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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/22

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, September 22, 2017

BB: It's been, as always, a very challenging week getting ready for Billy [O'Brien], Mike [Vrabel], Larry [Izzo], their coaching staff and their great players - [J.J.] Watt, [DeAndre] Hopkins, [Deandre] Watson, [Whitney] Mercilus, [Bernardrick] McKinney, [Jadeveon] Clowney]. They've got a lot of them. We'll see how it all comes together here today and then on Sunday. It's a good football team, a tough team to prepare for. They always compete very hard. They have a lot of mentally and physically tough players that are well-coached that will provide a big challenge for us. One more day here to work through it.

Q: Can you recall playing a team so frequently like Houston who is out of your division?

BB: Yeah, I mean we played Indianapolis it seemed like twice every year for a while. Denver, we played them; Pittsburgh. They're all division teams, yeah. But, I mean, for outside of the division we've played a lot of games against them. That's right.

Q: What new dimension does D'Onta Foreman add to their offense?

BB: Yeah, Foreman is a big kid, a big, strong guy. I mean, not quite as big as [LeGarette] Blount but big like LG was. [He has] really good hands. I spent quite a bit of time with him at Texas last spring. He's an impressive guy. He can run through guys. He can run around them. He's got good quickness in space, a good receiver. He's a big back with some little back skills, so he's got a very good overall skill set. He can be used on all three downs, but he can get tough yards and he can be tough in space as we saw in the preseason game.

Q: Does his skill set compare to LeGarrette Blount at all given his ability to make guys miss at their size?

BB: Yeah, that, but again, he's a good receiver. He can split out. He has good hands. He's good in the passing game. He's got long speed and he can take a short run and turn it into a 50, 60-yarder like he did in college. He runs away from people. He's got a lot of skill.

Q: Is Lamar Miller's versatility something that makes him tougher to defend?

BB: Yeah, same thing. Yeah, same thing. I don't think he's quite as big as Foreman but he's got power. He runs hard. He's got good lower-body strength, good balance, breaks tackles. He's got good long speed and he's good in the passing game, too. He can get out in space and he can make guys miss and break tackles out there. [He's] a good screen back. He's got good timing on the screens and uses his blockers well. They're both three-down players that have a lot of skill in the running game and the passing game.

Q: When a player joins your team, what are the steps the organization takes to inform them of the dangers of CTE?

BB: Well, that's really, the whole medical questions are ones that come outside my area, so our medical department and medical staff, we cover a lot of things on the medical end. Not just one specific thing. We cover a lot.

Q: How do you feel the NFL handles informing players of the dangers of CTE?

BB: Yeah, again, I'm not a doctor. I'm not a trainer. I'm a coach, so the medical department - they handle the medical part of it. I don't do that.

Q: How would you characterize LaAdrian Waddle's development over his time here?

BB: Well, we got him late two years ago and he really wasn't able to do too much. Then last year he was inactive most of the year, but this year was his best camp, his best year. He had a good spring, good training camp and has gotten quite a bit of play time when he was healthy. He missed a little bit of time in camp, as well, but he's been out there a lot. He's played on both sides, played well for us. I feel like we have pretty good depth at tackle and it's good competition with really all four of those guys.

Q: What improvements have you seen from Bernardrick McKinney from last year to this year?

BB: Well, he's been pretty good since he came into the league. He does everything well. [He's] big, can run, very good tackler, got good playing strength, he's long, like the interception they had last year - he tipped that ball over the middle. He's got a lot of length inside. He's a good pass-rusher. He runs games well, plays in the kicking game. He's been good. I mean, it's not like he just showed up this year or this spring or anything. He's been a solid player for them.

Q: What does he add to that group of talented defensive players like J.J. Watt, or Whitney Mercilus or Jadeveon Clowney?

BB: Another good player. I mean, they have too many good players so it's hard to help. If you help one, then you're light on the others. If you help one of the others, then it's tough. That's what makes them so good, is they get a lot of those matchups and you can't help. Like I said, too many guys so the guys that get singled are productive and they make plays. They make plays for a loss. They make plays in the running game. They make plays in the passing game and they make plays in pursuit. They make a lot of plays down the field. A good example was the Cincinnati game where Kareem Jackson caused the fumble but there's Clowney chasing the ball down there. It pops up into his hands. He turns around and runs it back 50 yards the other way. They knock down passes. They hit the quarterback. They tackle running backs, but they chase and pursue well down the field, as well. They're never out of the play. Those four guys - they are very impressive.

