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Bill Belichick Postgame Presser - 11/9/2008

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 9, 2008. BB: It's good to win.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 9, 2008.

BB: It's good to win. It is good to get back on the winning track. I am really proud of the way our team held up there. I thought defensively we played a pretty solid game. I was certainly concerned about Lee Evans and their passing game but I thought our secondary did a pretty good job against them. Offensively, I thought overall Josh [McDaniels] and the offense - those guys did a great job of controlling the ball. That last drive was awesome and took a lot of time off the clock and ended up getting seven points. I thought it was real good time management and execution offensively when we needed it especially in the second half in the fourth quarter. It's a quick turn around, we are happy to win here but now we have to turn this around in a hurry and get ready for the Jets on Thursday. So that will obviously be a big game, they had a big win today. We have a lot of work to do but it is good to come out of this one on top and get a win back in the division. Now we just turn our attention to the Jets.

Q: Was the wind a factor out there?

BB: Yeah. I think the wind was more of a factor in the kicking game. I don't think it affected the passing game too much. I think the long throw along our sideline- [the wind] might have taken [the ball] a little bit but there weren't a lot of those. But I would say it affected the kicking game, the long field goal with Stephen [Gostkowski] - it was probably a little bit of a factor on that kick.

Q: Was it a concern that the score was so close you could not rest your starters for the short week coming up against the Jets?

BB: We are trying to win the game. We are trying to beat the Buffalo Bills - they are a good football team. They are 5-3. We are trying to win the game. We are not trying to rest anybody. It is the Buffalo Bills. They are 5-3. We are playing for first place. You don't rest when you are playing for first place.

Q: You went shotgun and spread some things out. Were the [Matt] Cassel scrambles up the middle an added benefit to that?

BB: Yeah, he is a good athlete. He has made some of those plays, obviously, the touchdown was a big play for us – it was [13] yards. When you go into the game you never count on those plays, if you end up getting a couple that is great and third down conversions, or in that case a touchdown, those are bonus plays that you don't count on and when you get them you feel fortunate.

Q: Was BenJarvus Green-Ellis a pleasant surprise being that he was an undrafted free agent?

BB: I think he is a good runner, we have seen that from day one. We carried five backs and he was the sixth. I think that everybody felt from the beginning of training camp and in the spring camps that he was going to be competitive for a spot on the roster and he was. He showed up in the kicking game, catches the ball well, is a good blocker and runs the ball. He and Gary Guyton were both undrafted guys, obviously should have been drafted, but I think they are both good football players.

Q: Was BenJarvus Green-Ellis someone you had your eye on and were hoping wouldn't get drafted so you could negotiate with him?

BB: We were hoping to get both [Green-Ellis and Guyton] but if we really wanted them we could have drafted them. So, we obviously didn't, but that is the scramble. But they certainly had things going for them and [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] had two good years at Mississippi, 1,000 yards at that school playing in the SEC – that is good production. And Gary the same thing at Georgia Tech. We give our scouts and organization credit for having a group of guys there and fortunately those two have come through for us.

Q: Was Lee Evans a focal point for the secondary?

BB: Well he is certainly a focal point, he is a real good football player - we know that. But I mean they've got [Roscoe] Parrish, [James] Hardy is a big kid that has played well for them, they use their tight ends and it's hard to put too much attention on them when you have [Fred] Jackson and [Marshawn] Lynch back there. They are a good offensive football team. They have a real big [offensive] line headed by [Jason] Peters. I think they have good balance in their offensive team and you can't really put too much anywhere because they have too many guys but you have to be aware of where Evans is – he is a big player.

Q: To rephrase that question – to keep [Lee Evans] away from that 65 yard, 2 play drives?

BB: Again we try to do that every week. We don't go into any week and say, 'we don't care if this guy gets a couple 65-yarders on him.' We never want that to happen but you have to know who those guys are whether it's Evans, [Reggie] Wayne, [Fred] Jackson or [Eddie] Royal. Those guys you have to know where they are because they are a lot more likely to get it than some other guys that are out there. But they are a good offense, they have good skill players and it's hard to load up on one without letting the other guys kill you, so everybody has to do their job.

Q: The last couple of games you decided time and possession advantage – obviously you want the ball in any game but has that been an increased focus over the last couple of weeks for you guys?

BB: Not really. I would say the most important thing was to score points. If we could have scored more points than we would have been happier with less time and possession. If you get a long pass or a long run we would certainly take that. But if you don't, Buffalo is a good defensive football team and you have to take what they give you sometimes and nickel and dime it and punch out a yard here or a yard there and convert a few third downs. If that is the way it is than that is the way it is but in the end we are just trying to score points and however we get them whether it is on a long play or a drive of a lot of plays, as long as we get the ball in the end zone than that's the big thing.

