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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 9/30

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, September 30, 2016.

Q: How have you managed the extra time you've had between games this week to better prepare the team?

BB: It's kind of like the Arizona week. We've gotten an opportunity to work on some extra things that we don't - sometimes we scramble for or we get maybe over a sequence of weeks. Maybe it takes us four weeks to get a bunch of situations done where we can get more of them done this week. [It] might be less next week, so we'll just try to catch up on that. Buffalo has a lot of schemes and a lot of things to prepare for.

Q: What type of impression has Jonathan Jones made on you since he came here?

BB: Well, he was a good player in the SEC and he has done a really good job for us in the kicking game. I mean he's a young developmental corner, which we have a number of those on our team. We've had a number of guys that have done that. Malcolm [Butler], obviously Logan [Ryan] - you know it's been four years with him - but Justin [Coleman]. Those guys are all - Cyrus [Jones] is obviously in that category. Eric [Rowe] - this is his second year, so it's like all of those guys. They're working hard, they're getting better, they're understanding more about some of the skills and techniques as opposed to just relying on their athletic ability, which in a lot of cases players in that position do, and they have a lot of it. Just being able to do some of those little things better and anticipation of various route combinations, splits, all of those little things that can help you at that position. And he's a smart kid, he works hard, he has done a good job.

Q: How does the contract situation of so many key defensive players factor in, if at all, to the day-to-day evaluation process of your team?

BB: Well, I think just in general - I'm not going to get into a long conversation about this because we're getting ready for Buffalo - but just in general there's some team-planning. You do what you can do. Sometimes if you can work out a contract, which we've done that during the season with various players, if you can work that out you work it out. If you can't then there have been a number of players that we've signed - our players - that we've signed once free agency has started. Devin [McCourty] to pick a name. I mean I don't think you can be afraid of free agency. It's not like if a guy gets to free agency you can't resign him. You're in a competitive market but you're in a competitive market anyway. These guys know that they have other options depending on who the player is and what their situation is, but they have other options. And again, we know there's only so much money to go around so if you can work it out then you have the security. If you can't then you have your options. They have their options and we have our options. That's professional sports. I don't think it's anything like we're revolutionary, like it's any different than any other pro team, pro football team, or any pro team period. I mean you see the same thing in all of the other sports.

Q: It just seems to hit so quickly that you could be building your team and then all of a sudden there are tough decisions to make in the offseason in regards to the roster.

BB: Yeah, but that's professional football. That's professional football. It's been that way since - you can go back to Ted Washington or whoever you want to go back to. I mean you go back as long since we had free agency in 1994 or '95, whatever it was. That's what it is. That's the way it is in all sports. Basketball season is over, you're talking about a few guys going here, going there, staying with their team, whatever. You're not going to be able to get around that. Even if we were to sign a couple of those guys or whatever it is, there's going to be other guys that aren't so you can talk about those. Same thing [when] we come in here Monday after every game. Somebody had production and then 'Well, what about these guys that this guy didn't catch that many passes, this guy didn't have that many carries,' you know, so there's always those guys to ask about. There's no simple answer to it.

Q: In all of your years coaching have you ever sensed that a player has been distracted by his contract situation?

BB: You'd have to talk to those guys. I don't know.

Q: So you've never seen maybe their play affected or anything from them that would lead you to believe their contract uncertainty was weighing on them?

BB: I mean look, we all have things in our life to deal with. We all have families, we all have personal situations. I mean you leave your job; you go do other things, too. We all do that. That's part of life. You can't get around it. I mean I don't know if they're distractions. It's part of your life.

Q: LeGarrette has been averaging about 25 carries per game. Would you like to see that number go down a little bit or are you comfortable with that workload for him?

BB: I'd like to see us win. That's what I'd like to see. I'd like to see us win. It's not about individual stats. It's about the team winning. That's what's important to me. I think that's what is important to the team.

