, return kicks, I mean you name it. They do it for 60 minutes, they do it every week, they do it against everybody wherever they play, whoever they play, whatever the situation is. There are no plays off with these guys. As I said, I think this is obviously a very good football team, a tough football team and a team that we have tremendous respect for, so this will be a big challenge for us this week to have a great week of preparation, be able to follow that up with a strong performance Sunday night, which we know that's what it's going to take and that's what we're pointing to. I've received a number of inquiries relative to a note that I wrote to Donald [Trump] on Monday. Our friendship goes back many years and I think anybody that's spent more than five minutes with me knows I'm not a political person. My comments aren't politically motivated. I have a friendship and a loyalty to Donald. A couple of weeks ago we had Secretary of State [John] Kerry in our locker room. He's another friend of mine. I can't imagine two people with more different political views than those two, but to me friendship and loyalty is just about that. It's not about political or religious views. I write hundreds of letters and notes every month. It doesn't mean I agree with every single thing that every person thinks about politics, religion or other subjects. But I have multiple friendships that are important to me and that's what that was about. It's not about politics. It's about football. We have a huge game this week against a great football team, a great organization and that's where it all is going forward on Seattle. 

Q: Were you happy or annoyed that Donald Trump read the letter?

BB: Seattle.

[Another question asked regarding the Trump letter. Within that question Coach Belichick responded 'Seattle' four times]

Q: Richard Sherman has primarily played on one side of the field throughout his career but will they move him around at all to cover a team's best receiver?

BB: Yeah, they matched him up against Julio [Jones]. He'll matchup from time to time. Again, it's a game plan thing with him. I'm sure they feel comfortable putting him on whoever they want to put him on if they feel like that's what they want to do. I mean I think we've got to be ready for him to matchup, to not matchup, but he's a great player. Obviously, the great thing about him, among all things, is his ability to turn the ball over and the number of interceptions that he has had. He's got great ball skills, great hands, anticipation, awareness and you've got to be careful throwing the ball in his area obviously because of his ability to make plays and turn the ball over. He's long, he's fast, he's very instinctive and he's a big-play player.

Q: Is Julio Jones the primary example you think of as a guy that Richard Sherman has shadowed across the field in the secondary?

BB: I'm trying to think. You know I'd say it's two or three times a year. [Larry] Fitzgerald plays a lot in the slot. I don't really think that's his - not that he hasn't played in the slot - he does play in the slot. When they go man coverage and the corners go over he'll end up in the slot so it isn't like he can't play there. I think for example matching up against  a guy like  that that's more of an inside receiver, it doesn't seem like they're as excited about that as they were putting him against a perimeter player like [Julio] Jones. But we'll be ready for it.

Q: Is Russell Wilson moving as much outside of the pocket as he did early in his career?

BB: He can move when he wants to move when he needs to move. I think that's the big thing. I mean he's not a guy that runs to run. He runs and makes plays so if you don't contain him, if you don't control him, if you let him extend the play then you're basically looking for trouble. If you do then you've got to defend all of the other things. He's certainly capable of making plays in the pocket and out of the pocket and you've got to defend it. And again, I think when he runs usually it hurts you because you don't have it defended, whether that's a scramble for a first-down or a keep off the running play or whatever it is. If you have it defended then he'll not run. He just makes great decisions. He's a tremendous competitor. I have all of the respect in the world for Russell Wilson both on and off the field. [He's] a tremendous player, a tremendous person and I've had the opportunity to spend some time with him. He's a very competitive guy, a great football player, and again, when you watch him play he just makes good decision after good decision after good decision after good decision. That's really what you want a quarterback to do.

Q: Is Russell Wilson the kind of guy that will hold on to the ball until the last second to try and find the open guy?

BB: He'll do whatever he needs to do to win. I mean whatever you need for him to do he'll do it; throw long, throw short, scramble, not scramble, take a hit. Whatever he needs to do, he'll do whatever he needs to do to win. He's done that throughout his whole career and he does it every week. It's very impressive. He does it every week.

Q: Did he look like he was moving better in Seattle's last game because there were rumblings that he has been a bit banged up this year?

BB: I just look at him play out there and I see him make a lot of plays. I mean Buffalo - we just played Buffalo. That's a good football team. I thought they played them well. I thought Russell [Wilson] and the offense moved the ball well, scored a lot of points against a good defensive team, a good defensive coach. He does what he needs to do.

Q: What are the similarities between Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson and is there a benefit to having played Taylor twice already this season? Also, what kind of problem does it prevent that he can scramble and still be able to throw the ball downfield?