Q: When you sit and watch that drive tomorrow how satisfying will that be to see?

BB: Good. Really it was the game. It was 13-3 and we took nine minutes off the clock and ended up scoring. It was kind of reminiscent of the Colts game in the AFC Championship, it was 20-3 where we went 90 yards, Kevin [Faulk] caught the pass coming out at the same end going the same direction – it was the same kind of thing, a long drive at the end of the game. So to be able to convert all those and I remember [Tom] Brady scoring on the quarterback sneak. In that game we're on first down after Corey [Dillon] broke the run down at the one-yard line. That was a situation we went over and that came up today where [Matt] Cassel really wasn't trying to score we were trying to run another minute and a half off the clock and punch it in there on third down with our best goal line run. That really was a nice job of time management by the offense.

Q: How hard is that to do in this league?

BB: It is hard. Well, that is what we get paid for. We get paid to stop them and we get paid to make those plays. We have to give the offensive line credit, we didn't have any negative plays or standing back there – [we were] continuing to make positive yardage. We hit up a couple big third downs, one to [Jabar] Gaffney and one to Sam Aiken coming out of there – those were big plays. Those were everybody doing their job whether it's pass protection, quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, tight ends – everybody had to come through on a consistent basis. If you get one penalty or one bad play in there a lot of times that is a drive stopper.

Q: Have there been times where you have looked at the film afterwards and have seen #51 [Jerod Mayo] show up and say, 'I really can't believe this guy is only in his seventh, eighth, ninth game?'

BB: Well, Jerod is a good football player. He has made a lot of plays, a lot of tackles for us. He is around the ball a lot but it has been like that all year, it really has even in preseason games and in training camp. He has a nose for the ball and he is quick, fast and plays strong. He is a strong tackler. He has been doing it pretty regularly. He is a hard working kid, I know he puts a lot into it and that's the kind of kid you are happy to see have success because I think he really deserves it – as hard as he works and as much as he puts into it.

Q: With this progression that we are seeing from BenJarvus Green-Ellis, what is he doing now that he wasn't doing three weeks ago?

BB: Well it was like Matt [Cassel] at the beginning of the year, he is just getting more playing time and more experience but I think the things we saw from him early whether it be in training camp or the last three or four weeks, he has good patience [and] he has good vision. You don't see him running into the back of the offensive lineman and all of that. He waits things out and when he sees a little opening he slips through it and usually falls forward. He has good ball security. He has been doing those things but the more you do it the more comfortable you get at it. Just some little things, I don't think it has been a dramatic change.

Q: Sometimes you see younger players try to do too much in terms of running and getting yards. With BenJarvus Green-Ellis it seems like 'where is the hole, give me the ball and I will hit it' – he is not trying to do anything fancy.

BB: I think that is a good approach for all backs to take. Those guys that try to make every play an 80-yard touchdown, you end up usually with no 80-yard touchdown and four or five runs for losses because they are trying to outrun a whole team. That is great in high school where the back is faster than everybody and they can go out there and run around everybody and break to the sideline and outrun the other guys in high school and maybe even a little bit in college. But at this level it is hard to out run those guys, you better be really, really fast to do that. Otherwise take what is in the hole and get what you can, get your pads down and break a tackle like Lynch, Jackson and those guys ran. That is what good running is about. But a lot of that high school stuff just doesn't work in this league. Nothing against those guys but it is just different in the NFL – you can't outrun the whole team at this level, not very often.

Q: You won today and the Jets won today, how is that going into Thursday night's game? What would you do differently if the Jets had lost?

BB: Nothing. We're not going to do anything differently. We are going to do the best we can against the Jets. We have a short week. We are going to do the best we can on our preparation, game plan and get everybody as rested, healthy and ready to go as we can for Thursday night. So, that doesn't change anything.

Q: Overall are you satisfied with the progress you are making as a group?

BB: Well I think our team has gotten better. I think every team in this league has gotten better. We should after 75 practices and nine games with four preseason games. I would like to think there would be some improvement. We just have to get better at a rate faster than our opponents are getting better that is really what it comes down to. But I think we have improved and we are doing things better. But we have to do them all right. Getting into a game like today [if we were to] turn the ball over, give up a touchdown pass, give up a kickoff return – [what we did today] might not be enough some weeks. We have got to try to tighten up the best we can every week, learn from our mistakes and keep working hard to get better. That never stops; it never ends.

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