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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, October 23, 2012.


BB:** This is kind of like a Wednesday for us. We had a quick turnaround here after the Jets game and we're onto St. Louis. Obviously it's a good football team. They have a lot of young players. Jeff [Fisher] as usual has done a great coaching job there. He's an excellent coach. It looks like they're very sound. They do things well fundamentally and you really have to do a good job against them. You have to go out there and beat them; they don't make a lot of mistakes. They play hard, they have a lot of energy, have a lot of young players that are playing well. He's molded it into a real competitive football team in a hurry. That's where we're at for today.

Q: How have the Rams changed, if at all, with the loss of Danny Amendola?

BB: I think they still try to do their basic things; they just work around it a little bit. I wouldn't say they've changed their offense. He's a good player, don't get me wrong, but I think they still try to run their offense. They have real good backs, the running game is obviously really important to them – running game, play-action – is important to them. Sometimes they close you in and run and sometimes they spread you out and run it. All those backs are good, they're all solid players.

Q: Is there anything different about playing London and if so, does it help that you were there three years ago?

BB: I'm not sure how many of our players now were on that trip but I would say not a whole lot. There's been a decent amount of turnover since then. You know, the experience for those of us that went, you have some idea what to expect. There's something to be said for that.

Q: Are there differences, as far as the field?

BB: Every field is different, you get used to it. It's a grass field. It's not the fastest field but we've played on plenty comparable to that. It's a little different environment out there. They do the soccer cheers and the rugby cheers and all that. It's a little less football-oriented and a little more, I don't know, whatever you'd call that. But the time change, the travel – that's certainly different than most normal games. But, again, it's not anything we haven't dealt with before. We've traveled to the West Coast, we're just going the other direction. Hopefully we'll be able to deal with it.

Q: It seems like a recurring theme this year is facing opponents with really good edge rushers. The Rams also have some really good cover corners too and the rush and coverage seems to be working in tandem.

BB: Yeah, I think they have a real good group. The corner group is very impressive. [Cortland] Finnegan really does a good job. He plays outside and then comes inside in sub. Janoris Jenkins has done a good job for them, [Bradley] Fletcher has done a good job for them, even Trumaine Johnson who really hasn't played a whole lot. I think they have really good depth at that corner position. As you said, the edge rushers, they can really bring it. Of course, [Chris] Long and [Robert] Quinn are excellent but they're a good pass rushing team, they have them all the way across the board. The inside guys, [Michael] Brockers is a big guy. They're explosive inside, they're fast off the edge, linebackers are fast – [James] Laurinaitis and [Rocky] McIntosh and [Jo-Lonn] Dunbar, they all run well. They have a lot of team speed and they make a lot of plays from behind, chasing down screen passes and outside runs and check-downs and things like that. They're very athletic but the corners are good and they have a lot of pass rushers; very strong points of their team.

Q: On Sam Bradford, the numbers might not suggest that he's up at the top of the list in terms of accuracy but as you watch him in the short and intermediate game, it looks like he puts it where he wants it as well as anybody. Is that something you agree with?

BB: Yeah, absolutely, very good passer. We played against him here a couple years ago. Of course, talking to Josh [McDaniels] about him, who was with him last year, this guy is a very, very good quarterback. He's smart, really sees coverages well, I think he reads things well, has a good understanding of the passing game. [He's] accurate throwing the ball, has good mechanics, tough kid. I think he has a lot going for him. He's a good quarterback.

Q: It's 16 straight games for you now with at least 350 yards on offense, which ties a league record. What are some of the things that have allowed you to do that and are you proud of that at all?

BB: I'm a lot more concerned about wins than yards. I don't really care about the stats. I just care about scoring more points than the other team. That would definitely be the number one thing. So, whatever we've done, we've done. Whatever we haven't done, we haven't done. We're really just trying to look forward and trying to put the best plan and the best game we can on the field against the Rams on Sunday. That's really what the challenges are. Whatever we did or didn't do in the past against somebody else or last year, great, whatever it was. But we just have to do a good job this week against a good football team.

Q: The team that you are tied with is the Rams. When you look back at that offense, what kind of words come to mind?

BB: One word I would use would be explosive. All those players, they could score pretty much from anywhere on the field – handing it off, throwing it. Throwing it to [Isaac] Bruce, [Torry] Holt, [Az-Zahir] Hakim, [Marshall] Faulk, the slot receiver, [Ricky] Proehl. Orlando Pace and the quarterback, [Kurt Warner and Trent Green], they had a lot of explosive players.

Q: Operationally this week, you said today is like a Wednesday. When you get to London, do you try to make up for lost time on the back end?

