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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 11/2/2011
BB: We're on to the Giants here, as I mentioned yesterday in the conference call. It's a real good football team, doing things well in all three phases of the game. Obviously defensively, they have a very strong pass rush, good pass defense. Offensively, good quarterback, good receivers, good offensive line, good backs. They make plays in the kicking game, [Devin] Thomas, [Aaron] Ross, good returners, good coverage players. Tom [Coughlin], as usual, does a good job with the team - they're well prepared, they're well coached, they're disciplined, they're tough, they're a physical team and they're playing very well. We've got our work cut out for us this week. There are a lot of things that we need to work on and improve on. They're a good football team. It will be a good test for us. They're a team we're not really familiar with. Haven't played them in awhile, so we'll have to do a lot of extra work on them personnel-wise and also scheme-wise to make sure to do our best for our preparations for Sunday.
Q: When you do prepare for this game, how much can you take from the preseason game, if anything?
BB: I think there are some things you can take from that. Obviously it's not like a regular season game. Personnel-wise there weren't a lot of matchups. A lot of the players that will be playing in this game didn't play in that game. I think still there are some basic X's and O's and there are some matchups that are relevant.
Q: Do you have any comment on Julian Edelman's arrest and what is his future with the team as a result of that?
BB: I don't have any comment. I think his representatives made their comment. I don't have anything to add to it.
Q: Considering that Rob Gronkowski posed for a picture with a porn star and you have another young player out late at a night club getting arrested, is there a discipline issue on this team?
BB: I don't have anything to add to that.
Q: Nothing at all?
BB: That's correct.
Q: Have you talked to Julian Edelman? Have you had any conversations with Julian?
BB: Yeah, of course.
Q: Are you satisfied with that?
BB: I don't have any comment. Those conversations are private between myself and the player, like all the other ones we have.
Q: You must be disappointed in him?
BB: Right now, I'm getting ready for the Giants. That's what our football team is here for: to get ready for the Giants. Big game on Sunday.
Q: Will he be playing that game?
BB: We'll play the best players that we can for the game like we always do. It won't be any different this week than any other week.
Q: How do you decide when something that happens with a player off the field will lead to changes on the field?
BB: I think you look at each situation individually and make your decisions based on whatever all the information that you have is, whatever that is. Everyone is different, obviously.
BB: We never publicly announce our internal team discipline, so we wouldn't change that policy.
Q: You do have a system of team discipline in general?
BB: Of course.
Q: How often do you think back to the Super Bowl with the Giants? I'm sure you seen the highlights replayed on television. How often do you reflect back on that?
BB: Probably not really much more than any other game. We've won them, we've lost them, but they're all in the past; they're in the books. Whatever happened or didn't happen, can't change it, it's part of history. Right now I'm focused on getting ready for this week's game. That's the way it is every week: focus on the week that we're playing, not what happened in the past.
Q: Say you see a highlight, do you think ‘if we had done this?'
BB: I think we're probably pretty much over that. Whatever the thoughts were after the game, they've come, they've gone and that's what it is. Can't change it.
Q: As far as research, do you look back at your game plan and go ‘this worked. This didn't work?'
BB: It was a long time ago. There aren't really a lot of players - a few players - [but] there are not a lot of players that are playing in this game that played in that one. There're certainly a lot that are playing that didn't play in that one that are critical players to both teams in the game. I think there's a lot that has changed.
Q: When you look at Eli Manning how much do you re-run that Super Bowl game in your mind?
BB: I look at the recent games that they've played: Miami, Buffalo, Seattle, games they've been playing.
Q: From your perspective, how has he grown since that game?
BB: He's been a good quarterback since he came into the league. He's accurate, he's got a good arm, he makes good decisions - like every player, there're always plays that could be better, that he might want to have back. He's a productive passer. He's led their team to a lot of successful offensive plays and wins, so that's how you measure a quarterback.
Q: How much attention did you pay to Victor Cruz when he was at UMass and what do you think about how he's played so far?
BB: He had a really good preseason last year and made the team based on that as an undrafted player. He's done a good job this year. He's gotten a lot more playing time. Strong player, breaks a lot of tackles, a guy they obviously have a lot of confidence in, primarily plays in the slot. He's done a good job for them.
Q: Is there ever a time where based on the talent and the ability that you thought you had, that you had to change things completely around based on the talent and the ability that is being demonstrated on the field?
BB:I think you're always evaluating your team, you're always trying to find how to play more to your strengths and how to minimize or avoid some of the things you don't feel you're doing as well or are getting attacked - how to shore those up. I think that's an ongoing process. That's every week, based on your team and also based on who your opponent is - how you think they'll attack you or how they've attacked similar situations with other teams that they've faced. It's constant.
Q: Your pass protection is facing its third straight challenge of teams that rush pretty well. How have you seen them get through the first two games in this stretch and how have they done as the season has worn on in pass protection as a group?
BB: I think overall our pass protection has been good. It could always be better; there are always things that we could do better. We've had some plays here and there. I'd say overall it's been okay. These guys are good. They have a lot of guys who can rush. They move them around. You can't be really sure of the matchup that you're going to get. Some weeks you kind of know where this guy is going to be or where that guy is going to be. With the Giants, you don't really know for sure where some of them are going to line up. It depends on who else is in the game and what front they're in and all that. They give you a lot of different matchups. The offensive line really has to do a good job preparing for all the guys as opposed to sometimes each lineman knows pretty much who they're going to be blocking for a high percentage of the game. That's not really quite the case this week. But they're all good, they're all very good. They're quick, they're active, they work well together, and they have a lot of speed on the field. It's a good group.
