PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
BB: This is, obviously, a quick turnaround and a lot to get ready here for the Packers. They're really a good football team, do a lot of things well, very well-coached. Coach [Mike] McCarthy does a great job with this team, this organization. It's one of the great organizations in all of sports, certainly in the National Football League. I have a ton of respect for the way they're run, what they do, how they do it and how consistently they've done it. A lot of great players, a lot of weapons on all three sides of the ball, all three phases. They can score points, they can score in a hurry, they're very well-balanced offensively. Defensively, they have a lot of looks, a lot to prepare for. They do a good job of pressuring the quarterback, a really good third down team, a good coverage team on the kicking game. They cover very well, make a lot of good field position. They do a good job of creating field position in the kicking game. A big leg - the punter, [JK] Scott. A lot of work to do to get to know these guys - the personnel and the scheme - so we'll just try and cram it in here as quickly as we can, but it's a real good football team. I'm really impressed watching them on film. They do a lot of things well.
Q: It's been some time since you've faced Aaron Rodgers. How has his game evolved since then?
BB: Well, he killed us the last time we played him. I mean, he's a great player. He does everything well. He reads coverages well, very accurate throwing the ball. He's got a great touch down the field, short, intermediate. They get a lot of catch-and-run plays. A lot of that is because of his great accuracy. He puts the ball right on the receiver and doesn't have to break stride and can just keep running with it. Very mobile in the pocket, extends plays, really good vision down the field, uses the cadence well, is a good situational player. I mean, he's one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League; no question about it. He does everything good. He can even play golf. He's a good golfer, too.
Q: Have you played with him?
BB: Yeah, he was out at Pebble Beach. I've been out there. I'm not in that league. That's way past me.
Q: Do you remember what he shot?
BB: It's a Pro-Am, so if you hit a bad shot you play your Pro's ball. It's easy.
Q: How much of a challenge is it preparing for Davante Adams?
BB: Again, they have a lot of weapons. He's a big one. Again, a vertical receiver, does a great job down the field, catch-and-run player, strong runner, hard to tackle. It's hard to play off him, it's hard to play up on him. He does a very good job of beating man coverage with his quickness and route technique. He's got a great quarterback throwing to him. They do a good job. Coach McCarthy does a good job of game planning, running routes that beat coverages. They move him around so he's not always in one spot. So it's not the easiest guy to get because you don't always know where he's going to be. He's a major impact player for them.
Q: What stood out to you about the way they defended the Rams last week? In particular, their performance in the first half and with a different defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine than you faced the last time versus Green Bay?
BB: Well, they defended the Rams with a lot of defensive backs. They were in nickel, and multiple nickel and dime packages most of the game, if not all of the game. I'd say all of the game. I can't remember them being in base. They use different combinations of nickels and dimes. It's not all the same thing. They have several ways of doing it. They mix in pressure with coverage with max coverage. They tried to put a lot of speed on the field, tried to match up with the Rams speed. They had a number of disruptive plays. But they game plan. They play each team differently. They play you different than they play the next team because you're different than the team they just played, so we'll see how they play us. Yeah, that's it against the Rams.
Q: Does it make it more challenging to try and figure out where guys will line up defensively, especially considering they just traded a starter in Ha Ha Clinton Dix?
BB: I mean, I don't know. I don't think it's too hard to find him in the defense. Whether it's [Jermaine] Whitehead or [Josh] Jones - whoever they put in there for him - he'll basically have his role. That's pretty much Mike [Pettine]'s defense. I don't see that changing a whole lot. But they match up differently each week and they match up differently within the game, so you don't always get the same grouping. If you put one grouping out there you don't necessarily get the same grouping from them, and they can do different things out of those groupings, so it doesn't really matter how they did it against the Rams or how they did it against the 49ers. We'll probably see something different and throughout the game we'll see variations within those groups or multiple groups. They're not just going to sit in one defense. Forget about that. That's not going to happen.
Q: Mike McCarthy mentioned that they do like to get ahead on the AFC teams that they aren't as familiar with in the off-season. Is that something that you'll also do in preparation for a team you haven't seen in a few years?
BB: Yeah, of course. Absolutely.
