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Bill Belichick Pre-Game Press Conf. 12/7/03

Belichick: We placed Sean McDermott on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and we signed Brian Kinchen.



BB: We made one roster move yesterday actually. We place Sean McDermott on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and we signed Brian Kinchen. Brian has been in the league for quite a while. He snapped with a couple of different teams. I had him in Cleveland. He was very dependable for me there and he also played some tight end but right now his main role on this team is to be our deep snapper. That is the one roster move. Looking at the Jets, this is a little bit of a different look than we had earlier in the year. Defensively, they have had a number of personnel changes. Donnie Abraham is back. Tyrone Carter is in there at free safety. A couple of their outside linebackers like [Victor] Hobson and [Jason] Glenn are playing a little bit more. Josh Evans is back on the defensive line. [Bryan] Thomas is playing a lot at end. Offensively, of course, they had a change at quarterback with [Chad] Pennington. Curtis Martin is, I think, really running well. He looks good. Santana Moss is much more involved in the offense than he was earlier in the year. [They have] a number of new players, but a lot of the same schemes that we have seen before. I think that the Jets are playing well. They have won their last three at home and are coming off a shut out last week against Pittsburgh. They are still strong in the running game. Defensively, they are not really giving up very many points, which is of course the bottom line. They are overall sound in the kicking game. We have had a lot tough games with the Jets, none more so than the end of the year last year and were playing them at that same time. I am sure it will be, as it usually is, a tough division game on the road like they all are, especially against the Jets. On another note, of course is, the Jets are again, it seems like it is every year I am saying this, the least penalized team in the league. That is a real credit to Herm [Edwards] and their staff and their players. They don't give you a lot of second opportunities. You have to take advantage of the ones you get. They don't just keep rolling them out there for you. That is where we are today.

Q: With Kinchen, it has been a while since he has been in the league. Were you surprised that he looked, I am assuming, pretty good?

BB: Well, we have had a number of people in and we thought that at this point he would do the best job for us.

Q: When did McDermott get injured?

BB: During the game. I forget, the next the last punt or whatever it was.

Q: Kinchen has been out of football for a while playing in a lot of celebrity golf events.

BB: I don't think he has been spending a lot of time on the golf course. He has been doing a little bit of coaching and seeing the other side of it. Brian is, again, a guy that snapped for us in Cleveland. He was dependable and based on the other people that we brought in we felt that at this point in time that would be the best choice for us.

Q: Why didn't he stay with it?

BB: Well, you know sometimes there are opportunities. Sometimes they are there. Sometimes they are not. I think he came in the league, whenever it was, 1988 or 1989 whatever it was. He had a real good career. It looks like it will be extended.

Q: Did you contact him to bring him in?

BB: I have talked to Brian through the years. He expressed an interest in playing earlier. We didn't really have a situation but of course that has changed recently.

Q: You said that the Jets still have basically the same schemes. Do you have to make any adjustments to them?

BB: Well I think that you definitely have to be aware of the personnel. Wayne Chrebet is an outstanding receiver, one of the toughest guys we play against every year. So is Santana Moss and they are different. They just do thing differently. They are both very good at what they do but they have a little different style of play. Some of the patterns that they run are a little bit…well, they are not exactly the same obviously. That would be an example. Defensively, Josh Evans is a little bit different rusher than Jason Ferguson. Donnie Abraham and Ray Mickens, even though they are both good corners, they play a little bit differently. [John] McGraw and Carter as free safeties, their stature is different, their style of play is a little bit different still within the same scheme. There is definitely an adjustment in there. At the same time, I don't want to make it out that we are trying to learn a whole new language because it is still their basic scheme.

Q: They lost their number one receiver in free agency. How has Santana Moss handled that role this season?

BB: Well, Santana has been very productive for them. I think he has scored about 10 touchdowns. They get him the ball on a lot of catch and run plays. He catches quick screens and can go deep. He catches the intermediate routes. He has a lot of run after the catch as we have seen in the return game as well. I think he has performed pretty well. He has given them a lot of production. 10 touchdowns, that is pretty good.

Q: When you played them earlier this year, there was talk that time had run out on Curtis Martin. It seems that he has revived himself having run for 9,000 yards over his career.

BB: Oh, he is amazing. He looks really good. He has had a tremendous career and tremendous production. Week after week, year after year, we keep saying the same thing every year but it just never stops. I think he has really looked good lately. We can go to Indianapolis game, the Pittsburgh game last week, he has run very well and has a lot of production and you can see it in the yardage that he has got. But he is breaking tackles, outrunning people, cutting back on them, catching the ball, doing all of the things that Curtis does and he doing them well.

Q: Is he a Hall of Fame back in your mind?

BB: He is pretty good. I don't know what all of the Hall of Fame criteria are. There are a lot of different ways to look at that, seasons, careers and so forth. But he is pretty good. He is pretty good and you would certainly have to put him up there with some of the top people that have ever played.

Q: How are the Jets different with Pennington at quarterback than they are with Vinny Testaverde in there?

