Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
BB: OK, well the Dolphins look like they usually do - a big, physical team that will be a big challenge for us to get ready for, all the way around. [They have] good schemes, good players, a strong team on both sides of the line of scrimmage to run the ball and stop the run. They're big. They're physical and they do a good job. They're well coached. They're sound - the least penalized team in the league, so they do a lot of things well and they force you to go out there and play a good football game to beat them. They don't make it easy. So, on Monday night down there in Miami, we know that will be tough. It always is. I'm sure there will be a lot of energy in the stadium, [with the] crowd and all that. We'll have to do a good job of executing our game plan and plan against a good football team.
Q: Is there a different dynamic in going against a guy you've coached with in Dan Henning?
BB: Well, I know Dan. Dan knows me. But, that's a long time ago. All the players are different. Things have changed over a period of time. Is the foundation the same? Yes, but the game comes back down to the players. It's players that make the plays. They are the ones that go out there and block and tackle and throw and catch and cover and all that. As usual, the team that plays better - that's the team that will win.
Q: Is the Wildcat Offense still a part of the Dolphins' game plan?
BB: You know, I would never say it was a huge part of their game plan. I think it was something they have used and continue to use. As far as their offensive package, it's just another thing they do to keep you off balance, make you work on it. They change it up. Last year, they ran a little different version of it with Pat White. But with him not there, it's gone back to more of the original Wildcat with Ronnie Brown running it. Although, Ricky Williams ran it some last year too, so they do a good job with it. I think it's part of their package like several other things they do. I would put it in that category, but it's just one of them, one you have to prepare for. But, I don't think they're going to be in it for 40 plays or anything like that.
Q: Do you have a sense of what problems Zoltan Mesko may be having?
BB: Well, I thought he hit the ball really well there a couple times on Sunday. As a team, we're all striving for consistency, individually and collectively, as a unit when we're out there. So, I'd say I think he's had some good ones and he's had couple I think he'd like to have back. I think we can all pretty much go in that category.
Q: You've said in the past that directional punting is a big part of your special teams. Do you think directional punting is something Mesko is struggling with?
BB: I said that directional punting was a big part of our special teams?
Q: You said in the past that directional punting is something you've worked on. Is that something maybe he's struggling with?
BB: I think there are teams that do a lot more directional punting than we do in the league, let me put it that way. When you're out there kicking the ball and there's a prevailing wind, then that definitely comes into play in the kicking game. You know, as [the wind] works across the field in whatever direction it's going, I think just about every kicker in the league would try to use it to his advantage and kick that way, whichever way the wind is favoring - if it's not directly behind you, one way or the other, which it usually isn't. So, I think that's just a normal part of punting. I think just about every punter in the league would do that.
Q: Can you see Mike Nolan's stamp on the Dolphin defense?
BB: Sure, absolutely. Mike's been running his defensive system for quite a while. We've seen it with a number of different teams. Definitely watching them on film, you can see some of the schemes and patterns that have been successful for him in the past, and he continues to use them, without a doubt.
Q: Is there a variance in the way he runs the defense depending on the personnel and does it vary from place to place?
BB: I'd say it's pretty consistent.
Q: Going back to last year against Denver, how do you keep pressure from coming off the edge?
BB: Well, I'm sure there will be some carryover from when we played them last year at Denver - same coach and a similar scheme. So, I think we can get something out of that, as I'm sure he will. I'm sure he's looking at that game as well of how we attack them and how we matched up against them and so forth. So, I think that's certainly a part of it. But again, it's different players and different matchups, so that always puts a different twist to it. But, I'm sure both the Dolphins and the Patriots are looking at last year's Denver-Patriot game. I'm sure of that.
Q: Is Brandon Marshall being used the same way as he was in Denver?
BB: Well, I think it's similar in that he's definitely one of their go-to guys, which he was in Denver. [Miami's] passing game is a little bit different than Denver's passing game last year, but a lot of the routes are similar. Marshall's a big guy, strong. He's hard to tackle; he can go up and get the ball. He can really attack you at all three levels - deep, intermediate and short, catch and run type plays. He's good at all those. He runs those routes, just like he did in Denver. [It's] maybe a little different versions of it, but essentially, he's effective at all three levels of the defense and he's used there.
Q: Is he being used as more of a downfield weapon in Miami?
BB: Well, they have [Brian] Hartline too, and [Anthony] Fasano. So, they use all those guys. They set up each other. It's not all to him, but he's definitely a downfield receiver. So is Hartline. They use the tight end there, too. Coach [Dan] Henning does a real good job of mixing things up. All of his offensive skill players - they're all involved in the game. He does a good job of spreading the ball around and attacking defenses at all different points - inside, outside, short, intermediate, deep - you name it. He uses everybody, but clearly, Marshall's a go-to guy for him, and he should be. He's an outstanding player.
Q: What have you seen from Chad Henne in terms of growth and development since last year?
BB: [He's a] good quarterback. We saw that last year. I think it's continued. [He has] good poise. [He] manages the team well. [He] does a good job at the end of the game, end of the half, third down, red area-type situations. [He] hasn't turned the ball over. [He] does a good job operating the offense, which is a pretty complex and diverse offense that they use. They use a lot of formationing and check-with-me's and audibling and things like that. So, just watching him on film, he looks pretty comfortable with everything they're doing. There's not a lot of mistakes, bad plays, delay of games - you know, things that are screwed up. Everything looks to run pretty smoothly and he operates it well. He makes good decisions and has a good arm, pretty athletic. He can move around a little bit back there in the pocket and he can make all the throws. He's a good, solid quarterback. He's done a good job for them.
Q: How much football operations would be altered with the advent of an 18-game schedule?
BB: Yeah, right now, I'm really just trying to concentrate on Miami. See when we go down there and play well on Monday night.
Q: Do you have any idea who may fill Steve Maneri's spot on the roster and may he be better developed on the practice squad?
BB: Yeah, that's a possibility, definitely a possibility. We'll kind of see how things go here with the waiver wire today. We worked out a couple other players and talked about a few other possibilities. So, somewhere here in the next few days, we'll make a decision and kind of rework the roster. But, I'm sure we'll add somebody by the end of the week. Just the timing on that one, we'll have to wait and see how it goes. But, we claimed Steve. I like Steve. I think he's got a lot of positives going for him. But as you mentioned, it's kind of making a transition from one position to another here, this year. And, there's still a little ways to go.