BILL BELICHICK PRESS CONFERENCE
BB: Obviously we're facing a team this week that's as hot as any team in the league, playing really well in all three phases of the game, well coached, great organization, have a lot of great players and they're playing extremely well. It's a big challenge for us here. We all have a lot of work to do. Certainly the last time we played them wasn't a very pretty night for us, so hopefully we can be more competitive this week.
Q: Is it fair to say that the Chiefs are a fundamentally sound unit that if you want to win, you'll have to beat them because they're not going to beat themselves?
BB: Absolutely, I think you could say that about Andy [Reid's] teams. They do a good job. They execute well. They know what they're doing. They don't make very many mistakes. You have to take advantage of the few opportunities you get and you can't afford to make many yourself, absolutely.
Q: How do you find a psychological edge this week?
BB: We'll prepare this week to play our best game.
Q: What's the challenge of bringing down Travis Kelce after the catch?
BB: Yeah, he's a good receiver, runs good routes, big target, catches the ball well, and he's a good run-after-catch player, so yeah, all of the above. They throw him a lot of passes at or behind the line of scrimmage. He catches the ball in intermediate areas and he's got some downfield plays so he threatens all three levels of the defense.
Q: Patrick Chung has covered tight ends this year but he isn't the biggest defensive back, so what allows him to have success against guys that are bigger than he is?
BB: Well that's pretty much the case with any defensive back covering a tight end. There is hardly any DBs that are the same size as most tight ends. So, less size but they have to win with their quickness, technique and coverage skill.
Q: You and Andy Reid have a lot of mutual respect. What is it about him that has sparked those feelings?
BB: I just think Andy is a straight-up guy, football guy, and I've always enjoyed my time and conversations with him. We've never worked together, but separate from that we've had good relationships. He has a great sense of humor. I like his family, just like he likes ours.
Q: Do you recall when that started?
BB: Yeah, it's been through the years. Both of us have been around so long, I don't know if either one of us can remember that far.
Q: Can you talk about having Julian Edelman, Dont'a Hightower and Sebastian Vollmer back?
BB: We'll see, we'll practice today and give our practice report today and see what everybody can do.
Q: If they are playing, what will that mean?
BB: Look, we'd love to be at full strength. We'd love to have everybody back. We'll see how they are. We haven't really practiced in over a week, so we'll see where everybody is today when we go out there and practice.
Q: Do you think that will give you a positive jolt?
BB: We'd love to have everybody back, love to be at full strength – always.
Q: What are some of the things that define Andy Reid-coached teams?
BB: Andy's rooted in the West Coast offensive system and I think that's still true. Good balance between the running game and passing game, he's always hard to defend, uses all of his players, gets everybody involved, a lot of run-after-catch yards, always productive offensively.
Q: How much of a fit is Alex Smith for what Andy Reid does offensively?
BB: You'd have to ask Andy about that, but Alex has done a great job for them – very athletic, smart, makes really good decisions, and has made plays in the passing game, made plays in the running game, handles a lot of checks and decisions at the line of scrimmage. They give him a lot of responsibility and again he doesn't make many mistakes. He's done a great job for them.
Q: Last year you had to defend Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Now they have Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. How do they compare and contrast?
BB: Again, they're all productive. I think a lot of it is just their overall fundamental execution, their offensive line, which that's undergone some changes as well, as have their backs, but regardless of kind of who's in there or what they're doing, they're producing. I think that's a credit to their coaching staff, development of their players and the overall consistency in which they perform and have performed the last couple years.
Q: A lot has been made of their outside pass rushers, but can you talk about their inside guys in terms of their ability to disrupt the run game and the pass game?
BB: Absolutely, they have good inside players – [Jaye] Howard, [Dontari] Poe, [Mike] DeVito – those guys, plus their inside linebackers, they're solid throughout their defense – their front, their linebackers, their secondary. Again they execute well, they don't make a lot of mistakes, they're hard to block, they can rush, they can stop the run and they can cover. They haven't given up very many points here in a long time, play really good team defense, good third-down defense, one of the best teams in the league – them and Houston – really good in short yardage, so they're pretty much good at everything. They have a lot of good players and they're well coached. They do a good job.
Q: What do you need out of your offensive line?
BB: Yeah I mean we need good, consistent performance from everybody. This is a team that plays well for 60 minutes. We're going to have to battle for 60 minutes at every spot and win individual matchups, play good situational football and function well as units. Those five guys got to all see the same picture through one set of eyes. It's five different ones, but they all need to see it as one. They mix it up, they give you some different looks that you have to identify, but then you have to physically block them, and that's definitely challenging. They have good players.
