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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 10/11

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BB: Alright, well, [we're] back in the division here. The Jets are playing very well. This is three weeks in a row they've really gone out and played well in all three phases of the game. I think this is a team that's, obviously, got a lot of new players from the last time we played them. They're young, they're hungry, they play a game that forces you to beat them. They don't make a lot of mistakes. I've really been impressed with the way they've played the last three weeks. Offensively, Coach [John] Morton's done a good job of getting everybody involved in the offense. The tight ends have been productive. The backs have been productive. The receivers and quarterbacks are really playing well. He's gotten a lot out of everybody and they move it around, so you really can't just try to stop one guy because everybody gets involved. Everybody gets the ball and they've all been productive with it. [Josh] McCown's playing extremely well, completing all of his passes. He's athletic. He extends plays. He's made a few scramble plays but you can see his athleticism to keep plays alive. He makes a lot of good decisions. If you make a mistake he'll make you pay for it. He's very experienced and a smart, tough quarterback. I have a lot of respect for him. Defensively, a lot of new faces in the secondary but [Leonard] Williams, [Muhammad] Wilkerson, [Steve] McLendon - a very disruptive group up front. Good speed at linebacker. Coach [Todd] Bowles and Coach [Kacy] Rodgers do a good job of mixing up the defenses. They pressure, they don't pressure, they play zone, they play man. They have a real good third down package with a lot of different looks - odd, even, different blitz combinations, man, zone. So, they really do a good job of keeping you off-balance. The kicking game has been very productive for then. [Chandler] Catanzaro has kicked well, has made some big kicks. They had a big special teams game against Jacksonville where [Lac] Edwards changed field position and then [Jeremy] Kerley returned a punt and then Catanzaro kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime. [Josh] Martin's one of the best coverage players that we'll see. [ArDarius] Stewart, Kerley [are] dangerous; very dangerous returners. They have [Jalin] Marshall back, too, so maybe he'll factor in there. I'm not sure, but the guys they have are doing a pretty good job so we've got to be ready for all of them. With the exception of the second game last year, which I think is one that we're certainly throwing out, it's always been very competitive against the Jets. We've had a hard time down there, played a couple of overtime games, got beat two years ago. We know what it's like to play the Jets in New York and we'll have to be at our best, be ready for their good players and their schemes. They're a tough team to prepare for. We've got a lot of work to do, so we'll kind of grind it out here this week and see where we can get to.

Q: What are the specific challenges of scoring a touchdown when the field is condensed in the red zone? Is there a specific percentage that you are looking to shoot for every year?

BB: Yeah, well, like you said, I mean we have a pretty short-term look at it so every time we're down there we want to make the most out of the opportunity. In most cases you want to score. Sometimes at the end of the game there's something that might not be exactly the same situation but, yeah, we're always trying to score touchdowns. Some of it is what you do. Some of it is what they do. It's a combination of those things - your matchups, the schemes they run. I don't think you can just run the same play against every defense. I don't think you want to do that. We try to attack the defense where they're weak. They try to disguise them. It's a lot of very contested plays down there because you don't have a lot of space in the passing game. There's extra guys to block in the running game. Safeties, linebackers are down there because they're pretty close to the line of scrimmage as soon as you get into the lower red area. You're basically nine against 11. You just run out of guys. You have to decide who you're going to block, who you're not going to block and the backs have to make some tough yards.

Q: How big of a problem is it trying to block Leonard Williams and what have you seen from him on film this year?

BB: Yeah, a big problem. He's got tremendous talent, long, athletic, plays on his feet well. For a tall guy he doesn't get cut much. He's good against the running game, hard to block, both when he's on the move and at the point-of-attack. Passing game - he's got good quickness, good power, good length. As a team they bat a lot of balls. Kony [Ealy] has gotten a few. Leonard's a hard guy to throw over, too. Wilkerson - I mean, those guys, they're big guys in the middle of the defense and it's tough for the quarterback to see over them, get the ball through them. But yeah, Williams is one of the best defensive lineman we see all year.

Q: We've seen Kony Ealy bat a few balls down in a game earlier this season. Is that something you saw from him when he was here in the summer?

BB: Yeah, against Jacksonville. Yeah, well, I think their whole defensive line does a good job of that. They get into the throwing lanes and they tip some balls, tip them for interceptions, bat them down when receivers are open, things like that. We've just got to do a good job of that. We've got to get the ball into the passing lanes and our line has got to do the best they can to get those hands down, but a lot of times it's hard to do if they just get out in the throwing lane and stand there and put them up.

