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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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            **Q: How are the injured players?**  

B: Tebucky Jones is the only one that didn't practice yesterday the all of the other ones took reps.

Q: How was J.R. Redmond yesterday?

B: Better. I think he has got a chance. We will look at him before the game, but I think he has a chance.

Q: If J.R. doesn't start Kevin (Faulk) starts?

B: If J.R. doesn't start Kevin and Tony (Carter) would do the running.

Q: What did you think of Tony last week?

B: Not bad. You know Tony has run the ball well for us all year. I mean he is not scat back, I am not saying that but he has made some tough inside yards and I think for a fullback he is I would say an above average runner.

Q: How come with maybe the exception of Tampa Bay and Kansas City you don't see that anymore?

B: Even Tampa they don't…

Q: Well (Mike) Alstott.

B: Yes but they moved him to tailback.

Q: I know, but he is that type of back, he is bigger.

B: There are plenty of big backs I mean there is (Jerome) Bettis and (Mike) Alstott, Jamal Lewis is 230 pounds. I mean there are plenty of big backs, but the fullbacks plays per say yes there aren't very many of them. (Rob) Konrad carries is a little bit for Miami, but most teams don't have many fullback plays in their offense. They have the fullback as a blocker and the runner as a runner.

Q: Is that almost a dying position?

B: No not at all.

Q: Still prominent?

B: I think every team needs a fullback on their team. It is not always the classic what a lot of people think of as a fullback. Like for example the Jets are a team that kind of use their tight end as a fullback and their fullback Ritchie Anderson more like a tight end. Ritchie Anderson was hardly ever a lead blocker. Larry Centers was a lot like that when he was with the Cardinals and the Redskins. He wasn't really a lead blocker more like Kevin Turner was here. He caught a lot of passes,, blocked on the edge of the perimeter on some outside plays and stuff like that as opposed to the real fullback type guy that is more of a Sam Gash guy. ( Rob) Konrad really is one of the more versatile fullbacks in the league kind of like Daryl Johnston was for Dallas where he does a lot of different things, he catches well, he blocks well, he can carry the ball, he plays on the end of the line almost in a tight end like type position. So he gives them some flexibility on the offense. No I don't think it is dying out at all, but I think there are different types of fullback and it is hard, you usually think of a fullback as a certain type of a player and I think that style of fullback has changed. Some teams have guys that can do it like the Ritchie Anderson type, another team has a Konrad type and look at a team like Buffalo last week that didn't really have a fullback at all. They had halfbacks and tight ends that kind of managed those jobs whereas the year before they had Sam Gash who was probably more of the conventional fullback types and that is something that every week defensively we have to identify for our defensive players, who has that role for the team and what is their fullback like because again when you think of a fullback you think of a certain type of player. We see a lot of different varieties from week to week.

Q: Has it changed the way that people attacked the linebackers if that position is not prominent that blocking back is that left to the guards more often?

B: Yes or to the second tight end. Somehow you have to work around it. If your fullback is not a lead blocker type then somebody else had to take on that role either one of the linemen or an extra tight end and then you use that player to block more on the edge a safety or sometimes an outside linebacker that kind of thing. Teams that run different personnel groups a lot of times they try to mix and match those guys in there so that when they want to run a power play they have a bigger, more point of attack type of blocker in there and when they are not running those plays they mix the substitutions around so they end up with maybe a more skillful guy that can maybe catch or be more of a vertical threat that type of thing.

Q: How does that effect the running game? If you have a tight end trying to block a middle linebacker does it mean changes in the running game at all, maybe you don't have that power attack up the gut because the tight end can't get over there?

B: I think the teams that are doing that and we have done a little bit of that the last couple of weeks with (Rod) Rutledge and (Jermaine) Wiggins you just use him to do the same thing the fullback does. When the fullback is in the offset position when he is not directly behind the quarterback, he can pretty much do the same things he can do when he is on the wing. He can obviously get out to the flat a little bit quicker when he is on the wing, he can block inside a little better when he is more in the backfield, but that position from a timing standpoint because most backs lineup at least six and a half yards deep. They have time to create all of the blocking angles back inside if that is what they choose to do.

Q: A guy like Ritchie Anderson is that position almost used to cover up for a tight end who is not a good receiver? Is that way they switched those roles a little bit?

B: I think you need one good blocker and if it doesn't come from the fullback then it pretty much needs to come from the tight end. A lot of that started back with Dallas with (Tom) Landry when they had (Tony) Dorsett and Ron Springs. Ron Springs carried the ball a lot more than you see fullbacks carrying it now, but Dorsett obviously got most of the carries. Ron Springs was a real good fullback he was no…

Q: Like (Robert) Newhouse?

