PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Q: How would you characterize a successful rushing attack, and how would you characterize your offensive rushing game through three games?
BB: I mean, we've had our moments where it's been good, other moments where it hasn't been good. It's been inconsistent. We need more consistency in every area of our game. So, the answer's the same for all of it - running game, passing game. We haven't been consistent enough.
Q: Would you say that starts up front with the offensive line or is it all around equally?
BB: Yeah, I'd say we would talk about all of it - the line, the tight ends, the fullback, the receivers, the running back, reading the blocks and coaching, too. You can throw it all in there. All of it - all of it we're working on. We all need to do a better job. We need to improve all the way across the board.
Q: Matthew Slater said after the game that the team's toughness is still to be determined. What have you seen from your team on that front, and what are some of the signs you look for that prove your team is in fact a tough football team?
BB: Well, we'll see it over the rest of the remainder of the season. I mean, every week's tough in this league, so we'll see how we handle it. Look, each individual and each team has to prove it every year and every week, and regardless of what any of us have or haven't done in the past or whatever, we'll see what happens this year and so will everybody else. We'll all know the answer to that question as we go through and we march through the season.
Q: Now that you have faced some adversity, do you feel that how you handle that shows your physical and mental toughness and capabilities?
BB: Look, that's the National Football League. It's a 16-game season. Every team faces adversity over the course of 16 games. So, every team will have an opportunity to deal with it and it will happen more than once to everybody. So, when those opportunities come up, we'll see how, again, individually each of us and collectively as a team how we fair.
Q: What are your thoughts on Dwayne Allen's role in the passing game thus far?
BB: Well, everybody's role in the passing game hinges around what their assignment is on the play and then what the coverage [is] and how the play unfolds. So, between pass protection and the route spacing, or in man coverage sometimes the distribution of the receivers - whatever that happens to be based on the play that's called and the coverage that we get, then everybody has an assignment to execute and the quarterback, based on the way the play unfolds and the matchups that he has available, makes a decision on where to go with the ball. So, everybody's got an assignment to do and it's important that we all do it well. When there's a breakdown in the assignments, then that affects the passing game. The ball might or might not even be going to the person that's involved there, but it affects the spacing or the overall execution of the play. So, really for everybody - it doesn't really matter what their assignment is - it needs to be done well, collectively as a team across the board, including protection, which is a huge part of the passing game and the assignments in the passing game. Some players are more involved in that than others. Dwayne, certainly, would have more responsibility there then, for example, some of our receivers would. So, the passing game involves - it's a team performance, not one individual or two individuals. There's a lot more to it than that.
Q: How have you seen Danny Amendola being used by the Dolphins so far this year?
BB: Yeah, I'd say that Danny's role is very similar to what it's been or what it was here in terms of the position that he plays. He primarily plays in the slot, although Adam [Gase] does move guys around some from time-to-time. They're primarily a three-receiver offense, so he's on the field for a pretty good chunk of plays because that's their primary formation.
Q: Can you speak to the Dolphins run game and what you've seen from them the first three games?
BB: Well, it's explosive because they've also had plays from their receivers. They might be calling them passes, but they're really runs. So, they've gotten pretty good production from everybody, from their - you know, you've got to stop the backs, you've got to stop the quarterbacks and you've got to stop the receivers on the end-around reverses and speed sweep-type plays. So, they're all part of it. They attack you outside and they attack you inside, and they have plays that are run-pass reads based on the defense.
Q: What are your thoughts on Frank Gore and what he's accomplished in his 10 years in the league?
BB: Yeah, he's a great football player, no question about that. I mean, he hasn't had a lot of production in the passing game this year, but he certainly has in the past. We have a lot of respect for his ability to catch the ball and then run with it after he catches it. But, he's a tough football player that is hard to bring down, has good vision, excellent playing strength and balance. He's a good football player.
Q: The Lions seemed to gain a lot of yards after the catch. Is that something that you view as more of a fundamental issue, and if so, can that be challenging to correct in practice where the contact is limited?
BB: I mean, I don't think I saw that as - look, there are a lot of things in the game that could have been better. There were a couple cases where we got out-leveraged. I wouldn't think that was really - leverage was more of an issue than not being able to tackle. But, look, they have good players. The guys that had the ball in their hands are good players. They're hard to tackle, but I thought that we had a bigger issue with just, at times, losing leverage on the ball. And some of the check-downs, you know, they gained a few yards after the catch like most plays do on those check-down type plays, but a couple of crossing routes where we just lost leverage is where the yards kind of added on a couple times.
Q: When Adam Gase took over for the Dolphins, he made an effort to try to change the culture in his locker room. When you watch the Dolphins, do you notice an increased discipline or attention to detail on the field?
BB: They do a good job. Adam's done a good job. Certainly, they did a great job against us down there last year in the second game. You know, their execution level and performance was high. You'd have to talk to him about the behind-the-scenes within the locker room and all that. I'm not sure about all that, but I see the team performing very well. They've made a lot of big plays in critical situations. They've played very consistently the first three weeks of the season, and that's why they're 3-0. They've done a good job.
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