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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, December 12, 2011.

BB: It's good to be 10-3. It's good to come out of Washington with a win. Like I said after the game, I thought the Redskins did a real good job. They had a good attack, as Mike [Shanahan] always does. Fortunately we were able to make enough plays to win. We had our moments, both up and down. Probably one of the better things in the game was our special teams units and our coverage did a good job on [Brandon] Banks, who was a big challenge. But just overall, we have to keep moving forward. Big challenge this week going out to Denver. They're playing well, good football team and they do a lot of things well. We'll leave Friday after practice, head out there and hopefully be ready to go on Sunday.

Q: You guys vary looks on defense a lot, but is there any common thread of your red zone success?

BB: No, I wouldn't say so. We've seen different types of attacks. We've tried to work hard on it; players put in a lot of extra time. Hopefully we can keep playing well in that area and play better. There are still some things that - I mean, they scored three touchdowns, so it's not perfect - two in that area. There are still some things we can do better there, but those stops obviously helped us.

Q: When you're breaking it down in practice, are all red zone plays the same or is it like inside the five, then inside the two? Do you break it down?

BB: Yeah, we sort of march on in from around the 20 to inside the 10 to inside the five. You don't really know what the offense is going to be in. They might have their big goal line people in there or they might be spread out or they might have their normal offense - a two receiver type set in there. There are a lot of different things you have to be ready for. Plays like two-point plays, usually teams have multiple receivers in the game. Sometimes you'll be on the two-yard line and they'll bring in multiple tight ends. It's different; you just have to match up differently. Obviously you just don't want them to hand the ball off and run it in; you want to be able to stop that. Less space to throw, but you have to be able to defend that too.

Q: After an extended stretch on the shelf, how did Dane Fletcher look yesterday?

BB: I thought Dane did some good things, starting with the opening kickoff - he made a nice tackle on that. I thought Dane was in on a lot of tackles. It looked like he played with good anticipation and was around the ball.

Q: Is leaving on Friday the same thing you've done in the past for West Coast trips?

BB: Yeah, same as we did for Oakland.

Q: Is that what you've done in the past for Denver?

BB: It has varied. We've stayed out there a couple of times. It just depends on whatever we think is best for that particular game and that particular week. This situation is similar to the Oakland situation, so we'll handle it about the same.

Q: Do you have a venue to practice there or will you do your regular stuff in the hotel on Saturday?

BB: We're still looking into that but I don't think it's really that big of a thing one way or the other at this point in the season, relative to the Oakland game which was like the fourth game or something like that.

Q: When Brian Waters taps Nick McDonald on the leg to get the snap going - the silent count going. Is that specific to McDonald or have you done that with your other centers?

BB: We have a couple of different ways to do it, but we've done it with the other centers too, yeah.

Q: Was the rotation at center planned going into it or was there something you saw?

BB: No, we wanted to try to play Ryan [Wendell] a little bit. We felt like he was more ready to play this week than he was last week. We were able to get him in there for 20 plays or something like that. I'm sure Mike [Reiss, ESPN Boston] will have a breakdown on that.

Q: Is that an example of getting playing time for guys who are practicing well?

BB: Ryan [Wendell] has practiced and played well for us over an extended period of time. Unfortunately last week, he was able to play [but] we weren't sure how effective he would be after the Philadelphia game, and so that's why we brought Nick [McDonald] up and Nick played and Nick did a good job. We don't mind having either one of them in there, to be honest with you. They've both done a good job. There's more history on Ryan; he's done it over a period of time. But Nick did a good job for us last week against Indianapolis. If Ryan would have been able to play more last week, we probably would have played him more last week, but it didn't look like that was going to be the case so we went with Nick. I don't believe Ryan played last week against Indianapolis. We felt like after this week of practice that Ryan was better able to play this week so we wanted to play him, like we did in Philly.

Q: What particular challenges does Tim Tebow pose relative to other quarterbacks?

