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Bill Belichick talks Ravens and Colts

Bill Belichick during the game against the Ravens. (Photo From

Bill Belichick during the game against the Ravens.
(Photo From

Bill Belichick spoke with the media today via the telephone to talk about the Ravens, and the Colts.

If you would like to watch his postgame press conference from Saturday, then follow the link:

Q: Can you revisit the thinking at the end of the game, with how you managed the end of the game situation? What was the mindset there and how did you feel that played out?

BB: It played out pretty much exactly the way we thought it would. We know they had one timeout. We expected to be punting the ball with about 15 seconds [left], which is pretty much what it was. We didn’t want to go through any handoffs or take any chance on any exchanges and the penetration, like the play that happened on the goal line, anything like that. We felt we’d be able to secure the ball, punt it back to them in the neighborhood of 15 seconds. That would leave them probably at the most two, possibly one play depending on what happened on the punt, whether the ball was returned or went out of bounds or whatever. We’d have to defend one play. In the end, we felt like defending the Hail Mary was better than taking any chances at all handing the ball off, which I’m not sure how much more time that would have run off the clock anyway. Maybe a couple seconds, I don’t know, but getting a first down and throwing the ball and all that wasn’t really part of our thinking at that point in that game.

Q: What do you see from the Colts now that looks different from Nov. 16?

BB: I think they’ve improved in every area. [They’ve] gotten more production in their running game with the backs and [Donte] Moncrief’s become more a part of the passing game. They’ve gotten a lot of production out of the tight ends, offensive line, even though they’ve had a couple moving parts in there, I think they’re playing well. Defensively I think getting [Arthur] Jones back has definitely helped them. They’re playing just good team defense. They’ve got [Josh] Cribbs in the return game, so he gives them an explosive player there. I think they’re good in all three phases of the game. Obviously they’ve got a great kicker. They’ve improved the return game; excellent punter and kickoff guys. They do a good job on field position and those areas, so they’ve improved their return game and their overall balance offensively. They’re playing well on defense.

Q: Do you agree with Tom Brady‘s assessment that you’ll have to be more balanced this time against Indianapolis?

BB: I think you go into every game with an idea planned, but in the end during your game you do what you feel like you need to do to win. So, we’ll do whatever we feel like we need to do to win.

Q: I know how much you know about Andrew Luck, but his running game – yesterday on the telecast Phil Simms alluded to the way they modified it somewhat is that they’ve been releasing a hot receiver when he starts to run. Have you seen or noticed that? He’s a tremendous young quarterback. Also about their offense, they play with two and three tight ends. Is that something that’s changed since the Nov. 16 game? Watching the film on Luck, when he rolls and obviously everyone is less effective when they’re throwing off their back foot, but is he less effective when he’s rolling left and then passing or right passing? Is that something you’ve also noticed?

BB: I think he throws the ball well on the run. He’s definitely very dangerous. He makes big plays with his legs. He had the bootleg for the touchdown against Denver yesterday that got called back, but that’s the kind of play that they were at about the eight- or nine-yard line, whatever it was, and those are the kind of plays he can make and make pretty easily, as well as getting out of the pocket and extending plays and all that. Yeah, I think he’s good at those things. I think those are definitely a strength for him. The tight ends – no, they’ve used those personnel groups. The three tights with [Jack] Doyle, the two tight ends could be any combination there, however they do it. They do use all three combinations there between [Dwayne] Allen, [Coby] Fleener and Doyle. It could be any two of the three. The same thing when they go to three wide receivers. It’s usually Fleener or Allen, but occasionally it’s Doyle. Then there are some four-receivers with that third receiver being either Moncrief or [Hakeem] Nicks, but there are some four receivers where you could get both of them. Then there’s quite a bit of empty in their offense as well where there’s no backs in the backfield, whether that’s a back split out or it could be some combination of receivers and tight ends that adds up to five that gets them into an empty set. They use a lot of different personnel groups and they make you defend it all. The tight ends are different, but they’re all tight ends. So they have the ability to create bigger formations, but they can also spread out and Allen and Fleener in particular are good pass receivers. They can get downfield and they’re big targets so the passing game is still a pretty serious concern even when they have three tight ends in the game because usually [T.Y.] Hilton is the other guy, too. I don’t think you want to leave him. I don’t think you just want to give him as much space as you can. You have to be aware of them packing everybody in but then leaving Hilton out there by himself.

