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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Sun Nov 28 - 06:00 PM | Mon Nov 29 - 08:55 AM

Bill Belichick Post-Game Press Conf - 12/08/2002

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BB: Well, I thought it was a really good win for our football team today. I congratulated the team after the game. I thought the players really were ready to go. We had a couple extra days to get ready for it. They did a good job preparing for the game and I thought they went out there and played well. Of course, we had three touchdowns called back offensively which hurt us, but we were able to overcame that. And defensively, I think those guys really did a nice job going out there. They executed the game plan. To take five turnovers in the secondary, that is a pretty good formula to win. I thought your front guys did a decent job on the pass rush. They've got a lot of skilled players out there, but overall we tried to keep it under control. But I thought the players and the coaches did a really good job this week getting the team ready to go. We played well in the first half. We had a little lull in the third quarter; but fortunately, we had a couple turnovers on defense and that really pulled us through. So it was a good win and a tough division game, but that is about what you'd expect.

Q: That is twice now against the team that has shown some explosiveness including just last Sunday, but you pretty effectively shut them down. What would you say the keys are?

BB: The keys are good plays by the defensive players and good game plan by the coaches. But the players, you have got too many guys, you can't just take one guy out of it and say we're going to double this guy or stop this guy, they have got too many guys, they have got (Eric) Moulds, (Peerless) Price, (Josh) Reed, They all hurt us, (Travis) Henry, (Larry) Centers, (Jay) Riermersma. I mean every one of those guys are threats to get in there and make plays so whoever is covering them, whoever is on them, they have got to take care of them and it is hard to give any help because everyone has got to hold up somewhere else. Big offensive line, it is a good offensive football team, but I thought our players rose to the challenge today and played well.

Q: Did you give any thought at all to using the, for lack of a better phrase, no down linemen that you used last time?

BB: Well, we modified it a little bit, yes. That may be a little bit overrated. You know, we just try to generate as much pass rush as we can. You know, (Richard) Seymour did a good job in there and, you know, we got a couple plays out of that.

Q: Well, you guys went into a little bit of a funk offensively in the second half, and then could you talk at all about them exposing the ball or is that something that is instinctive because Otis Smith –

BB: I'll tell you, Otis (Smith) has just got a nose for the ball. You know, he makes big plays and whether it is stripping fumbles or interceptions, you know, he has had some big returns on those, obviously, not today but in the past. Otis (Smith) has got real good hands. He is a real good ball athlete. When he can get it, he does a pretty good job either raping it out or going on the high point with the ball. We have all seen him do it in the past. He has got good hand-eye coordination and he's a good skills player.

Q: (On the defensive turnovers)

BB: Well, all those turnovers helped us. Unfortunately, that is really the only one where we really capitalized offensively. But I think those were all key plays. I mean (Terrell) Buckley's interception, you know, was big. Ty's (Law) interception was big. You know, I thought Lawyer (Milloy), you know, he really did a nice job on Buckley's interception. And of course, he got the hit on the receiver. But it was, you know, again, a well executed defense, well executed coverage and that is a really nice play catching the ball. He probably dropped a couple after too --

Q: Was this one of his better efforts, Seymour's, one of the aggressive pass rushes?

BB: He did a pretty good job. I think Richard (Seymour) has had a good month, going back to Oakland, Minnesota, then Detroit. He has had a pretty good month and, you know, he made some plays out there today. Of course, the interseption that he got was really an outstanding play. I saw the replay on the screen. It looked like he got it on the fingertips with those. You know, real athletic play that, you know, Richard caught the ball better than sometimes the receivers catch it.

Q: Bill, could you speak to Tom Brady's performance today? Given all the attention that surrounded the game with Drew's (Bledsoe) presence here, how was he able to compartmentalize what he had to do and be as efficient as he was in the first half?

BB: I don't think Tom's (Brady) performance had anything to do with Drew (Bledsoe). They are not on the field at the same time. We wanted to go into the game, he could take some shots down the field, he had a big pass there early to (Deion) Branch, nice throw and catch. We kind of spread the ball around offensively. We did a good job of picking them out and stepping out of the pocket as he usually does. We used him not only as the primary. You know, I think he did a solid job. Just overall offensively, we couldn't get much going in the third quarter. Buffalo started blitzing. They hit us on a couple corner blitzes, a couple of weak safety blitzes there. They were unable to disrupt those drives and get off the field, but they started changing it up and came to some weak side blitzes and that gave us a little bit of a problem.

Q: Bill, Deion Branch, how bad is he shaken up?

