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Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:** No announcements.  

Q: Can you talk about Matt Stevens?

B: Matt is a good athlete he played corner in college, has played corner and safety, has been a good special teams player in the league for Buffalo, Philadelphia and Washington. We are a little short in the secondary this week, he has got some experience playing some of the positions that I think we need filled and hopefully we can get him ready to do some things for us on special teams and we will see what we can do on defense.

Q: Is he the kind of guy that you might look at next year too?

B: Sure. His contract expires after this game so he would be an unrestricted free agent.

Q: He was drafted by Buffalo, played there on year, started a number of games and then apparently got cut, right?

B: Yes well it didn't work out.

Q: Isn't that kind of unusual the fact that a guy would go from starter to out of work instead of backup?

B: Yes well you would have to ask Buffalo about that, but I don't think there is a lot of questions about his athletic ability, his physical ability to play the game. He is a very smart guy, but for whatever reason it hasn't worked out in a couple of places for him. I have never had him on my team before so I can't really comment on the specifics of those situations.

Q: Was it an internal matter up there?

B: You would have to ask them.

Q: Is there anything you will do different this week since it is the last game?

B: In terms of?

Q: In terms of anything with personnel or anything?

B: In terms of the preparation for the Miami game I can't think of anything. It's specific to this game, if it had been the twelfth game of the year instead of the sixteenth it might go the same way. As far as it being the last game of the year there are some end of the season type of things that you have to kind of clean up and schedule for going forward. At this point in the year, I think it is a timely thing to do so those things would take place regardless of who your last opponent would be. For example there are some injured guys who may require offseason injury as an example Like Max Lane last year or Bruce Armstrong is another guy I guess that came up with last year. There are some players that may fall into that category this year so it is worth discussing with the doctors about what the recommendation is and of course the sooner you do it the sooner they are back and they can get into the offseason program, be ready for training camp and mini camp and all of that. So there are kind of timely things like that, that come up.

Q: What are your feelings about the fact that the season is over Sunday? Would you like it to go much longer or do you think it is enough let's get into the offseason and try to fix some things?

B: I think every week and every game is an opportunity for us to move forward and get better and that is the way we have tried to approach it. I am looking forward to the opportunity to prepare for Miami, practice this week, playing the game I think that we have a chance to move forward as a football team. I think that winning the game would be another important step for us in the bigger picture. I think that in the last month that we have made some gains as a football team both on the field and in our preparation. Going on the road against Buffalo last week I thought that was a real positive step the way the team responded and hopefully we can learn from that and build on it.

Q: Will you miss not being on the sidelines for awhile after Sunday, you personally?

B: I'd like to do it, that's the way it is. I have been in the business a long time you are at different stages of the season, at different points of the year you are at different stages and when it's over it's over, that's the way it is.

Q: But usually with players, obviously your not a player, but usually with players depending on how they feel about their own personal progress or how they fit in with their own team they are either, 'That's enough I am glad or god I wish we still had two months left'?

B: I would certainly welcome the opportunity to keep coaching, to keep playing, but that is not where we are so that is not going to happen. It is not like I am sitting here crossing days off.

Q: You are not burned out?

B: No. I mean it is the end of the season I don't think anybody is as fresh as a daisy maybe like we were in July, but I enjoy the gameplan , the practice preparation, getting the players ready to play, the competitiveness of the situation on Sunday's, the game decisions and pregame and in the game decisions that come up, I mean I am not crossing the days off until that time is over with I mean I don't feel that way at all.

Q: Do you envision changes in your coaching staff between now and next year?

B: I am really not looking at it too hard right now. Dwayne (Walker) had an opportunity last week and I talked with him about that to go to Southern Cal and I understand it. Right now the rest of our attention is on Miami it is not on offseason changes and offseason moves and all of that. What I plan on doing is when the season is over evaluate where we are and what we can do to improve our position and I will look at it then, but I don't have that mindset right now.

Q: Over the course of the season in certain areas you must have said, 'I wish this were going on or that was going on' do you have questions about a number of areas in the coaching staff?

B: There were a lot of times during the year when there were a lot of things that I wish were going better, there is no doubt about that. This is a year where it is a coming together of a lot of new people. There are some people in this organization that I have worked with and others that this is the first time and I think overall that those working relationships have been pretty efficient and they should get better. I think they have gotten better during the course of the year and I think they will get better in time. What is the exact best way for us to do things moving forward, maybe it is the way it is and maybe there is a little tinkering there I don't know I really am not in a mindset to evaluate it or try to predict it right now, The only thing that we did was just make some adjustments in our defensive organization and responsibilities with DeWayne not being here for the game and this week for Miami.



            **Q: Do you have any idea whether Ty Law is going to appeal the suspension, do you know for sure that he is not?**  

B: I don't know.

Q: You've said that you are not ready to think about the offseason that much until it is here one of the criticisms that is made not just of you but anybody in a powerful position that wears more than one hat is that you should be thinking about the offseason and there are people on other teams whose express purpose is to think about the offseason and those type of transactions because they are not burdened with coaching the team which is very consuming. Is that a fair criticism?