Q: You've had some new faces and moving parts up front? Have there been breakdowns in communication or is it just primarily getting beat physically?
BB: I wouldn't say we've had too many, but there have been a couple, yeah.
Q: You have a long history with Tom Coughlin. Can you talk about how that relationship has evolved over the years?
BB: Tom came to the Giants staff when I was already there and I was coaching the secondary and Tom was coaching the receivers. That was a really a good situation for me. As a defensive backfield coach and a defensive coordinator, but as a secondary coach, you work a lot with the receiver coach - one-on-ones, seven-on-seven drills and also you talk to each other about ‘We're playing this technique - what do you see, what can we do better or how would you attack it?' Tom and I had a good relationship and a good give-and-take on that. He would tell me things with our defensive backs - how they were trying to beat them, what they saw from this guy, how they would attack another defensive player with the same route, how they would run it differently on a different player. And the same thing: ‘This is what I see from your receivers, this is how we're trying to play this guy, he really makes it easy for us on this route by doing this or doing that.' So it was good; it was constructive and it was good. Then of course after the '90 season, Tom came here and I went to Cleveland, so we haven't been together since then but we've had, whether he was there or in Jacksonville or in New York or I was in Cleveland or I was in wherever I was before coming back here, we've always maintained a good friendship. He and his wife and his family have been friends for quite a few years. I coached the linebackers with the Giants for most of the time that I was there and then the last couple of years I moved over to the secondary, so it was good for me - because I had less experience in the secondary at that point - to be able to work with Tom and get a perspective on our passing game from the offensive side of the ball, so that was good.
Q: You have a couple of new guys at corner in Antwaun Molden and Phillip Adams. When you were evaluating them, in Adams' case he's only had one year in the league, so did you look at his college tape as opposed to Molden who had a few years in the league?
BB: I would say no. I think the best thing you can do to evaluate a player - the best thing you can do is evaluate them in the NFL. They may play different teams, but those teams, the caliber of player and the style of play, is much more similar [than] what we see from college. Again, with all due respect, seeing guys playing against 18-year-old freshman and 19-year-old sophomores and all that, that's a lot different than playing in the NFL against experienced, veteran players who are way past that level. However good they are, they're way past that level. If you can evaluate a player in the NFL, unless there's some overriding circumstance where you feel that isn't a valid evaluation - maybe an injury or some circumstance that's unusual - maybe then you go back to the college film. But I think pro film is more valuable for the evaluation. We saw Phil last year, we saw him in preseason, we saw him some in preseason this year, we saw him preseason last year, during the regular season. Molden has been in the league for three years, so I think that's - believe me, we've gone on a lot less than that to evaluate a player.
Q: In both cases, were their snaps more on special teams than on defense or was it about the same?
BB: In the preseason, those guys both got plenty of snaps defensively. I would say more of Antwaun's snaps came in the kicking game. Phil had plays on defense and in the kicking game, too. They both had both.
Q: Is there anything that either of those guys did on Sunday that made you feel better about releasing Leigh Bodden last week?
BB: I think they played competitively in the game, yeah. I would say of the problems we had in the Pittsburgh game, I wouldn't put that at the top of the list.
BB: In that game? No.
Q: Pass defense? No?
BB: Corner? Which plays are you talking about?
Q: There was a play when Patrick Chung blitzed on the safety blitz and Molden because he didn't have help over the top just sprinted downfield and they ended up running a wide receiver screen to Mike Wallace for about 15 yards.
BB: I wouldn't say that every play was a good play, but I would say there are a number of plays that happened on the perimeter of the field relative to the plays that happened well inside the numbers. I don't think there's any comparison.
Q: How do you think Kevin Faulk played in his return?
BB: It was his first game back. I think he did some good things. I'm sure he'll get better each week with more practices, more snaps. I thought he was competitive; he made some plays for us.
Q: Did he say anything to you about how he felt or his thoughts moving forward?
BB: He can speak for himself on that. It was good to have him back and I think he was glad to be back. Any comments he had, I think it would be better if he made them himself.
Q: When your receivers are facing press coverage like they did a week ago, how important is it for a guy like Rob Gronkowski to win those battles? Has he emerged as something of a deep threat for you guys when you face those types of coverages?
BB: I mean, we see a lot of press coverage every week, some more than others, but I'd say it's there pretty much on a weekly basis. I think really all of our receivers, including our backs, tight ends, wide receivers, they all have plays where they're down the field. If those opportunities, those matchups are favorable, hopefully we'll be able to take advantage of them. I think that's really what you want your passing game to be is a combination of inside routes, outside routes, vertical routes and moving routes that are in front of the defense, if you will. You have those combinations and then based on the play you have called and the coverage the defense is in and the matchups that go with that coverage and the play, then the quarterback makes the best decision. That could be a number of different players - it could be any of those guys going deep, it could be those guys going short, inside, outside. It just depends on the play and the matchup. That's kind of the quarterback - what he's looking for, is recognize the coverage and take the best matchup, where the fewest defenders are on the play.
Q: It seems that it's rare that Rob Gronkowski gets jammed at the line of scrimmage very often, unless he's staying in to block.
BB: That's every receiver's job; number one, you have to get off the line of scrimmage and get into your route. Number two, you have to create some separation, either finding the holes in the zone or creating separation in man coverage. That's backs, receivers, tight ends - they all have to do that, otherwise they're not going to be able to get open in the passing game and we have to have that.
Q: Are you going to talk to the whole team to reinforce how important it is to represent the team well when they're away from Gillette Stadium?
BB: That's important to all of us.