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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 Wednesday, December 12, 2012.


BB:** We're obviously on a short week here. San Francisco is, it goes without saying, an outstanding football team. They do a lot of things well. Coach [Jim] Harbaugh has done a great job with that team. They have a very experienced coaching staff, coordinators. It's a short week for us; we don't know them very well. We haven't played them in quite awhile and they've made a lot of changes since the last time we did play them. We really have to do a good job of trying to catch up preparation-wise this week. Hopefully we can do that, but these guys do a lot of things well. They have a lot of good players. They're a very physical football team, well coached, very good fundamentally. We know we have a big challenge in front of us this week – the entire week, not just Sunday but the whole week of preparation and getting ready to play these guys will be tough too.

Q: Coach Harbaugh said one of the things about Colin Kaepernick is that he reads the field extremely fast and extremely well. Do you see that with him on the field and is that ability to read the field what gets quarterbacks to the next level?

BB: I think the two most important things for a quarterback are his decision making and accuracy. I could probably go out there and read the field decently but I don't think you'd want me playing quarterback. There are other guys that can thread a needle but maybe not see as well but I think the combination of seeing the field, making good decisions and accuracy is really what it comes down to more than some other qualities. Not that those aren't important, but I would put those at the top of the list.

Q: Do you see that with Colin Kaepernick?

BB: He's had limited opportunities. I think you certainly see it at times. I'm sure if Coach Harbaugh said it, I'm sure it's right. He's with him every day. He's really started the last what, four games? We've seen him have opportunities to do it but not as many as they've seen. I think he's done it to a degree. He's a young, improving quarterback. It looks like he gets better each week and probably plays with more confidence and does things a little bit better each week. But, I wouldn't disagree with [Coach Harbaugh].

Q: You've been in the situation that they are now, where the starter gets hurt and the backup plays well and then the starter comes back. What are the considerations for a coach as to who should be playing when both quarterbacks are available?

BB: To win. There are no other considerations.

Q: Does that go from week to week if one guy gives you a better chance to win against a certain team?

BB: It would to me. That's the only thing we're really here for is to win. What else is there? I don't know. What else is there to talk about?

Q: They've been running a Full House Pistol. How do you combat that? Is that an inside linebacker thing or an outside linebacker type of thing?

BB: No, it's a total team. They attack you everywhere; everybody has to do a good job. They can run inside, they can run outside, they can keep it, they play-action off it. Really, everybody has to be at the point of attack. No one player can stop it, no one guy can. Eleven guys have to play good team defense. I'm sure that's why they're doing it – is to try to put stress on every player on the defense and they do.

Q: It seems like Kaepernick has extreme speed but also some toughness to break tackles. You've seen a lot of mobile quarterbacks, but is he a little bit beyond the normal guy who can move around a little bit?

BB: I think we saw that with Tim Tebow last year. He was a guy that broke a lot of tackles, ran the ball inside, he was more like a running back. I think each player has their own individual style. Guys do some things, other guys – there are a lot of different ways to be effective. But it looks like he can certainly out-run the defense. He has good speed, he has some quickness, he has some running skill. It's not just speed.

Q: What have you seen from Randy Moss? It seems like he's been more involved the last few weeks.

BB: I think Randy is Randy. Good vertical receiver, he can still run through the defense, I don't think there's any doubt about that.

Q: Can you talk about bringing Deion Branch back at this point in time and what he brings to the team?

BB: Same thing he brought to the team before. With Donte' [Stallworth] out, he gives us a good level of experience and knows our system, has played for us and we have confidence in him.

Q: Not only can Colin Kaepernick leave the pocket and scramble, but it seems like they mix in a good amount of designed runs for him. Have you seen that on film?

BB: Yeah, they do. They have a few designed plays for him. I think a lot of it is some type of option play, depending on what the defense does he may keep it or he may not. There are some plays that are his plays and other plays that I'm sure are designed plays that he gives it, that he's getting rid of the ball. They do a good job in the running game. They have a lot of different plays, a lot of different concepts and blocking schemes, it's not just one thing. They make you defend a lot. They change it a little bit from week to week so it's very challenging to get ready for. You could have two weeks to get ready for them and still be scrambling. I guess we'll have to do the best we can but they give you a lot to get ready for.

