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Patriots Playbook Thu Dec 02 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript: 'Their defense is playing very well'

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BB:** This is obviously a big week for us – division game on the road. It was a big win for Buffalo Sunday against Detroit – down 14 on the road, came back and played really well on defense and made the plays they needed to make at the end of the game to win it. The change at quarterback is going to be something that we're – glad we saw it, but obviously [Kyle] Orton did a real good job getting the ball down the field, 300 yards, hit a lot of different receivers. So, we have a lot of respect for their running game. Their defense is playing very well. [They're] very explosive in the kicking game. As usual, Coach [Doug] Marrone has done a good job. [He's] got the team playing well, playing hard. Jim [Schwartz] defensively has done a real good job with making that transition. They're quite different than what they did last year defensively. But he's made that quickly into a real good defensive unit. They're good up front. They do a good job in taking the ball away. It's a good football team. I'm sure that there will be a lot of energy in the stadium and we'll need to be able to match that on the road.

Q: How has Brandon Spikes looked?

BB: Yeah, we know him. I don't think he's changed much. Hair might be a little longer. He's about the same.

Q: You mentioned matching it on the road. How much can the last game road game experience be a good teaching game for you as an example of what happens if it isn't matched?

BB: We're going to have to play well, that's the bottom line. We're going to have to do a good job with our execution. That's where it's going to have to come from.

Q: Is it simply execution or do you believe there is an emotional aspect to going into an opposing stadium?

BB: I think anytime you do well, you have positive emotions. When you don't do well, then until you do something well it's hard to generate those. Wherever we're playing – practice, home, away, whatever it is, [if] we go out there and make positive plays, we'll have energy, we'll feel good about it. We need to make those plays. They're not just going to happen on their own.

Q: What have you seen out of Casey Walker so far?

BB: Casey has worked hard. He's come in here and tried to learn what to do. [He's] spent a lot of time with Brendan [Daly] and some of our veteran players. Vince [Wilfork] has spent a lot of time with him as well. He's working at it. We'll just hopefully build on last week. Really, we didn't get a chance to do anything with him that first week. We signed him on Saturday or Sunday, whatever it was. He was able to get involved a little bit last week. We'll see if we can build on that and see where it takes us this week.

Q: How has James Develin progressed the last couple years?

BB: James is a hardworking guy. He's one of the hardest working guys on the team. He has a role, he works very hard at it. He works hard in the offseason, works hard in practice. He's improved. It's really his third year here. I'd say he's improved here every year. His role has expanded a little bit. I don't think he's ever going to have the most expansive role on the team but what he does is important and he does it well.

Q: How helpful has Vince Wilfork been with working the younger guys with all his experience?

BB: Yeah, Vince is always good with that. I think all the guys are: Chandler [Jones], Jerod [Mayo], High [Dont'a Hightower], all the guys – Rob [Ninkovich]. I think they work well together as a front seven because it's all tied together and in the defensive line room. They support each other and they try to help each other; guys that have more experience working with some of the other guys. But I mean, in the end, everybody has to do their job. Obviously Vince has had a big challenge this year himself personally, forget about anybody else. That's the most important thing, is for him to handle that. But at the same time, he always gives us great leadership.

Q: What are your thoughts on Tim Wright as a blocker?

BB: Like all of us, he needs to keep working on that. He needs to work on his blocking, needs to work in the passing game, running game, pass protection. I mean, all of it. He's a second-year player that's really a conversion from another position in college. There are a lot of things he can work on.

Q: How is he progressing in that area?

BB: He works hard. Nobody works harder than Tim. He spends extra time in the classroom; spends extra time on the field, works hard on the field. He does as much as he can do. Is he there yet? I mean, no. But, I'd say he's gaining on it steadily.

Q: In the limited time that he's been on the field, has anything stood out to you the way the different opponents have defended him or matched up against whatever grouping you've put on the field with him?

BB: You do those stats, you probably know better than I do. You break down every play with those numbers.

Q: It doesn't matter what I think.

BB: No, you asked me what they've done. It depends on who he's out there with. I don't know. Talk to the other defensive coordinators. It depends on who he's out there with. He's never out there by himself. There's another group of players out there with him. That grouping gets whatever grouping they want to match it with. Sometimes he's out there with Rob [Gronkowski], sometimes he's out there with Hooman [Michael Hoomananwanui], sometimes he's out there with other receivers. Sometimes he's out there with both tight ends. I should be asking you that question.

Q: Have you seen any impact that Pepper Johnson has had on that defensive line that you've seen from the film?

BB: I think they're playing well. I'm sure he does a good job with them. It looks very much like Jim's [Schwartz] scheme from Detroit and from Tennessee. Obviously the group is playing well. They have a very good front. They have good depth. They play the run well; they rush the passer well. They're obviously playing good techniques and that's a credit to all of them – the players, the coaches, Jim, the defensive coordinator. They're all doing a good job.

Q: What's made them so effective stopping the run?

BB: They have a lot of guys that are hard to block. Mario [Williams] is hard to block; Kyle [Williams], [Marcell] Dareus, [Jerry] Hughes has done a good job for them. They do a good mixture of eight-man fronts but it's not all eight-man front. But they mix them down there whether that's [Da'Norris] Searcy or Duke Williams coming down on the box. Linebackers all run well. We all know they play the ends wide. It's hard to get outside so you have to deal with the linebackers and the inside defensive linemen. They do a good job with that; tackle well.

