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Bill Belichick Transcript: Huge challenge for us this week

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 24, 2014.

Q:Do you have any thoughts on the play at the end with Dominic Raiola when it looked like he lunged at Zach Moore's knees as they were kneeling on the ball?

BB:Well, I'm sure there's a lot of frustration there from Raiola. That's obvious. They've never beaten us. [He] had a tough day in there dealing with [Vince] Wilfork and [Dont'a] Hightower and those guys. I'd say that was probably frustration. We saw a lot of that at the end of the game: [Tahir] Whitehead on [LeGarrette] Blount's touchdown and [C.J.] Mosley on the personal foul on the field goal.

Q:It looked like Chris Jones played a little bit at end. Is that the first time he's done that and how did you think that looked?


BB: **No, it's not the first time he's done it. You know, we're in a lot of multiple looks on defense and I'm sure we need to work on all of them. We changed it up a little bit and had some production and some of those different looks, but there's still a lot of things we need to work on.

Q:What are your initial impressions of Aaron Rodgers? I don't want to go too far into historical stuff, but is there anyone who has played that position so completely over the last 20 to 25 years?

BB:I think Aaron's a great quarterback. He does everything well: is very smart, does a great job with his team in situations and seeing things at the line of scrimmage, putting them in good plays and [a] very accurate passer, very good with his feet, hard to sack, hard guy to bring down, has real good awareness. I think pretty much everything with his game is excellent to outstanding.

Q:I know you don't spend a lot of time looking backwards, but when the team was 2-2 there was a lot of outside scrutiny. How impressed are you with your team's mental toughness and ability to ignore the noise and go on a very impressive run in terms of results?

BB:Well, nobody is happier than I am when we win, but right now all that doesn't really mean anything going into Green Bay. [They're a] great football team, very well coached. I think Coach [Mike] McCarthy does as good a job as anybody we play against, anybody in this league. They have a great quarterback; they have a real good football team. This will be a huge challenge for us this week and [it's] not really on how relevant the last week or some week is to this game. This is just going to be all about us being able to prepare and play well in Green Bay against a great football team that's certainly great in that stadium. [They're] very well coached and they're always tough, but they're playing real good football right now.


Q: **It's looked like Patrick Chung has put together some real impressive performances in coverage the last few weeks. How have you seen him improve in that area, not just this season, but dating back to his first tour of duty with the team?

BB:I'd say Patrick's always been a pretty good coverage player. I think that's been one of his strengths. There were times when we actually used him as the nickel back, instead of a third corner. I know Pat works hard at that. He has a lot of different matchups. Sometimes he's on receivers, tight ends, different types of tight ends based on their skill set, sometimes backs, sometimes combination coverages – two-on-one, three-on-two, four-on-three, things like that. So, there are a lot of different elements to the position that he plays and the coverages that he's involved with. But I think he does a good job on that. I think it's really always been a strong part of his game.

Q:Clay Matthews has been an outside type player for the large part of his career, but we've seen him inside and he seems to create some havoc in there as well. What is your overall impression of him and how they're deploying him?

BB:Not to get ahead of ourselves here, but in all honesty we've been putting a lot of time in study and concentration into Detroit. We're kind of finishing that up today, so, obviously, we saw them move Matthews inside last week, but I wouldn't say we're really into the depth of study that we will be in the next couple days on the Packers. I would say the majority of my focus and knowledge really at this point is the Detroit Lions and what we just got through with a week of preparation for them. [I'll] probably handle those questions for you a little bit better in a day or two.

Q:The past two games one was a pass-heavy game and one was a run-heavy game with the Colts. Is there a challenge in trying to sell that to your staff and the players that it's what's best for the team?

BB:I think the most important thing for this team, players and coaches, is winning. We all have a job to do. That job and that role changes sometimes from week to week. It always changes from week to week, but sometimes it changes more than others. Our commitment is to winning, it's not to a bunch of stats and stuff like that, which I know is important to a lot of other people, but that's not really very high on my list. I don't think it's really high on the team's list. I think winning is more important to the team than all those other things that you brought up. Like I said, [it's] really important to you and some other people out there, but that's not really a big deal for us. [We're] just trying to win. We'll try to do our job, try to play better and coach better than our opponents and try to win every week. That's what we're trying to do.

Q:Another game where we saw Rob Ninkovich go wire-to-wire on the defensive line. He's not the biggest guy in the world. How impressive is his ability to stay on the field every snap and the consistency he brings to that front?

BB:Rob's a tough Croatian, tough Croatian kid. He's strong; he's really strong for his size, been durable. He's athletic, play on his feet, runs well. He's able to definitely take care of himself out there and play in a lot of different situations. He's strong enough to play against bigger people and athletic enough to play in some space and coverage situations, whatever the requirements are. There are a lot of things that he can do. We were a little light at end yesterday without [Dominique] Easley. I don't know how much that would have affected Rob's playing time yesterday, but we were definitely light at the position going in there. Rob gives us a consistent level of play and gives us a lot of toughness and a lot of versatility. I don't think anybody is looking to take him off the field.

Q:When you reviewed the game this morning, did Ryan Allen's punt impress you even more in terms of the impact it had on the game and his ability to handle the ball before even getting the punt off?

BB:I mean, yeah. He definitely made a good play on the ball and he hit the ball well. We obviously like to have a good, clean operation, but this is the National Football League and players at the positions, really at every position in this league, are highly skilled. We work on bad snaps every week. We work on those kinds of things. Sometimes as a punter, something that's a little bit off the norm, a high snap or a low snap or something like that sometimes helps you really focus and make it a really good play, a really good punt. Sometimes the timing can throw some players off, but also sometimes it's more of a quick signal that you've really got to do this right from now on because maybe the first part of the timing the play went off. Look, it was a good play. I'm not trying to take anything away. It was good ball handling, good punt, good field position play, but again that's just part of the whole complementary game. Without good defense behind it, the whole thing could get erased in a hurry. Defense needs to take advantage of those kind of field position situations, the offense needs to take advantage of the return opportunity like we had on the kickoff return. Those things are all tied in together. One good play can help lead to another, but if you don't follow it up with other good plays then it doesn't have as much significance. It was all good complementary football. It was certainly a good play by Ryan, but again, this is the National Football League. It's the kind of play these guys are all capable of making or they wouldn't be in this league.

Q:Is it unique to have three guys on the interior of your line who have started at center? Does that benefit your team that they all have experience at center and making the calls?

BB:Probably helps the overall communication and operation there. If you've played center and then you go play guard, you definitely know what the center is doing, maybe a little more so than if you're only a guard and you've never played center or you haven't played center very much and you don't quite have the understanding of that position from having not played it as extensively as Dan [Connolly] and Wendy [Ryan Wendell] have. I think there's something to be said for that. You definitely have to have at least two guys going into the game that can snap the ball. You can't go in with only one guy that can handle the snapping part of it, forget about the blocking, but the actual snapping part of it. You have to take two guys to the game for that, which is what we normally have done. In this case and this year, having three guys there gives you a little more depth at that position, which is never something to be underestimated because there's nothing more important than the ball handling and moving the ball from one person to another, the center and the quarterback and the quarterback and whoever he ends up giving it to. Yeah, I think there's definitely some benefit in terms of communication and experience and understanding and so forth in those positions when you have three guys like that. I'd say the flip side to that is less experience working with the tackles on stunts and tackle-guard combination blocks, which are a lot of double team blocks or reach blocks and things like that. Like usual, when you do something like that, you can maybe help yourself in one area, but then there's a little bit of a gap going in the other direction. I'd say that's the long and short of it.

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