Skip to main content

Official website of the New England Patriots

Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue May 28 - 02:00 PM | Thu May 30 - 09:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:** We added Chris Eitzmann to the injury list. A muscle in his ribs or on his back or whatever tightened up yesterday I don't know we will have to see how he is. We are going to go in the bubble today. One of the things that comes up this year from the weather standpoint is the decision or debate on whether to go out and play in the elements and deal with them and learn how to adjust to them and all of that versus taking a better situation such as going in the bubble where you can get your timing and execution and things look more the way that you would like for them to look on game day even though you know those will not be the elements on game day, but at least going into the game you have had good timing and execution or as good as you can get rather than trying to work through the external situations outside. We are going to try to balance that off a little bit. We have been outside a lot. We were outside a couple of days this week and we will go inside today and try to work on our timing a little bit more. Obviously one of the most important factors in the game is the kicking game in terms of the weather and that is something that we have already experienced a little bit this week. That is something that certainly is going to play in these games at this time of the year. You just never know what is going to happen. It can change in a hurry. Fielding balls, adjusting your returns or coverage based on in the wind, against the wind, with the wind, crosswinds or wet or cold conditions and all of those are things that are all factors. The more that you can utilize those elements to your advantage obviously the more advantage you gain. That is why we are going in today and we will probably balance that off a little bit as we go down these next few weeks.  

Q: Is Jermaine (Wiggins) able to play right away if (Chris) Eitzmann can't?

B: Yes we are going to have to get him on an accelerated program. The terminology and all, I talked to him yesterday, I think it is pretty similar to what he has been used to over the last two years. He got some reps out there in practice yesterday and we have an extra day this week so that will probably work in his favor to get a few more snaps and a little more time and spend a little more time with the coaches to get it down.

Q: Is J.R. (Redmond) taking the reps with the first team again?

B: J.R. didn't practice yesterday we will see how he is today. If he is ready to go then he will work with the first group if we can get him in there early enough in the week. If not then we will just put him in there based on what we think he can do kind of like the Detroit game. In other words we didn't start him we put him in there, I forget when it was end of the first quarter or start of the second quarter or whatever.

Q: Will Patrick (Pass) get to work with the first group if J.R. is not in there?

B: Patrick and Kevin (Faulk) both took the snaps with the first group yesterday. I think where J.R. is right now that both Patrick and Kevin obviously need to be ready to play and I am sure that we will use them both in the game at some point.

Q: Tony Gonzalez has rattled off quite a few 100 yard games this year how does he do it and does it surprise you?

B: I think the combination of Tony Gonzalez and Derrick Alexander is a very good one that the Chiefs have. They do a good job of putting those two guys in positions where it is hard to get both of them and you a lot of times can only get one or the other, I won't say you can't get them both but it is hard. They make it hard for you to get both players. Also their backs have caught a lot of balls and (Kevin) Lockett has done a good job for them as a third receiver and (Sylvester) Morris so they have got good production spread around, but Gonzalez is kind of like a wide receiver playing tight end. He is a big guy, he's tall and he runs well. When you watch the players running down the field coming off the line of scrimmage usually what you see are the wide receivers gaining a little ground on the tight ends as the come off, with Tony he is coming off as fast if not faster than the wide receivers. So he can really vertically get into your defense and makes a lot of plays down the field and he is such big target that it is very hard to match up with him. Most linebackers can't run with him and most defensive backs aren't big enough and he can just get position on them and (Elvis) Grbac throws it up there and even though the guy is covered Gonzalez can still come up with the ball because of his athleticism and his basketball background. He does a good job of shielding the defenders off and then just going up and taking the ball away from the defender. I think it is a combination of good scheme, good complimentary receivers and then Tony has a lot of athleticism and skill in the passing game, catching the ball, he has got good quickness, good downfield speed, and makes some very athletic plays, catches that a lot of other tight ends just wouldn't make. Low balls, high balls, balls that are thrown behind him, those types of adjustments. He is very good.

Q: Do you have to cover him like a receiver?

B: Yes it is a tough match-up. I think that every team that plays him has to struggle with it. The decision of who do you put on him, you know, if you put a linebacker on him you are worried about being able to run with him and if you put a defensive back on him then you worry about the size mismatch. It is a lot like going back several years ago trying to cover Ben Coates. He pushes off the defensive backs and he runs away from the linebackers and Tony is kind of the same, it is a little bit of the same type of thing. Some teams try to get him at the line of scrimmage and try to get him before he gets going, but Kansas City splits him out an awful lot and they split him out like a receiver. It is not in the conventional tight end position where you can just put a guy over him and try to jam him at the line. They flex him out, they put him in motion sometimes and so that makes it a little bit tougher to get him.

Q: Did you guys talk to the officials about his pushing off like people used to do with Ben Coates?

B: I think you are probably lucky defensively if you get two offensive interference calls for the whole year and offensively you are probably not going to get called for it more than twice a year. It's about the call, I mean look they didn't sign a three billion dollar TV contract to see offensive interference that's not what this game is about.

Q: Is he where that position is going, he and Shannon Sharpe, more of a receiver? Is that where it is going?