B: Right Newhouse was before that. Newhouse was much more of a point of attack type player. Springs did all of the screen passes and caught balls down the field, blocked safeties and was in the perimeter running. Dallas did a lot of motioning with their tight ends like (Billy Joe) DuPree and (Doug) Cosbie and those guys to block some of the linebackers and even defensive linemen wham them and stuff like that. So a lot of those schemes when Landry was down there, he created those type of schemes and didn't use the fullback as that point of attack guy. But defensively every week that is definitely one of the questions that we have to answer is, 'What's going on with these fullbacks? Do we want to treat them as a back, do we want to treat them as a tight end, do we want to treat a tight end as a back?' In other words we try to identify what job they mainly do and them treat them as that position because it just fits in to your rules defensively better if you handle it that way. Sometimes it is a hard and a guy like Konrad really is more of what people in the league are looking for because he can do all of the jobs and it is just one guy. So as opposed to putting one guy in when you want to pass and another guy when you want to run and that kind of thing is leave him in there all the time and do what you want to do.

Q: Does that put more pressure on assignment wise on a guy like (Chris) Slade to read the play more?

B: Yes the linebackers, you have to be concerned about the guy blocking you and being a good physical blocker and you also have to worry about covering him because he is elusive and can get out in the passing game. But again Miami's roles this week are kind of unique because Konrad is a good blocker but he is also a good receiver, Hunter Goodwin is really a blocker. His background is on the offensive line and I don't think he has caught a pass all year. So he is definitely in the running game as a primary game and in the passing as a more of a secondary type receiver and yes it is one of the reasons why the Dolphins have run the ball so much this year they have a real good blocking tight end and they have a good blocking fullback. So you know that is the strength of their team, Lamar Smith is having a good year so they feature that.

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            **Q: It is going to be cold Sunday do you think that is a cliché that teams coming from warm weather to this weather effects their play?**  

B: I think it can. I think it varies from team to team a little bit, but sure I think it can and certainly we have had a lot more exposure to this type of weather just like when we played them in September they had more exposure to the heat and humidity than we did, but I think that's as much as an advantage as you want to make it psychologically.

Q: Is it psychological a little more than physical?

B: Yes I think Denver is the same deal you know the thin air. It is a big a thing as you want to make it and I think it is really how the team that is going into the condition they are unfamiliar with how well they handle it. I have seen some warm weather teams go into cold weather and just be totally psyched out by it and then there have been others that it doesn't seem to bother them you wouldn't know which was the cold weather team and which was the warm weather team. When it is all said and you are better off having a good football team rather than the weather conditions and that is one of the big things that we tried to emphasize in Buffalo last week or even down in Miami when we played them when the situation was kind of reversed. Our biggest opponent was Miami, last week our opponent was Buffalo it wasn't weather and we all saw at the end of the game how actually both teams were able to throw it and it didn't look like that was going to be the case early in the game or as the game was going along, but both teams had it in their mind that they could throw and the quarterbacks threw it and the receivers caught it. We threw better in that snow then we threw sometimes when it was 60 degrees.

Q: When Lamar Smith was cut were you interested in him?

B: We did a little work on all of those guys, but we didn't have a lot of opportunities and I think the opportunity for him was probably better for him at Miami at that point.

Q: (Jermaine) Wiggins seems to be doing well?

B: He has caught the ball real well for us. In three weeks he has caught I don't know whatever it is eleven or twelve passes and I think that is the kind of production as I have been talking about through the year that we needed at that tight end position, especially with the weather as it gets tougher to throw outside throw the tight ends and the backs and your inside receivers have to be able to balance up your offense and he has done a good job.

Q: Do you expect he will be a starter? Blocking, receiving every down tight end?

B: I don't know I think he is probably going to fit more into a role type of player, but he is still young and if he can keep developing than maybe he could challenge for it, but I would say that it is probably more likely that he would be a role player as opposed to a featured guy, but I wouldn't want to count him out he has surprised a lot of people so far and sometimes those guys just keep going.

Q: Has this week been a little extra challenging to keep the guys focused given the events this week, the holidays, and coming off what could be considered an emotional win last week?

