New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.
BB: OK, we're getting ready for the Jets and that's in addition to what we saw from them earlier in the year. They have added some things offensively [and] defensively. [They have] a real good running game, of course. They present the usual scheme problems, the ones we worked on the first game and that they did a good job with. We have a lot of work to do there. It's a division game [and] it's November, so we've got to play well Sunday. We need to play a good game here against the Jets. They got us the last time and we need to win the division.
Q: Obviously Sunday was pretty emotional, does it help to face a team like the Jets where you think you guys won't need any help to get geared up for it?
BB: Well, we know the Jets are tough; they've beat us the last two times we've played them. We need to try to reverse that trend. It's a big challenge in this league every week, it doesn't matter who you play. The division games are even bigger. We have the same philosophy every week, win or lose. We make the corrections, take a look at the game we played and move on into the next game, so that's where we're at this week. It's really like we always approach it. It's just a division game, [so] I guess that makes it a little bit bigger.
Q: Since you guys played them last, I guess you saw a little bit of their blitz scheme like when you played the Ravens, have you guys improved since then in facing that scheme?
BB: We'll find out. The one thing about the Jets is they continue to add little tweaks and give you different looks on it as the year goes along. I'm sure even if they run the same things against us that they ran in the first game, they will do it with a little variation or something that makes it look a little bit different than what it was the last time. They do a good job of that. They don't just line up and tell you what they're going to be in. They try to make their coverages, their blitzes and their packages all blend together, so it's hard to read after the ball is snapped. I'm sure we'll get something similar to that this week.
Q: A two-part question about Matt Patricia. Can you talk a little bit about the impact he's had on this year's defense? And does he have an expanded role at all on the sidelines during game day now that Dean Pees is up in the booth?
BB: I'll start with the second question. Of course it's different, they are different assignments and different things to do on the field than up in the booth. They are both important; they're all important. Everybody's got an important role on game day. I would just say they are different, having done those myself as an assistant for a number of years - being upstairs, being downstairs, calling defenses, not calling defenses and all that. It doesn't really matter what it is that you are doing, you need several different people working together there from the top to the bottom - from upstairs to downstairs - making adjustments with the players, to looking at pictures and figuring out what they're doing. It is all important, it all has to work together. And Matt's a big part of that, but so are Dean [Pees] and Josh [Boyer] and Pepper [Johnson] - they all are. I don't want to over-magnify anybody's role or under sell it because it's all important and it all works together. Defensively, Matt - of course - has a very important job - as does any linebacker coach - because the linebackers are involved in every phase of the defense. They're involved in our regular based defense. They're involved in the pass rush. They're involved in the pass coverage and they're involved in our sub packages as rushers or as coverage players. So that really integrates them into all the other units on the defense as far as the communication. But also their responsibilities at times they have to coordinate with the secondary, at times they have to coordinate with the linemen, at times they have to coordinate with each other on coverage drops, run stunts and things like that. Anytime you are coaching a position like that, whether it be linebackers, tight ends, running backs, they have to be a part of everything. Of course, all the positions are important, but it adds a different dimension to that position, as opposed to coaching the secondary or the corners. And again, I'm not saying that's not important [because] I've done that, too, but you can be a lot more specific and there are a lot of plays and inside trap plays [where] it doesn't really involve the corners. There are a number of plays in the game where they're not directly involved, but there's hardly any play where a linebacker isn't involved to some degree and you have to coach it to get it defended properly. It's a little bit different, but it's fun to coach those positions because you are in on every play.
Q: I was wondering if you could revisit the personnel decisions from Sunday?
BB: I think all that's been talked about, and discussed and all that. I gave you what I knew about it in the game, what my decision was. At this point, I am onto the Jets.
Q: It was about Ty Warren and Shawn Springs being inactive. I was wondering if they were injury related or personnel related?
