Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 1/18

Q: Do the Chiefs keep Dee Ford and Justin Houston on the same side most of the time, or do they flip them around quite a bit?

BB: Ford’s usually on the right, Houston’s on the left – not 100 percent of the time, but that’s usually the way it goes. When they get to third down, sometimes they get into an odd package, could get them split, could get a little bit of that San Diego program, like [Melvin] Ingram did, and be inside or put them together or use them in coverage and so forth. But normally, it’s Ford on the right and Houston on the left. If you said where are they going to be, that’s most likely where you’re going to find them.

Q: Houston didn’t play in your first matchup with the Chiefs. What have you seen from him since then?

BB: Yeah, good player – does everything well, strong against the run, can rush, smart player, instinctive. He’s a good player. He’s one of their best players. 

Q: The Chiefs run defense, statistically speaking, wasn’t very good this year, but it was good against the Colts. What did you see last week that allowed their run defense to improve?

BB: Well, I mean, that game, like every game, it takes its own course. But I would just say, in general, they have a lot of guys that are hard to block. If you don’t get them blocked, you’re not going to gain any yards. But, Jones is hard to block, Houston’s hard to block, they have a good front. [Anthony] Hitchens is a very instinctive linebacker. He’s got a lot of experience. He makes quite a few plays. [Daniel] Sorensen’s another pretty instinctive guy that’s down in the box a lot. Because they play so much man coverage, he’s down there around the tight end in a lot of their base coverages, and then when they go to dime, obviously, he’s down there, too. And they mix up their fronts between their five-down front and their four-down front. So, if you don’t get it right, you’ve got problems. And if you can’t block one of those guys, you’ve got problems. If you can, like anybody else, then you’ve got a chance. So, that will be the challenge for us. 

Q: Your training and medical staff have obviously done a good job of getting guys ready to play and available to play this year. How well do you think they’ve done this year, relative to other years or anything like that?

BB: Yeah, I mean, they all work hard. Yeah, great. 

Q: I would think it’s a big advantage having everyone out there and healthy, right?

BB: Absolutely, yeah. Being able to practice, being able to train, being able to string those days and weeks together, yeah, it’s what you want. 

Q: You once said that this is an area that you scrutinize very hard in the offseason in terms of nutrition, rest and all those things. Do you think the health of this team right now might be at all relative to some of things you’ve done in the past?

BB: I would hope so, but I think in the end, it’s a combination of a lot of things. Training is like anything – it helps to have a good plan, it helps to follow the plan, and the players have worked extremely hard. There’s no pill we can take to get in condition or get stronger or get faster or anything. You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to work at it, and you do that day after day, week after week, month after month, in some cases, year after year, and that’s how you improve, just like anything else. So, the players have worked really hard as a total team with a lot of consistency. I think the work that, as you mentioned, the other people behind in those areas have done has been good, but it’s a combination of a lot of people working together and doing a good job. But, I think you can’t take anything away from the players. In the end, players work to get in condition. Certainly, they need a good plan, good structure – I’m not saying that – but if they don’t work hard at it, then you could have the best plan in the world, and probably aren’t going to have great results. 

Q: The contrast in playing styles between the quarterback you faced last week and the quarterback that you’ll face this week is pretty significant. How have your scout team quarterbacks done, whether this week or all year, in terms of preparing your team, especially when the extremes vary from week to week?

BB: Yeah, well, we spend time with all of our players every week trying to instruct them and coach them into how we want them to do whatever it is, whatever position they play is, whatever they’re doing, and they do a great job of that. They do it the best they can. If they don’t do it right, then we correct them. They do it the best they can and do it right. So, they know their job’s important to help prepare their teammates, they take it very seriously and they do really an outstanding job. So, that’s all you can ask. We try to put players in positions that are, we think, similar, at least physically, to the opponent or we try to approximate it the best we can. It’s obviously not perfect. We do the best we can on that, and then those guys try to do the best they can to simulate those things. Some of it’s scheme, some of it’s individual technique. 

Q: The last few times you’ve played the Chiefs, there’s been a few plays where they sent Kareem Hunt vertically down the field. Have you seen them do anything like that with Damien Williams over the past month?

BB: You bet. They do it with everybody. Yes. 

Q: Is that a tough matchup to prepare for? It’s not every week you see running backs running 30 yards down the field vertically.

BB: Yeah, well, pretty much everything the Chiefs do is tough. Andy [Reid] does a really good job of attacking weaknesses in every defense, creating matchups. He has a lot of good skill players. He moves them into a lot of different positions. They’re very well-coached. They can execute multiple things at a high level on a very consistent basis. I mean, that’s why they’re the top-scoring team in the league, that’s why they move the ball and score more points than anybody else, because they do it well a lot. So, he does a great job challenging the defense with that and many other things. He’s got a very good system and they execute it extremely well with a lot of really good players behind a good offensive line. So, there’s usually not a lot of problems that come up on that end – pressure and guys in the running game that are unblocked and things like that. Screens – they do a great job, those guys get out, get on the players that they’re supposed to get onto based on the coverage and get the screens started for guys like [Tyreek] Hill and [Chris] Conley and [Damien] Williams, guys like that. They do everything well. They’re just a really good team.

Q: They do a lot of pre-snap motions and misdirection plays. How important is discipline on the defense to not let them get a lot of guys out of position?

