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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Post Game

Belichick: Well, first of all, my hats really have to go off to our team today. Those guys went out there and played as hard as they could play.



            **BB:**  Well, first of all, my hats really have to go off to our team today.  Those guys went out there and played as hard as they could play.  That was a hard fought game.  Miami is a good team.  You have to give the players a lot of credit.  There were so many guys that stepped up and made big play after big play.  Offensively, keeping the ball that whole first quarter into the wind was big.  We had a couple of big plays in there in the fourth quarter to get the field position back.  I thought we were okay in the kicking game.  Obviously, we made some big plays on defense, turned the ball over.  We had a real good team effort and I think it was kind of about the game you would maybe expect this time of year, a field position game, a lot of defense, a lot of hard physical play, hard tackling, hard running, and hard blocking.  It was tough for them.  I am proud of our players.  They played hard.  They played well and didn't make too many big mistakes and that was a big key force of the game.  But make no mistake about it, Miami is a good football team and we had our hands full today  

**Q: Comment on Tom Brady running the offense today, no mistakes.

BB:** I think that is what it takes on a day like this. You have got to make the plays you can make. The ones that are not there, you have got to cut your losses and move on. It wasn't perfect but, again, that was a big defensive football team. But I thought Tom managed the team well and made some key plays for us at key times.

**Q: The defense, [Tedy] Bruschi's interception, [Rodney] Harrison's turnover, does it ever amaze you at this stage of the game?

BB:** Well, Rodney came clean on the blitz. It was a great call by Romeo [Crennel]. Rodney made a big hit. I thought we could have got a little more of that fumble than we did. We just kind of kicked it around and barely fell on it. And Bruschi, you can't say enough about that kid. He has good instincts. He has a real nose for the ball. Every time he catches it, he ends up in the end zone. I should put him on offense.

**Q: You didn't want to talk about the division title possibilities during the week. Now that you have it wrapped up, what can you say about it?

BB:** Well, it was one of our goals in the beginning of the year so we are happy about it, obviously. But there is still a lot of football left to be played this year. We just kept looking ahead. I saw Jacksonville had a really big win today and watched a little bit of them on tape this week. They looked pretty good, especially offensively. It will be a big challenge for us. We can enjoy this win for a couple of hours.

**Q: Bill, you always talked about how hard it is to win this league. Can you talk about your team's incredible accomplishment, against winning teams, that is almost unheard of in this league?

BB:** It doesn't matter too much to us what the team's record is or isn't. It is just about playing that game. And fortunately, today we went out there and played a little bit better than the Dolphins did. But it is going to be a dogfight every week. It doesn't matter what anybody's record is. Every team is good and every time, if you don't play your game, that's it.

**Q: Could you talk about the punting game?

BB:** Well, first of all, Brady is making me a good coach. That was a nice play. We have been working on that and it just seems like that was the right time to run it. I thought Brooks did a good job. Some were better than others. But we got out of there without any major problems and had a couple of good field position plays. So it was okay. It wasn't perfect, but it is okay.

**Q: Bill, 45,000 fans turned out for this game. They stayed to the end. What does that tell you about them?

BB:**: The support was great. We all know what kind of weekend it was here. It was tough. But they were here and had a lot of energy in the game and that was great. It was great to be able to share this, this division win with our fans at home. I mean it would be great to win it anywhere, but it is nice that it happened this way against one of our biggest competitors.

**Q: All season you have said of your running backs that everyone is going to get an opportunity. Today, Antowain Smith had a number of carries and he figured pretty prominently.

BB:** I thought Antowain ran hard. Again, they are tough defensively. You don't make a lot of yards against them. But I thought he ran hard and a couple first downs there at the end of the game were big. I thought Kevin [Faulk] did a good job. I know he took a real hard hit on the turnover. But they all stepped in there and did a good job so I'm sure we will be using all of them all the way through the year just like we did today.

**Q: One of the unsung heroes is Mike Vrabel. Can you talk about him a little bit?

BB:** Well, I thought Mike and Willie [McGinest] both did a good job coming off the corner again today both in the running game and the passing game. That was the key to stopping Ricky [Williams], not letting him get outside. And also the key to the pocket, not letting [Jay] Fiedler run. He has killed us on scrambles before so Mike with the rush stepped up and played big and I think we got some good plays out of McGinest too. So our linebackers around the ball, our defensive line had some good plays, did a decent job on the running game.

**Q: Bill, your impression of your new punter, please.

BB:** I thought he was okay today.

**Q: Okay?

BB:** Some were better than others. There were a couple good field position punts.

