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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 10/17/2011
BB: As I said yesterday, a lot of credit to the players for playing for 60 minutes. Things didn't go perfectly; we had our ups and downs and some bumps in the road, but in the end, we hung in there, we played well at the end of the game, made the big stop, and then converted our possession. Coaches, players, everybody - I think we're really proud of the way that they handled it. Dallas is a good team. We were fortunate to have four turnovers and still be able to come out on top. We just didn't leave very much room for error there at the end. Had one thing gone wrong anywhere along the line, that probably would have been it, but fortunately it didn't. We'll look at that film tomorrow, make those corrections and talk about some of the situations and the things that came up. [We're] trying to take care of a few things here this week and come back next week and get ready for Pittsburgh.
Q: On the last drive, on Tom Brady's two-yard run, it looked like he landed on Matt Light's leg and kind of injured Light's ankle a little bit. Can you talk about Matt Light's performance against DeMarcus Ware after that play while it looked like he was hobbling a little?
BB: Matt, like a lot of our players did, certainly showed a lot of mental toughness and physical toughness. I'm sure that he was a little banged up there, but with what was at stake in the game and how much was left to do, he was able to push through it and get it done against a really good player. So, he definitely deserves a lot of credit for that. But again, we had a number of guys out there that played that didn't have very much practice time during the week and other guys that got banged up during the game. Matt did a great job and there were other players in similar type situations where they showed a lot of mental and physical toughness to get through it.
Q: What were your thoughts on Brandon Spikes' performance?
BB: I think Brandon has been improving a little bit every week - increased his practice reps and his playing time and all that. I think I said earlier this week that he really missed the entire preseason and he missed the Miami game, so his preseason is kind of coming to a close right now, I'd say, in terms of timing and practices and all of that. He's getting better and he made some plays for us on the next-to-last possession defensively. When they were trying to run the clock, he blitzed up the middle a couple times and was disruptive and we were able to get the runner for little or no gain. He showed up on a few plays.
Q: Did you like him as a blitzer coming out of college? Did he do much of that at Florida or is that something that he's kind of added?
BB: His junior year, not so much. His senior year, they really kept him on the field in their third down nickel packages and he was part of the rush most of the time, either inside or outside, standing up or sometimes down. But he did rush his senior year, yes.
Q: With PUP list players being eligible to come off this week and this being your bye week and you guys only being in for a few days, are there advantages or disadvantages to those two things coinciding and you starting the clock on those guys now?
BB: I think it's something to think about. Yeah, I think that's something to think about - how much practice time you're actually going to get out of them at the expense of, like you said, starting the clock. It's something we'll have to talk about and take a look at. Again, I think I said last week that the first decision is whether or not the player is ready to come off it. Physically, is he ready? Is he ready to participate and do everything? If he's not, then that's an easy call. And if he is, then you have to decide from a timing standpoint how you want to handle it.
Q: If a guy is not ready to come off the PUP list after six weeks, does he go on IR then?
BB: No, he has another three [weeks]. You can start the clock any time from the sixth week to the ninth week. You can start it any time in there, and then it's a three-week window from there. So, you could not practice him for the next three weeks and then practice him prior to week 10, 11, 12, and then either activate him for the last however many games or put him on IR at that point. The three-week window doesn't have to come in the next three weeks. It could come in the eighth through the eleventh week or up until the ninth week.
Q: Would you be terribly sad if the traditional post-game handshake between head coaches was to go away?
BB: I haven't really thought about it.
Q: Because there have been occasions when a lot of interest has been directed at how you and other coaches interact during the post-game handshake and there was an occasion yesterday where Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh got in a little dust up over the tenor of the handshake. Does it cause more trouble than it's worth in your estimation?
BB: I don't know. I can't speak on anybody else's situation or what happened somewhere else or didn't happen. I don't know.
Q: Did you see what happened to Sean Payton and does that make you more aware or think twice about where you're standing? Have you ever thought about that or encountered that during a game yourself?
BB: Yeah, well, it's kind of similar to what happened to Charlie [Weis] at Notre Dame, if I'm not mistaken. I think he had to get knee surgery. Yeah, I've been run over on the sideline before. Look, guys are moving fast. Sometimes you're not actually looking. I mean, it's happened to me many times on the sideline where you're not actually looking at the guy who ends up hitting you. You're watching another part of the play. You're not really watching the ball, you're watching something else, and then before you realize it, somebody is on top of you and you're in harm's way. There's a reason why everybody tries to stay back on the sideline and that's to give the officials room to work the sideline and keep everybody back, and also a reason why we are careful with our injured players about putting them on the sideline during games - for those unexpected type situations where somebody can come flying over into the bench and they're just not able to move quickly enough to get out of the way. To be honest with you, it's worse in practice when you're actually out there. Sometimes coaching on the defensive side of the ball, you're behind the linebackers, behind the secondary, and those guys are moving fast and they can get on top of you in a hurry. I have a lot of respect for those collisions, trust me.
Q: With the trade deadline tomorrow, do you anticipate making any deals?
BB: I don't think there's anything where the papers are all typed up and ready to be signed, let's put it that way. But who knows what could happen.
Q: How do you feel about Albert Haynesworth and how he has looked since he came back off the back problem?
BB: I think missed time is a little bit of a hurdle for anybody. We talked about Spikes earlier, but I think Albert has been - the more he's practiced, the more regularly he's practiced and played, the better he's been. I thought he had several good plays yesterday. It was encouraging.
Q: Along those same lines, can you talk about Andre Carter? He hasn't missed a practice according to the injury report, and it seems that he's really coming on performance-wise the last couple of weeks.
BB: I think he's performed well all year. I really do. I think he's had a really solid year for us. I think he's performed well pretty much since the first training camp practice. He's a very consistent, high-effort player, strong, experienced, knows what he's doing, very professional. He's been really consistent. I think it's really inaccurate to think that all of a sudden it's been something great because he had two sacks yesterday because that's the stat that it really seems all defensive linemen get measured by. I think it's very inaccurate. I think he's played consistently week in and week out. He had a couple big plays yesterday, but he's had good plays for us every week.
Q: You really only used about three linebackers outside of maybe a goal-line play. Was that more personnel based because you didn't have Jerod Mayo, or was it more to simplify some of the substitutions that you might normally do?
BB: I think that's definitely an advantage to it - simplifying substitutions and also just maintaining continuity on the field. Those linebackers can communicate with each other on a more consistent basis, and they can communicate with the front and they can communicate with the secondary. There's something to be said for matchups and getting different people in the game in different situations so you can match up, but there's also something to be said for having the same people communicating and playing together and being familiar with each other, so you try to balance those. That was definitely a part of it yesterday - having a little consistency on the field so we could substitute fewer people [and] hopefully be able to communicate better and have better execution on our side of the ball.