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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Sun Sep 27 - 06:10 PM | Mon Sep 28 - 09:00 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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            **Q: How is Lawyer Milloy playing he was talking yesterday about how you have him doing some different things can you talk about that a little bit?**  

B: In the five games he has probably had more different things to do than any other player on the defense. He has been asked to carry a lot of different responsibilities. He is one of our most experienced players back there and also one of our most versatile. It is a plus to have somebody like that, but it is kind of a minus because you have to ask them to do a lot of things that it would be a lot easier if you could spread that around more, but we have had some different combinations back there with three different guys playing safety with him.

Q: What would be an example in one of the previous weeks of something you would have specifically asked him to do?

B: In the Jets game in one type of defense he really played linebacker and in another defense he played the equivalent of safety in our normal defense and then in another defense he played basically a kind of corner position in our sub-defense. If you have three defenses and there are twenty things on each defense that the other side of the ball can do then that is what your multiples are. You could do fifteen things on defense and if they only do two then your multiples could be cut in half. Sometimes when you go into a game you try to anticipate how many multiple you think you are going to have over there, but you never really know for sure because you can't control that. Some weeks it looks like it is going to be a lot and then you get into the game and it really isn't that bad. Other weeks you think not that bad and then because of the way it unfolds it turns out to be a lot and sometimes things run together.

Q: Does he handle the changes pretty well?

B: Yes he is pretty good. He's smart, he's instinctive and we have given him a lot and he has done a good job of handling it, but it is probably more than you would like to give a player. But sometimes when you have an experienced player then you have to try to draw on that. Sometimes it does take away from other things, but in the overall package that is what football is all about. It's a team sport and sometimes guys have to do things, or as a coach you have to ask guys to do things that you would rather not ask them to do, but that's what your best options are.

Q: Do you use him in the role of thug or leg breaker enforcer that kind of thing, he hits people so hard?

B: I have never, ever talked about it in those terms, never. We want everyone on defense to be aggressive that's what defense is about being aggressive and being physical and being tough. Clearly he is that, but we have never put it in those terms.

Q: As a coach when you watch a player as aggressive Lawyer when he really pops a guy does that get your attention?

B: Sure no doubt about it. You see the play at the game and then as you're watching the tape in the back of your mind you are kind of looking forward to seeing that play on film. With Lawyer or Lawrence Taylor you always would have one or two of those plays with Lawrence Taylor. You would get in there on Monday and would like to see that play in the third quarter where he nailed that guy.

Q: Is it more dramatic when you watch it on the film because on the sidelines there is so much going on?

B: You know sometimes it is. Sometimes you don't really appreciate the hit during the game until you really see it on film and then sometimes the guy is losing his balance and it looks like he got nailed and maybe he slipped or something. It is hard to see that stuff during the game. No doubt about it big hits like that they get everybody going and we talk to our team about that. A big hit on defense inspires the offense and inspires the special teams, just like a bit hit on offense. One of the biggest hits we had in the game came on offense after Tony Simmons caught that slant pass down there. (Terrell) Buckley was trying to strip the ball away from him and Sale Isaia had about a ten yard run and he nailed Buckley and knocked him off the pile. It was really a good hit and it was an aggressive play and I think when everybody saw it they really appreciated it. Terry Glenn's block on the screen pass to Kevin Faulk we got Buckley again on that one. Buckley was kind of off-balance when he got him, but still it was a play that the other players saw and got enthused by seeing. So definitely I think one side feeds off the other and those kind of plays are good for your football team and you certainly want to encourage them and highlight them to your team so they can really appreciate who is doing that for you.

Q: During training camp you compared Willie McGinest to Lawrence Taylor is there a player that you can compare Lawyer to?

B: Probably closest guy I would compare him to is Eric Turner, but I don't think they are quite the same player but that's the guy I would compare him to. They are both tough. Eric was a very physical contact player and they are both very smart intellectually and from a football standpoint. With Lawyer or Eric you never had to tell those guys twice. Usually the first time they were kind of insulted that you had to bring it up to them like, 'What would you expect me to do in this situation? Of course that is what I will do.' But yes I would say Eric Turner.

Q: Is Lawyer as physical as Ronnie Lott, is he that physical?

B: He's pretty physical. Ronnie Lott is probably another good comparison. One thing about Lawyer is he takes on everybody not just receivers. It's big backs, tight ends, lineman and he doesn't very often get the worst of it. He usually gets at least even if not the better of the contact.

