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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 10/27

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 27, 2017.

BB: Alright, well, we're obviously winding down here this week. I think they've given us a good opportunity to devote as much time as we can to knowing and understanding the Chargers. Again, a team we're not very familiar with. We're familiar with some of their coordinators and their schemes, but really a lot of work to do on this team. It's a very explosive team. In the kicking game, [Travis] Benjamin, as we've seen from Cleveland when he was at Cleveland, a huge play, big play threat in the game, can change the game in one play. He came pretty close to doing that last week in two plays with Denver, in the Denver game. Offensively, they have so much depth at the skill positions. They have a lot of good players at running back, tight end, receiver, a lot of guys that you have to deal with. Again, quite a bit of scheme in the running game which is a challenge. Defensively, we already talked about [Joey] Bosa, [Melvin] Ingram, but [Brandon] Mebane, [Corey] Liuget, [Chris] McCain. They've got a lot of other players that are pretty difficult to handle out there, too. Defensively, they do a good job on Coach [Gus] Bradley's scheme. We're familiar with that. I mean, it's a very sound system that is aggressive and attacks the ball and does a good job of turning the ball over. Just all the way across the board we've learned a lot about these guys this week and hopefully we'll be able to transfer that to our performance on Sunday, but they're playing extremely well and they're well-coached. They're in a lot of close games. They know how to play close games. [Nick] Novak's done a really good job for them as a kicker. He's definitely made a difference in a couple of games that, as I said, they probably would've won if they had him earlier in the season. They're just a good team in all three areas. I think we'll need a real strong performance on Sunday to be competitive. We know that.

Q: Dont'a Hightower has never missed more than two games in a row during his time here. Do you view his extended absence now as a new challenge for the defense?

BB: Yeah, obviously we're all disappointed for High [Dont'a Hightower]. He's one of the leaders on our defense and one of our captains. He gives us a lot. It's unfortunate, but it'll give somebody else opportunities. We'll see how that goes.

Q: How challenging is the process for you and your staff to fill the multiple roles that a player like Hightower typically takes on?

BB: Yeah, well, it'll create opportunities for other players. We'll see how it goes.

Q: Does the fact that you've missed him for a few games already this season expedite that process for you and the staff?

BB: Well, we haven't played the Chargers, so each week is a different challenge. This is a good football team. They create a lot of problems. They have a lot of good players, so we'll have to deal with the Chargers problems. I don't really care about somebody else. What difference does it make?

Q: Will there be a move to put Hightower on Injured Reserve today?

BB: If there is one, we'll announce it.

Q: Is this a situation where you feel like you have the right pieces here already to replace him or do you anticipate exploring outside options via trade or another signing?

BB: We'll do what we feel like is best for the football team like we always do.

Q: Last week Chris Hogan appeared on special teams on the kick coverage units. What led to you wanting him to be out there and how do you feel he performed in that role?

BB: It's the same thing every week; we try to do what we feel like is best to help us win that game, beat that opponent. We'll continue to do that in whatever way we think gives us the best opportunity.

Q: How do you think he approached the extra work that required throughout the week of preparation?

BB: Chris works hard. Whatever you need him to do he's ready to jump in there and do it. He did it last year in the Houston game on kickoff return.

Q: Is toughness one of the traits that has stood out about Chris Hogan on the football field?

BB: Yeah, Chris is a tough kid. I'd say all of our receivers are. It's a good group, a tough group, they block, they're tough, they're competitive.

Q: Do the Chargers play more 12-personnel than other teams and what kind of a challenge does their size across their skill positions present to your defense?

BB: Yeah, they have a lot of size. I don't know. It depends on what you call these guys. They have a lot of big receivers, whether you call them receivers or tight ends. They catch the ball well. They're good in the passing game, so call them whatever you want to call them. They have a lot of big skill guys in the passing game.

Q: Do they use Hunter Henry detached from the formation more often?

BB: Sometimes, yeah. Henry, [Antonio] Gates; sometimes they bring receivers in tight, use them as part of the core of the formation. Again, they're all big guys that are athletic and are good in the passing game and can block so it's a lot of similar type of body types.

Q: Is it difficult to figure out what type of player to match up with them on defense due to their size and sort of hybrid ability?

BB: Yeah, well again, with the game plan each week we try to do what we feel like is best against the team we're playing against. Some of it is matched up, some of it isn't. Some weeks it is, some weeks it isn't. Not every play is man-to-man. Not every play is a matchup play. Based on what we have called and we don't know where they're going to come up, but based on the location of the receivers and who's in the game we have adjustments to play the way we feel it gives us the best competitive chance for that call, for that situation.

Q: What have you seen from Duron Harmon in terms of leadership, and how has he earned such respect despite being more of a role player in previous years?

