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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Sep 18 - 12:00 AM | Sun Sep 20 - 05:55 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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            **B:** That was a tough game yesterday, a tough game for us yesterday. It was a game that came down to the last couple of plays, we are on the 20-yard line or whatever it is throwing into the end zone with a chance to win. As I said yesterday after the game we didn't make enough plays to win and that was evidenced by the final score. There were opportunities earlier in the game for both teams and Tampa did a little bit more with theirs than we did with ours. I think that whenever you lose a game like that every player and every coach that participated in the game probably feels like there was one play, maybe more than one, but at least one or two plays that had they done it a little bit better, or a little bit differently, or had I made a different call, or made a little different adjustment or whatever it might have made a difference in the game because it was a game that in the end hinged on a couple of plays. More than a couple, but any one of a couple could have made a difference. I think I probably speak for everybody and that that is the way we feel. We lost a game we've got 15 more to go. There were some things that I think we did okay and need to build on and there are some other things that we had problems with and need to correct and improve upon. Again, I know that everybody wants to highlight one positive thing and one negative thing and isolate the game into a lot of little pieces, but really in that game yesterday there were things throughout the game and I would say with every player and the coaching, everybody that was involved in the game, there are things that we need to do better. That is where our main focus is going to be today and this week and in the coming weeks is to improve in those areas and get them up to a higher standard so that we can come out on top in these type of games.  

Q: Do you feel you have to settle on five offensive lineman?

B: I think we need to player better in every area. I think we need to play better. Once we know who the people are that we can settle on then whatever the positions are we will settle on them.

Q: Given that Greg Robinson Randall has taken most of the snaps in the preseason and the lack of time that Grant Williams has had, is there really that much of a difference?

B: I think so and I am not saying that negatively about Greg, I mean Grant has played in the league, he's an experienced tackle, he's seen and done things that Greg hasn't seen to this point. I thought Grant did a pretty good job yesterday. Like everybody, everybody had plays that could have been better, and that was a good football player he played against too.

Q: The obvious down side is that you have no secondary pass protector, you have no fall back there how much of what was happening yesterday is attributable to Tampa Bay's personnel?

B: In the passing game yesterday I think that the problems that we had were definitely a collection that included everything. We had some breakdowns on the offensive line, but we had things at the receiver position that weren't right that caused problems, we had things in the protection, a couple of mental errors where we had the people assigned to be picked up, we had run those blitzes in practice. We blocked them correctly in practice, so we knew that everybody knew what to do and then when it happened in the game we didn't do it. Twice we just turned a guy lose off the backside. He hit Drew right in the middle of the back and we certainly had enough people to block them, so it wasn't always a question of having a physical problem it was some of that, a couple of times (Warren) Sapp got us. They have some good individual players up there, but we created problems for ourselves. Then at times the protection was okay and we didn't have good execution in the throwing and catching part of the routes, or in the read and the coverage part of the routes, or adjusting the routes or whatever it happened to be and it was across the board. I really couldn't sit here and say that is was one guy or one problem. It was some things that collectively happened and the result is anywhere near as good as what it needs to be.

Q: Generally speaking when you get that much pressure on the quarterback don't those things happen?

B: Sure, no question about it, but a couple of those things that I am talking about happened early in the game when the run-pass ratio was balanced, when the score was even, when the field position was in our favor, all of those kind of things. That wasn't a result of any game situation. When you are down by eleven points in the second half that is going to skew your play calling and it is going to set certain defenses up in a certain way, but in the first quarter I don't think that had occurred. I understand what you are saying and that was part of it, but it certainly wasn't just that.

Q: Can you assess the offensive line, that maybe it isn't as bad as it looked yesterday and just a combination of some of the things you talked about and how good their front seven are?