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            **Q: Do you fear that, that he might get the worst of it someday given the way he plays?**  

B: Most of those players that play like that usually don't get the worst of it because they understand leverage and timing and they have enough quickness. The guys who get hit the hardest I think are the players who don't have a lot of quickness that they can't move quick enough to avoid he solid hit. You look at those backs and you say, 'This guy carries the ball a lot he is going to take a lot of hits and he won't last.' Say a guy like Curtis Martin he is only 205, but it is hard to get a good shot on him. I don't care how big he is it's hard to really tee it up and get a solid hit because he just has a way of just missing that contact. Then you get some other runners who are upright runners, like a guy like George Rogers who was a big, powerful, but upright kind runner that seemed to take a lot of hits right between the three and the eight. There are a lot of other players that you would like to just get one on, just one good hit on that guy, but you can't ever seem to get him in that right spot because he has enough quickness to avoid it.

Q: And that's a natural ability it's not something that can be learned?

B: I think you can always learn more and improve on it, but some guys have a lot more than others.

Q: When Lawyer's contract was up did you see that versatility in him as being one of the things that made you want to pay the money to keep him?

B: Yes I saw that his rookie year. As a rookie he was able to handle more than several of our veteran players were playing similar positions. He is pretty smart and I remember my first experience with him was when we brought him in here prior to the draft in 1996. I would say that we probably spent about two hours watching a game, I forget who they were playing now it was Washington, Stanford, some passing team in the Pac-10, Stanford or Arizona State or somebody and I just went through the defense with him. 'Okay well what is this defense?' 'It's under seven.' 'What are you doing here?' 'I'm reading this guy if he does this I do that.' Then you ask him, 'What is somebody else doing over here while he was doing that?' 'This isn't quite the way he is supposed to be doing it. He should be this, he is too far off the receiver. When he goes out he should look to the guy back inside,' or whatever it was. Next play, 'What's this?' He rattled them right off like he had just watched the film the day before. He said, 'Geeze I don't know I haven't watched this game in three months.' But it came right back to him. All the calls, all the adjustments, 'This is what we were doing here, but then Phil Elmassian , who was his secondary coach, oh we made this adjustment. So instead of doing this we checked to that. When they went to this formation then we made that adjustment.' It was pretty impressive. To be able to have that kind of recall, you ask some guys, "What's this defense?' 'I don't know?' ' Well what are you doing?' 'I'm keying the ball.' You and the 8,000 people in the stands. But he really knew the defense inside and out. Not only his position but what the nose tackle was doing, what the corners were doing, the adjustments they made and then I would ask him, 'What would happen if this happened?' 'Okay well we would do this, or we'd check to that. We wouldn't want to be in this defense against that we'd go to something else.' That's when I knew, I mean he hadn't looked at a game plan or looked at a film that was just recall and a lot of it was just instinctive. It was pretty clear from even that one meeting with a player that as quick as it happened to he didn't have to think about he just had total recall. You could give a guy a game plan, make some adjustments, change somethings around and it wouldn't bother him at all.

Q: Did you see a little bit of yourself in there?

B: No because I think a player and a coach unless you want both to see the game the same way they just can't see it the same way. One guy has got one job to do and the other guy has got to try to organize multiple groups of people. He is really a special football player like that. There are not many guys that are as good as he is at doing things like that, at understanding the total game, making adjustments, handling things on the run, seeing a new play come up and being able to sort it all out instantly and make good decisions.

Q: Who are the best hitters that you have seen?

B: I think you would have to take guys like Doug Plank, Ronnie Lott, (Lawrence) Taylor was a good hitter.

Q: What makes them do that?

B: One thing about all of those guys is they have enough quickness to get a solid hit. There are a lot of guys Harry Carson was another. Say the running back is running to the sideline, he is just running straight to the sideline and the defenders coming from the inside out and he will hit the guy and knock him over into the cheerleaders. But that's not that hard of a play because the runner doesn't have anywhere to go he has already set his course and the tackler takes his course and it is just a big collision. The guys who can really make the big hits are the guys who have enough quickness that can fit squarely on to the hit and not always reaching and grabbing and falling off the edge and that kind of thing. I think if you ever consistently see a big hitter in football it is a guy who has enough quickness so that he can square up and make solid contact. Like last week a guy like Al Wilson. That guy is a strong, explosive player, but he's got a lot of quickness and that's the type of player that he is. Ted Johnson is like that too. He has got good lateral quickness. A guy like Lawrence Taylor you can't get any quicker than that plus he has all the strength and explosion, but there are a lot of strong guys that they will hit you if they've got you lined up. It's not a question of toughness it is just a question of being able to get square on the guy, square on the tackle. Maybe the biggest hitter might be Earl Campbell.

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