BB: Yeah, well I think a lot of those guys that scramble do [throw deep]. I think that's one of the first things you've got to really emphasize with your secondary is when the quarterback is out of the pocket, first things first you've got to take care of the deep ball. Then you've got to take care of the intermediate, crossing, scramble type of routes and then if he runs at least you can come up and tackle him. But as soon as you come up and he puts it over your head either to the intermediate guy or to the deep guy then you're going to give up a lot more yards. Is it a benefit? It probably is. I think both of those guys can run, they both can throw, they're both very dangerous out of the pocket so the fact that we've worked against that, worked against [Cam] Newton in the preseason, practiced for that. I mean I don't think that experience hurts. Different players, different scheme, there's some differences, but again the fundamentals of keeping a quarterback in the pocket, scramble rules, quarterback running, playing him like a running back when he has the ball, knowing that he can break tackles and avoid guys and isn't just going to run and slide. All of those things, they're carryover coaching points. Yeah, sure.

Q: How big of a challenge does Jimmy Graham present your defense?

BB: Yeah, he's a great player. [He] does everything well, really. He's good after the catch. He obviously has great hands. He's a tremendous red area and goal line type of receiver. He can hurt you vertically. You've got to be careful not to give him a lot of room because he can take a short play and turn it into a long run kind of like the tight ends we have. They're never covered even when you're draped all over them. There's somewhere where they can reach the ball where the defender can't and Seattle has a quarterback that can put the ball where the defender can't reach it and [Jimmy] Graham can, whether it's with one hand or two hands or whatever. So he's a tough matchup. He's a very tough matchup.

Q: How would you assess the job that Alan Branch has done for you this year?

BB: Alan [Branch] has done a good job for us. He's played more plays, more snaps on a per-game basis than he has in the past. We have a little bit of youth up there and I think his experience and the number of plays that he has given us has been good. He has not only played a lot but he has played in all three downs in multiple situations. He has done a good job for us.

Q: You mentioned the other day that your staff has put a lot of effort into trying to prevent soft tissue injuries. When did that begin to become a priority for teams in the NFL?

BB: Well, I'm a coach. I'm not a physical therapist. I'm not really as familiar with that as hundreds of other people you could talk to about that subject. I just know from a coaching standpoint that all I see is what's on the field. I don't examine a guy in a doctor's office or I don't look at an MRI scan or a bone scan, whatever it is. That doesn't mean anything to me. I just know what I see as a coach on the field and I've tried to learn more about injuries, preventing injuries, training and so forth. I feel like our staff has done a good job of that and we've made some modifications based on their suggestions, but I still try to go on what I see and what I feel on the team. I'd say the other coaches that I've worked under adopted maybe similar philosophies. Whether that's right or wrong I don't know. I know there's a lot of different ways to do things and we've certainly been progressive in trying to take some measurements and things like that to be more definitive with what an injury actually is or isn't as opposed to just eye balling it or 'How do you feel,' - that kind of feedback - but actually trying to measure it, so we've done a number of things like that. In the end you kind of put it all together and do what you think is best but I don't have any set formula for how all of that works.

Q: Do you notice that the Seahawks seem to look for similar traits in players as your team does or is that not really the case?

BB: I'm sure there are some similar traits. I think schematically there are some definite differences. I mean defensively their scheme is - Pete [Carroll]'s pretty much coached a similar scheme since when he was at Arkansas. I don't think that's changed too much but I'd say it's a little bit different than what our scheme is but I think some of the fundamentals of players - competiveness, tackling, things like that - are [similar]. Yeah, sure. Players that fit into that category I'm sure we liked, Seattle likes, probably 30 other teams like. Again, I would say more of our study of them has been less along those lines and more along just kind of overall how they put a team together, how they build their roster, how they manage their roster, things like that. I don't think we're going to run their defense, I don't think they're going to run ours. I don't think we're going to run their offense, I don't think they're going to run ours. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some other similar characteristics. I'm not trying to say that. But I think schematically they're a west coast-based offense with read-option, things like that. That's not really what we do but they're good at what they do. We're good at what we do, so that's different ways of doing it.

Q: Since they've been successful the past few years are you more likely to look at players that they may have previously had on their roster?

BB: Well again, I think it's got to be a fit. I think that's kind of the main thing. Just to scoop up guys that have been on another team - I don't know if that's the answer. I think if you have either a need or you have a certain type of player that you're looking for on your roster and that player fits those qualifications then it wouldn't matter where that players from; team 'X', 'Y' or 'Z.' I think you take the player based on how you feel like he'll do on your team, not what team he was on.

Q: Can you tell us a story about some good memories you have spending time with Donald Trump?

BB: Yeah, I could do a lot of that but really we're just trying to focus on Seattle here. This is a huge game for us this week. It's a great challenge and that's where all of our energy is going.

Q: Do you feel like these letter-to-Trump questions is kind of something you've created and now you're just trying to squash it?

BB: This is where we are. It's Wednesday before Seattle. It's Seattle.

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