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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/22

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media in his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, December 22, 2017.

Q: You mentioned on Wednesday that every year is different in regards to your working relationship with Tom Brady. How is this year different?

BB: It's just different teams, different players. I mean, he's great to work with. Nobody's better prepared than Tom. Tom's always ready to go, always on top of it. He really takes coaching well, and he's got a lot of good ideas. But, each year is different. Our team is different, our players are different, our opponents are different. Every week is different. 

Q: The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Alex Guerrero's access to the team has been restricted. Has that in any way impacted how you and Tom have worked together?

BB: Yeah, this is another one with no sources, right? Yep. I'm not going to get into that. Yeah, because there are none mentioned.

Q: Has Guerrero's access been limited this season?

BB: Look, we have a lot of people that work for our team outside of the team, and there are different relationships, different situations with dozens of other people. So, I'm not going to go through a case-by-case of what everybody does and so forth. That would be impossible to do, and I'm not going to do it.

Q: How has Moses Cabrera done since taking over the strength and conditioning program?

BB: Great. He's done great. He does a great job. Our team is in good condition. I think they're strong, they're in condition, they train well. I think he gets the most out of them. 

Q: When you're watching tape of your opponent, what can you learn about a new head coach, rather than just X's and O's?

BB: Well, I think just as a composite - a lot of times you don't know exactly who's doing what, but you just see what the team does and that's what you prepare for. So, whether it's a quarterback, an offensive coordinator, a head coach, the offensive line coach in the running game, and take the same people on defense and special teams - coordinators, head coach, specialists, signal caller, key guys. However it all comes out, the bottom line for you is that's how it comes out. So, the inner workings of who actually does what, sets up what, who's call is it and so forth, doesn't matter as much to us as what the final result is of what we have to defend or what we have to deal with. So, that's really what we try to identify is how they play certain situations, what their strategy is or what they're going to present to us that we have to deal with. However that comes out, whoever called it or set it up or strategized it, that means a lot less to us than what they actually do. 

Q: Can you develop an opinion on a coach like Sean McDermott by watching film?

BB: I think Sean's [McDermott]done a great job up there, yeah. I mean, absolutely. They play well every week. They've had a couple, like we all have, games that haven't gone the way you want it to go. The team has bounced right back. They're competitive in all three phases of the game for 60 minutes pretty much every week. They play consistently, they're tough, they make very few mistakes. I know this is twice now preparing for them. You look on the film, you just don't see many mistakes. They don't make errors. You have to beat them, you have to execute well, you have to make good plays. They're not there because they're out of position, because they do something wrong. You have to make those happen, and if you don't do a good job of what you're doing, then they'll capitalize, which they have done a good job of. They're plus-seven in turnovers, they play with good field position, they've won a lot of close games - I think 5-2 in close games or whatever it is - so they've played well in competitive situations. You see those things week after week after week after week. Now, after 14 weeks, that's all starting to add up. So, I think Sean's done an excellent job with the composition of the team, the amount of turnover they have. They have a lot of new players in there. He's put that together well. They work very cohesively. I've talked about the secondary and their pass coverage, how well coordinated that is. Offensively, they do a good job of getting the ball to all their skill players. Certainly, [LeSean] McCoy is a featured guy, but whether it's [Travaris] Cadet or [Mike] Tolbert earlier in the year or [Nick] O'Leary or [Charles] Clay or the receivers, the quarterback, they've been productive with a lot of different players doing different things, so that's I think a testament to how well-coached they are and how they're able to utilize all their resources. And, they're good in the kicking game. Their specialists are good, they're a physical coverage team, a physical return team. [Brandon] Tate's had a good year. But, they've got strong, physical players and fast, disruptive players - a good combination on special teams. Danny [Crossman] does a good job. He's an excellent special teams coach that has good schemes and sound - always hard to play against. They play good situational football. So, yeah, this is a tough group and they do a lot of things well and they make you beat them. We've got to go out and play well.

Q: As one of the younger captains, what is your impression of David Andrews and his leadership role on the team?

BB: Good, really good. He has a natural position of leadership at center. That's a high-communication position coordinating the offensive line calls or identifying the defense that our opponents are in - the front or who's who, who's a linebacker, who's a defensive lineman, how do we want to treat certain players in different looks. He does a good job in all that communication, and then his off-the-field leadership as a captain I think has been very good this year. We've had those type of players before, those second-year captains like Devin [McCourty], like Jerod [Mayo] - David's a third year captain - Duron [Harmon], again, kind of a younger captain. But, it's a little different for those guys compared to the [Matthew] Slater's and the [Tedy] Bruschi's and the Troy Brown's and the guys like that that have been around for a long time when you're a younger captain. But, you see those guys grow, and in time, I'm sure they will become like what many of our more experienced captains have become. They're just not at the end of the process. They're at the start of the process. David does a good job. He connects well with all the players - offense, defense, linemen, backs, coaching staff. He gets along well with everybody, and that's a good quality to have.

Q: When you're watching McDermott coach this team, do you see any correlation to Andy Reid or Jimmy Johnson?