BB: Yeah, well every player on the team has leadership. We're not talking about playing time here, although that's a factor. I'm not saying it's not a factor, but every player on the team comes to work every day and puts in their time in the meeting room, puts in their time in walkthroughs and the weight room, puts in their time on the field. That creates different levels of leadership, positive leadership. I think it's recognized by the players. I mean, we're not talking about a most valuable player. That's not what we're talking about here. Although, he's a valuable player for us - I'm not saying that, but like every player on the team has leadership. Everybody comes in every day with an opportunity to work hard and bring a positive attitude. Some guys excel at that. Some guys are good at it. Some guys excel and are outstanding. I think those players gain more respect from their teammates and oftentimes are recognized for it. There's no limit to working hard or being a team player or having a great attitude. There's no cap on that, so it's whatever any player wants it to be for himself. It's his choice.

Q: Do you hope as a coach that some players will take on more of a leadership role given that you have lost some key leaders to injury already this season?

BB: Yeah, I don't think I'd use those words, but I think competitively as a team, compete. That's what I would expect us to do. That's what I think we will do.

Q: What does Trevor Reilly bring to the team?

BB: Trevor has played for us in the kicking game, played for us defensively at linebacker, has some versatility, has some experience in the system. He was with us for quite a while last year. He has a pretty good recall. We'll see how it goes.

Q: How would you describe the season that Malcom Brown has had to this point?

BB: Well, we'll see how it goes this week. Right now he's dealing with an injury from last week's game, but Malcom I think is, like part of our whole defense, that group has worked hard and gotten better. It's played well in areas from time to time but it's played with a little more consistency lately, so hopefully we'll be able to continue that.

Q: You have a guy on the practice squad in Angelo Blackson who has some experience at the position but may have been asked to play a different technique down in Tennessee. How do you evaluate what he can do when you didn't have him for training camp and you only have a limited amount of full-pad practices to assess him?

BB: Yeah, those are just what you described. Those are the opportunities that we have and those are the opportunities that he has. We base our evaluation off of a little bit in the past, but once we get him here we base it more on here and we've accumulated enough weeks of practice opportunities and situations to put some kind of evaluation on it the best that we can. It's been new for him. As you said, he really played 4-technique for them. We've used him more inside as a tackle as opposed to an end. But that's where he played in college. He's adapted pretty well. He's a smart kid. He's been able to pick things up. He's got a good work ethic. He's definitely making progress.

Q: Keenan Allen was leading the league in receptions that go for a first down at some point this year. What is it about him that makes Philip Rivers trust him so much in those situations?

BB: Because he makes so many plays on third down. He leads the league in third-down conversions. He's big, he's fast. He's really good after the catch. He's a hard guy to tackle. He gets a lot of yards on his own. I'd say he's picked up a number of first downs where the catch itself wouldn't have gotten the yardage necessary, but he ended up getting the yardage that they needed. He's a very competitive player, good playing strength and, again, for a bigger guy good quickness and good ability to make guys [miss]. He's a hard guy to tackle, so make guys miss in the open field or run through an arm tackle, things like that. He has a good catch radius. He gets to a lot of balls consistently and dependently. He's a good player.

Q: It seems like your team has converted a lot of third-and-longs on offense. Is that something that is sustainable or is something you stress to the team that you don't want to be in often?

BB: Yeah, well it's never where you want to be. There's a lot of situations that you don't want to be in in the game, but you practice those situations and try to make the most out of them when they come up. Whether it's getting the ball back at the end of the game on defense because your behind or two-minute offense at the end of the game when you're behind. That's not the situation you strive for, but sometimes those situations come up and you've got the ball on your own 1-inch line. That's what it is. That's where it is. You've got to find a way to compete in that situation and make the best you can out of it. It's not where we want to be. I don't think any team wants to be in third-and-long. I don't think any team wants to be behind at the end of the game, but sometimes you're in those situations. You still practice for them and try to execute them to the best you can when they come up.

Q: What have you seen from David Harris this week following the 19 snaps he played last week?

BB: David - you get about the same from him every week. He works hard. He's very professional. He's always engaged, always in tune with what you're doing. He doesn't miss anything. You don't have to tell him the same thing multiple times. He hears it, tries to do it. I mean, he might make a mistake on it like we all do but then he corrects it and understands it, but he's a football guy. He's got a lot of experience, very into the game, understands situations, understands I'd say all of the things that we're doing or that we ask him to do. He's got a lot of experience. Again, he's as professional as anybody in that locker room.

Q: What did you think of the Chargers powder blue uniforms last week? Does it bring back memories of those old Charger teams?

BB: Yeah, way back to the old L.A. Chargers - 1960. [John] Hadl, [Lance] Alworth, yeah, those guys. All you've got to do is put them in the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum, right?

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