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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Sun Sep 26 | 06:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 08-07-2002

BB: A couple of updates for you first of all on the injuries. Basically where we're at we had some guys that we held out this morning that we think might have a shot to go this afternoon basically we're going to re-evaluate things this afternoon there may be some guys that practice that we elect not to play there maybe other guys that will go this afternoon that will be able to play. What I really just wanted to do was to get through today's practice see where everybody is this afternoon and make some decisions tonight on what we think is going to happen, what their availability will be during the game and therefore how much we want to practice them tomorrow so that the groups will be familiar with guys they are playing with out there. All day-to-day guys are still day-to-day whether they are out there or not. Cameron Cleeland did officially go on the field for the first time this morning so he will start working out there. Charlie (Weis) who has been with us on a daily basis but is not going to make the trip to New York, I think the Offensive coaches have really done a great job in getting things organized and trying to pick up some of the slack and Charlie has made a big contribution when he has been back with us on a daily basis and that's been good but based on what the medical people think, he's just not ready to go to New York. So the offensive coaches will handle the things that they need to during the game , the play calling, the adjustments, the substitutions and so forth and I'm going to just try to stay out of the way. That's the injury situation. You know this is a preseason game where we went through a very similar situation last year even thought the Giants opened with us it's still out first game even though they played Houston, I think a lot of things we did last year those elements are still in place this year we are working off primarily what we saw in New York in the off-season with a little eye towards the Houston game but in looking at that last night I wouldn't say that there are many dramatic differences in the team other than a couple of personnel changes, the guys that aren't playing now that were playing last year and vice-versa, (Jeremy) Shockey for example. This is one where we want to have a little familiarity with what the Giants are doing where we can go out and execute our things but basically what we want to try to do is run the plays that we feel we need to work on and make sure we get out team ready and not be overly concerned with what the Giants are doing just make sure we give everyone a chance and give the players a decent opportunity to execute the plays that we think have legitimate chance to get done.

After being pretty durable for his first three seasons, Ted Johnson, at what point do you incorporate that into your thinking? Do you assume Ted is going to be healthy?

I think we assume he is going to be healthy and Ted's had a good off-season and has looked good out there and hasn't had any problems ill at training camp and last year when he got hurt during the season was really a freak injury you know a guy fell on him it's probably a miracle that his season wasn't over at that point I think that was right before the St. Louis game end of November so I think for the most part I know he missed some time last year but again what happened to him I thought he bounced back really quickly even to be ready to play at the end of the season given what happened in practice. So overall I think for the most part he has been relatively healthy now for the better part of ,other than the beginning last season and the better part of all last season and into training camp. So were not really any more concerned about him than anyone else I think he has gotten over that hump.

How was he playing last year when he went down?

Well I think Ted was making a good move and was really starting to get back on his game he missed some time early in the season and then when he went down before the St. Louis game that set him back 3-4 weeks and by that time we had kind of made the transition there where Teddy comes back inside.

**Q: Do you have some sort of gauge where you are concerned as far as injuries are concerned?It's pretty much like it always is, you are wherever you are today and you look at the situation and make the best of it. If it is, it is. What are you going to do jump off a bridge? If a guy is hurt, he's hurt, there's nothing more important to us than the health of our players, we can't play without a healthy football team, but professional football you can look at any team in the League and somebody is going to have people hurt and that's unfortunately part of the game. You got a lot of big, fast, tough, competitive people running into each other, sometimes something has got to give. If that's the case somebody else has to step up and our trainers have done an excellent job getting people back on the field and I think the players are working hard to get back on the field, I don't think we have anybody that's out for the season and everybody is working hard to get back so when they are able to come back we'll put them back out there when the medical people clear them and we feel its safe for them to be back out on the field, the sooner the better, but if they can't come back out then we have to move on with everyone else who is out there those guys are working hard to take up the slack so it's a team sport and that's what team sports about.