Q: Going forward how beneficial can it be for guys like Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo to see some meaningful game action as opposed to prior years when your backup quarterbacks may not have had that opportunity?

BB: Yeah, it's definitely an evaluation. Absolutely, no question. It's different than preseason; it's different than another game situation where the game is declared one way or the other. It's totally different. That's what all players play for; they play for the opportunity. When they get it they control how they perform with it.

Q: In a similar situation in 2008, you had Matt Cassel on your roster for three years prior to him starting games for you. Did you know what you had in him or did you need to see the live game reps to make a true evaluation of how he could handle running the offense?

BB: Well, I mean we obviously thought a lot of good things about Matt but until he actually played and was the starting quarterback it was different, and we certainly modified a lot of things during the year as the year went along based on Matt. It's as simple as that. Some things we did more of, there's some things we did less of than we had done in the past. I think that's probably true of most any two quarterbacks. I mean if you're going to go an extended period of time with a player, as you work more with that player you find certain things that he's better at, or more comfortable at, or your team's better at. Maybe it's not just him, it's a combination of him and whatever else is on your team that you try to put yourself in the most competitive position every week and eventually that will lead you down a certain path. Maybe you knew it, maybe you didn't. I'd say you probably never know exactly what it is. You might have a general guideline but it'll have its own characteristics as you go further with that play. I'd say it's true of any position, too, whether it's a receiver or a corner or an offensive lineman. There's some things they do better than others, there's some things you try to maybe work into their strengths or work away from something that they don't do particularly well with to the degree that you can. I mean you can't call one play for 11 individuals but to a certain [degree], maybe it's a technique, maybe it's a certain adjustment within the play on a scheme that you try to play to your player's strengths. That's just coaching I would say. Yeah, it's more applicable to the quarterback position than any other position but I would say it's applicable, you know, to all positions. I mean when I was a position coach you'd do that all of the time. Some guys you play it one way and then with another guy he has the same assignment but maybe you play it a little different way with that player because of his skills or limitations or whatever it happens to be.

Q: So maybe no 27 yard option runs for Tom Brady is what you're saying?

BB: Again, each player is different. Each team is different. The matchups are different so I don't know what we would do until we get into those certain situations and we look at it and evaluate it. But you should never say never.

Q: We noticed that Jamie Collins came out to practice with plastic bags on his hands. Do you know what the reason for that was?

BB: That'd be a great question for you to ask Jamie Collins.

Q: How much have James Develin's contributions contributed to the success of the running game thus far?

BB: James has done a good job for us. He does a good job in his role, whether that be offensively or in the kicking game and it could be in the passing game as well as the running game. But he's a very smart player, he has good instincts and in the running game when you're the second-level blocker that he is as a fullback you have a lot of things you have to sort out. Even though you have a blocking assignment there are things that happen in front of you whereas if you're an offensive linemen you're blocking the guy in front of you where there's nothing between you and him most of the time. When you're a fullback there are a lot of things that can happen as you go to your assignment. There could be other things that maybe guys move, they twist, they change positons, there's penetration and you have to make those decisions so a lot of that is decision making. Similar to a running back when he has the ball but in the fullbacks case he really is the running back or the eyes of the running back in terms of taking the right course to the entry point in the play and so forth. He does a real good job of making those decisions of doing the right thing, making the smart decision. Regardless of what his assignment is there is a decision making process within the play that might trump that. Similar to a quarterback following his reads or progression that if something happens and you have to make an alternative decision based on the circumstances of that play then that's what he has to do. I'd say he does a good job of that but I mean he's a very smart guy. He has good assignments, he's versatile and he's a good guy for us on special teams to be able to fill into the roles that we need him for in the various units. Not that he plays every play in all of those, but situationally he's in there and those are important plays, too. He's a very dependable player, a dependable person, you can count on him day after day, offseason program, training camp, in-season, meetings, practice. [He's] very consistent, very dependable.

