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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 12/21

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BB: Alright, well I know we played the Jets a few weeks ago but really this is I think quite a few changes in this past month. We've got a lot of work to do relative to preparing for this game on another short week. Offensively, a team that was very explosive and it's become even more explosive with kind of the emergence of [Robby] Anderson, [Bilal] Powell, ... plus the [Quincy] Enunwa, [Brandon] Marshall and [Matt] Forte group that we already spent a lot of time talking about. But these guys, Powell and Anderson in particular, have been extremely productive and explosive the last few weeks. I'd say [Bryce] Petty has a lot of confidence in those guys. Their production has been very impressive. Defensively, [it's] the same thing; some new players in the secondary. It looks like some by necessity, others maybe not. I'm not sure which of these guys will be back or how they'll decide to play them but [Juston] Burris has done a good job for them at corner, [Marcus] Williams at the nickel spot, [Buster] Skrine has been out but we know he's a good player. Of course [Darrelle] Revis, [Calvin] Pryor; they've done a good job with those guys. [It's] the same thing at linebacker getting [Darron] Lee back. They got him back in our game but he's played a lot more now. He doesn't come off of the field. It looks like they're getting some guys back at outside linebacker, defensive end, however you want to call it. Again, a little bit of a different look than what we saw a month ago or even in the last couple of weeks as we've gone through these games with their rotation or the players that are available to them. It's been a little bit different. I think they've built some depth maybe that they weren't necessarily trying to do but sometimes it works out that way. In the kicking game [Josh] Martin is still the guy to stop. I mean, he's one of the top players in the league. He's done a great job for them. We've got to do a good job on [Jalin] Marshall; a big, strong runner back there, kind of different than a lot of guys we see but a hard guy to tackle, a very physical runner. They've got good players in the kicking game, a lot of aggressiveness. Their linebackers, their safeties, they do a good job. [They're] a good punt-rush team, good punt-force team. [They have] a lot of weapons offensively, a lot of different faces I would say from where we were a month ago. We've got to really hone in on our preparation for a team that on paper you would think we know well but in this case I'd say really there's a lot of work to do. Another short week; we'll just have to grind through it here, so that's where we're at.

Q: How different are Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty to prepare for?

BB: I mean they're both good. They both are athletic. They can both run. They both throw a good deep ball. Obviously [Ryan] Fitzpatrick has a little more experience but [Bryce] Petty has a good arm. He's thrown some balls into tight spots, has kind of lasered them in there. Fitzpatrick is the same kind of guy. He's an aggressive thrower, especially down the field, and those receivers will go get the ball, especially [Brandon] Marshall and [Quincy] Enunwa. But [Robby] Anderson has shown that he'll go up and get it in a crowd, too, go up and take it away. He's got great leaping ability and good timing. I mean he's not as big as those guys but his ability to go up and time his jump and take the ball away from defenders like he did in the San Francisco game. He's obviously got great speed like we saw in the Rams game, the Miami game. He's made big plays every week. I think the quarterbacks, any quarterback likes a receiver that's open, a receiver that makes plays, and they've got a bunch of them so we've got to do a good job on the quarterback but we've got to cover the receivers. [Bilal] Powell's right at the top of the league. He's in the top three, or four, or whatever it is in receiving for backs. He's got 50-something catches so they get a lot of production out of him, too, and he's tough with the ball in his hands. They have a lot of explosive players.

Q: Would you agree that Bilal Powell has a great motor and is difficult to bring down because he always keeps moving even after contact?

BB: He makes yards on his own. Yeah, he's not the biggest guy but he does run hard. He's got good balance. He gets hit but he's able to maintain his balance, stay on his feet. He's got good feet. He spins and ducks under some tackles. [He's] a little bit unorthodox but athletic. Guys don't really get a lot of clean shots at him. He's able to avoid those hits and, as I said, spin off of them or bounce off of them for extra yards, regain his balance sometimes. He's turned a lot of three-yard completions into 15-yard gains or 10-yard gains where he makes a couple of guys miss in space or things like that. He's bounced out some runs. He had a couple against San Francisco where he started up inside over the guard or off tackle and then saw some space, got outside and makes a guy miss in space and it's 15 yards. He can run inside but he's got good vision and good quickness and when he gets outside he's a tough guy to handle in space and he plays hard. He's a very aggressive runner. He gets a lot of extra yards on his own. He doesn't go down easy. He's a tough kid and he's got good run instincts. He knows how to gain yards.

