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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Monday, December 5, 2011.

BB:We went through the film here this morning; looked at it with the team this afternoon. I think we saw some good things yesterday; saw some other things that weren't so good. Hopefully we'll be able to put together 60 minutes of good football. That's our goal every week.

Q:When you're trying to hammer home the point about putting together 60 minutes of good football, is that something the team came into today understanding or is it something you go over?

BB:We've talked about it from Day One. I know everybody is trying to do that, but obviously we need to do a better job. We have to coach it better, we have to play it better. We have a lot we have to do better. That's never not been a goal, but we obviously aren't getting it done.

Q:Is it just a lack of concentration or a lack of execution?

BB:We're just not getting it done. We just have to do a better job of it - all of us.

Q:Is it fair to call your defense in the fourth quarter a 'prevent' defense?

BB:No. No, we were running the same offense and the same defensive plays. Other than the last drive offensively and the last drive defensively, it was the same thing we did all game. Couldn't make a first down in the fourth quarter, couldn't keep them out of the end zone in the fourth quarter. They just did a better job than we did.

Q:It didn't seem like a 'prevent' because you guys were blitzing -

BB:We played our regular defense and ran our regular offense. We just didn't do a good enough job of it.

Q:When you did blitz, they were able to get rid of it quickly and you guys didn't get there. Is there something you guys can do to fix that?

BB:A couple times we didn't get there; a couple of times we hit the quarterback but the ball was gone. Sometimes the rush could be better; sometimes the coverage could be better. It was definitely a combination. We didn't hit the quarterback very often yesterday - five times the whole game or whatever it was. We have to do a better job of hitting the quarterback, have to do a better job of covering the receivers.

Q:Nick McDonald seemed to play well, especially in his first career start. What did you see out there?

BB:I thought he did a real good job. I thought he did a real good job for not really having many reps with the first group and just really getting them this week for the most part. He hadn't had a lot of exchanges with Tom [Brady] or just Logan [Mankins] and Brian [Waters], working next to them with combination blocks and things like that. I thought he did a real good job.

Q:Is it a week-to-week thing or do you think he's shown that he could take that position in a more permanent role over the next month?

BB:I don't know. I don't know how it's going to go, we'll see. We always give everybody an opportunity to compete. The guys that do the best get more opportunities; the guys that don't do as well get fewer opportunities until something changes. We'll let the players at that and other positions compete and the guys that we feel like are doing the best job, they'll get more opportunities than the guys that don't do as well.

Q:How did Nate Jones do?

BB:I thought Nate did a good job too. Same thing - came in, I mean, he wasn't even familiar with what we were doing, so he had a steeper learning curve, but he's a more experienced player, so there's a tradeoff there. I thought Nate did a pretty good job for us. [He] played the defenses pretty well, was good in communication, got his hands on a couple balls, made a few plays. It was far from perfect, but I thought he did a good job.

Q:Does he seem to be a fundamentally solid player? The first tackle he made seemed like he broke down perfectly.

BB:I thought he tackled pretty well in the game. He did some good things. Like I said, it was far from perfect.

Q:How much has the tackling improved? There was a stretch when it wasn't that hot, especially in the back seven, but it seems to have gotten better.

BB:We work on it every week. We always try to get better at that. There's not much more important than tackling on defense and special teams, so that's always a priority.

Q:Has there been any difficulty keeping the number of tackling reps that you want to, given the changes in the amount of contact you can do this season?

BB:I'd say we've done pretty much about what we usually do. We didn't do a lot of live tackling during the season in any year. We've done a little bit from time to time, but we don't do a lot of it during the year.

Q:On the two receptions at the end of the game when Devin McCourty was in coverage, was there anything fundamentally that you saw there that needs to get better?

BB:We had a number of problems on both plays. There were a lot of things we could have done better. We didn't do a good job. Obviously we didn't do a good job of coaching it, but we didn't do a good job of playing it in several positions. There were multiple problems.

Q:How did Matthew Slater do?

BB:I think he did alright. He made a few plays, made some tackles, caused a fumble. There were certainly things he could have done better as well. For his first game back there - he really hadn't had a lot of practice time back there either, to be honest with you, this year although he's done it in the past. I thought he did a good job [and with] communication. We didn't have a lot of assignment problems. We had some execution problems, but we played pretty well through a big stretch of the game. Not real good at the end obviously, but there was a pretty good stretch there where we played alright. I thought he did a good job.

Q:When you put different guys out there on defense, is there some part of you that gets a kick out of that? You know what people's reaction will be when they see Matthew Slater out there on defense.

BB:I don't really care about that. I'm just trying to win a game, that's all.

