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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/20

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on November 20, 2018.

BB: OK, back in the division this week. It's always tough down there with the Jets, and I'm sure it will be again this time. The last five times we've gone down there, they'll all been hard-fought games, close games. The Jets do a good job – really good in all three phases of the game. It's a team that's really, I'd say, improved in all areas, certainly in the kicking game – the return game with [Andre] Roberts and they have [Jason] Myers. He's had a really good year for them. Offensively, this is an explosive group – a lot of big plays in the running game, big plays with receivers, guys that are really good with the ball in their hands, hard to tackle. And, defensively, they're always tough. Once again, [they] lead the league in third down, third-and-short, top of the league in red area, three-and-out drives – a lot of stats that they are hard to move the ball against and do a good job in the red area, so they don't give up a lot of points. And strong front, pursues well, do a good job taking the ball away, especially if you're not careful with it. So, we need to do a good job in every area and be ready to play good down there on the road. So, hopefully we can have a good week and be ready to do that.

Q: What are your impressions of Sam Darnold at this point in the season?

BB: Yeah, a big, strong guy, he's got a good arm, [can] make all the throws – a lot of talent.

Q: After the Jets' loss to Buffalo, do you expect to get their best game?

BB: Yeah, we'll get it. I'm sure we'll get it. Yes.

Q: What would you say the week of preparation is like when you go into a game and you're not sure which quarterback the other team is going to be playing?

BB: Look, every week, we're one play away from playing the other quarterback, whoever the starter is. So, we have to be ready for both guys. That's the way it is every week.

Q: How significant is the difference between these guys? For example, with the Ravens, the change from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson would seem fairly extreme. Is that the case with these two quarterbacks?

BB: Yeah, they're both good. I mean, we played against [Josh] McCown last year, and he did a really good job against us down there. Obviously, Darnold – I mean, this is an explosive team. They've had four or three games where they've hung up a lot of points – 30's, 40's – so they can move the ball, they can score points.

Q: What have you seen from Jamal Adams and what does he do for their secondary?

BB: He's a real aggressive safety and they blitz him a lot. He's really active in the running game, can rush the quarterback.

Q: Do they use the two safeties, Marcus Maye and Adams, interchangeably or are they used in distinct roles?

BB: No. Yeah, they're about as different as you can get.

Q: Will they try to use those guys when it comes to pressuring the quarterback?

BB: Yeah, Adams is like a linebacker. He's around the line of scrimmage a lot. He blitzes, he runs through, he's aggressive, he's got tackles for losses, sacks, pressures. Yeah, so he's down there around the line a lot, or sometimes he's kind of roaming free in the middle, but he's a contact player. He's aggressive.

Q: Because of his size and speed, is Quincy Enunwa a tough matchup wherever they move him?

BB: Yeah, he sure is, and he's really tough with the ball in his hands. He's a strong runner. He runs through a lot of tackles, good balance, a hard guy to bring down. He's a hard guy to matchup on. It's hard to find guys that are 225 pounds that are as fast and strong as he is. So, yeah, he's tough, a good blocker, physical player.

Q: Is he like a running back when he gets the ball in his hands?

BB: He can run with it. He's strong, he's fast, he's tough, he's got good balance. So, I mean, he's a good runner. Call him whatever you want. He's hard to tackle.

Q: You just brought back Ramon Humber. Since you had him before, do you have a better sense of how to use him than a player that you haven't had on your roster before?

BB: Yeah, we'll see. We'll see how it goes this week, see if he's active, what his role will be. I don't know.

Q: What are some of the things that have allowed Josh McCown to have such a long career?

BB: He's a good player, smart, really handles himself well. He's always had a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage to audible plays, change protections, things like that. I think he sees the defense well, certainly knows what they're doing. He's got a good arm, he's got good size, athletic, can avoid the rush, make plays out of the pocket. So, he's got a good skillset and he's smart, he works hard, he's always well-prepared. He's a very professional guy, a team-oriented guy. I think he fits in well with his teammates, coaching staff. Everybody that's been with him seems to have a lot of respect for the way he carries himself and the way he prepares and all that. I mean, I've never personally coached him, but that's all I've ever heard about him.

