Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke to reporters on Friday before the team's Week 15 game against the Broncos. The following quotes are from transcripts provided by the team.
Belichick on the Broncos' special-teams units: "They're just good, period. (P Britton) Colquitt can change field position, has a big leg, good plus-50 punter. They do a good job down there, the gunners do a good job of downing the ball, making plays inside the 10-yard line. (Matt) Prater obviously has a big leg, 40 touchbacks, long field goal guy, great onside kicker. His two kicks, the one against Miami and then the one last week against Chicago were really just outstanding kicks, they were great kicks. They got one of them and could have easily had the other one. The returners, (Eric) Decker and (Quan) Cosby and (Eddie) Royal — they're very strong in that area too. (LS) Lonie (Paxton), of course, does a good job. They've got real good specialists all the way across the board."
Belichick on kicking in the altitude of Denver: "Obviously there are the normal factors; that's one factor. Temperature is another factor, wind is another factor. You're kicking in heavy air, the ball doesn't go as far. You're kicking in light air, the ball is going to go a little farther. It doesn't go as far in cold weather as it goes in September. You still have to kick it good. We've all seen touchbacks in December and we've all seen kicks that come down on the 10-yard line in September too. Not every kick is perfectly hit. There's still that element to it. Just like the Jet play, (Sebastian) Janikowski had whatever it was, every kick always a touchback or something like that, he had like 14 or 15 of them and then he kind of misses one. (Antonio) Cromartie can't field it, kicks it around, Oakland recovers it — you never know what is going to happen, you have to be ready for those. But yeah, sure, it carries a little bit more. "
Belichick on working his offensive line against speed rushers: "I think the concept of giving help, if you will, is circumstantial. Who are you helping him with? Is it a back? Well, that back has a blitz pickup assignment. So if his assignment blitzes, he can't help anybody. He has to block the guy he's supposed to block. Or the tight end or if you're trying to slide your line to a certain — you have three guys to block two. Let's say they're in a four-man line so you have a center, guard and tackle to block a tackle and an end. If they bring a guy or if they line up in an alignment where those three guys have three guys to block then nobody is helping anybody. You have to block them. What you can do is you can create a presence, in other words, you can line your tight end up to one side or the other if you want to block him, you could block him and then if the guy he's supposed to block drops into coverage then he could help on somebody. Again, you can't guarantee that you're going to help because he has an assignment. You only have 11 guys on offense, one of them is the quarterback so you only have 10, I'm talking about the passing game, so you're already outnumbered. If you're outnumbered by another guy, these two guys are going to block this one, now you've got nine guys and I'm just telling you, you run out of guys. The concept of helping really only applies to if that player doesn't get occupied by his protection assignment. When you say, 'Well we're going into the game, we're not going to do this, we're not going to do that.' You might not be able to do it anyway. You might think you're going to give this guy all the help in the world but if they, and again, that's some of what they do. They know, 'Okay, here's how we're going to keep you from getting an extra guy over there. We're going to line up in a certain front or blitz a certain linebacker or bring a guy and drop somebody.' They're playing that game too. That's kind of what you get into but you can put a body there — you could put a tight end there, you could put a back who releases there who if he runs up the field and his protection doesn't come, he could chip him on the way out. I'm not saying you can't have a way to help but you can't guarantee that help. Also, if you talk to any tackles in the league, I'm sure most all of them would tell you that in a lot of cases, they would rather not have help because they just can't count on exactly how that back, what he's going to do, when he's going to do it. If he doesn't do it because his guy threatens to blitz but he backs out or whatever it is and now you're counting on that help because you can't see what's behind you, you're counting on that help and then the guy either is late or he's not quite where you think he's going to be or the rusher spins back inside to get away from it. A lot of times, I don't want to say it causes more problems than it solves, but there's an element of that, there really is. If you talk to tackles about that sometimes, I'm sure and I've coached them and I've coached good ones and I've had plenty of times I've heard them say, 'Coach, let me just block the guy. I know he's good, but let me just block the guy because I can't, I'm not sure about -' Again, if you don't line the back up over there where he's in position to help him, if you try to line him up behind the quarterback and then go over there and help him, it's a higher degree of difficulty too. Like I said, I think all that sounds good and there is some element of merit to it but it's not quite as easy as, 'Okay well this guy is going to help that guy and that will take care of it.' There is a lot more to it than that. Long answer to a short question."