BB: We're going to try to add a little bit extra time on the back end to rest and kind of get adjusted and all that, rather than spend it on game planning and that kind of thing. We're going to try to do that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, instead of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. [We'll] kind of take Friday as a travel day and obviously we're traveling Thursday night but the whole traveling Friday, getting adjusted, getting settled and all that, we'll see how much we actually get done that day. I don't want to say it's a lost day, but I think it's certainly a transition day for us. Saturday, hopefully we can get back into our regular routine on Saturday and treat Saturday like a normal Saturday, if you will. I think that Friday is kind of our transition day and hopefully today, Wednesday and Thursday would be our regular Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-type preparation days.

Q: How much does Rob Ninkovich's versatility allow you to do other things with your defense? Does it have a domino effect that you can do other things with other guys?

BB: I don't know about that. I just think Rob can do different things. We ask him to do different things and he can do them. That gives him value and versatility himself and to our defense and all that. As far as moving him to move somebody else, then you need another person with that same kind of versatility or a combination of people. I'm not saying there isn't some element of that, but I don't think that's the big thing. I think the big thing is you can ask him to do different things and he's pretty capable at all of them – rushing, playing the run, pass coverage, pursuit, special teams. He contributes for us in a lot of areas and that really gives us a lot of versatility; gives him a lot of versatility and gives us some versatility. But as far as that enabling other guys to do a lot of things, I'm not really sure about that.

Q: You got a good game out of Shane Vereen on Sunday. When you were scouting him when he was at California, what did you see that you liked?

BB: Shane is a smart kid. I think he has a good understanding of the game: the running game, passing game, pass protection, space plays, where to be, how to get open and find space, that kind of thing. He's an elusive guy, he has good balance, has good playing strength for his size, not the biggest guy but he has good playing strength. He gives us some versatility there. I think he's able to run inside, run in some traffic but he's a good space player on the edge and in the passing game and that kind of thing. He has really good four down value for us when he's had an opportunity to play, unfortunately he hasn't had a lot of opportunities over the last year and a half. The ones he's had have been fairly positive. Not that I'm hoping that anything happens to anybody else, but hopefully he'll get more opportunities because I feel like he can contribute for us. But we have confidence in all our backs. Whoever is in there, they've all been productive. He's done a good job when he's had a chance, he just hasn't had a lot of opportunities.

Q: With Brandon Bolden being hurt last week, I'm sure you knew that it would be an opportunity and Shane Vereen probably sensed that as well.

BB: Yeah, I would agree with that. But I would say more of it is Shane being healthy and Shane being ready to go than waiting for something to happen to somebody else. It's been more a case of him really being able to go out there and be the player that he is. He had a good training camp and then kind of got set back there at the end of camp and the beginning of the season. It took a couple games to get back into things here. Hopefully he'll be able to sustain that and stay out there because I do think he can be productive, regardless of who else is out there, I think he's a good player in his own right without waiting for somebody else to get injured or whatever.

Q: How important is Ivan Fears to that group because the running back group is so young?

BB: Right. Ivan spends a lot of time with those guys. They're all a little but different. They all have a little bit different skills and different backgrounds and a little different calling card, if you will. He's done a real good job with all of them and the group, bringing the whole group together as he has all the years that I've been here. Ivan's a really solid coach, very well prepared. He does a really good job with that group of players. He has through the years and with the current group he has. You're right, they're all relatively young and inexperienced. Woody [Danny Woodhead] has the most but that group is a hard working group. They've come a long way, they've certainly improved a lot this year and even last year, with Shane [Vereen] and Stevan [Ridley] and Woody for that matter. They've been able to contribute in a lot of different areas and he's done a real good job.

Q: Would you say that based on production, that's a mature group for their collective experience?

BB: We're getting there, they're improving, they're getting there. They still have a long way to go, each of them and all of them collectively. I do think they've covered a lot of ground. It's a lot better than it was last year; it's a lot better than it was a couple months ago. I think they're working hard and we're going in the right direction there. But I still think there's still significant ground that we can cover and improve on. But, it's headed in the right direction.

Q: We always talk about continuity in the offensive line. How important is it to have continuity on the coaching staff, with guys like Dante Scarnecchia and Ivan Fears who have been with you for a long time? You know them and they know you and you know what they are capable of doing.

BB: It's good. We've been through a lot of experiences together. We can learn from those and also reflect back on, a lot of times we get to a situation and we can say, 'This is similar to something that we dealt with at another point in time.' And, 'This worked well,' or 'Maybe here's a reason to do it differently because there's a little bit of a difference between the situation and the last one.' But we have a good reference point. Again, with those guys, I can always ask them about the line relative to another situation or the backs relative to what they need. We've had enough experience with that kind of thing that I think that experience really pays off. There are some definite benefits to it.

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