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09/18/00 - Bill Belichick Press Conf.

Foxboro Stadium - Foxborough, MABill Belichick speaks to the press.



            **B:** After looking at the tapes this morning I wouldn't really characterize the game much differently than I did last night, that sounds like a broken record to you, but I think that is what it is. We weren't able to capitalize on the opportunities that we had and there was some improvement at spots and at different places in the game, but in the end it came down to not being able to really execute and perform in a precise way under pressure when it mattered the most. I think in the end right now that's what our team is lacking. When you look at these three games and you see what the common thread is, we just haven't been able to get the execution, the attention to detail, and the precision that we need at the critical times in the game. It has been frustrating for all of us. I feel like we have to continue to address the things that have been the biggest problems for us, harp on the details and the little things that make a difference in the outcome and the execution of the plays and the games. That is where I think we are right now.  

Q: It is only natural for a team to take awhile to adjust to a new coach and a new coaching staff, but many of theses players are familiar with who you are and what you expect, does it surprise you at this point that there is this difficulty in executing with precision, shouldn't they know that you won't tolerate that?

B: I don't think it is being down intentionally, but still the performance isn't there yet. I don't think it is a case where the player or players are saying, 'We don't want to go out and do this' or that type of thing. I think we are trying to do it, it is just not at the level that it needs to be and it is universal. It's a problem on offense, it's a problem on defense, it's a problem in the kicking game, it shows up in the running game, and it shows up in the passing game. It is not every play. It wouldn't be that many plays in any of these three games that would make that big of a difference. It is a handful, but in the end those handful of plays we just haven't got the type of execution that we need to get when those situations have come up and it has been too many of them. To me that's the bottom line. I don't think it is a case of players knowing that I won't tolerate it or thinking it is acceptable, I don't think that is the case, but the results are just not there.

Q: You have said many times that you weren't here last year therefore you can't judge what went on before, but is it maybe a case of old habits might be hard to break for some players that they have to relearn?

B: That's possible.

Q: Would you say that your level of attention to detail might be higher than other coaches?

B: I don't know, but I know in this league that you have got to be able to do things right. You might be able to get away with a few things not being right here and there and something might happen and bail you out every once and while, but for the most part if you do things right you have a pretty good chance for things to succeed. If you don't do them right in the end they are going to get you. Sooner or later they are going to get you. All the teams in this league have good players and they have good coaches. They do things to make it hard for you so when you are not on the money then eventually they are going to find a crack and that's where we are. We are just not tight enough.

Q: On a given play is it a whole bunch of guys just missing being tight enough or is it just one or two and that's enough?

B: The latter and again it has been there in different areas of the game. It's not one guy, it's not one play, it's not one thing, but in the sum when you are in a one, two, three play game it has come up short. Look this is the National Football League, at this level of football we should be able to kick an extra point. I don't think that is asking too much. I think we should be able to do that as a club. I think the fans should expect it, I think the coaches should expect it, I think the players should expect it and to not be able to kick an extra point that is not very good football. You can't say that has been the only problem we have had in three weeks because at some points in the season that has looked pretty good, but when you miss an extra point that's not an opportunity you want to give away. That is just an example. I think it is a pretty evident example, but it is just an example of the type of thing that I am talking about. That play shouldn't be a problem and it was a problem yesterday.

Q: Are you encouraged at all by the fact that you are in these games and not getting blown out?

B: I am encouraged when I see our players do things the way that they have been taught to do them and they are trying to do it the way that it fits in with the overall team scheme on the field and it's successful, I am encouraged by that. I'm not into moral victories, I'm not into being competitive, the bottom line in this business is winning and until we do that I don't think there is going to be any satisfaction from either me or I wouldn't expect anyone in the football organization.

Q: Do you have an update on Willie McGinest?

B: No, he is probably day-to-day.

Q: Is it a hamstring?

B: He hurt his leg, I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to be real serious.

Q: Would you compare it to Ted Johnson's thing at all?

