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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Nov 27 - 12:00 AM | Sun Nov 29 - 10:40 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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            **B:** I think as everyone knows we claimed Jermaine Wiggins on waivers yesterday from the Jets and he will of course work at tight end so that gives us three tight ends and five backs. It gives us a little better balance at that position then we have had in awhile. We are moving ahead here with obviously the preparations on Kansas City. We have kind of an extra Wednesday to get started. Yesterday was a little rusty, maybe as you would expect from several days off after the Detroit game, but I am sure things will pick up a little bit today and they picked up a little bit yesterday as we went through practice. Kansas City offensively is a very explosive team. I think they have some of the best players at their positions in the league. Just watching them score 54 points against St. Louis and 30 something against the Raiders they are a very high scoring team, 41 against San Diego whatever it was earlier in the year. So this is a team that can put up a lot of points. (Tony) Gonzalez is a tremendous tight end, he has got great receiving skills, he is sort of like a wide receiver playing the position. Derrick Alexander is amongst the best receivers we have seen all year. I would put him right there with (Eric) Moulds and (Marvin) Harrison that group. He is very good and (Elvis) Grbac has done real good job for them at quarterback, (Will) Shields the offensive lineman, so they have some really outstanding players and they are able to put a lot of points up on the board with their receiving group Morris and Kevin Lockett, the tight ends Dreighton and of course Gonzalez and they do a good job with their running backs as well. So I think it is a very well-balanced, explosive offense and they can really move the ball.  

Q: Have you downgraded (Drew) Bledsoe? He is listed as questionable on the injury report?

B: Yes well he didn't practice yesterday so if they don't practice then that's where they are for right now and then see how it goes later on in the week.

Q: Did he aggravate it?

B: No, no we are just following the rules. If they don't practice I think there is some question as to whether they will be able to play, at least that is the way the league views it and so we follow their directions.

Q: And the reason he didn't practice was…

B: It is a longer week you have a little more time and see how it goes.

Q: Yesterday some of your players talked about playing on Monday Night Football a national television audience again and there is chance for some redemption after the Thanksgiving Day game and a chance to show people that you are not the team that they might have saw in the last nineteen minutes of the game. Do you think that's an opportunity as well?

B: Yes I will second that opinion.

Q: Many of the Monday night games have been very exciting, right down to the wire.

B: I saw one of them and that one went down to the wire. I just don't stay up very late. I can't stay up late enough to watch the games. I watch them on tape I have seen very few of them.

Q: How about when you are coaching?

B: Take a nap in the afternoon and make sure you can make it through the game.

Q: You certainly have a good vantage point as to what the possibilities are as to the final results of the division you have four teams in front of you that all equally have a chance to win any opinions?

B: Not really because I really haven't put much focus on those teams in the last month. We played Indianapolis and the Jets twice in the first half of the season and really haven't seen too much of either one of those teams. Buffalo we played after the bye and it sounds like their team has undergone a little transition since we have played them. Miami was early in the year and we don't have them until the end so we kind of lost them in the mix here too. You know just the way the schedules worked out with Cincinnati and Cleveland and Detroit, the way the opponents fell in those games there really weren't many games that were with those AFC East teams. Cincinnati was playing Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati played and Detroit was the Giants and Green Bay those teams just didn't fall so honestly I haven't seen a lot of our division in the last month.

Q: Would it be particularly satisfying for you to beat Miami and Buffalo and knock them out?

B: What is important for us is to beat Kansas City this week and that's where our focus is. Whether those teams are or aren't in contention when we play them is out of our control so whether our game, how it effects there standings and all is not something we have any control over. I think when that time comes we will just worry about playing those teams and playing well and winning and whatever happens in the standings happens. I mean that's not really anything that we can dictate at all. Right now we are just looking toward Monday night's game with Kansas City and that is really where all of our attention is.