Q: It looks like the Jets bring numbers after the quarterback at a relatively high rate, but it seems like when teams play you guys, they tend not to do that as much. So, do you have to expect for the Jets to do something different than what they've done for the majority of the season?

BB: Well, I mean, we'll prepare for them. We've played these guys several times with this coaching staff and many of these players. So, we'll prepare for what we think they're going to do. If they do something different, we'll have to adjust to it. If we do something different, they'll have to adjust to it. I mean, that's just the way it is. We know them pretty well and they know us well, so it could be a game where there is something new in there, or it could be not so much of that kind of game. I don't know.

Q: The Jets have always had good, solid linebacker play. How good is this group?

BB: They're fast, yeah. [Avery] Williamson, [Darron] Lee – fast. [Kevin] Pierre-Louis they use in there a little bit too. He's fast. I mean, all those guys can run well, so they give them good range in pass coverage and perimeter plays. I mean, they get to a lot of plays outside. It's hard to out-run these guys.

Q: With their blitz packages, is it more about disguising them or do they just bring a lot of guys and make it difficult to block that way?

BB: I mean, they blitz. It's just every play is not a blitz. So, sometimes they bring them, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they disguise it, sometimes they don't. They do a good mix – man, zone, five-man pressure, a little bit of six-man pressure, some blitz-zones, some blitz-man – but that's what they've done. That's what Todd's [Bowles] done when he was at Arizona. It's what he's done for the past few years. I mean, it's not every play. I mean, maybe they will this week, I don't know, but they do a good job of mixing it up. It's split-safety coverage, post-safety coverage. They've been using fewer defensive backs than they have in the past, but maybe that will change. I don't know.

Q: Is it beneficial to have the Tennessee game as part of your preparation this week? The Titans showed a lot of blitz packages, so can you see how your team responded to those and is that helpful going into the Jets game?

BB: Yeah, we're playing the Jets here. We're not playing Tennessee. So, we'll have to deal with what the Jets do, what their keys are and who their players are. Whatever else has happened this year has happened. We've corrected those, talked about those situations, corrected them, but we're focused on the Jets now.

Q: When he was out there earlier this season, Rob Gronkowski was limited to some degree or didn't feel like himself. When you watch the tape, is he still influencing defenses in the way that maybe he did prior to?

BB: Prior to what?

Q: Prior to not being limited.

BB: I mean, I'm not really sure exactly what we're talking about here. I mean, there's plenty of games this year where he gets a lot of double coverage. I mean, they'd don't double him on every play. They don't double anybody on every play. Nobody gets doubled on every play that I've seen. So, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. I don't know. You'd have to ask him about that.

Q: Does it change spacing when he's out on the field for you guys?

BB: I mean, he's a good player. It's obvious that it helps to have him out on the field. He's one of our best players. So, of course it helps us when he's out there.

Q: Would you describe the Jets as a game-plan team on both sides of the ball?

BB: Definitely in the kicking game there's an element to that. Defensively, I'd say there there's an element to it. Offensively, yeah, there's an element to it. I mean, they do a lot of other things they do offensively, but they change the formations around a little bit. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a whole new group of plays, but they'll look at the formations or complement each other.

Q: When Tom Brady is looking through his reads, do you get the sense that he is trying to protect his pass catchers and tries to make sure he's not throwing into dangerous situations?

BB: Of course. That's what every quarterback does.

Q: But maybe some quarterbacks are not as good as others.

BB: Well, if they do it, it's by mistake. They don't intentionally do it. I mean, that's what defenses try to do is to get good offenses to throw to receivers that are going into three defenders, and offenses try to run patterns that avoid that and throw the ball so that doesn't happen. I mean, that's about as fundamental as it gets.

Q: Maybe we're saying the same thing, but I'm thinking like physical danger.