B: I think to a certain degree. You have seen a lot of real good receiving tight ends. I mean they have a tremendous impact on the game going back to Kellen Winslow and guys like that. Billy Joe DuPree, guys that weren't really real good blockers they were okay, but they weren't real good blockers, they were just very hard to deal with in the passing game. You see it every year guys like, I mean you could just go down the whole cycle the Todd Christensen's, the Mark Chmura's, the Keith Jackson's guys like that and a lot of those guys honestly I think they took pride in not blocking because if they go out there and don't block well then you wouldn't call those plays anymore and you would start throwing it to them. Ozzie Newsome, guys that played receivers in college and were converted to tight end or really were more of receivers than they were tight ends and those are tough positions to cover, they really are. You have to work the running game around guys like that, but Tony does a decent job in the running game. He is a pretty good all-around tight end. I think more and more you are seeing the guys coming out of college, the one's that get drafted the highest are the ones that are going to have the biggest impact in the passing game. You don't see a lot of blocking tight ends go real high in the draft.



            **Q: Do you believe in establishing momentum for next season through the last stretch here and if you do would that be more important for a younger team than it would be for a team that has some veterans who have experienced playing?**  

B: I think that is true to a degree, but I think every year is it's own year and no matter what anybody accomplishes this year good or bad, early in the year, late in the year, in the middle of the year, in the playoffs or anything else they are going to have to reestablish it next year. You look at a team like St. Louis nobody could do anymore than they did last year and they are a good team, but they have reestablish it again this year just like everybody else. I do think that there is a little bit of impetus there. I am not discounting it, but on the other hand just because you finish strong or don't finish strong…

Q: Like Baltimore maybe last year they had a strong second half can you build on that or no?

B: Yes I think there is something to it, sure I think there is something to it just like there was something to it here finishing 2-6 and having to regenerate that on this team. I don't think one year is the reason for the next year, but I think there is a little bit of impetus there and I think you definitely see it or you can see it with teams that come up a little bit short one year. I remember with the Giants in 1995 when we lost to the Bears out there and the Bears were, I mean that was a tremendous football team, but we lost to the Bears in Chicago in the playoffs and I think losing that game probably did as much for is 1996, I mean 1986 rather, those years go fast, as anything in 1986 did. That was a game that really kind of propelled us a little bit. The same thing is true in 1989.

Q: It was very cold that day?

B: It was cold, I didn't think it was that bad but it was cold.

Q: It was cold in the auxiliary press box.

B: It is always cold on Soldier Field believe me and there is never any hot water in that stadium. At least there wasn't then. If they had it they turned it off. I am not sure if they had it, but you can be sure when the game was over you weren't going to get warm standing in the showers that's for sure.

Q: Can you talk about (Tom) Brady a bit and what are his strengths, what has he been working on to improve?

B: I think Tom has learned a lot this year. He is from a very good program and has played a very high level of college ball, but it is different at this level. Coverage is different, defensive backs are faster, the rushers are quicker and all of that, so I think the adjustments are the speed of the game and seeing the multiple things that get thrown at you offensively that you have to deal with defensive linemen dropping out into coverages and linebackers and defensive backs rushing but it is not a blitz. All of those kind of things are things that he has experienced and learned from and will need to continue to see and experience. I think the biggest gap for him is just playing experience. Overall I think he has done a pretty good job of handling that a lot has been thrown at him, but it is a lot for a rookie at any position, especially at quarterback.

Q: Does he have enough of an arm to make the throws?

B: Yes I think there are going to be other quarterbacks in the league that have a stronger arm, but I think that there are also going to be other quarterbacks that don't have as good an arm. Yes I think he has a good enough arm to make the throws, but I think that is an important part in New England. I saw the same thing in Cleveland, it is hard to play here in these kind of elements at the end of the year in New York with a quarterback that really can't throw the ball very far into the wind or can't throw the ball outside on the field. Phil Simms, (Vinny) Testaverde, those guys (Drew) Bledsoe you need a pretty good arm to be able to deal with the conditions otherwise you start throwing a bunch of ten yard passes and it isn't going to take them long to figure that out.

Q: Two part question, first one is how about (Adrian) Klemm has he changed based on what you have seen this week is he likely to play Monday and the second part is (Drew) Bledsoe, where is he at?

B: We have a little bit of extra time this week. Bledsoe didn't practice Tuesday or Wednesday to try to give him a little bit more time, as much time as we can to not further aggravate the injury. I don't think it has gotten any worse, but to try to get it better as much as possible. So we will see what he can do today. My guess is that he will probably be like he was the last few weeks hopefully a little bit better because he has had a little more time, but that remains to be seen. Klemm has been working at every position on the line except for center in the last three or four weeks for one reason or another. He has worked at both tackles and he has worked at both guards. We have got some guys banged up at both of those positions. I think he is continuing to make progress. I spent some time with Adrian the other day, I guess it was Tuesday or Wednesday whatever it was, still talking about some of his techniques that you can see he is making progress on, but he needs to make a little bit more. I am encouraged with what I am seeing, but I don't think he is there yet, but he is headed in the right direction and I think that is a positive sign. The better he can perform in practice and take advantage of the opportunities he gets and then if he gets an opportunity in the game to be able to take advantage of that, the better prepared he is for it. Then we will just go from there. I think we are getting close, again going back to the Redmond situation I think it is similar to that in that J.R. started late and it took him a little while to get in there and I think Klemm is probably approaching that. One of these days, maybe it is this week or next week or whenever it is. I mean it could be an injury and it could be in one play that is beyond our control, but just in terms of putting him in there I think we could be approaching that.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Latest News

Presented by

Trending Video


In Case You Missed It

Presented by