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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:** First of all I am sorry that I am a little late getting up here. I wanted to check with the medical people I knew that you would be asking about Drew (Bledsoe). At this point it looks like in layman's terms a jammed thumb. We will see how it is on Wednesday when we go out to practice. If he can throw he'll throw, if he can't we will give it a little more time and see when he can do it. That's really all I know and I don't think he knows any more and I don't think anybody knows any more than that. We will just have to give it a little bit of time and see what happens.  

Q: Has he had an MRI?

B: Yes he just has a jammed thumb. I don't know what all the tests are that they have done on him I just talked with the medical people you know I am not doctor. On the game yesterday that would have been a good opportunity for us to win a division game against a good team. I don't think we had to play a perfect game, we just need to play a little bit better than we played. Obviously we had some plays that if they had gone a little different way for us it would have helped. We had some pretty significant penalties in the game. The penalty yardage was around 100, but it was pretty close to another 100 yards in addition to that that we made after the penalty that was lost yardage so those were very significant. Other than many one or two close calls there I think most of the rest of them were situations where our judgement was not good enough, not the right judgement and that is why the infractions were called. That is really about it. It is disappointing to be that close and be in the situation we are in where we needed a good win like that to kind of pull out of it a little bit and we weren't able to get it, but we will try to put ourselves in the same position next week and try to change the results.

Q: If Drew (Bledsoe) doesn't play is (John) Friesz the starter?

B: Well that was obviously the way it was this week and this week was kind of a unique situation because we had the bye week and during the bye week Drew (Bledsoe) didn't throw very much and the other quarterbacks got a lot more work than they would normally get in a week of practice and then Drew wasn't at practice this week on Thursday because of the birth of his son so that really provided a lot more opportunity for John than he would normally get as the backup quarterback. In the game we definitely felt that John had gotten a lot of work running the offense, all of Thursday's practice which was really everything for us on Thursday. It was a review first and second down, it was third down, it was red area, we did two-minute then so we really felt yesterday that John had the most experience running the offense, he got a lot of reps with it during the week and we were confident that he would be able to play well enough with him in there handling it. Looking into the future I think it will depend a little bit on what exactly the situation is, but my best guess at this time would be that we would continue to go like we went this week, yes.

Q: Will Michael Bishop get any reps on practice?

B: Well it will depend on what the situation is and what Drew (Bledsoe) is able to do.

Q: And if Drew (Bledsoe) isn't healthy?

B: I am assuming that he is going to be until I hear differently so I really don't want to get into speculating on situations that I don't even know what they are going to be.

Q: So his thumb is definitely not broken?

B: From my understanding.
Q: Can you clear up something on Michael Bishop as a backup does he just not get the offense?

B: No I never said that.

Q: Can you explain it?

B: As I have said many times before John Friesz is at one point in his career. Michael Bishop is at another point in his career those two players contrast dramatically as to where they are, the experience they have and what they can do. We have used Michael this year in offensive situations during the regular season where a lot of the things have been tailored to the things that we think he does very well and he has been very proficient at and he's had a lot of success with and it is hard to get a young quarterback the kind of experience in doing everything when he is not in there all the time. It is one thing if it is Peyton Manning and he is your quarterback and he's running the offense that's one thing, but Drew Bledsoe is the quarterback and somebody else is only going to get, whoever it is, a limited amount of opportunity. It is hard to take a young quarterback and give him everything that the rest of your team is comfortable running with Drew Bledsoe, it is just hard to do. John Friesz is a player who has played in the league, he's started in the league, he has got a lot of experience playing quarterback in the NFL and he has got experience playing quarterback with the New England Patriots in that role as a backup quarterback. Michael Bishop and John Friesz are players that both have good qualities they are just different at this point in time. That doesn't say anything about where Michael is going to be in the future. I think that for John his greatest strengths are his experience and the fact that he has been in a lot of games before and he has been in those pressure situations, he has been in that situation before.

Q: Having said that, are you surprised with the way he played yesterday he was talking about how he is usually accurate and he wasn't extremely accurate?

B: There were a number of factors in the game the weather conditions were one, Buffalo is a good defensive team for two, but there are always plays every quarterback would like back after every game and I know there's a couple that John would like to have back. Sure there were some that weren't what we wanted to be and weren't what he wants them to be. On the other hand he did some things to put us into position to win. He put us ahead in the game with a minute to go and it could have been enough.

Q: Despite the offensive problems you had the lead with two minutes to go they had to make a big play and it comes to crunch time and they didn't make the big play how much does that disturb you?

