Q: The Jets have had three successful fake punts but are they really fake punts? It seems like teams are playing more of their base defense against their punt team?
BB: I think it’s situational, like so much of the punting game is’ so much of it is situational. Fourth-and-one, fourth-and-three, they were both backed up on those. Last week, against Indianapolis it was a plus-50, the fake pass to [Nick] Bellore. I wouldn’t say that they’ve seen more defensive personnel on the field in punting situations in the other games, unless it’s a plus-50 situation, then that’s where you know you’re not going to be able to return the ball, you see a little more of it then. But yeah, you definitely have to be aware of it. They’ve run three in six games. I’m sure they’ve got another one in.
Q: There was some good situational stuff at the end of last night’s game, I don’t know if you happened to see it or catch up on it.
BB: No, I didn’t.
Q: I can lay it out for you. It was 13-6, a seven-point game, the 49ers got a safety and Coach Jim Harbaugh waved it off because it was fourth down. He gets the ball back, Seattle didn’t have any timeouts so he took points off the board to take a knee, run out the clock. As we’ve seen, taking a knee, things can happen on that too. I was curious of your thoughts on the situational aspect of it.
BB: That’s interesting. I haven’t seen too many of those. I’m sure Jim had a reason for what he did there and wanting to end the game that way. I’ll take a look at it.
Q: Obviously this is a rivalry week. Do you hate the Jets?
BB: We have a competition each week against whoever the next team on our schedule is. So whoever that is, that’s who we compete against. It’s nothing personal; it’s just competition.
Q: Do you notice anything different around the building or from your players in a week like this when you have a familiar opponent who you have a lot of history with?
BB: It’s a familiar opponent that we have a lot of history with.
Q: So nothing extra?
BB: It’s a familiar opponent that we have a lot of history with. There are other teams you can put in that category. Then there are other teams that wouldn’t be in that category, like Seattle.
Q: Rex Ryan has said a lot of nice things about you recently, but he said them with a wink that he would give you his best shot. What do you think of that flattery and is it nice to get a compliment every now and then from a colleague?
BB: I have a lot of respect for Rex. I think we have a good relationship. I see him from time to time at the owners meetings and Indy combine and stuff like that. But, I know on Sunday he’ll be doing the best job he can for his team. I’ll be doing the best job I can for my team. We’ll see what happens. But, I think there is good mutual respect there. We had his brother on our staff here. I’ve known his dad for a long time. It’s just competition.
Q: Outside of the 45-3 game you had against the Jets, it seems like even the 37-16 game at New York last year, the final score didn’t indicate that it was a struggle for most of the game.
BB: Yeah, very competitive, absolutely.
Q: Where do Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine rank in terms of how much trouble they give
BB: I think we have to work in all our games. They’re all tough. They always do something a little bit different. They have good players, good schemes and they always change it up a little bit each week against everybody, it doesn’t matter who it is. You can go pretty much every game on the schedule and see something specific for that particular opponent that they have. It’s kind of how they do it. I’m sure they’ll do it that way again this week.
Q: Last week, Quinton Coples had his best game. He was taken five spots ahead of
BB: I think he had good ability coming out of college. That was a good opportunity for them last week rushing the passer. They were ahead in the game, the Colts were in a lot of passing situations, they got a lot of pressure on the quarterback [and] they had some interceptions. They did a good job in the passing game there all the way around. I think Coples is a good player. He has good talent. Like every rookie he has a lot to learn but you see him getting better. I’m sure he’ll be a good player for them.
Q: One of the benefits for teams that run the stuff the Jets do with Tim Tebow is they all say that the other team is going to have to prepare for that during the week. How big of an element of your preparation is having to deal with the option stuff?
BB: It’s one of the things we have to work on. There are things every week. Every team has whatever it is they do: plays or formations or personnel, whatever it is. Whatever they do then we prepare for.
Q: Do you feel like it takes away from other preparation? I feel like that’s kind of the idea.
