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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/17

BB: First of all, I'd just like to thank everyone who's reached out and expressed their sympathy and condolences for my mom. Especially, Pete [Carroll] had some really great words and John Harbaugh and many others that I know – friends, football people – and honestly, many people that I've never met or contacted before, so do really appreciate the support there. You know, as an only child – I mean, everybody's close with their or has a certain relationship with their mom and dad – but as an only child, I was especially close to my parents. My mom and I spent a lot of time together and she was a great woman. I certainly learned pretty much everything from my parents. And then, you know, with her love that she gave to her grandkids, to Amanda, Steve and Brian, was ultra-special to me as well. So, I appreciate everyone's thoughts and condolences that have been expressed. She had almost 99 years, so a very long and happy life. So, she'll be with my dad now.

Just as far as moving on to Seattle here – you know, didn't get chance to talk about them yesterday, but obviously a great football program with the Seahawks. John Schneider and Pete Carroll have done a tremendous job there. They've been able to sustain it. Success just year after year with double-digit wins and competitive games. When you look at the consistency that they've had out there, it's really very, very impressive. They've turned over quite a bit of their team and their personnel from when we saw them in 2014, even 2016, especially defensively. But, I mean, they continue to be impressive in every area, as they were last week on the road in Atlanta. So, that was a very strong performance. You know, Pete's obviously a guy that believes in what he does, as he should, and he's had tremendous success with it. I really admire the consistency that Pete's shown throughout the course of his career. I really admire what he did at SC [University of Southern California] and then brought that to Seattle. I also want to wish Pete a belated happy birthday. I'm glad to see that he's just staying a little bit ahead of me there, so I don't have the distinction of being the oldest coach in the league. But anyway, and always, always happy to see another fellow Croatian do well, just not against us, like Coach [Nick] Saban. But, Pete's done a tremendous job out there and his philosophy is evident every time you turn on the film. The energy, the passion, the toughness, the consistency, the mental toughness that the team has is very, very impressive. You know, you look at the guys that really are, to me, the big three out there: it's Pete, it's [Russell] Wilson and [Bobby] Wagner. I mean, those three guys – you can't really find a game or a play where they don't epitomize everything that the Seahawks stand for and the success that they've had. I think the team really runs through those three guys, as it should. Their consistency and mental toughness and passion for the game is just really, really impressive. We know how tough it's going to be out there. It's always tough against those guys – doesn't matter where it is. It could be in a parking lot or wherever the game is. They just compete extremely hard on every down, from snap to whistle, for 60 minutes. I just have a ton of respect for the Seahawks, for Pete, for Russell Wilson and the entire program out there. And we know we're going to have to be at our best on Sunday, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to improve from last week and try to get the best football that we can play out there on Sunday night. So, looking forward to the opportunity and the competition. We've got a couple more days here to try to zero in on these guys, but it'll be a big challenge for us. But, as I said, we're looking forward to it.

Q: You touched on Russell Wilson a little bit. In what way does his skillset stress a defense?

BB: Well, yeah, everything. I mean, this guy's a tremendous player. Honestly, I think he's in a way maybe underrated by the media or the fans, I don't know, but I mean I don't really see anybody better than this player. He can do everything. He's got obviously great leadership, playmaking skills. He plays very well in the most critical situations in the game – his decision-making, running, passing. His passing numbers are extraordinary. You could put him up against anybody since he's been in the league, literally anybody, in any category, really. His winning percentage is impressive. He's there for every game, never missed a game. He's got a great, great ability to do the right thing at the right time. He has tremendous vision and sees the field extremely well. I don't think there's a better deep ball passer in the league in terms of decision making and accuracy. He attacks every – literally every inch of the field you have to defend with him – the deep balls, the sidelines, his scrambles, his ability to get the ball to his playmakers and in space, and then you have to try to tackle him, which that's very difficult too. You know, [Tyler] Lockett has lead the league in all-purpose yards. Russell's got 4,000 yards rushing, 30,000 yards passing. Lockett's been a go-to guy for them in all phases of the game – return game and offensively. [D.K.] Metcalf, now they've got [Greg] Olson, [Chris] Carson probably runs as hard as anybody in the league, so there are a lot of weapons there. I could go on and on – offensive line, [Duane] Brown – I mean, they have a lot of good players that are hard to handle and you put them all together and it's orchestrated by Wilson. They're very, very hard to define

Q: Regarding the wildfires, do you have concerns about the effect the air quality could have on your players and potentially on the game itself?

BB: Yeah, we're aware of it. We've looked into it a little bit. I think the forecast that I've seen, tracked them over the last couple of days, looks really pretty promising that there's some wind currents coming in from the Pacific – not that I know anything about wind currents or meteorology or anything here, but this is other people telling me that – but that that's going to help. Certainly, by the end of the week, sounds like as early as Friday, things could start to clear up a little bit. So, I'd say from our standpoint really we're going to control the things that we can control. We've talked about possibly some things that we might be able to do a little bit differently if necessary. Right now, I don't really think that it appears that will be necessary, but we'll monitor that situation and see. So, yeah, thanks for asking about that, but I'd say right now it's tracking to where we don't anticipate a major problem, but we'll be prepared if things change.

Q: Your teams and teams across the league are beginning to use pre-snap motion a lot more, and your team has really been ahead of that trend. Can you discuss the benefits of pre-snap motion and how it helps your offense get desirable matchups, especially in the running game?