B: Well I think it was definitely an emotional win. We tried to address most of those things early in the week and we had our team meeting on Monday we talked about some things that will be taking place at the end of the week to get them out of the way to address them to put them behind us and the other stuff basically occurred on Monday and Tuesday and so what has happened this week for the most part some of it intentional and some of it was unintentional it just came up that way. This whole week was designed to take all of the things that weren't directly pertinent to the Miami game and deal with them at the beginning of the week so that from there on it would be all focused on Miami and that is pretty much the way the week has gone. In the meetings this morning I think the player have prepared for the game and know Miami's tendencies, they have studied the film, they did a good job on their reports. They definitely put some time into the game, I am not going to sit here and say how well we are going to play or not going to play, you never know that for sure, but there definitely has been some work done and preparation you can see it on the practice field. We knew there would be some things coming up this week and we tried to deal with them on Monday and not have a lot of questions is guys minds on Friday and Saturday, 'What about this, what about that.'

Q: Is Ty (Law) in town attending meetings?

B: No he hasn't been here. I don't know where he is.

Q: Is that the normal procedure when you suspend a player are they allowed to be at the facility?

B: Well I don't know if there are any general rules. Each case is separate.

Q: Will he be here on Sunday, is he allowed to go to the stadium Sunday?

B: I would really rather not get into, but he is not here, he is not here and he is not going to play in the game. I don't think you are going to find him.

Q: Are the other two going to play?

B: Which two guys are those?

Q: (Terry) Glenn and (Troy) Brown?

B: Sure.

Q: Looking ahead to next year is there anything that you will definitely change?

B: I think that there is a definite list of things that we want to take a look at strongly in the offseason and talk about and try to find some way to improve them or address them or maybe change them whatever it is. There are some thins that I am pretty sure are going to be different next year, but again I don't think right now is the time to, the changes that we have made through the course of the year, we have made many of those, have been more gradual and more things that have to relate to what our previous background is so it is a building block effect. Going forward into a new year it is easy to, not easy but I mean if you want to make a change you just start from scratch and erase what is on the board and put up something new. I am sure there will be some of that, yes I don't think there is any question about it.

Q:

B: Well sure there are plenty of those sure. Anytime you change something in week ten and you see well this is the way to go for your team, we have tried it another way and this hasn't worked out the way that we hoped it will so we are going to have to modify it and go in a little bit different direction, yes you wish you hadn't spent two weeks or ten weeks or however long it was trying to do something that now it is pretty evident that we are not going to be able to do this very well, we need to take a different course. If I knew that was the way it was going to come out I never would have done it that way in the first place.

Q: Is that a reflection of what your vision of this team was in the beginning of the year and now I don't have that team?

B: To me it is pretty much like that every year. I can't think of a year where that hasn't happened one way or another it is just in degrees. Going back to the Giants teams in the eighties where you have the same team every year, year after year after year after year, I mean that was a little bit of a different story. I am saying in the last ten year where there is always some kind of transition on your team and you make modifications through the year and that is just part of it and then the next year you start at a level that you are more comfortable with because of the way that the year went. I mean 1996 is a good example. We made a lot of changes in 1996, especially on defense both in scheme and a little bit in personnel with Lawyer (Milloy) and Tedy (Bruschi) and some of those guys coming into the lineup, but we changed our scheme quite a bit. I think we started the year in 1996 playing a lot of five defensive backs and we ended up the year on third down situations we played five defensive backs, four linemen and two linebackers and I think we ended up the year playing a lot of three linemen or two linemen, one linebacker and seven defensive backs. Or we only had two linemen in the game or one linemen, (Willie) McGinest and (Chris) Slade were the ends, Bruschi was another rusher and then we played seven defensive backs. So we had one linemen, three linebackers and seven db's out there and I am saying that because I just happened to be looking at the Pittsburgh game from 1996 when Chan Gailey was the coordinator at Pittsburgh we played them out here in the playoffs. There is always transition even in good years, or regardless of what your record is. It seems like there is always some sort of transition that as you find what the most comfortable way for your team to play is and sometimes it is the way the opponents line up too that you end up becoming a little bit more in one direction or another based on what you are seeing.

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            **Q: You just said you looked at a tape when Chan Gailey was the coordinator have you gone back and looked at a couple of games?**  

B: I would say all of the game we played against him yes. Like looking at last year's games when I was with the Jets we played them him Dallas and the Patriots also played him when he was at Dallas last year, I mean Dallas played the Jets and the Patriots last year. We have looked at both games, saw the Pittsburgh game a lot of those gameplans there are things that carryover. Maybe not the exact same play from the same formation, but a certain philosophy, a certain strategy is the type of thing that they tried to attack us with. You always are looking for common opponents. Buffalo is a good game for us to watch because they play a similar style of defense, the Jets of course there are some similarities with what the Jets do defensively and what we do so those are good games to watch.

