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LIVE: Patriots Unfiltered, 12 - 2 PM Thu May 30 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:** Did everybody have an enjoyable bye weekend?  

Q: Yes how about yourself?

B: Not bad.

Q: Did you do anything?

B: Yes. We got a little work done. Did a couple of family things, a couple of honey do's, watched a little bit of the Jets/Buffalo game. We did a little work through the weekend and try to get about as far along as we could on Buffalo. I saw a good part of the game yesterday and I think most of the coaches did as well. The tape came I just started looking at that this morning before I came up here just a few minutes of it I haven't got through it yet, but another hard fought, tough AFC East game. It came right down to the wire. It probably could have gone either way. Buffalo played well on defense, made the plays at the end that they needed to make to win and I am sure it is a big win for them. We have already started our preparations on them but a lot of things that happened yesterday just reinforce some of the things we have to be ready for. Defensively you have to be concerned about the running game, about (Doug) Flutie scrambling, about (Eric) Moulds and (Jeremy) McDaniel is a guy that has come on the scene and done a good job for them. Offensively if you don't block (Sam) Cowart he is going to make the tackle. The linebackers are very active. They don't blitz a lot, but when they do blitz it is kind of unexpected. So there is a chance for an error and I think that is what happened yesterday that (Henry) Jones ran back for a touchdown. It looked like there was miscommunication there on the pattern when Buffalo blitzed on it and it went the other way and I think those are the kind of mistakes that defensively Buffalo forces you into. They every once in awhile surprise you with some pressure that you just don't see down in and down out and then it hits and if you don't react to it properly then you can have a problem. They are a good solid team. They have played a lot of good football this year. I know what their record is, but this is a good football team and they played some good football teams. The other thing I can just bring you up to date on here before we go on here is on Andy Katzenmoyer. I spoke with Andy Friday afternoon and he's had a little bit of nagging back problem. He had it checked out this week. It is obviously something that he has been playing with and he will continue to play with, but it didn't seem like it was really improving we wanted to take a closer look at it, so he is actually not here today. He is getting another opinion on it. We will just see what the results bring in. I don't think it's, well we will just wait see what happens, but that's where we are with Andy. We should know in the next couple of days or so, we'll see what it is.

Q: You seem to be more worried about the Bills defense than their offense?

B: I am worried about both of them I think they are a well-balanced team. They move the ball effectively. Doug (Flutie) gives them another dimension and he is a terrific player. They have good balance on the offensive side of the ball. (Jay) Riemersma's back I am sure that he will be even better this week on the second week back. It is a very good defensive football team. Their front seven are good, their secondary is aggressive and they don't give up a lot of yards, they don't give up a lot of points, they don't give up a lot of third down conversions, they don't give up a lot of rushing yardage. They are a pretty solid team. It's hard to run particularly on the inside part of the defense there with Ted Washington, (Sam) Cowart, (John) Holecek, and (Marcellus) Wiley and those guys. It is pretty tough sledding in there. So I think they are a strong team all the way through. (Nathaniel) Williams, they are pretty good there.

Q: Having the weekend off, did you approach watching the games differently than you normally would? Did you watch any games as a fan?

B: Honestly the only game I saw was the Jets/Bills game. I didn't see any other games maybe a highlight or two here or there and I didn't even see all of that one. I think it is always interesting to watch other teams in the league play. Whether you are watching them on tape or you happen to catch a live game or whatever, you see all of the personnel, all of the players that we are all familiar with, guys that were in the draft or were free agents, or are going to be one or the other, different teams that you follow along through the year that you see on tape even if you are not playing them as directly as an opponent, but you are seeing them play somebody else and you kind of get a feel for those teams. As a coach you want to stay on top of what, not what everybody is doing, but you want to stay on top of the trends in the league. If people are doing something effective maybe it is something that has a place in your system. Things that people are having trouble with, sometimes you see somebody else have a problem and it kind of alerts you to the fact that, 'If this happened to us it could be a problem for us too you know and what are we going to do about it?' and that type. I think that is something that we kind of try to stay on top of every week. It is hard to really do it for all the other 30 teams, but it is kind of what we call trends. If there is a trend in the league, or a popular play, or a blitz, or a formation, or something that is kind of catching on then we just try to stay abreast of it and see what the advantage is or what the gist of it is.

Q: Do you have an opportunity on a Saturday to watch a Clemson game for instance and see that kid Campbell or that sort of thing and project a few players who might be draft picks down the line?

B: I don't see a lot of college football during the fall. Half of the Saturdays are dead because we are on the road and when we are at home those are usually dead too because they are the few hours of the week that you really have some time to do things with your family or sometimes you have other commitments there. So a lot of times Saturday night that late night game, but it is hard for me to stay awake at that point in the week. Most of the college for me really starts after our season is over. I usually feel like if I have free time that I am better off spending it on something that's a pressing or more immediate that has to do with our team. Not that we don't have meetings with the scouts and the personnel people about how the college stuff is going and where there are problems and where there are some things we have to, adjustments we have need to make in our scouting based on whatever the changing landscape is out there, not as far as specifically watching not too much.

