Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Friday, September 3, 2010.
BB: Well we had a pretty quick turnaround after last night and have to get down to the business of reducing our squad so it's been a busy morning and also just a busy day in general. I know everyone in the league is going through that same things; a lot of phones ringing. Not quite the draft but kind of that element of it. So anyway, we will make our decisions and get down to 53 and put a practice squad together. By Sunday I'm sure there will continue to be some moving parts as we get into even the early part of next week, as there usually are. In the meantime, we'll just take it day by day and try to meet our obligations and stay informed on whatever other movements are going on. You know, looking at the tape, I thought we were competitive. We had some guys in different situations and so forth but I thought overall it was good experience and we were able to get some younger guys more work than they had gotten certainly in the week before but in many cases, more work than they had gotten in any point in the preseason games so that was good. I think they learned a lot from those situations and we'll make them and us better in the long run. So now we've got a couple days here of getting some things straightened out and then it's on to the Bengals and we all know they are a good football team and they will give us a lot of things that we have to work on. In the meantime we are just juggling a couple balls, trying to get our roster and our team; get that fixed, and at the same time, start our preparations for Cincinnati.
Q: Can you tell us about, in the end, why you think that Damione Lewis was not a great fit here? Is there anything you can put your finger on?
BB: I like a lot of things about Damione and I think he is a solid guy. He is a good player, he is smart, and he works hard. In the end we felt like we had some other people ahead of him. That's what it came down to. There isn't really anything I don't like about Damione Lewis, it's just that I think there other players that we like just a little bit better for one reason or another.
Q: How will you handle the schedule with the players the next couple of days?
BB: They will get some time off but we are, you know we have got to get going on Cincinnati. I think that once we get, I don't want to say our preparations finalized, but once we get to a point where we know we want to do some things that we need to pass along to them and get them pointed in the right direction. So we will do that and if, when the time is right, as soon as we can get that figured out in a day or so.
Q: Can you describe what are the next 24 hours going to be like just for you guys? Are you all sitting in a big room with a big board talking about how one guy compares to another or are there phone calls being made all over the place? What is kind of the process of making this decision like?
BB: Well I'd say there is no set formula. We talk about our players and what our needs are. What we want to try to do, who can do it. There are a lot of different points of view from the position coaches to the coordinators to the special teams and so forth. Simultaneously, you have the personnel department, Nick Caserio and his staff, evaluating players on the other 31 teams as well as ours and making comparisons and talking about, are there other players relative to the ones we have, some of which are available, most of which aren't. It becomes at some point a culmination of pulling all that information together and making a decision. Certainly there have been a lot of phone calls that come in and go out on various subjects and related personnel and decision making and exchanging of players and so forth and so on. So I'd say all the things that you have asked about do happen at one point or another, sometimes it's on the run, sometimes it's, 'ok, we are going to meet at a certain time and go over it,' but sometimes things come up on the run and you kind of have to take it as they come. Right now, the coaches are more focused on Cincinnati and the personnel department is more focused on personnel but I've certainly met and talked with the coaches about our personnel so I have a pretty good idea of how they feel. But ultimately, it will all have to come together here in the next, whatever, 24-36 hours.
Q: How likely would you anticipate the possibility of the Patriots making a trade here, within the next day or two?
BB: I have no idea. I have no idea. I'd say most of the calls relate more to exchanging information than, you know, 'here are seven players we want to trade, which six do you want to trade,' and then turn it into some big blockbuster trade. I mean, there is a lot of work exchanging information.
Q: Just to rewind a little on last night's game, what did you see on that first drive when the Giants were able to move pretty easily down the field?
BB: Well they hit us on a couple running plays, the converted a third-down and then they hit us on a pass play in the red area to a tight end. Certainly plays that could have been coached and defended a little better.
Q: But pretty much fixable stuff?
BB: It wasn't wildcat kind of scheme that we hadn't seen before, it was just them doing a good job and us not doing so well. After that drive, I would say there were generally fewer issues. They are a good team, they are well coached. They did things that gave us a little bit of a problem and we corrected them but not until after they had scored a touchdown so that was kind of the first drive.
Q: In terms of your offense, are you encouraged by what you have seen from your offense in the red zone? Offensively, that seemed like an area of focus during training camp.
BB: Well we have worked on it. We worked on all the situation stuff; third-down, red area and so forth and just tried to run the plays and not really scheme and game plan up too much. But try to run plays that are basic plays; basic concepts for us. Some have worked out better than others but, again, I don't know if you can really get a good measure of that at this point. I think that will be something that will play itself out and we will have a better evaluation after we have been in regular season games and competitively, the table is a little more level and we will see how everything turns out then. But we have had our moments. We have, at times run the ball well, at times thrown it well and other times not so well so we will see how consistently we can do that during the regular season.
Q: You mentioned putting the pieces together on the Cincinnati game plan. Have you guys sprinkled this in during camp? Have the preparations been a week or two weeks in the making or does it all just start new and then you start new on Monday?
BB: No, we have been looking at Cincinnati and some of our early season opponents since last spring and we always try to keep an eye on those firsts two, three, four, five games so that if there is something that we aren't getting in training camp, whether it be from our offense or our defense working against each other or from a preseason opponent, then we try to mix that into some part of practice so that we can get some exposure to it. Not everything obviously, but if there is some significant element, like if you, on a schedule, were to happen to be a 4-3 defense and your first three or four opponents were 4-3 defenses and then you run into a 3-4, you probably don't want the first time you line up against that 3-4 to be before that game. Things like that. Making sure that your team has exposure to situations that you are going to get in the early part of the season. I'm really uncomfortable for them to do that when it first hits, you get a little background with it. But yeah we do that, not just with Cincinnati but with our early opponents. If there were things that we felt like we weren't getting in practice, we made sure that we inserted them.
Q: What are your thoughts on the season of two players, Rich Ohrnberger, who we saw start last night at right guard and Sergio Brown?
BB: Both players are obviously new players. Rich took part in training camp last year but was on the team and of course Sergio was new so I think both players, as they gain more playing experience, became more comfortable with our system and their calls and more confident in not only what they but also their teammates beside them are doing. Both guys have done a number of different things: Rich has played center and guard, both left and right guard and Sergio has played both strong and free safety. I think that Rich has come along, he is certainly way ahead of where he was last year but he did a good job last night, playing against some good people there as far as the game. He did a good, not perfect, but he did a good job, a solid job. Sergio has made plays in both defense and the special teams phases of the game. He made a big play on the kickoff last night and caused the interception at the end of the New Orleans game with a good hit there, so he has shown from time to time in both phases of the game and that is kind of, what I think, how his games have gone. He has flashed some plays that really catch your eye, but like Rich, I'd say both of them, there are things they need to keep working on and I think they are improving and have improved but there is still a lot of football and a lot of our scheme and our system that they haven't...they don't have as much experiences. When they do have more, it will be better.