FOXBORO — Bill Belichick was highly complimentary of the Rams during his weekly conference call.
Q: What stands out to you about the challenge of blocking the Rams defensive line from a pass-rush standpoint? BB: Yeah, they’re really good. They’ve got great inside power and quickness and they’ve got a great edge rush. They’ve got a lot of good players, a lot of guys that are hard to block. Yeah, they’re good. They do a really good job. Wade [Phillips] always does. He’s an excellent coach and he does such a great job with all of those guys there. They have a variety of players and they’re all a problem. Q: What stands out specifically about Aaron Donald and his style of play? BB: Everything. He’s pretty much unblockable. Q: How rare has it been to turn on the tape and see him single blocked? Is he pretty much doubled on every play? BB: Well, I mean, you’ve got to block the other guys. You can’t just have guys running free into the backfield. There’s plenty of times that you could single block him. Q: What did you see on film that made your offense so efficient on third down versus Kansas City? BB: Really, it just came down to some great execution. We had some long-yardage situations that we converted. Missed some short-yardage situations, but overall, the ones that we needed to make at the end, fortunately we made. We had good protection and the offensive line did a good job. Tom [Brady] threw the ball well. We made some tough catches, but just team execution. It’s not any one guy. We needed everybody doing it. Q: Is there a message for the team going into a game against a defense like the Rams that obviously you want to try and stay out of the third-and-longs? BB: Right. Well, we always want to stay away from third-and-long. It’s never a situation that we want to be in but we’d like to be prepared for it. It’s obviously going to come up at some point. We’re not trying to be in that position. Q: What have you seen from the offensive line from a chemistry standpoint as a whole? BB: There’s a lot of unselfish, hard-working guys in that group. You see that every week when they compete. Q: What about their ability to adapt weekly? Are their fundamentals the same each week, but given each opponent are they asked to maybe do some things differently? BB: Yeah, absolutely. Every week’s different. Every week’s a new challenge with different players and different schemes. That’s the way it is in the National Football League. Every team’s got good players, good coaches, work hard and try to make it hard on you. It’s very competitive. Those guys have their hands full every week. They come to work every day and continue to work hard to get better and they’ve done that over the course of the year, both individually and collectively as a unit. Q: How do they go about operating as a unit when it comes to making suggestions or voicing their input on something, or do they just take the coaching from Dante Scarnecchia as it is? BB: Well, of course all of the players try to execute the plays the way that they’ve been presented. But there’s always an element of adjusting or having to modify your technique or the way you’re doing it based on a certain look or the way the player plays the play and how it unfolds after the snap. We have a pretty experienced group there. Certainly the input that we get from them – I mean, look, they want to block the guy. We want to block the guy. If they feel like they can do something a certain way and it might be a little different from the way we’ve talked about, we’ll take that into consideration and a lot of times go with what they think because, look, they want the same thing that we do. As long as it’s sound and it fits with everything else that we’re doing. Q: Do you have any reaction to the reports of a laser pointer being flashed in Tom Brady’s face during last Sunday’s game? BB: Yeah, right now we’re really focused on getting ready for the Rams, so that’s what I’m working on. Q: Did it affect any of the plays at all? BB: We’re working on the Rams. Q: You’re going up against the youngest coach in the league in Sean McVay. A lot of people think you may have an advantage in that regard. What are your thoughts about facing someone like him? BB: I have a ton of respect for Sean. I think he’s done a great job in the two years he’s been with the Rams. His teams have performed at an extremely high level. They’re very consistent. They’re well-coached. He has a great scheme. The players execute it on a consistent basis at a very high level. He’s got a great coaching staff. Offense, defense, special teams – they’re good in every area. Coach [John] Fassel, Coach [Wade] Phillips, a great staff. Coach [Jedd] Fisch I know is also an important part of that staff. The coaching, the playing, the consistency – Coach McVay’s done a tremendous job out there. He’s got a great team. They’ll be very hard to beat, but we’re going to compete against them and do the best that we can to be ready to go a week from Sunday. I think he’s done an outstanding job. I have a ton of respect for the way his team has played and how well they play and what he’s accomplished out there, and in his entire career, but as a head coach in the last two years. Q: Is there any symbolic significance to facing the Rams now here in 2019 given that they were the first opponent back when your run of success began here in 2002 in Super Bowl XXXVI? BB: Yeah, I’m not really worried about what happened five, 10, 20 years ago. I’m trying to get ready for this team. There’s not, I don’t think, a lot of relevance in any of those games. Q: Is the offense they run in Los Angeles similar to the styles of offense that Sean McVay learned alongside coaches like Kyle Shanahan? BB: Yeah, that’s probably a good question to ask Sean. I’m not exactly sure what all of the influences are and so forth. I mean, I know where he’s worked also but I think that’s really a better question for him than me. I know what they do and they do it very well. They