PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
October 27, 2013
BB: [I’m] really proud of the guys today. I thought our team did a good job. You know, we dug a big hole for ourselves there at halftime and really haven’t played good in the third quarter all year but we did today. We got it from all three phases of the game. We got contributions from everybody in the second half. I thought the team showed a lot of character, they showed a lot of mental toughness. We just hung in there and played 30 good minutes of football, unlike the first half when we didn’t too much of anything right. Great job by the players. We got good leadership from our captains; we got good leadership from a lot of guys out there today that have been stepping up and they stepped up at some big times today. We had some young guys make some plays. It was a good, solid team effort. Now it’s on to Pittsburgh.
Q: You pitched a shutout in the second half and had good leadership without two of your captains, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Does this give you confidence about your defense’s leadership?
BB: Yeah, they sure did. Yeah, absolutely. You know, look, things weren’t going well in the first half, that’s obvious – getting booed at halftime and all that. We could see the way it was going. They came back out there, we made a couple stops, [Miami] missed the field goal, that helped us, then we got the strip-sack which gave our offense great field position, they took advantage of it. We were able to get right back in the game. We made the plays that we needed to make, just trying to take it one play at a time and they did a good job of that. I’m proud of what they did. It was a good team effort. We got from the secondary, from the linebackers, from the front, from veterans, from rookies, from guys that have been here for a long time and guys that haven’t been here very long. It was a good team effort.
Q: Can you talk about the play of your offensive line? You lost a good player in Sebastian Vollmer.
BB: It’s a tough loss, to see Sebastian get carted off like that. He’s been such a great player for us and such a great teammate. I thought Marcus [Cannon] went in there and did a good job. The line we blocked, that’s a good front. We ran the ball competitively. We were able to give Tom [Brady] some time to deliver the ball there in the second half. He made some good throws, we made some good catches and got some good plays from our offense, finishing drives, got the ball in the end zone. There were a lot of positives there. I thought Stephen’s [Gostkowski] kick at the end of the third quarter was a big one for us at that point because then we also got the kickoff which he touched back so it gave us good field position defensively as well as score there at the end, so that was helpful.
Q: You mentioned third quarter scoring. Were there some different adjustments made today? You had 17 points.
BB: We made all different teams, so it’s – I just think our overall execution was a lot better this time. We made plays in all three phases and we didn’t do some of the things that we’ve done in the past, like get penalties and turn the ball over and give up big plays on defense and things like that. [We] eliminated some of those things and we had some success.
Q: Neither Logan Ryan nor Stevan Ridley saw much action in the first quarter. Was that disciplinary or what was the reason?
BB: We do what we think is best to win.
Q: You allowed 17 points in the first half and none in the second. Would you pinpoint better execution of what you’d planned to do, adjustments you made at halftime or a combination of both?
BB: I think we played a little bit better. We still had some problems out there. We played better; we probably pressured a little bit more in the second half. We got a couple plays obviously on that: the strip-sack. We hit the quarterback a couple times, put more pressure on him than we did in the first half. I think that probably helped us but just overall better: better coverage, better pass rush, better tackling, better situational football.
Q: Considering you were losing, did that factor into your decision to play Logan Ryan and Stevan Ridley?
Q: Was Steve Gregory wearing the communication device today?
BB: He was.
Q: Was there a reason for the change from Dont’a Hightower?
BB: We thought it would be, just based on the way that this game was going to go, we thought that would be the best way to communicate our signals.
Q: How would you evaluate Tom Brady’s play today? The cameras kept zooming in on his hand, are you concerned that the hand is affecting his play?
BB: I thought he made some really good throws today and he ran well too, showed some open field running [laughs]. I think Tom had a good week of practice and he made some key plays for us today, like he always does.
Q: Are you surprised every time you see Tom Brady run? He doesn’t run that often and it’s one of those things everybody gets anxious with.
BB: No kidding, yeah. Well, one thing about Tom, he’s a smart player, he knows when to run. The only time he runs is when there’s a whole lot of space. He made a great decision there, the Dolphins were in man coverage, they were all locked up and he saw some space and it was a huge first down for us. As usual, a great decision by Tom. But we know he’s not in there to run the ball but sometimes it opens up alike that and you can take advantage of it and he did.
Q: How crucial was the Devin McCourty tip to Marquice Cole?
BB: Well, it was a big play. There was still a lot of football left at that point, but it was a huge play. Devin went up and played the ball and Cole showed great presence on the sideline to get his feet in bounds, catch the ball and then fall out after the catch. It was tremendous awareness on his part. You don’t really coach that, you don’t drill it; it’s just an instinctive and alert play by Cole that was as good an instinctive play as I think we’ve had around here in a long time. It was just a heads up play.
Q: Can you talk about Rob Ninkovich’s play, especially in the third quarter?
BB: Rob’s been solid for us all year. He does a good job in the running game, does a good job in the pass rush. We involved him in some coverage situations and he works hard there. He’s a good all-around football player for us. He does a lot of things well. I don’t think there’s any big weakness to his game. He just does a lot of things well for us and he has good versatility and that’s really valuable for your defense.
Q: Is there a concern that Tom’s hand is affecting his throwing?
BB: No, I thought he had plenty of good throws today.
Q: Was that something that bothered him during the practice week?
BB: No, not really.
Q: You got different things from different running backs today. Is this an example of how the corps of running backs can be inserted?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been that way since [Shane] Vereen got hurt in the Buffalo game and we’ve never really had Leon Washington this year so those three guys have just shared the load and sometimes it’s been a little more of one guy than the other and it’s kind of moved around but they’ve all contributed, they’ve all played well and we’ve needed all of them. It’s a good group. They work well together, they do a good job and like I said, we’ve needed them all the way through and we’ll continue to need them.
Q: You guys released Marquice Cole twice and brought him back twice this year. Is this the type of thing you want to keep him around because of plays like that?
BB: He’s been a very versatile player for us. He’s done a good job for us in the kicking game, obviously, but he’s also played corner, he’s played the nickel spot inside, he’s also played safety for us. He’s a smart guy that’s an instinctive player. He doesn’t need a ton of reps out there, he can kind of know what to do in multiple positions as a backup, kind of getting those kinds of reps. He’s experienced and he’s just a heady football player. But he’s got good versatility. He can run, he can cover and he can play safety in the deep part of the field. He’s been very valuable for us in the last couple of years, as well as obviously in the kicking game.
Q: Can you talk about Chandler Jones’ play on the blocked field goal?
BB: You know, Chandler’s worked so hard on blocking those kicks. We work on it every single week in practice. There are plenty of times when he’s been really close and he’s gotten a few of them in practice. It’s every week, that’s one of the things, one of the areas that he’s worked hard on and it’s really great to see him make that play in that situation because he’s worked so hard on it and worked so hard on it and worked on it in practice. He’s gotten a lot better at it than he was last year. That was a huge play for us in the game. It’s just, it’s been a lot of hard work. It really has and I’m happy for him to get the good results because he’s putting in the time and the effort for it.
Q: It looked like Andre Carter got a decent number of plays. How did you think that worked out, not only with him but moving Chandler Jones around a bit in conjunction with him?
BB: Well, Chandler has played inside before. [Carter] kind of got more reps, probably similar reps that [Michael] Buchanan would have gotten in some previous games. So it’s just kind of the way it worked out today. It’s good to have Andre on the team. He gives us good toughness, good leadership and a lot of experience obviously. It’s good to have him. I thought that whole group competed hard.