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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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



            **B:** I think everybody has gotten the injury report there is not a lot there. We signed Chuck Osborne a defensive tackle to fill in the 53rd roster spot. We were only at 52 so there is no other transaction there. That is about where we are on that part of it. Looking at Buffalo I think this game there are a lot of parallels here looking at the Bills for the way we saw Chicago last week. Chicago came up to us after a disappointing loss against Green Bay Sunday night and they bounced back with obviously a real strong effort. I know Buffalo is disappointed in the way things turned out Monday night at Indianapolis, but they have a lot of veterans on their team and I would expect them to respond in a similar way to how we saw Chicago respond last week. So I think that this will be a real good test for us playing on the road in Buffalo at this time of year against a team that is I am sure trying to atone for last week's result against the Colts and I think they will be tough. Defensively they have got a real solid club. The interior guys (Marcellus) Wiley, (Ted) Washington, (Nathaniel) Williams, (Phil) Hansen are still a pretty potent group and they did a real good job against the Colts with the run and pass. The Colts had a hard time moving it against them. Offensively we have seen both quarterbacks and obviously we will have to be ready for both of them which we would be anyway. So whichever one starts will have to be ready for the other guy, but we have seen a lot of both of those players this year so it will make the preparations a little more difficult, but certainly plenty of film to evaluate. They probably won't play both guys.  

Q: Is it possible that your defense is too complicated for your players in terms of miscommunication and missed assignments and people not being where they are supposed to be?

B: We have cut things down a lot from the beginning of the year. We are just at a fraction of what we were trying to run earlier in the year. We tried to do some things that, just evaluating it, that just wasn't our style at this point so we have cut our system back to just a fraction of what it was say in the first eight games of the year. We are doing a lot less and yes I think that is definitely an issue. You can only do what you can do and if you can't do it then no matter how good it looks on paper or what it sounds like if you can't go out there and execute it on the field then it is probably not worth doing. We have tried to address some of those things and simplify, defensively we have simplified things a lot from, like I said, where they were earlier in the year. Part of that was some of personnel transition, but a lot of it was just a reaction to the efficiency at which we were playing it.

Q: So is the fact that you had to cut back rather drastically is that because veterans aren't adjusting to it or just the new and different personnel aren't adjusting to it?

B: Well when you go out on the field it takes eleven people to play defense so it doesn't really make any difference who they are or how many there are if it is one, or if it is two, or if it is nine essentially you have got the same problem if you can't do it you can't do it. So it doesn't really matter and it has been kind of a combination of all three units. It has been a combination of people linemen, linebackers, defensive backs that we don't think that is really our strength right now to make a lot of adjustments and do a lot of different things on defense so we tried to stop doing that. We tried to simplify the scheme so we can be more aggressive and not have to worry about making adjustments and just worry about dealing with the guys in front of us that we have to deal with.

Q: You have been coaching for twenty some years in this league, you've dealt with hundreds of players you know how to implement a defense as well as anybody are you surprised or taken aback by the lack of ability to do what you originally set out to do here with the defense?

B: Each team is different, each group of players is different even if you coach the same team there is going to be a little bit different chemistry and a different group of people on the field each year to some degree and again you have to do what you can do. Some teams have strengths that other teams don't have and vice versa. I think you have to try to find out what your strengths are or as importantly what your weaknesses are and try to stay away from your weaknesses and try to play on your strengths. That's been a process, but that's what we've tried to do.

Q: Is this defense a lot different than the one that was here in 1996? Is it a lot more complicated than that one?

B: It is not now, it certainly isn't now.

Q: Is the problem physical or is it mental?

B: Yes it takes eleven people to play defense and those eleven people all have to be coordinated and play a team defensive system. It is a combination of everybody understanding what to do and also communicating with their teammates the different adjustments. You always are going to have to make adjustments on defense because the offense presents different formations and motion and things like that that you just can't lock them into one set every time it, it just doesn't happen. We have to be able to communicate and function as a unit and again I don't think that has been our strength.