Q: How in-depth can that go with the understanding that personnel have changed at that time or perhaps scheme has changed?
BB: Well, it's a start. It's certainly not the final version, but it's a start. You look at a team now after you look at them in the spring and see some things that are a little bit different and you make note of those. You see some things that are the same that have been the same for a while before that. Those things are probably going to stay the same. There's certainly value in that. Yeah, the personnel changes but there will be carryover too, especially a team that's been as successful as they have offensively. They're not going to junk their whole offense. They're going to do what they've been doing. They'll add to it. They'll utilize their personnel and they'll scheme well, but they've been doing a lot of things well for - I mean, Mike's been there 13 years. They've been doing it well for 13 years. They're going to keep doing it until somebody stops them. Nobody's stopped them in a long time and they'll add to it and create more problems. Yeah, we saw all of those teams and I'm sure they've studied us. That's what you do in the offseason when you haven't played a team in four years; one of the things you do.
Q: Do you see any similarities between Mike Pettine's defense and Rex Ryan's defense?
BB: Yeah, well he worked for Rex for seven years. We've seen Mike's defense. We saw Mike's defense in Buffalo.
Q: What kind of a challenge do their blitzes present?
BB: Yeah, well, they do a good job. As I said, they use multiple combinations of personnel and alignments. There are situations where they do pressure. They don't blitz all the time, so you have to be ready for it, but you have to be ready for other things, too.
Q: This was the first year in a while that you didn't make a deal around the trade deadline. Did anything come up yesterday or did you guys not pursue deals?
BB: Yeah, I don't know what exactly did or didn't come up. Honestly, I was working on Green Bay and finishing up Buffalo.
Q: Is Jaire Alexander as advertised considering how highly he was spoken of throughout the draft process? What did you see from him on Sunday against the Rams?
BB: Great. He played great. He's a great player. He's going to be a good player in this league for a long time. He's got a lot of versatility, can play inside, can play outside. He's fast, he's quick. He's a good tackler. He's got great ball skills. He's a very instinctive player. He sees the ball well. I think he's a really good football player. I think they can probably put him wherever they want him. He's the kind of guy that can matchup against size, speed, quickness. I don't see too many weaknesses in his game. I think he's one of the best corners he's seen this year.
Q: Is that rare for a guy so young to be able to make that transition seamlessly?
BB: Yeah, well, look - I'm not saying the guy is ready to go into Canton. I'm just saying he's played well. He was good coming out of college. I haven't seen anything on film that would make me think anything other than that. He's played against good players. He's covered them well. He's made plays on the ball. He's tackled well. He's played in the slot. He's played on the perimeter. He's blitzed. He's shown that he can do everything that a good corner in this league needs to do and he's just getting started, so I'm sure he'll get better. I'm sure he'll improve in areas as he gains more experience. But he's good and I think he's going to be even better. He's going to be real good. He is real good. But I mean he's going to continue to get better.
Q: What has allowed Chris Hogan to increase his production over the past several weeks?
BB: Well, again, I think Tom [Brady] does a good job of getting the ball to the open guys depending on what the coverage is and how things are going. A couple of those have been really good throws. Chris runs good routes. Again, the production is a little bit of a function of the way that it unfolds - the play that's called and how the defense happens to play that particular play and where Tom goes with the ball. Some of those plays that he didn't get the ball he could've just as easily gotten it had they played a little different coverage. Some of those plays that he got it he could've just as easily - the ball could've gone somewhere eels had they had something else called or had they played it just a little bit differently. As a receiver, you want to be disciplined. You want to run good routes. You want to have good spacing on the field and then the quarterback is going to find the best matchup or the lightest part of the coverage and try to get the ball to the open guy. So if everybody does their job then the ball will go to the open guy based on the defense.
Q: The fact that he has ramped up his production on special teams - is that a result of the fact he is taking fewer offensive reps?
BB: Well, again, we ask our players to be prepared and to help the team in any way that they can and Chris does a great job of that. He's been an excellent special teams player throughout his career. We've used him in varying degrees since we've had him, based on a number of factors, and he's always done a good job for us whenever he's been called on, whether it be offensively or in the kicking game. We ask him to go out there and he does the best he can. It's usually pretty good and that helps our team.
