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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 Wednesday, October 16, 2013.


BB: **Back in the division here. As usual, the Jets [are] a tough team to prepare for. They're obviously playing very well on defense. Statistically they do a lot of things well: very good against the run, good on first down. They have a very disruptive front seven. Of course in the kicking game, they're very much a game plan team. With [Jeremy] Kerley back who we didn't really see in the first game and whatever capacity [Josh] Cribbs is, I'm sure they'll be dangerous there. You know, blocked punt against Atlanta I thought was a big tempo setter for that game. Offensively, it's an explosive group: 500 yards against Buffalo, 30 points against Atlanta. They do a good job of getting the ball down the field, making some big plays and using the quarterback in the running game, as well as their backs. [Jeff] Cumberland has emerged for them, made several big plays here over the course of the season. A lot of things to prepare for and we were in a real tight game with them on the Thursday night game, the second game of the year. I'm sure it will be real competitive down there and I think we'll have to play better than we did the first time if we're going to win.

Q:Can you comment on the decision to put Jerod Mayo on Injured Reserve?

BB:It's a medical decision.

Q:What does his loss mean to the linebacker group and the whole defense?

BB:Jerod, I think I've been on record many times talking about Jerod. He does a lot for us on the field [and] off the field. But we're just going to have to move on.

Q:How will your other linebackers be inserted?

BB:That's why we have them. That's why we have a full team. if we ever happen to lose somebody, somebody else has to step in and play. That's why we have a full team.

Q:Does it compare to Vince Wilfork in that there's no other like that's like him?

BB:I don't know.

Q:What do you look for in a player that would have the communication device in their helmet?

BB:They have to be able to communicate from the sideline to the rest of the players on the field.

Q:Is it imperative for that player to always be on the field? Can you split that up if it's a guy that comes off in certain situations?

BB:Sure, you could do that. If he comes off, then you'd have to signal or communicate it some other way. You wouldn't be able to use the helmet communication. Yeah, sure. That happens anyway. There are always periods in the game from time to time, or in some games where the communication system doesn't work from the coach to the quarterback or the coach to the signal caller, whatever it is, then you have to have an alternative way to communicate that. We'd have to do that even if the player out there had the green dot. There's just times when it doesn't work.

Q:Is there a reason it's usually a linebacker?

BB:Could be anybody.

Q:Is there a benefit to it being a linebacker? They communicate with all levels.


Q:What about a defensive back?

BB:One guy has to get it to the other 10, however you slice it up. Whatever you feel is the most efficient way to do that for your defensive system and the players that are involved then you pick out your best option.

Q:Do you have any plans to do anything different with Rob Gronkowski this week?

BB:We'll give our injury updates at the end of the day with the practice report to the league like we always do.

Q:Any reason to be more hopeful this week?

BB:We'll give our reports at the end of the day.

Q:Matt Patricia mentioned that the Jets have a lot of different attack points in the running game. Can you elaborate on how that puts stress on a defense?

BB:I think anytime you involve the quarterback in the running game, that takes away from just going to the play side point of attack – the blocking pattern, the back, where he's entering the hole, you have to protect against the quarterback keeping the ball in some other place. When they Wildcat it, which is the same thing except it's a running back instead of a quarterback doing that, that you have plays that start one way but end up somewhere else as opposed to just a counter play that's handed off and changes directions. One guy is going one way and another guy is going another way and you have to figure out which guy has the ball and the blocking pattern and so forth. I think that's probably what he's referring to, that they run outside, they run inside but they do it at times with two guys or sometimes even three guys going to different points of the defense and you have to determine which guy has the ball or which part of that action is what's real and what's deceptive.

Q:It seems like more of their personnel changes since September 12 have been on the offensive side of the ball. Is that the way you see it?

BB:I'm not sure what exactly some of the statuses of the players on defense are. [Darrin] Walls has been playing more, [Dee] Milliner started in our game, [Kyle] Wilson didn't finish the game last week, [Isaiah] Trufant did. I don't know what's going on there. They really play three safeties, [Quinton] Coples is back. So, I don't know. Then there are some of the ones on offense. They have some changes, we have some changes, they are what they are; new punter.

Q:Is there a moment you take with the team when you have to articulate the reality of losing a guy but this is what we need to worry about? Do you spend any time with the team talking about that?

BB:I don't know. I mean, I talk to the team every day. We talk about a lot of things. I'm sure at some point we probably talk about most everything. I don't know.

Q:Where do you value depth in terms of building a team, in terms of its importance?

BB:It's pretty important. You can't have a team without players.

Q:Everyone has the same amount of players, but how do you get your 40th player to be better than the 40th player on another team's roster?

