New England Patriots head coach addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, December 9, 2008.
BB: We have been watching a lot of Oakland and they are a big, physical football team. They love to run the ball. They have some great [running] backs, a big offensive line [that is] very physical and big receivers. They are big everywhere. They have a real physical front seven on defense, big corners that play a lot of man to man coverage that's a to challenge the receivers. They are very good in the kicking game. [They have] a lot of big fast guys in coverage. They have two real good returners. I think this is a team that is really strong, physical, a lot play with power and we are going to have to be ready to play that way too.
Q: You mentioned the man to man coverage that you might see. What do you see from Nnamdi Asomugha? You hear good things about him but he is on a team that isn't winning a lot of games, so he slips under the radar a bit. Mike Shanahan called him one of the best in the game.
BB: I would agree with that. He's a very good corner. He is a tall guy and for his length he has good quickness getting his hands on receivers well. He is very physical. He is a good tackler. He is a very good run force player. In all honesty, he doesn't get a lot of action. People stay away from him a good part of the time, so he doesn't get an inordinate number of opportunities to play the ball or to have his receiver get it. He gets a few, but not all that many. He is very impressive. He is tight on the receiver, he's very physical on the line of scrimmage and he is a good run force player and tackler. He is a complete player. He does everything in the game well.
Q: From what you have seen, do they move him around or are they locked in on sides with their corners?
BB: They move him some. Most of the time they don't but we have seen him match from time to time, so we will have to be ready to play it both ways. I am sure they can do it either way. They have matched in the past. They don't match a lot more than they do match.
Q: I would assume he would be mostly on the left side?
BB: That is correct.
Q: You talk last week about the crowd noise in Seattle, what about Oakland with the black hole? Do you have any memorable stories from that group of creatures?
BB: No, I am sure I will get a great reception from them. I always do. They always seem particularly happy to see me. I am sure I will get a nice welcome from them. It is loud in Oakland. They have a very good fan base. They are enthusiastic and they try to make it hard on the opponent, especially when you get down there in that area. We were out there for a Monday night game a few years ago and it was pretty intense there. I am sure they will be ready to go.
Q: Is their legitimacy to the so called rookie wall and if so, as a coach, how do you deal with it?
BB: Well, as I said it is a long season. It is a lot longer than any college season. So, when you come into the National Football League you can't really prepare for the length and the intensity of the season. You can talk about it, other people can tell you about it, but until you actually experience it it's not really the same. We all have to go through that and how it affects each individual player the first time they go through a season like this is unique to each individual. I think it is an adjustment period, it certainly was for me. The first year I did it and from then on it was never as bad as the first year because at least you know what to expect, you know how to pace yourself and both mentally and physically can gear up for it. How it affects each individual player or each individual coach for that matter the first time is certainly a learning experience and something you can't prepare for. You just have to take it as it comes, adjust to it and do the best you can.
Q: On the play from the Seahawks game where Seneca Wallace had that run on their last drive, from a coaching standpoint when a player pulls up it looks like he doesn't want to pick up the 15 yard penalty there, which we have seen quite a bit of this year. How do you coach that?
BB: Play until the runner is on the ground or he is out of bounds. We have seen that before - players and quarterbacks especially running to the sideline. They get to the sideline and then pull it down, stay inbounds and try to tightrope it down the sideline or fake like they are going out of bounds and sprint past the defender. We just have to be alert in all of those situations and finish the plays. I wouldn't say play until the whistle because that isn't accurate anymore, but play until the runner is down and until the possession of the ball is clear at the end of the play.
Q: Is there any extra logistical hurdles if you wanted to bring in players to workout with not being at home? Are you handcuffed at all if you wanted to workout a player based on the fact that you are not at home?
BB: No, I don't think so. As you said, there might be a little bit more of a process just because we are not doing it where we normally do it. But, we would fly him in here, pick him up, get the physical done and all of that. We would do whatever we would normally do it just wouldn't be quite as expedient and as smooth. We would just have to go through the process. It might take a little bit longer, but it wouldn't restrict us.
Q: Do you have your practice squad guys out there joining you?
BB: Yes, they will. They will be here.
Q: Will you take anytime this week to talk to Randy Moss about going back to Oakland because there might be extra emotions for him in that situation?
BB: Randy is pretty professional. He is one of the most professional guys we have. I am not really too concerned about that. But, I have talked to Randy about the specific players, their skills, strengths and weaknesses. We have already had those discussions relative to preparing for the Raiders. I think the rest of it - he's played a lot of football and we have all played teams that we have been on before, knew people from or what have you. It seems like that stuff comes up every week with some player or another, either on our team or the other team that we face. So, I think the novelty on that has kind of worn off. But, definitely he and LaMont [Jordan] know a lot of players on the Raiders team, their skills, strengths and weaknesses. I think that can definitely help us in our preparation, they know a lot better than we do.
Q: In terms of them helping you, is that a regular occurrence throughout the week and how does that process work where the information they have might help you? Do they just relay it to you and you disseminate it to the team?
BB: It would depend on what the nature of the information was and who the team was. A lot of teams, we have quite a bit of information on those teams from the accumulation of information from watching them play other teams, division teams and teams like Pittsburgh, Denver and Indianapolis, teams like that that we play year in and year out. Maybe if you had a player from one of those teams you might ask him a specific question about how do they block this, how would they read that, or what adjustment would they make if this happened and that type of thing. But, I think for the most part we have a pretty good understanding because we have already gone through that with a lot of players and a lot of coaches, so we study those teams very thoroughly. But, a new team one you haven't played in awhile, that you are not really very familiar with - say a team like St. Louis where Mark LeVoir was earlier in the year. He knows those players well, how they run certain plays, things they look for and the whole procedure of play calling and that kind of information can be helpful. So, if a player knows more than you do, they can add some insight. Most of the time I would say it is pretty minimal what they can add if it is a team you really know well.
Q: Was it good to have Junior Seau back? It seemed like he stepped back into the leadership area in terms of addressing the team before the game. Was that the case and can you comment on having that leadership back?
BB: It is great. One thing about Junior, he is very enthusiastic, vocal and positive. I think everyone of us appreciates that, whether we have been in the game awhile or whether it's a first year player. He also adds a perspective now from a guy who has been out of football all year. It is a little bit the same with [Rosevelt] Colvin about how good it is to be back and how you can't be sure that an opportunity is going to last forever and take advantage of the ones you have. I don't think it ever gets old to hear a player of Junior's stature and the respect that he has on this football team, and the league for that matter, to step up and say what is on his mind, what is important to him and what he thinks about the game, the situation or our team. I think that's well received by everyone. He is so genuine that it makes it even more special.
Q: Do you have an update on Tedy Bruschi at all?
BB: No, I don't.