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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Friday, November 18, 2011.

BB: Fortunately we have the extra day this week, which I think we really need for our preparations, trying to get back on with a team we haven't played in three years. Hopefully we can use the time productively and be ready for all the different things they do on Monday night.  

Q: Tyler Palko led the team in pass attempts in the preseason. Is that the majority of how you study him? Do you go back even further?  

BB: That's certainly the best look at it, yeah. I mean, they had a little bit of change offensively with Charlie [Weis] leaving. It's still Todd [Haley], Bill Muir and all that, but I mean, you see just a little bit different offensive coaching style - using [Dexter] McCluster a bit different this year, so it has the most application, yeah.  

Q: Is there any tape that you look at from the CFL or UFL? I know it was awhile back.  

BB: It's him in their offense.  

Q: When you have a lefty quarterback does that matter to a defense? Is that something you want to try to replicate in practice?  

BB: Yeah, it's hard to replicate that if you don't have one. It's like a right footed punter or left footed punter - you pretty much have what you have unless you happen to have one of each. It's definitely something that defensively you want to be aware of, absolutely.  

Q: Any of the injured guys starting to look better or get a little closer?  

BB: Yeah, I think a lot of those guys are doing better. Devin [McCourty], Dane [Fletcher], I think they're coming along, Brandon [Spikes]. [I] see those guys more positive every day. [They're] getting there, so we'll see.  

Q: We didn't see a ton of Danny Woodhead earlier in the year for a variety of reasons. He seems to be playing a little bit more recently; he was on the field for the four-minute drive to close out the Jets game. Is he starting to pick it up a little bit or is there something you like?  

BB: We have confidence in all our backs. I think we're confident with whoever is out there. Sometimes it varies a little bit from game to game for different reasons, but whichever ones are out there, I think we all have confidence that they'll be productive. Some different styles, some guys do some things a little bit better than others but in the end, I think they can all advance the ball.  

Q: We've seen Rob Ninkovich have two two-interception games. Does he catch balls in practice?  

BB: Yeah, Rob is a good athlete, he's got good hands. He does some snapping for us. He handles the ball, [yes].  

Q: You've talked about Brian Waters a bunch before. With his resume and what he's done this year, are you surprised that he was a free agent for so long?  

BB: Yeah, probably a little bit, [yes]. I mean, this was an unusual year so I don't know what's normal [or] what isn't. I think if a player like that had been available in March [or] April, I would think he probably would have been on a team. But training camp started, nobody really had any opportunity to talk to anybody. [You're] trying to get your team ready to go to training camp and, yeah, there are some players out there you're working on but there are just a lot of things going on. I don't think any of us, any team probably, really feels like they did as good a job as they could have done, just given the fact that free agency and the start of training camp, bringing the rookies in - it all just hit at once. Brian has done a great job for us and he's been a real good addition to our football team in so many ways. I just couldn't say enough positive things about what he has brought here.  

Q: How difficult is that to do? Everybody talks about the chemistry of five guys on a line. It has seemed seamless. How impressive is that?  

BB: Yeah, he's been great. We've had some of that before with [Sebastian] Vollmer a couple of years ago. He wasn't here, came in, did a good job for us, played both sides. It takes some work. It takes a special guy, no doubt about it. It takes a special guy. It takes good teamwork with everybody else and the veteran guys that are there to work with and for it to be cohesive and efficient. We can all go out there and play together, but to actually play well and be able to pass things off like you have to do on the offensive line and be able to communicate and see things the same way. That takes a lot of work, a lot of interaction, a lot of communication, a lot of trust. You have to trust that the other guy is going to be there to do what he's supposed to do so you do what you're supposed to do. You really have to trust each other on the line and know that the other person is supposed to be where he's supposed to be so you can drop guys or pass guys or move onto your guys and know that you're protected in an area that you really can't look back and see and identify. You just have to trust that it's going to get done right. It's hard; it's a hard thing to do.  

Q: Do the Chiefs run the ball as much as before Jamaal Charles went down?  

BB: Run it as much? They run the ball a lot, yeah. In every game.  

Q: It doesn't seem like they've changed much.  

BB: They run the ball a lot, yeah.  

Q: I would assume that affects your game plan.  

BB: These guys are going to run the ball. It doesn't matter who the back is; it doesn't matter what the score is. They've lost a couple games - they've run it in those. They've won games - they've run it a lot in those. They run it all the time against everybody. You definitely have to stop the run game with these guys. Running game, they've got big play receivers in the passing game, got a specialty guy, like we've talked about, the Reggie Bush type of guy that is another problem. Quarterbacks are athletic, they run.  

Q: Would you deem Jackie Battle a big back? He has size, but what is his running style?  

BB: Different, but a little in the Peyton Hillis mold. I would say there are some differences, but that type of guy. He doesn't mind contact.  

Q: We've seen weeks where Ross Ventrone was on the practice squad, other weeks where he was on the active roster and one week where he wasn't on either. How have you seen him handle that?  