B: The overall execution of the offense has to be a very coordinated unit and everything has to fit together and if things aren't executed correctly than that effects other people. As an example if you don't have a clean route and the quarterback has to hold the ball eventually the protection is going to breakdown and the receivers don't have an opportunity to get into their route then you have problems as that end. If the quarterback misreads the coverage and is looking at a place where there is no place to throw the ball and it should go somewhere else and he has to hold it for that reason then eventually the protection is going to breakdown. There are several different reasons why things can not right and we have a little problem with all of them. I just can sit here and tell you that it was one thing. It just wasn't one guy, it wasn't one thing it was just not a real well executed game at times from our standpoint and we need to do a better job. They are a good football team and they are going to cause everybody problems, they certainly caused us some, but we have to meet those problems that is our job.

Q: The number of substitutions that took place along the line does that contribute, can you maintain that cohesiveness that you need to have to succeed?

B: I think what you are trying to do is to get the best people you can and put yourself in the best position you can. The opening game of the season, one o'clock game, heat and conditioning is going to be a factor. There were a lot of people being substituted out there yesterday one both teams on both sides of the ball. If you do it then you have to handle it. If you don't do it then you have to hold up through the duration of the competitiveness of the game and that's what you try to balance out.

Q: Are you more upset over two mental errors that probably directly impacted the outcome of the game the fake spike and Terry Glenn running a comeback route even if he misunderstood what it was with one second left on the clock, do those two mental situations that directly impact the game bother you more than any missed assignments?

B: Any time you play close game that comes down to one or two plays there is always going to be a play or two that everybody has that they would like to have back or they would like to do a little bit differently and I think that this game is no exception. I think everybody genuinely took the loss hard because the game was so close and we all had a hand in it. I don't think any one play in that game, although there were several important plays in the game, but there were so many of them that had any of them been a little bit different it could have changed things. I can think of 30 plays right off the top of my head that really wasn't much, but it was enough and it cost 20 or 30 yards of field position, or a first down, or gave them a first down, a mistackle, or whatever. That's the way it is. I don't think you can single out on play in yesterday's game, although you could single any play in yesterday's game and say it made the difference because it was a close game, but there were so many other plays that I don't know how you can just pick out one thing. Everything is important. Every play is important. Every play matters.

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            **Q: How about that spike, was it the way they appeared, guys not paying attention?**  

B: It was a poor play.

Q: Most games in this league are like what you are talking about, the average loss is by five and a half points or something like that, as they pile up you say it is a play here or a play there, how long do you go before you don't want to hear it was a play here or a play there?

B: I've gone far enough. I don't want to hear it anymore either, I don't want to hear it now, but I am just trying to be objective about the situation. The ball is thrown in the end zone the next to last play of the game, if we catch it we win, if we don't catch it we lose. You would be asking those same questions of the other team if that ball had been caught.

Q: What did happen on that play?

B: That was the backside of the read the ball was there and it was close. When you come down to one or two plays, a turnover, a mistackle, a misblock, a ball that was complete on one side, or wasn't complete on one side, no I am not going to sit here all year and say it is okay it's only one play. I am not saying that at all, but I am saying that there are a lot of things that we need to get corrected and if we could improve those areas the next time it comes down to this situation maybe we will make those one or two or three plays whatever it is and the outcome will be different that is the point that we are working towards, that's what we want to do.

Q: As a coach you could use a game like this as a gauge to see how your teachings and everything you have tried to put in at training camp has come out, does it discourage you that so many things brokedown at this point, did you expect the team not to be as jumbled as it was in some cases?

B: I said before the game that you never know. I don't think you ever really know where your team is until you get to opening day. Until you start playing the games for real. Preseason is what it is, it is a training ground and it is an opportunity to work on some things, but it is just not the same as the regular season. Things happen during the regular season that just don't happen in preseason. When those things start happening then that is where the rubber meets the road. I think what we found out as a coaching staff and as a team is that there are some things that we can do and there are some things that are going to be harder for us to do and we are either going to have to avoid those things, do them better or compensate in some way to minimize the liabilities in certain situations. Part of that is definitely from a coaching standpoint, part of it is from a playing standpoint, part of it is a communication thing and some of it was new experiences. Things that have been gone over on practice or gone over on the field or in meetings and when they happen in a game situation that's a little different. They happen quicker, you have less time to think about them, you transition from one situation to another in a game and things come up rapid fire and you have to be able to react to them. It is one thing to go over them on the board and tell your team, 'When this happens this is what we are going to do' and you go out there and practice and practice it and okay great, now you get into the game and that situation comes up one time in three hours for a split second and that's how much time you have to handle it. I think we found out some things that I think we handled pretty well and there were other things we didn't handle very well. We need to address those or like I said avoid them.

