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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 9/25

BB: Did you not send a memo out for this one or what? We've got the hardcore, alright. OK, what can I do for you?

Q: Is the hay already in the barn?

BB: No, not at all, absolutely not. No, we need a good day today, go back and review things. Today is our big situational day. We cover a lot of kind of one-play-type situations, scoring zone. So, no, definitely not, or tomorrow for that matter either. We still have a lot of things to review Saturday. So each day we have kind of a … It changes a little bit from week to week depending on that individual week but each week we have kind of a list of things for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, so if we fall behind on something there is really no time to catch up to be honest. You have to just squeeze it in there. No, definitely not. We have a lot of work to do.

Q: Your defensive line last week was exceptional, getting eight sacks. With Jacksonville's talented offensive line, can you expect to duplicate that success?

BB: Well, I didn't think it was all that good last week to tell you the truth. We let the quarterback out a lot, they scored 32 points - I don't think that's anything to be proud of defensively. There were some good things. There were a lot of things we have to work on. We need to play better this week.

Q: Is the rush defense a concern?

BB: Yeah, everything is a concern. I mean, Jacksonville, they're a good football team. They can run the ball, they have explosive players in the passing game, the quarterback is athletic, so we've got to stop everything. It's not a one-man band - they did it all against Miami, got the ball at the end of the game what they had to, drove it down the field, ran the ball, mixed some passes in there, got it down into field goal range and made the winning kick. So, I think they're well balanced - 33 runs, 33 passes - whatever it was. We've got to stop everything. They do a good job.

Q: How hard is it to prepare for someone like Allen Robinson, who can be covered but still be an option in the passing game?

BB: Yeah, it's hard to really simulate that, but it's something that we work on from the first day of training camp really is going up defensively and competing for the ball. Being in good position, that's part of the battle in the secondary, but that's the way it always is. Being in position is part of the battle, and then finishing the play and making the play on the ball, that's the other half of it. With the defensive back and the receiver, those guys have the longest play. The defensive linemen and offensive linemen are far apart from each other, a lot of times those plays are determined pretty quickly and then it's go to the ball. But in the secondary, you have to play for three, four, five seconds, and then in a lot of cases, it comes down to that last split second of whether it's a good play or a bad play. You could be in a perfect positon defensively and mistime or miss the ball, or offensively you could not run a good route and not really be open but make a good catch, or you can run a great route and do everything right and drop the ball. For those positions, every part of the play is important, but the finish of the play is a lot of times what decides whether it's a good play or a great play or a bad play, and that's the position. Yeah, it is hard to simulate, but again it's something that we always work on - finishing the play and being in position, but also making the right judgment at that time. And look a lot of times you go up and you can't get the ball, but the receiver has to bring it down and possess it, so it's not a catch until he comes down and brings it in. So even though you might get outrebounded if you will, you still with good technique have a chance to get the ball out before he's able to get control of it.

Q: Is Marcedes Lewis a similar threat?

BB: Yeah, absolutely, definitely. A play in the Detroit game, he was going up the seam, the coverage was good, the ball was thrown over his back shoulder, he's got great length and reach, got really strong hands - big hands and strong hands - so if he can get them on it, he usually reels it in. It's different, but it's similar. He's a big down-the-field target and tough guy to cover because he's got so much length and his hands are so strong, no matter where you are there's a place where the ball can go that you can't really reach. So once again, if you can't get to the ball, you have to try to dislodge the ball as he's bringing it in to finish the possession of the catch.

Q: What are Saturdays typically like for you guys? Can it vary based on where you are from a preparation standpoint?

BB: We try not to, yeah, we try not to. We try to take the game, whenever the game is and then work backwards. So, the game, the day before the game, two days before the game, three days before the game, four days before the game - wherever you put the game, we try to work backwards so that three days before the game as a player, as a coach you kind of know where you should be from a preparation standpoint. Two days before the game, you're in a routine, you kind of know where you need to be, these are the things we need to have covered because one day before the game, here are the things we're going to cover there. You know what I mean? And same thing for the players that in terms of their film study and preparation, they should know physically and from a preparation standpoint - their physical rest, recovery, energy - they should know where they are five, four, three, two, day before the game. So, we don't try to juggle the schedule so one week, two days before the game we're doing this, and as a player you're anticipating one thing and we go out and we have one type of practice, and then next Friday it's a different type of practice, and then next Friday, what is it. It's hard to get into a routine that way, so we try to take the end point and work backwards.

