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Bill Belichick Postgame Transcript: 'I thought we took another step in our preparation'

Posted Aug 22, 2014

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media following a preseason game versus the Carolina Panthers on Friday, August 22, 2014.

BB: OK, I thought we took another step in our preparation here tonight. There were certainly some positive things out there; still a lot of things we need to work on. Hopefully we can string together another good week on the practice field and in the meetings and take advantage of our next preseason opportunity to do as much as we can to be ready for the regular season. I thought guys played with good effort tonight and we had a good week that led up to that. So, those things were all positives but we have a long way to go. We still have a lot of stuff we need to work on; left a lot of plays out there on the field that we need to clean up.

Q: When you put Ryan Mallett in in the first quarter, how important is it for a guy like that to show he’s prepared to go in at any moment in the game?

BB: Well, it’s a situation that a quarterback could be in. That’s our opportunity to do it, so we did it.

Q: Was there any thought to playing Ryan in the second half or have you seen enough from him this preseason?

BB: We do what we think is best for the team.

Q: What did you like about this week of preparation as you guys kind of changed the pace a little bit?

BB: I thought the players adjusted to it. We’ve been practicing against the team that we were going to play for three days so it’s pretty easy to prepare because you’ve just seen them out there every day, you see their plays, you see their personnel, you see their snap count, their cadence, their disguises on coverages. All those things, you get to see them. Now we’ve got to see those ourselves, get ourselves ready. It’s just a different process. I thought the team did a pretty good job of that. Again, there’s still a lot of things we could do better but I thought we made a decent transition to it.

Q: Was it good to get that challenge in just to get that practice as a coach?

BB: Yeah, it was great.

Q: Keeping Cam Newton off the scoreboard when he was in – you don’t expect to throw zeroes in at this time but how important was it to keep him out of the end zone when he was out there?

BB: Well, I think what’s important is to try to play good team defense. I thought there was some good examples of that when we had coverage and rush and they were tied together. We did a decent job in the running game, did a decent job of tackling. They have some real good skill players – backs, receivers that can run with the ball, returners. So, those things are all good. I don’t think that – this isn’t a big strategy type of game or that type of thing. It’s just about fundamentals and execution. There was some good things. There are a lot of things we need to work on. I’m sure they weren’t running all the plays they had either so I wouldn’t make too much of it.

Q: To have the situation right before half with a 60-yard field goal attempt, what kind of value does it give you to evaluate the special teams in a long attempt like that?

BB: Steve [Gostkowski] has kicked a lot for us. We had a little wind there. We felt like if we normally get the ball around the 35, he’s in range. But at the end of a half or in that situation in the end of the half with a little bit of wind, I felt like the 40-yard line or close to the 40-yard line would get it for us. It was like the 42 or something like that. It was a great kick. It was a good situation for us. I think it really visually now gives our offense as clear of a picture as they could possibly have of where we need to get to, how much a couple extra yards means in that situation and hopefully we can make those kicks when we get in the regular season.

Q: What about the play that Julian Edelman made right before the kick to catch the ball over the middle and race out of bounds?

BB: I don’t know. He kind of bobbled the ball. I think if he would have gotten up field, we would have had time to go up and clock the ball. I think we were 15, 16 seconds, whatever it was. It seemed like every time there was a timeout, they put more time back up on the clock. I don’t really understand all that but I think if he had gotten up field we would have had time to go clock the ball. Once he started running sideways, if he hadn’t gotten out of bounds then I’m not sure we would have had time to clock the ball. I think there’s a lot of good coaching that we can all learn from on that play – the way it happened and the way it could have happened and so forth. We’ll learn from all aspects of it and when we watch that play, we’ll be on the defensive side of it and talk about if that was us on defense, what we would want to do, how we would want to play that situation. Like a lot of things in this game, there’s a lot of good learning opportunities, a lot of good coaching points that come up and that’s what we’ll just try to do is keep learning from it.

Q: Did Jamie Collins have more on his plate this game with the communication device?

BB: Definitely. I feel like Jamie’s done a real good job of that, taking control of the huddle. High [Dont’a Hightower] has done it; Jerod [Mayo] of course has done it. Then we’ve had other guys do it after those players were out. It was a good opportunity. Jamie has had several opportunities in camp to do it but did a good job of it tonight. I think it’s good experience for those players to different guys handle the communication and see a, how much that kind of affects the rest of their play and also gives them better – more familiarity I should say – with the calls and what Matt [Patricia] is calling into the defense so even when they’re not calling it, they’re probably a little more aware of what the calls are.

Q: So they at least know what the guy with the dot on is going through?

BB: Right. A lot of times, you’re in the huddle, you, in a perfect world you hear every single word that’s said, but sometimes you only hear part of the call and maybe you assume what the rest of it is and sometimes that’s right and sometimes it could be wrong. But if you know the game plan then you would know for sure what the rest of the call is, even if you didn’t hear all of it. I think it just gives them more of an awareness.

Q: Can you talk about Chandler Jones transition into more of an outside linebacker spot?

BB: Chandler’s worked really hard at whatever we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here. Last year, he also played some inside over the guard. He’s played outside over the tackle or the tight end, up, down. He’s a versatile player and he’s very conscientious to try to do whatever we ask him to do and playing in all those different spots. He’s a very athletic player with good length, good playing strength so he has a lot of versatility athletically, he has a lot of versatility mentally. He’s tried to work on the techniques at those positions and that just gives our defense more flexibility. We’ll see how it all goes from game to game or during the season but he’s definitely shown the ability to play multiple spots and play them productively.

Q: It’s a preseason game but the Panthers were a playoff team last year. Do you take that into account at all?

BB: No. No, there’s no game planning, there’s no formationing or game planning plays and situations and those time of things. That’s not really what this game is about. I don’t think that’s what it was about for them; it’s not what it was about for us. I think if that’s the way you want to judge it, I think you’re making a big mistake. I think it’s a game about fundamentals. It’s about basic football and it’s not anything close to a regular-season game in terms of game planning and situational football and doing strategically the things that you would do. I’m not saying the players don’t play hard and they don’t compete at a high level. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying the strategy and the game planning and the amount of attacking your opponent is, I mean we’re just playing too many people to do that. We have 90 guys out there, we can’t game plan for 90 guys, we can barely get it right when we have 46. It’s just not what this game is. That’s not what we’re trying to get out of it and I don’t think that’s what Carolina is trying to get out of it. What we got out of it is fundamentals, playing against a lot of good football players and playing a lot of basic football. That was great and that’s what we need. I don’t think this is the time to out-X and O everybody in a preseason game, third preseason game with players in some cases who have never even played in the NFL before. I just don’t think that’s what this game is for, for our team.

Q: What did you see from Shane Vereen tonight?

BB: Shane’s had a good camp. He’s been out there every day. He’s getting better at all the things that he needs to do at his position: running the ball, pass patterns, catching the ball, blitz pickup, formationing. I think he made a couple real good plays today. The touchdown was a good awareness play on the goal line. Tom [Brady] got him the ball, he outflanked the coverage, he was able to turn up and make a real good play to get the ball to pylon. I thought that his blitz pickup and overall running ability throughout the course of camp has shown up repeatedly in a positive way. Shane works hard. He’s a very dependable guy and he does a good job for us.