New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 29, 2009.
BB: Well, this is a real good football team, a real good organization that we're facing this week. Ozzie [Newsome] and John [Harbaugh] have done a tremendous job at putting together this team. They're explosive. They're talented. They're very physical. They play smart football. They're really pretty good at everything they do - the running game, the passing game, the kicking game - really just all phases of the game. They're a good situational football team and they can play to their own different styles and they can also defend and deal with the different styles that the opponents bring to them. I think it's been impressive what they've been able to do. They've gotten off to a great start, playing from ahead, playing an offensive system - even though they've been in different styles of it - they've been effective. They've moved the ball, they've got it down the field. They've run it. They've thrown it. They've been consistent. They've been good in the red area [and] they've been good on third down. They're real good on first down. Defensively, they play very well in the red area. They've already got a lot of negative plays - sacks, turnovers, negative runs, stuff like that. Of course, with John's [Harbaugh] background in the kicking game, that's always a strength of any team that he's a part of and certainly [with] the Ravens. Another good tight end with [Todd] Heap. [The Ravens have a] real experienced group of receivers, guys that really know what they're doing and good depth at the skill positions, at running back, and a big offensive line. Not a lot of weaknesses and that's shown up in the way that they play and the way they've started the season. They've been impressive to watch. They're well-coached and they're tough. They are physical.
Q: Have you noticed any difference in the defensive philosophy that Rex Ryan has left?
BB: They've got a lot of the same players and those players are all making a lot of plays. They are big and fast at linebacker. They're big and fast on the defensive line. They use a lot of different players. They are very athletic in the secondary. [Their] safeties [Dawan] Landry and [Ed] Reed are probably as good a pair as there is and they are very competitive on the corners with [Domonique] Foxworth, [Chris] Carr on the sub and Fabian Washington. Scheme-wise they do what they want to do. They play zone. They play blitz zone. They pressure. They play good on the goal line. They play good in short-yardage. They play good in long-yardage. They play good on first down. They play good on second and third down. They're really a solid defensive football team. Whatever they play, they play pretty good.
Q: Do you have anything to add to the Jonathan Wilhite situation particularly now that there's an ongoing police investigation?
BB: No, any personal situations, I'll keep internally.
Q: Can you discuss the decision to release Prescott Burgess and sign Terdell Sands?
BB: Well, Terdell's a player that we wanted to add onto the roster and we need to make a spot for it. Prescott, who we liked and wanted to work with, and still would like to work with, is the most available option to create a roster spot to bring Sands onto the team. So that's basically what it came down to. We would like to have them both, but we had to make room, so we'll see what happens going forward with how the roster shapes up. We would like to continue to work with both players if possible.
Q: How do you see Sands contributing on the defensive line?
BB: Well, we'll just have to see how that goes. I've never coached him before, so we'll have to teach him our techniques, and work with him here, and see how he does and figure it out. I think he's got good tools to work with. We'll have to see how that all comes together, but I don't know how exactly that will work out at this point.
Q: Is it fair to say he would be more of an inside guy, a tackle?
BB: Well, I wouldn't want to be held to anything, Mike [Reiss]. We'll see how it goes. He certainly has the frame to play end. He's tall and he's long and he's big. He's got the frame to play inside, too. It's rare to see a player that's that size, that athletic and that long. I think on paper he has some flexibility, whether that is actually the case in our defense or not, we'll have to wait and see.
Q: Back to Jonathan Wilhite ... Do you have any update on his condition?
Q: Last week you said in a press conference, if you lose two guys in a position, you're really talking about a lot of changes. Would you say that also applies to your front seven, defensively? If this weekend you are playing without Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork does that change a lot of what you have to do?
BB: Anytime you don't have a player that you're used to playing with it changes something. I think losing - in your example - in the front seven, compared to losing two players at a specific position, like receiver, linebacker, or something like that it's a little bit different. If the players you're used to playing with aren't available to play, then that certainly is going to necessitate some type of adjustment. Different players are going to be in there, and how much of an adjustment, and change it is for everybody else depends on the situation, and the players, and how much they're similar, or can execute like the other players that were in there before them.
