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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 9/2

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick address the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, September 2, 2017.

BB: Alright, so, Chiefs week here. You know, I think it really starts at the top with Andy [Reid]. He's done a tremendous job there – four straight winning seasons, put together a really good football team. [They were] 12-4 last year, got a lot of players back. They're good at everything – good on offense, can run the ball, can throw it, mobile quarterback, tight end, perimeter, experienced offensive line, you name it. Defensively, [they] don't give up many points, turn the ball over – two of the most important things in football. Very explosive in their return game, good specialists, real good punter. Obviously, two great returners, two of the top guys in the league on the same team. So, they're well-coached. They present a lot of problems with their offensive and defensive schemes and in the kicking game, so this is a tough team to get ready for. They do so many things well and they put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways. We'll really have to have a good week and be ready for a lot of different things on Thursday night. I'm sure we'll get some surprises. They're extremely well-coached and very fundamentally sound, create a lot of problems, which is why they're so successful.

Q: What has the traditionally been the challenge in going up against Andy Reid's scheme?

BB: You know, Andy's a disciple of the West Coast program. Again, they do everything well. They run the ball well, they throw it down the field, a lot of catch-and-run plays, they use their backs well in the passing game, good tight ends, good backs, good receivers, explosive plays, mobile quarterback, experienced offensive line. I mean, it's all a problem.

Q: Is that a script situation?

BB: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Q: When you know that there's a script situation on the other side, how do you prepare?

BB: Yeah, I would say the way they do it is not the same as the way everybody else does it. They have their way of doing things, and that's what we'll get ready for. Other teams have their ways of doing it. I'm not saying one's right or wrong or good or bad, it's just you prepare for the opponent you play and what they do. We'll definitely prepare for it. It's hard, but I think we know what that is going to consist of and how we want to deal with it. 

Q: With a Thursday game, at what point do you want to have the roster set?

BB: Well, I'd like to have it set as soon as possible, but I'm realistic. I don't think it's going to happen in the next 10 minutes or at 4 o'clock or anything. There'll be moving parts. We've dealt with it before. We'll do the best we can. As you said, I think some, not all, but many of the players we'll be dealing with I'm not sure will be active for the game – you know, practice squad players and things like that – but there probably are a couple that might be active or would be active, depending on on or off the roster, however it goes. So, if they are, then we'll adjust. If they're not going to be on the active roster, then I wouldn't say it's a major factor into the game planning. It's an important factor on your roster, I'm not trying to minimize that, but it wouldn't be a game planning decision. But, we'll take it as it comes. Again, we have more than one game to play. This is an important game. It always is, but we also have to keep in mind not only our strength for this game, but our overall strength and depth for regular season, 16 game regular season schedule. So, we'll try to balance those two.

Q: Even though he is a receiver, Tyreek Hill had a high number of rushing attempts last year. Has there been anybody over the years that you can compare to him?

BB: Well, we'll see how they do it this year. It's preseason, so that's not as much of an indicator as regular season games. It looks like he might be more of a receiver this year, but I'm sure they can use him for specialty plays or put him back there. So, when they do that, I mean, it isn't that hard to figure out, unless they take a running back – you know, last year they did it sometimes and he was the running back, so there's no other running back on the field. So, that wasn't that hard to figure out. If he's out there with another running back, which he usually is in these formations – the formations that they're showing this year – then they could obviously switch the two players, switch a running back and a receiver, but now you've got a running back at receiver. But, look, Andy's a very creative coach. I'm sure that they have a lot of different ways to use him and he's a very versatile player, so he can run, he can catch, he can run as a receiver, reverses and plays like that. I'm sure they use him as a decoy. He's a very explosive player that can affect all three levels of the defense. I mean, he can run by you and he can take a short play and turn it into a long run, so those guys are hard to defend. I don't know exactly where he'll be, but you certainly have to be conscious of him whenever he's on the field, including in the kicking game. 

Q: How much do they test your defense with misdirection?

BB: Yeah, they get the ball to the backs a lot in the passing game and they have multiple guys, [C.J.] Spiller, for example. So, the misdirections is a key component of the West Coast offense, whether those are bootlegs, misdirection passes with over routes and things like that, whether misdirection running plays or reverses or misdirection receivers crossing into the backfield, misdirection screens, things like that. So, they do a good job, and that offense is built around making you play honest on defense, so making you defend the front side, making you defend the back side, make you defend deep, make you defend short, make you defend the backs, the tight ends, the receivers, and everybody gets the ball. They attack all – inside, outside. They have a good perimeter game, passing game and running game and play-action game, and the quarterbacks can keep the ball and run with it, so you have to defend the back side as well as the front side of the play. That's what they do. They make you defend everything. 

