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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcrip - 8/20/2003

Belichick: Ted just has a wealth of experience and you just can’t substitute it at that position or probably any other one.



I think everybody got the transactions today. We released five players and acquired Ted Washington in a trade. We all know what Ted has done in the league. He is really a prototype nose tackle in terms of his size and playing ability. I think that should be a good addition for us. I certainly don't feel like that is any kind of negative commentary on any of our players. I think they have played well in preseason and are improving at the position. Ted just has a wealth of experience and you just can't substitute it at that position or probably any other one. We wanted to work a little bit with the noise out here today just to prepare ourselves for that situation home and away. In all, I think we're close to… it's a short week, but a good week of work against Philadelphia. As I said earlier in the week, this is a real good football team. Certainly one of he best teams in the league the last couple of years and I am sure they will be right on that track again this year.

**Q: Were you looking for help in the nose tackle position or did he become available or are you always looking for help at every position?

BB:** I think anytime you look at a player like that, you find a place where he can help you. It's our style of defense. I think he fits it and Ted is a guy that we have a long history with in this division. I coached Ted in the Pro Bowl after the 1998 season. It is just one of those things that came together.

**Q: Could you just take a minute to assess your running back situation between Antowain [Smith] and Kevin [Faulk]?

BB:** I think both players have had good camps. We didn't really have the ball too much last week against Washington. I would like to see both of them get a chance to carry it more. Hopefully we get more of an opportunity against Philadelphia. I think they both have had good camps and have been productive. They've both had good production in the past. We will just let them keep competing and see how it plays out.

**Q: Has Kevin shown you anymore this year? It's not Antowain's job to lose, is it still up for grabs or not?

BB:** Well, Kevin had a very productive year last year, running the ball, catching the ball and returning kicks. We are going to give him an opportunity to show what he can do this year. We have done that so far this year in the preseason and we will keep doing it.

**Q: Had you talked to Chicago earlier in camp at all or this just happen in the last couple of days?

BB:** I talked to them even as early as last spring. They had some depth at that position. Sometimes those kinds of things come together and sometimes they don't and this is one that finally the knot was tied in the last 48 hours.

**Q: What does this do for your run defense, hopefully?

BB:** Ted has a lot of experience playing that position. I think that he brings a good level of experience and technique and girth to the spot. I think that should help us when they are running the ball inside.

**Q: How much did he affect [Rosevelt] Colvin's success that year that they played together?

BB:** Well, Ted went to the Pro Bowl that year. I think he had a pretty good year. Ted is a guy that has been productive, both in terms of making tackles but also in keeping people off of the linebackers and I know that from talking to linebackers that have played with him and just watching him play on film, he keeps some people off of him.

**Q: I remember that a guy like Sam Cowart really played off of him well. Is that what you are looking to do?

BB:** I think if you talk to any linebackers that have played behind Ted, they probably have a positive reaction to him.

**Q: How have some other guys changed on defense?

BB:** I don't see too many changes there. We will just have to see how the playing times and all of that breaks up. Ted hasn't been out here, so we will see how the whole thing fits together. But, I am sure that he will be able to help us. I think the other players have played well and I think that they will help us too. We will just have to see how that all works.

**Q: Does he free you up to try a lot of different things?

BB:** It might work out that way, but he is coming in to play the nose. It is the position that he has played in the past and played it well for over a decade. Hopefully he can keep doing it.

**Q: Will Jarvis [Green] still work at nose tackle?

BB:** I think it gives us a little bit of depth now with our defensive line. We will have to see exactly [how] all that adjusts out. It's good. I think we have created some depth for ourselves. We've had several guys playing that position and we know that they can also play in because they have done that in the past. In some cases, I think we have created more depth and more versatility for ourselves on the defensive line.

**Q: Are you satisfied with his health?

BB:** He will have to come in and pass the physical. That's standard procedure for any player.

**Q: He was practicing out there [in Chicago]?

BB:** Yes.

**Q: And he played in their preseason games?

BB:** Both preseason games, right.

**Q: Is he the biggest guy you ever had at tackle?

BB:** When I have coached there, yes.

**Q: What is Bethel Johnson's status?

BB:** Bethel's leg tightened up on him a little bit the other day in practice. It's day-to-day.

**Q: So he will not play on Friday?

BB:** He is day-to-day. He didn't practice today. We will see how he is tomorrow. Then we will see how he is on Friday.

**Q: Has Antwoine Womack had another set back?

BB:** Antwoine came out yesterday. His leg tightened up on him a little bit too. He is going to need a little bit more time. We'll just have to keep evaluating him. He tried to come back yesterday and then wasn't able to finish.

**Q: In terms of letting Daniel Pope go, how much does holding on field goal's count?

BB:** Well, Daniel is a good holder. He was a good holder. I thought he did a good job for us. In the end, it was a close call. I think both players performed well. We made a decision. We felt like the last two preseason games were needed for Kenny [Walter] to get his timing down with both Adam [Vinatieri] on the placements and also with Lonie [Paxton] and get a feeling with Larry [Izzo] on the punt protection. We just thought that we needed to get some consistency on the reps with our specialists. We would have made that decision no matter who the punter was.

