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

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript: 'They're very explosive offensively'

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BB:** We're winding down the week here with the Bears. It's, as I said earlier, I think good that we had a little bit of extra time to study these guys. It's not a team that we know very well: the players and the schemes, even though we've seen Marc [Trestman] before and [Mel] Tucker and [Joe] DeCamillis and those guys in the league, but not with the Bears. So, that's been good. They have a lot of explosive players. Obviously Willie Young's been very impressive. He's a dynamic guy for them. Defensively, they have a good defensive front. All those guys they rotate through there: [Lamarr] Houston, [Jared] Allen, [Ego] Ferguson has a done a good job for them, [Jeremiah] Ratliff, [Stephen] Paea, [Lance] Briggs, a lot of good guys in the front seven. And [they're] very explosive offensively: the receivers, tight ends, [Matt] Forte, [Jay] Cutler, a veteran offensive line, obviously a real good kicker, Robbie [Gould], one of the best, most accurate guys in the league. Good, solid football team. [They're] physical on both sides of the ball, on the lines, tough, tough guys to block and a physical line with a good back. We'll see where we're at here on Sunday but hopefully we'll be ready to go and play with good energy and good toughness, which we'll need to do.

Q: What's your version of what happened with Darrelle Revis on Tuesday?

BB: Anything between me and the players is between myself and the players.

Q: You sent him home, is that correct?

BB: I didn't say that.

Q: He was here and then –

BB: I'm ready to talk about the Bears. Anything else is between myself and the players.

Q: Will his playing time on Sunday be impacted based on that?

BB: I think the Bears are really a good team. I think they're going to be a tough, tough matchup for us. We're going to do the best we can to match up against them.

Q: Willie Young showed some flashes with the Lions. Has he taken that to the next level with the Bears with more playing time?

BB: He's not in there on every play. He rotates in there with Allen and Houston. When they go to passing situations in sub, it's usually him and Allen outside and usually Houston bumps inside. Not always, but most of the time. No, I'd say he's definitely more than a flash player. He's shown up and he's shown up this year really in every situation. [He] plays strong in the running game, sets the edge, can knock the line of scrimmage back, he's been a very disruptive pass rusher, blocked field goals, blocked kicks. He's long. He's athletic, runs well, makes a lot of plays in pursuit with his effort as well as his speed. He runs well but he also plays hard and chases the ball and makes plays from the backside, like screen passes and underneath catch-and-run plays, that type of thing. So, he's a factor on everything he's in there on. He's a good player, a real good player.

Q: Does Jared Allen still look like he's about 25?

BB: He's got a good motor. He's got a good repertoire of pass rush moves. He works outside, works inside. Again, high motor, high energy player. [He] makes plays on the backside as well as at the point of attack. He's a challenging guy to deal with; comes hard on every play.

Q: What's allowed Lance Briggs to be so effective for so long? I know he's been a little banged up this year.

BB: He's real instinctive. Yeah, really instinctive guy, he has a good nose for the ball. I'd say particularly in the passing game, there are a lot of linebackers that, I'd say, there's more linebackers that have real good run instincts and not as many that have real good pass instincts. I think he has both, but particularly in the passing game, very instinctive. He does a good job of recognizing routes, reading the quarterback in zone coverage, which they play a lot of zone. [He] has good pattern recognition, understands combinations – high-low combinations, passing crossing routes, things like that. I think that's one of the things he does really well. And he's good in the running game too. He's a good tackler.

Q: Is he a much different player than he was the last time you saw him?

BB: As you said, he's kind of been in and out this year. But, you know, I'd say he's still an impact player for them defensively. I think he's one of their best players, probably their best linebacker overall, even though he hasn't played every down. Again, he's productive in the running game, he's productive in the passing game. I think he's certainly a guy that's part of the communication, even though D.J. Williams is the middle linebacker who handles a lot of that, Briggs is still important in a lot of their sub communication, which he's in there on every down. Williams is more of a first and second down player. Briggs is in there on every down. So, when he's in there, the third down communication and adjustments, those kinds of things, it looks like he's a big part of that. This guy is a good player.

