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Bill Belichick Press Conf.

Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OhioBill Belichick speaks to the press.



            **B:** That was a game today that we didn't play well in. Cleveland did. Cleveland did a good job today. Turnovers were a big factor in the game, and that led to a lot of points. Some of the opportunities that we had we didn't take advantage of. They hit a couple of points and obviously did enough things to win the game. I'm disappointed in the way overall we executed. We didn't play the type of football game that we needed to play against a team like Cleveland, which is sound. They didn't make a lot of mistakes and they executed a good solid game plan. We worked Drew [Bledsoe] out before the game and felt like he was able to play the game. He did play, but I'm sure he was a little less than 100 percent. He was certainly good enough to play, and that was that situation. Max [Lane] hurt his knee, and we'll take a closer look at that when we get back. We don't really know too much about it right now. [J.R.] Redmond got hit in the ribs and wasn't able to go back in. That's another one we'll have to look at more carefully later.  

Q: Could you explain the decision not to have [Michael] Bishop dressed today?

B: We just thought that, given where we were with the quarterback situation, that if it got down to that, Tom [Brady] has looked a little better in running the offense, and that's what we would need to do. He would have been the third guy.

Q: What kind of adjustments did you try to make at halftime?

B: We wanted to try not to turn the ball over, to take advantage of our scoring opportunities and to play better on third down on defense. We needed a little tighter coverage. Those were the things that were giving us some problems in the first half. Then we lost the ball. We didn't stop them on third down, and the running game was a little bit of a problem in the game at times. In terms of halftime, third down conversions and taking advantage of our scoring opportunities on offense were the biggest things.

Q: How do you feel about the team playing like that in a game like this one?

B: I don't feel good about that at all. That's not the way we need to play. That's not the way we want to play. We won't do very well playing like that, and that is obvious.

Q: Did you ever think of taking Bledsoe out because of the turnovers?

B: Not really. I don't think that the thumb injury was a big factor in the turnovers. A couple of them he wasn't really involved in.

Q: Was it a close call having Drew play, or was it fairly easy to decide?

B: I think in looking at him before the game that he was good enough to play. I don't think it was that close. Again, I'm sure he was less than 100 percent. I'm not saying that his thumb was perfect by any means, but he was able to throw the ball and have pretty good velocity on it. He threw it well in pregame warm-ups.

Q: Was the turning point of this game [Kevin] Faulk's fumble?

B: There were a lot of turnovers that were turning points. They just kept adding up, and then they ended up scoring a touchdown on a series of missed tackles on that drive. There was a defensive penalty in there. I can't remember if that led to a field goal or the touchdown, but the hands to the face call led to some points.

Q: As much as the turnovers hurt, how important were the missed tackles and the struggles on defense?

B: Well, we missed some tackles. Jamel White is a good runner. That's really no secret. He's been doing that all year on kickoff returns, and he's kind of a stocky guy who breaks a lot of tackles. He broke some today. The thing about when you miss tackles is that when you don't get enough people to the football, you are going to have missed tackles. Anytime you get into one-on-one situations with good backs, sooner or later they are going to come clean. The more people you have around the ball and the tighter the defense is, the less tackles you are going to miss. No question you want to get them down, but you also want to be squeezing the lanes and keeping them small so that there is not a lot of space there. That wasn't done as well as it needs to be either.

Q: Did Drew take a needle to the thumb at all before the game?

B: I don't know. I don't think so.

Q: What do you say to your fans who are asking 'what is happening to your team now?'

B: Well, we sure didn't play well today. I'm asking the same question. We've got to play better than that, and we didn't. So we are going to keep working at it and find some answers. That was disappointing today. It was not the way we want to play or the way we need to play. We are going to work hard and find a way to play better.

Q: Did the team play hard enough to win?

B: I don't think it was effort. It was problems with execution and we didn't create any turnovers on defense or in the kicking game. We had some on the other side of the ball, and the combination of those things led to points. A couple of penalties added to the points situation in all three phases. That's really where it all adds up. A little more field position, and they are in field goal range. A good kick and they get the field goals. There is the points in the game. We were in scoring position a couple of times and did not come out with points. And again we didn't create the turnovers on the defensive and kicking sides of the game. If we don't do that, then it's going to be a problem every week.

Q: Was the thumb injury a factor in the fumbled snap?

B: No, it wasn't a factor in the fumbled snap. It wasn't a factor at all.

Q: Did you have any emotions being back in Cleveland?

B: Yeah, I spent five years and a good chunk of my coaching career here. Sure, it's a little nostalgic driving around the stadium and seeing a place I coached at for five years. There are definitely some flashbacks, but today my focus was on the game. I'm disappointed that as a team we didn't play better tonight. Ultimately that is my responsibility. So I'm very disappointed in the way it went today.

Q: When did you know you were in a new stadium here?

B: In the locker room.

Q: In the locker room?

B: Go in that locker room. It's a big locker room. You can run everything but go patterns in there. There is plenty of room. It's a pretty big locker room. It's a lot bigger than the one in the old Cleveland Stadium, I can tell you that much. In the old Cleveland Stadium visitor's locker room, you could barely take a snap from center in that one. In this one you can actually throw.

Q: Did you have any second thoughts about the decisions you made concerning who played?

B: No. I think that everybody who played could have played better. We could have coached better, and that's what we needed to do. We needed to have a better performance than what we got today.

Q: What grade would you give Bledsoe on his performance today?

B: When you are on the sidelines watching the game and you have 11 guys out there playing, it's hard to give out individual grades. As a team we didn't get it done, and that's the bottom line.

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