Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 9/5

BB: OK, well, we’re wrapping it up here. As always, as I said at the beginning of the week, this is always a tough game, especially against the Chiefs, as well-coached and as much talent and as good of a team as they are. We’ll get through our final preparations today and tomorrow and try to be ready to go Thursday night and play a good 60-minute football game. I have a lot of respect for Andy [Reid], and the Chiefs, and their players, coaches and their organization. They’ve established a strong organization out there in the last four years. I know we’ll have our hands full.

Q: Andy Reid said he really appreciated his friendship with you and had great respect for you. How would you describe your respect and admiration for him?

BB: Yeah, I feel the same way; yeah. Yeah, Andy’s a great coach, been with one and now two organizations. I respect the way he coaches his team. I respect the way they play. They’re always tough. We’ve always had great battles with them. I don’t think anybody’s – I can think of too many teams that have handled us better than the way they handled us in 2014. That was one game but there have been a lot of great competitive games going back to the ‘07 game here when he was in Philadelphia. I know Andy’s family. I have a lot of respect for him, his family, him personally and professionally. He’s one of the great coaches in this league.

Q: How does a friendship like that manifest itself and it did it help that he was in the NFC and was not a common opponent in the regular season?

BB: Well, we played against them in preseason – I don’t know if it was every year – but it seemed like it was every year. It wasn’t every year but it was a lot. We got a chance to see them on a regular basis, had a lot of trades. Yeah, we’ve never been on the same staff together so there isn’t that type of relationship. For not being on the same staff together, I’d say we’re pretty close.

Q: Does your familiarity with his teams make Week 1 a little easier to plan for because there is already so much unexpectedness in the first game?

BB: Well, Andy’s a west-coast offense disciple and that’s a very extensive system. I think it’s going to be within the west-coast family of what he does. I don’t think he’s going to come in and run the wish-bone. That being said, there’s a lot of ways to dress it up. There’s a lot of ways to make it look different but it’s really the same to force different defensive adjustments or different personnel groups or run the same play but it’s on a different guy so the same player can’t really repeat his read on the play, things like that. He does a great job of that. It’s not like he comes in with a new offense every week. But it’s tough to defend because it’s sound. It’s well-balanced. They have complementary plays, so if you’re stopping one thing, they have something else they could go to. Vice versa – they have play-actions that come off their running game and so forth. They know what they’re doing. They’re very experienced at it. They know how to attack you in all three phases of the game. They’re great in the kicking game. They’re good on defense. They’re good on offense. They’re a well-balanced team, which there are a lot of teams in the NFL that can’t say that, but they’re one of them that can. They’re at the top of the league in a lot of categories. They have a lot of good players. They’re a very experienced team. They don’t have a lot of new faces. They have a lot of people that are back. He has kept the guys that won for him last year that they went 12-4 with, so he’s obviously pretty happy with the team that he’s built. Not that he hasn’t made some key additions and continued to build on it, but he’s got a lot of people back with a lot of experience in what they’re doing. They can do more than some other teams just because they’ve done it over a period of time together.

Q: At this point of the season, how much of a learning curve is there on special teams for new players in your system?

BB: Well, it’s a learning curve for any new player. It depends on the player. It depends on what his background was and so forth. If our positions are the same as his positions, if our techniques are the same as his techniques, if our adjustments are the same as the adjustments that he’s used to, that he’s been doing. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t, some players pick those things up quickly, some players it takes a little longer until they experience it and adjust to it. Each case is different.

Q: How much of a concern have their play-makers on special teams been to you this week?

BB: Huge, yeah. They’ve got two of the top returners in the league on the same team. They have good specialists. I know [Dustin] Colquitt is one of the best in the league. They have a good core group, they cover well, they’re sound, they’re well-coached, their lane discipline and leverage is good, their blocking is good. They don’t cut a lot of guys loose. They get a hat on a hat and get the returner some space. They’re a good situational team. Onside-kick and hands team – they’re aggressive. They’ll fake, they’ll surprise onside-kick. They do things like that to keep you off-balance so you have to be sound. You can’t overplay things or you’ll give up something else. They do a good job in all of those areas. It’s one of the best special teams units in the league. It consistently is and I think last year they were second or third – whatever it was. They were very high, one of the top teams, and it looks like they’re still there this year in preseason. Again, some core players they’ve picked up here – [Kevin] Pierre-Louis, [Daniel] Sorenson. Like I said, the specialists, the skill players, so they’re a solid group.

Q: What kind of challenge does Tyreek Hill present?

BB: Yeah, he can attack the defense on all three levels. He’s a tough guy to defend. Tackling is an issue when he gets the ball. Sometimes they throw it to him, sometimes they hand it to him, sometimes he gets it on a kick return. He can get it in a lot of different ways and it involves a lot of different players that might have to deal with him in one way or another. It’s a lot of stress on your team. It’s not like you just matchup one guy on him. Every guy on the team basically in the kicking game or on defense might have to deal with this player. Yeah, he’s fast, he’s quick and he’s a big playmaker.

