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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

BB: We went through the Buffalo film today and looked that over. [There are] certainly things we can do better there, some things we did well - build on those. We'll be on the field tomorrow; kind of have a normal week here, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and figure out what's going on this weekend, start getting ready next week.  Certainly a lot of things we can work on [and] improve on so we'll try to do that.  

Q: How valuable do you think home field advantage is during the playoffs? What are some of the advantages that go with it?  

BB: I think the most important thing is to play well. We've won at home, we've won on the road; we've lost at home, we've lost on the road. You can probably pretty much say that everybody - a lot of teams have experienced both those. I think the most important thing is to play well.  

Q: What have you guys decided to do with this week physically - resting or cranking it up?  

BB: We're going to do what we feel is most productive for the team and then within that we might have to modify for some individuals depending on what their specific situation is. We'll take it on a case-by-case basis with the medical people.  

Q: Is two weeks off a lot of time to take away from full contact football?  

BB: We'll try to do what we feel is best, like I said, for the overall team and then within that if we have to modify it for individuals we will.  

Q: How important is it to have a lot of guys who have been through big games?  

BB: I think it's important to play well. You can find examples of both. Certainly wasn't important for us in '01 to have a lot of playoff experience because we didn't. We've won with experience, we've lost with experience; we've won without experience, we've lost without experience.                                                                                                   

Q: Have you enjoyed coaching this group any more than any other group?  

BB: I think we can reflect on that at the end of the year. I think there are a lot of positives about these guys. They work hard, they've done what I've asked them to do. I don't really have many complaints about that. They've competed.  

Q: When you ask a player to move to another position, do you ever have to convince the player that it is what's best for the team?   

BB: Sometimes maybe, sometimes. But I'd say in most cases if the player thinks it's an opportunity for him to get on the field more, they're usually not against it. 'Okay, we want you to do this and you'll get to play more.' 'No, I don't want to do it, I don't want to play,' I haven't heard that too many times. It's an opportunity for them to perform, get a chance to play more. I can't think of too many cases where the player didn't want to do it.   

Q: Is that a shared attribute of the industry in general, if you're a coach, player, scout?   

BB: I can't think of a lot of examples where it didn't go that way but if I racked my brain there probably was one somewhere, I don't know.  

Q: You've had the bye week in the postseason a few times now. Do you look back at what has worked well and what hasn't with the bye week schedule or is each team just too different to look back?  

BB: Yeah, I think it's no different than training camp. You look back at what you've done previous years in training camp, previous years in bye weeks during the regular season, bye weeks during the postseason. In the end, I think what's more important is what's the best thing for this team, what this team needs, what we need to work on relative to some other year. But it's interesting to look back on it. Maybe you get an idea or something comes to you that you're not thinking of right now that is stimulated by something that you've done in the past; it's possible. We've looked at it; I've definitely looked at those. In the end, I think that the decisions that we make in what's in the best interest of this team not what some historical schedule was.  

Q: Is there anything specific when you say something popped up that you'd want to share?  

BB: No, I don't think there's any point in giving that.  

Q: You guys lost coming off the regular season bye week to the Steelers. Will you look to change things you did that week or is it just a case of them scoring more points than you?  

BB: I think after every game we always look back and look at what we did and try to be self-analytical and see what things we can do better. That game is no different than any other game, we always do that.  

Q: You've mentioned that if you knew the reason for the slow starts you would have fixed it. You typically elect to defer the ball, have you given any thought to taking the ball to start the game?  

BB: We discuss that every week, [yes]. If we win the toss, if we lose the toss, what we're going to do with the wind, what we think the wind is going to be, what we're going to do with that, or whatever the conditions are - wind, sun, whatever it is. Yeah, we talk about that every week, we talk about it before every game.  

Q: So it is a week-to-week decision, it's not that you'll always defer?  

BB: That's right.  

Q: It seems like a lot of teams choose to defer. Is there any rhyme or reason why that would be?  

BB: I don't know. I'm not in those meetings with other teams. I don't really know what their thought process is or what their game plan is and all that. I know what ours is but I can't speak to what other teams do, you'd have to ask them that.  

Q: How about the reason why you guys defer?  

BB: We talk about it every week and we discuss our various options and then whichever one we select for whatever the combination of reasons are for that particular game, whatever it happens to be.  

Q: Because of the nature of your offense and the ability to score quickly at the end of halves and then get the ball back in the second half, does that factor into the decision to defer?  

BB: I think obviously if you take the ball at the beginning of the game, you have a chance to get one more possession in the first half. If you take the ball at the beginning of the second half, you have a chance to get one more possession in the second half. Either way, if you get it this half, they get it that half. It's not like you're actually stealing something from somebody, it's just a question of if you win the toss and even have a preference then what's your preference? Like I said, there are different conversations that go into that. In the end, you might not have a choice anyway. I don't think it's that big of a deal.  

