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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Sun Nov 29 - 06:00 PM | Mon Nov 30 - 09:00 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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            **B:** As I said yesterday after the game this was a real good win for our football team. It was a good team win. After going over the tapes this morning it's really hard to single any one thing out. There were just so many different situations and so many different people that contributed. I think any time that you play a team like the Colts that has so many good players, so many weapons on offense and do some things defensively that test all the different facets of your offense that it really is a testament to what the overall team can do collectively not anyone guy. There is no one person that can stop (Peyton) Manning, (Edgerrin) James, (Marvin) Harrison, (Terrence) Wilkins, (Ken) Dilger, (Marcus) Pollard; nobody can do that by themselves. It takes a lot more than that and at the same time there are a lot of people to block on the defensive front and special teams was a big factor yesterday. We got very good coverage and executed a couple of key plays there before the half. So those different situations and the contributions of everybody really paid off. It was a good win for everybody and everybody contributed to it. Now we have got a good team coming in here this week. The Jets are another team that is well balanced, that does a lot of things well and I think their record speaks to that. They have been able to perform well in some tight situations and so this will be a big challenge for us this week. That's really where we have to turn our head pretty quickly to see the Jets coming in here and not look in the rearview mirror. The situation just briefly at quarterback with now (Ray) Lucas or (Vinny) Testaverde possibly whichever way it is going to go just makes it that much harder to prepare for them. This will be a very challenging week for us as it was the last time we played them. That is where we are. At this time no serious injuries coming out of the game, obviously some bumps and bruises it was a tough game, it was a physical game, but it doesn't look like there is anything at this time.  

Q: Some coaches are reluctant to use gimmick plays is it your philosophy that those plays are just part of the game plan?

B: Believe me I only want to call them if I think they are going to work too. If you feel like the percentages are with you and you have a better chance for success on the play than failure then you will have the confidence to run it particularly if you have executed it well in practice and I think that is a big key. You can draw up a lot of different stuff, but when you actually go out there and run it if it doesn't look good in practice then generally it is not going to look good when it really counts. If you got good execution in practice then part of it depends on when you call it and getting the right look and of course the second part of it depends on continuing to have good execution. On those Hail Mary plays and all, you're right that is not a high percentage play, but if you do it right you have a lot better chance than if you don't do it right and your chances are still small, but that is the only play you have in that situation with three seconds to go in the half. There isn't really too much downside to the play.

Q: Does an assistant have to sell you on running a play like a fake field goal?

B: No we talked about it before the game. We talked about it before we even put it in because I can tell you from being an assistant for a long time the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of meeting time and practice time going over something and then find out we're not going to be doing that Sunday. It is just a waste of time. Things like that we talk about ahead of time. What is the situation? What are the chances of us being able to do it? Then if that situation comes up if we have executed it well in practice and so forth then it maybe an opportunity to do it, but that is all definitely talked about ahead of time. We review it the night before the game, the day of the game. The day of the game if something changes, for example the field conditions or the weather it maybe be something specific to the game that alters your strategy a little bit. So that is kind of the process and the field goal was something that we have had in and this was a good opportunity to run it. Fortunately it was well executed by like I said, not just the people who were out on the field, but the ones coming off the field and the whole timing of it.

Q: In terms of execution it didn't seem like there was much to the fake field goal, it seemed like the key was them not picking up Eric (Bjornson) on the sideline all alone?

B: That's always the key, but…

Q: Did you see something from them?

B: You try to set it up where you feel like it has the highest percentage chance to work. There are different ways to do it, but whichever one you decide on…

Q: Was Eric sneaking over to the sideline part of the execution?

B: He didn't sneak anywhere. He was lined up legally. Last week we put Terry Glenn in motion on the first play of the game and nobody covered him and Drew (Bledsoe) raised up and hit him with the ball. Sometimes those things happen. Lord knows you watch us playing defense you see nobody covering guys there too.

Q: Do you become more receptive to plays like that at 1-4?

B: I try not to be.

