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Transcript: Bill Belichick Conference Call with Buffalo media - 9/22/2010

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the Buffalo media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.

Q: What are your general thoughts on this upcoming game?

BB: Well, I think we had two real competitive games with them last year. [We were] fortunate to win the first one, [with] a couple plays there at the end of the game. [We had] a real tight game in the second one there in Buffalo, last possession type of game. We have a lot of respect for Buffalo. We always have a tough, physical game against them. I think that they've made some changes on both sides of the ball. They still look good on special teams, like they always do with good returners, good specialists, and good core coverage players. Offensively, a lot of play makers there. Three outstanding backs. The receivers, [Roscoe] Parrish and Lee Evans [are] big time threats. We know those guys can do a lot of damage with the ball in their hands, and defensively it's a good, physical group. They had a great year last year in terms of turning the ball over they defended us very well. We couldn't throw the ball very well at all against them in the second game. We have a lot of respect for their aggressiveness, their physical play, and their ability to play tight pass coverage and good defense.

Q: Do you pay any respect to the Patriots winning streak against the Bills?

BB: Those games are all in the past. There's different players, new coach coaching, different players playing. I'm don't think they care anything about those games, and I don't think we care anything about them either. That's all behind us. We're just focused on this week and Sunday afternoon's game. That's what it's all about.

Q: Even as the number continues to grow?

BB: Absolutely. That has no relevance to this game.

Q: (On the quarterback change for this week's game...)

BB: We played against [Ryan] Fitzpatrick last year. We played against [Trent] Edwards. I think they're both very capable guys, and they have a lot of good skill players around them, so whoever they put in there we'll have to be ready for. We'll get ready for both quarterbacks. Really all the players that are on the active roster, we all know that could change in a heartbeat, so we just have to have a good week of preparation and do a good job of executing our defenses, taking the ball away, and not letting their big time skill players have a field day and make a lot of plays against us.

Q: Is Lee Evans a focus for the defensive game plan?

BB: Oh of course. He's one of their best players, but they have a lot of good players and they've got a good group of receivers, good group of backs. They can run the ball, they can throw it, they hurt you on screens, and misdirection plays, and that kind of thing. Chan's [Gailey] offense is built around keeping the defense honest, and not letting them over play things, and they do a good job with all their bootlegs, screen passes, reverses, long play action passes, shot type plays. They do a good job with all those complementary plays of keeping you honest and making you defend the whole field from sideline to sideline and from the line of scrimmage to the end zone. It's a big challenge with their scheme as well as their players.

Q: How do you see your cornerback group progressing?

BB: I think our players are working hard. It's a learning experience for young players every time they step out on the field, no matter what position they play. But hopefully we can continue to improve and get better over the course of the season. I think as long as we work hard and pay attention to the details, do a good job on our scouting report, and understanding the game plan that we have enough talent and players to improve out there and be competitive.

Q: (On Darius Butler...)

BB: I think Darius had a good preseason. He played about half the time last year, and he's built on that playing time this year. Like anybody there are always things that could be better, but Darius is working hard and he's improving. He's a better player than he was last year; [He] has a better understanding of our defense, and what offenses are doing. I think he's gotten better.

Q: Is the cornerback position and easier transition for younger players than anywhere else on the field?

BB: I think every position is pretty hard to play in the NFL. There's so much technique and the quality of player is so high. You see so much talent, and so many guys that no matter what you come into the league as ability-wise, most of the players coming into this league are a lot better than the players they played with and against in college. And then you come into this league and then all of the sudden you're up against a lot of great players; I don't care what position you're at. And [there are] players that are not only physically talented, but have a lot of experience and know all the tricks and have a big advantage over young players in terms of savvy and game experience. So that's a big challenge for any young player to overcome and deal with no matter [what] position they play at.

Q: (On Rob Gronkowski...)

BB: Rob's done a good job for us. He of course missed his senior season last year in college, so he's had a little catching up to do, but he's in good shape. He works hard. He's a tough kid. He's had a good preseason. He's become a very dependable and durable player for us. I think as he continues to gain experience and understanding, both with what we're doing and what opponents do, kind of some of the things that go on in the game that are subtle things, situational things, then he'll continue to get better. But he's done a nice job for us. Glad we have him, and I think he's got a real good future ahead of him.

Q: After finishing the year towards the bottom of the league in sacks last year, were you more focused on getting pressure on the quarterback this season?

BB: Well, I think the most important statistic is points and then turnovers defensively. If you can keep a team off the board, keep your opponents off the board, turn the ball over, then you're probably playing pretty good defense. And that could come from a combination of different things. That's the bottom line is to keep your opponent out of the end zone. Whether that's good red area defense, turnovers, sacking the quarterback, stopping the run, and some combination of all those things, that's really what our goals are. I think [that's] what every team's goals are on defense. The more of any of those [statistics] the better.

Q: When you game plan, do you game plan toward your strength or try to take away the other team's strength?

BB: Sure, I think you always try to. As a coach, you always try to play to your team's strength and play into your opponent's weaknesses. And that's easy when they match up that way. When your strength matches up with an area that you feel like your opponent isn't as strong as. The problem is when you see an area that isn't your strength, and the question is how much do you want to attack someplace that maybe your opponent doesn't look like that's the best thing they do, but it's maybe not the best thing you do either. And then what's the fine line there between how much exactly you want to do. That's a question every coach has to answer, whether it be in football or any other team sport, just how do you take your resources and pit them against your opponents strengths and weaknesses. There are a lot of different philosophies on that, basically we try to manage that and make good decisions on that. The combination of doing what we can do, and taking advantage of our opponents, but sometimes it just doesn't really set up well because it's not something that was a big part of your system, or what you do, it's maybe something that another team does well, and that's why it works because of their good execution. In the end, no matter how good it looks on paper, if you can't actually get out there and do it on the field and make it work, then it's probably not something you want to do a lot of.

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