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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon Sep 28 | 06:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.

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            **B:** We had a couple of roster moves today we placed Joe Andruzzi on injured reserve. He has probably four or six weeks of rehabilitation on his leg to do so he can't play any more this year. We are in the process of signing Antico Dalton up from the practice squad and we added Jeff Paulk who is a fullback who was drafted by the Falcons in 1999 and was with them last year and preseason this year. That fills up our fifth practice squad spot that Antico had. That puts our roster at 52 right now so we have some flexibility there. We are going to have to inactivate people anyway so I am not sure that we will sign a 53rd guy, but that's a possibility. This is a period of time where on your roster, as a coach, a lot of guys that we have been working with, not only in training camp, but after practice during the season, the younger players that you try to bring along in their development as much as you can even though they are not playing now start to factor into your roster. Some of them are new faces on the team like Curtis Jackson and (Grey) Ruegamer, guys like that and other guys are guys that have been here all the way through from the beginning of training camp like our young defensive linemen (Reggie) Grimes, (Dave) Nugent, Garrett Johnson, the receivers, guys like that that as we have some injuries here some of them will have an opportunity to play. They'll be forced into action and hopefully some of the extra work that they have done and that the coaches have spent with them will payoff so that hopefully they will be ready to go. On the offensive line we really only have seven guys that have much experience with us and that includes (Grey) Ruegamer in that seven and Josh Rawlings is probably still a little ways away for us and then we have a couple of guys on the practice squad that have been with us a little bit longer. So we are a little thin on the offensive line there we may add another guy there. As we go through the week we will just have to see how it plays out, but the bottom line is that those offensive linemen, however the combinations work out we are going to have to back ourselves up at several positions just because of the numbers, but hopefully the extra work that we have done with those guys will have them in a position where they are able to play and able to function effectively in the game. You never know whether you are going to get to that point and I know that the younger players as they go through week after week of being inactive, inactive, inactive it has that same feeling, but then all of a sudden that's the way it is in this league it hits and there is the opportunity. Hopefully we will have some guys like Curtis Jackson, (Adrian) Klemm and (J.R.) Redmond earlier in the year and (Patrick) Pass earlier in the year, like they were able to do and capitalize on it. That's about where we are.  

On the Bears, the announcement on Gary (Crowton) today or yesterday whenever it was going to BYU and John (Shoop) taking over the offensive coordinator and play-calling duties puts a little extra strain on the situation in terms of preparation. John has got a good background in the league and comes from a little different background than Gary did in terms of play calling and philosophy. We will certainly have to do a little extra preparation on some things that he has had success with previously because we just don't know how much it will, I am sure basically it will be a lot of similar things that they have been doing, but I am sure that he will integrate some of his ideas into the offense and we will have to take a look at some things there. Then at the quarterback position, regardless of whether (Shane) Matthews or (Cade) McNown starts, we have to be ready for both players. I mean we have seen several times this year when one quarterback starts and another guy is in there a very short amount of time whether it is injury or substitution or whatever it happens to be so the combination of preparing for McNown and Matthews is kind of a tough combination because one guy is left handed and another guy is right handed and that effects the way the plays are run. Then one guy is a little more of a mobile, scrambling type of guy and the other guy is a little more of a pocket quarterback. There is a little more ground to cover from that standpoint too. Overall we have our work cut out for us in terms of preparation with the short week and some changes we have to make on our team and also look at some things that the Bears are doing that stress and stretch our preparation. It is a tough week that way. Don't throw me any bouquets, I don't need flowers and candy, but…

Q: With Andruzzi gone who is your left guard?

B: Well I think similar a little bit to the situation I was just talking about with the Bears, we don't have a lot of guys so we are probably going to have five guys play seven spots and we are going to have to back ourselves up. We are going to have to multipley train a couple of people in different positions and guys are going to have to play two or three spots so we will work that out. The seven guys (Grey) Ruegamer, (Greg) Robinson-Randall, (Grant) Williams, (Sale) Isaiah, (Damien) Woody and (Bruce) Armstrong, those seven guys are going to have to handle it and maybe a couple of different combinations as we go along.

Q: But (Grey) Ruegamer is top of…

B: Certainly he has got to be ready to play that spot no doubt about it.

