New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 15, 2009.
BB:We have a quick turnaround here with this short week. We watched the film this morning from the Buffalo game and try to make the corrections on that and get some of those problems fixed as they go forward; more importantly, head on to the Jets. They are a tough team to prepare for, based on all the different schemes they run offensively and defensively and the players they have. They have an outstanding group of players [who] played very well on Sunday against Houston. So we know we got our work cut out for us. I know it's only the second week of the season, but playing a division game on the road, at this point [with] both teams 1-0, it's a big game. We've got a lot of work to do and one less day to do it so we're really going to have to put our foot to the metal and catch up.
Q:Based on the information you have at this time with Jerod Mayo, can you rule out that his injury is a season-ending situation?
BB:Yeah, I don't think that's what it is.
Q:From a football perspective, when you bring Sebastian Vollmer onto the field and either Matt Light or Nick Kaczur becomes eligible, is that something that Vollmer does well that you want to get him on the field or is that a result of not having a third tight end that you felt comfortable with to put on the field?
BB:Well, we've had three tight ends, but then when we made the change last week and brought [Michael] Matthews onto the team. We only had a couple days to get that ready and Matt [Light] is a little bit more comfortable in our system with the time and all that he's spent here so we've gone that way. But it's basically a multiple tight end formation and Matt serves as one of the tight ends so he has to report. We bring a tackle in to replace him and that's Vollmer, and then if we have another play - a consecutive play that's isn't the end of a quarter or timeout or something like that - then Matt has to come out for a play by rule, as you know. When that play's over, then he goes back in. So that's kind of the routine there.
Q:What were you trying to accomplish, obviously gain positive yardage, but was there anything strategy-wise?
BB:There are different situations for using it. It gives you more people there on the edge so you don't have penetration coming off the outside, you can just kind of deal with the interior part of the defense. It changes up the personnel groupings, makes them defend something different. Bottom line is, as you know, we use a lot of different personnel groups week to week and that was one of them. Rather than put a third tight end in the game, Matt just has a little bit more experience with it at this point so we used him as that third tight end. Of course, he's begging for us to throw him the ball all the time.
Q:Can he catch?
BB:He played tight end in high school. He thinks he can.
Q:I'm sure you've been seeing for the last four months these comments that Rex Ryan has been making. Is there a part of you, as a competitor, that likes this a little bit?
BB:Well, I think that's all not really that relevant. The most important thing to us is we are playing a division game on the road. That pretty much says it all. Whatever you want to write - big game, or important game, or however you want to say that, put it in capital letters, or put it in italics - phrase it however you want to phrase it. I think division games are big games on our schedule and when we're on the road, those are huge. So we know it's a big matchup and I'm sure they do, too.
Q:Just from a factual standpoint, has anyone ever kissed your Super Bowl rings?
BB:I don't think so. I don't think so.
Q:Where are your Super Bowl rings?
BB:They're in a box somewhere.
Q:Beyond saying that you didn't think at this time that Jerod Mayo's injury would be season-ending, is there any more information you could provide with us today?
BB:No, there isn't. And tomorrow, when we have the practice report, I'm going to advise you with the details of that.
Q:When you look at plays, like the Adalius Thomas sack or the Vince Wilfork play, is there anything you can coach them to do in those situations or you pretty much have to live with the officials' discretion on that?
BB:Well, we have to live with all their decisions. I'm sure there are going to be calls in every game that the team won't see quite the same way as what was called in the game. I'm sure Buffalo feels that way about the pass interference call; probably the same way we feel about the roughing the passer calls. They're tough calls. I don't think there is anything differently I could tell Vince [Wilfork] in the situation he was in. It's hard when you're going after the quarterback because if you don't get him on the ground - as we found out in the Super Bowl - and they throw it, you've got to defend it. So it's tough, but what's clear is you can't hit them above the shoulders or below the knees. There's no dispute on that. When it's not there, then it's some shade of grey. We just have to make sure that we know the rules and try to do everything we can not to do anything that would be construed as a penalty. We'll have to work a little harder on that, but it's tough. It's a fine line there.
Q:Do you attribute some of the offensive problems early in the game as first-game jitters?
BB:I think, as a total team - offensively, defensively and on special teams - there are different things we could've executed better in the game. I think the player's effort was good. I think we were well prepared. I think they put a lot of time into it, but it is. It's opening day and there's no way to simulate game speed on opening day on a practice field or in a preseason game for that matter. I do think that timing and execution, you're affected a little bit by that, and it's the same for both teams. So it's not an advantage or disadvantage, but that's just what it is. We've seen other games over this weekend and they're all similar in nature. Hopefully, we'll be able to improve on those things and I think to some extent we did it during the course of the game and improve on them on a weekly basis and be able to play better next week than we did this past week. I hope that's the case. I hope we can do a better job of coaching it, too. I'm sure that was part of the problem on some of those plays. They didn't match up particularly very well, or if we did a better job of coaching them, it might of worked a little better, too. Collectively, as a group, we just need to correct some problems and try to get a turnaround in a hurry and try to get ready for the Jets.
Q:Did losing Jerod Mayo force you to do anything different scheme-wise then what was already in the game plan?
BB:We go into every game with the entire team understanding that we have to have somebody to replace somebody else at every position. It's 66 different positions in the kicking game and it's probably 15, 16, 17 on offense - by the time you get in all the different personnel groups. That's the way it is every game. I can't imagine in any one of those hundred possibilities, when you roll all three of those units together when if one thing happened, that you would have to change everything for all the other players. It's just not really possible.
Q:In the second half I know you were down, but you went away from the running game. Was that dictated by the score, something they did, or something you saw in you guys executing running plays?
BB:Well, let me just say, overall, we had more production throwing the ball than running it. So we probably favored a little bit more what was going better, what we were more productive doing.
Q:[On Derrick Burgess's adjustment to the defense and on his play last night]
BB:Yeah, I think Derrick's done a good job of adjusting to what we're doing. I think he's gotten a good amount of playing time in preseason and also on the practice field. I think he's comfortable with what we're doing. There are always a couple of little nuances here and there, but for the most part I think he's done a good job of adjusting to what we've asked him to do and understanding the scheme and the concepts. I think he's done a nice job for us. I'm glad we have him.
Q:There was a report that ran a couple days ago in The Boston Globe that Jerod Mayo played last year, three quarters of the season, with a shoulder injury. I'm curious what extent the rest of the team was aware of that injury?
BB:I think I got the general gist [of the question], but let me just say Jerod was Rookie of the Year last year and we'll have an injury report and practice report tomorrow at practice.