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15 Roster Reductions - Bill Belichick Press Conference

Phone ConferenceBill Belichick speaks to the press.



            **B:** You have the names on everything we did today. It has been a tough couple of days here trying to sort everything out. You go through a lot of different scenarios and possibilities, what if this, what if that, this guy versus that guy, and special teams versus offense and defense and just try to flush everything out. In the end there are a lot of players on this list that we had to release that we liked, guys that have been here, some of them since I first got here, guys that came in the spring. Players that have worked hard and you would like to see it work out for them, but unfortunately we had to reduce our roster and it is just a situation maybe where one guy didn't show enough relative to others at a position. Or in some cases when you try to envision how your 45-man game day roster is going to be comprised it leaves us with no choice, it leaves somebody out. It is not an easy decision, but in the end that is the way it has got to be. It ends abruptly for a lot of these players that thought that they were right there and some were very close to making it and some were very close and didn't make it. It is a tough day no matter how long you are in the league. You never get used to it and it is never anything you enjoy doing particularly with a group of players like these who have worked hard and tried to do what we asked them to do. Again, I can't single out any one thing. The combination of all the things that we have been talking about through the course of training camp, where a player is now, where will he be in a few weeks, where will he be next year, how is he on special teams, how is he on third down, how is he on his side of the ball, what else do we have, what are the combinations. In some cases the time just ran out for right now. I wouldn't want to exclude any of the players that we released from being back with the team. I wouldn't say that at all, I can't obviously commit to bringing them back, but given scenarios that could occur several players on the release could return at some later point in time. The total cuts take us to 51 and that obviously puts us two under the limit and that does give us some flexibility with the players that have been released depending on if they clear waivers or not on building the roster back up to 53 which we intend to do once all the results are in. That is where we are at.  

Q: On the 51 players, will you be looking more at the players released by other teams or the guys released today yourself?

B: A combination of both. We will see what the waiver wire brings and evaluate that with the players that we know and make a decision.

Q: There was a real cross-section of players cut, not one position jumps out a lot from another, is that kind of how you wanted it to go to keep it down?

B: No we are just trying to do what we think is best for the football team. A lot of things were considered, a lot of scenarios were contemplated and in them end you could make arguments, and there were plenty of arguments made believe me for different combinations, but in the end we felt like this was the best thing to do.

Q: Relative to Sean Morey, he was a guy that showed a lot of promise, was it clearly a case of the younger guys Dane Looker and Shockmain Davis showing a lot more than he did?

B: I think with a lot of the players that were on this list it wasn't so much what the player didn't do as maybe what somebody else did do. Or again what the combinations provided so that we could strengthen our team as much as we can given all the bases we have to cover from offense, defense, special teams, depth, experience all those things are factors. We are looking at this week's game against Tampa, but we also have to be in place for a 16-week regular season so all of those things are part of it.

Q: Are you concerned with your offensive line, losing Lance Scott who if he didn't start would have given you depth at a couple of positions?

B: We will play with what we have got. Some of those guys are coming back and getting better and I think that overall we started to show some consistency in the last couple of weeks and hopefully that will continue.

Q: Is it still his knee?

B: No actually a guy fell on his foot or down around his foot or ankle, something in the lower part of the leg.

Q: Do you have any specific area that you might target for people that you see on the waiver wire or is this going to be a situation finding what might be the best available person out there?

B: I think the latter. Try to find the player who is the best fit, certainly position and need would come into it, but not exclusively. We have to be able to put a team out there. I think we can do that with what we have if we kind find a way to strengthen that then I think we will.

Q: Can you explain Raymont Harris, did his play decline and do you feel that you need another running back now?

B: Again, I don't think it was so much about him as it was the promise of some younger players and just the fact that you can't carry everybody. The kicking game is part of it. Again, many factors are in the decision. I respect everything that Raymont has done. He is a real pro. He's a hardworking guy. He got himself in real good condition. It just wasn't possible for us to keep everybody.

Q: Does getting down to 51 speed up the process of having to pick somebody up if waived by another team?

B: I think it does a little bit because if we carried the full 53 players on the roster and we were to claim one then we would have to release somebody. So it puts another day into it and then it also puts those players out there by themselves as opposed to a collective group like it is today. I mean there is probably going to be 450 to 500 players released today or something is going to happen to them with different lists and all of that. So, if you want a player back sometimes it's easier to get him back when he is out there with a lot of other players then out there by himself on Monday or Tuesday. But I think we will be able to get our roster finalized quicker by creating a couple of spots now then if we were to create them later.

Q: Is linebacker a spot where you have to add depth right now?

