Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, December 27, 2010.
BB: Sorry to keep you waiting here this afternoon. We just got back from Rochester. We spent the night there after the game. [We're] just rolling back into town but, mission accomplished. We feel good about the game yesterday. [It was] definitely not perfect but we did enough things to come out on top and that's what our goal was. A lot of guys played through some flu symptoms and bumps and bruises and stuff like that, which we know everybody has at this time of year but I thought the players did a real good job of pushing through it and keeping our eye on the target. We went out there and took advantage of our opportunities yesterday. We will have to turn around here and come back on Wednesday and get ready for Miami. We will deal with whatever comes after that as it comes. For right now, we are happy to win in Buffalo and we're ready to turn the page and get on to this week's preparations.
Q: I understand Alge [Crumpler] bought the team some Dinosaur Bar-B-Que on the plane, did you get to try some and how was it?
BB: Yeah, we had some wings on the plane and they hit the spot. It sounds like we had a pretty big team who was out [there] last night.
Q: What is the plan there as far as preparation? How is it going to go until Wednesday morning?
BB: We're just going to have to get caught up here. It's kind of like playing, not quite a Monday night game, but [we'll] watch the film, make corrections and get all of those things done. We'll see what happened in the game and [see] things we need to specifically work on and correct and make sure we talk to the team about them and finish up our scouting reports with Miami. [We will] get the information from yesterday's game against Detroit and put that in with the other scouting information that we have. We will get a game plan together tomorrow and be ready for the players on Wednesday. I would say we are a few hours behind a normal Sunday game, but significantly ahead of where we would be on a Monday night game. [We're] somewhere in the middle there.
Q: Speaking of Alge Crumpler, can you comment on his touchdown pass? [Rob] Gronkowski said after the game that it was nice to see him get rewarded for what he's been doing as a team leader. What are your feelings on the old-timer catching a touchdown pass?
BB: Like I've said many times, Alge has made a great contribution to this team all year. I think the fact that he is one of our captains with this being his first year on the team really is a testament to the amount of respect that he has from his peers, from his teammates. He is a hard working guy. He is really smart. He understands the game. He knows what's important and he is very team-oriented. [He's] totally focused on winning. It's not about his personal statistics or achievements but just whatever he can do and whatever we can do as a team to win. He is right at the front of the line of doing those things. I think his personal rewards come in the final score and team record. He contributes in a lot of ways from Monday to Saturday and on game days no matter what his role is whether it's blocking, pass protection or an opportunity to handle the ball, or formations. He does a lot of things for us. He is a very important part of this team and the offense.
Q: Another guy that has been kind of an unsung hero this year who has been pretty steady on defense and on special teams is Rob Ninkovich. Can you comment on his play and what he has given you since he got here a couple of years ago in training camp?
BB: Rob has been a very versatile player for us. He has made contributions in the kicking game, really on the phases of the kicking game, on all special teams units and he has contributed on first, second and third downs defensively. We have kind of spread out the outside linebacker on third down, nickel and dime defenses and he did that earlier in the year. We have had a lot of confidence in Rob out there in all situations. He truly is a first, second, third and fourth down player for us. How much he does of one or the other is sometimes a function of who else we have or what the game plan is or where we need him. He has shown the ability to do all of those things. As you said, he came to training camp last year with no spring OTAs or anything like that. [He] kind of jumped in there, performed well, made the team and contributed last year and has grown that role with his number one dependability and consistency. He has been on the field and [he has] been able to participate and continue to improve and work on things and get better. He has shown he can rush a passer and play the run. You know, he had a couple of big interceptions in the Miami game. He does a good job on special teams so, he has been a good guy for us in a lot of different roles.
Q: The record that Tom Brady broke yesterday for passes without an interception was held by Bernie Kosar. Do you think it's a coincidence that you coached both of those guys? What do you recall of that stretch that Bernie had when he had those 308 passes without a pick?
BB: I think it's more the other way around. I am fortunate to have been the coach during those two periods where my starting quarterback didn't turn the ball over. I think a lot more of that is a reflection and a compliment to the player throwing the ball than the coach. They're the ones that have to make the decisions and see the defenses and make the throws, take the hits from the pass-rush and all that. Certainly, Bernie and Tom deserve the credit for those streaks not the coach. Bernie, like Tom, [was] very diligent with his preparation. [He] studied everything, the schemes, the players, the individual tendencies as well as the overall team, schemes and tendencies. I would say both players are very well prepared and neither one of which made a lot of mistakes in terms of misreading something or not knowing who was going to run a certain route or who was hot or getting fooled by different defensive looks, things like that. Bernie's preparation was excellent and he was a good decision-maker. He was very careful about where he threw the ball in terms of not turning it over. Making throws like that, making good decisions about when he was pressured about not taking a sack and turning it into an interception. Things like that, trying to make plays that were just impossible. I think Tom is kind of the same way. He's careful, he can read things in a hurry but when plays break down for one reason or another, when receivers get jammed, [when] there's a breakdown in protection, or the defense has a good coverage that matches up well against a particular pattern that you had called, that's when the quarterback really has to be at his sharpest and most alert and not let that become a turnover or a worse play of what is already not a good play. I would say Bernie and Tom throughout their careers have done and do a good job of that, better than a lot of quarterbacks do. It's not only taking the plays that are there but taking those plays that aren't going to work out well and keeping them from being bad plays or turnovers.
Q: With the team having wrapped up the No. 1 seed. What are you guys going to do in terms of playing time against Miami? Will it be like last year when most of the guys play?
BB: I think it will be like it is every week. The decisions and what we do this week will be in the best interest of the football team. There are a lot of things that will go into that conversation. There are a lot of things that we will take into consideration. Certainly, what's good for the overall benefit of the team but there are some players individually whose situations are a little different than other guys. A long answer to what should be a short question is really, we will do what is best for the football team both individually and collectively. We'll make those decisions this week.
Q: Considering the youth and the inexperience you had going into this season. Does the road to this AFC East title feel any more difficult or challenging than the previous ones?
BB: Every season is a very challenging season in the National Football League. Each week we go up against great players, great coaches, teams that work hard and challenge you in a lot of different ways. I think every single week that I have coached in the National Football League, I have felt a huge challenge on the other side of the field from whatever opponent we were facing. I don't think this year is any different than last year or any other year on that. We know that we have big challenges coming up. We don't even know who they are with yet but whoever they are, anybody that is playing at this time of year are going to be good teams. Moving forward, Miami, we have certainly had our problems with them through the years. They have come up here and handled us pretty good a couple of years ago and down there last year. We've got big challenges ahead of us and we will just take them one at a time. I take satisfaction in the teams' achievements every week if we win, and disappointment if we don't. I feel the same about this year and this week's game just like the other ones. They're challenging every week.