Q: What are some of the characteristics of Bob Sutton's defense, and what has it been like facing him over the years?

BB: They turn the ball over a lot, and that comes from their pass rush. They have very good edge rushers – [Dee] Ford, [Justin] Houston, [Frank] Zombo – and good inside players, as well. You know, they picked up [Bennie] Logan this year. [Chris] Jones is a disruptive player, [Rakeem] Nunez-Roches. They blitz their inside linebackers occasionally, but they do a fair amount of five-man pressure, a fair amount of blitzing – certainly enough to keep you honest – and then they're a very opportunistic secondary. Those guys have great ball skills, led by [Marcus] Peters. Of course, [Eric] Berry, [Ron] Parker, [Steven] Nelson, they all play the ball well, they attack the ball well, they have coverage schemes where they have a lot of free players – you know, a guy reading the quarterback and everybody else playing man-to-man type of thing. So, kind of rovers back there that you've got to be careful with the pass rush. The quarterback can't hold the ball and the quarterback starts to stare at the receivers and these free kind of roaming guys – linebackers or safeties, however they do it. Sometimes it's double coverage and a guy frees up because the receiver runs one route and the other guy's free and he reads the quarterback. So they have these guys that are kind of poaching on the quarterback, so they turn the ball over with that and they turn the ball over with a lot of, as I said, strip-sacks and disruptive plays in the pass rush – batted balls and tipped passes and hitting the quarterback as he's about to throw it or stripping him, things like that. So, they do a good job mixing it up. I mean, they're just not going to sit in one thing all day. You're going to have to block a couple different fronts, block some man coverage, zone coverage, like I said, the free player-type coverage. So, multiple. 

Q: What has made Marquis Flowers an effective special teams player the last two years?

BB: Right, yeah, his first year he was injured and didn't do much. He runs well, has got good length, is an aggressive player. He's played in a scheme similar to ours so we could see him do things similar to the way we do them. We've played against him. It's been a tough matchup.

Q: From a special teams standpoint, is that Darrin Simmons' scheme you're talking about?

BB: Yeah, similar scheme. Defensively, I mean, he's played primarily off the line of scrimmage. Call it a will linebacker, and he's had a decent amount of playing time in the preseason this year and last year. They've had pretty good depth at linebacker. They have a pretty good linebacker group. So, he hasn't played a lot in the season, but there's certainly tape on him in preseason. So, we'll see how it goes. 

Q: Are there other coaches and GMs in the league that you might reach out to about players or vice versa?

BB: That's going on in 32 cities right now. I mean, look, it's competitive for all of us. I mean, it's kind of like draft day. It's not really about friendships or not friendships. You look at the draft board, you see a team you want to trade with, if it works for them and it works for you, you make the deal. I mean, we've traded within the division before in those situations. I think this is different, but kind of that same situation. You're trying to build your team, help your team. If there's a trade partner there and you can help your team, if you feel like it's fair value or good value, then that's what teams are doing. They're trying to maybe take a player where they have depth and exchange it for a player where they don't have depth and vice versa. I wouldn't say it's the easiest thing to do. It's hard to find that equal value that they have a guy where you need a guy and you have a guy where they need a guy and the players have equal value and the contracts are equal. It happens, but it's not that frequent. It's draft choices or some other combination of exchange of value in the trade. The difference in the draft is that guys are going to get drafted. In this scenario – whatever it is – 1,100 players or whatever the number is are going to get released, and some already have. So, do you trade for a guy that might be released? Can you get the guy if he is released? In our case, that would be, I would say, pretty unlikely. Thirty-one other teams would have to not claim the player, so if we think the player is the type of player that would get claimed, then if we don't trade for him, the chances of us getting him, I'd say, are probably not very good. There are other vested players that come into it differently, so there's contracts, there's vesting, there's obviously players that aren't vested. So, there are a lot of different circumstances that surround each player, and there's a lot of potential trades that could happen, but when you really get right down to it, finding the right value, finding the right partner or finding the right situation is not that easy. There's going to be a few that happen, and there will be probably 10 times that many that are talked about that don't happen.

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