**Q: What are you specifically trying to establish in this preseason game? What players are you particularly looking at?I think we are looking at all the areas. It's our first preseason game, we're looking to establish everything that we can establish as a football team. All of the situational elements, all of the fundamental things, tackling, blocking, running the ball, taking care of it, not turning it over, the kicking game, substitution, play calling, getting assignments right. All of those things are things we've been over, we've rehearsed, and we've gone through. We'll go out there and play and we'll still make mistakes on some of them, and when we see those errors we'll correct them, and maybe there is something that we need to alter slightly to make it a little bit smoother sailing. Basically we're looking to establish a high level on all of those things, and whatever the level is then we'll have to try to build it up from there. It's the same with every individual player. Every player has to go out there and establish his level of performance, and next week come back and look at what areas he can improve in, try to improve on it, and try to raise his level of performance the following week. That's true of every single player. It doesn't matter if the guy is a rookie or a twenty year veteran. Every year is a new year, and every year you have to go out there and establish yourself as a player, as a coach, and as a team. It's the offense, it's the defense, it's the special teams, its everybody.

Q: How long are you going to play your starters?

BB: That's a good question. We've talked a little bit about that. I think its going to vary from player to player. There are some players that will play shorter times than others, and that will vary a little bit by what we think the players requirements are, and also what's going on around him. There are some areas where we are a little thin, for example in the secondary, and there is no question that everybody is going to have to play a little bit more. We just don't have a lot of healthy bodies back there. I think that situation could improve a little bit here in a week or so. Then there are situations where we have more people, for example in the backfield where we want to get a look at multiple people, so therefore we cant play everybody half the game there just aren't enough snaps. So we're going to have to cut that back. I think some players need to play more than other, so we're going to have to manage that on a case by case basis. We haven't really made any final decisions, that will be based on the final injury report tonight where we'll decide which guys are and aren't going to play and then adjust it accordingly.

Q: How is Steve Neal doing?

BB: Well Steve doesn't even look like the same player that he was last year. Which it would even be a stretch to call him a player last year because it was such a big jump for him, a big transition. He is easily the most improved player on the team by I don't know who would even be close, you know he's played one year of football in the last whatever 8 years or however many years its been and he makes a lot of mistakes in there but he's come so far and he's hanging there and he's done a good job and he'll get plenty of playing time this week and he needs to play and needs to get out on the field and play and he's seen a lot of things in practice but its always different in the game but I think that he's certainly earned the opportunity and he is going up against good people with the Giants so we'll get a good opportunity to see him and he'll get a good opportunity to show how much improved.

**Q: Why is he the right guy over (Adrian) Klemm?Well Klemm has been working with the first unit, and he will work with the first unit, we don't really have a first unit right now anyway but someone has got to go out there first. Klemm started out working as Left Tackle then worked at Left Guard when Ruegamer got hurt and we moved Compton from Left Guard to Center and bumped Klemm in there, Woody's been playing Right Guard, but Woody missed practice yesterday afternoon and missed practice this morning then Steve bumped up. So rather than shuffling 4 and 5 people around, moving Klemm from left to right, moving Compton back out to Guard, it was just easier to push Steve up. Now if it was something that was going to be a 2 week situation, 3 week situation, then we might do it differently, I'm not saying that we would, but that's usually when you have a situation that is pretty short term the easiest thing to do is to take the guy behind him and then the other 10 people can stay the same.

**Q: How has Adrian (Klemm) been playing this camp?I thought Adrian made a good adjustment going inside to Guard, it wasn't something that we really weren't looking to do but when the situation came up and Joe (Andruzzi) being out , (Rich) Tylski then Grey (Ruegamer) getting banged up and then having to move Mike (Compton) back into center it was an opportunity for him and I think he's really capitalized on it and jumped on it. He looks a lot more comfortable at Guard than he did when we put him in there his rookie year at the end of the season. He's still got a lot of things to work on but there has been some positive signs in camp here and again this is a good test for our offensive linemen against the front the Giants have we'll see how we play against guys like (Cornelius) Griffin and (Keith) Hamilton and (Michael) Strahan, Kenny Holmes, guys like that it's a good group.

**Q: With his injury do you think that (Adrian) Klemm can return back to his second round status?He doesn't really have any status here because he's never played. He played at the end of his rookie season and then he basically missed almost all of last season, he missed all of training camp and injured his calf about halfway through the season so I'm not really sure what status you mean.