Q: How far back did you go, 1996 seems almost like ancient history?

B: I don't think there is a lot that of things that the players would really be able to relate to but for the guy that is running the offense, who is calling the plays, who's offense and who's philosophy it is I think you start to see a kind of pattern. I am not saying a real strong pattern, but sometimes it just reconfirms things that you see. I am trying to think of an example, teams that you play over and over and over again like again going back to the Giants and the Redskins when we played Joe Gibbs and the Redskins twice a year every year for I don't know how many years seven, eight, nine years you have more information then you could possibly use. I mean there were notebooks and notebooks this was before the compute age where you have to keep all of that stuff on paper. You just have notebooks and notebooks and notebooks of not only your games, but all of the games that you broke down prior to playing them. So you play the Redskins twice a year we watched twelve games on them every year. I mean twelve and have all of the information broken down and on paper. I can remember going back and , 'Okay let's look at the last eight times we played the Redskins and what they do against us. Well they ran a reverse against us in every game, well we are probably going to get a reverse this week.' Now we don't know who it is going to or they might change the formation, but somewhere along the line we are going to get that play because they are obviously trying to slow down our pursuit. That is the kind of general thing I am talking about when you try to track a team like that historically.

Q: Playoffs seem more confused than ever this year, in your opinion who do you think will rise to the top in the AFC?

B: It seems like we say that every year. It comes down to the last week and there are a bunch of teams in contention and the ones that are in have lost four or five games and you can find some kind of chink in their armor. I don't know honestly I am looking forward to seeing some of the teams play that we haven't seen, teams like Oakland, Baltimore, Tennessee. It looked like they are some of the best teams in the AFC and we really haven't seen much of them. This division is pretty tight obviously coming down to the last week. All three of those teams are right in it and they all have a very different style of play. Miami's style offensively is dramatically different to the Colts and the same thing would be true on defense. I am interested to see how some of the other teams that we haven't played what they are doing and get a chance to look at them. It is still pretty competitive in this division which that doesn't surprise me at all.

Q: With next years opponents pretty much set in stone will you start gathering film on all of those teams as soon as this thing is over?

B: I think we will definitely start the process. Going into the offseason you certainly want to be aware of who your future opponents are and not just from an X's and O's standpoint, but also how they managing the team, what changes they are making and how those changes would effect you. Whether it be in free agency, or drafting, or whatever the case may be. So we certainly become more familiar with, and I couldn't tell you who any of those teams are right now, but we will become more familiar with the NFC West when this season is over then we are right now where most of our focus has been on the NFC Central. That obviously is going to have to be a big priority for us next year. One of the most disappointing things this season was the was we performed against the NFC Central. When you lose those games that's not good.

Q: Have you found in your experience getting up for those inter-conference games is tougher, it seems every year this team has a let down on the road against one of those teams, St. Louis when they were 4-12, Philadelphia when they were 4-12, this year it was Chicago, that is kind of a pattern I guess?

B: I don't know about the previous years, but this year you certainly can deny it we didn't play well on the road in either game Chicago or Detroit for 60 minutes and even though we played Minnesota and Tampa Bay pretty tough at home we still lost both of those games. So certainly one of the targets for next year is going to be to do better in the NFC games then we did this year.

Q: Is it tough to get the players up for that game maybe because it is not a conference game, it is not a rivalry game?

B: I don't think that should be the problem and I think of those four games we didn't play well in Chicago and that probably was our poorest game of the year. The Detroit game I thought we played hard and we played a good football team on Thanksgiving, we played hard and we lost control of the game in the third quarter. We played hard against Minnesota and Tampa early in the year and we just didn't win, but I don't think it was any lack of effort or not trying to play as hard against them as we did against the Jets the week before or the week after that those games were bracketed around. Chicago that was a different story, that game we didn't perform at the level we did in the other three, but going back to the original question I am not saying that we don't care about NFC Central, but that is now in the past and we will put a lot more attention and direction on the NFC West then what we will in the other two NFC divisions. Whatever team it is that we don't play in the NFC West whoever that is it will still be good for us to build a familiarity with that team because we will see them against all of the other ones so it will be good to know kind of what they are doing and how those teams are playing them because just the more you can see what that fifth team is doing then it will help you understand the other four teams.

Q: Are you going to talk to us next week?

B: I am not planning on being around. Are you planning on being around?

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