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

Bill Belichick Transcript: 'Spiller and Jackson are two extremely dangerous players'

BB:We've been diving into the Bills here the last day and a half. Again, it's a team that made a change last week at quarterback with [Kyle] Orton and had good results. It was a good comeback win for them on the road against Detroit, who is another good football team. They have a lot of explosive players on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. They've done a good job defensively, especially with the run defense. It's a team that we're kind of familiar with and a coaching staff that, there's new faces on defense with Jim Schwartz and all, but we know him from Detroit. So, it's just kind of putting it all together: the personnel, the staff, a little bit of scheme. Obviously [Sammy] Watkins is a key addition for them and an outstanding player. A couple changes on the offensive line. Even though it's a division team, there's still a good amount of newness to Buffalo and things that we need to prepare for. So, this will be a big week for us in terms of focusing in on a team that we kind of know but we really don't know as well as we need to.

Q:You guys went up tempo pretty much as soon as you got the ball on Sunday. Were you pleased with what you were able to get by doing that? When a team has success pushing the pace, do you think it's more a function of just being committed to doing it or is it more reactionary and it depends on what the defense is doing?

BB:I think any strategy that you use, whatever it is, offensive or defensive strategy is, first of all has to be functional to what you're able to do. There are a lot of things that look good but if you don't do them well for whatever reason then they don't look as well when you're out there doing them. If it's something that you do well and you can do well and your team does well, whatever that happens to be, then it's probably something that you want to try to do more of. I think there are a lot of things involved in making those decisions. Certainly a big part of it is also what's going on on the other side of the ball: what kind of matchups you're creating and what kind of advantage you're trying to gain and do you feel like you're able to gain it. I think wherever you, or at least our feeling is, wherever we can gain those advantages, we want to try to gain them. If we don't feel like we're gaining a big advantage or if we feel like we can gain it in other ways, then the preference and the priorities will go there. When you don't huddle, you can play at a faster tempo. When you huddle and change personnel, you can create different formations, different matchups, different personnel groups and force the other side to do those - either match up or don't match up. But whatever it is, you're playing a different type of game than you are when you're playing a pace game. Certainly we've done both. We have confidence in doing both. I think there's a place for those and there has been with us. So, we'll evaluate that every week [and] try to do what we think is best.

Q:Were you pleased with it on Sunday?

BB:Well, we had a mixture of a number of things in the game. But, you know, again, that was last week. It doesn't really matter. We're on to a new week, a new opponent, a new preparation. I think we base whatever it is we'll do on what we have in front of us, not what we have behind us.

Q:Regarding preparing for Kyle Orton, is he a type of quarterback, a veteran like Tommy Maddox or Jon Kitna, who may be finding his game? What problem does that present in terms of preparation? You touched on Sammy Watkins. What has he done to this point in terms of impact?

BB:Orton hasn't really played a lot of football recently until last weekend. But we have a lot of respect for what he's done in the past. I'm sure if he wasn't capable of doing all the things we've seen him do in the past that Coach [Doug] Marrone wouldn't have put him in there and he wouldn't have been as successful as he was. I think we're preparing for Orton as we've seen Orton in the past even though we only have the one game with Buffalo to go on, [from] last week. All his tendencies and his skill sets, we certainly respect those. Of course, Josh [McDaniels] was with him and coached him out there [in Denver]. So, he has personal knowledge of him that can help us a little bit - not in their system, but at least his physical characteristics. I think he's obviously an experienced guy that throws the ball well in all parts of the field: short, intermediate and deep. He reads coverages and defenses well. He has a good grasp and experience in the passing game. So, we respect all that. Watkins has been impressive. He's big, he's fast. He has great hands. I thought the catch he made on the ball at the end of the Detroit game was one of the best ones I've seen where he kind of tipped it to himself from behind him to in front of him where he could catch it. Anyway, he's got great range, big catch radius. He's a big target and then he's got good ability to handle the ball wherever it is. He's strong, he's physical, he can impact the deep part of the field and he's a dangerous runner after the catch on short and intermediate type routes. He'll be a big challenge for us.

Q:As advertised?

BB:Yeah, as advertised. And I'd say, Orton probably has a little more experience in the downfield passing game. Although you know, I think we kind of really have to be ready for both quarterbacks here. We always do that. One play could change it anyway but he does a good job of getting the ball to those receivers and tight ends and to [Scott] Chandler. I'm sure he'll play better this week and probably continue to play better as he gains some experience and timing with the Buffalo passing game.

Q:I know you guys believed you were light at linebacker and needed to promote Ja'Gared Davis. But how difficult a decision was it to release Kenbrell Thompkins given that it seemed like he was a player you'd invested a lot in over the past year and had been a big part of what you'd done at different points?

BB:Well, yeah, it's always tough to release a player, especially one like KT who works extremely hard and was really a dedicated athlete and certainly had a lot of good moments of performance for us. We have other players at that position that also work hard that are talented. In the end, in order to get a guy on the roster you have to take a guy off. It just came down to that decision. It's a hard decision to make, you know. We had other ones we had to make relative to the two players that we added yesterday from the reserve list. If we could have more players, we would have them. We're fortunate that we have a lot of the players that we want to work with on the practice squad. But we know that anytime you expose a player, there's a chance you could lose them. We were prepared for that. Oakland will be getting a young, hardworking player.

Q:Were you hopeful he'd pass through waivers and you could work with him on the practice squad?

BB:Yeah, I'd say almost any player that's practice squad eligible that's on our roster that if he wasn't on our roster that we would want to work with him on the practice squad. I'd say that would always be the case. Not 100 percent of the time, but close to it. But yeah, I think KT has a future in the NFL. But we obviously have a depth issue at linebacker and we're heavy at receiver so something has to give.

Q:What differences do you see in defensive scheme from the Bills in the transition from Mike Pettine to Jim Schwartz?

BB:Yeah, that's quite a contrast. I would say that the Buffalo schemes would be very similar to the Detroit schemes when Jim was [there] the last five years in Detroit. If you want to see the similarities defensively, I think that's where they are. [It's] about as different as you could get from what Pettine ran and what Rex [Ryan] runs. They do less and try to do fewer things better with good technique. They have enough changeups to keep you off balance. It's a lot less volume than Pettine's defense.

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