Q: The flea-flicker nearly worked, did you notice the near miss on film?

B: Yes it had a chance, but they had a good call on and whenever you run a play like that you can't handle everything that is going to happen. They had a blitz on that was a little more than we could handle the way we had it blocked that time. It was a good call on their part. Sometimes there are more opportunities in one week than another. We don't want to go into a game saying we are going to have four this week or five this week, there might not be any or there might be five or there might be two. You just try to evaluate what your opportunities are, but I think the key to the whole thing really is execution. Another thing that happens as a coach is as you go through if you can see your team improving its execution on your basic fundamental things then maybe you can find a little time to work on something else. When you are not executing your basic stuff very well then it is hard to allocate more time to work on other things. If you can't get some of the basic stuff done the way you want it then to spend more time on a play that is only going to come up maybe once that you might have to run three or four times before you feel confident doing it then it is probably not time well spent. I think the overall improvement of our team particularly offensively on the execution the last couple of weeks gives you a little more latitude to open things up as the fans like to say.

Q: How and when did you learn that Lee [Johnson] could throw a pass?

B: Lee's done those kinds of things through camp. When you're on the defensive side of the ball on punt returns and field goal rushes and things like that you're always working on those things. So your guys do it and sometimes you get good ideas there, things that other teams run that you have trouble defending, maybe that is something you can run.

Q: What is the most bizarre gimmick play that you have seen over your years?

B: The rules have changed quite a bit in that area. It's been tightened up quite a bit from where it used to be. I think the original version of the "sleeper" play came with the fake injury. That is probably not an ethical way to run it, but we have seen it run that way before. I mean I am talking about back in the sixties. When a guy goes out there, gets up, and limps off. By the time he gets to the sideline it's about the time the team gets out of the huddle and lines up and there's ten guys there. Then there's the eleventh guy, just stand up and hit him.

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            **Q:  [Greg] Spires had a few direct runs to the quarterback, what happened there?**  

B: I'm not sure exactly what happened from the Colts end, but it looked like there was some kind of confusion in the blocking scheme. One time when Andy [Katzenmoyer] and another time when Ted Bruschi walked up on the line to fake a blitz that the line must have had some kind of communication breakdown, cause they just let him go. They were looking for the linebacker to blitz and they had him picked up, but somebody is obviously supposed to take Greg and they missed it. Teddy and Andy did a good job with that all day, disguising our alignment. I think it did open up some pass-rush opportunities for us. We had, not all the time, but there where a number of times when we had pressure on Peyton, forced him out of the pocket or hurried him a little bit. Those guys, Andy and Teddy, did a good job of being up there, faking it, that kind of thing, drawing some attention.

Q: What, if any, is the thought behind Spires on the blind side and [Willie] McGinest on the other?

B: It depends on how the blockers are blocking them. There are some guys that you can power rush in and there're other guys that are hard to power rush. You have to try and speed them or run around them, or a combination of both, there is certainly a place for both. Willie lines up on the right too. It's not like he is always on the left. He has some flexibility. He also lines up in the middle, depending on how we've got it called or what part of the protection we are trying to attack. Sometimes on your pass rush you try to pick out one or two guys that you want to attack because you think you're better than they are. Then some weeks it depends on how the protection goes. If the protection is always overloaded one way or another then sometimes you try to attack the weaker part of the protection. You just have to make that game plan determination, whether you want to make it a personnel think or you want to make it a scheme thing. Sometimes it will be a combination.

Q: Is there an element of surprise in virtually every defensive play that you run?

B: I would like to say yes. But watching the way the quarterback's perform sometimes, I would say no. It's not much of a disguise. It would be like me standing here with a fake mustache. Who is that? I think everybody knows.

Q: Is that great scheming by them or your guys aren't selling it well enough?