BB: Anything you do that the other team has to prepare for is something they have to prepare for. If you’ve done it, you’re going to prepare for it.
Q: You’ve talked about you guys being a game plan offense. Where was the idea of being a game plan offense born from for you? In terms of it being the right way to do it, compared to a team like the Steelers when Bill Cowher was there, that this what they do and you have to stop it?
BB: I don’t know, I guess I’ve always had that philosophy. You try to do what you think works best against that particular opponent certainly within the framework of what you’re comfortable doing, whether that’s offense, defense or special teams, it’s all the same. [Former Head Coach] Wayne Hardin at Navy maybe, if you want to go back a ways; Detroit, the Giants. I don’t know.
Q: Would you agree with the thought that it’s an ambitious thing to try to do because you have to be able to execute in all areas, as opposed to majoring in one thing?
BB: I’ll just give you this example. When I was in high school at Annapolis, I played for Al Laramore, who was Maryland Coach of the Year, a Hall of Fame high school coach in Delaware and all that. So, he’s a pretty good coach. We won a lot of games, we won a ton of games and we ran four plays. We ran four plays: 22 Power, 24 Quick Trap, 28 Counter and Sprint Right and that was it. When we ran them to the other side, we just flipped formation. The whole line flipped and the play went the other way: 22 Power, 24 Quick Trap, 28 Counter and Sprint Left. That was the offense, that was the entire offense and we won a lot of games. Then the next year when I went to Andover and played for Coach [Steve] Sorota there, who again was a great player, great coach, played with [Vince] Lombardi at Fordham and was one of the most renowned coaches I’d say ever in New England prep school football or maybe high school football period for that matter. The quarterback called his own plays. They didn’t send them in; they didn’t tell him what to call. They got in the huddle and he may have asked for a suggestion from me or Ernie [Adams] or somebody, but he called whatever he wanted to call and that was the offense. So, that was about as opposite as you could get it from one year to the next year. We won just as many games. It was totally different, but both were very successful. So what’s the right way to do it? What’s the wrong way to do it? I don’t know. Whatever works, whatever you believe in. But then it all has to line up that way. I got to Baltimore with Coach [Ted] Marchibroda, Bert Jones. Bert called all the plays. I want to say it was his second year in the league. He called all the plays. Call timeout, come over to the sideline, fourth-and-one, Burt would say, ‘What do you want me to call?’ Ted would say, ‘We have 24 Hunch, we have 36 Bob, we have Play Pass 37 Y Flag, whatever you feel good about.’ ‘Alright.’ Other players and coaches would come up and say, ‘What are we going to run?’ ‘I don’t know, it depends what Burt calls.’ There are other teams, Coach [Ray] Perkins, Coach [Bill] Parcells, those guys, called every play. Not that we wouldn’t audible to a play or something but he called every play. So, what’s right and what’s wrong? I don’t know. It can all work. If you do it right and you have the other things – if you do it one way, you have to have other things that are in place to do that. There’s a reason for doing it. There are also some drawbacks to doing it that way. When that happens, you have to have some way to counter it. That’s the same way on defense. When I was with the Broncos and Joe Collier, there were game plans where we had 60 different fronts – fronts. It’s hard to imagine 60 different fronts in a 3-4 defense really, but that what it was. It was 60 different alignments, which would include a linebacker that was blitzing so any one of the four linebackers were blitzing so that was part of it. I got to the Giants when Bill [Parcells] came in, we put in a 3-4 there. We played one front with one adjustment. We reduced the end on the weak side from a four-technique to a three-technique and that’s it. Then I’d say 95 percent of the snaps that we played from ’81 to ’90 that weren’t nickel snaps; over 90 percent of them had to be either base or reduced front, maybe 95 percent. It might have been higher than that. Two good defenses: the Orange Crush, the Broncos defense, that was a great defense. The Giants defense, that was a great defense. The same 3-4, two totally different philosophies. So what’s the right way to do it? Both work.
Q: Are you a combination of all the people you’ve played for or coached with?
