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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Tue Dec 01 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Phone Conference

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            **Q: Can you expand on what you said last night at the press conference after the game?**  

B: I thought last night that we just didn't play consistently in any of the three areas. There were flashes from time to time and there were some positive things but overall it was not a real consistent performance. Offensively, we didn't execute the passing game really as well as we need to, particularly on third down. That continued to be a problem for us. It was something that we emphasized going into the week and didn't really accomplish the way that we wanted to. Defensively, the running game was pretty good with the first group. I think they averaged three yards a carry and we had a couple of turnovers and again, third downs marred that performance. As a result of the two third down situations, the time of possession was heavily in their favor. There were a number of mistakes when the second groups were in there, but some of them are a little bit more expected. Overall we were inconsistent. We had a turnover, we had a couple of decent kick off returns and then a couple that should have been better. So overall what I tried to emphasize to the team today is that we need to work on the things that were not as successful as they need to be. Again, I think a lot of it is execution. I don't think that it's really anything beyond that. We know what to do but we are not doing it quickly enough or precisely enough for it to work. On a couple of the third downs we were right there on the receiver and he made it by a yard or a foot or two feet or whatever, but that's just not good enough on third down. You've got to stop them before they get it. I don't think we had any really serious injuries in the game, a couple of bumps and bruises. Nothing at this point that I think should be too serious. Probably the most serious thing we had was with (Terrance) Beadles. He had an MRI on his shoulder. We'll have to wait and see what the results on that are.

Q: Bill, are you concerned about Drew (Bledsoe) and the execution of the offense?

B: Yes. The overall execution and consistency of the passing game is not where it needs to be. I'm sure we can execute it better than we have and I'm sure that we will, but it's not really as crisp as it needs to be. There were times last night when it was okay, but it wasn't consistent.

Q: Were a lot of the poorer passes unforced, it didn't seem like there was a lot of heat on Drew?

B: Overall the protection was pretty good, not great, but I thought it was reasonably good. They had a pretty good pass-rushing group and they ran some blitzes. It certainly wasn't overbearing. When I said the execution of the passing game, I mean the throwing, the catching, the route running, the precision of the route so if the ball doesn't go to one player, he effectively carries that coverage out of the way so it opens it up for another player. The routes need to be run at the right depth and at the proper execution, so the ball is there. We had a couple of dropped balls, a couple of routes that weren't run right, a couple of other times when the routes weren't run correctly, it congested it for the guy the quarterback was throwing to. We had a couple of throws that could have been better. It was a combination of things. Then we had a couple of protection problems. The shotgun snap, and all that. So we had several logs on the fire. It created a situation in the passing game where we need to tighten up a lot of screws there. It was several things. I think it would be more of a concern if it was the same thing every time. If the protection broke down and we tried to drop back and throw, then we've got a serious problem there. Last night it was a situation where three or four things were pretty good and then one thing was missing. That effected the execution of the plays. It was a different thing. Between the snap, the line, the throwing, the catching, the routes, sometimes the split, the stationing of the receivers, it was a combination of different things and the bottom line was, it wasn't good.

Q: Do you see this problem at practice as well or does it just appear during games?

B: No, last week we had a good week of practice. We were crisp particularly on Wednesday. Wednesday was the crispest offensive practice we had all year. There were two move the field drives and we went right down the field and pretty much hit everything. It looked like we were pretty sharp, but the only thing that counts is when the lights go on and although I definitely think there is carry over between doing it in practice and doing it in the games, we have to do it in the games. No question, we at times have had problems at practice, but this particular week and Wednesday's practice in particular, I think everybody felt really good coming off the field. I think the staff and the players thought this was a good, crisp practice and we were going to be sharp.

Q: The poor route running, is it one or two guys in particular?

B: No, I think it's more of a combination of everything. I couldn't single out one guy. A couple of times it was a depth problem, a couple of times it was a split problem, a couple of times it was not enough patience on a route and trying to rush it and getting in to fast that just clogged it up for someone else. That type of thing. We played a lot of people and it wasn't the same thing throughout the game. We had a couple of new guys in that haven't played that much. A couple of times it was them, but everybody had a hand in it.

Q: Why was Redmond left home?

B: He practiced a little bit last week, but he just wasn't ready to play. We'll evaluate him everyday and we'll get him in there but we don't want to, I can't force it.

Q: Also along those lines, is there anything to be read into Kevin Faulk getting the majority of the snaps from the beginning in the back field?

B: No, what happened last night is when we ran the multiple receiver sets, we ran sometimes three and four wide receivers and any time we ran those sets Kevin was the back and when we weren't, Raymont (Harris) was. That is the way the game went with a little bit of the play calling in the first half. Then once we got into the two-minute drives in the end of the half and then the second half, it was virtually multiple receivers so Kevin went and then after that, Patrick (Pass) was the back. It was just the way the personnel was tweaked for that particular game.

