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

to read the full transcript, click below.



BB: No major announcements today.

Q: Do you believe that training camp has a rhythm that you can tell how a team's operating for a head coach? Is there a rhythm to this year's camp that's a little bit different than last year for you personally?

BB: Well there was no rhythm last year; not much. I think that is the case. I think we kind of hit a groove, we've got a routine and we've been able to stay on the routine pretty much for the last 2 ½ weeks. I think there's something to be said for that, sometimes that gets a little stale though and you need to break up the routine so there's a balance there. I think everybody kind of knows what to expect and what we're going to do on a fairly regular basis and pace themselves accordingly.

Q: With the Terry Glenn incident and Katzenmoyer leaving, it took up a lot of your time last year in terms of dealing with that. Now you're not dealing with any of that kind of stuff. Is that a relief?

BB: No I'm coaching the quarterback's. That been an even bigger time commitment and a daily time commitment.

Q: In terms of quarterback leadership, are they born or are the created through competition at that position?

BB: I think that most of those leadership traits are there when the players arrive. Now, they might not show it the first year when the guy is a rookie and is trying to get his feet on the ground and all that but once they know what to do and once they're in there I think those things show up. Not saying they can 't be developed and improved I think they definitely can and I think with a player like Vinny (Testaverde) is someone who I saw really improve his leadership and his command and presence on the field from say '93 to '99. You certainly can improve, we all can. A lot of those qualities are already there when the player gets there it's similar when a player has got speed, if he's fast when he comes in, he's fast.

Q: Do you detect when a team responds to a particular player? Do you pay attention to whether or not the guys seem to be buying into what the quarterback is doing?

BB: Well I think that's an important part of the quarterback's job. I think it's definitely an important part – the communication, the leadership, just the command and presence on the field both on the practice field and game field, there's no question I think that's a significant part of his job and there isn't really anybody else that can do it on offense, it's not that you can't have leaders on offense but somebody has got to control the huddle and somebody has got to call the plays and all those things and that's also part of the middle line backer's job and the Safety's job on defense so it does transfer it over to that side of the field as well. Tom [Brady] is, I think I've said from the beginning, when he was here as a rookie, he showed those qualities maybe not with the first team because he didn't play with them much but whatever group he was with whether it was the scout team or the rookie group which was a large group that year we had 26 players or whatever it was, you could see some of those qualities come out the first year.

Q: There seems to be a lot of yappering going on between Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy against (Tom) Brady. Is that a gesture of the fact of how much they respect him? How do you explain that?

BB: I think some of it is just on field competitiveness. You always have that at training camp between the offense and defense. I think that there's a overall good chemistry in their good relationship's on the team overall and it's not a clique of one group of guys or an offense/defense clique or an old guy/young guy clique or the veteran/rookie clique people seem to mingle fairly well in this group

Q: Is that to keep him (Tom Brady) from getting a fat head?

BB: Oh, I don't know, you'd have to talk to Ty about that. Ty talks to a lot of people, not just Brady. He talks to the receiver's; he talks to the coaches. It's hard to keep Ty quiet.

Q: Going into the first preseason game do you kind of know what you have, with a veteran team, with 22 starters returning? Where do you go from here in terms of a preseason game? Do you try to do polish?

BB: No, not at all, I think we all need to go out there and establish our own level of performance. None of us have established anything yet this year and that needs to be done by all of us individually, in groups and as a team. We need to be able to go out there and run the ball and we need to go out there and coach well in situations we need to be able to stop the run, we need to protect for the punter and cover punts. We need to establish everything we haven't done not one thing and not one play and I thinks that's something that every man and every group, every unit and our entire team needs to understand that that's what you do in the preseason. You establish it in the first preseason game and you try to build from that level.

Q: What did learn the following year the Super Bowl wins with the Giants?

BB: Both my experiences were not really typical and of course after the 1990 season I went to Cleveland so I wasn't really a part of that and after the '86 season the second game of the year there was a strike and that had a big impact on that season and it also had an impact on a lot of things even leading up to the strike and then after it was over, so it was a bit of an unusual year for every team not just the team that came off the '86 Super Bowl.

