Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, October 11, 2010.
BB: We're back at it here with the Ravens. As usual, they look pretty good. Real good on defense. [They] pretty much lead the league in just about every category. They're really solid across the board. Good, balanced attack on offense. [They] ran the ball real well last week against Denver, threw it when they had to and made some big plays to win the game. Against Pittsburgh, in their 2-minute drive... They've really been a good, solid team. [They're] always good in the kicking game. [It's a] big test for us. Hopefully we can be a little more competitive against them than we were last year in the playoffs. [We had] a little bit of extra time to prepare, which is good because we'll need it against these guys. They're a real good team. Well-coached. Tough. They're strong.
Q: Over the off weekend, how much do you get a chance to watch other football around the league?
BB: This particular weekend, I really didn't do much of that. Tried to catch up on some stuff with the family and kids. Watch them play.
Q: What are your impressions of the first five weeks of the NFL season? Does anything stand out to you?
BB: I'd say like usual in the NFL, pretty much anything can happen any week. Teams that you might expect to win don't win. Teams that you might not expect to win, win and win big. A lot of real close competitive games come down to the last possession, the last play or one key play right at the end of the game. [It] looks very competitive to me all the way across the board.
Q: The Ravens playoff loss seems to be brought up maybe more than almost any other. How much has that stayed with you with the way it transpired with them scoring on the first play and kind of running away with it?
BB: Anytime your season ends, you remember that game. Whether it's the Giants game (2007 season), the Indianapolis game (2006 season), Baltimore game (2009 season).
Q: Have your players used that throughout the offseason going forward?
BB: No, I wouldn't say. Not any different than the other games that I've mentioned. The Denver game (2005 season). All those games, they're the last one, those are the ones you kind of remember. I think we've moved on from all those, but now we have a chance to play that team again. It's a new matchup. It's a new game. Hopefully we can learn from some of the things that happened in that game.
Q: With Randy Moss not here, how much time do you spend altering what you guys would do with a vertical receiver like him as opposed to what you won't do without him?
BB: We'll go through the same process we go through every week, which is look at the team that we're playing and look at what our options are, and try to come up with the best game plan that we can against them. I don't think it's any different. We have guys that go in and out of the lineup from week to week based on injuries or whatever the circumstances are. It's not that unusual to game plan with a player one week and then without him the next week and then with them the following week or whatever. I think we'll still be using the same playbook.
Q: Do you anticipate Fred Taylor getting back on the field this week?
BB: We'll see how it goes. He's definitely doing better. We'll see what happens tomorrow when we go out there, get everybody loosened up. Come in and have treatment today, get everybody loosened up ready to go tomorrow and see how much each of the players can do. We'll just take it day by day.
Q: On the CBS pregame show yesterday, Charley Casserly said that Tom Brady and Randy Moss had an altercation that preceded the trade. Could you confirm that report?
BB: That's news to me.
Q: The Ravens offense didn't start on their highest note ever against the Jets. Have you seen them evolved throughout the season? Is there any particular thing you see when you try to figure out why Joe Flacco has success in the games he does?
BB: I think they're a pretty well-balanced offense. They have shown through the course of the season that they can run it and they can throw it. You've got to defend... they've got a good group of receivers, they've got good tight ends, they've got good backs and they've got a quarterback. And they've got a good offensive line, an experienced offensive line. They give you a lot to get ready for. Sometimes, teams take away one thing and they can hurt them with something else. That's the mark of a good team and a good offensive team.
Q: One final thing on the Casserly report. You didn't ask Tom Brady to see whether it happened or not? You mentioned that it was news to you.
BB: That's my answer. News to me.
Q: How has Anquan Boldin changed at all what the Ravens are doing offensively?
BB: They move him around quite a bit. He plays some in the slot, but not always. They also use T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] in there. He's made some big plays down the field for them. Big guy. Strong runner with the ball in his hands, but can go up and get the ball, go up and take it away from the defender. He had two, maybe three of those against Cleveland where he just went up and got the ball. Big, strong kid. He's definitely made some plays for them. Gotten a lot of balls, but also been productive and a guy that teams are kind of keying on, which helps everybody else. That helps [Derrick] Mason and [Todd] Heap and then T.J. [Houshmandzadeh] and [Ray] Rice. And then when you start gearing up for them, that helps Boldin. They've got a lot of good weapons on offense. Coach [Cam] Cameron does a good job of moving around, making you defend all of them, and getting all of them involved. Wherever you're a little light, that's the guy they'll go to.
Q: You guys were in shells if I remember correctly for a lot of the time before the Dolphins game and then through the bye week. Was any of that to make sure that the guys were rested for a team as physical as the Ravens?
BB: I think it had more to do with those weeks. I think each week, you look at your team, your needs for the team that you're playing and figure out what the priorities are for practice: individual periods, team periods, practice inside, practice outside, practice with noise, all those different factors. As you map out your practice schedule, what I try to do is do what I feel what's best for the football team to prepare for that particular game that week. That's really all it's based on is that individual game. And then the following week, you start all over again and maybe do it the same, maybe do it differently. But it's again, to me, based on what's the best way to prepare for that particular opponent that week.
Q: I'm curious your thoughts on the pass protection that you've seen from your team through the first four games. How would you assess the overall pass protection?
BB: For the most part, it's been okay. As usual, pass protection is a function of everything you do offensively. The more you can run the ball, the more balanced you are, the more you're ahead and can dictate the downs you want to throw on, the harder it is for teams to rush the passer and scheme up pass rushes. I think the best thing for the passing game is the running game. The best thing for the running game is the passing game. The more balanced we can be and the more we can, not just let the defense think about defending one thing, but make them defend a lot of different things, probably the better off we're going to be able to move the ball and attack the defense.
Q: What has surprised you if anything with what you've seen from Danny Woodhead in a short time? Has anything stood out to you as you've had a chance to work with him more closely?
BB: I would just say how quickly he's picked things up. He's really learned quickly in terms of all the different things we've asked him to do: different pass routes, route adjustments, pass protections, formations, the running plays, the ball handling, all that stuff. For a running back, those guys are pretty much in the middle of every play. They're doing something that's important to the play. He's done a good job of learning all those things and working extra to not only know his assignment, but also execute it well. I think that's probably the biggest thing. Skill-wise, he looks pretty much like the player that we signed as far as his speed and his quickness and his hands and things like that. He's certainly learned the system quickly. He's helped us not only on offense, but in the kicking game. When you just throw all that on one guy in a short period of time, it's great really that he's been able to pick up everything as quickly as he has and contribute as much as he has the last few weeks. Hopefully that'll get better. I know this is a good week, this past week was a good week for him to review, kind of get caught up, go over some of the fundamental things maybe that get skimmed over when you're getting ready for a game plan, the terminology and some little things. He's done a real good job of coming in here and adapting to all the different responsibilities we've given him.