Q: We've seen both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler match up against some pretty formidable receivers over the years. Is it rare to have that level of trust in two different cornerbacks?

BB: Well, I mean you always try to have as many good players as you can. That extends to Justin and Cyrus and Patrick [Chung] and Devin and I mean all of the guys in the secondary. Each matchup - anytime you match one guy up then you're matching other guys up, too. So having enough people to matchup across the board from linebackers to safeties to corners, you can't help everybody. So somebody has to matchup with somebody. Maybe you could possibly double one guy or maybe two. I mean it's no different than a kickoff return. You can double one guy but you can't double all of them so somebody has to make single blocks. You can help them at one spot but you just can't help everybody. So I think the matchups at corner are important so the matchups at the safety and the linebacker positon [are] based on how that goes

Q: With the Bills' offensive and defensive coordinators both being former players, I'm curious if you ever take into account the way they played the game as oppose to the way they coach it?

BB: I'd say it depends on who the person is and what the system - I mean I think we know where a lot of the decisions on defense with Buffalo are coming from. And I'm sure there's certainly a team effort and a group effort and group ideas and so forth, but I think we also know where some of these are coming from and so to me its whoever the decision maker is. It could be the player. I mean look it could be the player; a team like certain offenses in the league that really run through the quarterback. In the end it's the quarterback that's making a lot of decisions on the play, whether it's the play that's called, or the change of the play or a modification of the play on the line. In some cases it's the coach. In some cases it's the head coach, the coordinator, the quarterback coach or positon coach, whatever it is. In some cases it's the player and there are a lot of defenses where the middle linebacker or the safety, whoever that guy is, controls the defense kind of like a quarterback does. And in the end the game kind of goes through him, especially in certain situations. I know as a defensive coach where I've put the game to those guys because of the confidence that I have in them and their ability to see things on the field a lot later and that are a lot more accurately than you could see them on the sideline when you're calling the defense based on down and distance and what players they have in the game. You don't know what formation they're in, you don't know how big their splits ae. Now once a team comes out there and gets in a certain look then that's more information. There are times, a lot of times, where we give our players a lot of responsibility to run the defense at that point or run the offense at that point once they see how the defense is deployed. Again, it just depends on who the decision maker is. I don't think there's any right or wrong to it. It's just figuring out who it is and trying to really compete against that person.

Q: Would Rodney Harrison have been one of those guys that you would have put a lot of trust into making those types of decisions?

BB: Yeah, Rodney. We've had a lot of them here - Rodney, Tedy [Bruschi], Devin, High [Dont'a Hightower], Jerod [Mayo]. I mean you can go right down the line. You know, the guy has kind of got to be in the middle of the defense. It's hard to do it with a corner. So that's part of the positon though I would say as a safety and a linebacker. Somebody on the defensive line; that could more be anybody. It doesn't necessarily have to be an inside player but it doesn't hurt if it is. Just like the center makes the majority of the calls on the offensive line. The quarterback makes the calls offensively, but the center controls a lot of what happens upfront. Just like the middle linebacker and one or both of the safeties do depending on what defense you're in. I think that's inherent in the position. Now again, from some defenses to other defensive systems that varies but still I think that's inherent in the position.

Q: Do you take any pride in the job you've done thus far despite all of the things that have surrounded this team and all of the uncertainty and swirling from the media?

BB: Yeah, again, we're just really focused on Buffalo, Tom [Curran]. I don't really care about last week. I don't really care about two weeks ago. I don't really care about last year. I don't really care about four years ago. I don't really care. I think we're just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That's our challenge this week. The rest of it - it's in the books. It is what it is. So write whatever you want to write about it. It's good, it's bad, I mean I don't really care. It's done. We've got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can't live in the past. And I respect where you're coming from, I really do. It's not like I'm trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don't care. It doesn't really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.

Q: I [Mike Reiss] can confirm that Tom Curran did the write up on all of that.

BB: That's really important to me.

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