B: I think we will add depth wherever we think it will help us. I don't think that we want somebody just to have a name in a blank spot. We want somebody that we think can help the team and if it is at a position where we don't have a lot of players, which linebacker is one of them, that would be great, but there maybe other players that can help too.

Q: Are you seeking trades right now as well?

B: Our options are open. In all honesty we haven't had a lot of trade talks, but that could change in a hurry.

Q: I'm sure you don't want to talk about why certain players were cut, but can you talk about why certain players you decided to keep and name anyone's you wish and what particularly made them a player you kept?

B: It would kind of be case by case thing. I don't think I could just make a general statement and say, 'it was this or it was that'. Each guy kind of has his own package and it is a little bit different scenario from another guy. Certain guys bring certain things to the table and if you don't have that thing then it becomes valuable. If you have other players who do it then that one thing becomes a little less valuable because maybe you have four or five other guys that can do it. So again it really depends on each individual case.

Q: Along those lines could you talk about Tom Brady's situation?

B: I think Tom showed us enough in training camp and in preseason where we wanted to keep him on the roster. It is as simple as that really.

Q: Was there a concern that he might not clear waivers if you tried to get him on your practice squad?

B: Well I think any time you waive a player mentally you have to be prepared for the possibility that somebody else will claim him and that is the system. If you don't want to take that chance, whatever it is, whether it is a 50-50 chance, or a one out of a 100, but whatever the chance is it is hard to know what the other three teams are thinking, then you don't put them out there.

Q: You started the preseason with a veteran running back, now you start the season with a rookie and a second year man, do you expect either that Harris comes back or that there is somebody on the waiver wire? Is that one of the positions that you would like to have a veteran at?

B: I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't say it is going to happen either. I mean if we feel like the quality of the player that we would add to the team would strengthen the team more than somebody else then we would do it.

Q: Third string quarterbacks rarely get to play let alone fourth stringers, is this a situation where you feel like it is worth the risk to leave yourself short-handed elsewhere?

B: You have 53 players and you can only active 45 and then you r 46th player can be a third quarterback so every week you have to have seven inactive players plus that 46th guy if you do it that way. If a player is in one of those seven inactive spots, whoever the players are, I'm not talking any specific player, but what you can essentially do is keep a player there without making him active and still retain your rights to him and keep him practicing and keep him working and not expose him to the league. There are certain players that you might want in that category and there are other players on the practice squad that have a little bit more exposure to the league and you have a little bit less control over them. So it is just a question of where you want them to fall.



            **Q: Chris Carter was the starting free safety of this team last year, is he a guy that just didn't fit into what you were trying to do out there defensively?**  

B: Well we only have so many spots and the positions on the special teams, really all the positions, but particularly the backup positions, the main things for them are special teams and sub-defenses, multiple defensive backs in the game. So there is a trade off between those different responsibilities at that position. There is also a trade off between the experienced players and the less experienced players and trying to get some kind of blend there so your team still maintains a little bit of youth as it grows.

Q: Marc Megna had played quite a bit with the first unit on special teams is what Shockmain Davis and Dane Looker did as receivers help them beat out Marc Megna?

B: I don't know that those players were in direct competition with each other, I would say probably not. Even in the kicking game the receivers and the defensive backs usually don't play, there are some exceptions, but they usually don't play the same positions in the kicking game that the linebackers, tight ends, running backs, that that group plays. The competition is usually left between a corner and a wide receiver and the other positions I mentioned.

Q: The fact that you cut a couple of linebackers can we draw any inference there that you think that there is enough linebacker talent that will be on the waiver wire from other teams that you will pick somebody up there?

B: We don't really know what is going to be on the waiver wire. All the other teams, who they put out there is totally out of our control. Our evaluations come more from what we have here. It is a trade off. You can't be heavy at one position without being a little bit light at another. Somehow if you want to keep an extra player, when I say extra player I mean in terms of if you had totally balanced numbers, but if you want to carry an extra player at one spot then you are going to have to carry one less somewhere else. There really is no other way to balance it.

Q: Did you wind up keeping a lot more offensive lineman than you had first anticipated?

B: I don't know that I really anticipated how many we would keep. We kept nine and we have two players on the PUP type list with Klemm and Rucci and they won't really be a factor until later, but I would say that is probably an average number around the league. I would think most teams would have nine offensive lineman, nine or ten.

Q: With the situation at running back, do you envision staying with Kevin Faulk at starter or how much help are you going to be looking for there?

B: Whether we are looking for anybody there or not really depends on who is out there and what they can add to the team. If we think they can add something to the team then we will be interested in them.

