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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/5

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.  

BB: Well, back in the division, back in Miami. Looking at the Dolphins, this is a lot different team than we saw earlier in the year, eight weeks ago. They've changed some personnel things. They've done a really good job of winning close games, playing good football situationally and that's how they've won a lot of close games. They're, obviously, very well-coached. They have a lot of explosive players on offense with [Kenny] Stills, [Kenyan] Drake, [Frank] Gore, [DeVante] Parker. [Ryan] Tannehill's back, and then defensively this is a disruptive front. [Xavien] Howard's having a great year. They turn the ball over a lot, one of the best teams in the league on that. One of the real strengths of the team is special teams. They do an outstanding job on the return game, the rush game, coverage. Good all-around team that gave us a lot of problems down there last year with their scheme, their players and the way they played. I'm sure we'll get the same thing this time. Hopefully, we'll be able to do a better job with it.

Q: Lawrence Guy seems a little bit lighter than some of the other guys on the interior of the offensive line. How has he been able to have the success that he's had in that role?

BB: Yeah, I think he's got the size and the power to do that. He's done that in college, at Baltimore. He plays with good technique. He's strong. He's got good instincts in terms of playing blocks and recognizing interior schemes. He works hard. He's tough and durable. He's out there every day.

Q: What are some of the things that have allowed Cameron Wake to have a high level of production over the course of his career?

BB: Great motor and great technique. He's really a good technique rusher. He does a really good job of attacking the blockers, defeating the technique that they're using, whatever it is – offset, quickset, hand punch. He's got good counters to all of those and he's got a really good motor. Athletic, hard to knock off his feet, cut blocks and things like that he just steps right over them. He's quick enough to turn the corner. He's got a good inside move. He takes the deep-set tackles and powers them back and is disruptive that way. He's very experienced and can adjust quickly to however the set or the play develops with his rush.

Q: How would you characterize your depth at tight end?

BB: It's the same as it's been all year. No changes that I'm aware of. What happened?

Q: Can you count on Rob Gronkowski being out there every week?

BB: I don't think he was on the injury report last week.

Q: What does Coach Darren Rizzi do that makes his special teams units so difficult to prepare for?

BB: They're good at everything; yeah. Obviously, they lost [Jakeem] Grant but they've got Drake on kickoffs and they've used Stills back there. Obviously, he's an explosive player on punts. They have a good rush scheme – punts and field goals. Even a lot of forces on their punt returns are tough with [Senorise] Perry, [Brandon] Bolden. They do a good job of covering. They play good situational football. Pretty much every week they do a good job.

Q: Do they have an aggressive punt rush?

BB: They rush a lot. Probably more than any team in the league. Yeah, it's almost all rushes. It's not all rushes, but 70 percent or whatever it is. It's high.

Q: How have Albert McClellan and Ramon Humber performed on that unit for you?

BB: Well, we'll find out this week. We'll get challenged this week. Both of those guys have experience. I think they've been OK but it'll be a different story this week. We're going up against a real good rush group. They're quick. They're powerful off the ball. They've had a lot of success. They've blocked three or four punts this year. It might not show up in the stats because the ball crossed the line of scrimmage but they hit them.

Q: When you look at the Miami film from earlier in the year, how much do you balance what you saw in that game versus what you may expect them to adjust with this time around?

BB: Yeah, well we'll see how much they do from that game. I think it'll be a different game. It certainly was when we played down there last year. They had a totally different game plan. We'll see. Look, Adam [Gase] does a real good job. He's an excellent game plan coach, as is their entire staff, so whatever we get, we get. I think it'll be hard to sit here today and say this is what it's going to be because there's too many variables. I don't know what they're going to do.

Q: Is there any way to simulate the humidity you'll face when you get down there?

BB: I don't know. Look, it is what it is out there. So whatever it is, it is.

Q: Do you bring up your team's recent history in Miami to them this week?

BB: Well, we'll definitely look at last year's game. That's as close as we can get.

Q: What does Robert Quinn give them on the opposite side of Cameron Wake?

BB: Yeah, they've got as good an edge rush as anybody in the league. Those guys are very, very explosive and they play hard. They both have great motors. Again, they can hit the edge. They can come inside. They're good on games. They can turn speed into power. It's a tough matchup. They're really good out there.

Q: How good has Matt Haack been punting the ball for them?