Q: How is Chris Slade doing?

B: Chris is doing okay.

Q: There was some talk and quite honestly I'm not sure it came from you, but I had a perception that this year he might rush the passer more that hasn't really happened is that by design?

B: No not by design no to rush him because I think Chris does a pretty good job rushing. He's had some opportunities to rush. He and Willie (McGinest) and Greg (Spires) kind of split a couple of positions on some third down package so all three of those guys aren't usually in there together. Usually it is either one or two of the three of them. Again, we have just defensively tried because I don't think we have a lot of depth overall we have tried to manage the playing time so that one guy is not out there for every play and in Greg's case he's done a pretty good job for us rushing on third down and in some passing situations so he has done that, but that is not to say that Chris, just like in the Jet game he had a sack and stripped Vinny (Testaverde) for a big turnover there. So Chris, when he has had opportunities, has done a pretty good job of it.



            **Q: Can you talk about J.R. Redmond and his progress, is this what you had hoped would happen?**  

B: J.R. has made good progress from the last couple of preseason games through the first half of the season. I think he has got a lot better overall understanding of the game than he did a couple of months ago, particularly in the passing game, but also in the running game too about where the strongest blocks are on certain plays and what blocks to stay with, when to take it outside, when to cut it back and when to stay in the whole and those kind of things. I know Charlie (Weis) and Ned (Burke) have spent a lot of time with him on that, getting a feel for the line and the way the blocking is going. I think that should continue to get better. Our line now has developed a little bit of continuity. J.R. has had more opportunities, along with Kevin as well to work with the same guys and I think we are starting to get a better feel for each other so I think that should go in a positive direction. That being said though Buffalo is as good a run defense as there is in the league so I mean just because we are doing things better doesn't mean that it is going to be easy against that defense they are very, very strong against the run. Ted Washington, you need three guys to block him and you need two to block (Sam) Cowart I mean that doesn't leave you very many to block everybody else.

Q: Seeing what Doug Flutie has done the last couple of years are you amazed he was out of the league for so long?

B: Yes because he is so productive and so good it is hard to believe that he wasn't playing.

Q: When you were a coach in Cleveland way back what was the thought about Doug?

B: When he played, I would say it is pretty clear, he was in a couple of situations that weren't really that conducive to his playing style or maybe he just wasn't as good then as he is now. I don't know maybe the extra years made a difference, but for whatever reason it just didn't really seem to happen for him until the beginning of the 1998 season in Buffalo. After watching him in the 1998 season and then coaching him out at the Pro Bowl, you know I have known Doug personally for a long time I really have a lot of respect for him as an individual and his work ethic, his competitiveness, he is just a winner. Every time he steps on the field a lot of good things happen for the team he is playing for.

Q: When did you first meet him?

B: I would say in the early nineties, six, seven, eight years ago.

Q: What were the circumstances?

B: We did a couple of things together and had some mutual friends and it was one of those things where we would bump into each other a lot, make little connections.

Q: Do you think coaches were a little reluctant to take a chance on something a little different from what was the norm at that time?

B: I can't really speak for anybody else. In the Cleveland situation my feeling there was that I wouldn't really have been able to give him a chance. We got Vinny (Testaverde) in 1993 and it is hard to commit to several quarterbacks. The best that you could do was say, 'Come in and be our second guy.' So that's and given the success he was having in Canada and that type of thing I didn't really think it would be that appealing to him. Eventually that was the situation that he went into to, but that was five years down the road. I don't know if that really would have been right for him back in 1993. I mean I will be honest with you I didn't approach it, but I think other people in the league probably felt the same way. In the Cleveland situation our quarterback, with Vinny it was pretty well set so there didn't seem to be a lot of possibility there to open it up to somebody else.

Q: When you see teams playing well at the end of the game does that drive home to you even more your inability to do that, especially earlier in the year?

B: Well yes and no, but yes it does, but no we have been saying that all year. I have known from the beginning of the year that the games in the NFL and particularly the games in this division were going to be dogfights every week. I don't think you could go into any game and it expect it to be, I don't think you should expect it to be anything other than a three point game. Obviously they are not all three point games, but over a quarter of them are and over half of them are seven point games so you kind of come to one possession, or a couple of plays, or a turnover, or whatever it is. That's what I have told our team all year. That's the game you should expect to play every week and how the outcome will be determined on those final possessions or defining plays that's the way you have got to expect it to be every week. The last four games we have played we had a couple and then we didn't. It does reaffirm it, but I think that is what we should expect.

Q: With the changing environment of quarterbacks, the Dante Culpepper's and the Shaun King's, if Doug Flutie were to come in the league now as a young player do you think he would have been accepted?