Q: How different is it game planning when one of their best players, Jeremy Maclin, is injured and you don't know how good he is going to be come Saturday?
BB: That's pretty much the case every week. There is usually a player or two like that every week that you could put in that category. We assume everybody is going to be ready and if they are, we'll prepare for their best, and if they're not and it's something we can't control, then we have to be ready for whoever else is in there. So we have to be ready for all the guys on the active roster and even some guys on the practice squad roster because they could be elevated at the end of the week, which is not infrequent. We prepare for everybody and whoever we get we get. It's pretty much like that every week at some position.
Q: What are some of the factors that have gone into the lack of turnovers forced by the defense this season and how important is it to turn that around Saturday?
BB: Just got to keep working to get the ball out. Sometimes you get opportunities and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you have to create your own and you always try to create as many of them as you can. You want to take advantage of the offense's mistakes if they make them. Sometimes you're fortunate and you get those plays, sometimes you're not. It's a combination of those two things. We've just got to keep working hard to get the ball out and take care of it.
Q: Is there a fine line between trying to create turnovers and sticking to the fundamentals of the defense?
BB: I don't think there's a fine line at all. I think you're coached to do things a certain way and you do them that way – no different than tackling, blocking, tackling, pulling the ball out, playing the ball. There are fundamental ways that you teach your players to do that and that's what you want them to do. It's pretty clear cut to me.
Q: How much can you go back and look at last year's Kansas City game to prepare for this game?
BB: We're definitely aware of it, went back and looked at it –the same coaches, a lot of the same players, some different players. There have been a lot of games since then, a lot of snaps since then, so it's one component of it. There are certainly lots and lots of other ones as well.
Q: Can you pinpoint what went wrong in that game?
BB: We talked about that game afterwards. I'm sure you have plenty. Go back and look at everything I said right after the game. Do you want something more than that? Well, there it is. That was a year and a half ago, so whatever you want I'm sure there's plenty of. I was asked a thousand questions about it. If you don't have access to it, I'm sure you can get the transcripts of that.
Q: Can you talk about how much work Julian Edelman has done off the field in his rehab?
BB: I'm sure he's worked hard. He always does. I don't personally supervise the medical rehab or treatments that the players get. I'm aware of it. I walk through and see him doing it, but I'm not there physically doing it with him.
Q: What allows him to come back into games without missing too much of a beat?
BB: When the medical department clears him to practice and play, he practices and plays. It's a medical decision, I don't know.
Q: Back in Week 3, an official thanked you and said you had the best sideline in the league. In light of some of the incidents over Wild Card weekend, how much of an ongoing emphasis is that?
BB: I don't know. We have game procedures in place so that we can operate the game as cleanly as possible from the sidelines – coaches, players, substitutions, signals – all those things. Obviously there are certain areas we're not allowed to be in, which would result in a penalty, but just overall we want to be able to operate as smoothly and cleanly as we can. That's all we try to do.
Q: When the injury report comes out later today, will you put yourself on there by any chance?
BB: I don't think we have to list the coaches on the injury report, but I'm sure if we're required to do it we'll do it.
Vice President of Media Relations Stacey James: Correction, the injury report will come out tomorrow.
BB: Sorry, I'm sure that's a big disappointment to you.
Q: Can you talk about Jeremy Maclin's ability to beat coverages?
BB: Maclin is a real athletic player, fast, quick and strong after the catch. He's a very dynamic player with the ball in his hands, so he's got a little running back background and he's hard to tackle. They do a good job of creating things for him and he does a good job of getting open, catching the ball and running with it. Again, another guy that can hurt the defense at all three levels – catch-and-run plays, intermediate routes and deep balls. He presents a lot of problems.
Q: On a serious note, are you alright with your eye?
BB: I think I'll live.
BILL BELICHICK CONFERENCE CALL WITH KANSAS CITY MEDIA
Q: What similarities do you see between the current Chiefs and the last time you met?
BB: I don't think there's a hotter team in the league right now. Obviously Coach [Andy] Reid and his staff have done a great job, playing really well in all three phases of the game, so a lot of great team efforts here over the last three months, and they just do a lot of things well. They do a great job with ball security, turnovers, taking advantage of opportunities, creating opportunities. They have big-play players, a lot of guys in different roles that have been stepping up for them. It's a really good football team and they're playing well.
Q: Do you guys sit down and look at the NFL rule book to try to take advantage of some of the rules?
