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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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            **B:** We are plugging away at it here with the Broncos. This is a tough, tough team to get ready for they do so many things on both sides of the ball that create a lot of scheme problems. This is probably the toughest game that we have had from a coaching standpoint to prepare the players on because of the number of variables that Mike and Greg bring into the game from a scheme standpoint, but that's where we are. It is a little bit of a different type of game than we have had the last few weeks. Injury wise I don't think there is anything new to add, it is the same as it was yesterday.  

Q: With (Brian) Griese questionable do you have to prepare for both quarterbacks?

B: I think we do. I would expect to see Griese myself, but we've seen last week's game against Kansas City and in terms of the offense I think both quarterbacks are going to basically run the same offensive system. They didn't alter it very much for Gus (Frerotte), he is a pretty experienced guy and I think that they will do the same things with either quarterback in there. Each guy is a little bit unique we talked about that down there today. We watched some tape of both guys and made a little comparison of how they are different, but they are similar.

Q: Is Griese more elusive?

B: I think Brian, there are certain types of plays that seem to show up a little bit more when he is in there that he maybe executes a little bit better. When Gus was in there they went to some passes that I think probably he was a little more comfortable with, but Griese may be a little quicker in the pocket. They both have scrambles and made some first downs running and pulled the ball down and that kind of thing, but I don't think it is a dramatic difference.

Q: Can you draw from last year when the Jets were struggling and they went to Denver and everyone was saying, 'They're struggling and they are going into Denver they can't win there' and then you get a win. Can you use that to motivate this club?

B: I don't know. That is so long ago I don't really think it relates too much to this team. It would be nice for it to happen and all, but I don't know how strongly those two things are related.

Q: How do you work on trying to have these guys maintain a positive attitude? How much more of your time does that take up?

B: I think you always have to be aware of your team's attitude whatever it is and I think you have to be aware of the situation that your team's in. It changes every week and it changes from one week to the next and there are certain categories that they can fall into, but I think that is on the head coaches job description on the list of things to do every week. You try to assess where your team is, what frame of mind they are in, what the situation is coming up this particular week with the opponent and the circumstances that surround the game and then how to try and maximize it. I think that is definitely an every week thing. I don't think it is any different, the circumstances may be a little different, but I think that part of it is something that you think about on Monday and Tuesday and then when you talk to the team on Wednesday you bring it up with them. Then as you go through the week you get a little sense of how things are going or what your team needs or doesn't need and then you try to usually address what it needs. A lot of times you think about things that may or may not be a problem and then as you go through the week you kind of get a sense of what is or isn't a problem. Then you try to address the ones that you think are more important.

Q: I know it is something you can't quantify how important an attitude it, but how significant

B: It is definitely part of the puzzle. It is definitely a piece. Mental frame of mind is important, but I don't think that by itself doesn't guarantee anything. You could take eleven guys off the street and have the best frame of mind in the world and I don't think they would be able to necessarily go out and win an NFL game. It comes down to still being able to do the things that you need to do to win and those vary from week to week too depending on what type of challenges you are facing from the other team.

Q: It looked like you put Chad (Eaton) at end a few times the last couple of games, is that right?

B: We kind of have had a three man type of rotation there between Brandon (Mitchell), Chad, Henry (Thomas) and Bobby (Hamilton). Those four guys have played three spots and it depends a little bit on what we are doing. I'm trying to think back to the last couple of game plans, there has been a little variation in what we were trying to do so between Greg (Spires), Willie (McGinest) and then those four guys, those six players basically play four spots one way or another, but we have different combinations of how they are together or where we put them. That is basically where our depth is.

Q: When Chad is out there is that dramatically different than what he does at nose tackle, is he still just tying up blockers, a classic two gap thing or is there more to it?

