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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, MABill Belichick speaks to the press.



            **B:** We have a couple of updates. We took the pads off in practice yesterday and tried to get a little more teaching done unfortunately we had to add two guys to the injury report. Matt Chatham got kicked in the leg so he is a little sore he probably won't be able to do much today and Chris's (Slade) back tightened up a little bit on him yesterday too. We are a little thin at that linebacker position. We are taking a look at what our options are. There are usually not a lot of them in the middle of November and that's true now too. So we are monitoring that one pretty closely but that's a little bit of a concern there. Drew (Bledsoe) basically didn't do much yesterday and I doubt if he will do much today, again it is another situation that will come close to a game time decision if not right at game time. So I think that is a little bit the way this week is going. We are just going to have to prepare a couple of contingencies and alternatives for some personnel and adjust as we gain a little more information. Those are my updates.  

Q: You said yesterday that you would want to see something from Drew before, you couldn't just get to Sunday morning and say can he play, we don't know and so if by the end of practice if he hasn't been able to grip or throw the ball will you pretty much have your decision?

B: If that becomes the case then yes the longer it goes without him being able to do anything yes the harder it would be.

Q: So it is not strictly a game time decision?

B: No, hey we could know tomorrow that there is no way, that could happen. So if that happens it happens. If it doesn't, if continues to kind of progress along to where you think you have a chance then you workout the players before the game and see what he can do. I would say in the nine games this year we have probably had one of those in over half of the games where we have gone right to the field prior to turning in the inactive list at about 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning, worked the player out and then made the decision one way or the other, where we really didn't know the night before when we met as a staff what his availability would be and you plan for it if he is there and if he is not there you make the decision on Sunday. I could see it as being that type of situation maybe it will be determined before that one way or the other.

Q: Understanding the experience factor why does John (Friesz) give you a better chance to win than Michael (Bishop), is it just that?

B: That's a big part of it. John has had more experience running the offense in the system, he has had more experience in the NFL and he has had more experience in these kinds of situations. Overall of his performance when he has had the opportunity to do that since I have been here has been better than everybody else.

Q: Is this the kind of thing that you played Michael (Bishop) for so much in the first couple preseason games so you could know more what you had if the situation arose?

B: I really didn't know a whole lot about most of the players who were here. I didn't have any background with them so we try to play everybody in preseason to get a feeling for what their strengths were as a player and how we could utilize them including Michael and a lot of other young players that played a lot.

Q: How much difference would there be between a Michael Bishop game plan and a John Friesz game plan? Would the Bishop game plan be a lot different? Would you get to a point at the end of the week where if Drew (Bledsoe) could play and you have spent time working on things as if you were going in the Bishop direction and you couldn't Bledsoe in as easily and you would have lost a lot of time?

B: We have kind of been through this situation twice. We went through it in the Detroit preseason game and we went through it in the Tampa preseason game where Michael started and played the majority of the game and also in the San Francisco game Drew played a series and then Michael came in and played the majority of the game. So he essentially was functioning as a starting type quarterback in that situation. Then we went to Washington and John was basically in that situation. Drew played a little bit early in the game and then he came out and then John played a quite a bit after that. (Tom) Brady has played when he's played, less than those two. Carolina, Friesz played in that game as well. So I feel like in preseason we gave everybody an opportunity to go through the different scenarios of when they would be the guy getting most of the reps, when they wouldn't get many reps and would still have to play that kind of thing. We tried to find out as much about them as we could. It wasn't a perfect setting it is preseason and you are trying to get your team ready, but that is one thing you are trying to find about so that's what we were trying to do. This year during the regular season Drew has pretty much taken every snap other than some situational plays that Michael was in for in the last month or so and they were kind of plays that were specifically designed for him to go into the game and run, they weren't just regular plays. That is what has happened this year and I think that is basically where we are. For better or for worse we tried to break the opportunities up and evaluate everybody and at this point John is just ahead of everybody else except Drew.

Q: Given the uncertainty of the quarterback situation and Cleveland's lack of run defense, doesn't your running attack become a bigger focus for you?

