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Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:** We have talked quite a bit this year about playing through adversity and overcoming negative things that go against you in the game and there certainly was a lot of that yesterday. As I said after the game I am real proud of the players the way they fought and over came a number of things in the game to hang in there and win it. We certainly made our share of mistakes and there are a number of things we can correct and improve on, but in the end I thought we did a lot of positive things. I am glad the players were rewarded with a victory for their efforts. I know everybody is supposed to play hard and that's what's demanded, that's what's expected and they did it. A couple of guys that I thought really came through very strongly for us obviously on defense (Chad) Eaton who had a real strong game and offensively I thought (Rod) Rutledge and Greg Robinson-Randall stepped up and did a nice job particularly in the running game. We ran the ball pretty well in that game against a pretty good run defense that was encouraging. Certainly at the end of the game it turned into much more of a passing game then it did in the first three quarters on both sides. It was kind of unusual as the conditions got worse the ball was in the air a lot more, but I am glad that we were able to run it as well as we did yesterday or that would have been tough trying to throw the ball that whole game. A lot of positives and still a lot of things we need to continue to work on. I think our tank is empty right now we are going to have to gas it up for Miami. I am sure that this will be another tough game. We lost down there to them in a very close hard fought game at the end. This is an opportunity for us to maybe even that one up a little bit this week and prove that we can do it on a more consistent basis than we have done it this year.  

Q: (Chad) Eaton's performance, twelve tackles, two sacks, two blocks have you seen a performance of that nature in the past that you could compare especially in those conditions?

B: I think the conditions favored him. A lot of runs, a lot of inside runs and a lot of opportunities and he was productive. He made a lot of plays and did a good job of keeping the quarterback in front of him and being able to break down and make the plays on the sacks. The penalty was not a real helpful play, but overall Chad had a real strong game, no doubt about it.

Q: He is a free agent at the end of this season does this performance and the performance last week do they make you look at him now and say this is a real priority to make sure we sign him?

B: At the end of the year we will try to do the best we can with all of our free agents and do the best we can to keep our team as competitive as we can make it. I don't know.

Q: Does he seem like vital part?

B: Yes sure he is a good player and we will just have to do the best we can.

Q: You speak about the running game, does it kind of leave you asking why on a day where the opposing team knows you have got to run the ball you are able to do it, does it leave you asking where has it been all year?

B: I think we have seen it from time to time during the year. I think one of the main things about the running game is the physical and mental toughness that a team has to run it and it is really about finishing blocks and finishing runs. There are a lot of plays where, you watch any team that runs the ball it looks like they are going to gain one or two yards and lineman keep pushing and the runner keeps running and it ends up being a four or five yard play. There were certainly a number of those yesterday. We finished more blocks then we have in quite awhile, in other words rather than just making the initial contact and hitting into the guy that we really continued to finish and block truly until the end of the play and that resulted in some extra yards. We had some aggressive blocks downfield from the receivers which added some yardage there and that was a positive too. We have had some games where we have had a pretty balanced attack and ran the ball pretty well, not as many of them as we need and not as many as we would like, but I think it has shown up from time to time over the year and it certainly was evident yesterday and we needed it.

Q: The offenses on both teams seemed to pickup as the conditions worsened, is that just because on offense you know where you want to go whereas the defense doesn't know?

B: I think there is something to that and obviously the footing was bad and it was hard to really generate much power or explosion in the conditions so it helps to know where you are going so you can screen people off and just get in the way. You don't even have to move them a long way if you can just keep them from making the tackle that can be effective too.

Q: How is (J.R.) Redmond's injury?

B: I haven't talked to him today. When we got off the plane last night he walked off the plane and was moving around okay it didn't look nearly as bad as it did in the locker room after the game so I think it loosened up a little bit, I don't know we will see today.

Q: A game like that what limits are there in terms of your evaluation ability in terms of the strange things that happened in the game all the things that happen that make guys look bad what limit is there when you are evaluating?

B: I think one of the biggest things that you can measure in a game like that is effort and physical and mental toughness because there are things like that every game. I mean you can line up excuses, you can write them down right now and pull them out whenever you want next year or the year after or two years after that, there are always a hundred things that can go wrong and there were plenty of things yesterday that were potentials. But the bottom line is being able to put all of that aside and fight through it, perform and do what needs to be done. That's really the bottom line I think that is really the biggest evaluation that you are looking for in the end production when it counts. Frankly that is where we have come up short too many times this year is when we have really had to have it we haven't produced enough of it.