Q: What is a day before the game typically like for you guys?

BB: Well, it's a review of everything that we're going to do. There are some situations the day before the game that we go over in the meetings or go over on the field in a walk through that we haven't covered prior to that week. Now look, you can't cover every situation in every game that could possibly come up. That would be impossible. But usually over the course of three to four weeks, you can pretty much get them all. Maybe you kick off after a safety, kickoff return after a safety, the squib kick situations, the take a safety on a punt - all those kind of things - just as an example in the kicking game, you maybe wouldn't cover every one of those every week, but you cover two or three of them this week, and then two or three of them the next week, and then two or three of them, so then after a cycle of four to five weeks you would have hit it. Those things don't come up every single game. You're lucky if it's once a season. But any really critical plays, like a must onside kick or a hands team or having to block a punt rush at the end of the game when you've got to punt the ball and you know they're coming or vice versa - things like that are covered on a more weekly basis. And then we try to pull it all together, so over the course of the week, the players get told about five thousand different things - on this play do this, if they do this we do that, if they do this we do something else, if this happens, this happens, if that happens something else happens. OK, but now we come to the game, like alright, forget about all that, alright what do we need to do here to win? What are the most important things we have to do? We know there are a thousand things we've talked about and everything is important, but in the end, let's get back to what we need to do here tomorrow. Sometimes you have an extra meeting if it's a late game, a night game or something like that. That's kind of our extra meeting if you will. We do the countdown not really counting on that meeting. Like this week, we have a Saturday night meeting and then we play Sunday, whereas if we played Sunday night, there would be another kind of extra meeting in there. And then that's maybe two meetings instead of one at the end, but normally we just count on the one meeting and work it from there.

Q: What have you seen from Paul Posluszny? He's been very productive the first two games and even had an interception. Maybe he's a guy that doesn't get a lot of attention nationally.

BB: He should.

Q: He should - obviously he has pretty rare instincts.

BB: He's very good. He missed half the season last year but he's been very durable. He's started over 100 games, and he's pretty much there every week, and he's very productive. The interception you're talking about against Carolina was a real athletic play. I mean, a lot of players wouldn't have even made that play. He went up, stretched high for the ball - he looked like a receiver catching it. He's got good length, he's got very good instincts in the running game and the passing game, and just overall, his timing of blitzes with the quarterback cadence, being able to get his momentum running up into the line of scrimmage, things like that. Smart player, productive in the run, productive in the passing game, obviously controls their defense and their communication as it applies, as they need to do that. And he's had a great career. He's a good player.

Q: Is he the same kind of player he was in Buffalo?

BB: Yeah, or better, maybe better - just more experience, makes a lot of plays. He's got a very good defensive line in front of him, whichever those guys are in there. They play seven, eight, nine guys sometimes, so there are a lot of plays where he's I don't want to say protected, but it's so hard to block the defensive linemen and a lot of times you can't get a guy up to him or Telvin Smith for that matter. Those guys get eaten up at the line of scrimmage, and then that enables them to make a lot of plays, and they make them. There are other linebackers that have some of those opportunities and they don't make as many plays. These guys make a lot of them. Posluszny in particular is very instinctive. He'll play one play one way and the next play a little bit differently based on the situation, based on the personnel. He's just a smart player, very productive.

Q: Do you like the early bye?

BB: Whenever they schedule them, we play them.

Q: Do you use the bye week as some type of psychological tool?

BB: Honestly, we're not even thinking about the bye week right now. We're just thinking about Jacksonville. We'll worry about next week next week. I'm not even really sure what we're going to do next week, but we're worried about Jacksonville.

Q: You don't say to the guys, you get it right, you go out and have a nice bye week as opposed to if it doesn't go well, you have that hangover with you?

BB: Do you think we ever go out there and say well, we don't really care how it goes this week? Do you think we actually say that? No. No, we try to go out there and get it right every week. It may not look like that to you, but we actually try to go out and get it right every week. Every game is an important game for us. It doesn't matter what's the next week, whether it's who we play or whether it's a bye week, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Columbus Day. We don't care. We're just trying to go out there and win a game. That's all we care about.

