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Bill O'Brien Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

Q: What are your thoughts on the third receiver role in the offense? How important to you is that role?  

BO: It's evolved over time. A lot of different guys have inhabited that role, whether it's a tight end or an actual receiver or a back; it's a role that's a multi-purpose type of role that a lot of different guys have filled over the last few years.  

Q: How do you see that unfolding, starting this week with the Colts? Do you see someone seizing that role or do you envision more of trying out your options there?  

BO: Yeah, it's basically definitely a week-to-week deal. It's based on a lot of different things. It's based on practice, it's based on the game plan, it's based on the health of each position. We'll have to see how it goes because, to be honest with you, it's real early in the week and we're still game planning this game right now and we'll see how it goes starting tomorrow.  

Q: Would you like for it to be one person?  

BO: No, nope.  

Q: How come? Is that because of the versatility that different players bring?  

BO: I just believe that not one person can fill exactly one role. I think it adds to the diversity of the offense when a lot of different guys contribute to different roles.  

Q: We saw a little bit of Tiquan Underwood last week. Can you talk about what he does well and what you like about him and what he could add to the offense?  

BO: He's a tall guy that runs pretty well and he's smart. He just adds to the intelligence at that position. The skill set that he has is pretty good, obviously, for that position. He just got here and we'll keep working with him and see how he does.  

Q: What did you think Deion Branch and Wes Welker did better on Sunday than they have the past couple of weeks?  

BO: I don't know, I think they've been playing pretty well this year. One guy has 82 catches, I think, last time I checked, and the other guy has upwards of mid-40s or something. So, I think they've had good years. Again, it's week-to-week; it's based on how each team plays us. Some other guys contribute a little bit more in that week. One thing that you have to remember is, it's really important to us here at the Patriots – it's important to Bill [Belichick], it's important to me, it's important to our players – is that those guys contribute in a lot of different ways. If you just look at receptions as a mark of how they contribute, then that's wrong. If you look at one of the first plays of the game, Deion goes in there on about an eight-yard gain by Benny [BenJarvus Green-Ellis], Deion blocks the weak safety pretty well on the play. I think we all have to look at all the different ways that they contribute in a game and those two are two of the best at doing that.  

Q: From afar, it looked like this would have been a week that maybe Taylor Price could have gotten more opportunities with Chad Ochocinco down. What do you think is holding him back from getting that opportunity?  

BO: It's something that we look at week-to-week and now we're looking at it as it relates to Indianapolis. We've really moved on from Philadelphia. We're moving onto Indy. We'll see who's ready to go on Wednesday when we go into practice tomorrow and start entering the game plan. It's a week-to-week deal and this week it could be somebody different. It could be Taylor, it could be Ocho [Chad Ochocinco], it could be Tiquan [Underwood], it could be somebody you've never heard of. That's kind of the beauty of what we do. At some point in time, hopefully every one of those guys will contribute to what we're trying to get done.  

Q: From a bigger picture standpoint, what do you think Taylor Price needs to do developmentally to become a more consistent part of what you guys do?  

BO: All those guys at that position, it's how you practice, it's how you study, the opponent, the game plan and being able to go out there on the practice field and do it consistently every day. I think all those guys try to do that and try to be consistent and that's why it's been a pretty good position for us this year. Taylor is trying to fit into that position and he's working at it and hopefully he'll get there.  

Q: Eleven games in, how would you assess the progress of your two rookie running backs?  

BO: I would say that both guys have progressed. I think it's hard to play any position in the NFL as a rookie, whether it's tackle, receiver, tight end, running back or obviously quarterback. I think it's a difficult transition and both of those guys have come along every week and improved every week in their knowledge of – the running part of the game is fairly basic for them; it's all the other things. It's the pass protection. It's the pass routes. It's the run reads. It's the other things that go into that they need to improve on every week and I really think they've worked hard at that.  

Q: One thing that was interesting was how Wes Welker talked about how his first touchdown developed with the play-action. How often does it happen where Tom Brady or Wes comes back and talk about in-game adjustments? Is that every series or is that a rarity?  

BO: I wouldn't say it's every series, but there are definitely moments in the game or times in the game where you've got a lot of guys there that have played a lot of football and have played a lot of football together and have seen a lot of different coverages and fronts and blitzes and all different types of players. They can see things during the game. They're the ones out there playing the game and they see it really well, so they come back and say, 'Hey, this might be a really good adjustment on this particular play.' That's part of the communication on the sideline and it happens a decent amount of the time.  

Q: Obviously the Colts' record is what it is and the defensive statistics are what they are, but they still have a lot of the same players. What are seeing from this defense, specifically their front four which has given you guys and everyone else trouble over the years?  

BO: It all starts with those two defensive ends: [Robert] Mathis and [Dwight] Freeney. Those guys are explosive players. They're game-changing type of players and this is an aggressive defense, a disciplined defense. We never talk about records around here. This is a good NFL team that's going to come in here and play us really hard. We have a big challenge ahead of us and we're going to try to get ready for it starting tomorrow.  

Q: When you have the three receivers and the two tight ends, which you ran a lot in that game, is that unique from what you see around the league? Going so many plays without a running back, how unique is that and what do you guys like about it?  

BO: I'd say it's fairly unique. I think that some teams do it. Having guys in there like Julian [Edelman] and Aaron [Hernandez] in there who are such multiple role-type guys really helps us in that personnel grouping. We're fortunate to have guys that can play a lot of different roles like that. It's something that was effective for us in the last game and going forward, who knows how much we'll use it again. But in that game, it seemed to be pretty effective for us.

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