BB: They were on the injury report as to what their injury situation was and then those decisions were made. Really, they were both game-time-type decisions. Again, on the whole injury thing, look, at this time of year and really at almost any time of year, I don't know if any player is 100 percent. I don't know if that really exists. And guys that are dealing with stuff during the week, you get to the game and some of them play with some type of limitation. And some of them don't [play]. Sometimes that's a physical thing, sometimes it's a coaching decision based on the game plan and what you think the players going to have to do, how effective do you think he'll be doing it, what your other options are, other plays that you could use in that role, what the possibility is. There's always a possibility that a player could be reinjured or set back, so there are 10 different things that go into that, so it's a combination of all those things. I wouldn't say it wasn't any one thing or there was one overriding part of that - this was 90 percent and everything else was added up to 10 percent, but it was just all of it put together. Your other options of the other eight players that you have to pick from - the 45 and the eight - again, it's not just about offense or defense, but it's about kicking game, your depth in the kicking game and also your depth in situational defenses, such as multiple receivers, nickel and dime, and all those kind of things. [It is] not just your basic first down packages. I'm not trying to make it more complicated than it is either, but I think there's a lot that goes into that and as I always say if all of our players were healthy. If all 53 players were healthy, I think - other than the backup quarterback - they would play in the game by situation and you have to decide where you want that depth. If the guy isn't healthy enough to play, then that takes him out of it, there's no decision to be made. But with those other guys, would we have use for somebody doing some role in some part of it, even if he's on the inactive list? I would say every week the answer to that question is yes.
Q: Where have you seen that the offense has problems in the red zone and how are the challenges different down there?
BB: For every offense, you just have less space in the throwing game. The holes are smaller. The defenders sit on the routes tighter because they don't have to get run off and in the running game you are dealing with more people. [If] the ball's at midfield, you have safeties and corners that are playing deep enough that really don't affect the running game, until you gain eight or 10 yards. They are just not close enough to really be a part of it because of their coverage responsibilities. That's different in the red area because, again, those players don't get run off and they don't have to carry their receivers very deep because they can't go very deep. They are able to show up quicker in the running game and a lot of times - like most defenses do - the secondary key for the run first and then they get back on their man. And again that's a little harder to do out on the field because of plays like flea flickers and hard play-action passes, where the receivers can run by them. Down there, offensively, you're dealing with more guys in the running game and tighter fits in the passing game. So if the defense does a reasonably good job offensively you need a good throw, a good catch and a good route to really stick it in there in a tight hole. And those holes are a lot tighter than they are out in the field, generally speaking; unless there's some kind of major mistake, or a receiver runs a great route and gets a lot of separation on the defender down there. But that's harder to do. Good throw, good catches, good routes, good timing, that's really what you need in the passing game down there. And then in the running game, you have to take care of more guys, whether that's to run them back, run through them, breaking a tackle, putting his head down for another yard or two. Or [you have to] come up with some type of a scheme play that either eliminates those guys from fitting into the run game, or bringing receivers in to block them and having somebody less dangerous - like the corner - be the unblocked guy as opposed to a safety. I mean, those are your options.
Q: You have been good in that area in the past. Do you think there is something lacking there right now where you guys can do certain things better than good red zone teams typically do?
BB: Absolutely and that's something that we've spent extra time working on in the last few weeks, including over the Bye Week and we'll keep working on it. We're not doing as well in that area of the field as we'd like to do, as we feel like we can do and we need to do a better job of it. There's no other way to put it and those are important points - the difference between three and seven - those are important points both ways and we have to coach it better, we have to play it better. We've got to play our best football in that area of the field because there's a lot at stake and there are a lot of things we need to do better. It's not any one thing, it's a lot of different plays and we're in different coverages and the offense runs different plays. It's not just one thing, but it's certainly as a composite on the whole we need to do it at a higher level.
Q: You mentioned you are moving onto the Jets and you detailed everything from the most recent game. How will you handle that with players in terms of corrections? Will you go back over that or because getting back so late do you just sort of forget about it and go into the next game?
BB: No, we address it. Sometimes it's done in less of a team setting and individually. Different positions get together and watch the film maybe after practice on Wednesday or sometimes they do it during the morning meeting and take a little block of time to see it and go over it. It's something you have to squeeze in when you give the players Monday and Tuesday off after the game and you don't have the Monday film time, like we normally have. We have to squeeze that in as part of our week here with the Jets. Like I said, usually on Wednesday either a block of time off the morning meeting or at the end of the day when the players get done to go back over it. Now, we've had a lot of guys in here yesterday and today that have come in to watch the film on their own and with some individual coaches, too. That's also part of it. We've had really everybody will come through the building either yesterday or today, they will have all been here to workout, lift and get treatment. And I'm sure a good number of them have already seen that film, part of that process has already occurred.