BB:That's what we're here for every day. Everybody that's here, the players on the active roster, the players on the practice squad, even players in training camp that aren't here, they've all been coached, they've worked, they've prepared and some of the m get a chance to play, some of them don't and then over the course of the year, sometimes that changes. Everybody that's here is working on a daily basis trying to get better. We're all trying to do a better job. Who knows exactly how the wheel is going to spin, who is going to be where but we all have to prepare for that.

Q:Will you add a defensive captain who is here on a daily basis and will be active on Sundays?

BB:If we think that's the best thing to do, we will.

Q:In regards to practice squad players, how much of their time during the week is devoted to scout team work and what the other team does and also learning your system?

BB:That's a good question. I'd say the majority of the meeting time is focused on what we do and the majority of the practice time is focused on what they do. Those need to merge obviously so we need to spend some meeting time preparing them for practice time and we need to take our meeting time where we're working on what we do and at some point transfer that onto the field to working on what we do, not just what they do. I'd say the percentages kind of flip but they're certainly interrelated and anytime we can practice something that our opponent does that's similar to what we do or sometimes is the same as what we do then we relate it in those terms so we would call the play the same or we would play the technique the same way as we're trying to play it so that even though they're doing the other team's play, they're using the techniques that we would use on our play so that we transfer that back over to us getting better and working on things that we do. So there's definitely a balance there and sometimes there's more of that at some positions or on one side of the ball from week to week than others. One week might be 90 percent of what we do, maybe it's not quite the same play but the techniques are the same, that type of thing. Maybe another week it might be 40 percent, I don't know. It isn't always the same but that's the merging that we try to get to and it's not easy but that's what we have to do so that's another aspect of our preparation and planning. Like on Tuesdays, that's one of the things that we do is not only to talk about what we're going to do from a game plan standpoint but talk about how we're going to practice, who is going to practice, where, how that person can get the most out of their practice even though they might not even be playing or they might be practicing the other team's plays but they can still gain some experience and execution because it's something that we do, so things like that.

Q:Will the clock start on Armond Armstead and Mark Harrison today?

BB:It won't start today, no.

Q:Specifically in the running game, what do they do well that challenges teams to run against them? It seems like they were pretty effective against you guys.

BB:Yeah, they've really been pretty effective against everybody. Number one, they have good players. They have a good front. They have big guys that are physical, that are athletic. They play good technique, they have a good scheme so all those things. They're well coached, they have good players and they play well. They do all those things well and they're pretty consistent. They have some depth. They have several guys on the defensive line, several guys at linebacker so they rotate them through so they have probably eight or nine guys really involved in all that, not even counting the secondary, just the front seven.

Q:Do most of your reserve linebackers have positional versatility with all three spots? Do you coach them that way or are they plug-and-play with one specific spot?

BB:It depends on the player, yeah. That's a good question. That's one of the things that we go through in training camp. As we build through the season, as some players have kind of [have] one specific responsibility and sometimes we have other players that have more than one. Some of that depends on the player, his skills, his experience, what else he has relative to the kicking game as an example, roles in sub defense or other situational defenses. Sometimes that changes over the course of the season, from week to week. That's one of the things that we do every week really, is we come in with the game plan for the Jets, as an example, and then, 'OK, this player is responsible for this. This player is responsible for that. This player is responsible for not just this position but you're also backing u this position and maybe another position.' In our different personnel groupings, whether it's on special teams or on defense, we have goal line and sub groups and regular groups and short-yardage groups and same thing on offense, we have short-yardage and goal line and multiple receiver groups and multiple tight end groups and two-back groups so somebody has to double or maybe even triple up and then there are other guys that don't. They just kind of have more one spot or they're just backing up one spot. It varies. It depends on the player, depends on the situation but somewhere along the line you have to account for that. No question about it, you have to find a way to do that. Sometimes you just say, 'Look, if we lose one of these players, that would knock us out of this personnel group and this is what our alternative would be.' Sometimes you just feel like you can't back a player up for whatever reason, you just shift out of that and go to something else that you feel is better. That's another alternative to sometimes having too many, if you have a lot of personnel groups, having too many variables. You just say, 'OK, if something happens then we drop it and a play the game in these other groupings that we practiced.'

Q:Is Muhammad Wilkerson pretty much what you would have projected coming out in 2011?

BB:He's improved, yeah, he's improved every year. He's been much more of a factor in the pass rush this year. He's big, he's athletic, he's got good playing strength, runs well. He's been around the ball a lot, he's had a lot of productive plays: tackles and some negative plays. It looks like he's gotten better every year.

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