BB: Tim is a strong runner, good athlete, he can hurt you out of the pocket. We've faced other quarterbacks like that. The big thing is just the whole offense:- they run the ball, they have different types of running plays, running attack and then they have a lot of good receivers and they throw the ball down the field. There are a lot of challenges there.

Q: Does the phenomenon exist in your mind that one player can raise the level of everyone around him if he happens to be a dynamic leader?

BB: I don't know. You'd have to talk to their team about that, I'm not sure. I don't know the dynamics of it. I think they have a good football team, they have a lot of good players - it's certainly not a one-man team. They're good on defense, they're good in the kicking game and they run the ball on offense well, they have a well balanced attack. Obviously, they've played great when they've needed to play well in the fourth quarter, whether it's kicking 60-yard field goals or driving the length of the field for a touchdown or making a defensive stop or whatever it is. That's really the mark of a team, is to play well in critical situations and win games and Coach [John] Fox has them doing that. I think that speaks to everybody.

Q: Have you ever seen that phenomenon on your team when one guy is in, he elevates the play of those around him?

BB: I think that's true of a lot of players; a lot of players provide that kind of leadership.

Q: Two coaches were let go today, Todd Haley officially and Tony Sparano reportedly. Any thoughts on that?

BB: I don't mean to sound unsympathetic about it, but honestly I'm just trying to coach our team and trying to get them ready for Denver. I really can't, don't have a lot of time to worry about what everybody else in the league is doing.

Q: Does Denver's offense do anything different late in the fourth quarter or do they just execute better in the fourth quarter?

BB: Yeah, they've had a lot of production. I wouldn't say it's dramatically different. Yeah, it's not like they run out a new whole thing. They've done it in different ways - they've done it throwing the ball, running the ball, driving it, making big plays. We'll have to obviously study it a little bit more carefully but from what I've seen, they've made plays when they had to make them, critical plays. Again, whether that's the strip fumble, the field goal, a pass, a run. It hasn't just been one thing; they've won as a team.

Q: Were you guys going under the assumption that the Redskins would have gone for two at the end if they had scored?

BB: We were prepared for that, yeah. We were definitely prepared for that. We had talked about that Saturday night.

Q: That same situation?

BB: Yeah, that if it came down to a late score to be prepared for them to go for two because Mike [Shanahan] has done that in the past.

Q: When you have emotions inevitably bubble over between coaches and players or players and players, do you go back and make sure everyone is on the same page going forward?

BB: We always go in and look at film and talk about it as a staff and as a team about the previous game and things we did well and things we need to do better [and] start to get ready for the new opponent. That's what Mondays are for.

Q: Not so much on the film, but how the mechanism works on the field. With Bill O'Brien and Tom Brady getting into ti, that was an uncommon situation. Did you go over it with the two individuals?

BB: Like I said, we do the same things we always do on Monday. We address the game and we move on to the next opponent. It's a transition off of one game and into the next. Whatever that is, it is. That's what Mondays are.

Q: One thing that people will go back to is that Phil Simms and Bill Parcells would get into it on the sidelines. Is there any specific episode you remember?

BB: No, I was coaching defense.

Q: I was just wondering if you could hear it on the headset.

BB: No, I don't know.

Q: As you watched the game film, are you happy with your use of timeouts during the Redskins last drive or would you have changed your thinking now that you've re-watched the game? Would you have taken your timeouts to keep more time on the clock for your offense in case the Redskins scored?

BB: I looked at that after every play during the game. I would say looking back on it, I'm still not sure what play would have been the right one. I guess if I had to do it again, I'd do it the way we did it. Obviously, the offensive pass interference call changed the whole situation down there a little bit. I understand the strategy you're talking about. I don't know which play it would have been that you would have wanted to take the timeout on. One was with three minutes to go, the ball was on like the 20-yard line, whatever it was. Then it was a second-and-one, right before the minute warning, so I'm not sure about that one. Then they took a timeout and it was an offensive interference call. I don't know which play it is you're talking about there.

Q: How did Matthew Slater and James Ihedigbo do at safety yesterday?