Q: Today is the decision you have to make the decision about whether or not to activate Jacoby Brissett to the active roster.

BB: You've been reminding me about it every couple of days, Mike [Reiss]. I appreciate that. I think that would've slipped by. We will make that decision.

Q: Is there any news to report on it now?

BB: We will make that decision.

Q: Will the decision be made by the deadline at 4:00 p.m. today?

BB: We will make it by the time we have to make it. We'll absolutely make it.

Q: What are your thoughts on the four Pro Bowlers from your roster in Tom Brady, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower and Matthew Slater?

BB: I mean they're all good players. They've all done a good job for us. Pro Bowl - I mean it is what it is. I don't really comment on the process or all of that. But all of the players that are selected are good players. There are a lot of other good players in the league, too. Who gets selected and doesn't get selected, I don't know. Talk to the voters.

Q: How has Michael Floyd been coming along in the few days he has been here?

BB: We'll practice today. I mean we didn't practice yesterday, so we'll practice today and see where we're at.

Q: What does it say about Devin McCourty that he was able to make the Pro Bowl earlier in his career as a cornerback and now he has made it as a safety?

BB: Yeah, it's pretty impressive because it's a tough transition to make because you're seeing the game from two different spots. You're seeing the game from outside-in on the perimeter and you're seeing the game from inside-out with a lot of people that can get to you from the safety positon and usually he's in the middle of the field so he's not a guy that's in a shorter space, a down-type safety, although he does do that. So he sees the game from the inside-out from the free safety position or from the outside-in as a corner. Devin [McCourty]'s very smart. He has great awareness of the entire concept of the defense, what the defense is designed to do, what its strengths are, what its taking away, where we're weak, how to compensate for that. Sometimes we have checks that will get us out of situations that we feel vulnerable in, certain calls. He's responsible for a lot of that. His leadership, his on-the-field play, his toughness, he's done whatever we've asked him to do, whether it's return kickoffs, or cover kicks, or block the gunners on the punt return team, or rush field goals, or whatever it is. He's been not only a dependable player but a good player for us in all of those different areas and, as I said, he gives us great communication and great leadership on and off the field.

Q: How much flexibility does he give you on defense and are there things that you wouldn't be able to do on defense if he wasn't back there at safety?

BB: We wouldn't be able to do them as well. Yeah, either not do them or not do them as well. Yeah, so to take basically a corner and to drop him down into coverage situations, that's definitely a weapon. And with that safety positon, his speed, his range to cover the field in the deep part of the field but also in the running game to close down those alleys when the runners get through those off-tackle or sometimes bounce plays out, that type of thing, to be able to get to those and he's a good tackler. He wraps up and had a big hit last week in the Denver game on fourth-down, so he's a good contact player but he's a sure tackler. Some guys come down and they get some and they miss some. He doesn't miss very many. He's a sure tackler and when he's got a chance to make solid contact he'll do that but he doesn't do it at the expense of missing a guy and giving up another 20 or 30 yards after the play. His judgement, his decision making back there, which is a critical part of that position, is key. But his coverage ability, his ability to play the run and the pass, play down, play back, play corner in some situations where we have to match a safety up outside on an extended receiver or tight end or something like that, things that he's done a lot and comfortable with so he gives us a lot of versatility.

Q: Have you seen the video that came out of you singing 'Merry Christmas?'

BB: No, I haven't seen it.

[Video plays]

BB: Yeah, I'd say that has been edited.

Q: Is it true or false to say that you go caroling?

BB: I love caroling.

Q: Do you think you would have still claimed Michael Floyd had you known the full extent of the situation that he got himself into last week?

BB: Yeah, we were aware of his situation when we claimed him.

Q: Had you seen the video of his situation before you claimed him?

BB: We were aware of the situation before we claimed him. He's in an ongoing legal situation that I'm not going to comment on.

Q: Does your team have any system in place that helps support a guy like him that comes into your program following an incident such as his?

BB: Well, we have a lot of things on our team to handle a multitude of things that players, coaches, anybody in our organization really that can come up. There are a lot of things outside of football that we all deal with. It's a long, long list and we provide a lot of resources for everybody on that. So yeah, absolutely, without a doubt.

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