Q: Getting back to Monday night, Lawyer Milloy said yesterday that Monday night games are tough for him because he is sitting around on Sunday and then you sit around on Monday and he said sometimes you feel like you are yawning by game time, what are the differences in preparing for a Monday night game as opposed to a Sunday game what changes do you have to make leading up to game time?

B: I think that your body clock is the main one. You know that's true usually the day before the game you have some type of light workout on a Sunday game you have it Saturday morning and then Sunday you are playing the game. On the Monday night game there is a long time between that Sunday morning workout and then lying around all day Sunday and then all day Monday. There is just more time there, but I think the excitement and the thrill of playing on Monday night and being the only game and all of that I don't think there is any problem with adrenaline or getting up for the game or being ready to play or all of that it is just adjusting your body clock. We get a little bit of that in preseason because most of those games are night games and that's another wait around all day to play at eight o'clock or whatever time the game is at night. It is something you get used to. Both teams are going through the same thing, I don't think it is really an advantage one way or the other.

Q: Do a lot of guys come in earlier because they want to get going?

B: Yes probably a little bit, I think that's right probably a little bit early. You know because you are just waiting for the excuse to get the clock running and it is not like when you play Sunday night because all of the other games are on during the day and a lot of times you are watching those or it is keeping you occupied, Monday's are soap operas and I Love Lucy reruns and all of that. It is not a big TV day Monday afternoon

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            **Q: How is Tebucky (Jones) doing, he has been in and out of the lineup?**  

B: He has been pretty much in the lineup the last few weeks and I think that is the way it will stay. He has done a pretty solid job. I think that he has made steady improvement at the position, but the one thing that I talked to Tebucky about earlier in the year going back to the Denver game, back in there Denver or Miami whichever it was the first month on the season, was the importance of his play on special teams and not to have the snaps that he was taking on defense take away from the impact he could have in the kicking game and I think that he has done a real good job of that. He has been actually more productive in the kicking game in the last month when he has been playing full-time on defense then he was early in the year when he wasn't playing full-time on the defense. I have told him and I have told other players the same thing that if we have to make a choice between special teams and defense it will be special teams so you are not coming off the punt team and your not coming off the kickoff team, we can replace you on defense, but we are not going to replace you in the kicking game then that usually motivates a player to play a little better in the kicking game rather than the other way around.

Q: Where on defense did you still need to see a lot more improvement with him?

B: I think that a young player like Tebucky, like most younger players it is just consistency. He has displayed other things that he needs to display at one time or another and I think his consistency is improving and when I talk about consistency at safety that is kind of like quarterback on offense. There are a lot of different things happening, they happen fast, the formations change, one second you are covering the tight end then the guy goes in motion and you have to cover a back or you have to move over and cover the slot or you have to make some type of adjustment, one second you are blitzing then a guy goes in motion and you are not blitzing any more somebody replaces you, you now cover somebody else. So things like that happen, they happen in a hurry and those are the type of things that really there is no substitute for experience. We can go over them on the board, we can go over them on film, go over them in practice, walk through them and all of that and those things all help, but the speed and the precision with which those things happen on the field during a games, you simulate it, but you can't ever make it quite the same as game conditions. So from a consistency standpoint, making adjustments and reacting quickly and all of those sorts of things that he will continue to work on and continue to improve on.

Q: Are you more patient with him because he doesn't have a lot that kind of experience?

B: He played it in college. He didn't get a lot of experience in it this year at mini camp and in the spring, but once we went to training camp practically every snap he has gotten has been at the safety position either in regular or sub whatever it happens to be. I think he has had enough, he has had enough looks at it to feel comfortable. Hopefully as he goes further with it, it will continue to get better. That is the trend that we have been on and hopefully that will continue.

Q: Do you think the transformation into cornerback set him back a little bit?

B: In the system that we are playing, what we are doing I think he is best at safety. I can't speak to another system or another situation. Maybe that was the best thing for him at that point in time I really don't know, but for what we are doing I think he is going to play safety for us. The more experience he gets, as long as he keeps working hard and improving, I think that he will continue to make the kind of progress that he has made already through this year and be a solid player.

