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Bill Belichick Conference Call - 10/14/2008

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 14, 2008.

BB: We started working on Denver last night and this morning. They look good, like they always do. They are a very fast starting team. They throw the ball well and they have some very good receivers - [Brandon] Marshall has really turned out to be on of the outstanding receivers in this league both as a catcher and after the catch with the ball in his hands. [Eddie] Royal has been very impressive too. I think they both missed a game and they still have a lot of catches. So it is an explosive group at receiver, at tight end, also running back and the quarterback is very athletic. [Jay] Cutler has a very talented set of tools. He has a great arm, very athletic, fast and [is] very mobile in the pocket. They do a lot of things with him. They bootleg him. They put him in the shotgun [and] empty out the backfield. He scrambles around and he can throw as far as you want it thrown. As usual, I think the Broncos are very well coached. [Mike] Shanahan does a great job. They are a very good, fundamental, technique team. They are good in the kicking game - league leading kickoff coverage, right up there in punt coverage. Defensively they are a very active team up front. They move around quite a bit. They give you some different looks, 4-3, 3-4. They get a lot of different guys involved the linebackers are fast [and are in] pursuit of the ball well. They are a very active group. They are a good football team and do a lot of things well. They are very well coached and give you a lot of looks from a scheme standpoint. We will have to be prepared for a lot of different things, still play well, play aggressively and take advantage of our opportunities, which they don't give you too many, you have to work for them.

Q: Today is the trade deadline, you talked about it in the past not being like baseball where the phone lines are heating up. Do you anticipate anything on your end?

BB: I don't think so. I think there is less than a one percent chance of anything happening there.

Q: A roster related question - Can the clock start on the PUP players Stephen Neal and Oliver Ross if you wanted it to?

BB: Yes. That is correct.

Q: Do you anticipate that happening now?

BB: We will go through our final workouts with them today. I think that there is a pretty good chance that we will start practicing them this week, yes.

Q: Both Stephen Neal and Oliver Ross?

BB: It is not final but there is a pretty good chance of that, yes.

Q: Obviously you want to have all your players; can you talk about what those two players could possibly add to that group up front, the offensive line?

BB: We will just have to see on that. Stephen [Neal] has played a lot of football for us and I think he would certainly add to the quality and depth of that group. Oliver [Ross] is a player that we haven't had in our system and he hasn't had a chance to have any plays at all with our team. It has been all individual and rehabilitation work. But he was a good player with the Steelers and the Cardinals. He has some position flexibility at tackle and can play both sides. So we will just evaluate how he is and how he is coming along relative to what we have seen so far. It is not a perfect evaluation by any means it is just the best we can do. Once he is healthy, once he is able to get out there than all we can do is look at that and put it up against the other performances the other guys have had. Then we can see where we think it is going to go. I don't think we are going to know. I am sure he will get better the more he plays and the more he practices. But we will just have to do what we this is best for our team as far as making that decision goes. When we signed him we knew this was going to be the case. He is anxious to play and we are anxious to see him play. I think we are at the point where we all want to start that process. So that is what we will do this week.

Q: Are you still confident that Matt Cassel can lead this team going forward?

BB: Yes.

Q: Just to follow up on that, if someone were to say let's give Kevin O'Connell a chance, there is no thought in your mind about it?

BB: Matt [Cassel] is our starting quarterback. He gives our team the best chance to win. We all have to play better and coach better than we did last week. We have to do a better job than we did against San Diego. But he's our quarterback.

Q: Bill you talk about Denver being a fast starting team, you guys have had a lot of trouble in the first quarter - Is it every area that is giving you trouble early on?

BB: I think we had our chances last week. We had a good drive and we weren't able to finish it. We didn't convert on the field goal. We gave up a long pass. We were able to keep San Diego out of the end zone and they kicked the field goal. I don't think it is across the board, at times especially looking at the San Diego game, there were some good things there. It wasn't completely the start we wanted. We had our opportunities and didn't do as much with them as what we would have liked to have done. Defensively, we didn't take advantage of the field position we had, when we had it. Later on we lost the field position and we were playing on short field. But you still have to keep them out of the end zone defensively.

Q: Given the scheme and the personnel that was on the field when you had four down lineman against the Chargers, is it realistic to expect more of a pass rush or was it designed there to have those guys anchoring down against the run?

BB: I think you get into a little bit of a bind with a team like San Diego. They are a real good running team and when you start stunning and moving people, which can help you get better leverage on the quarterback, it creates running lanes. It is a lot harder to block someone out of the way than it is when they run out of the way to take them the direction that they are going, to use their momentum to create running lanes. It is a little bit of a conflict there especially for the lineman, the front - when you're playing the run and they run play action and you are not creating any movement with your pass rush against a good, big offensive line like San Diego, you are not just going to run over those guys and power them back into the quarterback. They have a good scheme and they have good players. They have you playing the run and [when] they get ahead in the game, you have to respect their ability to run the ball whether it is LaDainian Tomlinson or Darren Sproles. That definitely cuts down your opportunity to rush the passer. When you can be in control of the score, like the San Francisco game was the opposite of that…Even though the 49ers had an outstanding attack in Frank Gore, he only carried the ball three times in the second half. The score really changed the dynamic of that game. The way the second half was played, it became much more of a situational game. That is a little bit of an issue when you have a well-balanced team offensively like the Chargers. The running game helps the passing game and it helps the offense deal with the pass rush.

Q: The NBC announcers John Madden and Al Michaels drew attention when you and Josh McDaniels were going to the locker room during halftime, was there anything more there other than the standard communication in game and strategy wise?

BB: That's all it was to me. I don't really know what those guys are talking about. I am not going to comment on that. I have no idea really what the nature of their comments were or anything else. We were talking about the first half, some things we wanted to talk about at half time and how we wanted to approach the second half - that's exactly what it was.

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