Q: Getting back to the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl is difficult. Did you draw on other people's experiences to set up your training camp with that in mind?

BB: It wasn't done that way this year. We set up with the idea of hitting certain goals and achieving certain levels in our system and getting the players to understand situations that we feel like we are going to face during the year at one point or another and try to prepare and train for those so we've exposed them to a lot but that's kind of normal training camp and I think that those are the things that we need to be ready to deal with once we start playing games. Our schedule this year in training camp is 96% the same as it was last year and probably that was 96% the same as it was the year before in terms of the schedule of events in camp when we cover certain things, what the progression is, when we move forward you always have to make adjustments as you go for one reason or another but we still have to accomplish the same things prior to the first preseason game, prior to the first regular season game and we've got to meet that schedule. We can't wait until the third regular season game to cover things if we think that there's a chance they will come up once the season starts. It's usually better to cover those things in preseason so that if they do come up at least you have a little bit of exposure and background to them. That's one of the things, if you notice out there today we spent about ½ an hour on Special Teams going through all the special teams situations, kickoff return after a safety, no huddle field goal, on-side kicks, hands-team at the end of the game you know all those type of things that they got to be in. They could come up during the game, who knows whether they will or not but if they do we'll execute the situation, coach it off film, correct it and hopefully we'll get better prepared next time it happens.

Q: The first preseason game is generally not a work of art because players are just getting back into it after a long lay-off. What level of lack of execution is acceptable in the first preseason game? What is the difference between the things you want to see and the things that you don't want to see?

BB: Well I think it's mainly a carryover from practice, the things we've done in practice and the things that we have come up against offensively, the plays we run in practice and the defenses we run them against, I think that we should have a certain level of execution in those situations. Now if we get something thrown at us that we haven't practiced against and we haven't had an opportunity to really coach the players on and it could easily be with the young players in the second half then it would be hard to expect 11 guys to go out there and do something that they have never been instructed on what to do before to do it the way it should be done. As long as they are doing what they're supposed to do and following their rules then that's really about all we can ask at this point if something comes up that we haven't covered or is new to us we are going to have to try to adjust to that on the run. But that's football that could happen any week. We'll handle it during the game and try to maneuver through it, those land mines, as best we can. But that's one thing, for us to run a play against a defense that we've been running two weeks in training camp and maybe it's something that our defense does and it's something that we've practiced and expect the Giants to do and we've gone over and said this is how we're going to do it and this is how you're supposed to do it on this play and it doesn't happen, then that's a totally different story and there's going to be some gray areas in between, we have expectations for things that we feel like we have devoted time and we've practiced 20 times hopefully we've gotten something done in those practices we feel like there are certain things that we should be able to do and we'll expect to do them and if we don't do them that would be a problem. If there's something new that comes up we'll try to hit it on the run.

Q: With Charlie not going to this game and the way that the duties are going to be split up among your other coaches, is that almost like this game is not one where we're going to be working on what we have to work on the type of thing for the coaching staff because of the natural disruption of things that's happening because of this?

BB: No I don't think so. But what you're raising is a very good point it's one that we've discussed and we always discuss at length prior to the first preseason game. During the regular season one of the most important things that the coaching staff can do during a game is to adjust to what the opponents are doing and sometimes your game plan, your scheme, changes based on what you think they're doing or what they're attempting to do. I think in this first preseason game it's a little bit of a different story and we've already talked about that as a staff and have talked to the players about it, saying that look, 'we're not going to go into this game trying to overreact to whatever it is the Giants are doing, ok, they're playing a little bit more of cover two than we thought so, lets go to these passes, or they're giving us a little bit more one back formations than we thought, oh, lets go to these one back defenses.' We want to go ahead and play the things that we want to play, eventhough they might not be exactly the way we might adjust to it during the season so that we can play them, and we can get the experience of doing them, and understand, eventhough it's not the perfect situation we're looking for, that we can understand how to execute that particular phase of the game. We don't want to not give ourselves a chance at the game, try to run weak side tosses, and the weak corner blitzes, and you know that kind of thing, but for the most part, unless it's something that just we can't handle, we're going to try to set certain goals for the game, and things we want to achieve and run. Then we also talked about playing certain players so that we can see them play. Not only themselves but also how they play with other teammates at that point. For the most part we want to try to stick with that, and not get too, 'well they' re doing this, so we should be going to that play, or they're doing that, and lets get in this formation' and that kind of thing. We're really not looking for it to be that kind of a coaching game. But during the regular season that's a whole different story, and that's a big part of our job at that point.