B: It may not seem like a different world, but it is a different world, but there are a lot of different things that can happen when you are out on the tackle compared to what happens when you are in there on the center, but that's where we are. I think those four players and include Greg and Willie in that, those six players give us the most experience, the most depth, the most overall athleticism and basically the best level of play that we are going to get out of the people that we have on those units. I can't sit here and say it is like playing nose because it isn't, but it is a lot closer to playing nose than it is to playing maybe some other positions on defense that we could name. Some things are carryovers and some things are brand new.

Q: What kind of additional problems does Denver's defense present are they still doing a lot of blitzes or have they calmed down?

B: No I wouldn't say they have calmed down. They give you a lot of different looks and they bring people in different combinations. There is certainly a framework and a structure that it all fits within. When you see something new you can say, 'It is kind of like this but they changed it a little bit for this particular game.' So I think that is really the mark of a lot of good teams that they give you a little different look, but it is still in the framework that their team is comfortable with. The Ram game as an example there are times when there is only one player in a three-point stance. I'm not talking about third down either, there are just guys walking around, moving around all over the place and you don't see that very often. You don't very often see on defense, on first or second down, nobody in a three-point stance. So there are things like that are maybe not off the charts, but are certainly a little different and they do mix in a variety of pressures and a combination of zone blitzes and man blitzes.

Q: Is it very difficult to pick that up?

B: I think overall that the package that they run is similar to Tampa and Minnesota. The thing that they have done more of this year is they are playing more man coverage than they were with (Ray) Crockett and (Terrell) Buckley out there at corner, they are just playing more man at the outside positions and in the past they have been let's say a little bit more blitz zone. That to me would be the biggest change that I see in their defense over that last year or two years.

Q: Is it essentially the same defense that was here last year?

B: I think it is similar. Monty (Kiffin) with Tampa and the Minnesota package, even though Emmit (Thomas) brought a little different look to it, it still had some carryover to what they had done previously with Foge (Fazio) and Denny (Green), but it is the over and under package.

Q: Why is their pass defense rated so low?

B: They have given up some plays, some big plays in the passing game. They have also played St Louis. I think any team that plays St. Louis is probably going to give up some passing yardage or at least it looks like they will. Anytime you put a lot of people close to the line of scrimmage and pressure the offense then there a re just less people in the back to defend against big plays and they have given up some and they have made some though. They have had a lot of turnovers and they have scored on defense. So when you are playing that style of defense and that type aggressiveness you are vulnerable in the back end and sometimes they have been hit back there, but they have made a couple of plays themselves that have created turnovers or put points on the board so it has been a little bit of both.

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            **Q: Are you concerned about your back-up running back position, if (Kevin) Faulk went down you would have three very inexperienced guys, how would you handle that?**  

B: I would say that J.R. (Redmond) is working and improving and I don't think that just because he hasn't played in the last two games, I don't think that he is further behind than he was two weeks ago let's put it that way. Right now the running back situation, as I have said before, it would be great if we had Jim Brown and then we wouldn't be talking about it, but right now at running back we have players that have different skills, they are in different sizes and totally as an offense there are several things that we have to deal with. Running the ball is one thing, catching the ball is another thing and blitz pickup is another thing. So I am not sure that right now we have the one back that can do all of those things every play of every game for sixteen games. What we have to do is manage the position where we can maximize everyone's effectiveness including the blocking responsibilities that go with the position so that the offense can function as effectively as we can and also knowing that one guy can't do everything all the way through that we are able to break the jobs up a little bit and split them up. So between Harold (Shaw), J.R. (Redmond), Tony (Carter), Chris (Floyd), (Patrick) Pass in the Minnesota game and Kevin (Faulk) that is what we are trying to do.

Q: How much did missing most of training camp hurt Redmond?