Q: Are there certain throws you might try to avoid when going up against a cornerback with ball skills like Marcus Peters?

BB: Yeah, definitely. He’s got very good ball skills. He’s got good anticipation and he’s one of those ball hawking type of players, so he has very good awareness of where the ball is, who he’s covering, where the other receivers are. A lot of times he makes plays on balls that aren’t really thrown to his player, his guy or the guy you would think he’s covering. He falls off and makes the play on somebody else. That’s tough for the quarterback because you think he’s occupied. He makes you think he’s occupied, but he really isn’t. He’s seeing the ball and breaking on it. He’s long, he’s hard to throw over, but very good hands, good anticipation. If you run a sloppy route, he’ll jump it, sit on it and then you’re throwing it right to him. So, he does a good job, and [Eric] Berry reads the quarterback well. On a lot of their defenses, there’s a least one free player somewhere in the defense that’s kind of roaming around. If the quarterback doesn’t see him, he’ll get the ball.

Q: In ‘Do Your Job 2,’ it’s clear how much you value meticulous preparation. Would you say that fans acquiring thousands of Roger Goodell clown nose towels is an example of meticulous preparation?

BB: Yeah, I’m not really too concerned about all the exterior things with the game. Just trying to get ready for the Chiefs.

Q: How much did Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett’s elite speed play into your decision to acquire them?

BB: I think both those players have a number of good skills at their position. I’d say it’s the combination of all of it. You know, we’re not putting together a track team here. We’re trying to build a football team. A good football player is a good football player. Whatever those skills are, if they can help our team, great. Everything’s important, but I don’t think one thing is – in this league, being able to do one thing just isn’t enough to have much value. Maybe a little, but in the end, it’s usually not enough. You’ve got to be able to do a little more than that. 

Q: We’ve seen Eric Rowe play some in the slot this summer. How has the adjustment been for him and what does it do for your defense to have a player like him in that spot?

BB: Well, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of players play in that position. You’ve seen a lot of players play outside, a lot of players play inside. It’s something that we do in preseason, in training camp for a number of different reasons. So, you’ve seen everybody play everywhere probably. You’ve seen safeties play extended, see them play deep, see them play in the box, see corners play inside, play outside. So, hopefully we are able to have versatility in our defense and work on those matchups, so if the players do play there or when they play there, that they have some experience there and are familiar with those techniques. I can’t think of any player, any safety that hasn’t played up and back, any corner that hasn’t played in and out, really any safety that hasn’t played on the perimeter in certain sets, as well. 

Q: Since the 2014 loss to the Chiefs, this team has had a lot of success and two Super Bowl wins. Have you ever reflected on what a turning point that game was for the franchise?

BB: Yeah, I think I mentioned that in the 2014 season. But, Ben [Volin], in all honestly, I mean, I don’t really care about that. I don’t care about 2014 right now. I’m just worrying about Thursday night. This team is this team, and the 2017 Chiefs team is the 2017 Chiefs team. Whatever’s relevant from previous games in Philadelphia or Kansas City, ‘14, ‘15, ‘07, ‘11 – whatever years they were – that is what it is. But, really, the focus is on this game. I’m not really too concerned about 2014 right now. 

Q: Tom Brady spoke yesterday about still having nerves before the first game. Is there anything about football that still makes you nervous?

BB: Yeah, well, opening day is always a time where you have a lot of questions, butterflies. Yeah, I think that’s part of opening day – a lot of unknowns on our team, a lot of unknowns on their team, a lot of unknowns when the two collide. So, we’ll see how it goes. 

Q: When a defensive unit totals 33 takeaways, is there something about the culture of the entire unit that contributes to that?

BB: Well, it starts with having good players. So, they take the ball away in a lot of different ways. That’s one of the reasons why they have so many. They have a lot of fumbles. They have a lot of interceptions. They strip sack the quarterback. They cause fumbles with ball carriers. They intercept passes and they disrupt the quarterback with the pass rush to create some poor throws, tipped balls, things like that. And, the secondary has good ball skills, so Peters, Berry in particular do a good job, but I mean all those guys are pretty good. You know, their safeties have played corner. [Daniel] Sorensen is another guy. [Ron] Parker was a former corner, but he has good hands. [Derrick] Johnson is another very instinctive player with good hands and good ball skills at the linebacker position. So, they do it at all three levels. They do it in a lot of different ways, not just one thing, really, that you’ve got to be concerned about. It’s pretty much all of it. So, that’s probably where the numbers come from. It’s not one guy that’s got 25 of them. It’s the D-line, the linebackers, the secondary, the corners, the safeties. They’ve got a lot of production all the way across the board.

Q: You talked about how much you respect Andy Reid as a coach. What do you appreciate about the friendship that you have with him?

BB: Yeah, I mean, everything. It’s all the things outside of football – family, personal, things that we have in common, personal likes, dislikes. 

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