Q: Do you see teams going after Antonio Langham at all? Yesterday on several first down attempts they went right at him?

B: I thought Tampa ran pretty much their normal third down package, what they have been running. They had a couple of wrinkles in there. We had a couple of errors defensively on third down. Obviously, third down and 19, we had two of them that were just team errors. There were a couple of people involved. It was a combination of things that went wrong.

Q: Are you talking about the play when (Tedy) Bruschi was in (Shaun) King's face as he was throwing out of his own end zone in the first half?

B: Yes, we had a mistake on that play. We had a bad mistake on that play in coverage.

Q: Langham was closest to him in coverage was that his mistake?

B: Not really.

Q: Back in March at the league meetings you were asked who was your starting running back and you answered, 'Quite honestly we don't have one.' How difficult is it to win in this league when you don't have that guy?

B: I think the running game is going to be in the same category as the passing game and the defense and kick coverage and everything else. That's a team effort, the combination of the running backs and the people who are blocking and the plays that are called they are complimenting the rest of the offensive game plan that is all part of the running game. All the things that we are talking about offense, defense, running game, run defense, passing game, pass defense, kick coverage, kick returns, whatever it is. They are all things that we need to tighten it up on. Really there was no area yesterday that couldn't stand some improvement. I mean there is not one.

Q: How would you assess how Ted Johnson and Henry Thomas played yesterday?

B: I think I could say pretty much the same thing about everybody. I thought the team played hard. I thought they showed courage to hang in there even when things didn't look good at the end we came back and put ourselves in a position to have a chance to compete for the game at the end. Everybody had some mistakes along the way. I don't think I could really exclude anybody from that group, anybody that played in the game. Everybody that played contributed. They contributed positive things to the effort, but I think everybody had things in the game that were less than what they would like for them to be and probably less than what the team needs. We need to upgrade that, including the coaching. Like I said, anytime you go into an opener you go in with an idea of what you can do. An idea of what you need to handle on the other side of the ball and then there are always going to be some new things and different things that happen in that opening game and you are always going to look back in the mirror in retrospect and say, 'Gee I wish we had done this, or I wish we had had that,' and you made the decision not to do it going into the game for whatever the reasons were. You don't want to overload the team, or you didn't think we could handle it, but you find out that we could, whatever the situation is. As a coaching staff I think we learned something about the game as well yesterday in terms of our game planning in the future, things that we are going to have to take more into consideration maybe than we did in this game. Also some other things that I think we can take less into consideration, things that we felt were going to be a bigger problem weren't that big of a problem. Like always there were some things that we thought we would handle better than we did and we had trouble with them.

Q: Do you feel comfortable playing (Jason) Andersen a lot of center and having (Damien) Woody at guard?

B: I feel comfortable in the shotgun doing that, yes.

Q: I would imagine at some today you are going to start preparing for the Jets game, what is it like preparing for a team that you are so familiar with?

B: I haven't spent a lot of time preparing for them today. We have spent the majority of time this morning going over the films and the tapes and talking as a staff about the things we want to address with the team this afternoon and that type of thing. Yes, there is no question, in some respects it is going to look like an intersquad scrimmage. Every play you see on film you can call the play, you can call the formation, you can call the play and I am sure they can do the same thing down there. There is a lot familiarity and of course there is familiarity with personnel because the teams have played each other so much, there is a lot of storyline.

Q: Is there an advantage to be had? Yesterday you were able to throw a few wrinkles at Keyshawn (Johnson) because of your familiarity, will you have that edge with the Jets?

