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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 12/9

Q: Have you had any personal connection or background with Eric Weddle?

BB: No, not much. I didn't have him at the Pro Bowl.

Q: Are there any roster announcements to make? Has the team signed wide receiver Griff Whalen and if so, what have you seen from him?

BB: Yeah. We haven't seen much of anything from him. We'll see how it goes. We'll see how he works into our receiver situation. I don't know. We'll see.

Q: Did he play under Jim Harbaugh when he was the head coach at Stanford?

BB: Yeah. He's been more of an inside receiver. He's done some returning. We'll see.

Q: Did his experience as a returner factor heavily into the decision to take him over some other potential free agent receivers?

BB: No, I would say there are some returners out there. I mean, he hasn't had a ton of production as a returner but he has returned. Again, we'll see.

Q: Would using him in the return game be easier for you than trying to integrate him into the receiver fold right away?

BB: Yeah, I mean certainly there are a lot fewer moving parts on that.

Q: With Randy Moss being a part of the pregame production for ESPN's Monday Night Football I'm curious if you ever saw him in a media-type role in his post-playing career?

BB: Yeah, we have a lot of guys in those roles. I really never gave it a lot of thought, but we certainly have our share of guys in those types of roles. I've talked to him a couple of times. He seems like he enjoys it, has fun with it. He's good. Really smart, has passion for the game so if it works out for him, great.

Q: It seems like you have a pretty good roster of ex-players that have gone on to media analyst roles following their time here playing for you. You've got Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi amongst others.

BB: Rodney [Harrison]. Matt Light had a short stint there. The great Jermaine Wiggins, Matt Chatham, you go right down the line. [Scott] Zolak.

Q: That could be part of the sales pitch if you're looking to sign guys here as free agents.

BB: Yeah, you're halfway there.

Q: How rare of a player is Terrell Suggs to still be this effective late in his career?

BB: Yeah, he's had a good career, another good career. Yeah, he's a strong, explosive guy, instinctive, makes a lot of instinctive plays, anticipation to see something and does the right thing. [He] plays good in critical situations, big in big games, big situations.

Q: What challenge does their defensive front present against the run and are they also able to get a good push up front with pressure on the quarterback?

BB: Yeah, well I mean [Brandon] Williams is a big, strong guy. I mean, he's not tall but he's a short, thick guy along the lines of Vince [Wilfork], that type of player. So yeah, there's some pocket push there but he's a hard guy to block in the running game with [Michael] Pierce kind of the different but kind of the same thing. [Timmy] Jernigan's a pretty athletic kid. He can play three-technique, can play out on the guard, can play inside, runs well, has good quickness. I'd say he's a little different than those guys.

Q: Are there any similarities between these defensive linemen and former Raven Haloti Ngata?

BB: Yeah, I mean [Haloti] Ngata was pretty good. This guy is one of the best players in the league and was paid like it, too. Yeah, I mean he was pretty – I wasn't sad to see him go to the NFC.

Q: It seems you've rotated players at the defensive end position pretty frequently. Is that a case of perhaps less playing time can allow them more productivity due to the rotation?

BB: Possibly, yeah.

Q: Does that differ at all from other positions?

BB: I don't know. We see it a lot with the running backs. We see it with some receivers. Baltimore I'd say does it with their tight end positon when they're healthy, but even they don't play anybody all the time. They play them in different roles. We have some personnel groupings where we have more than two defensive ends on the field at one time, so that's probably why those numbers are up a little bit. When you have more than two guys playing 60-percent then it doesn't quite add up, but you have to move somebody to a different position or they're in there together so there's some of that. But again, some of that is situational. Some of it is game related, score related, what groupings you have on the field. But you know, bottom line is they're all good players. They all have been productive. They all can help us play and sometimes there's more than one out there, or more than two out there let's call it.

Q: Have you noticed that has helped at the end of the games where they may be fresher and better conditioned?

BB: Yeah, I don't think that hurts.

Q: What do you see from kicker Justin Tucker's game and how consistent he has been?

BB: Yeah, he's got a good leg. He's accurate.

Q: What makes a good consistent kicker?

BB: Well, it's a little different than punting. You have to have an operation. There are two other guys involved in the whole operation whereas in punting it's a little bit more of a one-man band, if you will. So it's an operation but he's a talented player. He gets good height on the ball and he's accurate. He's got a strong leg.

Q: How has the transition to the NFL gone thus far for D.J. Foster? Has he had to juggle learning two positions as a running back and a wide receiver potentially?

BB: Well, that's kind of what D.J. [Foster] was at Arizona State. He was some running back, he was some slot receiver. They used him some in the return game. He's a smart kid. He's done those before so he has all of those skills. He can run receiver routes, he can catch the ball, he can carry the ball, he can run inside runs, which we've seen him do that. He's fast. He's a tough matchup against certain linebackers especially, let's call it. But if you treat him as a receiver he can, as he did in preseason, handle the ball, run it from the backfield. Not just toss plays, he can run regular runs. Yeah, he has some variety of skills that kind of transcend between those two positions as they did, as I said, at Arizona State. Yeah, he's an interesting player. That's why he made our roster.

Q: How important is it for a player like him to keep both sets of skills for a running back and a receiver fresh in his mind, as opposed to trying to really lock down one position and be the best he can be at that?

BB: Right. Yeah, there's a line there. It's good to be really good at something. It's good to have versatility. So you could be kind of a jack-of-all trades but not really be able to hang your hat on anything, or you could really be able to hang your hat on something and not be able to do a lot of other things. There's value to both. Obviously the more the better, but sometimes that gets capped in terms of practice time or opportunity, reps and so forth. Sometimes that can be a real advantage because you can go in a couple of different directions depending on what your team needs and what the situation is from week to week or even within the game. It's just trying to find the right balance. I think it depends on the player, depends on the situation, and it could definitely change from week to week or possibly even day to day really depending on what the other parts are to that equation.

Q: Has D.J. Foster done a good job of trying to balance both roles?

BB: Yeah, he doesn't have a lot of playing time so it's on the practice field, scout team, things like that, which are important. But in terms of actual game reps, game experience, there's only so much that's out there.

Q: Is there a fine line between promoting someone off of the practice squad when you need a player versus signing a free agent like Griff Whalen who has experience in the league but doesn't have any in your system?

BB: Yeah, well its experience and really the contrast of being in a system and moving up a little bit or having been at that level but not having as much time in the system. Yeah, it's a conversation that we've had obviously. Sometimes I don't know – sometimes I kind of feel like you know for sure you're making the right decision. Other times you are kind of in a wait-and-see mode. It's what you feel like is best at that time but in the end is there a better way to go? I don't know. Until you get a player in that you haven't had before it's hard to evaluate. At least the guys you have you have an idea of where they are. You have to wait and see how they perform kind of at the next level, but guys that aren't on your roster that you bring in, you kind of have to wait and see how that goes. We've been in that situation before at this time of year. Austin Collie a couple of years ago, guys like that. You just have to see how it works out. So we'll see with Griff [Whalen] how it goes. We haven't had him before, haven't had him in camp, and haven't had him in our system so we'll see.

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