B: No, I think it is day-to-day. If he can practice Wednesday than…



            **Q: Yesterday you had two offensive linemen starting who weren't even with the team at the final cut, realistically what are the expectations when you get to that point where you have two guys who didn't even go through camp with you?**  

B: I think that anytime that you put new people into a system there is a certain adjustment period and I think we all understand that. I think for the most part the new players that have been plugged into the system have adapted to it pretty quickly, but there are still some things that again shouldn't be a problem and should be more consistent, for example the snap count. You run 60 plays out there and don't have any problem on 59 of them, and have a problem on one of them, I don't think that is because the player is new, it should be like the other 59 plays. If it is a problem on fifteen plays well then you can say 'okay maybe there is really something here that's different', or a player is having trouble with or something like that. Again that is just an example, but it is a pretty basic example. I have coached in the Pro Bowl, granted that is a lot of experienced players, but you bring them all together you don't even really practice. I mean I wouldn't even call that practice out there, your team comes together out on the field for a few minutes, but that's about it. Some of this stuff shouldn't be a problem. There are other things with a degree of difficulty and I understand there are different degrees of difficulty and there are some degree of difficulty things that are tough and those are ones that you say as a coach, 'Look here's what happened, I know we haven't seen this before, I know this is difficult to handle here is how we have to take care of it.' The next time it comes up you have a better chance of handling it. That's where an experienced group can really become more efficient and those plays are infrequent. Clearly there have been a few of those too, but some of the other things there shouldn't be as much of a problem as what there has been. I'm sure that as this group plays together and I think that the line we have got out there now is going to play together, hopefully with more consistency that we will see a greater level of improvement, but it needs to happen sooner not later.

Q: What is Tony Simmons status is he been doing too many of the wrong things?

B: There are only a certain number of players we can take to the game on a 45-man active list. Players who weren't involved as starters on offense or defense have to establish some other role for themselves on the team and the kicking game, special teams is an important part of that role. I think that the last three weeks overall, not without some blemishes, but overall that our kicking game has been okay. We felt like Shockmain (Davis) would be able to make a contribution in the kicking game, on the coverage teams as well as the return teams so we activated him for this game and played him in those situations. I think that is going to be true of basically all the players who aren't starting players that some way or another they are going to have to develop a role for themselves in order to be active for the game because we don' have the luxury of taking everybody. In Shockmain's case I think he was able to develop a little bit more of a role for himself this week than some of the other players who weren't out there.

Q: There was a play two weeks ago where Tony Simmons went out of bounds on third and six a yard short, does that impact the decision?

B: I try not to make decisions based on one play or one practice or just one thing, I try to take a little broader look at what everybody is doing try not to make knee jerk reactions because of one single thing. Even some of the examples I brought up this morning, this play or that play, they are examples I am not trying to drop the atom bomb on one play or one mistake because we all had mistakes in this game and the previous two, but I just cite those as examples, not focal points.

Q: All things considered with the things that you have to try to correct it comes at a time when you are going to two of the places where it is probably the most difficult for this team or any other team to win the challenge is out there I would assume?

B: I think every week is going to be like that in the NFL, other than the bye week I don't see any breathers in the schedule. Every team is tough. We have eight games on the road so those are tough. We have eight division games those are tough. We have other teams that we don't know very well because they are out of our division that we only play once a year, once every three years, or once every two years or whatever it is. The challenge is there every week no matter who it is. I think that for our football team last week, the week before, this week is as good a time to address and correct and fix the problems that we are having as any other week. In other words I think the time is now. Whenever those things occur immediately is the time to get them addressed before somebody else tries to capitalize on what they perceive as a weakness that you have.

Q: There seem to be more penalties this week than the first two is that disturbing that they are starting to show up in the third week?

B: Yes absolutely. It is hard enough to stop a team like Minnesota or to move the ball against a team like Minnesota without incurring penalties that put you in long yardage situations offensively or create short yardage situations for them defensively or give them yardage in terms of field position in the kicking game. Basically all of those penalties are errors in one way or another and they all need to be addressed and we need to try to correct them because being a highly penalized team is not in anyway a formula to win.



            **Q: Defensively are you disappointed with way they came out yesterday and the way they finished in New York it has got to be disappointing to you?**  

B: I am disappointed that we are 0-3, I am disappointed in all three games. No doubt about that you can write that.

Q: Specifically though with the defense?

B: Specifically I am disappointed in the fact that we have lost all three games. We gave up more points then we were able to score. There is no satisfaction of a game from giving up less points than they get. I don't care what it is.