do a lot of things. They’re a very difficult offense to stop. How much is it like some other offense or not? I mean, I don’t know. Q: They use similar personnel on most of their offensive plays and don’t do a ton of substituting. What makes them so efficient even though they’re not switching things up too much? BB: Well, they switch things up a lot. They just do it with the same players. That’s what makes them so good is everybody can do everything. Q: Play-action seems to be a big part of their offense as well. BB: Yeah, they’re very good at that but, again, they’re good at everything. They’re good at running the ball. They’re good at play-actions. They’re good at screens. They’re good on the deep ball. They’re good on the catch-and-run plays. They’re good at everything. Q: When you went to the Washington Redskins for the joint practices back in 2014, did you meet Sean McVay then? BB: No, we didn’t spend much time together; no. Q: Did you come to know him a little bit after executing the trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams last off-season? Q: According to statistics, Super Bowl teams typically turnover about a third of their roster the next season. Do you think that’s just the nature of the business with the salary cap? BB: So what does this have to do with the game now? Q: Given that you’ve had to make some of these tough decisions with your roster over the years regarding players that had important roles on teams that reached the Super Bowl, I’m curious how tough it is to make those decisions when you’ve just had success with that group of players the year before? BB: I mean, look, there’s a lot of turnover in the National Football League on every team in every year. It’s the National Football League. Teams turnover a lot of players and a lot of coaches every single year, every single team. Q: In a loud environment, but also in general, is it important to have a center who’s snaps are very consistent and just every time he does it, Tom Brady knows what to expect? Is that something that David Andrews is particularly good at? BB: Yeah, the answer to all of those questions is yes. Good communication between the center and the quarterback is critical. The confidence that the quarterback has in the center and the exchange and the cadence and everything is a huge advantage in terms of the execution of the play. You can’t take it for granted that when you’re thinking about that, then you’re not thinking about other things that are pertinent to the play. It just sets you behind in the play and it leads to more problems. It just kind of snowballs and into making everything a little bit more difficult. David’s very good at not only that with the quarterback, but also because he’s in the center of the line and can communicate with both sides of the line, he sets the table in terms of line calls and how the other four linemen, five in total, are blocking different fronts and different looks, and then of course after the ball is snapped that can all change in a hurry. Again, when you’re in the middle of it you’re involved in almost everything – communication with the quarterback, communication with the teammates, execution of blocking patterns, run or pass, before and after the snap. All of that really falls onto the centers job description and the ability to handle those situations very quickly, very decisively and still handle the ball cleanly because, as we know, there’s nothing more important than possession of the football. To do all of those things right and then to have a bad snap and to have turnovers because of the quarterback-center exchange undoes – a million good things are undone with one mistake in the ball-handling. Yeah, it’s a critical position and it’s critical to the functionality of the entire unit. Q: Is that something you saw from David in college? BB: Yeah, well David’s a good center. He’s played center his whole life. He played center in junior high, he played center in high school, he played center in college and he’s playing center here. I would say he’s very comfortable with all of the things that come with that position. I can’t imagine there’s anything that he sees at this point in his career that he hasn’t already seen multiple times, if not hundreds of times, in one way or another. He’s very experienced and he’s very adept at handling variations of all of the things that I just mentioned. He’s a lifetime – he’s a career center and he plays like it. Q: Is maturity and the ability to not get distracted by the hoopla of the Super Bowl a strength that you have seen featured in your players? BB: Every player is different. Every team is different. As one of the questions was earlier asked about the makeup of the team, there are new players and usually new coaches, I would say, but certainly new players on every single team in the league every year. The chemistry and the interaction and communication between all of the people, players, coaches and other support people involved is different from year to year. A foundation has to be laid and it has to be accomplished ever year, every season. Yeah, maturity and decision making and accountability and dependability, of course all of those things are important. But they all have to be, I’d say they all have to be done every year hundreds and hundreds of times over and over again. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done them before or whether you’ve never done them before. It really doesn’t matter because if you’ve done it before you have to do it again, and if you haven’t done it before you have to prove that you can do it and then you have to repeatedly do it consistently and repeatedly over a sustained period of time. We’re all faced with that challenge every day and every week and certainly in this game it’ll be a big challenge because the Rams – they’re a tough, disciplined, hard-nosed football team and it’ll take our best to compete with them.
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