Q: How did he play last week?

B: It was all right. He is playing with a little cast on his thumb and that hurts his effectiveness with that hand, but…

Q: Is it broken?

B: No it's…

Q: Strained ligaments?

B: Yes.

Q: Jammed?

B: Jammed. But you know he is still able to stay in front of people and blocking and all of that he just can't hold as well, every offensive lineman's number one tool.

Q: Have you had what you consider an extraordinary amount of injuries or is it the usual amount how do you feel about that?

B: I don't know I mean I don't rank them or grade them, whatever you have each week that's what you have. I mean everybody goes through them at one point or another.

Q: But you have had a large number.

B: I think we have eleven guys on injured reserve. Some of those players are from training camp that it is questionable whether they would have made our roster anyway. A lot of the injured reserve moves have been made in the last three or four weeks probably since (Andy) Katzenmoyer, I am trying to think of how many we have had before that, not a lot, including Robert Edwards, there are a couple of guys like that, that are kind of part of that, but since Andy there has been a little string there.

Q: You said coming out of training camp that you were very concerned about the depth of this team, it is kind of coming home to roost hasn't it?

B: Yes and the depth that we have is relatively inexperienced. On the plus side though those guys have had a lot of time to work. Like I have been telling the rookies for a couple of weeks now they are not rookies any more. We are on the eighteenth game counting preseason so that is two college seasons almost. That is a lot of weeks of practice and a lot of meetings and a lot of things, it is not like it is the second regular season game. They don't have a lot of experience, they have had a lot of coaching, a lot of meeting time, a lot of practice reps and we will see how they do now that they get a chance to perform in a game. Some of them should have pretty fresh legs and like I said we got a good lift out of some young guys in the last few weeks and we are going to need to continue to do that. We will see how good a job we have been doing preparing them and how good a job they have done in preparing themselves and being able to take advantage of an opportunity to play.

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            **Q: Is improving the bottom half of your roster as important as improving your starting positions?**  

B: I think it is very important, very important. Every team needs to use all of the assets that it has and all of the players on the roster are important and they all have a role and sooner or later they are all, I would say most of the time, you are going to have to call on them one way or another to perform. Every once in awhile you may get a backup quarterback or a backup lineman that because nobody gets hurt they never have to play, but when they do have to play it becomes critical so that is extremely important. That is an area that I feel like we have really worked hard on to try to improve. In some cases it is hard to improve the top part of your roster, the top five or six guys. I mean there are only so many options you have there in terms of draft choices or free agency or that type of thing. There are not a lot of top players off everybody's team that get let go or that are available one way or another, but the bottom half we are trying to improve that and some guys after you spend a lot of time with them you just realize that it is not going to work out and you need to move on with somebody else. Other guys improve and as you watch more of them you think that there are more things they do that you like and they can find a role for themselves. So that is absolutely critical.

Q: I don't know how closely you look at other teams, but a team like Miami who in the preseason nobody expected to be 10-3 at this point but do you think that has been a factor in their success because they have had Zach Thomas, Tony Martin, O.J. McDuffie some of their key players out, yet they are 10-3?

B: One of the things I think in looking at Miami's roster and I am not really that familiar with them because we haven't seen them since September, but I know looking at their roster back in September they had a lot of young, experienced veterans on their team. Guys that were in the kicking game, their fourth, fifth, sixth receivers they were probably as deep in that position as any team we have faced and I think the fact that they lost a premier quarterback and that also created some opportunities for them in terms of money in the salary cap that they used to go out and put together a team that was very deep in players. Their offense line is another position I know they have a lot of guys hurt there, but there seventh, eighth, ninth linemen guys like that where there are some pretty big names in there some pretty high paid players, some guys with four, five, six years of experience that you know other teams frankly couldn't afford. They created a lot of depth for themselves in a lot of those spots and I am sure that has helped them along the way. It certainly helped them in the kicking game they are very good on special teams. Like I said receiver, offensive line a couple of positions just jump right off at you. Running back is another one they have three or four guys there (Lamar) Smith, Thurman Thomas and (Rob) Konrad they have five or six good backs guys that contribute in the kicking game.

Q: Do you have an update on (Andy) Katzenmoyer, did he have surgery, how is he doing, what is his prognosis?