Q: What have you seen from Casey Walker and his development in the time that's been here and how he's helped stabilize the middle of that line?

BB: I think Casey has worked hard since he's been here. He played in preseason at Carolina then was on the practice squad. Probably wasn't getting as much work, but came in and worked hard on his conditioning, doing extra things after practice in terms of conditioning. Then he spent quite a bit of time with Coach [Brendan] Daly, just as far as our techniques and our communication and our calls. Vince [Wilfork], Chris [Jones] have done a good job with him too. I think it's getting better. I think there's still a ways to go. He's got good playing strength. He's got some quickness for a guy his size. Decent technique player, but still a lot of things he needs to work on. I think he's making progress day by day. It's been steady. It's been consistent.

Q: Would you say the split is pretty even between conditioning and getting up to speed with the system and technique?

BB: No. I'd say that learning the system and learning the techniques and all that was the biggest thing for him. But I think there were other things too. It's not, we're not talking about a 12-year veteran here. His playing time in this league has been limited. But he was in the league last year. He played again in preseason this year. He's definitely got some experience, some background. He's not a pure rookie. But again, he hasn't had a lot of game experience. So, I think a lot of the things that happen in the game, preparation for games, things like that have just been more than what he's done in the past. It's nobody's fault or anything, it's just the circumstances of his situation.

Q: Since Patrick Chung has come back to your team, is he a better player than he was?

BB: Yeah, Pat has done a good job for us all year. He's done a good job. He's been in a lot of different – you know, Pat is a smart kid. He's played a lot of different roles for us, both in the passing game and the running game. Just our every down, regular defense but also situationally, whether it be goal line or nickel sub situations and in the kicking game. We've used him on the punt team, punt return, kickoff returns obviously. He could play on the kickoff team but that's something that we haven't had him doing a lot of, but he's ready to go there if we needed him; field goal rushes. This guy is on the field for four downs, not every single down for four downs but he's on the field on every down and distance situation. I think that speaks to his versatility and the multiplicity of his roles on the team. Some weeks it's more of one and less of another or vice versa, but that kind of versatility that he brings is valuable for us throughout the team, not just on defense.

Q: I don't remember him playing up near the line of scrimmage as often as he has. What allows him to do that?

BB: I'd say we've just done that more in general. Just from a scheme standpoint, we've been a little more in that mode than we were, say two years ago, three years ago when he was last here.

Q: When you have a guy like Zach Moore who is jumping up not just one level, but two levels because of where he was, what is the transition like for him or any player who is making that leap? How has he handled it?

BB: I think it's every day. Every day is a learning experience. Just the overall, as you said, level of program from everything: training to preparation to film study to practice to the level of players that he's competing against and the techniques that those players have all relative to what he's seen is a big gap. The preparation every day in the classroom with Brendan, Coach Daly, with some of our other veteran players like Chandler [Jones], like Rob [Ninkovich], like Vince, guys like that, just working with him, working against guys like [Nate] Solder and [Sebastian] Vollmer and [Marcus] Cannon, plus the guys we play against on Sunday. That's not the type of competition that he was seeing at Concordia. I think all those things: the kicking game, the length of the season, the grind of the week and the season and obviously training camp, even all the way back to the spring. But he's a smart kid, he works hard. He's the first guy in the meeting room every day. He's there with his pencil sharp and his notebook open. He's ready to learn. He absorbs information well. He has a lot of it to take in but he takes it in and processes it and moves along. I think he's made a lot of progress this year. He's got a long way to go, but considering where he came from in terms of his experience, he's gained a ton of it and he gets better every day. I like his work ethic, I like his commitment, his diligence, his perseverance. It hasn't seemed to have worn him down abnormally, any more than anybody else. He hangs with it and works hard at it.

Q: We saw Alan Branch in the locker room yesterday. What kind of things do you think he could eventually bring to this team?

BB: I don't know. We work out a lot of players around here over the course of the season. So, the ones that we bring on the roster and sign we work with and the ones that we don't are there if we decide to do it.

