GS: Well I just think we have gotten some players on board that have helped. Certainly the talent has increased, whether it be in coverage or in the rush itself. Guys have gotten better. They understand exactly what we are trying to get accomplished in the scheme. I shouldn’t say exactly, but they understand it better than we did at any time last year, but that is to be expected. That’s why you coach and work on it in practice. We just need to continue to get better, because what we’re doing right now won’t be good enough. It hasn’t been good enough to win games. So, that’s our goal; keep winning games and keep getting better in practice every day, and our guys are working awfully hard to do that.
Q: Will the improved coverage by your defense allow you to be more creative as the season goes along with what you can do with the pass rush?
GS: Certainly when you add players like Darrelle [Revis] and Dashon [Goldson] it gives you a little more confidence to do some things, without a doubt. But again, it comes down to players. We can draw a lot of squiggly lines to put the players in a position where they can do their job, and then you have to trust that they’ll do it.
Q: What are the benefits to having practiced against the Patriots for as long as you did [in training camp]?
GS: I think if there is any it is negated because they practiced against us as well. So I think we both had equal opportunity to see each other, and it was really good work for our football team. More important than any advantage or disadvantage, it was great work and we got better as a result of it. Now it’s game time, and we are game planning for each other. We are fitting our schemes to our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and our strengths and weaknesses. It’s really a whole different thing that we’re involved in right now.
Q: You have developed a close relationship with Bill Belichick, but this is the first time you have coached against him. What would you say are the hallmarks of a Bill Belichick coached team?
GS: Well number one, they are well coached, number two, they play awfully hard in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. There is no letdown. There are certain things as a coach that you look at that may be obscure to the fan, but you look at and I think it is a great predictor or telling sign about a team’s effort level. Every one of those that I check as a head coach, they are off the charts. They play hard no matter what it is. Whenever you have a football team that plays hard, is well coached and technically sound, they play through the whistle, all those things, that’s why they’ve won championships and it’s why they are a team that wins consistently. It’s one that we are trying to become a team like that. It’s a hard fight to get there, but our guys are trying to do that.
Q: How long have you guys been friends?
GS: I’ve known Coach…I don’t know how many years it has been. His son, obviously Stephen who is coaching up there now, played for us at Rutgers. When he was playing lacrosse before he played football, I got to know Coach when he would come down to work out our players. He has been very good to me, and I think our passion for the game of football led to us hitting it off.
Q: Do you think Steve Belichick will have a career one day coaching?
GS: I do. If he wants to, there is no doubt. He’s got a football mind. He helped me, although he was a long snapper, Steve helped me when I used to call the defenses. Steve helped me do things there, and it doesn’t shock me that he is now in the business, and if that is what he wants to do, you know as I always say to every young coach, ‘Make sure it’s what you want.’ Because if it is, you don’t really go to work. When you have a passion for something, there’s not all good days, trust me, but when it’s your passion you kind of got it beat.
Q: How would you assess Josh Freeman’s play thus far?
GS: Well Josh has struggled a little bit, but I don’t think it’s just Josh, it’s our whole offense. We’ve been out of sync. We haven’t scored points, and in this league you need to score points. We’re working awfully hard, and Josh is working awfully hard. I think he’s got a much better grasp of what we’re doing. He’s got a better grasp on the defenses, and just the way he is handling himself. So that’s what makes it even more frustrating. But one thing that I learned a long time ago as a player and a coach is, the only reason you don’t get there is if you stop, and this group isn’t going to stop. They’re working hard and our offense, it will turn. I don’t know when, but it will turn. We have good players that are able to make plays, and we just have to do our job. Eleven guys do [their] job, and we’ll start to make plays.
Q: There has been a lot of talk that all 53 players are not on the same page when it comes to your coaching style. We are curious about how things are going and how you have handled it thus far?
GS: I think that the stuff that you’re referring to is all outside our building. I’m not concerned with what is happening outside our building. The only thing that I concern myself with is our locker room and our coaches’ offices and meeting rooms, and they’re all good. So, we’re very frustrated about our start, our win/loss record, but as far as guys working together and believing in all those things, I feel very confident about our organization.
Q: So you’re saying that the locker room is united?
GS: Without a doubt.
GS: Well it is certainly an issue. Rob is one of the rare talents in the league, so if he does play we certainly need to have a plan ready to at least slow him down. I know that he and
Q: Can the same be said for
GS: Well you have to. Until he is ruled out you have to prepare that way. But you know the reality is, there is only so much you can do with 11 guys on defense. So, we’re not going to reinvent the wheel here for any player. We just have to know what we do, and fit it to what our opponent does. If Danny or Rob shows up, then we have to be ready to fit it to them. We’re not going to invent new stuff, that’s not what we do.
Q: The offense in New England has struggled as well, so how are they winning?
GS: Just the way I said it. They are playing smart football, they are well coached and Tom Brady is a fantastic player. He is finding a way to get it done. But as you do that and win, your confidence grows when you have some young players. I have been there before when the young players start to see that, ‘Hey, we can do this,’ and I just hope it’s not Sunday that they really catch fire. But you know what? We make it a habit around here that we can’t control anybody else. All we can control is ourselves, so everything to us is about the preparation. We try to put everything we’ve got into this week, this one-game season, and when it’s over we evaluate it and go to the next one. That’s what our guys are doing right now. I’m pleased with how we are working, and we just need to keep doing it, get on up there, and play the game Sunday.