B: Defensively, what you try to do to the offense is try to make them read it after the snap. If they know what you are in before the snap, unless it's an obvious situation or maybe it's something you want them to know you're in but you're going to play it a little differently, you do it that way. You don't want them to know what you are in until after the ball is snapped. What you want to try and do is make the offensive line, tight ends and running backs, quarterback and receivers, read the defense after the ball is snapped. Then hope that they all can figure it out and do the right thing. If you do it ahead of time and line up and tell them, 'OK fellas here is what we're in let's see what you can do about it. 'Then you are taking a lot of the mental recognition off the offensive side of the ball. They know we're in this defense, we know who to block, we know what to do. They still may not be able to execute it perfectly, but you've eliminated that. Versus, what gap is this guy really going to be in, is the linebacker going to come, isn't he going to come, is the corner going to roll-up, is he going to back off, those kinds of things. That's the way you'd like for it to be done, but I can't sit here and tell you that is the way it is every time, not by a long shot.

Q: Is it a victory as a defensive coordinator to get a quarterback to audible into something based on what you are disguising?

B: Yes. Sometimes you can steal plays. They only get so many plays offensively that they are going to run and if they can hit a couple of bad ones then that is just that many less that they have to work with. Again, you've got to make a determination on how much time you want to put into that and what the risk and the reward is going to be. How much time do you want to put into trying to get them to check in to something and maybe that's a play they don't get but what is the cost to you to do that. How much do you have to work on it? How tough is it to get everybody coordinated? How predictable is the formation? Sometimes when you try to disguise things defensively, it's easy if you know where the people are on offense but we can't control that on defense. We don't know if there is going to be a slot here, a slot there, or no slot. So the disguise can't really be determined until after the offense comes out. And then once they come out and lineup, then you have to orchestrate a lot of moving parts to try to disguise it. I think on the play that you are talking about to tell you the truth, I think what he checked to, I don't know if he got what he was looking for but it certainly turned out to be an effective play. I am sure they were happy that they ran it.

Q: Forget about him being in only his third season, how good is he at reading defenses compared to other quarterbacks you've gone up against?

B: He is pretty good. I think he'll be better when he's got eight years in the league than when he's got three years in the league. I don't think that he has peaked, but he is pretty good.

Q: The defense hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher all year, they seem to be everywhere. Is that just an all-out commitment to not let guys get yards?

B: I think the players take a lot of pride in the run defense. The running plays are physical plays, they are a little bit attitude plays. In the end, either they block you or they don't. In the end, either you tackle the guy with the ball or you don't. So it is more of a physical challenge. There's a lot of technique involved too, don't get me wrong. But there is a lot of contact and there's a lot of physical play there. I think our players take a lot of pride in that and not letting people run the ball on us. It's still hard to stop and the secondary is a big part of that in terms of run force, but I think the guys up front do a good job in preparing for the running game both off the field and on the field. These last few weeks the running drills have been at a very high tempo out there at practice.

Q: Is it more hand technique or footwork?

B: Both. If one is good and the other isn't it won't get it done. I think they both need to be there.

Q: On the flip side of that, other teams have been throwing the ball a lot. Where do you see Antwan Harris and the pass defense right now?

B: Well I think it needs to be better than it was the last two weeks. As a coach it is a lot easier to correct from wins than it is from losses. But I think when you are giving up over 300 yards the last couple weeks passing, and some of the yardage hasn't been of significance, it could be marginal. But never the less, it definitely needs to be better. Antwan came in there yesterday and we were having trouble. We put him in the game to do some things on the slot and he did a pretty good job of it. He's another guy that works after practice, we've spent a lot of time with him. Dewayne [Walker] spent a lot of time with him, just individually working on his technique, trying to get some things straightened out, some habits that he had that he needs to break. I think that guys like Antwan and J.R. [Redmond] are starting to see how the extra work and the extra time that they are spending has improved them as players. Also, from a coaching standpoint, as we see them improve it gives us more confidence to want to put them in the game. I don't know if three weeks ago I would have put Antwan in the game in that situation. But after practice, and you see him going against guys, starting to make more plays, and get his hands on more balls and playing tighter coverage, then your confidence level increases and he has been able to take advantage out it here. This has been what we have been talking about all year with the rookies, about establishing a role for themselves, being able to do something to get to the game and once they get into the game maybe they have an opportunity to do something else. Antwan's main role has been on special teams and yesterday he got a chance to play defense. He did a pretty good job and he's probably going to get maybe a little bit more of an opportunity next time. J.R.'s done that the last couple of weeks. I thought J.R. had a real good play yesterday right at the end of the game on an outside run to our left where he stayed in bounds. We've seen a lot of guys go out in that situation and I thought that was a real good judgement play. Those are the kinds of things that build your confidence level up on those guys.