Q: Is it tougher to maybe sell it to some guys, individual players what you are asking them to do?

B: No I don't think it is the selling of it, it is the execution of it, it's doing it. We have struggled with it throughout the year and making really necessary adjustments because each week you have to make some adjustments because of what the opponent is doing, making the necessary adjustments and getting everybody in the proper position just to be able to play. I am not talking about making a lot of adjustments after the snap I am talking about before the snap just to get where you are supposed to be. It has been frustrating.

Q: How much of a problem has it been added to that that you haven't been able to put pressure on the quarterback?

B: They are all problems, they are all problems. Pressure on the quarterback hides a lot of things. You look at a lot of teams that have pressure on the quarterback and you find plenty of receivers open they just can't get them the ball. The best way to stop the passing game is to be on the quarterback and disrupt his timing and be on the quarterback before he really has a chance to throw. But yes no doubt that has added to the problem.

Q: Have you given Eric Mangini the duty of coordinator, or the responsibilities of coordinator?

B: Eric and I spend a lot of time together. I mean I spend time with the defensive coaches. He makes some adjustments on the sidelines, does some things in the meetings so, but I still work with those players too.

Q: Does he devise the gameplan for the defense?

B: We talk about it.

Q: Together?

B: Yes we talk about it. It doesn't take long believe me. We don't do a lot, we haven't done a lot lately.

Q: Is there a solution short-term, long-term what is the solution to this?

B: I think you do what you can do. I don't think necessarily doing a lot of things is the answer or not doing very many things is the answer. You do what you can do. You find the strengths of your team and you try to play into them. You understand the weaknesses and try to stay away from them. I think that is the way it is always going to be. Not every team is the same. When you get into a period of transition then you can maybe try to transition the team toward the direction you want to head with it when it is in the off-season or whatever it is, but once your team is in place it is pretty much in place. I mean you have to do what you can do.



            **Q: In Chicago there seemed to be a lot of yelling between the players and the coaches and a couple of animated special teams players does that seem any worse than usual?**  

B: I wasn't really aware of it, I don't know exactly what you are referring to. I mean there are always things on the sidelines.

Q: But between players there seemed to be a lot of animated…

B: I certainly didn't picture it any differently than pretty much any other game there is nothing that stood out to me.

Q: The problems with the adjustments is it that guys are not getting the calls, guys are not making the calls that need to be made on defense is that all of the above?

B: Communication on the calls, yes and doing it quickly enough so that everybody knows what to do in plenty of time so they can do it. Sometimes the worse thing you can do on defense is try to do something late then nobody gets it. Some guys are doing one thing, somebody is doing something else, it is always better to be definitive even if you are wrong. Even if it is the wrong adjustment it is better to do it decisively and definitively so that everybody is playing that adjustment whatever it is even if it is the wrong one rather than to be caught in-between two things.

Q: So the calls are coming too late from the sideline or are they getting there on time…

B: Pretty much any defense you have at some point it has to be adjusted against what the offense is doing. We can't control what formation they come out in, we can't control who goes in motion, and we can't control if they shift. If those things happen then somebody has to move on your defense I mean they can't all stand in one place and then they all shift over to the other side and then all your guys stand there and nobody moves I mean you can't play defense like that.

Q: You are saying by definition the call is late because you are waiting to see what offense…

B: By definition you have to adjust your defense based on how the offense comes out.

Q: But that is done on the field, that's not done from the sidelines?

B: Yes it is all done on the field. I mean you give a certain call into the defense, but you don't know whether they are going to come out with no backs in the backfield, two backs in the backfield, shift, motion, slot, tight end they could be anywhere. They can do whatever they want to do that's what offenses do. So within that call then you have to make some type of adjustment when those things happen depending on what the defense is, depending on what the formation is and you have to recognize it, you have to communicate it as a group. Everybody has to understand what it is and play it. I mean there are some defenses that adjust more that others. There are some that don't adjust very much and frankly we are trying to play more of those and fewer of the ones that have more adjustments with it.

Q: By playing simpler you really haven't played much better it seems, so does that mean…

B: That's a matter of opinion.

