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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript: 'We have a lot to get ready for with Minnesota'

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BB: ** Well, we're doing the same; it's rolling along here. We have a lot to get ready for with Minnesota – new team, new staff, players we're not familiar with. [We] need to spend a lot of extra time to get familiar with them. Of course we know [Offensive Coordinator] Norv [Turner] and [Head Coach] Mike [Zimmer] and [Special Teams Consultant] Joe Marciano and those guys but they're doing a lot of new things. You see them add new things every week; certainly added a lot of wrinkles last week against St. Louis. A lot of things for us to prepare for and get ready for. I think our team has done a good job of trying to get on it all but they do a good job. They're well coached and they have a good team.

Q: Is it tougher to prepare for so many rookies as opposed to a more veteran guy that you have more film on?

BB: I think most all the veteran players are ahead of most all rookie players at this time.

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Q: ** In terms of Anthony Barr, is it tougher to get a good read on him since he's less known?

BB: No, he's played in every game. He's out there. He's playing a new position. I think he's learning a lot too. It's not like going to – I think a lot of the experienced players, the [Adrian] Petersons, the [Matt] Cassels, the [Kyle] Rudolphs, the [Linval] Josephs, [Chad] Greenway, Harrison Smith, guys like that, those guys are some pretty good and crafty players; know a lot of tricks. Real good at disguise, setting up things, doing complementary things to offset it. I'd say for the most part, I'm not specifically talking about anybody, but for the most part, most rookies are just trying to do their job. They're not trying to think of all the creative things and all the things that go beyond it. They're just trying to get their job right. That's been my experience.

Q: From what you've seen from Matt Cassel since he's left, what aspect of his game do you think he's improved the most?

BB: Since he was here it's obviously experience. He hadn't started a game since high school when we had him until he started in that '08 season. He's got a lot of playing time under his belt now. You could just see his experience and confidence and decision making; all a lot higher level than they were in '08 and they were good in '08, I'm not saying that. I thought he did a great job for us in that season. He played really well and helped us win 11 games. But I think it's definitely improved with more time and more opportunity.

Q: You mentioned Harrison Smith. It seems like they used him in a few different ways last week. What kind of challenges does he present?

BB: I'd say they do that with all their players. [Captain] Munnerlyn, Smith – they're safeties, they're inside guys, they blitz, they cover, they play man, they play zone. They disguise well; including the linebackers, whether that's Barr and Greenway or when they put Barr down, Greenway and [Gerald] Hodges and all those guys do a good job of blitzing and covering and faking and man, zone. That's really the scheme that Coach Zimmer runs. They do a good job with it. They're all part of it.

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Q: ** How concerned are you about your offensive line after they struggled last week and Minnesota had such success putting pressure on the St. Louis quarterbacks?

BB: I said after the game in Miami, I think we all have to do a better job on offense, defense and special teams – players, coaches, all of us. We all have to do a better job. I put everybody in that category. We're all working to get better and we all need to do better.

Q: Do you think some of those line problems have been fixed and they'll be much better moving forward?

BB: I think we've worked hard this week to try to correct problems in all the areas that I just spoke about. We'll see on Sunday.

Q: Have you settled on a more permanent offensive line or will we see more of the rotation?

BB: Each week we'll do what we feel is best for the football team in every area at every position.

Q: For a college center coming to the NFL, in your experience, is there one thing that is the biggest adjustment for that position?

BB: I'd say probably the biggest adjustment for any player from college to NFL is the passing game. So, whatever part of the passing game that player is involved in, that's probably the biggest adjustment. For a center, pass protection, the number of protections relative to probably what he ran in college, the number of different defensive looks and fronts and potential adjustments would all be multiplied, probably exponentially. I'm not saying the running game is the same but it's more the same than the passing game – the type of players that they're blocking and the schemes that they're facing and the amount of variables in an offensive system plus the amount of systems in a defensive system, that adds up in a hurry. If you're only doing one or two things, even if they do five things, it's 10. If you're doing 10 things and they're doing 10 things, now it's 100 but it's really a lot more than that. It adds up pretty quickly. I think that's – the center has to control some of that. He has to make decisions, calls, to some degree, adjustments, and there's a lot of gray area. Is the linebacker up in the line? Is he not in the line? Did he start in the line and move out? Did he start back and move up? What is the line of demarcation in some adjustments or designations? That's a lot of experience and recognition and communication so it's hard.

Q: How do you feel like Bryan Stork has handled it so far?

BB: Good. Unfortunately the time he missed in camp is time he could have used, like any young player. But he had a lot of time in the spring to do that so certainly there's some recall. He's a smart kid and he's worked hard at that. But I'd say those are still challenging and he didn't do it there for a period of three or four weeks, whatever it was. He makes progress. He gets better every day but there's still some catching up to do.

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Q: ** Is Cordarrelle Patterson a big enough threat you'd consider putting a spy on him?

BB: What's a spy?

Q: Someone who is focused on him.

BB: You have to cover every receiver on every play. I don't know how you could not cover a receiver. Somebody has to cover him.

