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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the Oakland media during his conference call on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

Q:How's San Jose?

BB:I'm on your timeframe this time. It's good to be out here. We need to have a good week of preparation for the Raiders. I'm never really too concerned about what record a team has, I just watch them play and I have certainly seen a lot of impressive things with the Raiders, how physical they are, their big play ability, their toughness and just how explosive they are. They are really good in the kicking game and got some good backs, fast receivers, big quarterback, big up front on the defensive front, good in the secondary, they turn the ball over a lot, so we got a lot to get ready for here and we know its going to be real tough physical game here like it always is in Oakland.

Q:What did you know about Cassel going into this year because that's a guy who you didn't have a lot of opportunities to look at both in the pros and in college, How difficult is that to give him (Cassel) the ball and not even know what he (Cassel) could do?

BB:Well I'd say we've seen quit a bit of Cassel. Its his fourth year with us, he started all four preseason games with us and had a lot of playing time in preseason as he'd has in the past and he has really been our backup quarterback for three years and even a little bit his rookie year. So we've seen quit a bit of him, he's been in the offense, he's comfortable with it in terms of communication and adjustments and checks and all of those kind of things, terminology and so forth. He just hadn't had a chance to play a lot in game conditions and this season he had that opportunity in the regular season this year and he's done a real good job with us. It wasn't hard to make that decision at all.

Q:For all the injuries you've had, starting with Tom Brady, but it seams like especially with your linebackers and other things, one injury after the other, do you feel fortunate to be 8-5 and be right in the thick of the race?

BB:No, really we just look at it right now as a one game season. We're where we are at and we're going to try to do the best we can to have a good week of preparation and play as competitively as we can against the Raiders on Sunday. Whatever else happens happens. I certainly appreciate what our players have done to this point and we have had a lot of guys step up and fill in different spots. Last week, we had some players like Junior (Seau) and (Roosevelt) Colvin and Le Kevin Smith, Mike Wright, Lewis Sanders, Antwain Spann, guys like that probably weren't expecting to play as much as they did. We had some guys go down in the game and they jumped in there and did a good job so, but that's what a team is about. Everybody's always got to be ready to do their job because you never know when you number is going to be called to play one play or play 50 plays. Whatever that is, we need to everybody to step up at this time of the year. It's a one-game season against Oakland and we don't care about last week and we will worry about next week next week.

Q:Is having a system already in place on both sides of the ball make it easier for you just to plug a guy in when someone goes down because you have had the system there for sometime now?

BB:Yea, I think it does from the standpoint of the fundamentals are in place. The thing with us though is we change from week to week depending who our opponent is and what we want to try to do. Each week is a little different for us depending on who we play and how we feel like we can match up against them and try to stop the things that they do well and handle the specific game plan situation from week to week. We change that up a little bit so from that standpoint they are always new learning every week that's got to be involved.

Q:How long does it take to get those fundamentals implemented into a team?

BB:I don't know, that's a tough question. I think it depends on the team and each individual situation but I think you can look around the league and see teams that are doing it pretty quickly, whether be Miami or Atlanta or Baltimore, teams like that that have taken teams a year ago that weren't all that good record wise and this year they are right in the thick of it. So, it could happen in a hurry. It goes the other way in a hurry too.

Q:How much unknown was there when you traded for Randy Moss?

BB:Of course, we had played against Randy, in the opener in '05 and he did us in pretty good that day. We doubled him a lot and still couldn't handle him. He had a 73-yard touchdown. We certainly know about Randy's ability and as I said from playing against him we had a lot of trouble with him. The big thing with the whole situation was just getting it worked out. There were a lot of moving parts involved and I think we were fortunate to get it done in such a short amount of time when we were able to consummate the trade that Saturday night after the first day of the draft.

Q:Were you surprised you were able to get that trade done and do it for a fourth round pick?

BB:No, I called Mr. Davis after the draft that night we talked about it and that's what we decided on.