BB: Well we try to know the rules and teach them to our players. It's a pretty thick book, but each spring that process starts with the league office and going through rule changes and interpretations and points of emphasis and so forth. Of course we, along with the league presentation, which they do in training camp, and as those things kind of get updated weekly with points of emphasis or specific situations that come up in games that Dean Blandino identifies, then of course we pass those along to the team and try to make sure that we know how to play and what's allowable and what isn't.
Q: Do you guys put a lot of time into that?
BB: Yeah I mean I don't know what other teams do so there's no way I can compare what we do to what somebody else does. I'm not in anybody else's building, so I just know what we do.
Q: Having lost four of the last six games, what's the current state of your team? How are the injuries to Julian Edelman and others coming along?
BB: When we practice today, we'll put out the status of the players based on what they're doing in practice and we'll see how that goes. I don't know if anybody has the answer to that until we get out there and start doing something.
Q: What's the state of mind of your team right now? Do you feel refreshed after the bye week?
BB: It's a great opportunity to be playing at this time of year, to be in the Divisional Playoffs, and we know we're playing against a very good team. We'll need to be at our best, we'll need to play our best game of the year, and that's what we're preparing to do.
Q: With all the injuries you've had on offense, Tom Brady has continued to deliver. Was this his greatest performance considering the circumstances?
BB: Well Tom has been a pretty consistent player for us for 15 years, so I think you can say those kinds of things about him pretty regularly. He's had a good year. We've had our moments as a team, a lot of good things, some not so good, but it's a new season now and we'll see how it all plays out. We're getting ready to go and like I said we know we're playing a good team and we'll have to play well, but that's what we're preparing to do.
Q: What has made him so special for 16 years now?
BB: Probably his consistency, just being able to do it repeatedly and in a lot of different circumstances, meeting challenges every week, every year, and he's consistently answered the bell.
Q: It's been almost exactly a year since Deflategate. Have you changed the way you've handled footballs on the sideline and before and after games?
BB: We do it the way the league outlines us to do it, just like everybody else does it.
Q: Has anyone from the league contacted you about transportation or inflation procedures for the game this week?
BB: I've never been a part of those conversations ever.
Q: Do you feel like other teams have made more inquiries about how you guys do things since the scandal last year?
BB: You'd have to ask them.
Q: How effective have the headsets been since the issues at the first game at Gillette Stadium?
BB: You'd have to ask the other teams that use them.
Q: Have your headsets been working well?
BB: I'd say every week, home or away, it's not uncommon for something to come up. There are a lot of different systems now that each team has on the sideline, so between all of them there's usually something that needs to be adjusted or do something with, I don't know.
Q: Is versatility and having guys that are able to fill a lot of different positions as important as having good depth?
BB: It could be. You have to have some way to manage those situations, so depending on what the position is, depending on what the situation is, your team, each team is different. I don't know if there is one set way to do it.
Q: Do you think you value versatility any more than you did earlier in your career?
BB: Well I think as a coach you do what you feel is best to put together the best team you can every year and every week, so I don't think that's changed for me.
Q: How much does Travis Kelce remind you of Rob Gronkowski?
BB: Kelce, he's a good player, and he's consistently productive. We knew that going into last year when we played him. He played well against us. We've seen him this year and he does a lot of things well, certainly a key part of the offense that we're going to have to contend with. I don't think there is any question about his skills and how important he is to the Chiefs.
Q: What do you see from Alex Smith on film?
BB: Consistent, a lot of production, great ball security, makes a lot of good throws, extends plays with his legs – sometimes to throw, sometimes to run. He's very good at improvising, very good decision maker. I would say smart, makes a lot of good decisions. The checks that he has in the offense or decisions he has to make, it looks like he makes the right ones.
Q: How well have you gotten to know Andy Reid over the years?
BB: I know Andy pretty well. We've never worked together, so that puts it on a whole different level when you're in the same building with a person day after day.
Q: Is it kind of cool that this is the first playoff meeting between two original AFL teams?
BB: Well I mean look we have great respect for Kansas City, the organization, Mr. [Clark] Hunt, Andy, the staff, John Dorsey. This organization, like you said, they have a long history back to the original AFL, one of the original AFL teams. The AFC Trophy is named after Lamar, so his stamp is on the game and certainly on the AFC. It's a privilege to be in this game and it's a privilege to be playing the Chiefs. The Chiefs are a great football team and they have a great tradition. They're very well coached. It's a great organization. I think they do an excellent job. We're going to be as competitive as we can Saturday against them.
Q: You see Lamar's name every day you come into the building, don't you?
BB: It's there. You're right, it's there.