Q: You mentioned that these attention to detail things need to be addressed. How do you address them and how do you get to the point where you don't do them?

B: When I say addressing them I am talking about a combination of in some cases pointing out things that were wrong that maybe everybody doesn't fully understand what went wrong. There are other things that I am sure people know what went wrong, but they need to be corrected and there are other judgmental things that maybe could have gone one way or the other and you say, 'Okay this is the way it is going to be, this is what we are going to do, this is the way were are going to handle the situation, this is what we want you to do when this comes up.'

Q: So there is no confusion.

B: Right, well there shouldn't be anyway, but sometimes it is a little bit different in the game or it is a little bit different in a particular look from quite the way you talked about it. Those things need to be, not that a lot of them haven't been ironed out, but there are always some new things that crop up that anytime you are going over something for the first time, I don't mean the first time you run a play, but even though you run the same play 50 times you might see 45 different things in those 50 snaps depending on what is going on on the other side of the ball. Sometimes there are details that need to be ironed out and that is part of it. There is certainly a category of mistakes that we've made that are things we have gone over since the first or second day of training camp as well that there is no gray area, there isn't a lot of judgment involved, it is just mistakes and those aren't the kind of things that we are bringing up for the first time those are things that are hurting us that are going to continue to hurt us if we don't get them eliminated.

Q: Ty Law had a couple of key penalties yesterday, did he have a tough day overall, how did you see overall performance?

B: I think that the three key players from Minnesota Robert Smith, (Randy) Moss and (Cris) Carter had 180, 190, 200 yards, whatever the numbers were. Overall, I think that we did a decent job of defending those three players. (Daunte) Culpepper scrambled a little bit and hurt us on some plays in the first half. It wasn't as much of a factor in the second half, so I couldn't sit here and say overall I thought that we did a poor job of defending Carter or we did a poor job of defending Moss or we did a poor job of defending Robert Smith, I can't sit here and say that. On the other hand it needed to be better and some of the plays that they made were in key situations where it wasn't a question of yards it was a question of what they needed at that time and they got it. So from that standpoint it wasn't as good as it could have been. Robert Smith had a key touchdown run on a third and goal from the four. Carter had a couple of third down conversions and some of that involved double coverage and some of it didn't. Culpepper had a couple of scrambles that hurt us, so I would say it was a combination of things there. Not all bad in defending them, those particular guys, but certainly not good enough either.

Q: On your receiving corps, either they are not physical enough, or they are not making sharp enough cuts, but it seems like a lot of the receivers are not getting open or getting to the right spot?

B: I don't think there is any question, when I talked about precision and details that we are not as precise in the passing game as we need to be. That's a collective team thing. It involves the quarterbacks, it involves the receivers and to a certain degree it involves the protection. I am not just talking about getting them blocked, but even the way that they get blocked on certain types of passes. It is not as sharp as it needs to be all the way around and that includes people on the throwing end, it includes people on the catching end and it needs to definitely be crisper and more efficient for us to be more productive moving the ball and scoring. There is no question about that.

Q: With Tony Simmons out you don't have a wide receiver over six feet except Shockmain Davis who is very inexperienced, how badly is Tony Simmons playing to warrant being inactive? Is he not coming along at all?

B: I don't think you want to establish your receivers based on height. Last week we played against (Wayne) Chrebet and (Dedric) Ward and I don't think either one of them is over 5'10". Is it important to have receivers over six feet tall? It's great there is nothing wrong with it, but I think there are a lot of productive receivers that are not over six feet tall and Terry (Glenn) is six feet tall and I think what you want is production from your receivers. If you have big receivers and they are productive that's great and if you have little receivers and they are productive that's great too as long as it's productive. Just to play a guy because he is a certain height that's not really my philosophy. I think the most important thing for a receiver is to be productive.

Q: What is happening to Simmons that he is not progressing, what is he doing wrong, where is he lacking is it effort, awareness, commitment?

B: I'm not singling out Tony's performance in any type of negative way. The decision to make Shockmain active in this game was a result of Shockmain's ability to perform in the kicking game and be productive in the kicking game which he was. He was productive on the coverage teams and he was productive as a returner. In light of the load that Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown are carrying for us, at some point that is going to become a factor. We thought it would be a factor in this game, so that's where Shockmain's role fell primarily.

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