Q: Looking ahead to next week to Miami having played in bad weather this week it will more your conditions than Miami's conditions does that give you guys somewhat of an advantage if it is colder or cold and snowy as opposed to 80 degrees and sunny?

B: I don't know I don't think it is going to be any colder on their sidelines then it is on ours. I think both teams will be playing in the same conditions. We still have to play the Miami Dolphins and yesterday that game was still about playing the Buffalo Bills. Certainly the conditions were an element of it, but you still have to block Ted Washington, you still have to cover Eric Moulds, you still have to contain Doug Flutie and they have to do the same thing with Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn and Chad Eaton and whoever it is so. Those other elements can be distracting and they can make it harder to concentrate and execute and all of that, but in the end you still have to play the other football team that is out there and that is our biggest challenge this week to get ready for the Miami Dolphins. They are a good team they beat us in the first game and they were a tough opponent so we will put all we can into the week of preparation, who knows what kind of day we will get out there. We could get a day like today where other than a little bit of wind I don't think the weather would be a big factor in the game. That is the way it is this time of year. I think you have to have the type of gameplan available where you can at least adjust to whatever the conditions are and you know they can change. It could be like it was against Kansas City Monday night where you could throw the ball if you want to throw it or it could be like it was yesterday where throwing it was a little more difficult and kicking it was a lot more difficult.

Q: With Miami being a playoff team, if you beat Miami you finish 3-4 with a bad one in the middle, but nevertheless you win three of your last four, that being the case does that truly serve as an impetus, does that help you in the offseason, does it help you towards next season?

B: I think what helps us is for the players and the team to see if we play a certain way we can win. I think that's what is really important and I think the players saw that yesterday. I think they saw that if we play the game against Buffalo like we talked about playing it that we would be able to win it and we could have won it in regulation, but we ended up winning it in overtime. But by doing things a certain way and having the right frame of mind, having an attitude that we weren't going to let an adversity drag us down, we were going to play through it, we were going to continue to compete regardless of what the situation was and really be mature about playing the game not look backwards, but just keep looking forward keep looking for opportunities and keep scratching and clawing and trying to find them. There will be enough there for you and I hope that is what they saw and I think that's the way we need to play and I think that's what we need to believe in. In all three areas of the game I saw it on offense, defense and special teams and to me that's really the way we need to play. As I said after the game I wish we could have played more like we played yesterday in more games, that style of play not the specific play but just with that type of temperament.



            **Q: Toughness is usually taken as a given for any team, did you find at all this season where at one particular point it had to become a teaching point during the week and did you stress that at all this week?**  

B: Absolutely we stressed it last week and it has been stressed all year and it should be the same every week, but it isn't and I don't think it is probably for any team. You look at any team's sixteen game schedule and you want to see the same level every week, but you don't always see it. That is something, like I said I hope the results of yesterday reaffirms for us how important it is for us to do that because I don't think that, like a lot of other teams, I don't think that we are good enough to just roll it out there and show up and win. I don't think we are good enough to do that and there probably aren't many teams in the league that are. For us we need to come with the right attitude, the right toughness, the right frame of mind and that's what gives us the best chance.

Q: The reason I asked whether it was a big stress point last week was in the area of message sending, I know you said Tony Simmons was an internal matter, but does that become read by the others as an indication, a concrete indication?

B: You would have to ask somebody else that I don't know that, I don't know. It wasn't like we had a big fight out there with 50 people in it or anything like that.

Q: Why is it difficult to keep the team focused every week and to come with that attitude, why is that such a challenge every week to do that?

