Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 9, 2010.
BB: Well, we've started to get into the Steelers and they look about like they always do: [they're] real good on defense; [they're] top of the league in takeaways [and] run defense; [they] don't allow many points; [they're a] tough, physical team. As usual, on offense, they have a real good running game. [Ben] Roethlisberger has done a real good job working back into it, throwing the ball deep, spreading it around, getting it to all the receivers and balancing it up with the running game. So they are very impressive all the way around. They can do pretty much everything they need to do: run it, throw it, stop the run, take it away, rush the passer [and they're] good in the kicking game. So, they're just a real solid football team. We know [Pittsburgh] is a real tough place to play, so we've got a lot of work to do this week. [There's] a big challenge ahead of us and [we're] looking forward to going up there and competing with them. [We] know that they're one of the best teams in the league and certainly a team that will be a big challenge for us to play Sunday night.
Q: When you look at the Steelers defensively, how much different are they from what you've seen over the years, schematically?
BB: Not a lot. Coach [Dick] LeBeau always has a change up here or there, but they've been so successful doing what they're doing [that] they really don't do a whole lot different or don't do a whole lot of things you haven't seen before because they're successful at doing it and they don't really need to change much. They're well coached. They're really solid. You have to worry about everybody: the outside linebackers, the inside linebackers, the safeties, the down lineman. [Their] corners are good tacklers. So, they have good players and they use them all in ways that are weapons for the defense. There are problems offensively that you have to handle. Those guys make a lot of plays. They're well coached. They're very talented and they do a really good job on everything, particularly defensively, but all the way across the board. But, they are very good on defense.
Q: When it comes to scouting their offense, do you just start from when Roethlisberger started playing this season?
BB: Well sure, that's been four games now, so we can definitely get a good look at him. But at the same time, in the earlier games, they still ran their offense. It wasn't like they put in a whole new offense when Roethlisberger came back. They continued to do what they do, [but] certainly it changes a little bit with him because of his style of play, his ability on the deep ball, his strength in the pocket and all those things. But, the plays themselves are really pretty consistent regardless of [whom] the quarterback has been. The other 10 guys are doing the things that they do in their offense.
Q: Is there any difference in terms of preparation with the game being Sunday night?
BB: [There's] not really any difference. I think everything from today up until Saturday night will really all be the same from our practices, our travel and all that. Sunday is a longer time until game time; instead of playing at 1:00 p.m., we'll play seven hours later, so, Sunday will be a little bit different. But I think the rest of the week, really, will be on our normal practice schedule and [we'll] take the preparation and the same steps that we normally take on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Q: Do you have any further updates on Stephen Gostkowski?
BB: No, not at this time.
Q: Does Roethlisberger look like he has had any time off or does he look the same?
BB: Yeah, he looks like he looked. I think if you didn't know the dates of the games and you just watched this year and watched games last year or the year before, you'd have a hard time saying, 'Oh, this is '08; this is '09; this is '10.' Ben looks like Ben. He has a great style of play. He's a very physical guy: hard to tackle, hard to get down, makes a lot of big plays down the field [and] uses all his receivers. You have to defend all of them - the tight ends, the backs, [Hines] Ward, [and Antwaan] Randle El. He gets the ball to, of course, Heath Miller a lot. [Mike] Wallace is a big play for him. [Emmanuel] Sanders has stepped in there. So, [Roethlisberger] uses all of them and he's a big threat himself back there to buy time in the pocket or pull it down or run if he has to - [he's a] hard guy to tackle.
Q: You mentioned yesterday about the possibility of bringing in a kicker. If that happens, how do you decide on who that would be?
BB: I can't really speak for any other team. I would just say for the Patriots, what we try to do is, when we look at a position or a replacement at a position that we need, we look at the players who are available and take into consideration all the information that we have about those players - both past and present - depending on what their individual situation happens to be. That can encompass a lot of things. It could be their physical condition. It could be when they were last with a team or what team it was, what kind of system they were in with that team or teams - all those type of things, as well as an evaluation of their skills. Sometimes a workout is part of that, or even if it isn't part of it, sometimes that carries a little more weight than others depending on how well we know the player or are confident in what his skill set is. So, it is really a big menagerie of information and some information carries more weight and is overriding others depending on the particular situation and player and position that we are talking about. That's really the best way I can answer the question. It's not ... I can't sit here and say the criteria are a, b or c. There're probably 10 to 15 criteria and they can be ordered differently depending on a variety of circumstances.
Q: Are you allowed to bring your guys out or have Zoltan Mesko hold or Jake Ingram snap while working out the players?
BB: What we're permitted to do, we do. What we're not permitted to do, we don't do.
Q: I'll look it up later.
BB: There are a lot of rules that govern workouts as far as pads and physicals and all those kinds of things. So, what we can do, we do. What we can't do, we don't do.
Q: What do you see from Maurkice Pouncey, the rookie offensive lineman for the Steelers?
BB: He's played a lot for them. He's like any young player - a talented, young player - you see some things that are impressive. He's athletic. He's strong. He plays with good technique. There are certainly things, experience wise, that I'm sure he's learning every week and every day. He's done a good job for them and I'm sure he will continue to get better because I know he is a hard worker [and] a tough kid. He's shown that he can compete at this level - no question about that - and I think he's getting better. He's like every rookie: there are things that I'm sure he'll be better at in time than he is right now, but he's certainly very competitive right now.
Q: Between LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison, what stands out to you when you look at this linebacker group?
BB: Well, I think you see a lot of speed and athleticism inside with Farrior and Timmons; both of those guys can run. They are very athletic; they can cover a lot of ground. Harrison and Woodley are physical. They're real good pass rushers - that's their strength. They really become defensive ends when they go to a sub defense and Farrior and Timmons are more of cover linebackers, although they will change up and have Harrison or Woodley cover and have Farrior or Timmons rush from time to time. But their primary roles are as I described them. I think they complement each other well. They're all good. They're all physical. They are all pretty athletic. I'd say two of them are pass rushers and the other two are more behind-the-line-of-scrimmage type linebackers and that's the roles they're using them in. I'm not saying they can't rush, but that's not their primary role.