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Belichick talks basketball, Bess, replay challenges

Posted by Mike Whitmer, Globe Staff  December 6, 2013 11:40 AM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Fridays in Foxborough can bring a wide range of topics at a Bill Belichick press conference, because many of the specific game angles for that week's opponent -- in this case, the Cleveland Browns -- have already been discussed and dissected at length.

So Belichick responded to a number of questions. Here were a few exchanges:

On whether the Patriots scout basketball players who may have had a football background, and how they typically translate to the football field: "I would say that the big thing for most basketball players, in general, is that they’re quicker than they are fast. When you get out there and time a lot of those guys in the 40-yard dash, they’re slow. They might look fast on a basketball court, but we have a much bigger field. I’ve seen that several times, I’ve had those situations with Coach [Bob] Knight at Indiana. [He’d say] ‘Hey, I want you take a look at this kid, he’s this, he’s that,’ and he was, but then you go out and put a watch on him and he’s just not fast enough to play at this level."

On going up against Norv Turner, who's now the Browns' offensive coordinator: "Norv has run his offense pretty much since he was in Dallas, it doesn’t make it easy to stop. Honestly, I’d rather not see Norv, just because he’s been an experienced guy in the league and he definitely knows what he’s doing. He’s dealt with everything, so whatever opportunities he sees, whatever weaknesses you have, he’s going to recognize them, and he’s got his plays to go in there and expose them, and he’s certainly got the personnel to do it with. Yeah, we know what his basic stuff is, so does everybody else, but that doesn’t keep him from doing it, and it doesn’t make it easy to stop at all. So no, I’m not looking forward to seeing Norv, just like I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Dick LeBeau with the Steelers a few weeks ago."

On making the quick decision to challenge a play when your offense is running up-tempo: "I don’t think you can wait to challenge the play. As the play-caller, [offensive coordinator] Josh [McDaniels] in this case, you’ve got to call the play, you can’t wait and see if there’s going to be a replay. Wherever the ball is, whatever it is, you’ve got to make your call. As a play-caller, you’ve your calls there, then you want to know what their personnel is. If you’re changing personnel, you want to know what’s in the game: is nickel in, are they staying regular, and they coming with dime, or whatever it is, and as soon as you get that information, then you make your call. You can’t have five people talking at once, so we get the information from the press box as quickly as we can see it, then you make your call."

On Browns receiver Davone Bess: "He shows up a lot on possession situations, got-to-have-it-type situations. The Browns have gone for it on fourth down more than any team in the league, and that’s not all [when they've been] behind, there’s a lot of fourth-and-1s, fourth-and-2s in the first quarter that they go for, and he’s shown up on a lot of those plays, he makes a lot of tough catches."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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