Q:How good is the Asomugha now than the one the last time you played against him?

BB:I think he's as good a corner as we've faced all year. I think he really does everything well. He's a good man-to-man coverage player, he plays the ball well, he's got a good physical presence in the running game, he supports the run. He tackles, re-routes receivers, with his size, long arms, he's very competitive and has outstanding ball skills. I don't think there's any weakness to his game. He's a very complete player at that position and one a quarterback always has to be aware of where he is whenever he releases the ball.

Q:Do the Raiders play as much man-to-man as their reputation has it...or do they do more than meets the eye?

BB:Well, they play a lot of man-to-man, with four guys rushing, sometimes they bring five, sometimes because of the formations they have to make a little bit of an adjustment in their coverage because of the receivers being bunched, stacked together, things like that, but I think Rob Ryan and the defensive staff and Mr. Davis all do a good job of making those kinds of adjustments. They mix in some zone and some pressure. They changed it up on you to keep you off balance but in the long run percentage wise they play a lot of man to man coverage with the free safety. You are going to have to beat that in order to beat the Raiders.

Q:Has Wes Walker even surprised what you thought he might be when you signed him?

BB:We played against him in Miami twice a year and we had a hard time covering him down there so it doesn't surprise me that he's been effective for us. We certainly couldn't handle him. We thought that Wes was a very good player, punt returner and just a complete player so I don't know if there was any expectation of who many balls he would or would not catch. That's not really what our offense is about. It is about getting the ball to the open guy and try to move the ball and score points so its not like its designed to go to one guy or another so many times or anything like that. Wes is a good player and he does a good job for us in all areas, running, catching, running after the catch, returns, blocking. He does what we ask him to do and he does it well.

Q:What has LaMont Jordan shown you?

BB:Physical runner, has got good power, good run vision, can catch the ball has got good hands. Unfortunately he's missed a few games for us but when he's had an opportunity to play he's been productive and he's made some tough yards for us and hopefully he will continue to do that.

Q:How much does a change in scenery for guys like Moss and Welker help get their careers back in track?

BB:I don't really know. I think you have to ask those questions to those players. We just try to help our football team when we bring a player onto it. In each of those cases you just cited we felt those players would have a positive impact on our football team.

Q:Did you see Mayo making the kind impact that he has as a rookie and what is it going to do to have Seau around, even if it's just for a few weeks?

BB:Any player that is around Junior, player or coach for that matter, can take that as a positive experience. Junior's got great leadership and passion for the game. He's got a lot of energy. He works hard and he's a great example not only for your players but older players and he's great for coaches to be around too because he's so enthusiastic yet at the same time experienced and knowledgeable and has a great understanding of the game. He can anticipate things as well as any player who ever played that position. He's good for everybody, certainly for young players to see his work ethic, his preparation and intensity and energy he plays with. I think it's great.

Q:At Fresno State, Pat Hill has been mentioned for a couple of openings. Did you know what kind of coach you had when he was cutting up film with Ozzie Newsome in the middle of the night back in Cleveland?

BB:I sure did. Pat's a real good football coach. I knew Pat when he was the offensive line coach down at the University of Arizona. He's always done a great job of coaching his players and getting them to perform as best as they can. I don't want to say underachieve because I think that's a misnomer, but perform at a high level and up to their potential. From working with Pat in Cleveland, he was a great help to me there both in terms of coaching and x's and o's and that kind of thing but also in terms of finding talent and developing players. We developed a lot of young offensive linemen there in Cleveland, Tony Jones and Everett, Orlando Brown, and all those guys, Walter Williams, guys that have gone on and had outstanding careers who were either undrafted players or late picks and turned them into some very good players and good offensive lineman and Pat was a big part of that, as was Kirk Ferentz. Those guys did a great job, not only coaching the players but finding and developing them and teaching them good techniques and good playing styles to play in the National Football League. I've got a lot of respect for Pat and what he does and I think he's done a great job at Fresno State.

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