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Bill Belichick Transcript 10/6: 'Our players really did a good job'

Patriots coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during a conference call on Monday, October 6, 2014.


BB:** There's not really a whole lot to add from last night. I thought after watching the tape that our players really did a good job. Give them a lot of credit for the way they played last night; the plays that they made, the consistency that they played with. Obviously we have to do a better job on the penalties, but the ball security was a big factor and we were able to convert third downs on both sides of the ball and that gave us a chance to have more plays, run the ball 40-some times, whatever it was, and get off the field on defense. Big win for Buffalo on Sunday; came back on the road against Detroit. Really showed some impressive mental toughness as a team and so I'm sure there will be a lot of energy in the stadium this weekend. We're going to have to do a good job getting ready to play on the road against a team coming off a big win and new quarterback and all of that. So, we're going to have to have a lot of work to do. But it's good to get the win last night and looking forward to a big division game here with Buffalo.

Q: Can you shed a little light on the decision to go for it on fourth down on that first drive? From what you saw on the film, how did you execute on that play?

BB: Well, we felt like we didn't need much. We felt like we had a good play and then Tom [Brady] saw the opening there and just took it himself. He does a real good job with that. He hasn't been stopped too many times in his career making that decision so we had a lot of confidence in him and our offensive line. We end up scoring a similar play there the next play with [Stevan] Ridley. So we just felt good about the situation.


Q: You mentioned that Tom has done that a lot over his career and been good in that situation. What makes him good in that scenario? What does it take for a quarterback to be good at those kinds of plays? **

BB: It's a subtle play. It's finding the seam there. Sometimes the linemen charge straight ahead, sometimes they stunt, but just being able to find that soft spot somewhere there between the guard-tackle gaps on either side; just kind of having the right timing of letting those blocks just develop enough so that there's a little bit of space there versus trying to push it forward. But even like the play he made in the AFC Championship Game a couple years ago when he dove over the top. The linemen were in a submarine stance going underneath the line. Again, those are the kind of decisions that a quarterback has to make when he's out there and under center and the ball is snapped and Tom does a real good job of just having a feel for whether to keep it tight, whether to move out away from the center a little bit, whether to go low, whether to kind of go over the line if they're submarining, that kind of thing. Again, it's a subtle thing. But when you only need a few inches or half a yard or whatever it is, sometimes that's the difference between getting it and not getting it. Like I said, he's done a good job on that throughout his career. He's made a lot of those. I don't know how many, but it's been a lot. He hasn't been stopped very often.

Q: It seemed like there was a lot of emotion and it looked like an angry team out there. Did you sense that going into the game and did you see that during the game from your guys?

BB: I thought the team played hard, yeah. I thought they played hard. I think we've played hard a lot this year, but we were able to execute things a little bit better, as I said, get off the field on third down, convert some third downs, or fourth downs, as the case may be. So, of course there was more emotion and energy as we were making plays, especially in the first – well, throughout the game, but especially in the first quarter.


Q: Rob Gronkowski's voice was almost cracking when talking about Brady. It seemed like the guys made a point of rallying around each other. Did you see that during the week that they were rallying around the quarterback and each other? Is that encouraging as a coach that they had each other's backs during a difficult week? **

BB: Yeah, when you had the result that we had Monday night as a team, I think everybody rallied around each other. I mean, who else is there to rally around? That's all we have: guys that can go out there and play and make a difference. Nobody else is going to make any plays unless we go out and make them ourselves. Of course they stuck together as a team and supported each other. That's what any team should do.

Q: You mentioned a couple times on Sunday about how proud you were of the coaches and what they did. Can you expand on what you liked from your staff last week in terms of what they did?

BB: Well, I just think it's tough when you play on the road Monday night. Get back here at whatever it was, five in the morning and then you go through the tape of the game, which was obviously a painful process. Then get ready for an undefeated team, a team that had given up three points in the first half of their first three games and been pretty dominant. To turn around and get a game plan ready and address some of the problems that we had in Kansas City and all that. I thought we played pretty good situational football last night in terms of all different situations that came up in the game. So, you know, it's not just drawing up plays on first-and-10. It's handling the preparation for all the situations – with only three games a lot of that is going back and digging through key games and situations from last year to look at tendencies or look at plays you want to run. Again I just think as a staff they did a good job of doing those things on a short week against a good football team that's well coached that gives you a lot of problems on every down and every situation. I thought they worked hard and they did a good job; as did the players. The players are in the same boat, coming back off a long trip and getting ready to turn it around quickly without a lot of rest and so forth. I think everybody showed a good level of toughness and determination and focus this week.