BB: I mean, I think defensively, a lot of what you see is what you saw in Carolina. Not saying it's the same, but it's more similar to that. Andy's really an offensive coach. [Rick] Dennison does a good job, Rick does a good job of having a lot of different ways to attack the defense. He's creative and, again, utilizes the personnel well, so when that's [Tyrod] Taylor it's Taylor, the wildcat scheme that we saw, things like that, and using Joe Webb, who's been a very productive player for them in the kicking game, as well. So, they do a good job of that. Again, who all came - I think that's a question you'd have to ask Sean, really. I mean, who influenced him or who - you know, I don't really know the answer to that question.

Q: What did your scouting department see from both Jacob and Cody Hollister that made you want to sign them both as undrafted free agents? What has allowed them to stick around in their respective positions this year?

BB: Yeah, it's kind of interesting because with players like that, they were separated and - I'd say compared to Devin and Jason [McCourty], just to pick another example where they were at the same school, even though they were a year apart. With Jacob and Cody, being at Wyoming and Arkansas and not really being together as much, it's kind of interesting how that came together. But, Cody played, obviously, in a good conference with a lot of other good receivers at that position. He was also involved in the kicking game and was a guy who did a lot of things but was kind of a developmental player. We saw him as his best football being ahead of him but with a good work ethic. Jacob - Wyoming, same thing. Kind of changed positions, bounced around a little bit. Again, Wyoming's a good program. Obviously, not quite the same conference level as what Arkansas was, and it was a good workout, he was a good person to work with - smart, works hard. Just, again, we felt like he was underdeveloped as a football player and had a good future in front of him. So, he actually trained at Arkansas in the offseason, so we had had [A.J.] Derby from there from a couple of years ago. I'd say that there's some comparisons between Hollister and Derby that were favorable. So, that's just kind of interesting how that comes together. You never know, but that's how it worked out. It's confusing to have both of them sometimes, you know, when they're out of uniform. But, they're both really good kids. They work hard, they do whatever you ask them to do and football's important to them. They really try to get better. They really have improved a lot this year and they've done a good job in their role, like on scout teams being the other player that they're mimicking for practice and that type of thing. But, Jacob's obviously contributed on the field for us, as well. But, they've improved a lot. I think they both have a good future.

Q: Tony Romo said on last week's broadcast that you said running back was your deepest, strongest position. What is it about that group that you like so much?

BB: The group's been productive for us. I think when they've had a chance to play, they've all played well. 

Q: For several weeks now, the running backs have been practice players of the week. What have they shown in practice?

BB: Yeah, they've done a great job with facing very good backs, and I would say unique backs. McCoy is a different kind of guy, [Le'Veon] Bell had a different type of running style, so things like that. So, to try to get somebody to try to give the defense the look that those players - the way those players do it - takes some work from that group. Instead of going out there and just taking the ball and running with it, it's trying to watch film and understand how those backs run and what would help our defense, how to help the defense by giving them that same kind of look. They do a real good job of that. I know, our defensive players and coaches really recognize and appreciate that, and we told them that on Wednesday that, 'This is a great look this week. Give it to us again on Thursday and Friday,' and they did. And, you come to the end of the week and then you go into the game and you feel like you're looking at something pretty similar to what you looked at in practice. A lot of times that goes the other way. It's not always that way. You see something in practice and then you get in the game and what you've been practicing against isn't really what you're playing against. In those cases, it was recognized they did a really good job for us.

Q: When a player mimics an opposing player in practice, do you ever see that benefitting the player's game? Can he pick up new skills or techniques?

BB: Sure, and we talk to the players about that all the time is that's your opportunity in practice as being somebody else - being another receiver, another tight end or another corner or another linebacker or whatever the position is - to work on something else, to work on a speed-to-power move, to work on a double-move, to work on a jump cut, whatever it happens to be, and that opportunity is usually offensively to get the ball. So, those kind of highlighted guys are players that we know we have to stop from the other team. They have plays designed to go to those players, so again, whether it's double moves or some type of special route that they run or special running play that is designed for them, it gives those players a chance to run it. We might not have that play, or they might not be the one running it if we have a play like that or similar play like that. It might be somebody else, so it gives them a chance to work on that. A lot of times we see those things. We see, oh gee, this guy did a good job with this particular thing this week when he was pretending to be somebody else. Maybe that's a skill we hadn't clearly identified or seen it and had a chance to identify earlier, and now that kind of sticks out. So, OK, maybe we can develop that a little bit more. So, it's definitely a good opportunity for a player to highlight something, to have a chance to do something and then highlight the fact that he can do it.

Q: With the situation with Rob Gronkowski at the end of the last Bills game, how mindful are you of keeping an eye of for these things moving forward? How do you monitor things as the game goes on to make sure no one gets hurt or penalized?

BB: Well, I don't believe and our team doesn't believe in living in the past. So, we can go back and look at a million things that have happened in every game. That's not really important to us. What's important to us is this game and our preparation for this game and our performance in this game. So, that's what we're all focused on. That's what we will be focused on. Next week, it will be next week. There's certain things that have happened in other games that we learn from. We learn from every game. We address things that we feel like need to be addressed, that we need to learn from, and then we move on and attack the next situation. So, right now, we're getting ready for this game and that's what we're going to do. We've learned from a lot of things in the past - past weeks, past years, past practices, past situations - but we're all focused on this week and this game and how important it is to go do our best. That's what we're going to do.

Q: Do you have any concern about losing focus once the game begins?

BB: Our concern is about going out there and playing our best. Coaching our best and playing our best, that's what we're all focused on. So, that's what we're going to try to do.

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