Q: When will you get your first look at the entire list of who is available?

B: It had to be in by four and usually the waivers turnaround in about 45 minutes to an hour. Historically, on this day because of the volume and the amount of business transacted a lot of times it 7:00, 8:00, 9:00 at night. It is just a question of when everything gets done. We really don't know. I don't think it will be by 5:00, but I have been wrong before. I would guess 8:00 give or take an hour.

Q: When you build a practice squad do you try to have five positions represented or does it matter?

B: I think the practice squad in part reflects what's on the 53-man roster. First of all you want as much quality as possible on the practice squad. You would like to have guys on the practice squad that you really want on the team, but you just can't carry them with a 53 man cut. You would like to have players, but if you could keep 58 you would really want 58. The next thing would be to create some depth for your team. So if you are heavy at a position on your regular roster then it probably would be harder for you to carry a practice squad player at that position because that just creates more weight there. You may want to balance it off by carrying practice squad players that would give you more depth at the position that you didn't have as many players at on your 53. Again it is a trade off there between having enough people to practice with and be balanced and be able to work against each other along with the overall quality of the group. You want guys to come off the practice squad that eventually you think will are going to be able to play for you.

Q: With Adrian Klemm is there any concern that he might not be able to play at all this year?

B: I don't think so.

Q: Could you talk in general terms, the position coaches obviously make recommendations to you, can you talk about the process, whether you stepped in and how it worked and how much debate went on between you and the coaches?

B: I would say for the most part, of the players that we released they all had certain strengths that they brought to the table, but for the most part there wasn't a whole lot of discussion. You understand what one player can do, you understand what another player can do and it is pretty clear that one player is more valuable to you than another. There were a handful of cases where it really was a tough decision, not that they all weren't tough, but tougher in that it really looked like a pretty even match, one guy brought one thing one guy brought another thing and we need both. That's where it came to more of a trade off. If you get special teams from one player then maybe you get a little more defense from somebody else or vice versa. I think in the end it all fell together about the way everybody thought.

Q: How long did it take for the meeting, for you to sit with the assistants and decide who would be cut?

B: We had several meetings. We have met everyday for the last four days. You kind of do it the first time and rough it out. People throw out their opinions and you talk about it and then you come back and do it the next time and it starts to become a little bit clearer. Then you do it the next to last time and say, 'Okay this is it, we are going to sleep on it, we are going to digest it overnight, but for the next to last time right here does anybody have some final thoughts?' There may be one or two, but at that point everything is pretty well in focus you just want one more day to digest and to feel like this is really the right thing to do. Then we came in this morning and for the last time went through it again and just reviewed it, 'This is what we are going to do, this is where we see this player, this is where we see that player'. I think everybody walked away from there thinking that is where we are going to go. Everybody has their input and I think it was a collective decision.

Q: In general terms several players played well the other night against Carolina, did some players make the team because of the last game or did you and the staff change your opinion much based on what happened in the last game or were you all set Thursday morning?

B: I think it is a combination. You try to weigh in a players total performance. I don't think you can evaluate just one play or even one game. Sometimes that is all you have, like in (Josh) Rawlings case, there wasn't a whole lot to go on with him here, we saw some tape at Kansas City, but the players that have been here a little bit longer you go on the total performance. What the player does with the opportunity that he has and some players have more opportunities than others in a preseason game. We can't totally control that. How they look at practice against competition that we know the level the competition is at. We know who is playing against each other and how they perform off the field and also their rate of improvement. If it looks like a guy is really gaining ground, whatever two players performance, they may be equal one guy looks like he is really gaining ground the other guy looks like he is kind of leveling off and that is kind of what I have been talking about, seeing the player a month from now or trying to see him a year from now. 'Okay it is nip and tuck right now where are we going to be in November?' And you try to project that and it is not an exact science and I'm sure we will be wrong here somewhere, but right now we have just got to go with the information that we've got and do the best that we can and I feel that is what we have done and time will tell.


**Veterans Released**
29Raymont HarrisRB
**Players Waived**
72Maurice AndersonNT
42Chris CarterFS
46Chris EitzmannTE
69Rob GatrellG
60Garrett JohnsonNT
51Olrick JohnsonLB
22Kelly MalveauxCB
93Jeff MarriottDE
96Marc MegnaOLB
85Sean MoreyWR
35Patrick PassRB
58Maugaula TuiteleLB
**Added Physically Unable to Perform List**
70Adrian KlemmT
**Added to the Reserve List - Injured**
63Lance ScottC/G
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