Q: What do you like about Aaron Dobson?

BB: Aaron is really smart. He can play all the positions. He makes very few mental mistakes. He's got a lot of length. He can run. He's been productive for us. Unfortunately he hasn't consistently been on the field, but when he has been on the field, he's had production. He's worked hard to stay on the field as his career has gone on. I think he's worked harder each year in terms of his training and trying to be a more durable player. So, it's good to have him. He missed some time this year, but it was good to have him back. He played well, like in the Giants preseason game or even the Carolina game. He was productive last week, really came through for us, and I'd say one of the best things last week about Aaron was his blocking. He threw a couple key blocks on those slip screens to get Dion [Lewis] and Danny [Amendola] started. So, it wasn't just the catches, which is kind of what everybody always measures receivers by, but it's being able to do the other things that help the team and help make other plays good plays. I thought he did a nice job last week.

Q: How has Sergio Brown changed as a player since you had him here?

BB: He's pretty much the same guy - active, fast, has very good speed, can get to a lot of plays in pursuit, range in the deep part of the field. He's a big guy, strong, 215 [pounds] or whatever he is, so he's a contact player, aggressive, still shows up in the kicking game even though they don't use him quite as much, but on field goal rushes. I'd be surprised if we don't see him in this game somewhere along the line in the kicking game. He's very good there. But defensively, combined with [Johnathan] Cyprien, which is where they want to be, even though Cyprien missed preseason after he got hurt in the Pittsburgh game, and then he missed last week, but in the opener against Carolina or in the earlier part of the Pittsburgh game when those guys were together I think that's kind of where they want to be. Sergio is more of a free safety role, and Cyprien is more of the strong safety role, even though they at times interchange. Big, fast, athletic, tough, he's looking to get in on plays. He's a contact player. I think he's added another good player to an already pretty good defense.

Q: We've talked about this defense in comparison to the Seattle defense. Is he kind of that deep middle safety?

BB: Yeah, he's more in [Earl] Thomas' role and Cyprien is more in [Kam] Chancellor's role. I mean, really all those guys - [Dan] Skuta is [Bruce] Irvin, [Chris] Clemons - it's really the same. The Leo position, the Otto position, the safety positions, the Mike, the Will - it's basically the same.

Q: Does Telvin Smith have any safety qualities about him?

BB: He's fast. He's really fast. He's probably faster than most safeties in the league. He gets to a lot of plays sideline to sideline. You can't outrun this guy. Throw a screen pass on the other side of the field, he'll go 40, 50 yards across the field and make the play, so he's got very good range, very good speed. And again, he's a productive player. Same thing we talked about with Posluszny, a lot of those blocks get eaten up by the front and then when he can run to the ball, he gets to it. He's their nickel linebacker, so he and Paul stay in there in the nickel stuff. Skuta goes from outside linebacker to really part of the defensive end rotation. Skuta doesn't play off the line a lot. That's more of Smith and Paul. But he's fast. He gets to a lot of plays. I wouldn't call him a safety, but he's a really fast off-the-line linebacker.

Q: Jonathan Freeny has only played two games for you guys, but you've had him since the spring and he was one of the offseason award winners. What do you like about him and what he's brought to the team?

BB: Really professional. Jonathan works hard, he's there every day whether it be in the offseason weight workouts, OTAs, training camp. Well prepared, smart, works hard, big, physical kid that's tough, runs well, plays well in the kicking game. I thought he made a lot of plays for us in preseason as a downhill player in the running game, kind of up in the line of scrimmage, attacks blockers well. He's got good range in the passing game. He's got a lot of length. We have several linebackers that as inside linebackers are taller guys. They take up more space there in the passing game. So, he has really been a durable guy, dependable, has played some on the end of the line of scrimmage, so he's got a little bit of versatility where he can play on the line or off the line, like Jamie [Collins] and [Dont'a] High[tower] have done for us. So, he's able to handle multiple responsibilities, and he's been productive in the kicking game. He's done a good job.

Q: How do you feel like the coverage units have performed?