Q: There were four or five defensive holding calls yesterday, was that overly aggressive officiating, overly aggressive defense?

B: No. There was one call that I thought, I can't see it, the other three, the guys jersey almost came off. You can't argue those calls. Nope we held them and the game was well officiated. They called it because we did it. There was one time where I can't see it, but…

Q:

B: I don't know what that was. I haven't seen the TV copy maybe it is on a close-up shot I can't see it on the coaches' film, but the other calls absolutely. (Marvin) Harrison's jersey is halfway off on a couple of those plays.

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            **Q: Should this be happening at this point in the season?**  

B: It is not what we are looking for. We're not looking for holding, we're not looking for offsides, we're not looking for guys blocking people in the back on returns, we're not looking for false starts, offensive holding believe me we don't coach any of that stuff. I have never stood up there in front of the team and said. 'Grab him, hit him in the back, jump offsides, false starts, that's okay.' That's not okay and that stuff, you give a team like the Colts, we did it we gave them opportunity after opportunity, after opportunity in that drive. They are going to get you. The Jets are going to get you. You can't keep giving those teams extra chances, Denver, Miami. We had a penalty in the Miami game that led to field goal. I have done this study before you go back and look at defensive penalties and a high percentage of the time, I am talking close to fifty percent of the time at the end of that drive, points. That's what it results in it results in points. That's not the way to play good defense and offensively penalties stop drives. You only get the ball whatever it is twelve, thirteen, fourteen times a game, thirteen on average you get three or four penalties in there those are drive stoppers. Drop a pass, add a penalty, get a sack, pretty soon you can't score any points you don't have the ball.

Q: Would (Antwan) Harris have played at all on defense if (Antonio) Langham hadn't been hurt?

B: He really wasn't scheduled to play a lot as it was it was mainly special teams and the way the game turned out we put him in there. I don't know how the game would have gone if Langham had played. I'm not sure.

Q: How do you manage the mood of the team I think the first four weeks the guys stayed pretty level-headed and now you have two big wins and not many people thought you would how do manage the mood?

B: I think if you poll our team and our coaches I don't think you would find too many people there that didn't think we would get them. I don't know how everybody else thinks out there I really don't know. I can't speak for everybody else all I can speak for is the team and I think that in each of the six games when we walked out on the field we thought we were going to win. We didn't always win them, but we felt we were going to and I think that is the way it is going to be every week. I think every week we are going to feel like we are going to win. I'm not predicting an undefeated season I'm not saying that. I am just saying that when we walk out on the field I think that our team has enough confidence in ourselves and our teammates and all the people that are connected to the team that we are going to play well and win. Now we know we are going up against good teams and we know the challenges are there and they are there this week. The Jets are good football team make no mistake about it, but I think that when we walk into the game we are going to be confident going into the game.

Q: Do you worry about too much confidence after two games like that?

B: I don't know how a 2-4 team can be overconfident. I mean I really don't. I will try to take care of that, but I don't you know.

Q: How did Larry Whigham play and also are you still looking for a free safety what is the status of that position?

