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Transcripts: Patriots Conference Calls 9/24

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

CONFERENCE CALL
September 24, 2018

Q: When you go over the game film after a game like last night, how much time do you spend going over the schemes with your coaching staff versus the performance of individual players?

BB: We go through all of it.

Q: How would you characterize the needs that need to be addressed after last night? Is it pretty much split between scheme and individual performance?

BB: I feel pretty sure that everybody that participated in the game - player or coach - feels like they could've done a better job. I certainly feel that way. I know every member of the coaching staff feels that way. I talked to quite a few of the players after the game and they all feel that way, too. We just have to go back to work and find a way to all do a better job than that.

Q: Do you feel like there's a lack of energy on defense?

BB: No, I think the effort and the energy are good. We're just not having a lot of success in any area and I think as soon as we start having some you'll see a difference, but it's hard to have it when you're not making enough plays. We're not making enough plays in any phase of the game, so we've just got to perform better. I think the energy and the effort and all of that - we're trying. Everybody's trying hard. We're just not getting it done, which is all that matters.

Q: How close did Josh Gordon come to suiting up last night?

BB: Yeah, I don't know. We'll just take it day-by-day and see how it goes. There are a number of factors involved here. When he feels like he's ready and we feel like he's ready and there's sufficient opportunity to back that up then we'll see about making him active. We just didn't feel like we were at that point last night.

Q: What is the key to moving on quickly from a loss and putting it behind you?

BB: I don't really care anything about any other year, or any other team, or any other month or anything else. We've just got to take a look at the situation we're in right now and figure out how to improve it. That's what we'll try to do.

Q: Can you sense that Tom Brady is particularly frustrated?

BB: I don't think anybody's real happy with where we're at right now at any part of the football team. Again, we know that we all have to do a better job and we're all committed to doing that.

Q: Are you seeing any commonalities in the way that offenses have been attacking your defense and has that largely been expected?

BB: Again, I think when you play teams in this league they generally, for the most part, do what they're comfortable doing. I don't think you see teams put in a new offense every week. We've certainly dealt with a lot of RPO-type plays in the first two weeks of the season. Didn't really have that much last night. Maybe one time, kind of. I wouldn't say Detroit offensively ran the same type of plays that we saw from Jacksonville and Houston. But again, Detroit's a good offensive team. They've had a lot of success. They have a lot of good players. They do some of the things that they do each week. Naturally, adjust them, tailor them up a little bit for the team they're playing against. That's what everybody does. We see that from every team. Certainly Houston did a lot of that. There are things that are kind of their normal thing, but they're a little bit different because of a look they want to give us. So I think that's what you see. I think that's what we've seen. So no, I wouldn't say Detroit's offense closely patterned what we saw from Jacksonville or Houston. There were some concepts that were similar, but again, I think those are concepts that were pretty characteristic of what the Lions normally do anyway.

Q: How do you make sure to not overreact to the struggles thus far knowing that key players are missing on both sides of the ball, while also not relying too heavily on their return being a cure for those issues?

BB: Right. Well, I'm not really sure that I understand what you're getting at. I don't know what overreacting or underreacting is. I'm not sure what that means. We're trying to get ready to beat Miami. That's what we're doing this week. Last week we tried to get ready to beat Detroit. Obviously, it didn't work out very well, but that game's over with. Other than learning from it, there's nothing we can do about it. We have to get ready for Miami, so that's what we're going to do. I don't think that's overreacting. I don't think that's underreacting. I think it's getting ready for the next game, like all of the other 31 teams in the league have to do. What do we need to do to do that? We have to make those decisions and allocate the time we have in meetings and on the practice field to try to be as productive as we can with those opportunities in that time period. That's what we'll try to do there.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOSH MCDANIELS

CONFERENCE CALL
September 24, 2018

Q: What did you see in Sony Michel that made him such a big part of the game plan last night?

JM: Well, you know, we try to use all of our skill players. I think pretty much everybody had a role, a prepared role for the game. Sony [Michel] is certainly a guy that we - you know, he's a young player who that's his second game, including missing the preseason. So, trying to bring him along, improve just like everybody else - nothing special or anything like that. We're just trying to do the things that we feel like we can do to move the ball and make first downs and score points. Obviously, we didn't do a very good job of that and that's my responsibility. I need to do a better job and prepare our team to perform better this week against Miami.

Q: Do you have any regrets about not playing James White more?