B: Again I don't know that there is any big edge to be had. I think that both team's players know each other very well and I think that the people who are doing the play calling know each other very well. I am sure both teams will attempt to maximize whatever advantages they think they have. I really haven't go into the full game planning on the game yet, but I think that it is pretty even footing. I don't know that there is a big differential one way or another. I can't imagine that it is.

Q: Is it good for you personally getting this game out of the way early, going back there with all of the storylines?

B: They make the schedule in April every year and there is nothing we can do about the schedule. There is nothing we can do about the weather. There is nothing we can do about what day of the week the games are played on. Whenever they are that's when they are and we get ready and play them. Whether it is early or late. Whether it is a 100 degrees or minus 20, artificial turf, grass, rain, shine, overcast, there is nothing that you can do about that.

Q: Obviously there is nothing you can do about it…

B: I am just saying I don't worry about it. If they schedule the game as the last game in December then we play it the last game of the year. If the schedule it the opener then we play it the opener, somewhere in between, if it is a Wednesday afternoon we play Wednesday afternoon.

Q: But when you got the schedule in April and saw Patriots at Jets second week Monday night game you didn't say, oh shoot?

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            **B:** You look at the schedule you see you play the Jets on September 11th or whatever it is you better be ready to play on September 11th. If you play Tampa on September 3rd better be ready to play Tampa on September 3rd. That is just the way it is. I can't worry about that.  

Q: You are not known as an emotional guy anyway, but are your emotions going to be any different this week, is it going to be hard to treat this like any other game?

B: It's a division game on the road. It is an important game. I have had the opportunity and I feel fortunate to have coached a lot of the players down there. I think they are very good players and they worked very hard for me, but this is a new year, it is a new situation. I am very happy to be here and I have a very strong affection for the players who have worked hard for me here and I have moved on. What is important to me know is how this team does. Every team we play we want to beat. It doesn't make any difference who they are or where they are located, or who coached there or didn't coach there last year or anything else.

Q: How did you guys come out of yesterday physically?

B: I don't think there was anything major.

Q: Is there a different feeling for you as a head coach losing the opener the way it was as a close game as opposed to when you may have been an assistant?

B: I think it is pretty much the same. I don't think you feel any better when you lose as an assistant coach. I don't think winning as an assistant coach or a head coach gives you any more satisfaction. This is a competitive league. It is tough to win in this league. If you win you enjoy it and if you don't win you are at the bottom of the ocean. I don't think it makes any difference whether you are a player, coach, head coach, defensive coordinator, offensive line coach, whatever it is. It is all on the same scorecard. You are either 0-1 or 1-0.

Q: Do you sleep less after a loss?

B: There are things running through your mind, but I think it is like that after every game. Even when you win there is another challenge to be met. Hopefully we will experience that soon.

Q: Is there a danger for coaches who are very familiar with each of thinking too much, 'I know what he is going to do in this situation', etc.

B: I think that is a legitimate point. You know the whole volume of it and everything can't be done. It is only going to be 70 plays on offense and defense in the game. You can get ready for 200, but you are only going to get 70.

Q: You were able to sense the so-called Tuna Bowl hysteria, do you think this will get approach that in terms of outside distractions?

B: I don't know. I'm sure you would have a lot better read on that then I would.

Q: Well I am here and so are two other guys.

B: Yes, but I am not down there so I don't know.

Q: You talked earlier about needing some time to see who can play and who can't how long do you give yourself before deciding okay player A is my guy.

B: I think as soon as you know.

Q: How long is that?

B: It depends. I don't think you can say it is going to take one day, one week, or one month. Sometimes it takes longer, but I think once you know then it is easy to make a decision and be strong with it and go forward. The one thing that I don't think is necessarily a good idea is to make a hard decision and then turn around in a very short period of time right after that and make another decision then you are bouncing back and forth and nobody can have any confidence. Regardless of what it is, and I think you are asking the question in terms of personnel, but I would say just from a coaching standpoint period when you talk about scheme or whatever it is, if you are going to play man-to-man and you know that is how you can win and that's your best chance and you are going to be a man-to-man team then start plying man-to-man. If you don't think you can play man-to-man and you are going to be a zone team then be a zone team. But I don't think you want to do one thing one week and then try to do something else the next week because that didn't work and keep flip flopping back and forth. It can be like that with personnel or it could be like that with game plans and so forth. I think once you know what you are, if that is still in doubt, which I would imagine it still is a little bit with every team at this point in the year everybody is still kind of finding their footing, certainly we are. Once you know that you are on firm ground then you want to start eating it up.