Q: Right I guess I was asking your opinion?

B: When you have a problem, as a coach, a lot of times whether it is offense, defense whatever it is, a lot of times you just push the problem. Sometimes you can't really solve it you just push it from one spot to another so that you can deal with it. You know where the problem is and then you deal with it from there. So you have eleven guys on defense you can push the problem inside, you can push it outside, you can play zone and have more passes caught in front of you, you can play man and have the potential of having more plays get hit behind you. I mean you can push the problem wherever you want so if you want to take away big plays on defense you can play a lot of soft zone, you can drop everybody back and that will take care of your big plays basically. So if that is what you want to do that's what you do, but now you have pushed it to another problem. You haven't really solved anything, but you have pushed the problem from giving up big plays, you have taken the big plays away but now you have another issue to deal with. That's really pretty much what every team tries to do is you try to avoid your weaknesses from being exposed, you then push the problem to somewhere you feel comfortable, as comfortable as you can be that you can deal with and that is how you try to manage it. It is not perfect, but that's how you try to manage it. Defensively we are just trying to push the problem to where we feel it is less of a liability than somewhere else.

Q: Based on what they have done this season against a team like the Bears who has had very limited big play capabilities and isn't a team that throws the ball deep and your defensive backs seemed to be able to come up and play tighter the slant patterns and the things over the middle why is Eddie Kennison able to catch eight passes?

B: Shouldn't, shouldn't.

Q: And if he got knocked on his butt he probably wouldn't have come through the middle as readily the next time?

B: Yes, well it goes without saying that the Bears weren't defended very well by us. I am not going to sit here and say that they were because they weren't.

Q: Should these problems exist fourteen weeks in? Don't you feel like you should be further along?

B: I'd like to be but we are not so I am not sure that, like I said I think it is a management issue. We have had to manage it all year and we are going to have to continue to manage it. I mean realistically I don't think in the last two games of the year that we are going to have fifteen sacks, I hope we do and we will try to scheme it so that we can, but I am just saying realistically I doubt that in two weeks that you are going to see that, I would be surprised.

Q: Your expectations had to be pretty high with a defense that has been together for awhile with pro bowl players, high priced players you had to think when you took the job that this was going to be the strength of this team?

B: Obviously I don't think that this team has played up to the expectations that we've had or that anybody else has had this year. I didn't expect to be 4-10 right now, but I don't think anybody else did either, but that's where we are and we're trying to continue to address the problems that we have had to make it better. That is all I can tell you.

Q: Personally is this difficult as you are driving home or as you are watching TV and say, 'It really stung' do you find it, for a lack of a better word, humbling?

B: No I mean I try to be analytical, look I think the coaching staff has put in the same amount of preparation time and hours that I have been used to. I think the players have also put in the same amount of preparation and film study and that kind of thing that I have seen on other teams and I have been on some decent teams and coached some decent teams and decent defense, but we still lack the consistency to be able to do it on a sustained basis either through the year or through a game. I think there are plenty of examples of good football in pretty much every game, but it has come up short too many times and that is disappointing.

Q: I heard you say on the radio the other day that Klemm is still projected as a left tackle I think you mentioned some other guys that started at left guard and then moved to left tackle is that a normal progression and is that still what you see from him?

B: What I meant, I can't remember exactly how it was put, but all I am saying is that even though he is playing left guard, he played left guard this week and last week and he will probably play left guard again this week, he is out there because he can't play left tackle. Some players come into the league as tackles and get moved into guard, in fact quite a few of them do in Klemm's case he is playing guard because right now we need him at guard. Could he play left tackle in this league? I think he could and I was just citing examples of other players who have played guard early in their career who later went on to play tackle in a similar circumstance where they were playing on a team where they had another left tackle at that point in time they moved him inside. That is what I was trying to refer to.

Q: So you still see him as a tackle?

B: I think he has the ability to play tackle in this league, yes. I think he also probably has the ability to play guard in this league too, but we will know more about that in the next two weeks how he does in there.

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