B: We had a number of opportunities that we could have won this game and we had them in all three areas. We had them offensively, we had them defensively obviously on the last drive. They hit two big plays the first pass to (Jeremy) McDaniel up the seam which wasn't very well covered. Then we had them in third and ten and (Doug) Flutie scrambled and picked up the first down there that should have never happened. We should have had that taken care of. I mean we did have that taken care of by the call, but we didn't execute it to get it taken care of. Then they punched it down a little bit closer and kick a field goal. We let the runner out of bounds which is another play that didn't help us, but yes sure it is disappointing not to stop them in that situation, no doubt about it. We had a chance on the kick too. (Steve) Christie kicked a low ball but it got through. Offensively we had a third down there that had we converted we could have probably run most of the time off the clock and kicked a field goal there. Which I am not saying, we were in position defensively we expect to stop them in that situation and we didn't do it. Obviously that is not good.

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            **Q: Everybody has opinions and times like this often brings them out, I heard one that because of where the season is right now that perhaps not only should Drew Bledsoe sit out for this game, but perhaps he should shut it down for the season and let you see what other people can play. How would you answer those that suggest that?**  

B: If Drew can play he is going to play.

Q: No thought at all to any thought of protecting him and wanting to see what other people can do?

B: Drew is our quarterback and if he can play then he is going to play and he wants to play and that is what we are going to do. This team, this organization, the players, the coaches, the organization, when we meet together down there at one o'clock everybody that is in that room, including the ownership which is not in the room but I will speak for them, is committed to winning, is committed to the New England Patriots winning. That is our commitment that is what we are going to do. So however you want to phrase it about throwing in the towel, start playing people who don't deserve to play because there is somebody better in front of them but the record or the schedule or whatever that is not really what our thought process is. Our thought process is to play better and to win and that's what we are going to do.

Q: What kind of reaction do you expect Sunday in Cleveland when you walk into the stadium?

B: Probably about the same that you usually get on the road. A lot like the Jets situation except that in my case going back to the Jets there were a lot of people, players, coaches, people in the organization that I have had a lot of association with in the last three years. Cleveland is a new organization. There is virtually no carryover from the previous organization which is in Baltimore. The stadium is different, everything is different so there is not the kind of closeness that there was with some of the people on the Jets.

Q: The fans are the same?

B: Well Cleveland fans are rabid fans. They are very knowledgeable fans, there is a great tradition in Ohio of high school football and there is a lot of college football in Ohio too. Not just Ohio State but the MAC schools and a lot of small schools there and that carries over into Pennsylvania. So I would say the fans are pretty knowledgeable. A lot of them have played, or they have relatives that have played, or they go to those games and they follow the team very closely. They are very enthusiastic so when a visiting team comes into Cleveland the welcome mat is definitely not out. I am sure it won't be out this weekend either.

Q: People have extrapolated from the (Michael) Bishop situation that he was put behind (John) Friesz that he doesn't know enough of the play book, a very finite amount and I am wondering if that is possible?

B: I don't think anybody has ever said that other than wherever those comments are coming from.

Q: That's why I am asking you?

B: No I am not saying that at all. I don't see it that way at all.

Q: You are the only team in the NFL that has four quarterbacks does this mean that you see value in (Tom) Brady now and down the road?

B: Yes he is a guy that we just didn't feel comfortable putting on the practice squad based on the way he had performed in training camp and also in the preseason games. I mean it is preseason and all of that, but he had a good quarterback rating, he brought the team from behind in Detroit and won that game. He did enough things to show that, there were a lot of things that he did that we liked we just think that at this point that there are other people on the team that are ahead of him, but we liked his future and we didn't feel comfortable with him on the practice squad.

Q: Any thought of putting Bishop's short yardage packages back in the game plan or is that out?

B: No I am not saying it is out, but in an attempt to try to work on some other things the last couple of weeks, obviously we were hoping to work on them with Drew (Bledsoe) in there it didn't turn out that way yesterday but to work on some other things we had to sacrifice some of the time that we put into Michael's (Bishop) package as I talked about so that was the decision we made last week, but going forward no I am not ruling it out. To an extent we already know it, we already have it, it is just a question of time and the commitment that we want to put into it.

Q: Do you know why they reviewed the offensive pass interference?

B: I think it was just kind of a procedural thing. If the ruling had been a completed pass with the ball at the one-yard line then it would have been obvious that you would want to take the penalty. If the ruling had been that it was an incomplete pass then theoretically defensively there may be a scenario where you would want to turn that down and take the down. If it was an incomplete pass, then I think what they are saying is here is the option even though it was pretty obvious what that situation would have dictated just for the precision of the situation from an official's standpoint I think they wanted to be able to say that the pass was complete obviously you are going to take the penalty or the pass was incomplete and you have an option do you want the down or do you want the penalty.

Q: So they weren't reviewing the penalty?

B: No they weren't reviewing the penalty they were reviewing the play and the ruling on the field was that the pass was incomplete and that it was offensive pass interference and that was upheld, but had it been reversed upstairs it could have been ruled a completed pass and there's still a penalty and then we will enforce the penalty. But it was a pretty close call there as to whether he had possession of the ball and had his feet in bounds, but the ruling was that he didn't. The interference though was not the reviewable part of the play right.

