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Patriots Conference Calls Transcripts 9/8

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HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

CONFERENCE CALL
September 8, 2017

Q: As the game was unfolding, it looked like the Chiefs were playing a bit of sub-package dime and more coverage defense than rush. If you saw it the same way, how early did that declare itself to you?

BB: Yeah, I mean, in the first series. It's about the way they played us the last time.

Q: How concerning is the wide receiver position to you right now in terms of having enough guys to do what you need to do on offense?

BB: I'd say the biggest concern is doing a better job.

Q: When you talk about making corrections, specifically in regards to allowing big plays, how much of that is the coaching staff communicating to the players?

BB: Yeah, I think I said last night, we need to do a better job on everything. And it's everything, so that includes everybody - players, coaches, everybody, all of us. 

Q: On the Tyreek Hill touchdown, what was supposed to happen there between Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty?

BB: Yeah, we gave up several big plays in the game. Again, it's just not good enough. There's a lot of issues on several plays. So, like I said, we've got to coach better. We've got to play better. We just didn't do a good job at all. 

Q: What made Jordan Richards a good choice to play in a role that had him closer to the line of scrimmage?

BB: Well, again, we did what we thought was best for the game. Obviously, things didn't work out good. They gave us a lot of receivers on the field, different combinations of them, so we played more defensive backs or those type of players. That's part of the matchup. But, we didn't do nearly as good a job of it as we need to do. We've just got to do a better job. It's no one guy, it's no one play, it's no one thing.

Q: Did you see signs from Cassius Marsh last night that indicate he will be a big contributor on the defense going forward?

BB: Well, we'll see. Yeah, I mean, I thought there was some positive things. I would say a lot of things that we need to work on with everybody, but new players, as well. But, yeah, I thought there was some positive things.

Q: What did you see on tape from Adam Butler last night that proved he is continuing his growth from the preseason?

BB: Yeah, well again, there were some decent plays out there, just not enough of them. We all just need to do a better job. There's plenty of room for improvement from everybody. 

Q: When you are making the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, how much are you weighing the game management of making it a two-possession game versus establishing the offense? Is that an easy or difficult decision for you?

BB: Well, it's a decision. There are pros and cons to it. You know that when you make it, and then, like I said, you try to do what's best for the team when you make that decision. Obviously, it didn't work out. So, we didn't do a good job on short yardage all night, and it was one of the many things that cost us. 

Q: In the loss to Kansas City in 2014, you said you liked the way the team finished that night. How do feel about last night's finish in that regard?

BB: I think I said it a thousand times. I think we've got a lot of work to do. I don't think anything that we did really was good enough. I'm not really interested in living in the past in 2014, 2015, 2003, 2004, which constantly keeps coming up. I mean, everything's about some other year but this year and this team. I don't really think all that's relevant because we're talking about another team, but we've got a thousand questions about it every week. So, I'm really concerned about the 2017 team, what this team is, what this team needs to do. I'm not trying to live in the past like everybody else is. 

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OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOSH MCDANIELS

CONFERENCE CALL
September 8, 2017

Q: How concerning is the depth at the wide receiver position now that you've suffered a rash of injuries at that position?

JM: Well, you know, we can't really control those things. We like our group and, obviously, the guys that aren't out there that have an opportunity to get back out there will work as hard as they can to do that, but we like our group. It's an opportunity for us now to continue to work on our continuity and our consistency, our trust and dependability with one another, with those guys. Now we have a lot of game film here to watch and try to improve on. That's across the board - it's not just at that position. We didn't do well enough last night to win. Hopefully, we can make a lot of progress here after we make our corrections today.

*Q: How much of getting to know the different skill-sets of your running backs is a work in progress at this point in the season? *

JM: Well, I think we, obviously, are familiar with all of the people we have. Now we have an opportunity to work with them in regular season games and try to make improvement where we can. There are some things that we did well and there are some things that we didn't do well, so that's across the board at every position with every player. It starts with me. I didn't do a good enough job yesterday of putting us in position to do the things we needed to do consistently enough. All of the backs did some positive things. The game kind of eventually dictated that we go a certain direction with it. That's how that played out, but we like our group. They all work hard and they're all ready to go each week and we're going to continue to try and get better at each position on our offense.

