Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.
BB: We're right in the middle of getting ready for the Colts, going through the game plan, getting the game plan ready and stuff like that. As usual, they look real good. [They look] good at a lot of things: good on offense, good on defense, they don't beat themselves. They really force you to play a good football game against them to be competitive. They've got a lot of good players. They're well coached. They're sound; they're tough. They do a lot of things well, so it will be a big challenge for us this week. They have their own style of play and it's very effective. We'll have to make adjustments to get in the mode to be able to handle that.
Q: How would you describe the Colts style of play?
BB: No huddle on offense. They do a good job on checking and making changes if the defense gives them a good look or bad look, however you want to call it. Defensively, they're as fast as any team in the league - faster than most. They have a good mix on man and zone coverage, with a real good pass rush. They're a fast team. And in the running game, you just have to block speed and quickness, compared to what you have to do a lot of other weeks.
Q: Can you talk about BenJarvus Green-Ellis and what he's been able to accomplish lately. Has he been doing anything differently?
BB: No, I don't think so. I think Benny's had three years and he's been real consistent for us. He's gotten better at a lot of things: working the passing game and special teams, better understanding of some of our blocking schemes and the running game, more patience. But, that's kind of the normal progression for any player - any running back. He's tough. He makes positive yards and has good body lean. He's been a real dependable player for us. There hasn't been any one big thing or one day where the light came on, he's just been a real consistent player that's improved on a daily basis. [He] really works hard in trying to understand what he needs to do [and] what we're trying to do, and then does it. You have to give him a lot of credit for that. He's got a great attitude and a great work ethic. He's tough and a very dependable player.
Q: Have you watched film individually with Green-Ellis?
BB: I try to spend time with all the players at one time or another. It's hard to sit down with every single guy all the time. I do it from time to time with different people, but we, like everybody, we look at film, we work on some things [and] talk about some things.
Q: Have you seen how the Colts have been able to make up for the loss of Dallas Clark in the passing game?
BB: They're still real good in the passing game. They've used a variety of different things - differences in their formations. [Jacob] Tamme's done a good job for them there. They've really played four different tight ends, primarily three, after Clark, so, they use a lot of different people, different combinations and it comes down to team offense. They're effective moving the ball regardless of who the tight end is or who anybody is. [If] you take something away from them, they find somewhere else to go.
Q: How much more are you seeing bunch formations from them and how has that been effective?
BB: They do some of that. I'd have to say that pretty much everything they do is effective. I would say that there's hardly anything that I wouldn't put in that category. They have different looks for different games. Sometimes, they mix them up. Sometimes, they feature more of one than another. A lot of times their receivers spread out, [actually] most of the time, but they definitely bring them in tight. A lot of their different personnel groups, they have different combinations with them [and] different ways to use them in the running game to block the force and crack on safeties and things like that. They give you a lot of different looks. They're a hard team to prepare for. They use their personnel and put them in positions that they think are advantageous or makes the defense make difficult adjustments to it. Then they go to work and they're pretty effective at everything.
Q: Are Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney as disruptive as ever this year?
BB: Absolutely, and then you can put Jerry Hughes in there, too. He's had a good amount of playing time. But all their defensive linemen are pretty disruptive. [Eric] Foster's done a good job for them [and Fili] Moala. Hughes rotates in there quite a bit. He's fast off the edge, kind of like Freeney and Mathis. It's kind of scary when you're watching film and they're all 90s, whatever it is, 93, 98, 92. Their jerseys are on real tight, sometimes you can't get a clean look at the numbers, and when you're my age, your eyesight isn't that great anyway, and you kind of have to run the film back and say, 'Which guy is that? Is that Hughes? Is that Mathis? Is that Hughes? Is that Freeney?' It's kind of scary when they're all that good and they all look the same. Or, at times, they look the same, coming off the edge and running around a corner and all that. So yeah, it's a very fast, athletic group and you certainly have to be aware of those guys. They can strip sack you and ruin the game on one play if you're not careful.
Q: Does their defense gain an advantage from being at home where I think the crowd noise may slow up an offensive lineman?
BB: They're pretty good everywhere. In the end, people will try to draw them offsides and they deal with that all the time, trying to slow them down. But they're very disciplined. They go on the ball. When the ball moves, they're gaining ground on the line of scrimmage, like any good pass rushers. They have plenty of production at home [and] plenty of production on the road. They're pretty good wherever they play.
Q: What do you see from the production of Tamme?
BB: Tamme's done a good job for them. I don't think I'd put him in a class with Dallas Clark, but he's done a good job.
Q: Are they running the same stuff now or is different from what you would see Clark run?
BB: No, I'd say they run their offense. Certainly, [there's] a big emphasis on Reggie Wayne - there should be, he's one of the best receivers in football. Clark did a great job for them, but Tamme's stepped in and done a good job. They've gotten production from their other receivers, from [Austin] Collie, [Pierre] Garcon and I know other guys they've used in there, as well. Blair White's done a good job for them. They're definitely able to use their other tight ends: [Brody] Eldridge and [Gijon] Robinson. They're able to still continue to make the defense defend everything, take the play and go to the weak spots that the defense gives them. The guys that are there have been productive and made plays. Of course, it all starts with a great quarterback and [Peyton] Manning does an excellent job of getting them into good plays or keeping them out of bad plays. He makes great decisions in the pocket. He knows when he's under pressure. He gets [the ball] out quick and knows when he has a little bit more time and can scan the field. He doesn't turn the ball over. Again, they make you beat them. They don't make very many mistakes. So, you really have to play a good disciplined, consistent game against them. It doesn't take much of a slip up before they'll make you pay for it. They [have been] one of the best offensive teams in football and they'll continue to be.
Q: Manning has been sacked more this year than he was all year last year. Is the coverage better with the lack of Dallas Clark?
BB: They don't get to [Manning] very often. Sometimes plays happen where somebody comes free. For the most part, when he has a chance, he doesn't take many bad plays. I don't know about all those numbers, but he's got to be one of the hardest quarterbacks to sack in football. I think, statistically, that would be born out. He does a good job [with] free rushers. He gets rid of the ball. Every once in a while, he might not see a guy coming or somebody might miss an assignment or something happens, but I'm telling you, not very often.
Q: Did you know you guys are 19th in total offense but then first or second in scoring? Does that speak to your point that it's difficult to look at numbers and know if they have meaning or not?
BB: Well, I think they all have meaning; it's just the priority of the stats. Wins is number one. Points is number two, because that correlates to winning. And then you get to the things that correlate to scoring, which [are] red area, big plays, and third down becomes a part of that because of being able to sustain drives and that type of things. But if you make big plays, then third down becomes less important. You can offset any good numbers with bad numbers. You can offset bad numbers with good numbers, but in the end, it's about getting points on the board and keeping them off. You always want to improve on the things that you're doing in all areas of the game. You want to run for more yardage, run for more consistent yardage, pass for more consistent yardage, defend it, all those things - get more negative plays, turnovers, on and on. You're always striving to improve in every one of those areas. I'm not saying they're not significant, they are, but the ones that correlate the highest to winning, you still have to consider them as the most important.
Q: Is the strategy the same when dealing with Manning as Ben Roethlisberger, or do you deal with them completely differently?
BB: I think there are some similarities. They're both great quarterbacks. They both have a lot of offensive production. They've both won a lot of games with their teams and they're a primary reason why. I think their styles are different. I think their passing game and just their overall offensive systems are a lot different, so to try and compare two guys who are in systems that don't have a lot of similarities, I think that's a hard comparison to make.