Q: Cameron Fleming started his second season on the practice squad. Is he a guy that you've seen make major strides since that point?

BB: No, I think Cam had a good rookie season for us. We were in a roster situation there where we had to do that. He was only on the practice squad for a week or two and then we were able to adjust some things and get him back,  so that was really more of a procedural thing than it was a big dip in his performance or anything like that. That really wasn't the case. He's been pretty steady and pretty consistent all four years. But again, it was a procedural thing that we did to make a roster spot there for a couple of weeks. Once that cleared, we got him back. We weren't looking to ever move on from him, but nobody works harder than Cam. He works extremely hard. He's very smart and when you tell Cam, 'This is what you need to work on,' then you're going to see him spending considerable time every day, a half-hour or an hour every day working on those things. He's a great guy to coach. Really takes his job [serious]. He's very professional and well-prepared, smart. Whatever you ask him to do he really works hard to try to do it just the way you wanted it. I have a lot of respect for him.

Q: Can Fleming and Waddle play both sides of the offensive line or do they specialize on one side?

BB: They both play both sides. It's hard. If you take three tackles to a game then somebody's got to play the other side, whether you move one of your starting tackles one way or the other, or your third tackle is the swing tackle, but one way or another you've got to handle that. If we go to an offensive lineman as a tight end then either the guy coming in is a tight end or you bump out one of your lineman to tight end and that player plays kind of his normal position. You've got to build in some flexibility there to be able to handle the five spots, but if you go to six, say goal-line and short-yardage where you have lineman backing up a tight end, or maybe you just use them anyway as part of one of those packages, then if the player is versatile and can do that then that just adds to your arsenal.

Q: Despite not being one of the biggest or fastest receivers, how does DeAndre Hopkins still find ways to catch the ball and get open?

BB: Well, Hopkins is a very physical receiver. He's a good route technique guy and he has great hands. He's good against off-coverage with his stems and his route technique and he's good against press coverage because he's physical. He uses his hands well and he's able to create separation and then he can extend. He catches the ball away from his body very well. When the quarterback can put the ball where he can get it, he gets it. He has good timing on the deep balls to go up and out-jump the defender who might have good positon on him, but he goes up and can get those balls, make spectacular one-handed catches or diving catches. His catch radius is probably as big as any receiver in the league. There's somewhere you can put the ball, no matter where the guy is on him, there's somewhere where you can put the ball where he can get it that the defender cant, and if it's a good throw he'll get it and it will be a completion. So he's never really covered even when he's covered.

Q: What prompted you to store Andrew Jelks on the 90-man roster throughout the summer. What is it about him that you liked?

BB: Right. Well, Jelks was a two-year starter in the SEC in his true freshman and sophomore years and then he had the injuries and missed his junior and senior year. I think he's a player that had good talent, obviously, to play in that league at that positon that early. You could see that, so it's a question of where he can get back to after the injuries. He worked extremely hard. He's a smart kid and he's played both tackle positons for Vanderbilt, played both left and right so we'll just see how it goes. We felt like he was a player worth working with and he hasn't disappointed us with his work ethic and his diligence and his improvement, but we haven't had a chance to really see him on the field other than some non-contact things in the spring. At some point maybe we'll see how it goes, but he works hard. [He's] a young player with some skill who is two years removed from real football. It's obviously why he wasn't drafted and there's a lot of questions there, but he's still here.

Q: How would you say Marquis Flowers' transition to your organization has gone thus far?

BB: Good, good. Yeah, Marquis gets better every week at everything. He's playing in the kicking game but defensively he's worked hard and improved there, as well. He's improving in the kicking game. Even though I think there is a lot of carryover from Cincinnati to here, there's still, obviously, differences, so he's adjusted and adapted to those. I've really been impressed with him. He's been good to work with and he improves every single day. He's very professional, takes his job seriously, tries to get better, understands there are things that are new that he has to make adjustments to, but he's worked hard to make those and he has made them. It's been good, been good.

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