Q: What has it been like working with Brandin Cooks and having him in your offense?

JM: Yeah, Brandin [Cooks] has been a great addition for us. He works really hard, has a great attitude. He's a very competitive player, does a lot of things well and made some plays for us last night. Like everybody, we'll continue to try and work and improve and get better with each guy on our group. But it's been a good addition for our team and hopefully we can just continue to get better as we go.

Q: In short-yardage situations, how do you balance the options of either having Tom Brady run a sneak versus handing off on a more traditional running play to try and gain that yard?

JM: Yeah, well you always want to try to give the group that's out there the best opportunity, the best chance for success, no matter what it is you call. Certainly, what the defense is or isn't doing could impact what you end up doing. Our execution of whatever the play is, whether it's a quarterback sneak, or a run play, or a pass play, or protections or routes - whatever it is - is really I think the critical component of any successful play on offense. We've got to do a good job of coaching it. We can coach it better. We can execute it better in those types of situations so that we have an opportunity to win those plays. Obviously, they were big plays in the game last night. We don't feel good about coming off the field after missing an opportunity on fourth-down when Coach [Bill Belichick] gives us an opportunity to go for it.

Q: How much more difficult is it for you to game plan when a guy like Julian Edelman, who has been so consistent, is now missing from the lineup?

JM: The game plan process really is the same as it always is as you take the people that are available to you and then you try to create the game plan to give those players the best chance to have success as a unit together against the team that you're playing. We've had a number of players over the course of many years that have missed games or missed time that you understand that that week that person is not a part of the game plan. Our responsibility is to put together a game plan, have a good week of practice and go out and execute whatever it is on game day to give our team a chance to win. It's never great when you miss players that make a significant impact like we've have to deal with in the past with Julian [Edelman]. Nothing changes with us. We have a certain group of guys that are available to us each week. Our goal and our responsibility is to have a great game plan and go out and execute and score points. That's what our job is and that's what we need to do.

Q: Why was there such a disparity in the effectiveness of the offense between the first and second half?

JM:  Overall execution and missing some opportunities always hurts your ability to sustain drives consistently. Like I said, there are a lot of things we've got to do better. We're going to look at the film part today. After a football game, whether you win, lose, tie, score 50, 20, 30, 10, whatever you end up doing, there are always things that you're going to see on the film to be able to correct and try to do better that would've probably impacted the outcome, also. It's no different here. We've got a lot of things we can correct; a lot of things we have to correct so that we can play better. Ultimately, when you play against a good defense, if you want to sustain drives and be out there and convert third-downs and stay on the field and score points, that takes a lot of continuous execution across the board. If you have a breakdown in any area on any play it could ultimately be the play that ends the drive. You learn from your mistakes and hopefully we can get better from them, the ones that we made last night.

Q: Could you speak to the risk-reward of taking some deep shots on early downs and what it means for the ensuing downs?

JM: Yeah, well, I mean you make some and they're great. If you don't, you can always put yourself in a situation where there is a little more risk on the following play or the successive plays. That's part of football. If you always are playing too close to the vest then you may not eventually be able to make any big plays. I thought we made some last night. Certainly, we didn't make enough to win and we've got a lot to fix and correct.

Q: How much did Danny Amendola going down last night shorten your play sheet given that his replacement, Phillip Dorsett, just arrived here this week?

JM: Yeah, I mean this happens or you have to be ready for it to happen each week so it's truly not anything new. We've had players that have less experience that have to play and you have to adjust and still give everybody out there an opportunity that they're comfortable doing, that they know how to do well. It allows your offense an opportunity to move the ball down the field and score points. The end result for us and the goal for us each time we go out on the field is never going to change. Regardless of the personnel that's out there it's our job, it's our responsibility, it's the only thing we're sent out there on the field to do. Whether we have to shrink some of the things we could or couldn't do, that's just part of football. Each week whether it's before the game starts you have injuries or inactives or whatever it might be, or during the game you have an injury that may affect something. That happens to every team every single week during the year. We have no excuses whatsoever. We didn't play good enough. We didn't coach good enough. It starts with me on offense. We've got to do a lot of work here to try and make progress and improve, so hopefully we can play better next week.

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Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia

CONFERENCE CALL
September 8, 2017

Q: What is your level of concern with the defense being able to limit big plays?