**Q: When Ken and Daniel worked out when you brought them in, was it pretty close between the two guys?

BB:** I think that Dan is going to punt in the league. I really do. I think he's got a good leg. He's got good hands. He is a solid player. I think he has enough talent to play in the league.

**Q: Is there any advantage or disadvantage to playing them early in the preseason and again in the regular season? Does that matter at all?

BB:** Sure, I think it matters. When you don't play them, you just go out there and play the game and do what you want to do and you don't worry too much about it. When you play them again, you have to take a little closer look at what you want to do later on and how much you are really showing or not showing and setting it up. I don't want to over-analyze that because playing the game is more important than setting up strategy for the next time. I think it does come into play.

**Q: Do teams try to trick each other by purposely not showing too much?

BB:** I think you have to balance it. If that is all you had to worry about probably the answer would be yes. But you are trying to balance it with looking at your players and trying to make personnel decisions. You want them to be able to go out and run the things that they are comfortable doing, not things they haven't practiced otherwise it's hard to evaluate whether they are making progress or whether they can perform in your system. It's really a combination of both. If you have some trick play or some special thing that you think would really match up well against them. I don't think you necessarily want to put it out there in the third preseason game and then try to come back to it a couple of weeks later after they have had a good look at it.

**Q: Where do you put Adam Vinatieri in your 30 years of football in kicking and the moments that he has had and what he has meant to you as a coach?

BB:** I think you have got to put him right up there. He is pretty good. I am assuming you are excluding last week's game. He has been consistent and he has made some big kicks. That is the name of the game and that is what that position is all about. He has done it and nobody can deny it and you can't take it away from him. He has performed well under pressure and that is really the mark of a player at that spot.

**Q: As a coach, there is always a comfort level with players. With him, is it like money in the bank with him? How you do view him when you come to a period on the field where, 'Do I go for it or do I kick it?'

BB:** I think it depends on the situation. If we are in a situation that is in his range and it's a make-able kick, we will have as high a level of confidence as we can have in him making him. Everybody has their limits, Adam included. I think we just have to be realistic about that.

**Q: You talked about a need to work on reps, with the punter Ken Walter, what else do you think he needs to work on? What does he bring to the Patriots?

BB:** Kenny has been a good net punter in terms of his hang time and relatively low yardage on returns and his overall ball handling. That is kind of the punter that he is. He is not going to lead the league in gross and average 48-yards a punt. But in terms of net punting after the returns and the fair catches for the most part he has done pretty well in that phase of it. What we really need to work on with the specialist, the snappers, the holders, the kickers and the punters, is the consistency, the timing, so that when they go out on the field and kick in the regular season, they are not really thinking about a lot of those things. They are just thinking about executing their job and all of the others, we're as confident in them as we can be. As much as we do that out here in practice, it's not the same as in the game. A few more extra game reps just helps solidify that. That is what we trying to do.

**Q: Going against the Eagles so soon before you play them, you did this with Carolina I think previously and you did it with the Giants I think. Do you show them anything at all? Do you try to send some red herrings out there?

BB:** This is the fourth year of the program. A lot of what we do, everybody has already seen us do. It's not like some of our plays that we run anybody is going to look at say, 'Wow. That is brand new. We've seen that for the last two or three years.' The things that we do, we do. I think if there was going to be something special that you thought was a real good match-up against the team we were playing, I don't know that you would be in a big rush to put it out there in preseason and let them have a look at it. If it was something that was a core part of your system and something that you do and you know you do and they know you do, and it's something that you want to get good at, then I don't see anything wrong with doing it.

**Q: Is this a help or a hindrance playing a team like that? Obviously you know that they are not going to change a bunch of stuff, they have the same coordinators on both sides.

BB:** I think the number of gimmicks in this game would be relatively low just because when your system has been out under pressure for three years, playing against high competition and being in playoff games, you are out there throwing your best stuff on the field. You are not saving it for anything. So if you run it there, then they know about it and I am sure they will prepare for it just like we would.

**Q: Could you just go over again how the Ted Washington deal came down and how he helps your team?

BB:** I had spoken to the Bears as early as last spring. They have some depth at that position and it just really came together in about the 48 hours. Sometimes those things materialize. Sometimes they don't. They get close, but they never happen. That's kind of the way it is at this time of year. This one in the last 48 hours kind of all came together. Ted is a prototype nose tackle. That is what he is. That is what we play. I think it's a good fit in our system. It's no negative commentary on anybody else on our team. I think our players have done a good job and have shown a lot of improvement through camp. I don't have anything negative to say about them. Ted had played the position for over 10 years and he has played it pretty well. So his experience and his level of play just puts him in a little bit different standard.

**Q: Other than his size, how special is he in terms of that position?

BB:** Well, he is a very good technique player. He uses his hands well. He has very good recognition of the blocking schemes. He has played there for so long that he reads and reacts very quickly.

**Q: Just talking to Ty [Warren], he is wondering if you have got shoulder pads big enough for this guy.

BB:** Ted is a big guy. There are a lot of other big players in this league too. Ted is a big guy. I am sure that we will be able to get him out there on the field.

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