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Bill O'Brien Conference Call Transcript - 10/24/2011
Q: Can you talk about what you did during the bye week and what you learned from looking at the offense?
BO: I definitely did a lot of self scouting and studying, obviously looking at different situations and trying to figure out ways to do some of the things we've been doing well over the last six games and then trying to improve on some of the things we weren't doing so well. I think we got a lot done in that regard and then began preparations on Pittsburgh which we're continuing today.
Q: Were you able to get away from it at all and have some family time? If so, how much does that help to recharge the batteries?
BO: Bill [Belichick] did a really good job of giving us a couple days off for the staff. That's always good. I always describe it as kind of being an Army wife for Colleen, my wife: six months on, six months off. It was good to get back and help her and then get back to work today.
Q: When you looked at your offense, what did you like most that you saw?
BO: I just think situationally we've done okay [on] third down and I think there're things where we can improve like third down in the red area. For everything you think you're doing well, there are things that you need to really improve on. Those are just a couple examples of what I'm talking about, and we'll just continue to try to keep doing the things we do well and then improve on the things we're not doing so well.
Q: When you look at the running back position, you've had four on the roster this year. If you look at past years, there have been years when you've had five. How do you envision that unfolding now that Kevin Faulk is eligible to come back onto the roster?
BO: He'll definitely be out there at practice. And obviously Kevin, over the years, has been a huge part of this organization and obviously this offense. We'll go out to practice here starting tomorrow and by the end of the week, make a determination on what the game day roster is. Obviously, that's up to Bill [Belichick] and what he decides as far as what we need on game day.
Q: What would Kevin Faulk add? We don't know what the decision will be, but what would he add that you don't already have?
BO: He would just add to what that group already has, in my opinion, meaning his intelligence, his experiences, his knowledge of the system. Obviously those are things that Kevin has added for us over the years in all the different roles that he's played. He would just add to the very talented group of guys and smart group of guys.
Q: What do you see from the Steelers defensively?
BO: You just look at, they're number three in the league in defense and they're number one against the pass. They haven't given up 100 yards to a receiver reception wise, and they haven't given up a 300-yard game to a quarterback. They're, again, stout against the run, just like they always have been. They're a typical Steeler defense. We're going to have to have a great week of preparation and then put together a good plan and go up there, and we're going to have to play a really good game to have a chance.
Q: When the Steelers started off a little slow this year, there was a lot of talk from analysts about their age and their defense maybe getting too old. Do you see any of that in your recent film study, or does this seem like the Steelers defenses we've seen in the past?
BO: I have no idea where anyone would get that impression. I really believe this is a tough defense, a smart defense, a really well coached defense. You look at Troy Polamalu - he's in his ninth year and this guy is playing as well as any safety in the league. That's an example of a bunch of veterans on their defense that are playing well, as well as their younger players. So, I don't see that at all.
Q: From what you've seen so far of Troy Polamalu, he's been hampered quite a bit by injuries the past few years. Does it seem like he is healthy?
BO: That's a good question. I'll put it to you this way: you've got to know where this guy is on every single play. He's a very instinctive player. He's a guy that can really disrupt the game if you don't have knowledge of where he is on every play. I think he's playing very fast and again, very well with his instincts and his overall experience playing in that system. He's one of many defenders on that defense that is going to be tough to go against. He's at the head of the class.
Q: Sebastian Vollmer came back and practiced I think all week. Do you expect to have him back? If you do have Vollmer back, will you go back to the way you used Nate Solder as you did in the previous game when all three tackles were available?
BO: The players are not back today, so having no knowledge of…again, that's a question for Bill [Belichick]. I don't have any knowledge of the training report or anything like that. That would be more of a question for Bill and if he is back, I'm certainly not telling you guys what we're doing. But you can ask Bill as far as the injury report and things like that.
Q: What makes what the Patriots do offensively challenging for a young receiver coming out of college to adjust to and make an immediate impact?
BO: I think it's one of the harder positions in the league to come in and play early as a rookie. I'm sure you guys could find examples of rookies that have come in and contributed well, but it's a difficult position overall to come in and play as a rookie. With our system and the experience we have at quarterback, I think there are some things that take a little while to learn, and practice is really important here. As long as you keep improving in practice, you're really going to have a chance to play and perform. The guys that are out there are the guys that are performing the most consistently and that's where we are right now.
Q: What would be an example of something that would take awhile to learn?
BO: I would say just overall route running in our league is a lot different than in college. I think there are a lot of coverage adjustments that you have to see. There are different blitz adjustments that come up in games that are harder to see and be on the same page with everybody. I think there're a lot of examples but those would be two that I would give you.