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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, October 23, 2013.

BB: We're on to the Dolphins here. Once again, [they're] a real explosive football team. They have a lot of firepower offensively: good backs, playmaker at tight end, athletic quarterback and a lot of speed and athleticism there at the receiver position. Defensively these guys have a real good front. They pretty much play seven players, rotate them through. They're all good, they're all disruptive, hard group to block. [They're] solid in the kicking game. They have the NFL's leading punter, [Marcus] Thigpen is a strong, powerful guy as a returner; very explosive player. They have good coverage teams, good coverage units. Well coached, I think Coach [Joe] Philbin has done a real good job down fundamentally in all three phases of the game – they're sound, they're tough, they play with good technique and they definitely, you can see they're well schooled, well disciplined. They don't get many penalties; they make you earn everything you get. It's a good football team that's had a couple tough weeks, which we can certainly relate to. I don't think that diminishes a lot of good plays they've had this year.

Q: I imagine it's an easy decision to bring back a familiar face like Andre Carter?

BB: Well, we felt like he'd give us some things. Yeah, give us some things on the team so yeah, we made that move.

Q: How much does his familiarity with the system factor into the decision?

BB: You know, we have a lot of respect for Andre. He's a hard working guy that's given us great leadership in the past and is a good teammate, I mean everybody loves Andre. But in the end, it still comes down to performance on the field and all that, so we'll see.

Q: How were the Raiders using him last year compared to what you guys did with him in 2011?

BB: Similar.

Q: Defensive end?

BB: Yeah. We played some 3-4 when he was here in '11 and played 4-3 and he played probably more 4-3 out there, but similar.

Q:Are the situations with Armond Armstead and Mark Harrison still the same?

BB: There's no transaction on those guys, no change in their status, no.

Q: Can Shane Vereen begin practicing this week?

BB: He's really in the day-to-day category. We'll take it as it comes with him. What he's doing, he's obviously rehabbing with the trainers and can do some running but his involvement with the team, I'd say, this particular time, isn't there yet but I don't think that's too far off – whether that's today or tomorrow or next week, whenever it is. [We're] obviously being in compliance with the rules on that.

Q: What are the rules on that in terms of when he can come back and practice?

BB: I'll have to double check on that one to tell you the truth. I'm just saying, we can increase his activity relative to the trainers throwing him balls and doing different drills and things like that. We can definitely, as he's physically ready to increase them.

Q: It seems like the Dolphins, Jets and Bills all have good defensive lines. Is that something that you feel like has been consistent in the division over your team here or is that something that you've noticed as a recent change with all three teams being big and powerful on the defensive line?

BB: Those teams have drafted a lot of guys in the last couple years: [Marcell] Dareus and [Sheldon] Richardson and [Muhammad] Wilkerson and [Quinton] Coples; [Dion] Jordan, [Jared] Odrick, you can rattle them off. A lot of high draft choices in that position in this division over the last, say, three years.


Q:** Is Danny Amendola subject to the concussion protocol?

BB: Every player has to go through medical clearance.

Q: But specifically concussion protocol, does he still have to go through that?

BB: Yeah, sure, every player has to go through whatever the medical procedures are.

Q: So he hasn't been cleared to practice yet?

BB: I didn't say that. I said every player has to go through the medical procedures.

Q: So has he been cleared to practice?

BB: We'll give our practice report after practice like we always do.

Q: What are your thoughts on the offense's struggles in the third quarter and what can be done to improve in that area?

BB: We just have to do a better job period, all of us. We have to coach better, we have to play better, we have to produce more than that. We always talk about it, we've always given it a lot of attention but we haven't had good results and we need better results. If there was a key to put in the lock that would just magically open it up, hopefully we would have already found that. I don't really think that's the answer. I think it's just a combination of things that everything needs to be better so that's what we'll try to do.

Q: What are your thoughts on Reshad Jones? He seems to have emerged as a core guy for them.

