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09/20/00 - Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:**  Just to recap a couple roster moves, even going back to Saturday before the Minnesota game.  We brought Orlick Johnson and Patrick Pass up to the 53-man roster.  We released Derrick Fletcher yesterday and put Adam Davis and brought back Chris Fontenot are now on the practice squad, along with [Rob] Gatrell, Garrett Johnson, and Chris Eitzmann.  So that kind of cleans up the roster moves even going back to Saturday before the Minnesota game.  The injuries this week: Larry Whigham is out, and Max [Lane], Matt Chatham and Willie [McGinest] are all questionable.  We'll see how they are when we get out to practice today.  Questionable obviously, but we think there'll be a reasonable chance that they'll be ready to play in the game but we really won't know for sure until we get out there and do a little on the practice field today.  On Miami, let's make a couple of points on them.  I think this is a physical team.  Miami has made a commitment to running the ball They've got a couple good blocking tight ends, a couple good blocking fullbacks, and a runner that runs hard.  They've made some big plays in the passing game to compliment that, but they really want to run the ball and you can see that in the way they go about it.  Defensively they're very physical in the front seven.  They've caused a lot of turnovers and made a lot of big plays on defense and they're very good in the kicking game.  They have good special teams units, their specialists are good, they have good cover people that run well, they're aggressive.  So it's a good solid football team that can win.  In two of their first three football games its been very opportunistic, they've capitalized on the chance that they've had and that's resulted in a couple wins for them.  That's what Miami's strength is and they've played into that strength and they've been able to capitalize on it in two of the three games.  

Q: Bill, you had talked positively about Fletcher in training camp. What happened, what was he failing in?

B: Well, I think that Derrick has a lot of ability. We have eight offensive linemen on the team right now and I think that's who we're going to go with. You know you just can't keep everybody. If our roster was sixty we'd have a lot more players around here. We just have to go with the ones that we feel are best for us. And I think right now the eight offensive linemen are the best that we have. I think that they've improved and I think the inside of our offensive line with Damien [Woody] and Sale [Isaia] and Joe [Andruzzi] did a pretty solid job last week and hopefully that will continue to get better. And that's the direction we're going to go in. I don't really have any negative feelings toward Derrick, we just have to go with who we think has the best chance to help our team, taking a lot of things into consideration that's the decision we made.

Q: Is Greg Robinson-Randall in for more time at tackle?

B: Yeah. Really I think all of our lineman have played. Max of course has played, Greg's played, Jason's played, and the five that started the game last week, so I think that all those guys can go in there and play. We're confident with them in there and I think Greg, depending on the situation, but I think he can get playing time at right tackle provided he does the things he needs to do and is productive.

Q: Do find that you have to ease him in seeing that he is so young, a rookie?

B: No, I think that that is a valid point. There are some things that he hasn't seen that he'll see for the first time on the field in live action and I think it's always easier when a player's better prepared for those things than seeing them the first time. But overall Greg's handled a lot of things that we've thrown at him pretty well and he's able to go out there and certainly hold his own at right tackle.

Q: How similar and/or different is what Miami is doing under Dave Wannstedt compared to what they did under Jimmy Johnson?

B: Well defensively I think that there are quite a few similarities. Jim Bates is the defensive coordinator and he and Dave Campo ran the defense in Dallas, and Dallas's and Miami's defenses are pretty similar anyway. You know there are a few things different that I can see that Jim has put in there. Offensively from Kippy Brown to Chan Gailey, Chan has his system he's had a lot of success with in Pittsburgh and Dallas and now Miami and it definitely is Chan's system. You know you can see some of Dave's influences in some of the things that there doing but I think the core of it is still Chan's offensive system with the four wides on third down and things like that that historically he's used. I think offensively the biggest difference is Chan Gailey as the coordinator and of course Dan Marino not being the quarterback compared to last year.

Q: What are your thoughts on [Jay] Fiedler?

B: I think he is kind of the way I'd describe the Miami team. I think he's a very opportunistic quarterback, he's smart, he's got good quickness, he's pretty mobile in the pocket, not mobile like [Daunte] Culpepper, but athletic enough to get out of trouble and stay on his feet and keep the play alive. It seems like he has a good command of the offense, he knows what they're doing and makes good decisions with the ball, or let me put it another way he doesn't make a lot of bad decisions with the ball in terms of turning it over and putting it in bad places. I think he does a good job of running the offense, managing the team, and not hurting the offense. Really Miami has thrived on defensive turnovers, particularly on special teams, and taking advantage of those chances on offense when they've had them. He's done a good job of that.

Q: Did you ever scout him or pay attention to him when he was in college?

B: No, I didn't see him in college. When you're coaching defense you look at the defensive players. The linebacker that came out of there a couple years ago is at Arizona Zack Walz, Loyd Lee a safety, there have been a number of players and the defensive ones I am a little more familiar with than quarterbacks.

Q: You talked after the Jets game of putting the body in the grave and burying it, can you talk a little bit about the urgency of getting a win before this graveyard gets a little too crowded?

B: Well, we've put ourselves in a hole here at the start of the season and I think we all know that there's a point in time where you get in too deep and then it's hard to get out. We are probably getting fairly close to that point, you get to the point were pretty much everything has to go right for you when you're in such a deep hole, and sometimes it just doesn't happen, there's no margin for error. You make one mistake, one game doesn't got your way or another team that you need help with you don't get it from and that's it. So I think our team understands the urgency of all the games, but particularly the fact that we've put ourselves in a tough spot we've got to pull ourselves out of it and we need to do it pretty soon.

Q: Bill, Miami's defense has proven to be pretty stingy right now, what are the areas you feel you can attack in their defense?

