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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 9/28/2011
BB: We're of course onto the Raiders here. We've spent a couple days really studying them. [They're a] real good football team - they do a lot of things well. Obviously, it starts at the top - they've got great personnel, very well coached, good in all three phases of the game. Real explosive team, a lot of big plays offensively, both in the passing game and the running game. Big plays in the kicking game, good return game, [they] block kicks, outstanding punter, kicker, great field position changers as well as making plays in the return game. Defensively, [they're] physical up front. Do a good job in their man-to-man coverage, hard team to move the ball against. They do a good job getting turnovers, knocking it loose and stripping it out and that kind of thing. [They're] playing well - it will be a big challenge for us, you know, going out there. We've got a lot to get ready for. Hopefully we have a real good week before we hit the road on Friday.
Q: The Raiders went 0-8 on 3rd down. How do you do that and still score 34 points? Does that speak to that big play ability you spoke about?
BB: Yeah, they've got as much big play capability as anybody. [Darren] McFadden, I think, was a good example in the Jets game where he had a lot of carries for 70 yards or whatever it was and then he breaks two for 100. He can go the distance from anywhere; you just can't ever relax on him. Same thing with those receivers, they've got a whole group of receivers and tight ends and the fullback, the running backs, really everybody on the team. The quarterback can scramble. I mean, all those guys can run. They can all make big plays - it's a lot to defend.
Q: The re-signing of Gerard Warren, is that something that will help defend the run? He's a bigger, run-stopping guy.
BB: That was a hard cut that we made at the beginning of the season. The way the roster worked out we were able to get him back on the roster here. It's good to have him back.
Q: How can you or anyone simulate Darren McFadden in practice? How will you do that? His size and speed is something that not a lot of teams have seen.
BB: I think our guys - look, not everybody is built the same or does exactly the same, but we try to explain to our players what the other team does or what the other players do on the other team if they have a certain style or technique or something like that. Our guys try to do a pretty good job of replicating that in practice. We do the best we can on it. Some weeks it probably looks a little better than it does on other weeks just because the person who is doing it [has] similar styles or whatever it happened to be. We try to do that and the quarterbacks try to simulate the other quarterbacks; the defensive backs try to play like the defensive backs play that we're going to play. We deal with that every week. I think the players do a pretty good job of trying to understand how to give the look to the other side of the ball. We just do the best we can with it.
Q: Tom Brady's four interceptions - what did you notice when you watched the film?
BB: We're done with the Buffalo game. We already talked about that, we're onto Oakland.
Q: What are some of the challenges presented by playing a team you don't see on a regular basis?
BB: Just a lot more preparation. From last time we played them, there are a lot of changes from their team and from ours as well - coaches, coordinators, players, you name it. There's a lot to get ready for: getting to know their individual players, their strengths and weaknesses of each of their personnel, guys they're going to play, their scheme, their coordinators, their play callers, what their tendencies are, how do they the complement their various plays. We're packing a lot into a week relative to teams that are in your division or teams that you regularly play, which was more the case for our first three games. Those teams we're pretty familiar with, at least from a personnel standpoint we knew most of the players on the team. This is one where we're learning new players and also new tendencies [and] new schemes. And so are they, that's the good thing about it: we're both working with the same opportunity.
Q: What kind of similarities are there between Darren McFadden and Reggie Bush? Are they used the same way?
BB: I think they're different. I think they're used differently. I would have a hard time making that comparison. I mean they're both explosive. They're both very productive guys, but I'd say they're used quite a bit differently.
Q: At this point you have had far fewer padded practices than you have in the past. Has the tackling been affected by having fewer padded practices?
BB: I don't know, I mean every team is dealing with the same situation. Whatever it is, that's what we're all working with. We try to do the best we can with all of our practice and preparation opportunities, whatever they are.
Q: Defensively, where would you like to see more improvement?
BB: I'd like to see us improve everywhere on the team. I think we can do better on every single thing we're doing. And we've talked to the team about that. I'd like to think we can do things better than we're doing them in every area, with every player, at every position, in every phase of the game, including coaching. I mean, all of it. The more we do it, the more we can smooth out some things, the more efficient we can be. Hopefully we can do a better job; we can all do a better job.
Q: I saw that the infield dirt was there for the game against the Jets. Do you have any expectation that will be there for that game or will it be covered up for this game?
BB: They [the league office] told us they were going to sod it. You'd have to ask them about when or how.
Q: Denarius Moore has made some plays for them. What did you see when you were looking at him in the pre-draft process?
BB: Obviously you look at the draft, you see a lot of players that have those kind of capabilities, that kind of potential. Which guys hit it, which guys don't, which of those later rounds picks end up with that kind of production and which ones don't - that's hard. He's done a great job for them. Down the field with the ball in his hands, he's made some really big plays. It's really been impressive - I mean their whole receiver corps is impressive. Moore has been outstanding. That catch he had against Buffalo was you know, [he] just went up and took the ball away from two guys there. Reverses, he's made a lot of plays for them. They have a good group of receivers though, very good.
Q: Are they rotating pretty much eight different guys on their defensive line and how unusual is that?
BB: We see that, we see it. But yeah, they roll them through there. They've got a wave and then they've got another wave. They're all big, they're physical [and] they run well. They're a very productive group. They get a good balance in the amount of snaps from all of them and so do their linebackers, like [Kamerion] Wimbley who goes down in their nickel and things like that, so they also get some production out of those guys.