B: Number one it is such a competitive league, it is such a fine line that there is so little difference between most of the teams in this league as we have seen all year and virtually all of our games, one score and that's one play, either way. It was a fine line yesterday when we won, it was a fine line in Chicago or Miami or wherever we lost, it is a fine line so you are not talking about winning 44 to nothing or losing 59 to nothing. Those aren't the kind of games, to me it comes down to three things. It comes down to mental toughness and every week there are always going to be things that a team is going to have to overcome guys playing with injuries, playing on the road that's half of your games right there, bad break in the game whatever it is something that really should go your way and it doesn't, like yesterday we had two turnovers that got nullified, you know things like that. If you are not really tough enough to play through them and you let them hold you back then it effects your performance and there are a thousand things like that and commitment is another one and commitment starts today. The Miami game starts today, it doesn't start Sunday at one it starts today in terms of preparation, knowing the gameplan, knowing the scouting report, working with your teammates to try to make sure that not only each person does a good job and is ready to play, but that he is ready to play with his teammates who are out there with them because we all have to function as a team. Then the third thing is execution. No matter how committed you are and no matter how mentally tough you are you still have to kick the ball through the uprights, you still have to catch the ball when it is thrown to you, or you still have to tackle the guy. Somebody has to get the runner down whatever the play entails you have to be able to execute it. So without those three elements in place ultimately you are going to come up short somewhere and trying to keep all three of them in place or just at a slightly higher level than the competition is obviously challenging every week because of the level of play in this league.

Q: Will you and your staff as professionals derive any kind of satisfaction if you beat them from having 'knocked them out" in terms of it is a professional situation and you have done your duty almost to play as best as you could and you knocked them out and you accomplished something? Does that mean anything to you or your staff?

B: I think it means more for us to do it for ourselves. There has been a lot of hard work put in around here. This team has gone through a lot and I think that everyone on this team wants to commit to each other, wants to perform well and wants to win and that's what is most important. Sure it is always nice to beat a good team and to recognize that we have gone out there and played well against top competition. There is no question about that and it means a lot to do it at home, but it also means a lot to this team and I think that is really the most important and what really drives you more than anything else is the self-satisfaction of doing it because you want to do it not doing it for some other reasons. Not that other reasons aren't important I am not saying that. Dave and I go back a long way. When I was at Cleveland we went up and spent a week with the Bears at least three years in Wisconsin and trained with them up there and practiced against them and played them in a couple of preseason games because we were in opposite divisions AFC, NFC. It was a good team to work against. Dave is a good defensive coach, his teams are always a tough, hard-nosed teams and that was the kind of competition we were looking for at that point. Dave and I have kind of come from similar backgrounds we've been defensive coordinators in the league and being coordinators on Super Bowl Champion teams and that type of thing. So you know we have some things in common and have worked together, not together on the same team, but together trying to both make our teams better when we were head coaches in Cleveland and Chicago respectively. I have known Dave for a long time and I have a lot of respect for him and generally wish him well other than weeks like this.

Q: Getting back to (J.R.) Redmond for a second do you have serious questions about his durability?

B: I think J.R. has suffered some unfortunate breaks this year. He like every other player needs to establish that he can stay out on the field on a regular basis. I think that all of his injuries have been legitimate. I don't think he is trying to get out of anything or isn't tough or anything like that. I certainly don't mean to indicate that at all, but nevertheless he has been hurt and hasn't been able to perform and durability in this league is an issue. You only have 45 guys and you can't afford to have all of them be guys who can't finish games and so that is something that he needs to establish trying to be objective about it. He didn't get the full benefit of a complete training camp maybe that would make a difference maybe it wouldn't I don't know. I think you have to be careful about rushing to judgement in situations like this. When I was with the Giants Phil Simms got hurt every year for the first three or four years and that was the deal on him get rid of him, he's always hurt, he can't stay healthy, he's never on the field when you need him, get somebody else in there. I think for the next eight or nine years until he got hurt in the 1990 season when we were 10-0 which was going pretty good for him and (Jeff) Hostettler came in and finished the year and we won the Super Bowl, I can't remember him missing a game. I might be wrong on that one, but it wasn't many. I have seen that go both ways. Some guys have injuries early and it sets them back, other guys have some injuries early and it seems like they get them out of the way and they don't happen again. I think it is too early to make a judgement on a player at this stage of his career. I do respect J.R.'s toughness and I do think that he has come back from everything and he has come back from it at a pretty high tempo. I don't think he has gone into the games playing tentatively, but on the other hand he hasn't been able to finish them, so that's what it is. As I said Phil Simms, I'm sure we can go back and dig up all of those articles in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 about what a terrible player he was, what a disgrace it was to have taken him as the seventh pick of the draft in 1979 and how the Giants could never win with Phil Simms and all they did was win with Phil Simms. They had some other guy too what was his name, Taylor or something.

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