Q: The interior line combination that we saw last night – there were obviously some extenuating circumstances in bringing those three together with Ryan Wendell missing games and Bryan Stork playing catch up. Now that they're together, what did you like from them? I have to believe there are some advantages to having veterans on both sides of a rookie center.

BB: I think the biggest advantage is performing well and playing well. I think there are still things we can work on and do better. But we certainly as a total offense – all the positions: the line, the tight ends, the fullbacks, the running backs – Tom got us into some good plays or got us out of some bad ones a couple times, however you want to look at it – all those combination of things working together. Everybody doing their job and operating as a team and functioning efficiently as a team with good execution is really what we need to do: coach better and play better and just do a better job than what we've done in some earlier points of the first four games. But I thought Ryan and Dan [Connolly] and Bryan did a good job on the inside part of the line against some good players like [Domata] Peko and [Geno] Atkins and [Devon] Still and those guys in there. They're a pretty formidable and talented group. I thought they competed hard. Really, it is a team effort. I don't think you can single out [anybody] – it's everybody doing their job, not just one guy.


Q: Putting Darrelle Revis on A.J. Green and matching him up that way, what made that the best defensive decision for the team? **

BB: Cincinnati is a tough team to match up against. We talked about it at the beginning of the week about how to best do it, especially with their no-huddle and their ability to create big plays with all those receivers. Obviously [Jermaine] Gresham and [Giovani] Bernard and [Mohamed] Sanu and right on down the line. Again, just in the end we felt like the game plan of the matchup with, I mean it was all matched up so just the combination of putting the guys on the matchups that we felt we would be most competitive on. That's really what it came down to. It was a multiple decision. We had Revis on Green and Zo [Alfonzo Dennard] on Sanu and Jamie [Collins] on Gresham for a big part of the game and really [Jerod] Mayo on Bernard for the most part. Those are the kind of matchups that just, again, the entire team had to face. It wasn't just one guy. That's really how it came out.

Q: We heard you on the radio before the game last night describe why tight end is a pretty difficult position to pick up if you're trying to learn a new offense. You've had Tim Wright now for a little over a month. How have you seen him handle that spot since he's been in New England?

BB: Tim's a real smart guy. He's got a lot of experience in the passing game as a former receiver and experience from last year as a tight end in Tampa's system which also, even though it's different it's similar in that the tight end is still the formation guy that has to create the different formations and motions and combinations with the receivers and so forth in the line and in the running game and the passing game. It's still the same. Even though it's different, it's still really to me the same issues, at least with their offense. But he's smart, he works hard. He's one of the first guys in here every day and stays late and spends extra time with Coach [Brian] Daboll. He's done a good job; still a lot of things to work on and a ways to go, but as far as his effort and work ethic and attention to detail and so forth, it's very good. But there's still a lot of things that are timing and adjustments and anticipation and so forth can always be better and I'm sure will get better. He's done as much as he can do in terms of learning the offense and trying to work extra to get things right. I think all three of those guys have, I mean obviously Rob [Gronkowski], even though he practiced all training camp didn't get the in-game reps and those have been valuable for him over the first third of the season. The same thing with Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui]. He really missed all preseason, too. Even though he's been in our system and so forth, still the timing and the execution and all that is something that he missed a lot of in camp practices and camp games. He actually did less than Rob did. And then of course Tim wasn't here at all. I think all those guys have continued to work hard and improve and really do what they can do, which has been limited really with all three of them for one reason or another. Not that it was any of their fault, it's just that's the way it fell. We haven't really had those guys on the field as much as we would like or they're coming back onto the field trying to work themselves back as well as trying to work with each other and get more familiarity with each other in game situations and game adjustments. I think that progressively has helped us week by week even though it obviously didn't show up in the fourth game. But there are still things that were better in the fourth game than they were in the first and second game. That's probably true on the offensive line as well: the accumulation of reps and time and meetings and practice and games. It's getting better. Again, even though it didn't always show up in the Kansas City game there were still some signs of doing things better. It showed up more last night. So, we just have to keep working at it.

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