Q: You praised Aaron Rodgers earlier but have mentioned in the past that Tom Brady may be the best quarterback of all-time. Do you still give Tom the edge over Aaron?
BB: Yeah, well, I've never played against Tom Brady. So I'm glad he's our quarterback. He's a great quarterback. He's won a lot of games for us and hopefully he'll win a lot more and we've won a lot of games because of him, but I've never played against Tom Brady so it's a different context. I'd say playing against Aaron Rodgers is very, very difficult. He's as good as anybody that I've faced and we've faced a lot of good ones through the years. That's not to take anything away from anybody else. I'm just saying the guy is a great player. He can do everything that a quarterback needs to do consistently. He does it well. He throws a lot of touchdowns. He doesn't throw very many interceptions. The receivers make a ton of yards after he gets them the ball, and a big part of that is him getting them the ball in space, on the run, so that they can continue to gain positive yards after the catch. He doesn't make them work for the ball. He gets out of some plays that very few guys can get out of. He's got tremendous production down the field. Once again, he leads the league in touchdowns-to-interceptions. He leads the league in big plays. He's thrown however many long passes to however many different receivers. It's not all one guy. He's a great player.
Q: Do you appreciate the fact that you don't have to game plan for a guy like Tom Brady?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. Well, we only play Rodgers once every four years. I guess it would be good if we played him more than that, but you know what I mean. I'm in no rush to see him every week. I wouldn't want to be in that division.
Q: Are you able to appreciate the significance of two quarterbacks that will someday be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame playing against each other this Sunday?
BB: Yeah, well, they're not going to be on the field at the same time. But yeah, it's two great players. We see that with [Drew] Brees, [Peyton] Manning, so forth. Yeah.
Q: Were you encouraged by what you saw from Cordarrelle Patterson at running back and could you actually use him for depth at that position going forward?
BB: Yeah, we'll see. That Buffalo game is a little bit of a different game. We'll see how it goes. I don't know.
Q: How much is the mobility of Aaron Rodgers a factor in your defensive game plan?
BB: Well, look, he only runs when he has to run. He doesn't go back there and just start running around for free exercise. If he can throw it, he'll throw it and put it on the money and give the receiver the ball and let him play with it, let him run with it. If he needs to extend the play and there is space for him to extend the play, he's very good at extending it. He's fast, he's quick, he's got good pocket presence. He doesn't run a lot but when he does run he's gained some big plays - 20, 25, 30 yards running the ball if there's nobody right there because he's got that kind of speed and judgement. But there are plenty of plays where he just buys another second, buys a couple more seconds and then it's 50 yards downfield. It doesn't go down in the books as a scramble, but it's an extended play and it's due to his ability to get out of trouble but it's also - his accuracy down the field is remarkable and he makes some unbelievable throws and it's to everybody. It's not just one guy. He just sees a little space down there wherever the defender is. He puts the ball where the receiver can get to it and the defender can't get to it and it's 50 yards. It could be over his head, it could be outside, it could be inside, he could underthrow him, he could back-shoulder him. He's got tremendous accuracy, a quick release and great vision. He sees guys coming at him but he doesn't really see them. He just sees the receiver and puts the ball where it needs to go.
Q: How much of an emphasis is a guy like Clay Matthews for your offensive line?
BB: Yeah, well, Clay's been one of their impact players defensively for quite a while. They put him in different spots, especially on their third-down packages. He's usually on the line of scrimmage. He's played off the ball before but he doesn't play off the ball a lot. They put him inside. Sometimes he's in coverage. Sometimes he rushes, but he's got good quickness. He's got very good speed and a high motor. He comes hard every time. He's good on games. He's got very good instincts. He's a hard guy to fool with screens and misdirection plays, things like that. He reads those well. He's a good tackler. He's long. He's got good playing strength. Yeah, he does a lot of things well. They have a very good and disruptive front and he's one of the key guys to it. But they have good depth at the end positon and their inside guys - [Mike] Daniels, [Kenny] Clark - those guys are really good football players and they have a lot of disruptive plays, too. It's a good group and they're well-coached and they do a lot of different things.
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