BB: Again, it’s hard to say. I think my first five years in the league, it was a different head coach every year with a lot of different assistant coaches in that group, from Baltimore to Detroit to a new coaching staff in Detroit, to Denver, to the Giants, to actually a couple years later a new coaching staff with the Giants when Bill [Parcells] came in and all that. My first few years in the league, different head coaches, different coordinators, different assistant coaches. It was a lot of good things from a lot of them. I wouldn’t say I was overly influenced by one person or another person. There were some people I would say I was influenced to the point of: ‘If I ever coached that position or if I’m ever in charge of this, I’m never going to do it that way.’ There’s some of that, too. There are also plenty of things that I did learn. It was a little bit like that at Navy. There were different coaches that went through there. Coach [Wayne] Hardin, Coach [Lee] Corso, even after I’d grown up and left there, like Coach [Nick] Saban and people like that that were there, Coach [Paul] Johnson when he came in and ran all the option stuff. Just being around those people and all, you learn different things, different ways of doing it, different ideas. I was probably influenced a little bit by everybody. I couldn’t really – besides my dad, that was a constant – but there were so many other coaches involved that I had the opportunity to observe or spend time with or be in meetings or on the field with and that kind of thing, football camps. My dad ran a football camp every summer, so there were another dozen coaches there, some of whom were Navy but plenty of other ones were from other colleges and other associations that he had. I’ve worked with and observed a lot of coaches. I don’t know. It’s kind of a menagerie.
Q: You mentioned Buddy Ryan earlier. How come we don’t see more 46 defense? I’m not talking about for a full season – not everybody is the ’85 Bears, but in a one-game situation. Is it because of the quarterbacks and the shotgun?
BB: A lot of the success that Buddy had with the 46 defense came in the ‘80s when there was a lot of two-back offense. It was one of the things that probably drove the two-back offense out. If you remember back in the ‘80s when Buddy was in Philadelphia, he had a lot of trouble with the Redskins and their one-back offense, a lot of trouble. There were a lot of mismatches of Art Monk and Gary Clark on the middle linebacker and stuff like that. I think the 46 was really originally built for two-back offenses, whether it be the red, brown, blue and the flat-back type offenses and eventually even the I-formation. I think it still has a lot of good application; a lot of teams use it in goal-line situations. They either use a version of it like a 5-3 or cover the guards and the center and however you want to quite fit the rest of it, but that principle you see a lot in goal-line, short yardage situations. You see it and some teams have it as part of their two-back defensive package. As it has gone to one-back and it’s gotten more spread out, if you’re playing that, it kind of forces you defensively to be in a one-linebacker set. You lose that second linebacker and depending on where the back lines up and what coverage you’re playing, then there’s some issues with that. If you’re in a one linebacker defense and you move the back over and the linebacker moves over then you’re kind of out-leveraged to the back side. If you don’t move him over, then you’re kind of out-leveraged when the back releases and that kind of thing. There are some issues there that, I’m not saying you can’t do it, but you have to work them out. In a two-back set, I’d say it was probably a lot cleaner and it always gave you an extra blitzer that was hard for the offense. Even if they seven-man protected on play-action, there was always an eighth guy there somewhere. You didn’t have to bring all eight; if you just brought the right one and they didn’t have him or somebody would have to have two guys and that creates some problems. I think that’s what Buddy really, where the genius of that was; he had by formation a different combination and group of blitzes so depending on what formation you were in, then he ran a blitz that would attack that formation and then when you changed formations, then he would change blitzes. Now, plus the fact [he] had Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, [Otis] Wilson, [Wilbur] Marshall, that was a pretty good group there. You could have probably played a lot of things and that defense would have looked pretty good, especially when they put Hampton on the nose. That was pretty unblockable.
Q: With the standings being even, how much thought is put into that this week with a chance to gain position?
BB: None. Just trying to go out and win a game. We can’t do anything about the standings. All we can do this week is go out and try to beat the Jets. That’s all we’re worried about.