BB: Well, the advantages – I think anytime you put a guy in motion, you want to try to gain an advantage, and anytime you don't put guys in motion, then you gain certain advantages there too, and you can only move one guy, obviously. It's really just a question of what you're trying to gain. If you're trying to gain an advantage in your alignment to crack block or block a secondary support player, or whether you're trying to gain an advantage to run a route or get a player on the move so that he can get to an area faster than if it was stationary – you know, various things like that. It could also be for some level of deception or forcing a defensive adjustment. The downside of motion is you start to declare something about your formation and that eliminates certain things. By putting a player in motion, that eliminates certain things or makes it more difficult to happen than if he's stationary, and you don't know exactly how the defense is going to react every time. Sometimes you can predict it and if you get that, then that helps you, but if they do something different and if a team has more than one way to adjust to it, then sometimes that can cause a later communication on the play. So, I think there are times when you want to be in a stationary formation and it's easier for the quarterback to see what's going on in the passing game, and the running game for that matter, and kind of force the defense to declare. And there are other situations where you can possibly gain an advantage with some movement, depending on which player you're putting in motion, but either gain some advantages on the play or gain some advantages in terms of knowing not maybe even what they're going to do, but maybe you can eliminate some things they're not going to do and either improve your outside running game in a run force, block a force player or gain some type of advantage in the passing game. Certainly, there's been a lot of success with people using both, so there's definitely a place for them. Really, it just comes down to how you feel about your game plan, your matchup and kind of what your general philosophy is on that. I know when I was with the Colts my first year with Coach [Ted] Marchibroda, he really didn't like to put people in motion very often. Maybe to run a crack play or something like that, but we hardly ever did that. And then that extended to when he went to Buffalo and later to Indianapolis with the K-gun and the no- huddle offense that he wanted players to be stationary so the quarterback could read the defense and the defense, by even just the slightest movement, would start to tip the type of coverage that they were in because the offense was basically in the same formation every time. Obviously, when [Peyton] Manning was with the Colts, they did that as well. There was almost no motion in that offense, so it put a different kind of pressure on you because the slightest and subtlest change by any defensive player's alignment would be identified and could tip off what the defense is doing. Like I said, there's a place for both in there, and I think whatever you do, whether you do it motion and don't do it, it just comes down to trying to gain an advantage and whether that's worth offsetting what you feel like you might be giving up by doing one or the other.

Q: How does Pete Carroll utilize a player like Jamal Adams, having coached Troy Polamalu at USC and of course Earl Thomas – not to say that they are the same player, but that piece in his defense?

BB: Yeah, you know, I thought that was interesting to see what they did. I'd say they ran certainly more safety blitzes than – maybe more in that game than I'd seen in the previous year. That hasn't really been a big part of Coach Carroll's defense, but he did it in a way that it was consistent with the philosophy of what they do defensively. So, it was a change and a significant one with how disruptive Adams was on those blitzes. It's always hard to tell with a player like Adams which ones are called and what's him just reacting to something and coming in very aggressively, especially on running plays. But, in any case, I think they modified their system a little bit to take advantage of a very explosive and disruptive player, which is really just smart coaching and good utilization of personnel. I know Pete's philosophy is always to play into his strengths, and he does a great job of that and clearly Jamal Adams is one of their strengths. So, they did something a little bit differently with him than what they've done in the past in terms of inserting him into the pressure part of their defense, but I'd say within the overall context of what they have done fundamentally for quite a long time. It's not like they're redesigning everything but they're using one of their outstanding players in a very good way, and that causes problems for the offense. So, that's kind of what I saw last week. We'll see how it goes this week, but that's what it appeared to be last week against Atlanta.

Q: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your mom earlier in the call. I wanted to ask you about her, because we have heard over the years from coaches about how families have to make sacrifices when they're part of a football family. How important was her support for both you and your dad, given the profession that you both were in?

BB: Yeah, well, she was a very unselfish person and sacrificed a lot for her family, and so of course me personally, and I appreciate and love her for that and many other things. But, yeah, you know, my dad was away a lot on scouting trips, and so I always kind of grew up with her on the weekends, on football weekends, at home. So, we watched hundreds of games together, whether it was Navy games or listened to them on the radio or watched other games that were on TV and so forth when my dad was away on Friday night, Saturday and sometimes Sunday morning, depending on how far he had to travel for the games that he was scouting. So, football season for me as a kid was my dad getting home late during the week and my mom on the weekends to watch football games. And we became very close and shared those experiences together. And then, you know, the only time really that I saw my dad during the end of the game week was the Army-Navy game. And then, like I said, when he got home later at night, and when I was older, I was able to stay up and see him. If I stayed out of trouble, I might get to do something with him later at night. But, I just didn't want to act badly for my mom and have her turn me in, which she didn't do very often, even though I was deserving of it. But, yeah, we had a very close relationship there. My mom was really kind of an academic person. She was very good in college, and then after college, she worked for the map service during World War II and translated European maps because she spoke seven languages. Well, six at that time – she didn't know Croatian – but, she was involved in the translation of maps during the war effort and then came back and taught languages at Hiram [College] after the war starting in 1945. Unfortunately, those language skills didn't rub off on her son, and one language is really about all I have. But, she encouraged me to do the things that I wanted to do. She was very supportive of those. I wish I could have been better in the field that she was very good at. I tried that for a while, but I just didn't have it in all honesty – so just 'un peu' of French, and that's about it.

Coach Belichick tried to offer one final thought at the end of today's video conference, but we had already ended the virtual meeting. His closing remarks:

"Unfortunately, Linda has not been able to be with me this week because she is in Tennessee caring for her father, who is in critical condition. Our prayers are with them, as well."

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