Q: How unusual is it for a player like Dominique Easley make the move from defensive tackle to defensive end?

BB: Easley has really played all those spots across the board from college and even back from when we had him here in the spring and then when he was able to practice in training camp. He's worked all the way from outside the tight end to on the center's nose, so everywhere in between: zero to two-I, three, four, five, six, seven, nine. He's been at every spot. That is unusual. He's got a unique set of skills that allow him to do that. [He's] quick enough to play outside, enough playing strength to play inside, to a degree. Good instinctiveness in terms of recognizing blocking schemes. There are a lot of different things that can happen when you're in there between a guard and a center or a guard and tackle compared to when you're outside of a tight end. You're seeing the game kind of from the inside out as opposed from the outside in. it's different. I'd say there aren't a lot of guys that comes real easy to. There are a few, but not a lot.

Q: Is there anyone similar?

BB: I'd say Vince is like that. Vince is very instinctive, no matter where – not that he's going to go play probably in a nine-technique but I think center, guard, tackle and on the tight end. I think he instinctively does things well there. Same thing at the linebacker position, a guy like [Dont'a] Hightower can play at the end of the line, can play in the tackle bubble, guard bubble, could play as a middle linebacker over the center. It's hard to find those guys that have those kind of instinctiveness that can see a game, I don't want to say equally well, but pretty equally well at those different spots. It's a lot different looking at the game outside in and opposed to looking at it from inside out and being able to flip back and forth and do that, not everybody can do it by a long stretch. It takes physical talent but it also takes a mental and an instinctive skill to be able to handle that transition too. I'd say that's pretty unique having guys like that.

Q: Coming out of college, the word used on Dominique was disruptive. When you hear that, what does that mean? Have you seen that from him here?

BB: Yeah, sure. No, absolutely. I think the ability to be disruptive, to cause offenses to do something a little bit different, whether it's eating up a second blocker, whether it's creating pressure on a pass rush, whether it's recognizing something and reacting into it so that it's kind of in the middle of the play that fouls it up. It could be the anticipation: snap counts or draws, screens, plays like that; interceptions, tipped balls. There's a whole element of that. It's not one thing but when you combine it all together, like the play he had against Minnesota. I don't know how many guys make that play. I'd say not everybody. There's an element of that. Being aware of the ball and being able to get to it and being able to make that play, I think that's an example of some guys can make those kind of plays and some guys have a harder time making them.

Q: What are some things you need to see out of a guy who is new to the system here, like Akeem Ayers, before you feel like he's ready to play?

BB: Well, the only thing we can evaluate until he plays is practice. Between the walkthroughs and maybe the meetings to a degree but more importantly practice then that's what we have to try to evaluate. Certainly it's a small window. It's a brief snapshot relative to what we've seen other players do, but it is what it is. Akeem is a guy that's played, he had three years of a lot of playing time so it's not like he's never played before. But he hasn't played in this system. It's a question of how comfortable he is, we are with that and once you put him in the game then evaluating how the game, how that part of it goes. Like the same conversation we would have had a month ago with let's say Casey Walker. You practice them. Now Casey was on the [Carolina] practice squad for a couple weeks so it was a little bit different but similar – a new guy coming in, learning the system, seeing some things that you feel positive about in practice then being able to feel like mentally the player is ready to execute the assignments and the game then put them in the game and evaluate that. Of course it's not going to be perfect, but it's going to get some kind of game evaluation. Again, similar but different in the case of [Brandon] Browner and [Brian] Tyms because those guys were here all camp and we saw them in games and in a lot more practices but I think Casey Walker is another good example of a similar situation to Akeem. We'll just have to see how ready we feel like he is for game action this week. Whether that's this week, next week or whenever it is, then evaluate how he does when he gets that opportunity in game situations. But that's all based on practice and again to a degree walkthroughs and meetings because you can't get a sense of how well prepared a player is in that setting. Practice is in a way a better evaluation, there are just fewer opportunities. You only have, call it 30-35 plays defensively that you're running so whatever fractional number of plays he's in there for, that's part of the evaluation. I'd say you have to supplement that with some other things.

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