Q: Do you feel that he is your long-term answer there?

B: I think that as long as he continues to improve that that opportunity will be there for him. I think there is still some upside that can be reached and a higher level of consistency. It hasn't been bad, but it could be better.

Q: Where most of his breakdowns early in the season mental?

B: The main thing that happened early in the season was the special teams. I think the combination of playing on defense and playing in the kicking game was taking away from his production in the kicking game. So we concentrated on that and the production became better in the kicking game and I think that overall the special teams has been probably the thing that we have done the best through the year and been the most consistent at other than the Detroit game. It certainly wasn't a strength against Detroit, but in the other eleven games it has been pretty solid for us, I mean the punt coverage in that game was pretty good. As I said, earlier in the year the decision was kind of take him off special teams or take him off defense so we replaced him on defense.

Q: The Pro Bowl voting is in a couple of weeks and there is a lot of consideration that Lawyer Milloy will be your representative is there anybody else that has the potential for a Pro Bowl season?

B: That Pro Bowl thing is tough because in all honesty, first of all I don't see all of the players I just see the teams that we play so there are other players on other teams, good teams Baltimore, Tennessee, Seattle, Oakland, I am sure there are a lot of good players on those teams and we haven't seen those players at all. I haven't really focused too much on them more than the teams that are on our schedule. It is hard for me to take a good overall evaluation of the league because I am only seeing a select group of teams.

Q: What about your own guys, is there anybody else this team?

B: Well again it is hard to compare. I haven't really thought about other players that are on those teams and again I think there would be some good players on those teams. Some of them maybe having better years than maybe what I remember them from the previous year or maybe it is a worse year or maybe they have been injured, but I haven't followed those teams that closely, again, all of the teams that aren't on our schedule. I feel it would be hard for me to make the comparison between one player that I know and another player that I really haven't watched play at all.

Q: You would have no complaints however, if you could vote for your own guys you would you vote for Lawyer Milloy?

B: I have an awful lot of respect for what Lawyer has done for this football team this year, yes, but the voting, you can't vote for your own players which is probably a good way to do it. It's really not an option.

Q: Pete Carroll said he tried calling you yesterday concerning a comment he had made last week, did you get a chance to get back to him?

B: I talked to Pete this morning, yes, I don't really think it is an issue. It wasn't a problem with me to begin with.

Q: Tedy Bruschi seems to be giving you a strong performance every game can you talk about his play this year?

B: Tedy has been a real consistent player. We have asked him to do an awful lot. The linebacker group has been banged up and we have had to make some adjustments at that position particularly with Ted (Johnson) and Andy (Katzenmoyer) and we have asked Tedy to do a lot of different things similar to Lawyer in the secondary, a different position, but similar things. He has also been a real pillar for us in the kicking game particularly on punt coverage where he is the fullback and kind of runs and organizes the whole punt team. Also on kick of returns so. He has played a lot of plays, all the regular defenses, all of the sub defenses, goal line, kickoff return, punt coverage and he has played them all pretty hard and played them for the most part pretty well. He has done just about everything we have asked him to do all year and that has been a lot. We have asked him to do a lot and he has had to step in and fill in for some pretty good players, not that he wouldn't have been in there anyway, but just the things that we asked him to do were beyond what he would normally do because of adjustments that we had to make from a personnel standpoint. So I think he has had a good year. Again, I know he has taken a lot of snaps and I know he has answered the bell every week and he is coming out strong.

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            **Q: Chris Slade hasn't missed many plays this year, can you comment on the type of player he is?**  

B: I think that is the kind of player that Chris is. Check me on this, but I can't think of a game that Chris has missed, I don't know, it hasn't been many or practice for that matter. He is a very durable, hard-working player, off-season program everyday. You can set your watch by Chris Slade in March seven o'clock he will be in the weight room. It is March, April, May, he is there everyday, very consistent, very steady player. Like Tedy in the linebacker group he has taken on a lot of different roles in terms of playing Sam linebacker even a little bit at will, pass rushing. He has played through a lot of bumps and bruises there have been a couple of weeks where he has really been banged up and you know he is going to be out there, but you also know that he is not 100 percent. He is a mentally and physically tough player and yes he has played that way all year. He and Tedy have both done that at that position.