Q: It seemed that Kevin Faulk is suited for Charlie's (Weis) offense. He receives the ball well in the backfield and a shifty runner like that seems to fit well into Charlie's offense. Is that accurate?

B: Well I think Kevin has some good skills and he had some good plays last night. He is a versatile player, catches the ball well, he is shifty, has good vision, and has shown some courage on blitz pick up and that type of thing. He is a player with some good skills and has been able to show that the last couple of weeks.

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            **Q: Would you expect the offense to be better at this point or is this something you'd expect with the new offense being put in?**  

B: I expected things to be better. I expected to play better than we did last night in all three areas. Not just offensively. Defensively, especially on third down and in the kicking game. As I told the players today, they are serious, I'm not in any way making light of it, they are serious. We need to coach better and the players need to play better. We're the ones who are going to make it happen on the field, the coaches and the players. We've all got to do a better job. There were some areas that could have been better in a lot of different aspects of the game and I think we all need to pull together on this and get things tightened up.

Q: Are these the same kind of problems in the offense with the Jets, going into the 1998 season when Charlie Kenner took over?

B: At that point in time, my plate was pretty full just on defense and I wasn't really involved on the offensive side of the ball. I can tell you that I've been in a number of different organizations starting the defense and it being a transition from what was done previously. There are definitely growing pains when you put in something new. Any time you see something, even if it's something that you practiced. Seeing it live and seeing it at a different speed is a little bit of an adjustment period but I don't want to make an excuse with that. That's a reality. What is also a reality is we've been practicing some of this stuff for quite a while. I think the players understand what we want to do. We are missing a little timing here, a little too often and we need to tighten it up.

Q: You seem to be getting good play from Willie McGinest and Chad Eaton. Are there any other players that are catching your eye at this point?

B: Overall, defensively, it's been respectable. The thing we just haven't done a good job of is on third downs. We're staying on the field too long. We have opportunities to get off the field and then it leads to more first downs, more time of possession and bad field possession for the offense. Defensively we are hurting our offense by not creating better field position for them. If we could get the third down situation cleared up on defense, I think that would go a long way to clearing up a lot of things for us.

Q: Last week you had to remind your safeties that they weren't linebackers. How would you assess the play of your safeties, particularly Tebucky (Jones).

B: I think defensively, we had our moments. I think there were some passes particularly on third down where we had a receiver doubled and he caught the ball for a first down. Things like that, where it's a level of execution. We didn't have the right leverage on the receiver. We weren't tight enough for what they needed for a first down. The safeties were involved in that. So were the corners and so were the linebackers. The pass defense is a total team concept. The rush has to be coordinated with the coverage and the coverage needs to be coordinated throughout the defense or a good quarterback is going to find the opening. We need to be a little more finely tuned on that. At times it was okay, but there were other times that we saw patterns that we really should have been tighter on and we weren't.

Q: How much did Washington's offense have to do with the defense's problems.

B: Washington has a well-balanced offense. Johnson was 11 for 22 with two interceptions. Again, the third down is… this is the NFL, they're going to complete some passes. Especially with their receivers, a quarterback like that and with a running game that keeps you off-balance. They have a nice offense because they are well balanced. You have to defend the run and the pass. They have good depth at all those positions. They have a couple quarterbacks, a couple running backs, several receivers, a couple of good tight ends, and a couple of good fullbacks. They are well balanced across the board and they've got a good offensive line. The problems we had on defense centered around the passing game in the first half on third down and some missed tackles. In the second half, our second group had a lot of trouble with their running game more than that of our first group.

Q: Is Tedy Bruschi going to play with a cast on his hand, could he play right now if he had to?

B: I think if he had to play right now, he could. The injury is a couple of weeks old. The more time, the body is going to heal. He is practicing but we are keeping him in the red jersey to minimize the contact but still letting him get his looks and as much execution as possible. We want to push him along as far as we can, but we don't want to push him back with an injury. Until everybody feels that he can play without any risk of him re-injuring himself, where we can pad it up and he is fully protected, them we'll put him in there.

Q: Can you give a date of when the cast is going to come off, before the season?

B: I don't see it as a problem during the season. It will come down to these last few preseason games whether we can give him enough protection to play and whether it's healed well enough or whether we are better waiting a little bit longer.

Q: Are you thinking of going to two-a-days now that you are back at Foxboro, or are you going to stick with more of a regular season schedule?

B: We are looking more at a regular season schedule. We haven't set our schedule for next week. We are going to talk about that tomorrow and try to identify the things we need to do this week and how we want to get them done. Just give me a day to sit back and think about that one. I don't really have it scheduled one way or another. What I do know is that there are a lot of things that we need to work on, I want to make sure we get them covered and addressed.

Q: Are you going to make any cuts before the 22nd, or will you wait until the first cut date?

B: Again, give me another day or so. We got back late last night and we're breaking camp here. We showed them the film and we are working out this afternoon. Then we will re-evaluate things tomorrow, both from a teaching schedule stand point and a personnel one as well. Just give me a little more time on that one. I'll let you know early in the week.

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