B: It certainly didn't help him. It is not anything that worked in his favor. That is part of the problem, the other part of the problem is when a young player like that comes in either the end of preseason or during the regular season is that the treadmill is already moving pretty fast you are not starting at a stationary position like you did at the beginning of camp. A lot of things are in and then as you play different games and game plan for a certain team then you are changing a few things week to week which goes with not a real solid base because of the later starting time. Those are obstacles that a player coming in late has to overcome. The more experienced player at least has a better background in some of those things than a younger player. I still think that the younger players are catching up. Speaking as the group I think they are definitely closing the gap on where the veterans are in terms of experience and understanding and all of that. In J.R.'s case too.

Q: Isn't running back the most instinctive position where if you have the ability it shows itself quickly and you don't have to know X's and O's the way you do at other positions?

B: There are great players at every position in the league. If the guy is good enough, Lawrence Taylor came in and dominated the linebacking position his rookie year in the league. I don't think you have to be a running back. I think what you have to be is an exceptional player or maybe you just get the opportunity. Sometimes those guys are able to take advantage of it because they get more opportunity than what they should get at that point in time. Running the ball is an instinctive skill there is no doubt about that. Pass protection, running pass routes, and being in the proper position on pass routes so it compliments what the other players are doing and the quarterback knows what you are going to do and where you are going to be. Those things vary depending on the level of experience that the player has a lot of times in his college system and our passing game clearly is different, I mean any NFL passing game is going to probably be different from whatever it was in college. There is still an adjustment period in other phases of the game. There is an adjustment period running the ball too. Again depending on exactly how the player has been coached to run it. Denver's backs run plays differently than Miami's backs did. You can see the way they are being taught in their style of running. Sure some of it is instinctive there is no doubt about that, but some of it is also understanding the intent of the play and how it is supposed to be executed and doing it that way. I don't think you could just go out to Denver and just run the ball the way you want to run it. I think you have to run it a certain way like those guys do or they are not going to play you. They'll get you out of there and play someone else.

Q: On Faulk's fumble last week was it something he didn't do technically correct there other than getting popped on a good hit?

B: I think there are basically two types of fumbles that can occur one type of fumble is a careless fumble where a guy doesn't have the ball securely tucked against his body and with minimal contact the ball gets dislodged. Then there is another type of fumble that is a contact fumble where a guy just gets hit and loses the ball on a hard hit. A lot of times if that hit is right on the ball then no matter how tightly you are holding it there is still a possibility that the ball will come out. In that case there are two things that can happen one is if the ball carrier has himself in a body position such that it is hard for the tackler to hit the ball then there is a lot less chance of that contact causing a fumble. If he is exposed in a upright position where he is a target and the guy can tackle him then there is a lot more chance that that pressure can hit directly on the ball. So a lot of times when you see a runner that is crouched over carrying the ball, no matter how hard you come in and hit him you can't really hit the ball because his upper body, his shoulders and his head and his arms are between the tackler and the ball. In terms of protecting the ball what you teach a runner is to first of all carry the ball closely to his body and secure it and second of all to run with a body lean such that the upper part of his body is protecting the ball. Not only so you can break tackles and gain more yardage, but also so that they are unable to make a direct contact hit on the ball. Fundamentally on that play he was in a more upright position and when the hit came it was a solid hit on the ball. Sometimes those balls come out sometimes they don't, but in order to minimize those situations fundamentally what you try to teach is to play with a lower body lean so that there is no direct contact on the ball.

Q: When something like that happens do you wonder should I put that guy in that position?

B: We have been talking about the running back position all year. I think that Kevin is a player that clearly has a lot of skill and can do a lot of different things. The question is how long can he do them and how effective is he doing it for what length of time that is the question that I think we are continuing to see examples of evidence of what's best for our football team. In an ideal situation I think that you would like to have Kevin doing things that he does the best most frequently, but sometimes he has to do things just because he is in there whatever the play calls for. You just can't call plays for what each individual can do because you have eleven guys out there and if you call this play it is bad for that guy, if you call that play it is not as good for somebody else you just have to decide overall what you can live with, what your team can do and then whatever they run you have to handle it.

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