**Q: Is he projected to be able to do what you thought he would be able to do?Initially we brought him in here we played him at left tackle and he's not playing left tackle now, he's playing Left Guard. we're trying to do what's best for him and what's best for the team and in this case there is a opportunity for him to play more at Left Guard than there is at Left Tackle so that's why he's there and I think he's made a pretty good adjustment to it. So whether he'll go back to left tackle or not if that's what you're referring to, I don't know whatever is best for the team that's where we'll be. But I think right now he has a better opportunity at Left Guard and I think that he's started to take the initiative and an aggressive attitude towards that position and he's done a pretty good job with it.

**Q: With the number of changes you've had to do with the Offensive Line will that play a role in how you decide the amount of playing time (Tom) Brady will get?I think in situation we want to try to keep our offensive line with our quarterback and our running back so that Antowain (Smith) can get the feel of running behind the line and the line and the quarterback can get the feel of the protection and the calls and that kind of continuity Ii think that that group will stay fairly in tact now that's not to say that when one comes out they all come out, there may be some subtle switches but I would think that as long as Antowain (Smith) and Tom (Brady) as much as possible we would like to keep them with the first line because that is the group that each other needs to get a feel for the quarterback in the pocket and the runner and the runner and the quarterback need get a little feel for the people in front of them.

**Q: can you talk about the development of Richard Seymour this season?I think Richard (Seymour) is a pretty mature guy coming in here and he's gone through a full season of everything you can go through, training camp, regular season, playoffs, and I'm sure he learned from that year in a lot of different ways in terms of training, off the field preparation the way the game is played on the field in the NFL and he's a pretty smart guy and I'm sure that he's done a good job keeping his ears open and paying attention and listening and I think he's absorbed a lot and I'm sure it's made him a better player and he's picked up an awareness this year of a lot of things I know he didn't have last year cause we talked about it.

**Q: Tom Brady said that you met the other night. Do you meet every night to watch film?Yeah when we're not playing golf, and we sit down and watch some film. We meet at least a minimum of probably three times a day, usually before a meeting either while special teams is going on, just because the quarterback position, there are a lot of things that the quarterback's have to be on top of and it's good to get them a little bit before you get everybody else and prepare them for the things you are going to be going over with the entire team. Even thought it doesn't specifically apply to them, they need to know why in the running game we want to run this play or that play so that they don't run the team into the wrong place, stuff like that. We meet before practice and then usually at some point later on in the evening after everyone has broken up and all the coaches meet individually with their players and we get together. We either meet individually or we meet with the receivers or we meet with the entire offensive team.

**Q: Is that for Rohan (Davey) and Damon (Huard) are they also there or is it just you and Tom (Brady)?There are certainly some things that Tom (Brady) and I will talk about or Damon (Huard) and I or Rohan (Davey) and I, we meet individually at times because there are questions that Rohan has that Tom doesn't have and vice-versa. So there is a time to sit down and talk about those things individually as well there is no question about that but for the majority of the time its done as a unit, all the quarterbacks get the same information. It's just a lot more efficient to do it that way. But Rohan and I talk about as a rookie things he should be doing, Tom and Damon have a lot more experience in and we're just working a little bit different level right now, there are things that Rohan is picking up as a rookie that Tom and Damon have already been through. There are other things that frankly that Damon and Tom understand that I am not sure Rohan even understands yet just because he doesn't have that kind of experience. If we talk about something that the (Pittsburgh) Steelers run or something that the (New York) Jets run or something that the Buffalo (Bills) does up front or coverage or something like that, Tom and Damon can relate to that because they have played against them, they understand that and Rohan just hasn't been through that experience yet. There are different levels of teaching as far as understanding the basic offense and watching film and reading defenses and all that, there's a lot of time spent together on that.