BB: I think they run pretty much the same offensive system. Chad is a very high completion percentage quarterback. He has been since he came into the league last year and played. I think he spreads the ball around well to a lot of different receivers. He uses his backs, he uses his check downs but he also gets the ball down the field. We saw that last year but you see it this year. But I think his completion percentage is high. He reads coverages well. They probably move him around a little bit more than they do Vinny in terms of bootlegs and that kind of thing. They are both good quarterbacks.

Q: Defensively, does your scheme change any when you have a guy that they move around more like you said, whereas with Vinny was maybe a little more stationary?

BB: I think you have to be aware of it. Sometimes you might have something to take care of it, if you think it is a problem. Again, Pennington doesn't gain a lot of yards running. That is not really not his…more of his production comes when he moves out of the pocket and throws than him pulling the ball down and running. Not that he doesn't run from time to time, but that is not a high frequency. It is much more common to see him roll out of the pocket and then find somebody and hit them for a big play passing.

Q: I don't know if you caught any talk radio or not…

BB: No, I missed it.

Q: Well, right now it is all about the Red Sox and the trade and what is your reaction to that?

BB: What trade is that? I really haven't spent a lot of time listening to the radio with all due respect. I have been watching a lot of the Jets and they look pretty good to me. That is my only comment on it.

Q: What is your take on Dewayne Robertson?

BB: He has been pretty productive for them especially in the running game. He has a lot of tackles. They rotate their defensive linemen so all of those guys play. [Chester] McGlockton plays, of course Robertson, [Jason] Ferguson, Josh Evans is in there as part of the rotation now, [Matt] Walters has been playing and of course the ends Thomas and Shaun Ellis. They just kind of roll them through. He has had pretty good production. He has some quickness. He has been productive, again, especially in the running game. He is in on a lot of tackles.

Q: Is the production from the spot that [John] Abraham was in significantly dropped off?

BB: Well, you are talking about at defensive end right?

Q: Yes.

BB: Okay. Because Donnie Abraham has missed quite a bit of time too at corner.

Q: Right.

BB: Again, it is hard to say, he just hasn't played a lot this year. Thomas, I thought he played well against Jacksonville. He has definitely shown up there. He runs well. He has some speed up the field on the pass rush. He is good in pursuit and again he is just part of the rotational group there. All of their defensive linemen play. They roll them all through. Again, Abraham is an outstanding player. Don't get me wrong. He is pretty good. I think that Thomas has stepped up and did a decent job in there.

Q: Tomorrow the Pro Bowl voting will be announced. Does it make any difference to you as a coach? Is it a matter of pride for the team?

BB: Well I think that we have a lot of players on our team that are playing well this year. Sure, I hope that they get recognized. I don't really know who will and who won't. It is tough for me because I don't really see all of the other teams play. I see the teams that we play and see a lot of them. There are a lot of other good teams out there where I don't see all of them play. So it is hard for me to make that comparison. I know we have a lot of guys that are playing well and I hope that some or most or all of them will get recognized. There are a lot of other people deciding that. We really don't have too much say in it. Whatever it is, it is. I will be happy for the ones that make it. The ones that don't, we have all been through that before. I think the more important thing is where we are from a team standpoint and I really think that is where our major goals are.

Q: Because you stress 'team' and they buy into it, does this help you when they can get that individual recognition?

BB: Well, look let me put it this way. You can look at the Pro Bowl teams every single year and I could tell you where all of the players are going to come from – the teams that are winning. So you are not going to find a lot of Pro Bowl players on teams that aren't doing very well. I am not saying there aren't good players on those teams but when you look at the rosters, year in and year out, you are going to find a high percentage of those players come from the teams that win. I tell the same thing to the players that I will tell you, 'You want to be in the Pro Bowl? Win.' That will get you there quicker than anything else.

Q: How important is field position at this time of year?

BB: Very important. I don't think you can understate the field position at all. It is so significant especially when you are talking about possible low scoring games. You get the ball at midfield, one first down, you are in field goal range or they are in field goal range however you want to look at it. Playing on those short fields, you get the ball on the 20-yard line. You make four first downs, maybe you are in field goal range then. It has everything to do with your scoring opportunities and I think what is really important is when you have field position, is being able to maintain it. There is nothing worse than having good field position and then losing very quickly on a play or two. It is so hard to get it so when you have it you really want to try to maintain it. It is as important to maintain it as it is to get.

Q: How much of an adjustment do you have to make to play on FieldTurf surface? It is not exactly AstroTurf but at this time of year it is till going to be better footing than what you have had maybe on your own field the last two weeks.

BB: Well, I think it is similar to what we practice on in the indoor facility. I haven't been on the new surface but that is my understanding of it. We have played on a lot of surfaces like that through the last couple of years and I think that we will be able to adjust to it.

Q: You have had both of your gunners out at different points, [Je'Rod] Cherry and [Chris] Akins.

BB: Yes.

Q: How have you managed to keep that consistency with the special teams unit?

BB: We have had a lot of different guys who have played that role for us in the kicking game. We have had a number of different guys out there, Antwan [Harris], David Givens, Bethel [Johnson].