B: we played a number of people on defense and we have continued to play them in roles and those roles are related to defense and they are also related to special teams. I think what we are really looking for and it is a little bit like what we talked about with Kevin Faulk, how many plays can Kevin play on regular offense, on third down offense, and in the kicking game. A little bit of that is true with the defensive backs between Langham, Otis Smith, Larry, Tebucky (Jones) what we are looking for is to maximize our efficiency and our performance, not just on defense but in the kicking game. I think what we saw yesterday in the kicking game was excellent coverage by Tebucky and Larry and Otis who was also involved in that and we were also able to get some plays defensively, effective plays out of those players on defense. So however we can maximize that every week that's what we are going to try to do. I have tried to talk to the players and I know Eric (Mangini) has too, I know everybody wants to start and I know everybody wants to be introduced and all of that, but really this is a team sport and in this sport players and coaches have to put their individual goals aside for team goals. I think that is what that group is doing. That's what we've asked them to do and I think we are going to continue to ask them to do it. In Larry's case specifically, Larry was out he came back for the Denver game I don't know if he was 100 percent or not I really don't, but he played hard in that game. I think he gave us some inspiration, he gave us some emotional leadership and he did it again yesterday. That is the kind of thing you admire about a player and I think everybody admires and respects Larry for those attributes.

Q: In looking at the tape how did he play at the free safety position?

B: He was okay. Look they threw for 350 yards whatever it was, I'm not going to stand up here and say it was a Bobby Jones performance down there like the Mets had yesterday. We did some good things we had some turnovers and we had our hands on a lot of balls. We could have maybe had a few more turnovers that we had. We had some pressure on the passer, but he threw it and Marvin Harrison caught it. It wasn't like they were three and out every series they moved the ball so there is some work to be done at that end to.

Q: Are the Jets in a better position right now to endure the loss of Vinny Testaverde because of what they went through last year?

B: Well I think, and I can't really speak for them, but in my opinion the attitude in New York would be that whether it be Vinny or Ray Lucas I'm sure they feel like they can win with either quarterback in the game. I don't think there is any doubt about that. We know they can. That's not even really debatable. When Vinny got hurt last year and that was before Ray had really played I can't say that feeling was universal on the team. Then there was a quarterback transition where Rick (Mirer) played and then eventually Ray played more towards the middle of the season and then he won at the end. What the team's state of mind was when Vinny got hurt in September of 1999 and when it is in October of 2000 I think is probably not quite the same. But I know by the end of 1999 when we walked out on the field with Ray Lucas as the quarterback players, coaches, everybody in the organization felt just like I am saying now. It felt like we were going to win.

Q: To the untrained eye it looks like Ty Law is struggling is this a product of the scheme or is he struggling?

B: The same thing I have said about the free safety position. There was plenty of yardage given up out there in the passing game. I think everybody involved in pass coverage yesterday can play better and needs to play better. I think if we allow the same amount of passing opportunities as we yesterday that eventually it won't be good enough.

Q: As more of a cornerstone of the defense you must expect more?

B: I expect more from everybody. Playing pass defense in the NFL is a total team sport and even when you are in man-to-man coverage either there is going to be help somewhere or it is an all and out blitz and the quarterback should have to get the ball off in a short amount of time. I mean that's it. They only have five eligible receivers so unless you are bringing six or more people then there is help there for somebody to use. The coordination and the timing of that help relative to when that ball is being thrown and the coverage being tight when the quarterback is releasing the ball because the pressure is getting to him that's what pass defense is all about. It is not about one guy. Defense is just as much timing as it is on offense and those two things have to be in coordination with each other, if they are not you can have them covered and if there is no rush they are going to get open and you can not be on them tight enough and the rush could be great and the quarterback just releases the ball because the coverage isn't tight when the rush gets there. Those two things have to go together. Again, it is a total team thing. It needs to be better at every position.

Q: How often was it just he and (Marvin) Harrison?

B: A lot because Harrison lines up on the left a lot and (Terrence) Wilkins lines up on the right a lot that is just the way they do it and Ty plays on the left and Otis basically plays on the right.

Q: So it wasn't just Ty playing man on him, he was letting him go at times?

B: No it definitely is not that. Usually you either play all man or all zone. It is hard to play man within a zone. I mean you can do it, but it's hard as opposed to basketball where you play box and one and that kind of thing. It is a lot harder to do that by the formations and the patterns and the plays we see that's tough to do. So you are either playing man or your playing zone.

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