Q:I didn't know if curiosity would get the better of you there.

BB:I'm just trying to win a game. That's really all there is to it.

Q:Are there one or two reasons why Taylor Price didn't work out?

BB:I would just say it didn't work out.

Q:Did the fact that he had been hurt, especially so much this year with the hamstring - I assume not being able to practice hurts with the reps with Tom Brady and things like that?

BB:I would just say in the end it just didn't work out. I don't know what else. That's probably the easiest way to put it. It was a combination of factors. In the end, we felt like we needed Nick McDonald in this game so we had to create a spot for him.

Q:Did you try Taylor Price at any other positions besides wide receiver?




Q:Special teams?

BB:You've seen him return kicks. No, he's been involved in the kicking game, sure. He's been involved in the kicking game.

Q:Just not enough to warrant a roster spot?

BB:Not for this game, no. I'm sure there're dissenting views out there, but not in our opinion, no.

Q:Would you be open to the opportunity to bring him back if he cleared waivers?

BB:I wouldn't rule anything out. But we'll do what we feel like is best for our team this week, for Washington, whatever that is. I'm not sure what all our options are or right now if we've made any decisions as to what that is, but whatever it is, that's what it will be. That's what it will be based on.

Q:Does the fact that Jerod Mayo got his first career interception yesterday show how fluky certain stats can be?

BB:I think overall pass defense is probably a strength of Jerod's. It was really an outstanding play that he made on the ball. A lot of players probably wouldn't have made that catch, but the fact that he not only got to it, but then actually caught it, was a heck of a play. I'd say overall pass defense is a strength of Jerod's. He's done that for us in games obviously and in practices, he's certainly gotten his hands on balls in practice. But the first one in a game was good - opportune time.

Q:Is Kyle Arrington recovering the fumble just another example of him being around the ball this season?

BB:That one kind of came to him, but he made the play. Sometimes it kind of works out that way. You make plays and then sometimes you kind of aren't even expecting it and it just comes to you. Other times, you do everything right and something happens and it doesn't come to you. That's football. He was in the right spot at the right time on that one. [Matthew] Slater did a nice job of pulling the ball out as [Delone] Carter was going down, got the nose of the ball there and dislodged it and it spun out. It was a good play by Slater and then Kyle was the beneficiary of the loose ball.

Q:Is the running game something you'd like to see more consistent production out of?

BB:Of course. We'd like to see everything better: running game, passing game, run defense, pass defense, coverage, returns, everything, yeah. We work on those things all the time; we're always trying to improve them. However good they are, they're never good enough. They can always be better, so definitely.

Q:Obviously Rob Gronkowski gets a lot of attention for his production in the passing game. How does he measure up as a classic tight end, in-line blocker or in space?

BB:He's a pretty good in-line blocker. Rob is long, can handle the length of outside linebackers and defensive ends, 6'4", 6'5" guys. He's got that kind of reach and he's a strong guy. He takes a lot of pride in his blocking. He likes to block and takes pride in having a good block. He gets excited about that. I think he enjoys that part of the game. He does a pretty good job.

Q:I know all guys try to play 60 minutes, but he seems like he always plays for 60 minutes. Have you ever looked at the film and thought he wasn't trying hard on a play?

BB:I think Rob has some plays that are better than others, like we all do. But he does a lot of good things in the running game and in the passing game. There are a lot of things that he can still improve on and do more consistently and do better. There are a lot of things that he's doing better now than he did four weeks ago or back in September because he works at them, he takes coaching and does work hard on the practice field. He really tries to improve and do what you ask him to do. You see that on a weekly basis. He usually has a couple of plays every week that, if you reflect back to a different point in time last week or last month or whatever, you can see improvement in the way he's trying to do it. He's conscientious and Brian Ferentz, the tight end coach, does a good job of staying on those guys and keeping on their technique and their assignments and everything. If the player works hard, then he should improve and I think Rob has done that.

Q:With two tight ends with different skill sets, does Brian Ferentz have a pretty varied job or does he just give both guys the same stuff?

BB:Fundamentally, some things are the same but assignment-wise, sure some things are different. Actually, those guys are interchangeable in different formations and so forth. When you only have two of them, in a way they have to back each other up in certain ways. There's a lot of carryover. They have different skill sets, but they're both very talented players. But certainly a large part of it is fundamentally the same. But there are things Aaron [Hernandez] does more of or does more than Rob [Gronkowski] and vice versa, so that's pretty common. [There're] certain game plan things and certain skill things that one guy does that the other one sort of specializes in or vice versa that differentiates the coaching a little bit too, for what they're being asked to do.

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