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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/22

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

BB: Alright, well, we're ready to get going here in the division. This Miami team is, as usual, a very explosive team to deal with, as they have been for the last few years. Offensively, their skill players are outstanding. Good quarterbacks, good running backs, good tight end, very good receivers, very explosive receivers. All of these guys make huge and big plays consistently. They're a hard group to stop. Tempo - Coach [Adam] Gase does a great job with his scheme, with the tempo, with the overall offensive system. This is very challenging for us. Defensively, it's a team that does a great job of knocking the ball off of the offense. They cause a lot of fumbles. They've had a lot of turnovers in the last two years, put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They have an excellent front and a lot of depth there, so they roll those players in consistently. Getting [T.J.] McDonald back in the secondary with [Reshad] Jones gives them two real big hitters at safety. They're explosive players, contact guys. As always, they're good in the kicking game. Coach [Darren] Rizzi does an excellent job. They rush punts and kicks as well as anybody in the league and have two good returners, [Jarvis] Landry and [Jakeem] Grant, a good core group of cover players. They always do a good job on special teams. They're one of the best units that we'll face all year. This will be a big week for us. We need to do a lot of things right to play well against the Dolphins. They put a lot of pressure on you in every area. They're well coached, they have really good players and it's always tough in the division. Hopefully, we can have a good week here and be ready to go.

Q: What changes about their offense when the quarterback changes between Jay Cutler or Matt Moore?

BB: Yeah, they're both good players. You've got to cover the receivers, you've got to stop the run. Either quarterback can get the ball to the open receivers, make good throws. They both read coverages well. Coach Gase does a good job with the offense of trying to force the defense to declare what they're in and then the quarterback can cut it up. They're both experienced. They both do a good job of that.

Q: How much development have you seen from Jonathan Jones over the years in the defensive backfield?

BB: Yeah, quite a bit. Yeah, he's done a good job for us. He's played primarily inside but he can play both. He's played both outside and inside. He's got good catch up speed and does an excellent job of finishing. He has really good awareness of the receiver's hands, the timing of the throw, when to reach for the ball, not to get interference calls, try to get into the pocket of the receiver and so forth. He's got good speed, and good quickness and he's a tough kid. You see that in the kicking game. You see it on defense, too. He's tough.

Q: Is he one of the fastest players on the team?

BB: Yeah. I'd say every team's gunners are probably the fastest players on every team. I mean, unless the team elects not to use a guy out there. If you put guys out at gunner it's usually because they run well.

Q: Can his elite speed help make up for the lack of height he has at cornerback?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. I'd say there's no such thing as too much speed. It doesn't exist. You can't coach that, either. 

Q: What went into the decision to move on from Cassius Marsh and bring in Eric Lee? Was it just a feeling that you thought Lee could give you more defensively?

BB: It's just the feeling of we felt like that was the best move to make for the football team.

Q: What is it about Lee that made you want to acquire him?

BB: We worked against him at Houston in preseason. He kind of played outside linebacker for Houston, defensive end in their sub package, so there's some relevance there for us, similar to the position that was vacated. We'll see how it goes.

Q: Is he a guy that you had a chance to meet in the spring to University of Florida?

BB: No. Well, no, I didn't personally meet him; no.

Q: How helpful is it when you're able to see somebody practice on the opposing team like you did with Lee in West Virginia this summer against Houston?

BB: Yeah, I don't know. There's a lot of guys on our team that we hadn't seen practice. I wouldn't say that was a big deciding factor. I mean, we did see him. 

Q: When you trade for a player like Marquis Flowers is there a period where you have to figure out what his strengths are on defense given the limited playing time he had before arrival?

BB: Well, Marquis played quite a bit on defense for the Bengals in preseason. So, I think you could see it there. It's not regular season but it was actually this season. I think we had a pretty good idea of what his defensive skills were even though the number of regular season plays, as you pointed out, was limited. There were quite a few preseason plays on defense that you could evaluate.

Q: Have you seen progression from Marquis Flowers and Trevor Reilly since they've been taking more defensive snaps?

BB: Well, Trevor was here last year and Trevor, I think, did a really good job for us. We were pretty healthy last year and never really had an opportunity to move him up. When an opportunity came for him to be a roster player and play in games and so forth, he took that. But I think that he was playing at a pretty good level last year. We just didn't have the spot. This year it was a little bit different. I'd say he's built on last year but he was doing well last year, too. We just didn't have the spot. I wouldn't say I'm surprised at the way he's performed. He's done a good job for us. He probably would've done that last year for us if we had the opportunity to get him in there, but we had other guys that we don't have this year and so, as I said, we just didn't have room.

Q: Have you seen any of the coordinated team touchdown celebrations and do you see any of your players doing something like that?

BB: Yeah, we're really focused more on trying to keep the other team out of the end zone and trying to get into the end zone. We haven't really spent a lot of time on the half time show.

Q: As a kicker gets older, what do you watch for to make sure he is still performing at a high level or at least the level he is accustomed to? Is it leg strength?

BB: Yeah, I don't know how much real improvement you're going to see from a player that's been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that. But, if the level they're performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that's certainly enough to help the team. Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve [Gostkowski] has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He's done a great job of that. I'd say it's maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job.

Q: Did you happen to notice the reaction of the team as Stephen Gostkowski converted his 62-yard field goal in Mexico City? Could that be viewed as a reflection of how strongly his teammates view him as a contributor and not just a kicker?

BB: Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I mean, look, it was a big momentum play in the game. It was a great play by all three guys - Joe [Cardona], Ryan [Allen] and Steve. It was a really good operation. It was a hell of a kick. Yeah, I mean, I think everybody was excited about it.

Q: Are you less patient with certain mistakes being made at this time of year given that you've been working at it for several months now?

BB: Well, we're always trying to get better and do things the best we can every week. We try to do it that way the first week, the tenth week and however many weeks there are after that. We're always trying to do things as well as we can, give our players the best plan, instruct them, and teach them and prepare them the best that we can. I know they expect to play the best - put their best performance out there every week. As you get fewer games each one becomes more important and bigger and you want to do your best in them. I think everybody has the same goals there. I don't think that's a lot different from what it was in September, but there are fewer games. We've had more practices. We've had more opportunities. Hopefully, our execution and play is better.

Q: There was a play last week where a player from Oakland tried to instigate something with Jonathan Jones. Do you talk to your players about those kinds of situations and how to handle themselves in those moments?

BB: We talk about it every week.

Q: What do you tell them?

BB: I'd say that's between me, myself and the player.

Q: Is it difficult for players to toe that line and be competitive but not hurt the team with a penalty?

BB: I don't know. You'd have to ask the players that.

Q: With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, is pumpkin pie still at the top of the list for you?

BB: Yeah, pretty much whatever's on the table is at the top of my list. Yeah, I wouldn't turn that down.

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