B: Again the only thing that I can say there, I saw Doug when he was with the Generals in it had to be the mid-80s when he was in the USFL, but it wasn't quite the same, but the only thing I can say is that not all players now are the same player they were twenty years ago, or however long he has been in the league eighteen years ago. Some of those guys have gotten a lot better with time and you can go right down the roster Steve Young didn't do much in his first few years, Phil Simms didn't do much his first few years, Vinny Testaverde, a bunch of guys if you look at the first two or three years of their career you can say, ' Well I don't think that this guy is going to be that spectacular' and then it turns out a several years later you are talking about him as the elite quarterbacks in the league. So some of that may be their development, some of that may be the situation they were in, it could be a lot of factors whatever they are. It is hard to say what Doug would have been. He was in the league at that point he just didn't go well for him for one reason or another like it did for a lot of other guys we have mentioned.

Q: Do you expect to see him Sunday?

B: Yes I expect to see Doug.

Q: Anyway at all it could go the other way?

B: You can't rule it out and you certainly have to be prepared for both quarterbacks. Last year Rob (Johnson) started the playoff game and if Rob is healthy I am sure there is a chance we could get him. We have seen a lot of Rob and we will have to prepare for him as well. We could get him on the second play of the game if something happened to Doug anyway, but I would expect to see Doug. Doug is playing well and the team plays well with him in there. I would expect to see him, he's tough.

Q: What about Adrian Klemm and Todd Rucci?

B: Well we will have to make a decision on Klemm and Rucci before the end of the week, before I think it is Friday or whatever the twenty-one days are, sometime at the end of the week we are going to, we have got that targeted. We have been talking about it all the way through, but the due date on that one is coming up here in the next few days.



            **Q: It sounds the way that you are talking that despite the struggles Doug had early on his success doesn't surprise you?**  

B: When Doug was a freshman in high school the first game he played he goes in there and wins the game. I mean that is just the kind of guy he is. He has a lot of charisma, confidence, but as an athlete he is extremely quick. He is as quick as a cat and he is very accurate on the deep ball. So the combination of those things are lethal. He gets away from people, he keeps the play alive, he's got good judgement, and he's an accurate thrower. When I had him the Pro Bowl two years ago we had (John) Elway, Vinny (Testaverde) and Doug and they were all different. There were certain strengths that Doug had that were superior to the other two. There were things that the other two did that were superior to Doug, but the confidence, just being a quarterback. He is a quarterback. He knows where the other twenty one guys, he knows when to throw it away, when to try to stick it in there, when to run, when to pull it down, when to hard count and get the defense to jump offside like he did at the end of the fourth quarter there. It was a key third and ten play in the game, he hadn't done it the whole game, he goes in there and gets them to jump offside and make the key third down conversion to help them win the game. Those are things that are just part of being a quarterback and part of his being a quarterback, it is not the same thing (Dan) Marino would do. Pull the ball down, reverse his field, make a guy jump up in the air, pull it down again I mean I think one of the greatest plays he ever made to me was when he one the Jacksonville game in 1998. I saw the play on the highlights and I am saying 'They ran a bootleg in that situation that was a great call.' That was no bootleg the back went the wrong way. It was a designed play. The back went the wrong way, Flutie turned to pitch it, he wasn't there he just instantly reacted and booted it the other way for a touchdown and that's the game they tackle him it's all over they didn't have any timeouts left. We were watching the play on film saying, 'Bootleg, wait a minute.' Finally you realize, ' This is no bootleg the guy just screwed the play up, Flutie bailed him out' but that is the kind of thing he does. He reacts very quickly, he's got great instincts and awareness. How do you coach a guy like that when the play breaks down and he instantly does the best thing he can do and it turns out to win the game. That was a hell of a play.

Q: Having said that your Jets teams have contained him very well?

B: It is a struggle. He is really good. He's tough. You're hanging on. It is like playing (Peyton) Manning, you are hanging on with him too. Go look at the first game last year the Sunday night game up in Buffalo he killed us, he killed us. He ran through the whole team, once for a touchdown. Another it was like a second a twenty play we had him for about a ten-yard sack he ran through the whole team there for about a thirty-yard gain. I have been lucky to come out on the winning end of the score against him, a couple of times I haven't, but he is tough. It is not a guy you look forward to playing against I'll tell you that. It is a pain in the neck.

Q: How is the coaching staff coming together through the first eight weeks?

B: I think it is going along okay. I don't think we as far along as we are going to be, but I think we are a lot further along then we were say in August or September. So I think we are on the right track headed in the right direction. I think that obviously we can do a better job starting with me, but I think we can do a better job of coaching and we need to do a better job. Some of the things that we are doing now are going so much faster than they went a month ago. Things that we had to have fairly lengthy discussions about how we are going to do them, when does this apply and when doesn't it apply, and how are we going to do this and how are we going to do that, now we are much more in the mode of we know how to do it, I understand their personalities better, I think that maybe they understand mine better, it is just a smoother flow. That is not saying anything negative about anybody it is just that anytime you put a bunch of new people together it takes awhile for everybody to adjust and I think it is progressing smoothly. On a lot of fronts I wish where we are right now we had been there two months ago, but we weren't.

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