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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 9/6

BB: OK, we're seeing obviously a lot of the film on the Cardinals. It's a really impressive team. I think they do a lot of things well. They're obviously well coached. They have a good organization. They've done a great job of building the team and [have] a lot of strengths, a lot of things, a lot to deal with. Offensively, it's probably as good a group of skill players that we've seen in a long time. They have great receivers, tight ends, running backs, obviously quarterback, a lot of playmakers, a lot of players that can make big plays and they make a lot of them. The special teams – [Justin] Bethel – one of the top special team's players in the league. He's about as good as anybody that we'll face. We obviously haven't seen a lot of him but he's an excellent coverage player, kick blocker. The returners are explosive players; [David] Johnson on kickoff returns last year, [Patrick] Peterson [is] very dangerous, [Andre] Ellington, whoever we get back there. They are all big-play type of players, and defensively this is a team that turns the ball over very well. They have a good pass rush, a lot of big guys up front. They're hard to block. [Deone] Bucannon, [Tyrann] Mathieu, Peterson are all good ball-disruption players. They cause fumbles, intercept passes, sack the quarterback. They're very fast. The team has good speed. It's hard to outrun these guys. They track everybody down. They had a great year last year going to the NFC Championship Game. They're just very consistent in their ability to score points, turn the ball over, and make a lot of productive plays in all three phases of the game. They've had great success playing at home in their stadium. It'll be a big challenge for us down there opening on the road against this quality of a football team and the way they play there. We need to have a really good week and obviously need to go down and play a good football game in all three phases of the game.

Q: Tyrann Mathieu is listed as a safety but they seem to have him playing cornerback in the slot quite often. Do they pretty much use him anywhere and everywhere that they can?

BB: Well, they use him in those two spots. He plays safety in their base defense and he plays slot in their nickel. Usually they bring [D.J.] Swearinger in or it could be [Marqui] Christian, but whoever it ends up being, whoever that third safety is, Mathieu goes to the nickel corner and when they're in their 3-4 defense, which they're in a lot, then he plays free safety. But it's like having three corners on the field, obviously. I wouldn't say he plays everywhere. I'd say he plays those two spots.

Q: How much interaction did you have with Tyrann Mathieu when he was coming out of college?

BB: Yeah, a very productive player, very athletic, loves football, competes hard, and he's a tough kid. He'll strike you for his size. He's not a big, imposing player but he plays with good physicality and toughness. He likes football. Yeah, he was impressive.

Q: With the rain today was there any question as to whether practice would be held indoors or outdoors considering the fact that you'll be playing inside at Arizona?

BB: Unless there is lighting in the forecast we'll be outside.

Q: Have you seen the giant Tom Brady banner that is outside the stadium on the lighthouse?

BB: We're really focused on Arizona right now.

Q: Is it for the fans?

BB: Again, our focus is on the Cardinals. That's who we play this week and all of the other decorative and marketing things and so forth are not really part of the team's preparation. We're focused on Arizona.

Q: Arizona's cornerback, Brandon Williams, was a guy who coming out of college did not have much experience at the corner position. What have you seen from him thus far in that role?

BB: He's a talented player; fast, tries to play physical, just not a lot of experience at the positon. They traded for [Marcus] Cooper last week so I'm not really sure what their plans are. We'll have to be ready for multiple players at that position. They obviously had a couple of injuries during training camp so how all of that would've gone if [Mike] Jenkins – if they hadn't had injuries – with Cooper we'll just have to see how it all plays out. He's very good in the kicking game in terms of coverage, speed, aggressiveness, toughness, which we saw at Texas A&M. I'd say he's developing as a young corner. I don't know where exactly he is but like every rookie we'll see that going forward.

Q: What are some of the unique challenges to preparing your team for Week 1 due to the uncertainty level? Are you ever 100 percent sure of what kind of team you have?

BB: No, I don't think you really know your team until the middle of October, especially now with limited training camp. It's different than what it was when I was with the Giants; 50 preseason practices and, you know, you had a lot better idea, but it is what it is. Every team has the same opportunities. I think you'll see a lot of movement, a lot of adjustments in the first third of the season like we've seen historically here in the last few years. So, there is uncertainty on your team and then there is uncertainty in the team that you're playing against, in this case Arizona. We've got – whatever it was – 18 games from last year. Obviously, they can't do everything that they did in those games but you've got to be aware of it. There are things that they did in the regular season and post season that they felt good enough about doing them in those situations. We've got to respect them; different combinations of personnel and so forth. There is no way they could run the 1,200 plays on either side of the ball that we have on them from last year – 1,100, whatever it is – so there is a lot to get ready for on their end, and then as you said the uncertainty with every new team at the start of the season in the first, I don't know, four, five, six, whatever games. That's normal.

Q: How well has the team responded thus far to the varying challenges you've presented to them over the spring and the summer?

BB: This team has worked hard. They've got a good work ethic, good attitude, come in ready to work every day, try to do their best. Things we don't do well we try to correct and get right the next time and I'd say they've done a good job of that. They've tried to respond to the things that we've asked them to do. Again, we have a number of new players like we always do, like every team has, so there is a building process and a learning process there for all of us. We have to try to figure out how this team can best perform relative to how we did it another time or within a group of players. It may or may not be that relevant; it's really what we can do with this group and how we can get the most out of them. We've got a lot of work to do on the coaching end, we've got a lot of work to do on the playing end, but that's the way it usually is at the start of the season. I don't think it's anything unusual. That's just the challenge we face now.

Q: This early in the season are you game-planning more for what your team can do or more of what you need to stop Arizona from doing, or is it a combination of both?

BB: It's the same as every week; both. Both are important. You can't ignore your opponent but you have to be responsive of what your team can do and what your players can do and what they're comfortable doing. So, it's a combination of both and I'd say that's the way it is every week.

Q: Has the challenge of molding a quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo made you feel alive or rejuvenated your coaching drive at all?

BB: I mean I enjoy working with all of our players. Jimmy and Jacoby [Brissett] – that's who we're working with now. They'll work hard, they'll do a good job and we'll prepare them the best that we can. We'll prepare whoever is playing for us at any positon the best that we can. That's what we do.

Q: In the wake of the Colin Kaepernick sit or stand debate, has anybody advised your players on how to handle that issue during the pregame ceremonies?

BB: Yeah, that has been addressed.

Q: Pardon?

BB: Yeah, that has been addressed. That was addressed a long time ago.

Q: A long time ago since the event happened?

BB: It has been addressed.

Q: No details on how it has been addressed though?

BB: It's already been addressed. I've already talked about that.

Q: While there are certainly some new players, how much of a benefit is it to have the kind of continuity in the defensive backfield that you have with your roster now?

BB: Well, I think the group has definitely grown together. I mean they've had a lot of experience together, a lot of things that we can do now that we wouldn't of been able to do at this time last year with that group of players because we've done them for a year or we did them in different game plan situations last year. We obviously have some new players that are involved in the mix; Cyrus [Jones], I mean even [Justin] Coleman who was here but he didn't play a lot last year. He missed some time at various points in the season, [Jonathan] Jones, so there are guys that are a little new to some of that, and again, we always have to review it and each situation is different. Even though you play the same coverage or the same adjustment against Arizona that maybe we played against somebody else, it's a little bit different because of what Arizona does and who the players are that they're doing it with and so forth. It continues to evolve but the fact that we have some experience back there and I would say with the linebackers in coverage – Jamie [Collins] and [Dont'a Hightower] and [Jonathan] Freeney – that there is definitely a level of communication and continuity there that is beneficial and the fact that we've done some of those things from a year ago there is definitely some carryover.

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