Q: Does Todd Bowles typically run a 3-4 defense?

BB: Yeah, their base defense is a 3-4; yeah. I mean, but they kick into overs and unders, but yeah, it's more 3-4 than anything else; yeah.

Q: Has Ealy played defensive end for them in that 3-4 alignment?

BB: No, not really. He's kind of the, well, again, when they have a fourth defensive lineman in there then it really becomes more of an under, so they play the under out of 3-4. Their edge guys are somewhere between defensive ends and outside linebackers. They use them in coverage some, but they're more edge-setters and end-of-the-line players and pass rushers, I would say, than they are coverage linebackers. The coverage linebackers are really [Darron] Lee and [Demario] Davis and then [Julian] Stanford and [Bruce] Carter so, I mean, those are kind of their off-the-line linebackers who handle the majority of the coverage responsibilities besides dropping to the flat and things like that. Now when they get into passing situations and they're in four down, then the outside linebackers become ends just like all 3-4 outside linebackers basically do.

Q: How has Kony Ealy's ability to get up the field and bat balls at the line of scrimmage suited him in New York?

BB: Well, usually if you're batting a pass then you're in front of the quarterback. I mean, you're not behind him. I mean, look, I don't think they're putting him in the game to bat down passes. Maybe I missed something here. I don't know.

Q: What are your impressions of Josh McCown as a guy that's been able to bounce around the league and continue to find starting roles?

BB: Again, very athletic guy. You can see his ability to run, extend plays, get out of trouble. He's got quickness. He's got some speed. He plays on his feet well, has good feet in the pocket. But look, he's a tough guy. He's very smart. I don't know what happened in all of the situations that he was in. I just know what I see on film and from our interactions with him competitively. He's a good player. He's accurate. He gets the ball out quickly. He gets it to the open guy. If you make a mistake he is going to make you pay for it. If you line up in something that he can take advantage of then he can get his team into whatever the game plan play is, those types of things. Guys that are unblocked - he throws the hot or the sight-adjust or whatever is the appropriate part of the play. You don't see him making a lot of mistakes. You see him throwing the ball accurately and you see him athletically getting out of some trouble. He manages the team well. He's good in close games at the end of the game, critical situations. I mean, there's a lot to like about the guy.

Q: Is it different for you preparing for an older quarterback due to the fact their experience may make them aware of most of what you could throw at them?

BB: Well, I mean, I think you just prepare for whatever the guy's skills are. We're not really worried too much about his age. The way he plays is the way he plays and that's what you have to play against, that's what you have to prepare for. But he's a very good player. He's done a good job for them.

Q: How creative do the Jets get in pass rushing situations? Has their defense changed much from that amoeba-like system they used to bring pressure with?
BB: I mean, Coach Bowles has been running his system for quite a while now. I wouldn't say you turn on the film every week and it's like 'Wow, we've never seen that before. What are they doing?' I mean, as I said, they have a good variety of defense, pressure to not pressure, zone to man combination, some overload of pressure, straight five-man pressure. They do a lot of different things. They keep you off-balance. It's hard to know what you're going to get. I don't think they're down there drawing up ten new defenses this week. I don't think they need to. They do pretty well with what they have and that's what they've been doing for a long time. They know what they're doing. I don't really think that's the team that they are.

Q: You mentioned they are a hungry team. How does that manifest itself when you watch them play?

BB: I mean, you just see everybody playing very hard. You see all of the guys with the ball in their hands fighting and competing for an extra yard or two. You see guys in the kicking game and defensively hustling to the ball, giving a lot of effort to get to the runner. Even though they're 30 or 40 yards away from the play they are running hard to get there, so I think they're playing with, a lot of effort, a lot of extra effort. Linemen - guys hustling down field, making a block after a catch, things like that. They're playing with a high energy level and a lot of extra effort.

Q: When a player is a healthy scratch for a game is his status for the next week purely dictated by what he does in practice that week?

BB: No.

Q: What are some other factors that would contribute to his availability the following week?

BB: What's best for the team. So, throw everything into that conversation and that's what it is.
Q: How did you feel Matthew Slater performed on Thursday night? Was it a good first step for him to be back on the field?

BB: Yep, it's always good to have players back that have been out. So, it was good to have him back. We'll see what his role is this week.