B: I understand what you are saying and I don't mean to say that I haven't thought about the offseason, but I know right now is not the time to make decisions on the offseason. Have I thought about it? Yes absolutely and there is a point in time every week where we meet organizationally to discuss things that are moving forward and that may be in the offseason, or it may be in September, it may be October, in October it may be November. Re-signing Bobby Hamilton, Terry Glenn, those types of things they just didn't happen in one day there was definitely some discussion and a certain degree of planning that took place there, but in terms of making offseason decisions which is going to come with free agency, it is going to come with contracts, cap considerations, restructuring, all of those types of things, changes in the organization whether it is people leaving or other people coming in all of that. That is a whole set of circumstances that usually doesn't really, I mean the situation with DeWayne is relatively unusual. Most of those changes occur at the end of the season and I would imagine that the same would be true this year. Whether it is with our staff somebody getting an opportunity somewhere else or somebody else's staff and that is all really down the road. I certainly don't mean to minimize and I don't want to characterize it that I am unaware of those things that can happen or that I don't care about them I don't mean it that way at all, but in terms of actually making a decision about who is going to come back here next year, what is going to be on next year's cap that doesn't have to be made right now, those things to me are secondary toward getting the team prepared for whether it is Buffalo or Miami, and that game that is most at hand.

Q: Along those lines do you think that the mental makeup of this team is where you think it is okay heading into next season, do you think you have to change the mindset of this team practice-wise, day in and day out or are you pretty satisfied with that?

B: There are things that have been addresses all year some have improved, some have only improved marginally if at all. So I think there are some things that continue to need to be addressed. I think there are other things that have improved and we can keep going in that direction. I think that is an important part of the makeup of the team both from an overall standpoint and also from an individual standpoint. That is one of the things we will do at the end of the year is to talk both as a group, but even individually with specific players about how they could change their approach or their outlook, or their perspective on what they are, what they are doing and what they need to do and so forth and when we do that in the offseason that will come with input from all of the coaches that work with them special teams coaches, strength coaches, offensive or defensive position coach, the coordinators, defensive coaches that work with offensive players on the service teams and that type of thing so there will be a lot of interaction and communication about that, but those things will definitely be discussed and I think they are definitely important, no doubt about it.

Q: Do you find that there are sometimes when you can change a players mindsets, habits etc or are there sometimes where you just have to change the players?

B: Some do and some don't. I have seen some players transform dramatically from one year to the next or over a period of time, over a period of two or three years until they come around to the point of view that you would like for them to or that you think they need to as a player and there are other players that don't. That's hard to predict.

Q: Have you made up the schedule for the wrap up meetings, will you bring guys back on Christmas?

B: No we won't bring them back on Christmas.

Q: Tuesday?

B: To bring the players back? No.

Q: So they are done after Sunday night?

B: We will do the post-season physicals after the game other than the guys who aren't playing. There are some guys who aren't playing in the game who are on injured reserve or whatever their situation those will be done earlier. We have a schedule with the doctors about how we are handling the players going forward. There are some guys that we may need to do a little more extensive work on than others.

Q: So they are through Sunday night for the most part?

B: Yes.

Q: With Ty out of the lineup how would you characterize the adjustments you are going to have to make, you packages or your pass defense packages, any major tweaking, how would you characterize it?

B: I think the players that will assume those roles will be doing things that they have pretty much been trained to do all year. At this point in the year I think it would be hard to make a major adjustment that we will have to kind of treat it like an injury. A player could get hurt in the first quarter somebody has to go in for them. You have to keep doing the things that you kind of planned on doing you may be able to adjust it a little bit depending on what the specifics are, but I think you pretty much have to be ready for that contingency every week and I think that is pretty much the way we would approach it this week. The players that will fill in for him will do what we normally do on defense. There may be a couple of things here or there that could change a little bit.

Q: Who will start out there?

B: As I said yesterday we will play Kato (Serwanga) and Antonio (Langham) a little bit more and we will just see how that goes. A little bit of that depends on how Miami comes out too because we have used the different nickel packages and regular packages. The starters will all depend on what we see from them too.

Q: Does J.R. (Redmond) have a good chance to go?

B: J.R. did a little bit yesterday. I would say that he is a less than 100 percent at this point or as of Wednesday's practice. Going forward, where will we be by game time I don't know. I think he has a chance to play. We just probably won't know until we get a little further down the road, but he did do some work yesterday.

Q: Trace Armstrong is having a good year for them, what have you seen when you have watched is he doing something better or is he just working better in that system with Jason Taylor what is it that he has been so effective this year?

B: He has been productive rushing off of the left side, he has been productive. Trace is quick, he has got a high motor he is always going hard, he is a smart player so he anticipates things well and he is a good technique player and he can take advantage of weaknesses in the opponents pass-blocking. He does a good job with his hands, does a good job with leverage and keeping his shoulders down, he's quick and I think he is a little bit deceptive too. I think he plays a little quicker maybe than he looks on film, but he plays with very good leverage. He is a hard guy for the linemen to get their hands on and when they do get their hands on him he has quick hands and reacts quickly to that and from a technique standpoint can get the linemen's hands off of him. So even though he is not a real big guy he has got some explosion and he can turn the corner and he plays with power even though he is not really an overpowering physical specimen, but he plays with power. Similar to some of their offensive linemen too like (Tim) Ruddy. Ruddy is another guy who is not really a big powerful guy, but he plays very strong and he is quick and he has got good hand placement. He is kind of comparable to Trace on the other side of the ball. A high motor guy. The Dolphin defense is put together with a lot of speed on the edge with Jason and Trace Armstrong and a lot of size inside and then the middle linebacker is very active. Like we have talked about before when they have those big guys playing in front of them it is hard to get past Bowen and Gardener to get to Thomas and if you get to Thomas then it is hard to neutralize (Tim) Bowens and (Daryl) Gardener on the line and if you try to run away from those big guys on the inside then you have to deal with the speed on the edge. It is a defense that from a personnel standpoint is well thought out. I think Jimmy (Johnson) did a good job putting those players in place and Dave (Wannstedt) and Bill Lewis and those guys down there are obviously doing a good job of coaching them and they get a lot of production out of them.

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