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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Aug 30, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.

BB: We're kind of scrambling to get on our feet here, get back, it's obviously a short week -- not as short as the Giants' week, but it's still short. We were able to get through film yesterday, trying to get back organized here at the stadium today. [We] dealt with the first round of roster cuts. Like I said, [we're] just trying to scramble to get a lot of things together – roster wise, preparation for the Giants, obviously, correct a lot of mistakes from the Detroit game and still keep getting ready for the start of the season. [We're] just trying to juggle a few balls in the air now and keep it moving.  

Q: You mentioned yesterday maybe getting a couple of guys back to practice, any idea who those guys might be?  

BB: We'll see how it goes out there, yeah. We'll take them out there and warm them up and see if they're ready to go. I think we have a chance for a couple of guys.  

Q: Did any players come off the PUP list?  

BB: When they're ready.  

Q: What are the goals going into the last preseason game? Will you focus more on roster cuts than seeing the front-line guys?  

BB: The thing about this game is we're going to play them again so it's a little different than a preseason game where you don't plan on seeing that team again. I think we can get something out of our preparations for the game both as a coaching staff and individually for the players and the matchups and so forth, and just get familiar with the team. I think any time you play them a second time you just have a little bit of head start on that team. I know it's a preseason game but still, we've seen their best players and their plays and all that in preseason against the Jets last night and Chicago and Carolina and so forth. There's certainly a lot we can take from that. I think that will help us the next time we play them. In addition to, of course, evaluating the remainder of our roster and trying to determine not only playing time but also to maybe a certain extent roles and situations that we would want to use our players in, at least to start.  

Q: Do you notice the tenor change because certain guys know they won't be here? Do players seem tenser or try to do too much?  

BB: Yeah that's probably – things are obviously tightening up a little bit. Not everybody is going to be here – we know that, the players know it. We all knew that a long time ago too. It's not like this is some big news event that just happened.  It's just part of the process. It's definitely a challenging time for the coaches and the organization in terms of game planning for the Giants, looking ahead to the early part of the schedule, roster decisions, keeping track of what's going on with other teams and talking to them or anticipating what moves they might be making that could affect us or that we might be interested in. There are a lot of things going on there. It's definitely different than it is the first couple weeks of training camp when you're just really focused on your team and your players and just trying to establish some kind of rhythm and improvement on your team – there's still that but there's a lot more to it now.  

Q: Are you still kind of accounting for the fact that there was no offseason?  

BB: That's kind of old news.  

Q: Are you back to where you would have been at this point?  

BB: No, but wherever we are, we are. We've kind of been there for awhile. I think the first few days – that was a transition – that was different. We're almost at the beginning of September now. This is what the beginning of September is. This year is no different than any other year in terms of making the final roster cuts, dealing with the opener, trying to figure out what your roster is, looking at what other teams are doing, so that part of it is really pretty much the same.  

Q: Any reason for concern that Wes Welker will not be available when the season starts on September 12?  

BB: I don't know. When the injury reports come out, we'll list them based on the way they are then.  

Q: How has Vince Wilfork looked over the course of training camp?  

BB: I think Vince has had a good camp – [he's] been out there every day, worked hard [and] done a lot of extra things so I think he'll be ready to go.  

Q: How would you sum up Chad Ochocinco's transition into the offense?  

BB: Chad has worked hard, he's been out there every day. He's a lot further along than what he was when we started. I don't think anybody is where they need to be yet, that includes every player on the team.  

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges for Chad Ochocinco to build off what has done at this point?  

BB: There's not a whole lot new. At this point, it's just improving and continuing to refine what we do – make it more specific to game plans, certain individuals, coverages that our opponents use and things like that. But it's not like we have a lot of new plays going in. There are adjustments from game to game but I'd say most of it – I don't think there's going to be a whole lot new going in. Now it's just getting better at it.  

Q: Is there a drastic difference between what Chad Ochocinco was asked to do in Cincinnati vs. what he is asked to do here in New England?  

BB: I don't know exactly what he was asked to do in Cincinnati. I think offensively it's – I think the routes are probably pretty similar, I think the overall communication and the way that the offense is communicated to the players and what their responsibilities are and how all that works from play to play, I think the process is a little bit different but I can't really speak in specifics because I wasn't in Cincinnati. But it really doesn't matter. Every player that has come onto this team has come on from a different system so they have had to learn it and adapt to it, whether they're rookies or veterans. Nobody is born here – they all come here from somewhere so they have to learn it.  

Q: Generally speaking, when players are immersing themselves in the system, is there a way to try to help players to try to measure their expectations for themselves so their mind doesn't get in the way?  

BB: I think any athlete that's ever done anything has found some type of hurdle or obstacle that they have had to go through in anything. I think that's all part of being a competitive athlete. You do something and you reach a little bit of plateau or road block or whatever it is and then you find a way to get around it or get over it and move to higher ground and when you get to higher ground, you find another one there. In this game, you find them every week. I think that's just part of the process. We have all had setbacks. We have all had things not go the way we want them to go and depending on what the situation is, you use your resources and try to work through it.  