Q: Their offensive line is very good.

BB: Yeah, very good; athletic, big. Plus the tight ends and they have not just those five guys but they have other guys and the receivers block. They do a good job. They do a real good job running the ball.

Q: Tom Brady said he started his preparation for the 49ers after Thanksgiving. Did the coaching staff do the same? Were you able to get ahead on them as well?

BB: We worked on them in the offseason. We always have people on our staff that look and work on the teams ahead of the ones that we're playing. We do that every week so that after the game we have a certain amount of information that's already been broken down and prepared by other members of the coaching staff. We do that every week.

Q: So the short week doesn't really impact it in that regard?

BB: It impacts it. It's 24 or however many less hours. Instead of spending all day Monday on them, we spent all day Monday on Houston and didn't get started until Tuesday. Normally we would spend Monday morning breaking down the film from the Sunday game and finishing that game up and making our notes and comments on that. I'm sure by Monday afternoon we'd be well into the next team and Monday night start to game plan and all that. We're a long way from that this week. From that standpoint, we're behind. I'm sure San Francisco did that. But that's the way it is.

Q: How accurate would it be to say that you're calling more defensive pressures in recent weeks than earlier in the season?

BB: I don't know. I'd have to go back and look and see exactly what the calls were. Again, that's not, it's sort of like the run-pass ratio. That's not always 100 percent accurate either. Sometimes it just depends on, if you have a play call depending on what the other team does, then you're calling it based on what they do. I'm just saying, you can have a run-pass check on offense and say we're throwing the ball a lot this week. If that's the way it's set up, maybe that depends on what the load was from the defense or vice versa. If you're going to blitz this formation to cover that formation, it depends on what they're in, what you have called. There's a certain amount of that element to it as well or could be. Yeah, I don't know, I'd have to go look at it.

Q: Overall, how pleased are you with the pressure you're getting on opposing quarterbacks in recent weeks?

BB: I'd say it's probably been about the same all year.

Q: How is Rob Gronkowski doing in terms of his recovery?

BB: Day-to-day. Hopefully today is better than yesterday. Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today.

Q: With Julian Edelman out and Wes Welker returning punts, are you concerned about the extra workload or is it just 'players play'?

BB: No, we talk about that every week. Certainly players, what their roles are in the kicking game, plus what they do on offense or defense, whatever those are, including some situational things like goal line, third down, short yardage, it depends on the player obviously. But sure, we try to be conscious of what all the things that they have to do are for that week. Some players carry more of a load than others but we try to be conscious of that every week. It doesn't mean we couldn't put a big load on somebody or put a smaller load on somebody, but I'd say we're conscious of it.

Q: How would you characterize the defense's confidence?

BB: I don't know. I think about the same as it's been all year. I don't think we lack confidence.

Q: What did you steal from Celtics coach Doc Rivers when he was at the game on Monday?

BB: It was great to have Doc here. I have a lot of respect for Doc and the program the Celtics run. I think he does a tremendous job coaching his team. I really admire the way his teams play, the way his players play. I think he has great leadership from a lot of those guys and has had it through the years. Certainly Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] and guys like that. We've learned a lot from watching them.

Q: Have you ever sat in on meetings like he did with you?

BB: We talk. We exchange ideas. I'm certainly pulling for them and I know they're pulling for us. We definitely have a rooting interest in it but beyond that, on a professional level, I think there's certainly a lot that I've learned from watching Doc and the Celtics and the way they do a lot of things organizationally and his coaching style and some of the things he's talked to me about the way he's handled players and handled different situations and things like that. He's talked to our team and said a lot of things that really made sense and really hit home. I've had an opportunity to talk to his guys a couple times. We have a good relationship. We've probably both learned from each other.

Q: Wouldn't it be great if you could just wave at the coach at the end of the game like they do in the NBA instead of a handshake?

BB: That would kill the ratings, wouldn't it? [laughter]

Q: Did you get any acting tips from Mark Wahlberg?

BB: I didn't. I don't think I'll need any of those for awhile.

Q: Do you think they'll sponsor the end of game handshake?

BB: That will be next. Please don't suggest that.

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