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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:** Yesterday in practice Dane Looker's leg tightened up a little bit and it has kind of been a nagging, recurring thing so we are going to place him on injured reserve and we signed Grey Ruegamer who was on Pittsburgh's practice squad. He played center in college, he is a center/guard type of player from Arizona State. He was drafted by Miami last year and was on Pittsburgh's practice squad this year. We re-signed Tony Gaiter to the practice squad.  

Q: Is that a joke or did that really happen?

B: It really happened so he is now leading the league in transactions.

Q: Does he go back and forth to Florida or home or wherever he is from?

B: We had tried not to do that but last week when we signed Curtis Jackson, Looker looked like he was going to be coming back and was starting to get over the hump and it felt like we had enough receivers so we sent him back to Miami.

Q: You fly him right?

B: Sure he has the frequent flyer miles. At the end of the year he is going to take a vacation at our expense. So then when we had a little problem there yesterday we brought him back and he knows what to do. He is ready in a heartbeat and there is something to be said for that. So those are the big moves today.

Q: Do you remember Grey (Ruegamer) coming out of college he was known as a mean streak kind of guy and people thought Miami had this middle round gem and it just didn't work out?

B: Right, he is a real smart player, a tough guy, a smart, physical kind of player. He went down to Miami last year and he got hurt. He had a couple of surgeries and then this year he came and that was with Pittsburgh and then ended up on the practice squad.

Q: There has been a change at quarterback for Cincinnati, what are the differences in preparing for Scott Mitchell as opposed to Akili Smith?

B: I think the two most obvious differences are that Mitchell is left-handed and Akili is right-handed and like a lot of teams Cincinnati's offense kind of is tailored towards a right-handed quarterback. For example when they do bootlegs and sprint outs and things like that they do them to the quarterbacks throwing arm, which is pretty common. So that I imagine is going to flip all of those plays over for the lefty and Akili Smith is a very athletic quarterback, he's fast, he's a guy that is like another running back really in the backfield when he has the ball. So he adds that dimension to the offense whereas Scott is more of the classic pocket quarterback. He doesn't have the type of mobility that Akili Smith does I mean very few quarterbacks do and obviously has a lot of experience and has seen a lot of different things at Miami, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati so he has had quite a bit of exposure in the league and I think he has started I don't know 50 or 60 games, whatever it is so he has had a significant amount of playing time.

Q: Is there anything in the contracts that players sign now that prevents them from playing in the XFL?

B: Sure or any other league. If you sign a contract with the National Football League you can't go play in another league, or play pro basketball or skydiving. There are a number of things that are kind of standard.

Q: What about Deion (Sanders)?

B: You can always do something if you get some type of agreement or with permission or however you want to do it, but as you would imagine there are contractual obligations that prohibit a person from…

Q: Right, has anybody asked for permission to play in that league on this team?

B: No not that I am aware of in fact it has been quite the opposite. What has happened in the last several weeks is that the XFL, I am not really familiar with the specifics of it, but basically they have had a draft of territorial rights or however they do it and there are a lot of players that have signed some type of agreement with that league which prohibits them from playing in our league unless those contracts or agreements are somehow voided. There are a lot of players out there that we have contacted in one way or another that are at this point in time ineligible to play in the National Football League unless their individual situation gets readjusted somehow.

Q: Has (Tony) Gaiter committed to the XFL?

B: Well that is one reason why we had to release him and then resign him as a procedural thing because there was a misunderstanding as to whether he did or didn't and it took a couple of days to get it cleared up. So basically we released him while that was getting cleared up and then once it got rectified then we resigned. So that was part of the procedural process. I forget if it was last week or two weeks ago, but…

Q: So he is playing in the playing in the XFL?

B: Well no his contract with the XFL, I am not sure what the exact status of it is, but basically he has been released contractually to play in the NFL. Whether that contract was voided, I am not sure of the specifics or exactly what the mechanics of it are. It is the same thing with a lot of other players too, but in the last couple of weeks the breaks have been hit on that one.

Q: Will you scout that league, do you think NFL teams will scout that league as well?

B: That is a good question, I think I would be best not to really comment on the league or a relationship between the National Football League and the XFL whether it is on our part or anybody else's part, but there are some other issues there that probably need to be covered and honestly right now I have been trying to adjust things on our team that are more immediate. I'll kind of put that one on hold for a little bit.