MP: In general, obviously, just going through it and trying to make sure that we have everything handled here. I'm going to start with myself and make sure that I get – you know, I've got to coach better. I've got to get this stuff fixed and get everybody in the right positions and make sure we're doing the things out there that we need to do. Look, a lot of this is going to come down to playing better, coaching better, working harder, fundamentals, making sure we do things properly and just consistently. I think that's what we're working towards. I would say every single year is a new year and we started obviously this year last night not on the note we wanted to and we've got to try to get it fixed and then move on and build from forward. I think that's what we're looking at right now. 

Q: When you have players coming into a new system sometimes there is a transition period. Did you get the sense that contributed to some of the big plays allowed?

MP: I mean the communication, it's something that really to be honest with you, is different each week as far as what we have to do. Obviously it can be better overall. The communication again is going to start with me. It's going to start with me and getting the calls out there to the field and getting the communication out to the field. That's just a big part of what we do defensively every single week. You know let's obviously give a lot of credit to the Chiefs. Andy Reid did a great job with that offense and getting them into different looks and multiple different kind of things that they can do and has a great scheme that they run. They have excellent players. As far as that is concerned there's communication every week that needs to be done and sometimes we have good communication and sometimes we don't. We're trying to make sure it's all perfect I would say just in general. We're trying to make it better and that would start with me.

*Q: What did you see from Cassius Marsh last night? Did you see enough positive things to believe that he will be a contributor down the line? *

MP: Just in general with Cassius [Marsh] getting here, I'd say definitely trying to get him caught up and get him up to speed with everything that we do here. He worked extremely hard this week to try to make sure he understood everything and just go out and play hard and do those things. [We're] still obviously working through a lot there but very into it, studying and learning and just obviously got a long way. I think in general last night again in the game, I would say overall in general for everybody, we've got a lot of work to do.

Q: The Chiefs seemed to have success on short-to-intermediate crossing patterns throughout the game. What did you see there?

MP: Just in general with their crossing patterns, they did obviously run a lot of those plays. Again, it's going to be a situation where we're in a lot of different calls versus some of that stuff so we've got to play those individual calls better whatever the case may be in that deal. They just do a good job of coming at you with those from different looks and different angles. [That's] just pretty much the normal things that we see against an offense like that. We've got to go play it better.

Q: Do you feel like you had the players in the right position but just need to execute a little better?

MP: No, I mean I think in general everything needed to be better. So again, it's going to start with the coaching and it's going to start with me. They obviously had a lot of good plays last night, the Chiefs did. We had a couple but obviously nothing really of any circumstance there. So yeah, we've got to do a better job with those.

Q: What went into your decision to play Jordan Richards in more of a linebacker role over some players who might be more experienced in that position such as Elandon Roberts or David Harris?

MP: I think in general all of the guys that are active for the game we try to get them in and they're going to have a role in the game whatever that is and how it goes. Sometimes in the game we don't know until we get in it and whatever the packages we're seeing that we're playing against. Jordan [Richards] is a guy that works hard and does everything we want him to do and really tries to do what we want to do just like everybody is trying to do on defense right now. Sometimes that's just the way the game rolls into a certain spot or situation that we get into where we might be in one package more than the other.

Q: How do you think he has responded to the new type of position that he is playing in?

MP: I think a lot of our guys played, so I don't know if it's really a new position or just maybe a different look from what you guys see out on the field. It's really a lot of our guys are – we only have so many active for the game so a lot of guys are put into different roles and it may look different as far as traditional where they line up. But for us a lot of the positions are the same.

Q: It seems like you played most of the game in a dime package. Did that present itself to you pretty early in the game? Was that the expectation from your studying of their personnel leading up to the game?

MP: We ran quite a few different looks last night. I think, again, Coach [Andy] Reid and his staff they do a great job of adjusting to the different things you have. So if you give one look too long they're going to do a good job of trying to find the weakness in it and attack it. Really we try to be able to put ourselves in the best position possible based on the situation in the game and the score and down and distance and all those different things like we do. So it was – we we're just trying to just kind of keep it moving but keep it consistent at the same time. Really the game went back and forth a little bit there obviously there's some drives that were shorter and then there were some drives that were longer and then the big plays that you know really we have to do a better job on. It kind of was in a lot of different directions.

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