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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the Buffalo Bills media during his conference call on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.

Q: What are some of Stevan Ridley’s best strengths and what did you see in him coming into the league?

BB: We felt Stevan had one good year of production there at LSU his last year. Prior to that, well even that year he was in a little bit of a rotation with some other backs, but prior to that year he didn’t see all that much playing time. I thought he was productive in the 2010 season in college and he’s given us good production here – he’s running the ball, catching the ball.

Q: What distinguishes him from other backs and what do you see as his best skill set?

BB: I think like most good backs he has good vision. He can break tackles, avoid people, he runs hard, he’s able to make some yards on his own and able to find the holes.

Q: Brandon Spikes made some noticeable plays in the last game against Buffalo. How do you view his development this year?

BB: Brandon has been a productive player for us, for three years now, whenever he’s been on the field. Unfortunately he’s missed a few games in his first two seasons. He’s an instinctive player, good power, good contact player, seems to have a nose for the ball and gets to the football in both the running game and the passing game.

Q: You are last in the league in 20-plus yard pass plays allowed and the Bills hit a few longer pass plays on you in the first game. How much are you concerned about that?

BB: Well you never want to give those plays up, so [we] try to do a good job on it every week and try to do a better job of it against Buffalo than we did the first time. No question about that.

Q: Obviously last year you made the Super Bowl with the 32nd ranked defense. Of course yards are not always the most important statistic—

BB: No, they’re not more important than points.

Q: Right. You weathered a lot of personnel changes and injuries in the secondary last year; do you feel like your cast in the secondary this year is making progress?

BB: Well each week is a new challenge so we’ll see how it goes this week. They’re a good football team, they have a good quarterback, good receivers, a good tight end and good backs. They can beat you in a lot of different ways, so it will be a challenge for our entire defense.

Q: Do you feel like you are in a better place secondary-wise than you were last year?

BB: You know, it’s really hard to compare years. What we’re more concerned about is just trying to continue to improve in any way we can this year – whether that’s on the practice field, film study, the game plan or playing on Sunday. We’re working hard on all of those things and trying to improve every week.

Q: You recently made the move to acquire Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers. What do you see from him and how quickly can he make an impact for you?

BB: Well he won’t be on our roster this week, so we’ll deal with him when he gets here.

Q: What do you see from the Bills Wildcat plays? They have not done it a lot, but they do have Brad Smith run it some of the time. What do you see?

BB: Well I think Chan [Gailey] does a good job offensively, he gives you a lot of things to prepare for and that’s one of them – Brad Smith. As you said, they’ve used other players on the Wildcat as well and their Pistol [with] the back behind the quarterback in the shotgun – he has a lot of different packages. He has a lot of personnel groups and formations. A combination of all of that wears on you defensively in terms of preparation. You have to get ready for all of it and he does a real good job of game planning that, keeping you off balance, making you defend a lot of things so that you can’t concentrate on just a few things. They go in and out of that. Chan does a real good job.

Q: You are second in the league in third downs on offense which is nothing new. How do you think Wes Welker has done this year in general?

BB: I think we’ve done alright. I think there’s still plenty of room for improvement in every area of our football team: offense, defense and special teams. That’s what we’ve tried to focus on this week, and every week really, is just trying to do things better more consistently, pay attention to all of the little things, having the best execution that we possibly can. Wes certainly falls into that category. He’s had a lot of production for us. There are things that we all can work on and he’s worked hard. Very professional, very coachable, tries to do as you ask him to do and he’s always looking to improve. It’s helped him continue to get better through the years.

Q: Why did you decide to practice Tuesday and give the players the day off on Monday coming off the bye? Is that normal for you and why did you do that?

BB: We had to give the players four consecutive days off.

Q: C.J. Spiller has pretty solid yards per carry this year. What do you see that has led him to be a more complete runner than he has been in years past?

BB: Well I think ‘pretty solid’ is an understatement. There hasn’t been a player in the last 50 years that has averaged over seven yards a carry on the number of touches that he has. So I’d say he is pretty special.

Q: What makes him that special?

BB: He does everything well. He’s got good vision, he can run inside, he can run outside, he’s got excellent quickness, he’s got good playing strength. You see him run through a lot of arm tackles and guys get a shot at him and he’s able to run through them or bounce off them or continue to go forward even though guys have a hand on him. He certainly doesn’t go down easy. He’s got great speed, he doesn’t need a lot of space. He can accelerate and run away from guys. The guy’s a real dynamic player. Look at the yardage that he gets in the passing game combined with the running game. He’s a big threat whenever he steps on the field.

Q: Are you surprised that he only got six carries and 11 total touches last week?

BB: Well I don’t know. I’m sure he is being used. Even when he doesn’t get the ball he’s still a guy you’ve got to defend. I don’t think he can get the ball every single play. I guess you could, but it’s tough for a player to last that long. Durability is an issue if you start trying to work him like that. But he’s a threat anytime he’s on the field and you certainly have to pay attention to him. I think with the other skill players that they have – [Fred] Jackson obviously, [Donald] Jones and [Scott] Chandler and Steve Johnson – you could say the same thing about them. So if they weren’t getting the ball enough then you would just be saying, ‘Well, how come they don’t get the ball enough?’ I think Buffalo does a good job of spreading it around, using all of their weapons, making you defend all of them. Brad Smith, you can put him in there as part of it too. So you’ve got a lot of different guys touching the ball and a lot of people to defend defensively. You can’t [have] one guy half the time. Everyone is just going to get the ball. I think they have a good offensive system, they’re well coached, they have a lot of good players and they present a lot of problems for you defensively. Chan [Gailey] does a real good job with his offensive game plan and utilization of personnel. It’s one of the toughest games that we have to prepare for. They definitely know what they’re doing and they do it well.

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