BB: Yeah, very important. They do a great job of that. There’s, as you said, a lot of misdirection, a lot of motion and it’s fast, too. These guys are moving. So, some of it is misdirection and some of it is they try to just get outside you fast, so you have to respect it, but at the same time, there’s plenty of misdirection or complementary plays that come off that that you also have to defend – runs and passes, inside plays and outside plays. So, it’s hard. I mean, just honestly, all the things you guys bring up, they’re all problems we’ve been trying to deal with all week. We’ll continue to – I mean, they do a good job. They force everybody to kind of be in the right spot, and if you’re not, then they take advantage of it. 

Q: Jason McCourty made note this week that Tyreek Hill is not their only speedy receiver. Is this maybe the fastest receiver corps that you’ve faced this season?

BB: Yeah, they’re fast. [Travis] Kelce can run. The backs can run. Yeah, there’s a lot of fast guys out there, but they’re more than just fast. They’re elusive, they’re good route runners and they’re slick too. It’s not just - there’s more to it than just running straight-line fast. These guys are fast but they know how to use their speed. They’re quick. Again, they have good scheme. They can complement each other. Yeah, there’s a lot of fast guys out there. That’s why they have more explosive plays than any team in the league. Hill’s got a lot of them, but it’s not all him. There’s plenty of other ones too.

Q: Would you say that Arrowhead Stadium is the toughest place to play in the league?

BB: Yeah, again, I think it’s about the team you play, and the Chiefs are good, so they’re tough. If you play them anywhere, they’re tough. They were tough here.

Q: Was there a moment when you knew that J.C. Jackson was going to be a starting caliber player for you?

BB: Like a lot of players, you just go out there and keep getting better each day, and if you can stay on the field and keep improving, learn from your mistakes, gain experience, gain confidence, gradually that just ratchets up inch by inch, day by day. I don’t think there was like one play that changed the whole world, no.

Q: Monday will be 25 years from the date that Robert Kraft purchased the team. What has he meant to the team from your view or from working closely under him?

BB: We have a good setup here. He’s been very supportive, gives us great opportunity to go out and compete every week. We’ve done that. I hope we can continue it for a long time.

Q: Do you get nervous as the game approaches at any point?

BB: Yeah, every week.

Q: More for a postseason game or is it a weekly thing?

BB: They all count in this league. Just let me know the next game that doesn’t matter so I can take that into account.

Q: Probably next August in the preseason.

BB: Just let me know the ones that don’t matter. I’ll make sure I don’t get excited for those.

Q: Or nervous?

BB: Nervous, yeah. Sure. You want to go out there and do well. There’s an anxiety. We all have things in the game that we have to do. You want to perform them well, not let your team down because everybody’s counting on you to do your job. You’re counting on everybody else to do theirs. You don’t worry about everybody else. You just worry about doing what you can do and make sure you don’t screw up what you’re supposed to do, what you’re responsible for, because nobody else can do that. That’s your job, and we all have jobs to do. We all want to do them well.

Q: You faced Peyton Manning’s offense in the 2000’s – a great offense with the Colts – but their formation was pretty consistent. They didn’t vary it up much. With the Chiefs, you have a ton of different formations. Some great offenses do a lot of different things, and others it’s more static. Do you find that interesting?

BB: Yeah, I mean, that’s interesting. I think it points to the scheme that teams play and how those schemes evolve. Everybody doesn’t do the same thing. There are a lot of different ways to be effective. Within whatever system it is you used, you just have to be able to handle the things that are presented from your opponents. I’ve been in both systems. I’ve been in systems that have a lot of moving parts. I’ve been in systems that had very few moving parts. One thing I learned early, very early, was they both can work, but they’re not the same and you have to figure out how to handle certain problems in one system and then you handle them differently in another. It’s not, maybe, the same answer. That’s OK, you just have to have an answer. Yeah, you’re right – I mean the Colts, they didn’t move their receivers. Those guys lined up on the same side of the field on every play. There was no X, there was no Z, there was just left and right. So, yeah, same formation, rare to see anything different formationally. You get their formations done in about five minutes, but they had an answer for everything within their system. Andy’s offense is, I’d say, one that’s continually evolved. It started out as a West Coast offense and what he ran in Philadelphia was, I’d say, very West Coast-based. That’s evolved to now RPO’s and a multitude of other run-pass combination type of plays, different routes and route progressions – obviously, a lot of one-back sets and empty sets that were never really part of the one-back offense or a minimal part of it. So, he’s been able to adapt very well and certainly he’s had the mobility at quarterback, from [Donovan] McNabb to [Michael] Vick to [Alex] Smith to [Patrick] Mahomes, so he’s always had guys that have been athletic at that position. That’s been kind of a common denominator, but the offense has evolved. It will probably evolve again this week. I’m sure we’re going to see something that we’re not working on this week that will be a new wrinkle that we’ll have to adjust to during the game. That’s what he does, he does a great job of it, and they execute it well. Usually, when he puts in something, it’s a little bit different. It’s a problem and it works. That’s not always the case sometimes – a team does something new and they don’t execute it very well. It’s hardly ever the case with Andy. His offenses are extremely – there’s a lot of precision to them and they execute it right on the money most of the time. Very well-coached.

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