Q: On the double pass, you explained how the Ravens blitz on that play helped open things open a little bit and gaveJulian Edelman a little bit of time to throw. Was there something about that situation that you guys as a coaching staff expected them to play that kind of defense? I know it’s impossible to know what they’re going to do, but was wondering if you were looking for something like that. Then, the punt in the second quarter when Stephen Gostkowski was out there, why was he out there?

BB: I’d rather not talk about that play for obvious reasons. We’ll let everybody else figure out what we were doing or not doing. On the double pass, I would say that, yeah, there’s no way I would sit here and say, ‘Yeah, we knew that’s what they were going to do.’ But I would also say it wasn’t a surprise when they brought the nickel back and we had hurt them on first down, gained like nine yards on first down and that created the second-and-short, and then if I remember, we ran a quarterback sneak. Then it was first down again and it didn’t surprise us that we got some kind of pressure to try to not let us get another first down or eight- or nine-yard gain or that kind of thing to try to create a second-and-long. You know, I’d say playing the percentages, we thought we would get one of their base calls or possibly some pressure in that situation and we ended up getting pressure. That’s the way it was.

Q: Going back to the four-man offensive line. Could you shed some insight into how you came across that?

BB: It’s a situation that I saw another team use, kind of. Then we talked about it and thought about ways maybe to put some pressure on the defense with that concept of having more receivers on the field than were actually eligible. To make them ineligible instead of making an ineligible guys eligible, to go the other way around. We came up with a few ideas. I’d say the origin of that play was from the NFL. What they did wasn’t [what we did], but it sparked some ideas, so we did what we did.

Q: Do you anticipate being able to use that same type of scenario again? Have you heard from the league about anything that might prevent that?

BB: Like what?

Q: Some interpretation of how it was officiated might change or something.

BB: Like what? I don’t know what you’re talking about. That happens all the time. You come in on the punt team, ineligible guys report as eligible. They line up as guards and tackles on the punt team, the center up to the center’s numbers aren’t eligible players that report ineligible. Then they cover punts. We’ve seen it on offense. We’ve seen it – particularly you see it a lot on special teams in the punting team. Not so much on the field goals because you have your linemen protecting there. I would say it happens in every game on the punt team. You’re allowed to do that. We did it. I don’t really understand what the question is. If you have a question about the rules, you just talk to the NFL rules people and let them tell you about it.

Q: I want to make sure I heard this right. Did you say it was another NFL team that you saw doing something similar which sparked some ideas internally?

BB: Yeah. I think you see it every week. I’d venture to say I couldn’t remember the last time that I haven’t seen that; haven’t seen an eligible receiver report as an ineligible player in the National Football League. I’d say that happens every week.

Q: John Harbaugh thought it was deceptive substitution. Do you have a reaction to his reaction?

BB: No.

Q: How would you describeDuron Harmon‘s production through the course of the season?

BB: Yeah, I talked a lot about Duron after the game. Nothing’s really changed. He’s one of the hardest working guys we have on our team. He’s really smart, dependable, works extremely hard 12 months a year doing everything he can in the weight room and the film room [and] on the practice field. I think he’s one of the hardest working players we have on our team. [He’s] well respected, even though he’s a young guy, because of the way he professionally goes about his job and the effort that he gives to do it, whatever it is, whether it’s on defense or in the kicking game.

Q: The last two games you played against Indianapolis you ran for over 200 yards both times. Why were you able to be so successful in those cases? What improvements have you seen in their run defense since then to make that tougher?

BB: Those games were what they were. There were a lot of things that happened in other games that we played. This is a new matchup, it’s a new situation and we’ll just see what happens this week. I don’t know. That’s why we’ll all be watching the game on Sunday to see how it unfolds. I don’t think any of us really have any idea. We’ll just have to see.

(Transcript provided by


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