Q: Slater was on the sideline the week before, even though he was not playing. Is he someone whose voice carries some weight and can benefit the team during a game, even if he is not playing?

BB: Yeah, well, I mean, his role is special teams captain. [He is a] very experienced player in that phase of the game. I think definitely we'd much rather have him on the field, but when he wasn't able to do that, yeah, he's a positive guy, one of the most respected guys on the team and very knowledgeable, certainly in his area.

Q: What about Chris Hogan makes him an effective red zone and goal line receiver?

BB: Well, Chris has got good length and catches the ball well - catches it away from his body - which a lot of passes in the red area, that's what you have to do because the coverage is tight and the quarterback throws it to where the defender can't get it and the receiver has to extend and make the play. Good hands, being able to separate and height definitely helps down there.

Q: Is there anything specific that you and the coaching staff do on a long week when you have more time to prepare?

BB: We try to use whatever time we have - long week, short week. We try to use the time as productively as we can. That varies from game-to-game, week-to-week, situation-to-situation, year-to-year. But, we look at the week - here's what we have to work with. How do we get the most out of it? That's what we do every week, whether that's four days, eight days, twelve days, seven days, whatever it is.

Q: Will Tom Brady practice today?

BB: Yeah, we'll put an injury report out after practice like we always do. 
Q: How have you noticed Jermaine Kearse's fitting into the Jets offense?

BB: Yeah, good. He's been productive like everybody else has. You know, he and Kerley both came in late to that position. They've both been productive. He's done a good job for them. So, with Kerley, [Robby] Anderson and Kearse, now they get Marshall back, so those guys - I mean, Stewart's done a good job for them, too. He hasn't played as much, but he's played and been productive. You know, they have good depth at that position - [Chad] Hansen, get ready for him, too. Those guys, they all show up, make plays. Again, McCown's going to throw the ball to the guy that's open. When those guys are open, they get it, but he throws it to everybody else, too. He throws it to the backs, the tight ends, so he does a good job of using everybody. But, yeah, Kearse has done a good job for them.

Q: Kearse is in a different offense, but is he running the same types of routes you saw him run in Seattle?

BB: Yeah, it's a different offense. But, I mean, look, this guy has a lot of skill. I mean, what they need him to do I think he can do, which he did that in Seattle. But, he's strong, he's got good quickness, he can come inside, play outside. He plays outside, but he comes inside. Like their empty formations, things like that, he ends up in the inside position. So, he's a pretty versatile player.

Q: How do you think Mike Gillislee has performed so far this season?

BB: Yeah, Mike's done a good job for us. He runs hard, he's gotten a lot of tough yards, he's been there every week. I think he's done a good job. I mean, all of our backs, really - Rex [Burkhead] when he's played, Dion [Lewis], James [White]. Those guys have all been productive in different times, in different roles - some running, some catching, some both - but they've all been productive.

Q: How do you manage the different roles of the running backs on a week-to-week basis?
BB: Yeah, well, again, we try to do what's best for the team and try to put everybody in the best position so the team can be successful. So, whatever that happens to be, knowing we have depth at that position, some guys are in certain groupings or in for certain plays. Kind of everybody has to know everything because there's going to be times when you can't always get this guy in for that play or get this guy in for that situation. But there are times when you can. So, sometimes it gets managed that way. If you want to see a guy do a certain thing that he does well, then you try to put him in position to do that, but, I mean, you can't just do one or two things. I mean, anybody could figure out what that is, but these guys all have enough versatility to run different types of runs, catch different types of passes, be in different formation alignments and so forth. But, we try to use them the best we can.

Q: Do you view Lewis and Burkhead's roles being similar in this offense?

BB: Well, again, there's an element of kind of everybody needs to know how to do everything. I mean, if you call 66 or 67 protection, I mean, you've got to know how to block it. I mean, if you call a stretch run, you've got to know how to run it. So, there are a lot of things that are the same. Again, some guys have a certain ability that we want to try to take advantage of. Other guys have other abilities we take advantage of. I mean, there's a little bit of outside of the main highway there, there are some other offshoots that come into play. But, I mean, ultimately, we don't have like six different offenses or five different offenses for five different backs in the game. I mean, I don't know how you can do that. So, we have one offense and then with a few variations.

Q: How impressed are you with the level of toughness Brady has displayed?

BB: Yeah, Tom's as physically and mentally tough as any player I've coached. No doubt about that.

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