JM: No, I have confidence in all our backs. You know, we've had a lot of guys go in there and do good things. James [White] certainly obviously plays a big role every week. He did some good things last night, but Sony ran hard. Again, we're never going to go into a game plan and try to focus on just one guy being the guy that's in there the entire time. We try to utilize the guys we have and put them in positions to do things that they can do well.

Q: What was the decision-making process with the play calling on the third-and-one stretch plays you ran?

JM: We try to come up with the right things each week, in each situation - you know, practice them and then hopefully execute them properly in the game. We felt like those gave us an opportunity to do that, and certainly Detroit did a better job of executing and defending us on those plays than we did. So, again, I take responsibility for all those things, and they didn't work out so we have to do a better job of finding a way to make those short yardage conversions moving forward.

Q: What's your take on what Josh Gordon brings to the offense, his week of practice and how close he was to playing last night?

JM: In terms of what he brings and his role and all that, I think that's still to be determined here as we get closer and closer to him actually being able to be active. I think he's learning. You know, look, it's not easy to come in in the middle of the week and try to pick everything up immediately, guys coming from different systems. But, he's doing a really good job of working hard at that and trying to get himself caught up so that he knows what to do when he's out there and can do it at a dependable level. I think he's really doing a good job of that, and then we'll see as he progresses this week, if he gets any closer to being able to be active. I don't know exactly how close or - you know, it's hard to put percentages on that. Coach [Bill Belichick] makes those decisions. We're going to prepare everybody to play and then whatever the active situation is on a week-to-week basis, then that's what we have and we try to do the best thing that we can with him.

Q: Do you ever wonder if your offense is too complicated at times and if you should simplify things, especially to help guys like Josh Gordon get involved more quickly?

JM: Well, I think we're always trying to figure out what the right things are to do with the team that we have each season. We're not averse to trying new things. We certainly have done that in the past and continue to do that. We've also played pretty good offense here and we have a way of doing things. We don't always start the season exactly where we want to be. We want to try to improve and make progress each week. And I'm not worried at all about Josh's ability to pick up our system. He's already demonstrated an ability to do that. I think he'll be fine, and the guys we have are doing the same thing. They're working hard each week and we have enough variance in our system to tweak it based on the opponent that we play and that's our job. That's my job and I haven't done a good enough job the last two weeks of putting us in the right positions to be successful, and I need to get better at that. I need to do a better job of helping them do that and we need to play better.

Q: Last night you had third-and-one in the second quarter and it looked like Tom Brady rushed to the line to get the play off quickly and didn't convert. It's easy to look at the play after the fact and say that if they slowed down, maybe the result would have been different. From your perspective what are you balancing there when deciding in that specific situation to hurry that up or slow it down a little bit?

JM: Well, the only - unless you're out of time, the only reason to really try to go fast is if you believe you can gain an advantage. So, we've done that many, many times here and used different schemes with it. But, if you go quickly, whether it be on the goal line or after a first down or whatever, if you're using tempo, trying to press the issue a little bit, obviously the intent is to gain some sort of an advantage and give yourself an opportunity to have success. Unfortunately, they executed better than we did in that situation and they deserve credit for that. Like you said, if we huddle, do we do better? I have confidence in our guys we're going to execute well regardless of the situation, whether we huddle or don't. We've used our tempo in the past to gain some advantage there, and unfortunately in that situation, it didn't work out for us.

Q: When you're bringing a player along like Sony Michel, how do you balance remaining unpredictable with play calling while also giving a guy like him enough opportunity considering you're calling a majority of run plays when he's out there?

JM: Well I think we're trying to - every young player has to make progress and improve, and one of the most important, if not the most important way to do it is through experience and practice and in games. And so, we're trying to - Sony's working really hard, really like Sony Michel. He's doing a good job in practice of trying to execute things the right way. He's learning from his mistakes. And again, I think that the best thing for us to focus on is to try to take the things that we do well and learn from those and take the things that we're making mistakes on and try to learn from those so we don't repeat them. I think he has a very good attitude about that, we do too and we're going to try to make progress each week as we go forward this season.

Q: Do you evaluate the offense through a different lens when you're missing a player like Julian Edelman?