Q: What defines this division to you?

BB: In order to have success in this league, you have to do well in your division. It's a division game on the road. This is an opportunity for us.

Q: The game you played against Kyle Orton years ago, do you look at that or is too far in the past?

BB: I think last week's game is a lot more relevant. It's him with his receivers in their offense. It's not him running Josh's [McDaniels] offense or something else. We know the player. We've scouted the player. We've seen him play. We know what his strengths are physically. I think it's what they do and how they do it in this offense. I'm sure we'll see more going forward. It was his first game. I can't imagine that there wouldn't be new plays or new wrinkles or complementary plays off of some of the things that they did last week against Detroit. I mean, I'm sure it's going to expand as they go forward with him in there. He's a smart guy. I know he can handle – the volume is not an issue with him. I'm sure that it's just a question of reps and what the next step is for him.

Q: What are your thoughts on Sammy Watkins?

BB: He's been impressive. Big, fast, very athletic, excellent hands. The catch he had at the end of the game against Detroit was kind of Larry Fitzgerald-like. He's a tough guy to miss throwing the ball. He's got a great catch radius and long arms, good hands, strong hands. He's big, he's fast. He looks pretty good.

Q: They led the league in sacks last year and have a new guy on defense. Have things changed at all?

BB: Scheme has changed, yeah. Scheme's changed a lot. It was a lot different with [Mike] Pettine. It was the Jets' scheme. So, it was a lot different.

Q: How did they generate 55 sacks last year? Was it the front, blitzes, coverage?

BB: It was a lot of pressure. They have good players. Look, you have to block those guys no matter what defense they're in. it's some of the same guys that are hard to block. But I'd say the scheme is quite a bit different. I mean, they four-man rushed last year too. I'm not saying that, but there was a lot more pressure.

Q: How do they use Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller differently?

BB: They really don't use them a lot differently. They do the same things. They just have different styles of play. But they both run pretty much the same runs, catch those wide screen passes, check downs and obviously the quarterbacks look for them – [EJ] Manuel or Orton. They both look for them in terms of space, just getting the ball to them in space whether it's on those wide routes or little crossing routes, check downs, obviously the screens they're the primary guy on those plays. But they can't wait to get the ball in their hands and let them go to work with it. They're very effective in space. We've seen that through the years but we saw it last week against Detroit and you've seen it all year. Jackson is their second leading receiver; Spiller has a bunch of catches. We know how dangerous they are when they get the ball in space. They're both good in the passing game. They're both good in blitz pickup too. They do a good job on that. They're not out every play. You can't count on them not protecting. They will protect and obviously they have a lot of other weapons on offense too.

Q: You had a fair amount of runs on Sunday where your running backs got to at least the linebacker level. Can you talk about the importance of wide receivers blocking downfield – not just Brandon LaFell but the smaller guys like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman?

BB: Yeah, that's how you get big runs is running backs making guys miss the second level and getting blocks from your wide receivers. Amendola had a great block on [Shane] Vereen's draw play. He cut back, about a 12, 14-yard run, whatever it was. Julian is a tough player. Brandon, I mean those guys all go in there and block. When the secondary is converging in on wherever the point of attack is in the running game, you've got three or four guys converging in there, it's hard for a back to avoid all those guys. Maybe he can get an edge on one but if they're blocked and he can run off those blocks then that creates good opportunity for a back at the second level. Aaron [Dobson] made a nice block on Stevan's [Ridley] run when he ended up bouncing it outside to kind of pin the defender inside so that Rid could get it down the sideline. Yeah, those guys account for a lot of extra yards when you get to that level, no question.

Q: You mentioned their defensive scheme is different with Schwartz instead of Pettine. How different is their use of the ends? You said they play wide. Are they playing significantly different technique than you saw last year under Pettine? How unusual is that if that's the case?

BB: Well, in Pettine's scheme their base defense was primarily over so the defensive end was head up the tight end and the backside end was in a five-technique on the outside shoulder of a tackle sometimes with a guy outside of him – usually with another guy outside of him; the outside linebacker and two off-the-line linebackers. The way that Jim plays it most of the time is the ends are outside the tight end and outside the tackle wide so it's really hard to hook them. Then they have three off-the-line linebackers so they have a third guy, if you will, as opposed to the two off-the-line guys that they had last year in their base defense. Now, nickel is similar but different. Now it's a DB that could or couldn't be in there depending on what the formation is. It's seven-vs-six instead of eight-vs.-seven if you will. It's a lot more split safety coverage. It's a different scheme. I'm not saying one's better than the other. They're just different. Mario Williams, you could probably play him anywhere from nose to linebacker. The guy's got tremendous talent so put him wherever you want in terms of athletic skills and he'd probably be able to – like Julius Peppers and those kind of guys. There's not many of them, but they could probably play anywhere across the front, including middle linebacker if you trained them there. Hughes is a good edge player which is what Indianapolis drafted him as. That's really where he is most of the time. If you go back and watch Tennessee's defenses with [Kyle] Vanden Bosch, it's the same, lining up the same place.

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