BB: I think defensively we had our moments. That would be probably true for most of the players, all of the players. There were times were things would start off pretty good, finished off okay, wasn't as good in the middle. Offense was kind of the reverse of that - didn't start off so good, pretty good in the middle, didn't finish so well. We had our moments.

Q: We saw Troy Brown in the locker room today. Was he here for anything in particular?

BB: I don't know.

Q: You're not signing him to play safety are you?

BB: No. Have to work him out.

Q: How was the experience of going to the Army-Navy game on Saturday in Washington?

BB: Good. That game is always a big thrill. Navy winning, Patriots winning - it's like taking a double header. Army-Navy on the field. It's a great game, there's nothing like it. It was nice to be able to be a little part of it for a few minutes.

Q: Did you know that they would keep the end zones painted Army and Navy? Do they talk to you about that?

BB: I was under the impression they were going to change it, but obviously they didn't. Either I'm wrong, which is usually the case, or they changed their mind.

Q: Did the field hold up for you guys?

BB: Relative to what?

Q: Relative to not having a game the previous day.

BB: I think when you watch NFL kickers kick the ball out of bounds and stuff like that it's probably not a great indication.

Q: A guy got injured in warm-ups too.

BB: Yeah, [we've] certainly played on better.

Q: When you watched it over again, is there anything Andre Carter could have done differently on that penalty? Where did that break down?

BB: I think any of those things, you should ask the officials about - what they called, what they saw and so forth. We'll continue to try to keep our players informed of the rules and how the game is being called and try to avoid as many penalties as we can. That's what we always do. You'll have to ask them about it.

Q: Was it an easy call to bring Eric Moore back?

BB: It was really kind of a last minute kind of thing. Jermaine [Cunningham] pulled up Friday in practice. Friday night to Saturday morning to making the trip to Washington, you don't know what the availability of people is or so forth. It was similar to what we had with Eric last year, at a similar time of year. He was available and of course he was in camp with us, obviously, but he played some football here in the fall. At least he's been active and doing football related type things. We're probably fortunate to pull that one off as quickly as it happened.

Q: Was there any consideration to possibly promoting Markell Carter?

BB: We looked at several options. Obviously in the end, we felt like that was the best one. There were several options that we considered.

Q: Malcolm Williams has a strong special teams reputation. How has he adjusted to playing on defense?

BB: He's learning it. He missed a lot of time in training camp and then came back around the bye, somewhere in there. He really hasn't had a lot of opportunities, but he's worked primarily in the kicking game. I thought he did a good job there for us yesterday; it was good to have him back there. I think he gave us a few plays. Defensively, it's a process. I'd say he's further ahead in the kicking game than he is defensively.

Q: When you're defending Denver's running game and Tim Tebow is running the option, are there Wildcat elements to it, like how you would defend Miami?

BB: Yeah, absolutely, that's what it is - that's part of what it is, it's not all option, but there's definitely an element of that in the running game. They have several different, I'd say, concepts - not really packages, because you don't when they're going to be in them and when they're not because they don't change personnel. It's not like seeing a running back or a receiver come back and stand behind the center - a different guy - it's always the same guy. They can either be in it or not be in it at their discretion so you have to be ready for it even though that's not what they're doing, and then you have to be ready for it and that is what they're doing. It definitely has a Wildcat option element to it, no question about it. But they also run a lot of plays that I think we would say are conventional plays, if you will - whatever that is, you know, plays that are more familiar to all of us. They do both and that's part of the problem; you don't know when you're going to get one thing or get another. They don't substitute necessarily to get into it, so you just have to figure it out. Sometimes at the line of scrimmage or sometimes after the ball is snapped you have to figure it out. They create some problems on that, no question.

Q: What prevented Jermaine Cunningham from having a productive second season?

BB: We put him on Injured Reserve because he got injured on Friday. That's what ended it.

Q: Previous to that, what prevented him from being productive?

BB: There were obviously other players that played ahead of him. We made those decisions based on performance and production like we always do.

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