Q: Would you assign a specific person to him for the majority of the game?

BB: It depends on what you're playing. You could. That would be an option. You could do that; you could not do that. Again, there's always, like we've talked about, there's pluses and minuses to doing that.

Q: In the return game, who would you return Patterson to in terms of guys you've faced in the past?

BB: He's probably like the kid from Baltimore [Jacoby Jones]. He's big, strong, aggressive, hard to tackle. He's got good vision and he hits seams but even there are a lot of times where guys get a shot at him and they just can't tackle him or he runs through tackles. He's got breakaway speed. That type of player – can hit the home run, can do the distance, sometimes it's there but sometimes it's really not there and he still makes a lot out of it. That's the mark of a real good returner, a guy that can take something that doesn't look like its great and turn it into a big play. I think [Marcus] Sherels is as dangerous on punt returns, probably as dangerous on punt returns. Different, different type of guy, different style of guy but equally explosive and dangerous. Their return game was the best in the league last year, the combination of the two. That will be a big challenge for our special teams units.

Q: Mike Zimmer said he studied the Patriots quite a bit in working with Bill Parcells. Can you see concepts of Parcells' defensive approach in the Vikings?

BB: That's probably a better question for Mike. Fundamentally and how it's taught and so forth, I have no real knowledge of that so I don't know.

Q: How much carryover is there defensively from what you've seen on film between the Bengals last year and the Vikings this year?

BB: A lot. A lot of carryover.

Q: Is there something specific that they were doing in Cincinnati last year that you might expect to see them do this weekend?

BB: Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if they Xeroxed the same game plan. We couldn't do much: 1-for-13 on third down, six points, whatever it was. They did a good job. Yeah, we're certainly prepared for that, if they just do the same thing they did last year. It wouldn't shock me at all, until we show we can do something about it. We didn't do much last year.

Q: Does Mike Zimmer bring pressure from a lot of different ways?

BB: They can, yeah, they can. Strong side, weak side, up the middle, secondary pressure, linebacker pressure. Yeah, they do a good job keeping you off balance. I'd say that's one of their real strengths is they give you a bunch of, not so much different looks but different combinations off similar looks. You have to be ready for everybody. You can just say, 'It's going to be this or it's going to be that.' Sometimes it's strong side, sometimes it's weak side, sometimes it's up the middle, sometimes it's man, sometimes it's zone, sometimes it's blitz zone, sometimes it's all-out blitz, sometimes it's just max coverage and they drop everybody off but off that same look. They do a good job. Like I said, Harrison Smith, Greenway, Munnerlyn, especially those inside guys do a real good job with the disguise and not really letting you know, giving you a great read on what's going to happen. You have to figure it out after the snap. Your receivers and your quarterback and your line sometimes have to make post-snap adjustments. They do a good job of that.

Q: What's changed with Adrian Peterson since the last time you guys faced him back in 2010?

BB: I would say not a whole lot. For his size, he can really make sharp cuts. He's obviously got a lot of power, a lot of speed. He's got good vision. He sees the holes. You don't see him running into the back of blockers or running into piles or that kind of thing. He's got really good vision. For his size and power, he's got good quickness and very explosive change of direction. He can stop and cut quickly and be moving fast in a hurry. He's got great skills. Hard to tackle, he's got really good lower body strength. Pulls through with his legs, just pulls through a lot of tackles. He's got good bend, can dip his shoulder and get his pads down. [He] doesn't run erect. You have to do a good job of tackling him. He gets a lot of yards on his own. He's a good player.

Q: Do you still associate the Vikings and Bud Grant very closely?

BB: Yeah, sure. When I was at Detroit, Bud was the coach there. They probably played as basic a defense as anybody had every played – two coverages – but they had a great front four and some very instinctive players on defense. They played the same thing, pretty much the same defensively, pretty much the same thing all the time. But again, they had really good recognition and anticipation. They knew how to, because they were always in the same thing, they knew what to look for and how to react to it. They were very good and they had a great pass rush so their defensive backs played aggressively and they would jump routes and get interceptions. [Paul] Krause had 50-some interception but a lot of that was due to the pass rush and how little time the quarterback had to hold onto the ball. he'd recognize routes and anticipate them and jump on them. They had some really good linebackers there – [Matt] Blair and [Wally] Hilgenburg, those guys. You knew they were mentally and physically tough. You were definitely going to get that from them. That was a trademark of [Bud] and those teams.

Q: You like to limit contact with the quarterback during training camp and preseason. Is it difficult for guys who are rushing the quarterback to know how to hit the quarterback? How do you try to get those guys to know how to react when they get in that moment?

BB: We talk about it a lot. We work on it. We obviously, speaking for us, we have to work on it more. We just have to do a better job of coaching it and being disciplined in doing it. The rule is what it is. You have a strike zone to hit, you have to hit in that strike zone. That's the rule. And you can't lead with your head. Below the shoulders, above the knees, can't lead with the head – we have to find a way to hit the quarterback without doing those things. Every team in the league has to do it, that's what we have to do and we have to do a better job. We have to coach it better; we have to do it better.

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