Q: [Shawn] Mayer?

BB: Yeah, you can go right down the line. We probably had five or six of them out there. It has been like that in other phases of the game as well on offense and defense. Again, you have to train multiple people to do jobs and at some point or another, you hope not, but it is usually inevitable that you are going to have to utilize your depth and that has been true on all of our special teams. As we have talked about before, when you lose a player on special teams, say we are talking about a guy like Je'Rod or Chris, you really are losing them on four or five teams. It is not just a one-team thing. You have to replace them on kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return and whatever role they have on the field goal team, usually field goal rush. That is really five starters you have to replace with one guy. It is not always one person that replaces them. Sometimes it is multiple people. That adds to the challenge of making those adjustments in the kicking game and what happens during the game, I can tell you from experience as a special teams coach, that is just part of the fire drill because again, you are not looking for one guy. A lot of times, you are looking for five. There is a lot of shuffling of the deck that can go on in a situation like that. It can be a tough situation.

Q: When you have a team like the Jets, that were not so good earlier in the season and went through a lot of adversity and was kind of out of the race early and now they have played well the last few weeks, how much of that in your mind is the coach and how much of that is the character of the players?

BB: Oh, I am sure it is a combination of both. I think that anytime a team plays well, you have to give a lot of credit to the players but certainly Herman has done an outstanding job there. They were in the playoffs the last two years, they won the division last year, and they had a lot of personnel changes to go through this year. They played very well against Tennessee. They beat Pittsburgh, like I said they have won the last three at home. It is not really too important to me how they were playing in October and November when we didn't see them. They look pretty good now and at the end of November and moving into this month. That is a credit to him obviously and a credit to the players. They have a lot of veteran players. They have some young players too that have stepped up and been productive for them. It is a good blend. They do a good job down there. They are tough. Every game with them has been pretty much a dogfight.

Q: What are your impressions of Kevin Mawae?

BB: Mawae is an outstanding player. I think that Kevin does some things that very few other centers can do in the league. He is very strong. He is a physical player but they ask him to pull and run and you see a lot of plays in the running game where his is pulling 20, 30, 40-yards and blocking safeties and corners out in space. There are very few guys in the league who can do that. He is a very talented player. He is a tough player and I know from experience, he is a good leader. He is the guy, not only the offensive line probably looks to, but I think one of the guys that a lot of players on that team look to in terms of his toughness, his leadership and his competitiveness. He is pretty good.

Q: In the last two weeks you have played in conditions that have really slowed down the game in terms of the snow and not getting much of a pass rush. In Indianapolis you were obviously on a fast surface. Can a team get out of not preparing for playing in those types of conditions? Or is it not that big of a difference?

BB: I think it is important. I think that every player needs to understand the surface that he is on and maximize his ability to play on that be it slow, fast, wet, dry, even or uneven, whatever it is. At the same time, we have a lot of players on this team that have probably played in every kind of condition and pretty much every kind of surface you could want to play on. A couple of guys haven't, that is probably part of learning experience for some of the younger guys but a lot of veteran players have and we have worked on obviously a lot of grass surfaces here in different conditions one way or another and we have had the indoor facility. We have gotten a lot of exposure to both.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Tyrone Poole and his contributions this year?

BB: Well, Tyrone has had a real good year for us. When we signed him, I thought that he certainly had a chance to be a strong contributor for us. He has had a real good season. I don't think you can say enough about him in every phase of the game, pass coverage, whether it be man or zone. Run force tackling, he has helped us in the return game. He has been a real solid guy. He is smart. He is tough. He is a good athlete. He has good cover skills. He has good ball skills. He has made some good interceptions and he has made some tough catches and handled the punts well. He has done a real good job.

Q: There has been a long period of time since you have played the Jets last. Do you concentrate more on the games that they have played recently? How much do you get out of going over the tape from when you first played them?

BB: Well, I think you have to look at it pretty carefully. I would say a good combination of both would be the answer to that question because the way they played us and the way we played them says a lot about what kind of strategy both teams want to employ against that particular opponent specifically that we are playing. How they played Indianapolis, how we played Tennessee, how they played Pittsburgh, how we played Jacksonville, that is certainly relevant but it is not as specific as games against direct competition with the opponent. From a scheme standpoint and from a personnel match up standpoint, those games are very good to look at. At the same time, there are some differences. There are some new players in place and some schemes have been modified along the way and you certainly have to keep an eye on those. So it is a combination of them and I would say from a coaching standpoint you have to decide where you want to put your priorities, how much of it is where they are now and how much of it might be, 'Well they could go back to something that was successful against us in a different game or games.' A lot of times if you look at the game, not just this years game, but the two games against them last year and even against that same coaching staff because there has been a lot of continuity down there, you can really look at the last five games and you are going to find some common threads in all of those games from a scheme standpoint and from a match up standpoint. So, you factor that in along with the differences and try to figure out where your best opportunities are. But they are all important. I will say that. They are definitely all important. We will look at our first game as well as their more recent games

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