Q: How are the Ravens using Kelley Washington? How much is he playing?
BB: Well, they've [used] three receiver sets and that changes from game to game. They used quite a bit of it last week against Cleveland, and they move all those guys around a little bit. You see everybody outside, or in the slot - [Mark] Clayton, [Kelley] Washington and [Derrick] Mason - that they move around. Their coordinator, Cam [Cameron], uses a lot of formations, looks and personnel groups, and what they do one week isn't necessarily what they're going to do the next week. Their no-huddle offense out of three receivers last week against Cleveland was a lot different than what they've done the previous two weeks. They change their plays a little bit from week to week, depending on what they think you do defensively and certain things they like to run against certain looks the defense gives them. They are a hard team to prepare for because they do change and I'm sure they'll have some plays, or some formations against us that we won't be practicing this week because they haven't shown them, or they're cooking them up today to try to game-plan us. Those are things we'll have to be alert for. Then, with the personnel - whether it be Kelley [Washington] or whoever it is - they have the ability and flexibility to move them around, put them in different places, and try to create the matchups they're looking for. It's really hard to predict where some of these guys are going to be, including a lot of unbalanced lines and things like that. So you don't even know for sure that the right tackle is going to line up at right tackle. There might be another guy over there with him, or he might be on the other side, so they give you a lot of different looks.
Q: Going back to Sunday's game, were you move involved in the offense's communication, play-calling than you normally are? There were a couple shots where they showed you with a play sheet in your hand and it looked like you were talking into the headset.
BB: I don't know. I try to be involved in every game, and I try to do my best to help the team win. That's sometimes involved in making decisions and sometimes involved in substitutions. Sometimes it's involved in a particular play and how we're going to handle a situation. I would say last week's game was probably pretty similar to games I've coached here over the last nine years or so. Each game has its own element and things that are specific to that game. I'm not trying to say they are all the same because they're not. But as far as what my job is in the game, what I do, I would say that's pretty similar, which means I have some flexibility. There are times when I'm involved in some things more than others and other times when it's less than others. But it's not something - at this point - that's orchestrated. It's more what I feel like, from a team standpoint, we need to be doing at a certain time or with a certain situation.
Q: In Sunday's game it seemed like Jarvis Green played particularly well, particularly in the second half. Do you share that assessment and how well do you think Jarvis has played so far this year?
BB: I think Jarvis has done a good job for us like he always does. He's a very hardworking player, dependable, has some versatility in his game. He can play outside at end, and inside, and he's done that. He's played hard and he plays with high effort. He's a smart player, and can read and recognize things on the defensive line very well. He's done a good job for us all year, and he certainly had some plays last week against Atlanta that were good plays, and plays that were helpful, defensively. I'm sure - like other players - he would like to have some plays back. I think that's the way we all feel after every game, win or lose. But he's done a solid job for us.
Q: Does the experience of facing the Jets defense, and how similar it is to Baltimore, help you in game-planning and getting ready for this week's game?
BB: Maybe a little bit. But I think the more important factor - the overriding factor - is the players and dealing with the Ravens' players, and the talent they have on the defensive side of the ball. They have [talent] everywhere, but particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That's what really makes them a good defensive football team. And they have a good scheme, I'm not saying that, but they have real good players and those players cause a lot of problems. I mean, look, scheme is important every week. You want to know what the other team's doing, and how to attack it, and all that. But in the end whoever's up there on the line of scrimmage, you have to block them, and whatever pass patterns you're running, they're going to have somebody cover them, and you're going to have to figure out a way to block them long enough and get open. In the running game, you're going to have to block them and find some holes to run in. Some plays are better than others, but in the end if you can block them and your backs run well, you are probably going to make yards. If you can't block them, it doesn't make a difference what the play is, you're probably not going to do too well.