B: I think running the ball is always important especially at the end of the season, I think Cleveland's run defense though is really pretty good. I am not sure what the exact stats are…

Q: 147 yards per game.

B: Well that doesn't mean anything it is average per carry. I mean how many times are they carrying the ball? I want to say in the AFC if they are not one Buffalo is one, if Cleveland is not one then they are probably two, but I would say average yards on first down they are right up there with Buffalo on the fewest yards given up on first down and that is pretty significant statistic. Cleveland stats on defense are misleading because they have been behind in a couple of games and teams run the ball in the fourth quarter. Sure they gain more yards, but in terms of yards per carry and what people are really gaining against them when they actually run the ball I mean it is not like there are a lot of big holes and they are giving up a ton of yardage running. That yardage is more a reflection of the score than it is the defense. I think their run defense is pretty good.

Q: Going back to the no-pads, it seems like they have been in pads a lot this year, certainly more than last year are pulling the throttle back a little on the contact?

B: Yes when you take the pads off you can usually get a few more plays run, the tempo is a little bit quicker and obviously you cut down on the contact. There was a lot of contact in the Buffalo game. It was a physical game and I just thought that we could have a little better teaching situation and also avoid a day of heavy hitting and comeback and get some timing today on the pass protection, run game, short yardage and things like that. We would still be able to do that today which we will. I can't make a comparison to last year or some other year. I would say for the teams that I have been with for the last twenty years we have been in pads less than normal. Keep that in perspective.

Q: Terry Glenn's new contract, are we right to assume that you are very pleased with what he does for this team?

B: Yes I think Terry is a player that is important to our organization building for the future and looking to the future, whether you are building or just moving into the future, but he is an important player for that. I am glad that we were able to reach an agreement with him. Obviously both sides are happy so they consummated the agreement, but there are a number of aspects of the contract that are team oriented and I think that's, as I told Terry, something that I think is unselfish and positive that he has confidence in some things that we will achieve as a team, just as we have confidence in some things that he will personally be able to achieve and perform for us. I am glad it worked out. Again I think he is an important player for us moving forward and I am glad we were able to secure it.

Q: But are you happy with his performance this season?

B: Terry has done pretty much everything we have asked him to do this season. I think like everybody else all of us could do a little bit better somewhere here or there. There are certainly opportunities for every one of us to improve, I wouldn't exclude him from that, but we have asked him to do a lot of different things and he has worked hard to try to do them. So that has been good yes.

Q: When you came back did he have to reprove himself to you?

B: My relationship with Terry has always been pretty much the same. I wasn't here for three years so I can't really comment on those three years, but from how I knew Terry as a rookie in 1996 and how I have known him this year he has been pretty much the same guy for me. He is obviously four or five years older like we all are, but he is the same person, he has the same work ethic on the practice field, he carries himself and handles himself pretty much like he did in 1996. I don't really see any difference in the player other than experience and age and that kind of thing, but I don't really see a dramatic change in the guy.

Q: You talked yesterday about the Cleveland organization has changed since you were there, but they still have the same fans what do you expect on Sunday as far as from the fans?

B: I am sure they will support Cleveland very strongly as they always do. I am sure the dog pound will be loud, I am sure they will have the dog biscuits, I am sure they will have the heavy ones so they can throw them further, I am sure they will have the beer in the big cups so they can launch those.

Q: Do you expect to get hit with any of those?

B: Anybody that gets close to the dog pound is going to get hit.

Q: So you will walk on the other side?

B: No, well I imagine they make you warm up on the dog pound end that's what we did in Cleveland. We always put the visitors down there. They are intelligent fans, they know football, they know when to make it loud to make it hard on the opponent and when to make it quiet and help their team. They are very enthusiastic, they are rabid in support of their football team. They lost their team for three years and I am sure they will support their team now that it is back.

Q: Do you think they were unfair to you when you were there, the fans?

B: No. I thought the fans were supportive.

Q: Will Rob Holmberg go inside if Ted Johnson can't go?

B: Rob probably will have some roles inside yes. He has played a number of spots for us. He did that a little bit in preseason and he could end up doing some of that for us if Ted is not able to play.

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