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Bill Belichick Conference Call - 10/21/2008

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 21, 2008.

BB: It was a good one and I think everyone kind of got a little energy burst here this morning heading into this afternoon after last night's game. It was certainly a good effort by our players to respond to everything from the trip, the San Diego loss, and play well. I thought that we had some good energy out there and played aggressively. I was of course happy to see that. The plays that we made were very positive against a good football team too. We have a lot of respect for Denver. They are a strong football team. It was good to be able to compete well with them. I don't have any updates on injuries. It was difficult for all of us to watch Rodney [Harrison] get carted off like he did. We hope that goes well for him. When we have some more information we will give it to you. I don't have a timetable on it though. Then we turn our attention to the Rams. They have certainly done well since their Bye Week in the last couple weeks. They played outstanding against Dallas and they are playing about as good as anybody in the league based on the last couple of weeks. They are a very athletic team. [Steven] Jackson is a tremendous [running] back. They have great skill players and they are tough on defense and in the kicking game. We have a lot to get ready for on a team that we don't know very well. It is a short week so we will have to hustle here to get caught up and have the kind of week of preparation we need for Sunday. So we are scrambling a little bit but it is a good feeling coming off of last night's game.

Q: You have said in the past that it takes six weeks or about six games into the season before you begin to get an idea of what you have in your team. We are already at that stage, what do you see thus far?

BB: Well I think the big thing I see is that the team has worked hard. We have practiced well, we have been attentive at meetings; I see us getting better on a daily basis. We practice three times a week and we play once, so everything in a game isn't always a reflection of the overall performance of the team because there are an awful lot of plays that we run through the course of the week and we don't run all of those on the weekends. So, I think the team is improving in every phase of the game. We just have to keep on that track and keep pushing it forward. I thought we made some progress last night in the punt return phase - that was good. We had a good night running the ball. I don't think statistically it was our best game defending the run but it was against a very good running team. I thought we played competitively in the running game defensively. Hopefully we can continue to do those things and continue to work to get the ball in the end zone offensively, keep it out defensively and win on third down. Those two short yardage conversions last night on offense were big plays and we didn't make those a week ago on fourth and one and third and one. So whether that trend will continue, we will just have to wait and see. But, I think that certainly from game one to game six there has been a lot of improvement in our football team and I just hope that we can continue in that general direction. I know from week to week there are always going to be things that aren't perfect and aren't exactly the way we want them. In overall terms I think that the team is working hard and that improvement and that work is paying off.

Q: Can you talk about the job you got from BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the second half?

BB: Ben is a kid that has practiced well. He's been on the show team and has given us real good looks all season against the different backs he's gone up against - Thomas Jones, Ronnie Brown, LaDainian Tomlinson. He's shown up in practice. We activated him last week and he got a couple plays there at the end of the game against San Diego and had some carries last night. I thought he ran with good vision and good balance like he usually does in practice. Hopefully he can continue to take those experiences and the work that he got last night and build on that going forward in the opportunities that he gets in the coming weeks, whenever those are. But he did a nice job for us and I think he runs the ball in practice with good patience, good vision and good balance.

Q: Several of the players mentioned after the game that you told them to just go out there and have fun. Did you feel like the team was a little tight or not enjoying themselves as much as they should of prior to the Denver game?

BB: I don't know. I think that is something that we usually talk about every year at some point in the year. There are examples this year... Look when you have fun playing football is when you are winning. Those things go hand in hand - making plays, winning games and having fun - that all goes together. It is hard to have a lot of fun when you are not making plays and you are not winning. Maybe you still enjoy the competition of the game and all of that but it's not as much fun and sometimes it's harder to generate that energy. I think the combination of making plays, supporting each other and having positive reinforcement coming from a lot more people, not just one or two, is a positive thing for the team and I think they really did it last night. Play making was part of it, probably Monday Night Football and the energy that comes with that is part of it and I think there was a little bit of a conscience effort for everyone to be a little more emotional and enthusiastic. That carried over and that was of course supported by a number of positive plays and big plays that give you something to be enthusiastic about which in the end is what it really comes down to. If you can execute your plays and make positive plays then it is sincere and legitimate emotion and enthusiasm. It is hard to get all emotional about a one yard run when you hand the ball off. But when you break tackles, run over people, gain extra yards, make first downs, get the ball in the end zone, make tackles on the kickoff team inside the 20, turn the ball over on defense and make a couple of hits and hard tackles - all of that stuff goes hand in hand. In the end I think it came down to the players and their execution and their toughness last night. That carried us a long way and they had fun doing it so that's great.

Q: What went into the decision to IR [place on Injured Reserve] Laurence Maroney? Was it just a problem with his shoulder that was going to last all season and does he require surgery?

BB: I think you answered your own question. Yes. It was a problem with his shoulder that we thought wasn't going to resolve this year.

Q: Will he need surgery or is it something that is going to take time to heal on it's own?

BB: You know I am not going to get into that. I really appreciate you asking. I know you are very concerned about it. We will treat the player however we feel is the best way to treat him, whatever that is. We will do everything we can for the player to rehabilitate and get back to 100 percent. We will do that with all players. I am really sorry but I am not going to get into what each individual treatment is and all of that.

Q: Sammy Morris also went down with a knee [injury] in the second half. What is his status? Does it seem serious and can you tell us a little about it?

BB: I really can't say too much about it. It is the day after the game. We will see how it goes today. When we go to practice tomorrow we'll see where all the players are tomorrow. Some of them will go out there, try to practice and are able to practice and there will be other guys that we'll find out they are not quite ready to go tomorrow. Then we will go through the same thing on Thursday. That is really pretty much the way it works. So we will just have to wait and see on a day-to-day basis how everybody is doing. So we'll call Sammy day-to-day.

Q: What does Rodney Harrison mean to your defense?

BB: Well Rodney is one of the leaders on the defense from experience and from his playing style and production. He is a good player and has been a good player going on six years now. It was hard to watch him go through what happened last night. That's tough. I feel badly for him. You hate to see that with any player. That was very unfortunate for him and we all feel badly for him.

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