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Transcript: Bill Belichick Conference Call 1/23

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.


Q: In the last five games you've been penalized a total of 13 times. In the two previous games before that there were nine penalties in each game. Is that a reflection of the players taking the coaching better and using improved techniques so they don't get in positions where they commit penalties?
BB: Well, hopefully that's what it is, yeah. We emphasize that all the time. We always try to work to eliminate penalties. Sometimes those things happen but, as you said, a lot of those penalties are caused by bad technique or just lack of concentration or sloppy football. We certainly are always trying to stamp those out.
Q: Mike Vrabel was officially named as the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans yesterday. When he was sitting in the Patriots meeting rooms from 2001-08, how much could you have envisioned him eventually being in that position someday?

BB: Well, I mean I've talked about this quite a bit. I think Mike's a very smart football player. He worked hard, trained hard, loved football. I have a ton of respect for Mike and everything he's done and how hard he's worked and what he stands for. In all honesty I wasn't thinking too much about that in those meetings. I was thinking about whatever it was we had to do to compete against the team we were playing against. I'm sure those were my thoughts at the time, but Mike's a tremendous person, coach. He was a great player here and he certainly has a ton of attributes that would be a great addition to any organization - leadership, work ethic, toughness; all those things. 

Q: If and how might you place any additional emphasis late in the season on stamina and tempo, especially on defense?

BB: Nothing in particular there. I think it's important at all times of the year. We strive for that at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, end of the year, anytime. We know in this league, as competitive and as evenly balanced as this league is, that a lot of times when plays will come down to, as we know, one or two plays to determine the outcome of a game or at this point in time the outcome of the season and how critical those are. We've got to do the best we can to prepare for any of those situations that might come up, which conditioning and stamina and so forth are part of that discussion.
Q: Is Trey Flowers' high motor something you noticed since he began playing for you guys and how impressive is his conditioning, especially late in games?

BB: I think it's very good and I think you saw that from Trey in college. He plays hard, pursues the ball well, played a lot of plays at Arkansas, wasn't substituted for a lot. He was in there and played a lot of important plays, kind of as you would expect him to be given the caliber of his play. So, yeah, he was a guy I would say that's done this. It's kind of what it's been and - very competitive player, very productive player and a versatile one. He can do a lot of different things for us and has done that and it's been very valuable.

Q: Before Danny Amendola caught one of his punt returns on Sunday, he kind of gave the 'fire' call or whatever it is that you guys call it. Is that to deke coverage players or to let his own guys know to get out of the way? Is there any sort of game within the game there when he makes that signal and then catches it anyway?

BB: Well, sure. I think that's a heads up, deceptive kind of move by the returner, by Danny, to get the coverage to relax or pull up a little bit and give him an opportunity to create a little bit more space and make a play.

Q: Early in the fourth quarter you had another punt return set up and it looked like the Jaguars aligned in an unusual kind of way. Was there any thought on your part of taking a timeout when you saw that or what went into the decision not to?

BB: I think the only reason to take a timeout would be if you needed it. If there was a reason to take a timeout, there was some reason that you wanted to stop play. That's really not something that we were interested in doing at that point in time. Didn't feel like there was any need to take it and that's why we didn't use it.

Q: How much impact have Dave Ziegler, Monti Ossenfort and Richard Miller had on building your current team?

BB: Well, sure, there are a lot of people that go into that. The three names that you mentioned and many of the other pro personnel and college scouts that work under or with those people and help to bring information to the table that either gets used or followed up on or is used in comparisons to try to analyze and evaluate players and talent. The scouting department is a very - they're a very hard-working group. They have to cover a lot of - the volume that they handle, it's a mountain of information and not all of it is easy to get. You have all the current NFL players, which you can probably add several hundred to the list of players that are in the league, that are on active rosters, because you have all the injured players and then you have players that slide on and off rosters over the course of the season - some of those practice squad players, some of those veterans who are on or off for other competitive reasons as needs arise of various teams. Then you have all the college players and another hundred and some underclassmen that just declared that need to be evaluated. Some of those we anticipated. Some of them we didn't. When you put it all together, the information and evaluations, as I said, it's an incredible volume plus you have all the injury information, character and personality and other things like that that aren't really part of a football evaluation of a player on a football field. It's another component that's a part of it. Again, those guys do a great job of pulling all of that together. They work very hard at it - Nick [Caserio] and Monti and Dave on the college and pro end, respectively. They do a great job. As I said, they have a lot to handle. The volume is enormous.

Q: How much of today is a traditional day in terms of Tuesday usually being a big game plan day to get it ready or does the extra time that you have change the dynamic?

BB: Well, I think in this particular case it's sometimes a little different. Every year is not the same but in this particular case, today is very much of a major working day, and I would say kind of a catch up day for us because we just don't know very much about Philadelphia. You know, other years when we had played a team more recently like Seattle, who we had played two years before but in a regular season game, but there was some carry over from that or in the [New York] Giant years where we had played those teams in the regular season, there was a little bit less of an acclimation to the opponent this week because we had some background with them. In this case we really don't know very much about Philadelphia. They're obviously an outstanding team and we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of ground that we need to cover, so we're at it hard trying to catch up so when we bring the players in we'll be ready for them and we can do a good job of presenting the information to them efficiently and accurately because, again, there's a lot of information to digest. There's 16 regular season games, and then there's playoff games, and then maybe some additional other things that get kind of tossed in there as well. But the bottom line is it's a lot to sort out and then pull together pretty concisely because, again, for all those games that we look at - let's call it 18 games, just to pick a number - I mean that's probably 2,500 plays in all three phases of the game and there's just going to be 160. So they can't do everything that we've ever seen them do any more than we could run everything that we have experience running so we have to whittle down our side of it. We know that they're going to have to only be able to run so many plays and so the idea is to not - we have to be prepared for a lot of things but at the same time we can't be overly distracted by things that either have a low percentage chance of coming up or probably wouldn't be the type of thing they would do against us. We try to eliminate some of those and make sure we work on the things that we feel are most problematic or may be most likely to occur. Today is a tough day because normally at this point we would have a lot of information on the new team, and we have a lot of information. We have a lot - I mean our pro scouting department has done a good job of advance scouting but from a coaching standpoint, the coaches haven't really been focused on this game. We were focused on Jacksonville and now we turn our attention here to Philadelphia and there's a lot of work to do. They're obviously a great team and they're strong in every area. That's why they're playing in this game. Our attention is on them but there's a lot of work to do. 

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