BB: Yeah, he's done a solid job for them. He's got a good leg. He hit some big balls. He hits plenty of good ones. I'd say consistency could be improved, but you could probably say that about every kicker and punter.

Q: What's gone into the decision to keep Duke Dawson Jr. inactive after returning from injured reserve?

BB: We're trying to win games. Other than that, nothing.

Q: How is he progressing in terms of learning the system?

BB: He's doing well; yeah.

Q: Duron Harmon, Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty all seemed pretty excited after J.C. Jackson's performance on Sunday. How much have the veteran defensive backs just taken him under their wing?

BB: A lot, yeah. They've done a really good job with him. A lot of communication with the corners and the safeties depending on what the setup is, who's involved there. But it could be a combination of both or more corner, like when the corners are together against stacked receivers, things like that. Sometimes it's the safeties when we get bunched sets and so forth that handle the communication. But whoever it is, they've been – I mean, look, they know he doesn't have a lot of experience in our system and they've done a great job of making sure that he understands what we're playing, not just take it for granted that even though we've been over it, and he does know and he should know, but still there's that reinforcement out of the extra communication that this is what it is and make sure that he understands it and he can play it. He can certainly handle himself on his own, but those guys do a great job of just making sure, double-checking that we have things right.

Q: Is it significantly easier to integrate an inexperienced player when you have a veteran group like that?

BB: Well, yeah, sure because those guys know what they're doing and they're confident in the call. A big part of making the call is just the way you do it. If you do it with confidence, then everybody knows that what you're saying is – they kind of feel like that's right and you're assertive about it, then you do it. If it's one of those kind of half-hearted then it's, "Is this the right call? Are we really doing this?" And then there's that hesitancy. I know Devin [McCourty] Pat [Chung], Duron [Harmon], Jason [McCourty] has done a great job for us. Jon [Jones], those guys, they get it out, that nails it and that's what it is and we play it. Even if it's wrong, at least we're all wrong together and we can usually work through that problem as when we're half-right, half-wrong and then that's never good.

Q: Have Jason McCourty's leadership skills been what you expected?

BB: Yeah, he's been great, yeah. Again, he missed the spring on the field. I mean, he was here for all the meetings and everything but he wasn't on the field. It was a process in training camp, training camp was hard because we're not game-planning, we're just out there running our system, running plays and our offense is running their plays and the multiples become exponential really. When you get into a game plan, it comes down a little bit and then there are some specific things that we're going to do this against that and we're going to check this against something else. He's very good at that, at applying the game plan and applying the rules that we have and when there's some grey area, he can be decisive and make a decision that this is what it's going to be. Again, as long as we're decisive and clear, even if it's not the perfect thing, if we're all doing the same thing, then we can be competitive. 

Q: Do you look back at the value of that trade for Jason McCourty and getting him at the salary he's at?

BB: He's been a great addition to the team, yeah. No question, he's been a great addition to our team.

Q: How is James Develin evolved as not only a player but a leader, coming in as a practice squad guy years ago?

BB: He's just earned everybody's respect by his daily performance. Nobody grinds it out harder than James does whether it's offensively or in the kicking game. Preparation, training in the weight room, he's just a hard-working kid that just grinds it out every day. Quiet, doesn't say much, but his actions are strong and I think everybody appreciates and recognizes his commitment to the team and how much he puts into it, how tough and dependable he is. He just shows up every day and does it. I mean, you can count on it. You really can set your watch on it. He'll be there, he'll work hard, he'll do everything you ask him to do, he'll be ready to go. I think without a doubt, everybody in the entire building feels that way because it just happens every single day. 

Q: With that being said, is it nice to see him have a guy when he scored twice for the first time in his career?

BB: Yeah, sure. It's always good when we score. But however it happens, he's very unselfish and most of the time, he's paving the way on that. But he made a couple big runs. Sometimes that last yard is a tough yard to get, especially against a defense like that. He got it. He got some good blocking, so it's good. 

Q: What have you seen from Obi Melifonwu?

BB: You know, it's just a little bit more each week in the kicking game, defensively. At this point in the season, it's not the easiest thing. We have a lot of packages in on defense and different groups, different – sometimes the rules or calls within each group and that can run together a little bit. Same thing in the kicking game. There are multiples that we've accumulated over the course of the year and you come in in the middle of the season and you're not really having the building blocks that you would have in the beginning of the season, you just kind of get a lot of information. But he's smart, he can sort it out and just needs more reps and more time on the field and more plays, more experience. He's coming along.

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