BB: Well, he has got a sore leg. We will look at him tomorrow, you know, see how it comes along. I mean, you know, I don't think it's career threatening.

Q: Bill, Richard Seymour had talked earlier about being disappointed in his own play. What has been the difference in the last month?

BB: Well, I think he has made a real conscious effort to improve on some of the techniques that he wasn't doing as well. Romeo (Crennel), you know, I think is one of the top defensive line coaches in the league and, you know, any time a player is not playing as well or not having the kind of production that he would like to have, you know, you talk to him about playing technique better and, you know, better in a better position; and eventually, those plays will come. And you know, I think they really have for Richard (Seymour). I mean he had a couple big ones today, no doubt about it.

Q: Bill, when they are down on the one yard line, they've got second and goal at the one, you wouldn't expect a veteran Quarterback to make that kind of throw.

BB: Well, I thought the first down play was a big play. Ted Johnson shut down the middle and forced the runner outside. We got Henry (Travis) there for about a yard loss. He came second and goal on the two. You know, after a play like that, especially when you are on the road, you kind of anticipate that they would throw on second down. And I thought, I think it was McGinest (Willie) did a good job of getting off the field, kind of forcing, you know, (Drew) Bledsoe back away from the line of scrimmage. And you know, Tebucky (Jones) made a good play on the ball, a lot better than the one he dropped later on. But you know, he made a nice play on the ball. So it is good team defense, good pressure up the middle. Good job on (Willie) McGinest containing the Quarterback and forcing him away from the line and then Tebucky (Jones) made the play.

Q: Bill, because they are so aggressive on offense and have so many peoples who are always looking to make big plays and have got the ability, does that play into your strength that you have so many guys with the nose for the ball like Otis (Smith) and Ty (Law) and (Terrell) Buckley and --

BB: I don't know if that plays in our favor. We are just hanging on out there trying to make a play. I mean every time they substitute, you know, one or two different guys on the field, it is, you know, you kind of stand there, like, Oh, here comes (Larry) Centers, here comes (Josh) Reed, Well, no, here comes (Jay) Riemersma. You know, they just keep them coming in waves. Those skilled players are, all of them are just really dangerous. So I mean I don't have that feeling playing in our hands at all. I feel like there is five more guys out there, how are we going to stop them?

Q: Bill, I am sorry that this is a defense that you want to play, you know, give up some yards and then don't bend, don't break.

BB: You know, we are not out there saying let's give up a bunch of yards.

Q: I don't mean that. Plays well in the red zone. Looking back at times like this, are teams running at will at times and moving the ball and getting in the 30's when you really don't want to get the score that high; and looking back at that, what has happened from then to now, what are you doing other than guys making plays obviously; is it that they're playing tougher or is there some element that you could explain that you have made the jump to being?

BB: No, I just think it is a better team defense. We have played better team defense. But again, any time you give up big plays or prevent big plays, that is all about the secondary. You know, the nose tackle doesn't give up a 40-yard play. You know, it just doesn't happen. So when you are not giving up big plays, that means the secondary is doing a good job at containing the ball. You are doing a really good job and tackling and the ball is not getting behind them. That is their job. They are the last line of defense. So when they are hitting big plays, then sooner or later they are getting past the guys on the secondary. When that happens, that is not good defensively. So we had some breakdowns obviously. I mean that hasn't stayed secret. When they go through the secondary and go for 40, 50, 60 yards, then those are plays that can be prevented if secondary does a good job. You know, in the San Diego game, situations like that --

Q: What kind of confidence does this win give your team going down the stretch?

BB: I don't know. I don't think we lack confidence.

Q: There are three important games left, though, you know, something -- you know

BB: You know, every time you win one, the next one becomes a little bit bigger. So at this point in the season, you know, last week there was, you know, Detroit, that was five left. Now today was four left. Next week is only three left. So you know, as you start counting down, each one has a little bit bigger implications. There is no question about that when you win one, it becomes a little bit more important. I don't think our team lacks confidence.

Q: Is it fair to say offensively that this team has as many weapons as anybody, certainly, individuals?

BB: Yes, I mean they could easily -- you could take that team to the Pro Bowl if you wanted to. You could take those skilled players to the Pro Bowl. They can all play out there, the Quarterback, the backs, the receivers, I mean any one of those guys can play in the Pro Bowl. Certainly, they wouldn't be out of place. You know, I mean you can throw any of them around in there. Who will be in the Pro Bowl? I guess we'll worry about that later. Thank you

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