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09/20/00 - Drew Bledsoe Press Conf.

Foxboro Stadium - Foxborough, MADrew Bledsoe speaks to the press.



            **Q: Do you think it is finally time that the offensive line is settled, (Derrick) Fletcher is gone and now they have pretty much solidified the guard position, the center and two tackle positions, isn't that a good thing?**  

D: I think we are more set now on who those five guys are going to be. Whether we are going to continue to rotate guys in I don't know, but I think we are more settled now.

Q: And that makes a big difference to you doesn't it?

D: I think it should be a positive thing. With an offensive line group obviously things work better if they guys can work together for a period of time and develop some timing and feel for each other as far as what level they are on when they are passing off twists and gains and so on.

Q: Has the uncertainty there effected the way you guys can attack going down the field is it a less than normal?

D: I think we, particularly in the last two games, have and it should be readily apparent that we approached with two separate mentalities. One is to keep a couple of backs in the backfield, block them up and try and work the ball downfield in those situations and then just spread them out and make them cover the field horizontally and try and throw it quicker. We have gone from one extreme to the other with our game plan.

Q: Given the fact that you have struggled to score points this year and the fact that Miami only averages six points a game, how is anybody going to score in this game?

D: It is going to be a physical game. It is going to be a game that comes down to one-on-one match-ups in the passing game. They obviously, in their secondary are always around the ball, they are always around the receiver in tight coverage and when that happens I have got to make the throws in tight coverage and guys have got to make the plays on balls when they are contested. That's really what it comes down to. It becomes more of a one-on-one game and they obviously have been very effective in that, but that's what it is and that's what we are faced with.

Q: They are a defense that has only given up one touchdown per game, which is pretty good?

D: Yes, they are playing very good football.

Q: By the same token they are a pretty basic defense they aren't real clever?

D: Yes if I had to say they were similar to another team I would say they are similar to Tampa in that they don't try to trick you. They basically are going to line up and play their defense against you and then they are going to try to make it more of a physical game. They are just very, very sound in what they do. They don't try and get exotic, but they just try to play good, physical defense and as I said they are very sound.

Q: You play Miami all the time does that play into it at all because you have had some very big games against Miami and I don't know how much they have changed with their new coach, but does that factor in?

D: Their defensive style and personality hasn't changed from last year. It is basically the same with a few little nuances, but as I have said we are familiar with this team, we know what they do, they are not hard to figure out they are just hard to beat. Another thing you have to try and do against a defense like Miami is you have to try and make a couple of big plays on them in the game to get points on the board.

Q: Do you think that this year is an evaluation year for you, for Belichick and Kraft to decide whether or not they are going to take that contract and extend it?

D: I have no idea, My only control over my situation and the team situation is to go out and try and play as well as I can. What I am faced with at this particular moment is that I have to play better than I have in the first three games. I have to make some plays for us to get us in the end zone. I have to play better than I have in the first three games.

Q: Can you imagine ever being traded?

D: No I foresee and envision playing my entire career as a Patriot and that's what I am planning on and that's what I will continue to plan on.

Q: So when you look at this team offensively starts with you?

D: Sure, no doubt and as I just mentioned what it comes down to, the bottom line is that we as an offense have to play better and that starts with me. It doesn't end with me, but it starts with me. I am obviously going to be the focal point of our offense and through the first three games I haven't played well enough for us to win.

Q: As an eight year veteran you can see a cycle is real good and you were here when it wasn't very good it got good and now you are trying to rebuild you have to kind of deal with that as a quarterback, you have to sit back and take some licks emotionally.

D: What you do as a quarterback is you come out and you prepare as well you can each week and you go out and try and play as well as you can to win the game. We are 0-3, when you look at it we have had a chance to win all three games and what that comes down to is making one more play. Making one more play in each of those games and we are in a different situation.

Q: Is that situation right when you work hard for three weeks and have nothing to show for it, is it right for guys to start heading off the other way?

D: What you have to do and I have said this before, is you have to have the ability, whether it is positive or negative you look at the last three years and we have started off pretty hot the last three years and then have faltered during a stretch in the season, what you have to have the ability to so whether it is positive or negative is to put the last week or the last three weeks in this case behind you and move on and focus on the next week. As I have said before that is not an easy task to put things behind you, but that's the challenge you are faced with and everybody faces it throughout the league. As we talked about a few weeks ago, nobody has gone through this thing undefeated since I was born, so everybody deals with some adversity during the season. Ours has come early and it is some pretty heavy adversity, but everybody deals with and how you handle those situations really determines what kind of season you have.

Q: Is it going to be different to not see (Dan) Marino on the other side?

D: Yes, it is different. You look around the league and for the large portion of my career I saw Jim Kelly on the other side of the ball from me at Buffalo. I saw Marino on the other side of the ball from me in Miami and I saw (John) Elway and all of a sudden all these teams have changed and I think everybody would agree that all three of those teams when that transition came it was a little bit of a strange thing to see Dolphins without Marino. He was synonymous with the Dolphins for so long and it is a strange situation.

Q: Now that you have seen these changes and yet these teams are actually playing above what some might say are there capabilities, here you have been stable in the division, but now your team is going in the opposite direction?

D: Well you have seen the conception of those teams change since the changes have happened, but it is particularly at the quarterback position. Miami use to be a team that was going to outscore you, they were going to throw the ball a bunch and for a lot of years their defense wasn't a particularly physical style of defense. Their team has changed entirely from a high scoring prolific offense and a defense that at times gave up some points to a team that relies very heavily on their defense to play a physical style of ball and they try and play ball control offense. The conception of their team has changed dramatically in the last three of four years.

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