B: I think the prognosis is good. I talked to him about a week ago. He is finishing up some rehab out of state and I think he will be back here before the end of the season some time around the middle of the month.

Q: Did he have surgery?

B: Yes and the prognosis is good and he should be okay here in a little while, a few weeks.

Q: Of your young players which ones have stuck out, the lineman?

B: Are you talking about offensive or defensive or both?

Q: Both.

B: Well I think on the defensive line probably the younger player that is the furthest ahead is Garrett Johnson and he has had an opportunity to play a little bit more and then Reggie (Grimes) and Dave Nugent behind him at the end spot, but Garrett has a year on them which is a big difference. He was here last year and in the world league and so even though he hasn't played in the NFL he has kind of been in pro football for a year and that year probably gives him a little edge on those guys. On the offensive line, really overall I have been pretty pleased with the whole group. All of those guys the tackles (Adrian) Klemm, (Greg Robinson) Randall, the guards (Grey) Ruegamer lately and (Rob) Gatrell, Adam Davis those guys have come along and I think they have performed to a decent level. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement, but nothing to be discouraged about I would just like to see them move quicker and pick things up quicker. I think that has really been a pretty even race. Guys for one reason or another or Klemm didn't get started until late, Ruegamer didn't get here until late, the other guys like (Josh) Rawlings, Gatrell, and Adam Davis that group of guys I think they are a little further behind right now but in time they may be able to catch up and maybe pass them I don't know. So they have been making good progress they are just starting from a little further back.

Q: Can you talk about the defensive line, has that been a disappointing area for you or is it an area that is emerging?

B: It has been all right there is certainly room for improvement, I have seen worse. It hasn't been as consistent as what it could be. We haven't had as much continuity there as what we really would like to have, but that is the way it goes. We certainly could use more production of the front seven in the pass rush I mean there is no question about that. That includes everybody and part of that has been a function of the pass coverage too. Our consistency on defense, it has been inconsistent, there is no other way to put it. At times it has been good, at times in some games it has been good. It hasn't been consistently good for sixty minutes very often. It hasn't been consistently bad for sixty minutes very often either, but we don't seem to be able to play at a high level for sixty minutes and that's what our goal is.

Q: Has the play been better in the middle than it has been on the ends?

B: I wouldn't say that. At times it has been good in all areas and at times it hasn't. But I mean there has been some transition in all the areas of the defense between middle linebacker, the nose, the defensive end positions, and the outside positions. There has been a little transition all the way through there and it hasn't all been at once one is here and there so I think that is part of it. Then another part of it is at times we just haven't played consistently. I mean even when there hasn't been a transition we just haven't played consistently in the front seven all the way through. It has been a little combination of both.

Q: Have you played more of a four-man line than a three-man line?

B: I mean it depends on how you want to count the players, what you want to count them as. I would say that some of our defensive linemen like (Willie) McGinest and (Greg) Spires in particular, have at times had linebacker responsibilities, whether you want to call them linebackers or defensive linemen on those plays or not it is just a matter of semantics, but you know who the starting lineups have been so.

Q: Have you been disappointed with (Willie) McGinest's in particular ability or lack of ability to disrupt offenses?

B: I think that the overall consistency of our pass rush on the front seven is less than what I would like for it to be. Willie has had some disruptive games. He's had some productive games. I think that he is at less than 100 percent and I think that is a little bit of a factor too. Then given the fact of what the rest of our defensive line situation is to a certain extent I think teams are definitely aware of his presence and they are more affected by that then maybe some other people. So it is maybe a combination of two or three things there.

Q: Some guys like the Reggie White's and the Lawrence Taylor's of the world many people would concentrate on them yet they remained a force and still were disruptive, what does that say in terms of his game?

B: Like I said at times I think he has been at other times the production hasn't been as high, like I said I think there is a number of reasons for that. One is the scheme, two is the attention that he gets and three some of it has been a little bit of an injury factor. I mean I will say this about Willie, I think Willie has good talent, I think Willie works hard and plays hard. I think he has a good temperament and a good attitude about the game. I like coaching him and I think he is good for our football team. There are very few things that he does as a person or a player that as a coach that you are really dissatisfied with.

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