B: I guess we'll find out on Sunday. I think we have a couple areas where we want to attack them where we think we have some favorable match-ups and we'll try to exploit those. There is no question about it, Miami is a good defensive football team. They're good across the board. They're strong inside. They can rush the passer. They can cover well. They have a middle linebacker who makes a lot of plays. But I think that we'll find a way to keep them off balance and to improve and perform better ourselves from where we've been the last couple weeks. I think that we've showed some signs and we've made some progress, but it hasn't been enough to put a W up there. I'm expecting this week that we'll be able to make a little bit more improvement and we'll be able to capitalize on that.



            **Q:  I'm sure there is a great deal of frustration throughout the team, how do players generally react to that?**  

B: Well, I think that any time you have adversity that brings out the best and the worst in people. Not just players, but I'd say people in general. When things are really bad there's going to be certain people that are going to rally and put more commitment and more support and are going to be stronger for you whether it be in your personal life or business life. We've all been in those situations. Then there's going to be other times when adversity hits and there's going to be a certain amount of abandoning ship. We'll see what happens. I think overall the quality of this team has been good and I think the players have tried to respond throughout training camp when the situation has been really laid out in front of them and they fully understand what it is I think they try to respond to it. We're in a little bit of a hole right now and we'll see how we respond to this one.

Q: Do you find it makes a difference if the guys are veterans as opposed to younger guys?

B: Well, I think there is something to be said for experience. You know people that are battle hardened, that have been things and seen things, and have a little bit more experience with both positive and negative situations probably have a little advantage. But I think in the end each person is going to have to make his own choice as to how much of a commitment they can make to the football team. That is clearly what we need, we need more from everybody, starting with the head coach and working all the way down to the players on the practice squad. Everybody needs to put more into it than we've been putting into it until we get the results that we are looking for.

Q: Considering how the offense has been playing are there changes that need to be made to deal with the pressure Bledsoe has been under schematic or do the players just need to do a better job?

B: I think offensively it is more difficult to run or pass when you have to do one or the other. It's easier to defend defensively when you only have to defend half the game. I think offensively we need to become more efficient and execute better in the passing game, I don't think there's any question about it and that's a team thing. From a scheme standpoint, you can make some changes but my experience has been the more changes you make the harder it is for you to get those new things executed. You go through a learning curve and a trial and error method there. Not that's not to say that you can't make some changes to make things better, but when it becomes too dramatic they you're kind of starting over again. So you want to find the fine line between making adjustments that can make you better but at the same time trying to keep everybody in an area were the bulk of your experience through training camp and the games that we've played you can somehow utilize. That is kind of the tight rope you walk.

Q: Are you pleased with Kevin Faulk's progress and how he has played so far?

B: I think Kevin has been productive and we expected Kevin to be productive. Kevin can produce and has produced in several different areas; as a returner, as a receiver, as a runner. He's a versatile player. It's a question of how much you can use him to keep that production level high and we are trying to find that balance. I think that probably in the first three games that it was maximized last week in total rushing, receiving, returning, the number of plays that he was in and maybe that is the level that the water will, I don't know we will keep going, but I think we are going to be somewhere in that range. I think in the three games there is a little bit of a range there from every play to scaling it down and I think last week was a good productive game for him.

Q: How different is it for you to watch film and not see Marino out there are you expecting him to somehow work into the game plan?

B: I have been around enough to know that at some point or another there is always going to be a changing of the guard, sooner or later. Joe Montana, Phil Simms, Walter Payton, all the great players, at some point it ends. There weren't many any better than Dan Marino I can tell you that. He was a nightmare to prepare against and try to defend, but times have changed and things have moved on and it is clear that Miami has built their team around not having Dan Marino. There are some things that they do differently and maybe a little better than Dan would do them and there are things that he could do that they moved on from. Yes, it is unusually to look at them after so many years, seventeen years seeing number 13 out there and he's not out there, but that's the way it is in pro football.

Q: Would you have more difficulty facing a quarterback like him a straight drop back pocket passer or somebody like you did last week in (Daunte) Culpepper?

B: I don't think it gets any worse than Marino, I really don't because you would have defend all five guys and even when you are on them with him there are throws where there is two inches to get the ball in there and the ball is in there. A guy like Marino you can't fool him with coverages. You think you are going to give him this look and that might effect him, but when you do it he rips you the first time and you feel helpless. I think I would really rather play against anybody than Dan Marino.

Q: Is this an evaluation year for Drew Bledsoe as far as you are concerned before you make a commitment to him at the end of the year?

B: I think that the commitment that Mr. Kraft has made to Bledsoe is pretty strong, it speaks for itself. He is our quarterback. I think he is certainly one of our best players on the team and I am glad we have him and I think that he's a guy that has been and is going to be productive for us.

Q: Do you see down the road, it's just a matter of getting the paperwork done, there is no question in your mind that this is the quarterback for the next five years?

B: Well there is no question that he's going to be the quarterback for as long as he has a contract here and hopefully that will go beyond it, but I don't think that is really a discussion for today. What we have immediately is Drew is our quarterback, he's a good quarterback and offensively we are all looking for ways to improve our performance and that isn't going to change anytime in the new future.

Q: How has he played this year?

B: Like I said I think Drew is one of our better players. I think that as an offensive unit it is still a function of the timing and consistency and efficiency and everybody collectively performing well as a unit. There have been a lot of times where we have done good things on the field, but there's one little piece of the puzzle that is not there and the production isn't quite there and that's what we have to do to bring that together. I think he has handled a lot of the situations that have come up in the first three games well. He has had some pressure, he's hung in there, he's thrown the ball, and he hasn't turned it over. I think that there are a lot of positive things he has done. He has been a good leader for us.

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