Q: I noticed you signed another separate long snapper. When did the position become someone who only snapped as opposed to a player who played another position as well?  

BB: I'd say probably by the ‘90s.  

Q: What is the perceived skill? Why would you use a player who doesn't have other responsibilities, rather than someone like Rob Ninkovich.  

BB: I think the risk that you run is when you have a regular player doing something like that, if something were to happen to them, then who is the replacement? It's such a key position that it's hard to have two people who are regular players to do it, let alone one. The snapping end of it, I think the guy who really changed the game was [Steve] DeOssie. When Dallas had him, they went to the spread punt formation. He was able to snap and block. Prior to that, most teams kept their ends tight at least against rushing looks. When they brought 10 guys up to rush, they would bring them in tight and Dallas got to really the spread punt and the center snapped and blocked which up to that point was very unusual. Some teams tried to do it even from closed formations. He was able to do it and once people saw him able to do it then they felt like it could be done, which I'm not sure that collectively coaches felt that way.  

Q: Like Guy Morriss here, he was the first one to only snap.  

BB: The difference with Steve [DeOssie] was they were able to spread the ends and he was able to snap and block so it was eight against eight in protection. I'd say up until that point, it was usually nine against ten. You only had nine blockers, the center wasn't responsible for a man, so you had nine blockers against a ten man rush. Once they split the ends out then that cleared it up for the punt team because you only had to block eight instead of 10 and if your center could get one and when they start looping and twisting and getting out there wide and everything – it's not that easy. It became more of a premium to where if you could get a snapper to snap the ball accurately and block then it certainly takes a lot of pressure off your punt protection and it helps your punt coverage. Especially in this league where you can't release them downfield until the ball is kicked inside. When you have to bring those guys in tight, and then they jam at the line of scrimmage and then you get nobody down there. That was a big change in the game and that was in the mid ‘80s. But I'd say by the ‘90s, then most teams went with a pure long snapper. Even the teams that had them before that, like when Steve was with Dallas and later with the Giants, they just weren't doing the things that he and then his successors did. In a lot of respects, Steve really changed, in my opinion, he changed the punting game in the National Football League and ultimately in college as well. He was the first one that really allowed teams to do that. People copied it and then other snappers came along, and guys like the Todd Christensen's of the world who were regular players and good snappers were ultimately replaced by the ‘specialists'. Or course, as the rosters expanded, then that made it easier to be able to afford to carry a snapper – and also returners, all the specialists. When I came into the league in the mid-70's there were very few specialists – a lot of kickers or punters or returners and snappers also played other positions. Progressively through the years, the kickers and the punters, they started to have their own positions and then snappers and now in a lot of cases returners, that's all those guys do is return. Some of them play other positions but snappers, kickers and punters now are pretty much their own exclusive club.  

Q: How would you assess the safety depth behind Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather? Guys like Josh Barrett and James Ihedigbo, who have played primarily special teams, could they be used at the position as well?  

BB: Yeah, sure. I think we have a number of players that have played well at that position – some on our team, some on other teams. We'll see how all that plays out. I think there are number of different ways to use those players. We'll see how their roles develop.  

Q: How has Patrick Chung looked in games and how has he progressed now that he's in his third year?  

BB: Good. Patrick [Chung] is one of our young players that has really worked hard – [he's a] very diligent worker. You really can't outwork Chung. He's here early, he stays late, he's in top condition, he can play all the plays you need him to play. He's been very productive for us in the kicking game [and] defensively. I think there's still room to grow with them. He works hard at it. I think he's had a good camp. He's had two solid years behind him.  

Q: Tom Brady said yesterday he didn't want to lay all the blame for the protection struggles in the Detroit game. Is that an accurate assessment?  

BB: Absolutely, I would totally agree with that.  

Q: Did Tom have a role in it as well?  

BB: It's everything. Everybody involved in the passing game. The problems were much deeper than any one player blocking on the line in the passing game.  

Q: With Marcus Cannon, I asked three weeks ago about what his progression would be. Are we still in the same stage of progression or has he graduated to the next stage?  

BB: I would say he's definitely further along and I think he's doing well.  

Q: But he still has to deal with the medical side? He's not just football at this point?  

BB: I think the two are interrelated. He's a hard working kid, he's done what he can do. He does have some limitations. When those limitations are lifted then we'll be able to evaluate him like everybody else and see what he can do without any limitations. But right now, we're just not at the point yet. But I think he's doing well and we're getting closer, but we're still not there yet.  

Q: How is Kevin Faulk coming along? Is there any chance for any action?  

BB: Good. He can't participate with the team as long as he's on the PUP list. Right now, that's where he's at. So for us to activate him into team drills or games, he would have to come off the list. Right now he is on the PUP so he's not doing that.  

Q: Will he be on the PUP list to start the season?  

BB: It's possible. I don't know. We'll see how it goes.  

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