**Q: Has (Adrian) Klemm been spending more time in extra meetings?Well I think one of the things I have referred to is Adrian's versatility and he is involved in a lot of different things. He started off playing Tackle, he plays guard he can also play Tight End is goal line, sort yardage situations, plus his special teams responsibilities kick-off returns, field goal, some offensive lineman don't have that many things to do they play just more of one of the offensive line positions. As a coaching staff what you try to do with guys like that is like on goal line and short yardage you go over the tight-end stuff with him you don't want to waste everyone's time on the offensive line talking to one guy so Jeff Davidson might try to catch him separately and take a half-hour in between practices or whatever it is and try to go over that stuff with him and it's the same with Brad (Seely) a lot of times when we meet on special teams unless were going over something where the lineman are involved like field goal protection as an example, a lot of times if we're going over a unit say kick off return which is mainly made up of the Line Backers, Tight Ends, Running Backs and so forth and occasionally you have an offensive or defensive lineman on that unit but rather than pull them out of an offensive line meeting when they're in there going over offensive line stuff or defensive line stuff sometimes its easier for Brad to grab that guy on the side and catch him up so that the player doesn't fall behind in his main position.

**Q: Is meeting with the Quarterback's this frequently, has this been your norm or is it because your quarterback got injured last season? Is it common for coaches to meet with players that often?As a defensive coordinator I've never met with the quarterbacks.

**Q: As a head coach?As a head coach, I've done both in Cleveland. I met with the quarterbacks for a couple of years and I also worked with the defense more, especially here in 2000, more time on defense as the head coach. I've done both.

**Q: Not to generalize throughout football but is it a common football practice?Bill Walsh did it, Joe Gibbs did it, I don't know what the specific schedule's are but I know a lot of the offensive coaches in the league, who were quarterback coaches, you can go right down the line (Brian) Billick (Dan) Reeves, (Mike) Shanahan. I don't know, I can't tell you exactly what they do but I'm sure at one point they either met with the quarterbacks or now maybe they have a quarterback coach who would do that, we've been in an unusual situation the last two years with our quarterback coaching situation and that's changed, this isn't the way it was planned it's something that Charlie and I thought was the best alternative, I don't think it's really the ideal way to do it.

**Q: Can you talk about Deion Branch and the offense and how his progress is coming along?It's coming along. Deion is coming along. I think he's been able to show some of his skills out there on the field in terms of his quickness and catching the ball he's still got to develop the timing and coordination with the quarterback's and how to read certain patterns and run certain routes so that the timing is there. I think he's worked hard, he's been out there everyday, he hasn't missed any time and so he's worked hard and he's gotten better and I think that if he can continue to stay out there and keep making progress he might have a chance to make some plays for us.

**Q: Have you seen a jump in Tom's (Brady) confidence since last year?The way I would answer that question is I think that a jump between last year and this year has been enormous no question. Between the last game of the season in 2001 and training camp, not as much there hasn't really been a big change for him from that standpoint from the end of the year from January to now, looking back year ago at what he was doing and how he was doing it there's no question. There's not as big a gap as there is as Steve Neal but it's still a pretty big gap from where he was last year and where he is now in training camp in all aspects, his execution, his command of the offense, his overall presence on the field and I think he's done a good job in all those areas. He's worked hard in the off season, he's well prepared for camp, he's in good shape and he's basically ready to go. I think he's kind of picked up where we left off at the end of the season, has worked hard in the off season and has probably moved ahead but not anywhere near to the same degree in comparison to where he was a year ago.

**Q: Does he still kind of carry himself like a 4th string quarterback like I've got something to prove?I think he's a player who's is very realistic, he understands that there are something's that he can do better and work on and Tom works hard to address them, he doesn't just let it go and say I'm not going to worry about it or I do some other things well so these weaknesses aren't really important, I'm just going to ignore them. He does address them and I think that's what a player should do at any position. I wouldn't really say he carries himself like 4th string quarterback , I know what your saying, he's a guy who is on top of his own personal game and is trying to improve it but at the same time he runs the offense when he's in the huddle, he runs the offense when he's its on the field and I think he does a good job of running it, he's not looking to hand that responsibility off to somebody else he knows he's in charge and he's doing it like he is in charge and that's the way it should be.

Q: What role do you see Patrick Pass playing?

BB: Whatever role he can create for himself. Its up to him to go out there and establish a role for himself. Cant go out there and do it for him, hes go out there and run, block, catch, carry out his assignments. If he can do that then I'm sure he can develop a role for himself. If he cant then the other guys will create a role for themselves. Right now Antowain is our number one running back, and until someone beats him out then that's how its going to be. Whatever Patrick can establish for himself then he can establish, if somebody else establishes it then he won't.

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