BB: Yeah, he and [Chris] Clemons both. Those guys have played almost every play over the last couple years. Jones replaced Yeremiah Bell. They looked like [they] were trying to work him in there in '11. Last year, he took over and played virtually every play, same thing with Clemons. Those two guys are on the field every snap almost of every game over the last two years. Jones has been a very productive guy – athletic, runs well, instinctive, makes some plays in the passing game, makes some plays in the running game. He's done a good job for them.

Q: How do they use those guys?

BB: I would say Clemons plays more weak safety; Jones plays more strong [safety]. Kind of like the Cincinnati safeties, they're interchanged some, depending on what the call is or what the look is. The bottom line is, those guys are out there all the time. They really play the safety position. When they bring other guys in, the other guys play more of the corner nickel positions, that kind of thing. Those two are really, other than goal line or a specific situation like that, those guys are really the safeties on everything.

Q: Is Olivier Vernon a traditional defensive end type or more of a linebacker?

BB: Occasionally he's in coverage, not very often. He's a good defensive end that has a lot of power for his size, plays strong, runs well, plays with a good motor, high effort guy. Occasionally they drop him into coverage like they do all their ends, but I wouldn't say he's a linebacker per se, he's down and coming forward most of the time. He's strong, he's active, he's been a productive guy for them.

Q: Is Cameron Wake usually on one side or are they flipping him?

BB: Generally on the offensive right.

Q: Is there another player that you would compare Cameron Wake to?

BB: He's just a good football player. I don't think there's any one thing that just jumps off about him. It's just all solid and good. He plays strong, he's athletic, he's active. He can rush the edge but he can also rush with power. He's got a good variety of moves. He makes a lot of plays on effort, plays where he gets initially stalemated but just outworks the blocker at times and makes plays on the quarterback or plays in the running game. He's a good run defender. He can definitely hold the line of scrimmage. He not just a pass rush, run up the field kind of guy. It doesn't look like he makes very many mistakes on film. He's not out of position much. I think he's just got a good, solid overall game. It's all good. I wouldn't say one area is – it's not all power rushes and no speed rushes or vice versa, that type of thing. I think he does a good job, has a well balanced game, does a pretty good job on everything. He's a good football player.

Q: Does resigning Andre Carter help with the flexibility that you have with a guy like Rob Ninkovich? Can you do more things with him?

BB: I don't know. We'll see how it goes; we haven't practiced with him yet. We'll see where he's at and we'll talk to him a little about what he needs to prepare for this week and whether he is or whether we feel like he is ready to do that or not. I mean, I don't know. We'll have to go through a few days of practice and just see how things go here. I don't know. We've played seven games without him. I don't know.

Q: Dont'a Hightower had the green dot on Sunday, is that right?

BB: Yes.

Q: How do you think he did?

BB: Fine, no problem. Dont'a is smart kid, worked hard. I thought he really worked hard last week, spent a lot of extra time as the signal caller. Obviously as a linebacker he's done that anyway, understands because he was the backup to [Jerod] Mayo. The fact that he was doing it, he put in a lot of extra time. I thought he handled all the communication well. I don't think that was an issue in the game. I think it will be better in succeeding weeks. I'm not saying it was perfect but anytime you do something repetitively you gain some experience. There are little things that can be done better. I'm sure he'll work hard to do those, like he did last week.

Q: Jamie Collins also got more reps. What did you think about his play?

BB: I thought he played hard, made some plays, played aggressively, played with good power. We know he's athletic, but I thought that other parts of his game showed up. He's getting better every week, like he has all through training camp. He's a guy that played a lot of different positions in college and he's had some versatility for us as well doing some different things. Mentally he can handle that but just from a technique, experience, recognition-reaction standpoint it just gets a little better each week in the kicking game and defensively, whether it's on the line or off the line or in some aspect of special teams. He works hard, he's out there every day, practices well, prepares well. He just keeps getting better and that showed up a little bit in the game next week. Hopefully it will continue to show up through the course of the year.

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