Q: Has (Greg) Spires showed you that he can be more than a situational pass rusher, will he play a little more fulltime?

B: Greg has had a little opportunity to do that. It is up to him, it is up to him really, it's not up to me. If he can show that, sure. I'll play anybody anytime if they can prove that they can perform at that level on an everyday basis and do the different things that are required of them, Greg Spires or anybody else could be an every down player.

Q: Warren Moon can you comment on what he brings and how long he has been bringing it?

B: He has been playing a long time and that doesn't include, I don't know how many years it was in Canada, but the years that I was in Cleveland and he was in Houston and they were running the run and shoot offense down there that was probably the most talented team I faced, They had Moon, I mean they had them all, (Allen) Pinkett, Lorenzo White, Gary Brown, (Ernest) Givins, I can't remember all of their names now, (Haywood) Jeffires, Webster Slaughter, there fourth, fifth and sixth receivers were better than everybody else's second and third. They were loaded. They had Bruce Matthews, (Mike) Munchak, David Williams, Brad Hopkins, I mean it was an all star team they had six or seven guys on the all pros every year. He was the quarterback and boy he was tough. He could run, throw, a great arm, tremendous person. Warren is one of the really outstanding people in this game as far as a person, a leader, strong in the community. I have been out at Washington probably two or three times in my career, the University of Washington to work a guy out there and he is out there working with college players. I mean this was when he was six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen years in the league whatever it was all through his career. He has very strong ties to the University. He is really a class act and to think of what he has done, kind of like (Doug) Flutie, to think of what he has done in this league and then on top of all what he did in Canada for, how many years was he in Canada six or seven, I can't remember what ever it was.

Q: Six years.

B: Six years and then how many has he been in the NFL? Thirteen, I don't know. It is pretty impressive. He is really a special player and then to see Eddie Murray come back in the league this year I mean I remember what I worked him out at Tulane in 1979 I was barely out of college. I think Detroit took him in the fifth or sixth round that year. We were in New York we were going to take him and they had the first pick in the round and we had the sixth or seventh pick in the round whatever it was and they drafted him, some mid-round a sixth or seventh round pick and the guy could kick forever. It was unbelievable. Warren, that is one special football player, he is one special player. And (Elvis) Grbac we had him in the Senior Bowl when I coached the Senior Bowl in, it was Slade's year, I remember Slade was down there, 1993, yes January of 1993. We had Slade and Elvis.

Q: What does Tony Simmons have to do to earn a spot on the game day roster?

B: Be productive in the passing game, get open and catch balls that are thrown to him. The same thing all of the receivers need to do. Right now we have had two receivers, through the year we have had two receivers that have been highly productive and the rest of our receivers the production has been very marginal. There has been a tremendous drop off from where our first two guys are to everybody else. If you look through the league other than Denver, that is kind of a horse of a different color, but our third, fourth, fifth, sixth receivers however you want to number them, it doesn't matter what the names are, but whoever you want to put in those spots their production relative to other teams third, fourth and fifth receivers has been, we are ahead of Denver, but we are at the bottom of the league. That has been a problem in the passing game all year and hopefully before this year is over we will get some good production out of our receivers other than what we have gotten out of the first two guys. We need to get it out of those guys. We need to get it out of the tight end position to balance the passing game off and we are seeing more and more of that each week. Teams are trying to take away Troy Brown and Terry Glenn and they are the guys that have had the most production for us. We know that is going to happen and we still want to get them the ball, but at some point you still have to spread it around. Soon as we can find a receiver that will do that then will do that.

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