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            **Q: Had the score held and you guys won I would think that Troy Brown would be one of the guys that got a game ball yesterday? He may be the most dangerous guy on the field.**  

B: Troy did some good things in the game, particularly in the return game. He had obviously the long run on the screen called back, but he did a good job returning the punts, They were obviously trying to directionally kick the ball either out of bounds or into the sideline and a couple of times there he didn't have a lot of field to work with and he was able to score through there. I thought that our front line people did a good job of holding Buffalo up, they have got a good cover team and we tried to create a little space for Troy but he ran very well and did a good job on poor field conditions and really made the most of the opportunities that he had there.

Q: How much time are you willing to give Drew before you make that decision, is there a point where you move on?

B: Oh sure yes. At some point, you just can't sit like this forever. At some point you have to go on what you see and move forward. I would say by mid-week, but again I think a little of that depends on how it is going too. That is a tough question to answer right now. How things are going to be three or four days from now and all of that. Things might be fine tomorrow, they may be fine today.

Q: You have been pretty pleased obviously with the play of Joe Andruzzi and Sale Isaia, it looked like there was a little bit of a step back yesterday not necessarily in protection, but in penalties? Does that come as a shock to you this far into the process?

B: Yes the penalty down on the goal line on Joe is inexcusable, just it's inexcusable. It was very poor judgement on his part and he knows it and that is just inexcusable. The holding penalty on Isaia came on (Ted) Washington. He had his hands outside and the referee through it from the back and he saw his hands outside. As big as Washington is you get your hands outside on him it probably is holding. Both of those plays were plays that were not good judgement plays. I think they might have said he has the holding penalty on the screen I am sure that it wasn't on him. I think they must have got the numbers wrong and all of that. It was like when they called the interference penalty on Tebucky Jones on (Jay) Riemersma again I think they got the numbers wrong on that. Tebucky Jones was ten yards behind the play, but Sale definitely had the one penalty down on the nine yard line and Joe had the penalty there and that's not the kind of football we are looking for at that position that's right.

Q: Are you kind of disappointed that Buffalo was able to run the ball well yesterday, because they haven't run it well?

B: No they have run it better the last couple weeks. They ran it effectively against the Jets at times. They ran against Minnesota some too. Yes they split us on a couple of runs that we definitely would like to play better. I think there was three maybe four of them. Really what Buffalo tries to do is they try to isolate the inside part of their offense Ruben Brown, (Jerry) Ostroski, and (Jamie) Nails and they can split you in there then their backs run hard inside and they did it a couple times. They did it a couple times. They did it against a lot of teams. Not consecutively, but from time to time kind of like they did yesterday. We need to be a little bit stouter in there and play with a little bit better technique. They caught us one time in a stunt and we just, we didn't make the play. That's the strength of their running game. Those three guys, they're big, they're powerful, and that's where they try to run it. Sometimes we stopped it there a couple times we didn't do a good job on it.

Q: Is moving Eric Bjornson to wide receiver related to the progress that Chris Eitzmann has made?

B: Yeah. I think that it gives Eric a little bit more flexibility because he has played tight end, he can also fill in at receiver. Chris is a little bit better blocking at the point of attack a little bigger, a little more physical. Looking at this game, and also looking at the Colt game, some of the things we wanted to do offensively we felt that the bigger, better, run blocker type of guy would have a little more plays in those two game plans. So he was used a little bit more in those last two games.

Q: How has Chris Eitzmann's progress been?

B: It's been okay. It's been okay. I think he learns a lot every time he goes out on the field. He's experiencing new things playing in the NFL and playing in the regular season then what we in college or in the preseason. I'd say that overall there's some encouragement with his progress, he's still got a long ways to go. There's a lot of room for improvement, but he's done some things that have been good.

Q: How has Bjornson done with his switch to receiver?

B: Let me just clarify that now. We're not. All I'm saying is that it has been portrayed that he's a wide receiver. He's worked some at wide receiver, but that's a complementary position to tight end and it is one that he has some background in. I think that still his primary position for us is tight end. If he were as an active player at the game, he could also fill in at wide receiver if we needed him to, I'm not, you know, this is in addition to, not in lieu of. Really that goes for Chris Floyd too. Chris played fullback yesterday in the game, will continue to play fullback. He has worked some as a back up for Rod (Rutledge) and Chris (Eitzmann) at tight end. It's just something that we feel gives our team a little more depth at those positions. You know it is not the kind of thing you want to do in training camp, because you want to kind of let the players play at a position they can get comfortable at and show you what they can do and perform their skills. But at this point in the season, and looking at the bye week where we had a little bit of extra time last week, we felt that some guys if they could learn another spot, it would give us a little more depth, and also it would help their position in terms of being able to be active at the game. In Chris Floyd's case, he was inactive for the Indianapolis game (10/22), but I think by taking on some added responsibilities offensively and also being a little more productive in the kicking game, that afforded him the opportunity to be active and also to contribute a little bit more. Any move we make is with the intent of getting a player more involved not really less involved. That's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to increase his value, and have him participate in more things not fewer.

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