JM: I think the individual week that you're in is the one that you're focused on and our evaluation of our performance yesterday and so far this season - obviously we'll go into what we need to try to do better this week and what we need to do well to try to give ourselves a chance to beat Miami. Whichever players are active or up for the game, whichever players can contribute in the game plan based on health or other circumstances, those are the guys that you really have to focus the game plan around. We've always enjoyed that challenge. It's difficult, but that's what we love about this league is we need to get better. At the same time, we need to find ways to try to beat the opponent we're getting ready to prepare for. Our focus will be on the guys that are going to be able to play this week and what we can do better to help them improve and our overall offense improve, which obviously needs to happen. That's what my responsibility is and I'm looking forward to trying to do that this week.

DEFENSIVE LINE COACH BRENDAN DALY

CONFERENCE CALL
September 24, 2018

Q: What is your take on Deatrich Wise, the energy he showed last night and the growth you've seen from him on the field and as an emotional leader in the locker room?

BD: Yeah, Deatrich has done a good job for us. He did a couple of good things last night. I'd say, as with all of us, there's things that he can improve on, but he does bring a good energy and a good spirit and he's got a positive attitude and he works hard and has gotten better. We need him to continue to do that. 

Q: What would you say Deatrich's biggest area of growth has been in terms of his technique?

BD: From a technique standpoint, I would say he's done a better job using his hands and his pad level has improved, although it can still be inconsistent at times. He works at it. He's very conscious of it and I think he's a guy that we hope is going to continue to improve for us.

Q: From a defensive line perspective, how does the defense improve on third down and getting the other team off the field, especially in third-and-long situations? Is that strictly pressure? 

BD: Well, I think it's a broad question, but I think honestly the answer is across the board. I think we need to improve with our technique, with our fundamentals. We need to improve from a coaching standpoint with some of the matchups and some of the positions that we put guys in. I think playing better on early downs and creating third-and-longer situations, if you will, or getting them to third down in certain instances would help us. So, I don't think there's one specific area. I think there's a number of things that we need to improve on, and all of them will help us. 

Q: What is your opinion of how the defensive line is doing with getting off blocks in the run game? It seemed like that was a struggle for you last night.

BD: Yeah, you know, I think that was a struggle. I think there were a number of things that were a struggle last night. You know, I don't think any of us from a coach's or player's standpoint are happy with our performance. I think we've all got a great sense of urgency to improve - getting off blocks is one of them, but there's a long list there. 

Q: What would you say needs the biggest improvement in terms of getting off blocks? Is it more of a scheme thing or a technique thing?

BD: I think there can be a combination of both. One of the things is just creating separation extension and using our hands a little bit better I think would go a long way for us right now.

Q: With three sacks in Week 1 and only one sack in the two games since, is that a good indication of how your pass rush has done the last couple of weeks? Or do the stats not tell the whole story?

BD: Well, I think it's always difficult to evaluate pass rush strictly on the stats. There's a lot of different elements to the pass rush. I think a sack is one way to evaluate the quality of the pass rush. I think the objective is to affect the quarterback - batted balls, quarterback pressures, keeping quarterbacks in the pocket that are scramblers, forcing guys who are not as mobile to have to throw on the move. I think there's a lot of different variables in terms of evaluating pass rush, and the sack is one of them. In general, do we need to be better in terms of our pass rush? The answer to that is yes. I think we need to get more production across the board, and that's affecting the quarterback overall.

Q: After three games, what have you learned from the way teams have been attacking you offensively?

BD: Well, I think each game has been different. I think each offense that we've played has been different. I think each of those teams have not necessarily strayed very far from their identity in terms of who they are. I think that we have gotten some copycat plays. There's some things that have hurt us, which I think that's typically the case week-to-week. I think we need to do a better job of executing what we do. I think, at this point, our improvement is the biggest thing that we need to focus on, and I think it's more about us than our opponent. Each week, we're going to be faced with different challenges in terms of what the offense presents from a personnel standpoint, from a scheme standpoint, and we've got to find the best way to deal with that. But, I think first and foremost, we've got to focus on our own individual improvement in terms of fundamentals and technique before we get too enamored with what other people are doing.

Q: What have you seen from Adrian Clayborn these past three games?

BD: Adrian's come in and he's done a nice job for us in terms of learning the defense, in terms of working hard and getting up to speed. We've used him in a couple of different roles. He's a guy that is willing to do any and everything that is asked of him. He's provided us with some good plays out there. I'd say, as with all of us, coaches and players, there's some things that he needs to improve on and a level of consistency, I would say, that we need to gain there, but he's certainly not the only person in that category.

Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media and are edited for readability. All press conferences are posted and archived in their entirety at patriots.com.

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