**Q: Specifically, the one in the fourth

BB:** Yes, that was great. That was great. He had a couple good field position punts. A couple of them were it was tough conditions out there today but, overall I thought was all right.

**Q: Bill, did it seem as though wherever your defense needs to be, whether it is go in with Indianapolis in the dome and make a goal line stance for 34 points, or pitch a shutout here against Miami in a snowstorm, it seems to be able to do it. Why are they so versatile?

BB:** I thought we played well defensively today. We played well on third down and did a decent job on the running game. Overall, the coverage on the receivers was pretty tight. It gave our rush a chance to get there. At times we had good rush and it probably disrupted the timing of the throw a little bit. But it is team defense. It is not one guy. It is not a one man band. It is good team defense all the way across the board. We use a lot of different people. We change the roles from time to time from week to week, and they are a very adaptable group and unselfish. I don't think they really care who makes the plays as long as we make it. That is how you get it done.

**Q: You get in a situation where the weather is like this. Did you expect to have a punting game both sides? I mean they set a record for punts, you tied a record for punts.

BB:** Well, I didn't know the game was going to go this way. Nobody, nobody could ever know that. But again, it is not surprising that this time of year, with two good defensive teams like that, that you are going to have some element of that. But we both seemed, both of these offenses, moved the ball up and down the field against each other at other points. So last year was kind of a free for all out there, everybody was running up and down the field on everybody. So that is why you have got two teams that play each other twice a year. Every game is different. Every match up is a little bit different. This game was certainly a field position defensive punting type game so I thought that [Matt] Turk did a good job. In the second quarter, we had a lot of good field position opportunities. They played good hang time on the ball. We couldn't really change the field position like you sometimes can. And I thought our guys had a few too so, Brooks [Barnard] and Turk, they kind of probably held each other off a little bit.

**Q: Bill, this was the 100th consecutive sellout. Could we look at the last four home games you guys have played? You haven't given up a defensive touchdown. Is there a distinct home field advantage for the Patriots, do you feel?

BB:** I think there is a home field advantage when you play good. Yes, we were at home last year and we couldn't stop anybody so…

**Q: But this year

BB:** Well, I think we played good. And it is good to play at home and our fans have been very supportive. I mean it is certainly no reflection on them. They were here last year, this year, the year before that. I just think that we played a little bit better defensively at some of our home games this year than we did in the mid part of the season last year.

**Q: How about the weather advantage, in the old years [Vince] Lombardi always felt it was an advantage at Green Bay because his guys were used to it.

BB:** I didn't think it was that bad out there today. I really didn't. There was a little bit of wind. We played in worst. And there certainly, it wasn't that cold. I don't know what the temperature was, but it didn't feel that bad. So, it is a December day in New England. But I didn't think it was anything that was just prohibitive.

**Q: Well, to you it isn't, but I am wondering if you are coming out of south Florida, maybe you feel like you are freezing your butt off.

BB:** Well, last summer they ran up and down the field in the same kinds of conditions. So I think it is just about more about how the teams play than the weather. That is just my opinion.

**Q: You didn't expect a game like last week's today?

BB:** Last year was 27 24. It was a cold day at the end of December last year. I think when you play good defense, you have a better chance of stopping the team. Sometimes the conditions are just terrible and you can't do anything. I didn't think that was the case today.

**Q: Any real key to stopping Ricky as you did?

BB:** I think it is a good defense. There is no one man band. You can't go out there and stop him with one guy. You can't say this guy is going to take care of it. You have to do good outside, inside, all the way around. Everybody across the board has got to play good if you are going to play good team defense. And if you don't, then one guy might be all right, but eventually they will kill you somewhere else if everybody is not holding up their end.

**Q: [Randy] McMichael had a few plays in the first game. Did you do anything special to try to take him away?

BB:** Well, I think that the guys were covering, and we weren't allowing a lot of man to man coverage today, whether it be Rodney, [Roman] Phifer, Eugene [Wilson]. Again, the combination of the coverage and the rush, overall our pass defense was pretty good and our third down defense was pretty good and that is the key to be able to get off the field and play good defense. That's really a good defense. We have all seen those days when you can't convert on third down and you just never take out the defense.

**Q: The team, defense wise, is this as well as you play? The linebackers all made plays, they all made plays, I mean is this as well or as good team defense as you played?

BB:** Well, it is hard to rank them, but any time you can shut a team out in this league you are playing good defense. And there is a lot of skill over there on the other side of the ball. To be able to hold them, keep them off the board, that is tough to do in this league, it really is

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