BB: Great. He's handled it great. We've had other guys along with him that have been on and off the practice squad or the practice squad or the roster but probably none more than him. He might lead the league in transactions. He has to be right up there. But he's handled it great. We have a good line of communication and understanding, myself and Nick [Caserio] and Ross. We've talked about the various situations that he has been a part of and involved in. I think he's handled it great. Look, in the end you play in a game or you don't - that's what it comes down to. You get prepared to play every week and if the coaches give you the opportunity to play, you play. If the coaches don't, then as a player you take what you learned that week and get ready for next week. He's done a great job with that. Outstanding. He's been ready. We called him up a couple times, sometimes we had a feeling that we were going to be doing that but other times it's really been kind of a last minute thing. He's always been well prepared, ready to go. We throw him in there when he kind of least expects it in practice and he's prepared and he does a good job.  

Q: Is he similar to his brother in that way? Did you know of him through Ray Ventrone?  

BB: Well, yeah of course. Ross has improved a lot, as Ray did. Both of those guys didn't actually come onto the team and just make such an impact that they just earned a roster spot right off the bat when they got here. They've worked hard. That's certainly a common thread there. [They] worked hard, improved, continued to get better, became more versatile. They've done different things for us and given us depth in different spots on the team, whether it be in the kicking game or in the secondary. Ray played corner in preseason, Bubba [Ray] actually played some slot receiver on offense for us. You get a guy who can do a lot of things, who is tough and is dependable; there's value to that.  

Q: Do you ever worry that when you cut him that you may lose him to another team?  

BB: Any time you place a person on waivers you have to understand that that player may not be yours. Yeah, we understand that. We're well aware of that, of course.  

Q: Have you ever met their father?  

BB: I haven't.  

Q: It seems like forever since your last game. Is there anything that you change or tell the players to prepare for a longer practice week?  

BB: I don't think it really is a long week. I know what you're saying, but I really don't think it is. When you play Sunday night, that takes a lot out of you, it really does, especially when you're on the road. By the time you get back here late, I don't want to say you lose Monday, but you lose a chunk of Monday. So, a lot of times Tuesday feels kind of like a normal Monday, if you will - just physically, mentally, even from a coaching standpoint. By the time you get done with that game Monday, Monday afternoon, you've been up all night. You just don't have the same kind of production - just personally, you don't have the same kind of production that you would have, say, [after] a Sunday home game [when] you're done with the game by early afternoon. You have all late afternoon, all night to really get going on the next opponent, get caught up. I think in a lot of respects, Tuesday was a little bit like a Monday for us. At least physically, I'm sure for the players, it was a tough game, coming in getting treatment. Wednesday, we kind of had an extended walkthrough; it wasn't a full-scale practice like we would normally have on Wednesday. [We] just kind of used the extra day to space things out a little bit. This feels kind of like a Thursday to me, it really does, from a preparation standpoint. We still have more things we need to do prior to game time. If we were playing on Sunday, we're actually sitting here on Friday I think we would feel behind, whereas, I think we're kind of more on a normal schedule this week. I don't know if that makes any sense or not, but it's kind of the way it feels.  

Q: Have you had any talk of going to an iPad playbook? I know several teams have done it.  

BB: There's so much technology out there, you could go to whatever you want. I'm sure we have enough technological equipment in here to put the whole team on the moon.  

Q: So you like sticking with the binders?  

BB: In the end, it comes down to - you're at all the games - it comes down to blocking and tackling and running and throwing and catching and kicking and solid fundamentals and all that. You could put the iPad on the super-duper wizard computer and whatever you want. You could throw all that crap on there and I'm sure it would come out great. I'm sure you could get some statistical analysis that would provide 28 theses for MIT. In the end, you have to go out there and play football. Personally, I wouldn't lose too much sight of that. Same thing in baseball. Tony [La Russa] and I, we've have talked about that a lot too. You have to throw the ball, you have to hit it, you have to catch it, you have to field it, you have to run the bases. You could go out there and talk about some guy's batting average when the count is 2-1 at night. I mean, sooner or later, you have to go out there and play. I think you have to keep sight of that. As you know, I'm not the most technological person in this organization. I rely on some other people to try to help, like you said, streamline things or find a way where we can do things a little bit more efficiently. I understand that the people coming into the organization, that's what they were brought up on and that's not what I was brought up on, so I understand there's a difference there. I think there's a marriage but at the same time, I don't think that's the highest priority.  

Q: Have you embraced it as much as you're going to?  

BB: I probably embrace it a little bit more now than I did a few years ago - at least I can turn it on.  

Q: Daylight savings a few weeks ago. Did you get your clock all figured out?  

BB: Yeah, still working on that, yeah.  

Q: Have you ever seen a guy like Tim Tebow through your coaching ranks or anything like that?  

BB: I understand the question, I'm trying to be respectful here, but we're trying to get ready for the Chiefs. I think everybody knows how I feel about him. We play him later, we'll deal with him later, [we're] really just trying to focus on Kansas City this week.

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