BB: Well, I think it starts with the kickers, like it always does. Nobody can cover bad kicks. That's tough for anybody. When we get good kicks, good hang time, which Steve [Gostkowski] has given us really good kickoffs - not just the touchbacks, but also the hang time on the kickoffs. Ryan [Allen] has given us a lot of good balls to cover. We got beat in the Carolina game, I don't know it was like whatever, a 20 or 25-yard return, and that was a combination of a number of things. We also had one in the Pittsburgh game that got called back. And Geneo [Grissom] has drawn a couple penalties on coverage the last couple weeks, so some of that is good coverage, you get in good position to make the play and they have to block you. That's part of having good coverage. The big thing has been the kickers, and I'd say overall the coverage units, the kickoff is probably a little ahead of the punt right now, but that's been OK, too, and Ryan has really punted the ball well for us. Joe [Cardona] has given us a little bit of coverage from that position, which there's usually not a ton of, but he's helped us a little bit there. I'd say overall, it's been alright, but I mean, this will be a big challenge this week. We're not really sure who the returner is going to be, and that is always, like there is not going to be big scouting report on whoever they put back there, so we're going to have to figure that out a little bit as we go. They're a big, strong hold up team. A lot of times they've used defensive linemen to hold up in the past, and they have some good inside players that are tough to get away from, so that will be a challenge for us, for our units to get off the line of scrimmage and to get good distribution down the field.

Q: When Steve kicks one five yards out of the end zone, are you still reviewing the film on the kickoff coverage the same way?

BB: You can only see what you can see on those plays, so a lot of times, there isn't a lot of contact in terms of playing blocks, playing leverage, getting off blocks. Sometimes that part of the play doesn't really happen. But definitely, you're evaluating the get-off, you're evaluating the overall lane distribution and the players recognizing what the returns are. I'd say that's become a little bit of a game within a game - probably not that anybody cares, but I'll just take a minute to talk about it anyways. If you think you're going to get touchbacked - they're kicking off with the wind or whatever - and you see a return or a type of return, it's really probably not what they want to do. Like they're going to double team these two guys and the wedge is starting to go over here, but it's a touchback, so you've kind of got to scout it, you've got to defend it, but in the end, I don't even know if they really want to run that. It's almost like a fake return, or maybe a guy is going to line up one side and you're going to cross block, but you're not really sure who they're cross blocking because they don't actually get to the blocks. So, you're kind of trying to figure out what it is, when really you can't see the full development of the play. And then again, as the return tem, you're sometimes showing something that isn't really what your intentions are because it's a touchback play. You see it's a touchback or you anticipate that it's going to be a touchback. So, you go against a team that has a good kicker, like our kicker, and we see three or four middle returns and the ball is five yards out of the end zone, and then now OK we're kicking off into the wind and they feel like they have a chance to return it and they run a side return - stuff like that. So again, it's kind of a bit of a game within a game in terms of you sort of see it, but you don't really see it. As you're scouting your opponents it's something that well, here's the return they're trying to run, but you don't really see their return, but then is that really what they're trying to run or are they just trying to give you an illusion that this is what it is when really when they have a chance to return it, you're going to get something else. Joe does a good job of that. Joe Judge does a good job of that - breaking down those kinds of things. It used to be that way on PATs. You're seeing a little bit less of that. You see the PAT rush because you couldn't bock them, so teams would sometimes put two or three guys on one guy and just try to run over somebody, just to get a good hit on him or something. And now when you actually have to block a field goal, now you get into something where you really feel like you might have a chance to block it and the rush is a little bit different. The fact now that all those kicks are a little more competitive, you're seeing more of whatever the team is trying to do to rush it. You're seeing more of a rush rather than one or two or three guys just deciding to, well we're not really going to get this, so let me just tee off and smash this guy because he's been blocking me all day. So let me just go ahead and smash this guy while he's just sitting there. I don't really think that's what the game is about. But it's kind of taken that out of it and made it more of a competitive play rather than that type of play. But it was kind of the same thing on those PATs. You look at the PAT rushes like well this is a big middle rush team, they're really trying to do this or do that, but then when you get into a field goal situation, it's not that at all. It's a little bit of a game within a game there.

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