Q: When you played the Jets, Rex Ryan was kicking himself because of a timeout at the end of the first half that allowed you to score at the end of the half and then you had the ball to start the half.  

BB: Time management at the end of the half, I mean, that's a critical part of every game, regardless of what you do with the coin toss. At the end of the game management is always an important part of the game, definitely.  

Q: You've had assistants go on to become head coaches. Is there something about Bill O'Brien that makes him a good head coaching candidate?  

BB: He's done a great job for us since he's come here. I really can't speak to him in any other position. Right now, really our focus is just on getting our team prepared for the bye week here and trying to improve the most that we can and trying to get ready for next week's opponent, whoever that is - that's our focus, not anything else.  

Q: What has made Bill O'Brien an effective coordinator for you?  

BB: Bill does a good job. He works hard, he's smart, he's got a lot of experience. He's done different things here in terms of working with the receivers, working with the quarterbacks. I think he's got a good understanding of what our system is, what our players can do and he's put them in good position to do it.  

Q: What drew you to Kyle Arrington?  

BB: When he came here, his primary role was in the kicking game. He did an outstanding job for us there - heck of a season, he significantly led the team in production. He's been on the team, he's competed at his position. The opportunities that he's gotten, he's earned. That's a credit to him and his improvement, his hard work ethic - he has a great work ethic. He really tries to do what you ask him to do and improve in the areas that you identify for him; he works very hard at them. The opportunities that he's gotten, he's earned on the playing field, as they all do.  

Q: Have you found when you get guys from smaller schools that didn't get drafted that they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder?  

BB: I think at this level, you have a lot of competitive players from big schools, from small schools, from all different types of programs and all that. I don't know if there's any single common denominator but he's a very prideful guy and works hard. I think that's a better question to ask him. He's very competitive but so are the other guys in the locker room, too.  

Q: How much do Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez help each other?  

BB: I think there's good competition there. I think both those guys are great competitors. They want to do well. I'm sure they learn from each other; I know they do. Things that one does well then the other can learn from that, try to apply it and vice versa. I think there's a lot of mutual respect there. Certainly both players have performed well doing some of the same things, doing some different things. That part of it is good. They push each other, but in a good way, in a very positive way. They both had high levels of production.  

Q: Are you at the point now that there's two seasons in the books with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez that you have an idea of how teams are going to defend them, that you've seen what other teams are going to do to them or is it week-to-week planning?  

BB: That's the way it is every week really. You go in with a game plan and you see how it unfolds against whatever your opponent is trying to do and then you modify it if you need to and if they adjust to what you're doing then you have to readjust. It's a constant back and forth. It just doesn't go one way and then, okay it stays that way for the rest of the game. A lot of times it changes from series to series or after a couple series after something has happened that has gone good, you might continue to see more of what they're doing. If you're hurting them with it then they do something to do adjust to you then you have to find something to counter that.  

Q: With young players like that that become such a big part of your offense so quickly there are going to be firsts - the first time they see something. Are you past that point now where they've seen everything?  

BB: We've seen a lot of different things, no question about that. I think that started last year. Prior to last year, we hadn't had a lot of production out of the tight end position period in the passing game; some but not to the degree that it's come in the last two years. We've seen things head in that direction more so than in some other years given the production at that position. But yeah, they started to see that last year and we still see it. Again, Tom [Brady], he's seen a lot of things. He does a good job identifying what the defense is trying to do and trying to do the best thing for us offensively as a team to attack it. They only have 11 guys so they can push the problem but you can strengthen one area and that leads to other weaknesses. Hopefully we can find those and attack them.  

Q: Could that in a way lead to the slow starts? There are so many different ways to attack the offense because you have so many weapons that there's a feeling out process to see what they're doing to you?  

BB: I think really it's we just need to do a better job of coaching, we need to do a better job of executing what we do. When we do that we have more success.  If we don't block, we don't catch the ball, if we don't have plays that give our offense options so we can handle different things that the chance of it working is not as high. Hopefully we can do a better job of coaching and having our team prepared at the beginning of the game which is certainly part of my responsibility. Also, the players collectively being able to go out there and perform better and execute better which is part of their responsibility. Hopefully we can all do a better job with it. It wouldn't take much.  

Q: Do you ever tell the captains what to call in terms of heads or tails? Are you superstitious about that?  

BB: No, I leave that up to them. It's a good question though. I've seen that done before.  

Q: Really?  

BB: Yeah, I've seen a coach tell a guy what to call. Or more important, criticize what the call was, 'What did you call?' and then whatever it was.  

Q: That sounds like Bill Parcells.  

BB: I've seen that before.  

Q: How do you coach that?  

BB: You don't.

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