            **Q: Did you come to any conclusions yesterday, was it an introspective practice at least that is the impression I had yesterday?**  

B: I think we looked at ourselves in the early part of the week and definitely addressed some things in practice that I think we need to work on as a football team regardless of who we are playing and yes those things were definitely addressed, but we spent obviously the majority of the time preparing for Cincinnati and what they do is pretty substantial, it is pretty difficult to prepare for, but there were a lot of emphasis points on just specifically Patriots things that…

Q: Can you be more specific?

B: Taking care of the ball, that's one. Not turning the ball over and there were several situations in practice that were maybe in a game a turnover might have occurred. There was an added emphasis on this maybe to close, this is more of a chance than we want to take and ball security is too important and this is not what we want to do even though the turnover may not even actually have occurred in practice, but just as an emphasis, that would be one example. Tackling would be another example. We have spent a considerable amount of time on tackling and specifically tackling the people we are going to have to tackle Sunday with Cincinnati who are not very easy to tackle I might add. We added some emphasis there so those will be two things.

Q: Can you emphasize not fumbling too much to the point where guys get a little apprehensive and get a little nervous?

B: I think you can nit-pick anything to a negative point where it becomes counterproductive, but taking care of the ball and not turning it over and being conscience of how the ball is being handled, I don't really think that is something that can be overemphasized. It is too important, what else is there on offense if you don't have the ball? You can do a lot of other things right and that is a mistake that offsets whatever else gets done. I think a player has got to be conscience of the ball. You could say yes if he is thinking about the ball and not fumbling maybe he is not running as well, but if he is running well and fumbling I mean what is the difference? We did ball security drills and not only doing the drills but emphasizing it in practice and we have cut back on a couple of plays in a couple of instances where there might be a little bit more of a chance than we are willing to take that something could happen to the ball, that is could somehow get dislodged whether it be ball handling or a certain type of pass play or that type of thing. Sometimes in the passing game you are throwing around people and if you don't want to take the chance of the balls getting tipped or batted up in the air just don't call that play and you don't have to worry about it. Things like that.

Q: What kind of reaction do you expect from the fans on Sunday, do you think they will be a little testy? Do they have a right to be?

B: Well yes I am sure the fans will be looking to see what our performance is after Cleveland and I don't blame them. Our fans have been supportive and I think if our team plays well they will be supportive because that is what they have been. Really that is the only thing I am focusing on is trying to get our team to play well and perform up to it's potential, it's capacity.

Q: Do you have much interaction with the fans, I mean you can sense the media's tone, but can you sense theirs and know if the fans are getting antsy or not?

B: I have talked to people and see a lot of people just in everyday type things going to the gas station, going to the store you bump into people and get feedback. I have been at functions and run into a lot of people. Again this is a very knowledgeable group, they follow the game, they know what is going on, they don't usually bring a whole lot of things that are irrelevant, 'How come we are not using David Meggett more?' and that type of thing and they are supportive I think they want to see the team do well. That's what we want so we all have the same objective there.

Q: How often do you speak to Robert Kraft?

B: I speak to him regularly.

Q: And what are his thoughts?

B: Well I think he can speak for himself. If you want to ask him you can ask him.

Q: He's fully on board?

B: Yes. I think that the whole organization as I have said before is committed to winning and that's what we are doing. We are committing ourselves to winning and we are working hard to do that. The results haven't reflected that yet, but I am confident that they will and hopefully that will be this week.

Q: Do you have an update on (Andy) Katzenmoyer?

B: I talked to him this morning and I think he is scheduled to be looked at today.

Q: Is he here?

B: I think he actually is in Dallas.

Q: Is he having surgery?

B: I didn't really get into the specifics of that with him. I think that is probably a possibility, basically I just talked to him about hoping that things were coming around and that things would clear up and he would be better and all of that type of thing. I really didn't get into a lot of medical details with him. That really wasn't the point of the call.

Q: He should be able to be back next year?

B: Yes all indications are that once the condition clears up, I mean he played with it for however many weeks so…

Q: Do you think he has thought about giving up the game?

B: Not that I am aware of.

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