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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

BB: Kind of like we talked about yesterday, it's good to go down there and get a win. I thought we got contributions from all three areas. There are obviously a lot of things that we still have to work on, but I felt like the team took a good step in terms of playing on the road - unfortunately starting off behind, hanging in there, coming back and finishing with a pretty solid effort. Time to turn the page, get back in the [conference] and get ready for Indianapolis and start preparing for a team that we've faced many times that, schematically, looks pretty much the same as they usually do. Obviously a couple of changes in personnel, but a team we always have trouble with. [We're] ready to move on.  

Q: There were two times when Tom Brady slid and took a big chunk out of the grass and his knee brace got caught on the grass. Is there a better way that he should be sliding?  

BB: We talk about sliding. Yeah, we probably need to talk about that a little bit more.  

Q: Would you take him down to Fenway Park? He joked this morning that he should go down there and take lessons.  

BB: Sliding [with] pads on, yeah. We'll look into that. See if we can get [Red Sox second baseman] Dustin [Pedroia] to spend a little time with him.  

Q: If Ryan Wendell goes down, who is the emergency center?  

BB: We'll see what happens this week and go through our options and figure it out.  

Q: Did you like what you saw from Ryan Wendell? This was the most he's played, maybe ever.  

BB: Yeah, he played quite a bit last week. Yeah, I think we have a lot of confidence in Ryan. I'm sure we'll be fine if he's in there. We'll see what he's able to do, where Dan [Connolly] is at, where things are when we get to Wednesday here.  

Q: The way you guys snap on the road where Brian Waters turns and hits Ryan Wendell or Dan Connolly, is that something you've always done or is that a road adjustment?  

BB: No, we started doing it a little bit this year. We've done it before with the center looking back and we did it a little bit this year with the guard tapping so the center doesn't have to look back. We do it both ways.  

Q: From the outside, it looks like the relationship between Tom Brady and Deion Branch is not your average quarterback-wide receiver relationship. I know they've known each other for awhile. How much of that relationship is just chemistry building up over the years and how much of it is hard work and throwing with each other in the offseason and building a report?  

BB: It's probably a combination of all of those. It starts with [the fact that] you have two smart guys, both very instinctive players that if something comes up that you haven't done or talked about before, I'd say both of them probably would do the right thing - or what you would want them to do if you haven't told them what to do; what they would do is most of the time what you would want them to do. That puts them pretty much on the same page to begin with. Certainly the experience and reps they've had together [in] practice, games and walkthroughs and talking about situations and talking about things that come up, I'm sure that's all added to it. And of course, actually going out there and doing it on the field in live game situations, under pressure, adds to it as well. Deion is a very instinctive receiver. He has a great sense of timing, of when the quarterback is ready to throw the ball, when he needs to be open, how to get open. Tom, from his position, kind of has that same sense of what the receiver would expect him to do and what he should do in certain situations and that's almost always what Deion would do. Again, we certainly have rules and kind of guidelines for all players and all situations, but inevitably things come up that either go against the grain or it's not quite the way we've talked about it and the player has to make a decision. I would say those guys almost always do what - if you had gone over it - what you would have wanted them to do.  

Q: Deion Branch is a very enjoyable person to deal with from our end. I would imagine he is similarly fun to coach.  

BB: Yeah, he's great to have on the team, absolutely. Always has a smile on his face, alert, attentive, smart football player, likes to practice, likes to work, adds a lot to the team environment and also obviously does a good job at his position. [He's a] great leader, great example for all of us because of the way he goes about his job and how professional he is. He's always got a lot of energy; he's upbeat.  

Q: It's kind of funny how the circle of NFL life can go. In 2006, previous to the season things weren't good and he's come back now -  

BB: I've never had a problem with Deion on the field. I've never had a football related problem with Deion. He's always been great to coach. Contracts are contracts, but when it was about football, as a player-coach relationship, it's always been good with him; never had a problem.  

Q: Tom Brady is not exactly the fastest runner in the world, but he does seem to move pretty well in the pocket and we saw that on the Deion Branch play yesterday. Is that an underrated part of his game - his ability to slide and move around the pocket?  

BB: I don't think it's underrated at all. I think just about anybody who would evaluate Tom would say he's probably got as good a pocket presence as just about any quarterback. He has very good pocket awareness and quickness in the pocket in a short space. I think that's one of his big strengths.  

Q: He seems to do it a similar way each time, protecting the ball, keeping is eyes downfield, he waved Deion Branch on yesterday. Is that something he came here with?  

BB: I'd say it's improved. To a degree, yes, but it's definitely improved. His ball security - one year he had like 14 fumbles or something like that, whatever it was - a lot. He's worked hard on that and his ball security is good. He had a play last week in the Kansas City game where [Tamba] Hali came around the corner and took a real swipe at the ball and just missed it, but Tom really had kept it in close to his body and kind of protected it with his right shoulder. It's a lot of little things Tom does like that. I think that his pocket presence and awareness and ball security are good.  

Q: One interesting instance of that that I remember, in 2001 on the final drive of the Super Bowl when Leonard Little came around and swatted the ball and would have taken it out if Tom Brady didn't have two hands on it. Do you remember that?  

BB: Yeah, sure.  

Q: It was interesting to me, you mentioned the 14 fumbles he had that year, but that was -  

BB: I don't think it was that year, but anyway -

Q: He's gotten better.  

BB: Absolutely. He works hard at it. We do drills on it all the time. It's an awareness thing. It's breaking habits of quarterbacks in the pocket, taking a hand off the ball or dropping the ball or moving around and not keeping it right in the most protected position and still having it loaded and ready to throw.  

Q: Are players ever not resilient at different stages of their career and then develop resiliency, or do players just always have it? You've mentioned it and Tom Brady mentioned it, how mentally tough and resilient this team is.  

BB: I think it's something you can always work on. There's probably always room for improvement. I've seen countless players, probably pretty much most all players, improve over the course of their careers. You just deal with different things and the more you deal with them, the more you learn to, hopefully, don't worry about what you can't control and focus on what you can do something about and when things aren't going well, still be able to perform well; that's what mental toughness is.  

Q: Taylor Price didn't step on to the field and Tiquan Underwood and Julian Edelman seem to have jumped over him on the depth chart. What went into that decision?  

BB: What went into it was Tiquan played more than Taylor did.  

Q: Is there something Taylor is lacking or something he can do better?  

BB: Maybe it will be that way this week, maybe it won't. It [wasn't] that way the week before, so we'll take it week-to-week.  

Q: With the drop that Tiquan Underwood had, there wasn't an opportunity to get him the ball again. With a young player like that, what do you say to him? It could go one of two ways - 'How could you drop that?' or 'You'll get the next one.'  

BB: It would have been a tough play. It could have been a little better executed all the way around. I thought he ran a good route. The ball was a little inside. [He] couldn't quite get it. Maybe he could have had it; I don't know. Could have been thrown better, probably could have been caught, but we'll keep working on it and hopefully get it the next time.

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