Q: Friday will be the 10-year anniversary of Tom Brady's first start. What do you remember about that game?
BB: Colts game. The outcome was good. We had a lot of turnovers on defense. Tom managed the game well. I mean, it was 10 years ago. Right now we're really focused on Oakland. That's not really a big topic of conversation or not really at the top of my thoughts, sorry.
Q: What have you seen from Jason Campbell?
BB: Jason has done a real good job for them. I thought he played well in preseason. [He] has moved the team very well [and] very efficiently. [He's] getting the ball to their playmakers and they have a lot of them - I mean their backs, their tight ends, their receivers. When he's been called on to scramble, he's scrambled. He's managed the game well, made good decisions, he's scored a lot of points and they're winning games. I think that's really how you measure the quarterback - is what the team's production is as opposed to individual stats. I think their team production has been very good. He's done a real good job.
Q: How do you feel the running backs have done so far this season dealing with some of the big, physical defenders you've faced in the past couple weeks?
BB: Like I said earlier, I think everybody can improve. We can all do a better job. I think we've had our moments but I'd like to see more production out of our running game. I'd like to see more production out of everything.
Q: Can you describe some of the value Gerard Warren adds to the defensive front?
BB: He was here all last year. Very experienced player, obviously a big guy, high draft choice, very talented guy, big guy that can run, that's smart and has experience in our system. That's a lot of things for us. Versatile, can play inside, play outside.
Q: The fact that he played for Oakland, is that whole thing overrated with someone being familiar with a team you're going to face?
BB: Yeah, it's been awhile.
Q: Now that you've seen Nate Solder in some game situations, he's the guy who came from the Richard Seymour trade with that draft pick. Looking back, how do you evaluate that trade?
BB: I would say that both of those decisions, [we] were doing what we felt like was best for our football team which encompasses a lot of things. It wasn't a player-for-player trade. We traded Richard in the situation we were in prior to the '09 season and we drafted Nate based on the 2011 draft. We didn't know we were getting him when we traded Richard. We knew what the value was; we didn't know what the player was. In both cases, we did what was best for our football team. That's really what it came down to. I know they're related, but in a sense they're independent, too.
Q: In future trade situations that will come up, can you use how this trade ended up toward the future if it ever comes up again?
BB: Well, I think obviously a big part of any trade and obviously draft pick, which is involved in the draft, is the evaluation of the players. You can get good value for a trade, but if the player selected isn't - if you miss on the selection then it doesn't matter. Or you could not get good value on a trade and if you have a good selection, that makes it look differently. In the end, it really comes down to your evaluations. Of course you want to get the most for whatever you can get. You want to get your maximum value for any trade you make - if you trade down in the draft or if you trade a player, whatever you want to get, you want to get the most that you can for it; that's obvious. But whatever you get, then the value of that player based on the evaluation and his performance - that's the measuring stick. They're related but again, they're not...The evaluation is one thing and then the value of the trade is another thing.
Q: Based on his 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks, is Richard Seymour still the dominant force on the interior?
BB: Sure, he's a good player, yeah. He's a good player with a lot of other good players on that line.
Q: With the new sod, I assume it will take some time to take hold. Will there be any steps you have to take equipment-wise? Will guys wear longer spikes or cleats?
BB: We'll do what we think is best based on the information we have. We'll see what it looks like and go out there and look at it before the game, go out there in warm-ups. I mean we've played on those kind of surfaces before. We'll use our experience based on Don Brocher, our equipment manager, with the different shoe options and cleat lengths and so forth. We'll evaluate it and do what we think is best. That may be different from one position or one player to another, too. I'm not trying to avoid the question but every field is a little bit different. We talk about that, no matter whether it's a turf field, grass field, a wet field, a dry field, snow. Whatever the conditions are, we know what we feel like is our best option. Some players have certain preferences. Sometimes we modify those. Sometimes we're okay with that. We look at every stadium, every situation and try to figure out what the best footwear would be. That's what we do. We warm up in it and go from there.
Q: In regards to Logan Mankins, who is sometimes described as playing on the edge, do encourage it or do you try to corral that? It's good to defend your teammates but do you have to make sure you toe the line there? In the Buffalo game it looked like he was going after Shawne Merriman. He's obviously in the middle of that quite a bit.
BB: I think Logan is a real good football player. I think Logan has a good playing style. He's aggressive. He really doesn't get very many penalties over the course of his career. He's gotten some, like every player has, but I think he uses good judgment out there and he plays aggressively.
Q: Would you say those guys like that are good to have out there on your team? It seemed like he was defending Brian Waters on the interception.
BB: I think it's important to have good football players that are productive on your team. That's really what you try to put your team together with. I think that's really important.
Q: Are you seeing improvement from Aaron Hernandez from a health perspective to maybe have a chance to play in this game?
BB: I think really all of our guys that had been out or limited in the last week or so are getting better, I think they're all making improvement. We'll see what happens today, we haven't really practiced since Friday - Saturday walkthrough, Sunday the guys that didn't play, didn't play, Monday, Tuesday, so here we are a few days later. We'll see what happens today. I know those guys are going to get their treatment this morning, get warmed up, get ready to go and then we'll see how much they can do. We don't really know the answer to that until they get going and they start pushing it in the early part of practice and in the warm-ups and start moving around, doings things like that. We'll see how it goes.