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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/18

Q: How'd everyone do with the snow yesterday? Did the players dig themselves out and get to work on time and do what they needed to do?

BB: Yeah, we moved things back a little bit just to help, I would say, with the process and have a little more daylight to work with. Yeah, we had a good, productive day and we're ready to go.

Q: So you're playing the Dolphins this Sunday and their head coach is Brian Flores, a guy who you've known for a long time. He grew up in your program and he wore many different hats for you. Does that relationship change at all when he becomes the head coach of another team? What's it like seeing him have some success down there in Miami?

BB: Well, I mean obviously it changes a lot from him being on the staff here to being the head coach in Miami. But I've been through that my whole career. It's been a long time coaching in the NFL and there's been plenty of that where coaches leave here and coach somewhere else or coaches who were somewhere else come here and coach, like Jedd [Fisch] last week with the Rams. So, I think it's just part of the NFL and that's fairly common over the course of the season for that to come up several weeks in the year. And obviously players, it's the same thing with the players. There's hardly a week in the season where there isn't some kind of crossover between Patriots players on our opponent's team or a player on our team that played for the opponent.

Q: Do you take any, I mean he's having a decent amount of success down there this year. I'm sure he'd like to have more, but he's seemingly got them headed in the right direction. Do you take any pride when you see one of your former assistants do well like that?

BB: Well, I mean, the main thing for me is to try to help our team and to do the best job I can here for our players and the Patriots organization. So, that's really where my energy is focused.

Q: I was wondering how you see them using Kyle Van Noy and is it similar to the way you guys deployed him in his time in New England?

BB: Yes, I would say it is similar. Their defensive structures are similar to ours. Yeah, he fills a similar role there. Same thing with Elandon [Roberts]. 

Q: And with regards to their two corners, obviously Xavien Howard is having an All-Pro type season. Byron Jones, they spent a lot of money on. Are their styles similar playing-wise? Are they both physical guys or is there a sort of a complement of skills there?

BB: I mean, they're both long and do a good job on the line of scrimmage. Athletic, fast. Yeah, I'd say there's definitely a symmetry there with their corners.

Q: How do you feel like your guys have done this year with press coverage and guys being physical with them?

BB: We've played basically four corners pretty much the whole year. In general we've had some good plays, some good days and then there's others that I'm sure we'd like to have some back. Whatever it is, it is. It's really about our matchups this week against Miami and that's the focus right now.

Q: I know you're not prepping for Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, but you never know when he might make an appearance. Plus, you've prepped to play him many times over your career. I was hoping you would share a reflection on the career he's put together from your perspective what it takes for someone who came from Harvard, where he was in the draft, to stick in the league as long as he has? Just sort of an overall impression of his career.

BB: Fitz has had a good career. He's played in a number of organizations and has been productive in all of them, really. He's a tough, competitive guy that's probably as tough as any quarterback in the league in terms of being willing to block, not sliding, getting tough yards, things like that. And he's mentally tough. He can shake things off and just continue to compete. I have a lot of respect for him and what he's done.

Q: No regrets about never being able to join the AFC East club? I mean you've seen him a lot. I guess I'm just making a joke. You're the one team he hasn't played for in the division.

BB: Yeah, well.

Q: I want to ask you about Josh Uche as well Ja'Whaun Bentley and what you think you've gotten from them this year? Josh acknowledged that he still hasn't found his groove with the Patriots. Just what you've seen from them and your projections?

BB: Well, Josh [Uche] has made steady progress for us. He's a versatile player. He can handle some different roles. It's taken a little time for him to adjust and for us to fully understand how he functions in those roles and which ones are the best fit for him depending on what our opponents are doing and what we have to deal with. He made improvement through training camp then missed some time, then has come back and played well enough to earn more opportunities on the field. So, we'll just continue to see how that goes.

Q: And Ja'Whaun Bentley as well and also wanted to know on Adrian Phillips – do you have a personal preference at this point at having that type of a player like Philips play in the box? Or is it more of an adjustment to what the personnel dictates in regards to matchups?

BB: Well, there's always a certain element of matchups with the offense, but in terms of Ja'Whaun, he's really taken over the main role as a signal caller on the defense and is one of our captains. He's a smart kid and has a good understanding of football and football concepts and has made some big plays for us this year. Certainly, the goal-line stop against Arizona, some plays like that. And Adrian, his role has, again, been an evolution to some basic nickel-type defenses, but also based on the opponent and the matchups and the type of personnel groupings and formationing that our opponents use, he's fit into those, as well. Adrian's done a good job, he's a good football player. Very instinctive. He has a good sense of what's going on and a lot of times can anticipate what's going to happen before the play even starts.

Q: What role does intellect and anticipation play when you're evaluating players that you want to bring in and how do you go about determining that? It seems to be something that throughout your time here has been a common thread, where the guys are smart, they adapt quickly and they have an intellectual capacity to be able to pick up what you're throwing at them.

BB: Sure, those are all positives and some guys have more of that than others. Some players have more experience than others. That's a big part of it. So, Adrian has quite a bit of experience playing in the league and especially this year when we played the AFC West. He had a lot of experience with those teams. He just has a lot of experience, period. He's smart and instinctive and then when you combine that with familiarity he has some of the opponents we've played, he's able to anticipate quite a few things.

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