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Bill Belichick Transcript: 'Looking forward to the challenge'

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.


BB:** Looking at the Packers, obviously a real good football team. I think it starts at the top. Coach [Mike] McCarthy has done a great job with that program; certainly has them playing well this year. [They] have a good staff there with Coach [Dom] Capers, Coach [Tom] Clements, Coach [Shawn] Slocum – all three phases of the game. [They're] playing very well; they have a lot of good players. They have a good scheme; play hard, play smart, don't give you much, you really have to work for everything you [get]. [We're] going to have to have a great week of preparation, we're going to have to really do a lot of things well because they challenge you in every area. Looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity, but they're good. Coach McCarthy does a real good job and [I] have a lot of respect for him and the way they do things there; how well they do them.

Q: What are your thoughts on Clay Matthews?

BB: He's a real athletic player; he can run. Obviously he has real good pass rush skills, so sometimes from that inside linebacker position he gets some opportunities against backs and a little different type of protection. But he plays hard, very aggressive, good speed, good athlete.

Q: When you look at a team like the Packers that is operating at a higher level the past six weeks or so than they were early in the season, do you look at the more recent games or would you have done that anyway?

BB: Yeah, we've seen everything they've done.

Q: Do you put more stock in recent tape?

BB: Everything has some value, so in the end we'll just try to put it all together and figure out what's the best thing we have to do. I mean, if they did it in September or October, I'm sure they still have it. I doubt they eliminated some of those plays, especially the good ones. Yeah, we have to be ready for what they've shown and what they've done. I'm sure they'll have a couple new wrinkles for us that we won't have seen or prepared for, but that's the way it is every week. We'll do our normal preparation, but there isn't anything we want to leave behind here. If they've done it, we should know about it, we should be ready for it.


Q:** What kind of challenges does Aaron Rodgers present?

BB: Everything. He's a great player. He does a tremendous job, really at everything. He's got no weak points; makes every throw. [He] handles the team very well at the line: checks and adjustments, he certainly sees the defense well. [He] uses all his weapons, makes great throws from the short ones [to] intermediate, down the field, sidelines, back shoulders, deep routes and then he has a great ability to extend plays, either sliding in the pocket or at times scrambling outside the pocket. They've made a lot of plays this year on things like that where he either buys extra time or just flat-out gets away from the rush and lets the receivers uncover. He's a hard guy to tackle, hard guy to get and a very good thrower, very accurate thrower and has great vision. He's really good.

Q: It's a little unusual in that in Aaron Rodgers' career, he's never started a game against the Patriots. From your perspective, is that something you like - the idea that he hasn't seen a lot of what you do defensively?

BB: I mean, it is what it is. Whatever hasn't happened hasn't happened. I'm not really worried about it.

Q: In terms of his mobility, you guys have faced mobile quarterbacks this last few weeks, but he seems a little different.

BB: Not like him. Yeah, not like him.

Q: What makes him different?

BB: It's just, he's great. He's quick, he's big, he throws the ball very accurately, has great vision down the field. He finds guys that there's not a lot of space, but he finds them and he hits them. He's really good. I'm not taking anything away from anybody else, but this guy is a really good player.

Q: What has Matthew Slater meant to the team since he's come here in '08 and the way his career has unfolded?


BB:** Matt does a lot of things for us. Obviously, he's a really good player on the field; very professional, works hard, does a great job with all the players – younger players, but also his peers. He's very well respected in the locker room, not just by the players, but I'd say by the entire organization, just by the way he goes about his job, how committed he is to the team, how dependable he is, his work ethic, his attitude, his toughness. He's really pretty much a model player. I'd love to have 53 guys like him.

Q: Has he surprised you at all at just how good he is both on and off the field with what he brings every day?

BB: I mean, Matt's improved a lot, like any player would over that period of time. But we drafted him as a special teams player. I'd say it was a decent pick for a guy with what his skills are, kind of a little bit ahead of [Nate] Ebner, but similar to Ebner, that type of role. We made a decent investment in him. I think we thought he'd be pretty good. But he's everything and more you could ever have hoped for, I'll say that. His personality, his intelligence, his toughness, his character – both on and off the field – his leadership is all exemplary. You couldn't really find anything any better.

Q: There's a report you agreed to an extension with him. Do you have anything on that?

BB: No.

Q: It looked like even before last week and last week, Danny Amendola has been able to bring a spark to the role of kick returner. What are some of things that make him good at that spot, other than just the physical attributes?

BB: I think it starts there. Danny's got good ball skills. He's got quickness, acceleration, speed and he does a very good job with setting up his blockers. It's hard to block guys in the open field when there's so much space and distance that blockers have to try to sustain in the open field for an extended period of time. So a lot of that is done by the returner where he can help those defenders go to a certain spot and put them in a position so the blockers have good leverage and are able to make their blocks. Understanding the blocking scheme, understanding the return, but obviously ball handling and running skills and quickness, ability to break tackles, make guys miss, those are prerequisites that he certainly has. But I think his running vision, ability to set up blocks and understanding blocking schemes as they relate to the kicking game is very good.

Q: Eddie Lacy got a lot of carries this last week. What makes him such a good complementary power running game for Rodgers?

BB: He's hard to tackle. He's got good vision and he's hard to tackle; the guy breaks a lot of tackles. He's a strong runner, hard to get on the ground, whether they hand it to him or throw it to him. He had 120-some yards receiving against New Orleans, so it's the same issue when they hit him on check-downs or screen passes or plays like that. It's tackling. Those guys are all hard to tackle. Rodgers is hard to tackle, Lacy, [Jordy] Nelson, obviously [Randall] Cobb. They make a lot of plays on their own because it's hard to get them on the ground.

Q: Do you see any similarities between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers and how they've elevated their games?

BB: They both wear No. 12.

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