Q: What's the breakdown of how you evaluate talent?

BB: I think that could be difficult. That's really what you're trying to do, but it could be difficult to mesh those two together. The one thing I feel pretty good about is our scheme because we've been doing a lot of the things we've been doing for a number of years and we understand how they're supposed to work and we know what the problems are for a coaching staff. So I don't think we need to spend an extraordinary amount of time saying, 'well what should the guy do on this play, or what should he do on that look' you know we pretty much have that. But it is figuring out on outside plays, how well can our guard pull? How well can our tackle pull? How well can out center pull? Can we get out there to get that block? How well can our backs run outside? Versus how well can they run inside? Can our receivers get vertically down the field? Or are they better on the intermediate routes? Not just one player but collectively as a group, how do we do those things, how does that aspect of our game look, or our pass blocking or our blitz pickup, or whatever it happens to be. There's a fine line between evaluating the individual players and also trying to analyze where your group is and how they're performing. It's tough; it's an inexact science.

Q: Could you talk about [Tom] Brady's development from last camp to this camp? Is there any difference with Otis Smith?

BB: Well there's a big difference in Tom [Brady] between a year ago at this time and where he is now. He wasn't the starting quarterback, and now he is. His command and presence, and the way he handles himself on the field, and the way he handles the team is quite a bit different than last year. As I said before, I don't think it's dramatically different than the way it was in January. So, it's a question of how far back you want to look at Tom to see the change, but a year ago he was coming off a good offseason, coming off a rookie season with virtually no playing time, and trying to take the time that he put into developing his skills in the offseason, into practice, and carry that over to the football field, when he had an opportunity last year in training camp, and preseason games, which I though he did a pretty good job of. But that was a totally different stage than where he is now. Otis [Smith] is a player who has always been in the top condition since I've known him. I go over the gym in the morning and he's there, 6:30, 7:00 in the morning, he's there running the treadmill. He keeps himself in top shape, works as hard as any player we have. Otis is a guy that also works hard with the younger players, eventhough he's got other people in there who are competing for positions in the secondary, he's a guy that works hard on the communication, makes sure everybody's together and will help the player, and it'll benefit the younger players and will give them the benefit of his experience, both in terms of training and also in terms of how to play the position, certain things to look for, techniques to put on certain defenses, or against certain types of players. He's also, because of experience, he's very good at telling the younger players, 'here's what [Ike] Hilliard will do or here's what so and so will do, this is the way he likes to run that route, when he really bursts and looks back at the quarterback and he's trying to make you think he's going deep, that's when he's going to break it off.' As good as he is in preparing himself for the season and the games, he's probably equally as valuable in terms of his communication and instruction of other players with less experience than he has, and he also knows our system very well, he's been in it since '96.

Q: Do you see a future in coaching for a guy like Otis [Smith]?

BB: I think that we have a lot of players on our team that do a good job of sharing information and taking their experiences and teaching them to other players, but coaching is a whole different ball game, and that's one part of it. There are a lot of other things that go with it, it's right for some people, and other players don't have the same kind of interest in it that others do. I think at this point, for Otis, that's still in the future, but he still has a lot of qualities that if he wanted to pursue that I'm sure that he could certainly help a lot people.

Q: Is [Troy] Brown going to play on Saturday?

BB: No he won't play

Q: Will [Richard] Seymour play?

BB: No Seymour and Light won't play either.

Q: What about [Damien] Woody?

BB: Woody will be on the trip.

See you in New York

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