Q: A coach's pride and ego are on the line every week, is it any different this week, is there any personal stake after all you went through there?

B: That is really not the issue. The main issue for me is that this is divisional opponent and this is a tough division and every team needs to win its division games. It is a big game, it is a division game on the road and that is what is what is really important. That's important to our football team. They are not going to have everybody's personal record in the standings on Monday, it is going to be where the Patriots are. That's why we are all here and that's what we are about is what this team does collectively. It is not about individuals and individual stats and my record and your record and somebody else's stats, it is about where the team is.

Q: Does it warm the cockles of your heart to know that Keyshawn Johnson will be rooting for you on Monday night?

B: If that translates into any points on the board I will take them. I doubt that it is does.

Q: Is it similar to a fight? When fighters fight it is not personal they are not angry with the other guy, is it similar to that coaching against another guy, but it is not personal?

B: Yes, I mean especially when you are coach, it is not like I am out on the field playing you are just trying to get your team to perform well. I mean that is what every coach is trying to do. I feel like I put just as much into this Tampa game as I am going to put into the New York game as I am going to put into the Minnesota game. It is not like, 'I am going to take it easy this week because I want to do something else next week.' Every week is important, especially the division games.

Q: If one of those last passes to (Chris) Calloway or (Terry) Glenn was complete and you walk off the field winning that game do you feel like maybe you stole that given how you played or is it just this is the NFL and a win is a win and we will take it however we get it?

B: I told the team and I told them several times this year in training camp and I have told the coaches on many different occasions that what I am looking for and what our objective is, is for everybody to maximize their potential and achieve peak performance both individually and as a team. That is really what I am trying to demand is maximum performance. That is a high standard and that is something that if you are going to win in this league and if you are going to win consistently then you have to achieve it consistently. I don't think as a coach and this has never been my philosophy, but I don't think as a coach that you can accept mistakes when you win and tolerate things that are done incorrectly and not they way they need to be done at the highest competitive level. Then when you lose all of a sudden it is a big crisis because a guy jumped offside. If he jumps offside and you win, 'Oh don't worry about it', and if he jumps offside and you lose then a guy cost you the game. I can't really approach it that way. If it is things that have been gone over, that have been stressed, that we know what we should be doing and how to execute it and it is not done properly, I don't think it should be accepted win or lose, pass caught or not caught, ball fumbled or not fumbled, whatever it is, kick made or not made. Whatever the standard of performance that you hold yourself and your team to I think you have to hold them to it. Things that happen in the game I think need to be addressed in order to move forward. On the other hand it is always easier to correct them if you win, but if they are there they still need to be addressed because sooner or later in this league they will be exposed. You can't get away with costly mistakes for very long, not at this level. Sooner or later it is going to catch up with you.

Q: Did Terry (Glenn) not know the clock situation on the last?

B: No he knew the clock situation. What happened on the last play was that it was a communication problem in that what was called had a certain adjustment with it and that's what Terry did and it probably should have been called in away that that adjustment was eliminated. It is probably more of a coaching error than it is a playing error.

Q: The call was more an error than the execution?

B: There were a couple of problems on the play, but look there is room for improvement in coaching in this game, not just playing there is n doubt about that.

Q: Did you say to Terry next time come back on the last play of the game, did you say something?

B: No I think what we need to say is that when we make this call this is the way we are going to run it against this particular defense. We have run the play, but the way it came up in that particular situation, it came up differently. Terry did what he thought was right and Drew did what he felt was right. Looking at the overall situation you can see why it was done the way it was done and it needs to be cleaned up and that is part of our job as coaches to get it right.

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