BB: Yeah, we're saying the same thing. No quarterback is going to lead a receiver into a guy who's standing right there ready to blow up the receiver – I mean, that's ridiculous – intentionally. He might not see the guy or the guy could come from somewhere, come off another player, and again, that's what defenses try to do is sometimes disguise where the help is coming from so the quarterback doesn't see it and throws to a guy like that. That's what football is. Defenses try to create those problems for the offense. Offense tries to create problems for the defense. Yeah, I mean, why would you throw the ball into a defender that's standing right there waiting for you? There's no play designed to do that – none.

Q: Explosive plays have been talked about a good bit the last couple of years. How do you view explosive plays? Do you feel like they're necessary for a good offense? Or is moving the ball down the field on a number of snaps OK with you?

BB: Yeah, well, it's one or the other. They can both be effective. It's nice to have explosive plays. Defensively, you try to prevent them. But, if they keep moving the ball, even though it's not explosive plays, and you don't stop them, that's not any good. If you make big plays and score, that's good. If you drive it down the field and don't make big plays, that's good, too. So, it could be a little more efficient maybe. I mean, it's hard to count on three or four 80-yard touchdowns every week. I mean, in this league, that's just – I wouldn't say you can really plan on that every week. So, if you get them, great. If you don't, then – defensively, if you give you up, that's probably not going to be a good day. If you do, then you're going to have to make some plays on third down and in the red area, or they're going to drive it on you and score that way.

Q: Speaking of explosive plays, did you get a chance to watch last night's game between two explosive offenses in the Rams and Chiefs?

BB: I saw a little bit of it, yeah.

Q: Any takeaway?

BB: Yeah, the Jets. That's my takeaway, getting ready for the Jets.

Q: Is it hard for an offense to balance the risk associated with trying to hit on some of those explosive plays? Obviously, they are usually lower percentage throws, so is there a risk-reward calculation that you or Josh McDaniels has to make in terms of trying to work those into the game?

BB: Yeah, I don't know. Look, a lot of the big plays come on busted coverages, off broken tackles, off plays that you didn't even think were going to be big plays. I mean, if you call an off-tackle play and it goes for 50 yards, you don't think it's going to go for 50 yards. You think it might go for 6, maybe 8 if you block it well. But sometimes they miss a tackle or your back makes a great run or something happens and it turns into an explosive play. So, when you call the play, you don't think you're going to gain 50 yards. Now, if you run some kind of triple-reverse pass, maybe you think you're going to gain 50 yards on that, I don't know. I wouldn't say there's a lot of those in this league. And, if you throw a go route, then there's a chance for a significant gain on something like that. The percentage of those passes aren't high, but if you hit one, there's a lot of yardage at stake. So, I don't know. There's a lot of big plays that I wouldn't say are designed to be big plays, but they can turn out that way. Then there are other plays that you designed to gain big chunks of yardage and probably the percentage of those is not high, but if you hit them, there's a bigger gain to be made.

Q: Have you been happy with Joe Thuney's development this year?

BB: Yeah, Joe's done a great job for us. He's one of our best players, one of our most consistent players. Yep.

Q: Did he take a jump this year?

BB: You know, Joe wasn't really able to do much this spring. I'd say it took him a little while to kind of get back to football levels of conditioning, strength, technique and so forth – there's a lot of technique at the position he plays, and every position, but certainly that one – but, certainly by the middle of training camp or somewhere there in the middle-to-late August. I thought he's played very consistently all year, as he has the last couple years. So, yeah, he's been a really solid guy for us. We've had all three of those guys inside. You know, David [Andrews] missed a couple games last year, Shaq [Mason] missed a couple games this year, but overall, that group's been pretty solid, pretty dependable, pretty reliable for us. So, very fortunate that inside group is – and when Ted's [Karras] filling in, which he has for Shaq the last couple of weeks and then last year for David in Mexico against Oakland. You know, he had a couple games in there where he filled in for David. He did a nice job, too. Yeah, we've been pretty fortunate in that part of the offensive line.

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