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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 08/14/2003

Belichick: Well, this wraps it up for the week here on Washington. We have a little walk-through tomorrow and then our first trip of the year.



            **BB:**  Well, this wraps it up for the week here on Washington. We have a little walk-through tomorrow and then our first trip of the year.  It's good to see some more guys out here.  I think this is the closest we've been to full strength, not that we're full strength, but we are closer.  We expect Washington to play a lot better than they played against Carolina last week.  I am sure they will.  We'll just need to be ready for that.  

Q: What are your priorities here in week two?

BB: The usually combination, evaluate the young guys, try to get the team ready for the regular season schedule and the opener. We're just going to have to balance that. We need to do both.

Q: Will [Tom] Brady play more?

BB: More than last week? Yes. Hopefully.

Q: How important is it to establish a rhythm at this point?

BB: I think it's important for everybody to establish their level of play at this point and time and try to build on it. I think that's important for every player and it's important for each group; the offensive group, the defensive group, the kick off coverage, the punt return team. It's important for all of us to establish our level and then try to move it to higher ground in each game.

Q: On your linebacking core where would you rank versatility? I know you have called it position flexibility. Where would you rank that in terms of their strengths?

BB: You are asking as a group or individually?

Q: As a group.

BB: I think it's okay. We're more versatile and flexible in some places than others. We have some guys that can rush. We have some guys that can cover. We have some guys that do both in our scheme. So, I think it's okay. Again, some guys are just better at some things than others and that's what we try to get them doing.

Q: Aside from individually, how important is it that they are versatile?

BB: Well, it just gives you the ability to match up against offenses better. You are not locked into just doing one thing. You are able to adjust as they adjust. You are able to make some of the adjustments with them, so it's important in our scheme.

Q: It seems like in the preseason those middle two games, the second and third games, are where a lot of the really tough decisions are made. By the fourth game, you just want to get out of there just healthy. Do you think that is accurate?

BB: Well, there will be important decisions and tough decisions I am sure in the next couple of weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some in the end too. But we will just take it day-to-day and game-by-game as it comes. I don't know that you can say, 'Well it's going to be a lot tougher here than there.' You just never know. I am sure we will have some tough ones in the next couple of weeks.

Q: Bethel [Johnson] talked about how that first game for him was just kind of a real eye opener for him. Do you find sometimes with rookies will feel a little bit more comfortable once they get into that second game of the preseason?

BB: I think sometimes that is definitely the case. The first NFL game is a big adjustment for any rookie, just the speed of the game and the newness of the situation and just trying to get comfortable and everything. It's definitely an adjustment. Hopefully they will all settle down a little bit and be able to get some of those jitters out now that the first game is over and build on that experience.

Q: I have a nose tackle question. We have seen Jarvis [Green] doing more work with the first team this week and I know not to read too much into that but you talked yesterday about guys showing a little bit more the first week. Is Rick [Lyle] seeing less time there a matter of you knowing what he can do and wanting to see Jarvis with that group or is that guys moving up and down?

BB: No, I don't think it's guys moving up and down. I think it's Rick has more experience than the other noses, Jarvis, Dan [Klecko], Ken [Kocher], and Ethan [Kelley] and even though they are all playing the position, he has taken a few less reps because he has had a few more in the scheme and the technique.

Q: And it's a mater of you knowing what he can do?

BB: It's not so much [a matter]. We know what he can do. I think that Rick knows how to do it and he doesn't need as many reps doing it as guys who haven't done it as much.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Fred Baxter?

BB: Fred has had a real good camp. He's done a real nice job blocking, he's caught the ball well. Fred is a smart guy. He is a real pro and he works hard at the game and makes very few errors. He's got a good level of toughness and experience. He's really had a good camp for us. He's got to play some multiple positions with [Daniel] Graham and [Christian] Fauria so that we have depth all around there. But he's done a nice job of that. We feel confident with him wherever we put him in there, whether it's first, second, third or fourth down.

Q: You said this offseason you wanted to add speed to the defense. To the untrained eye, how can you tell if it is working?

BB: Well, you will know in September. When the real games start you will know. Everybody is working to be ready for that opener now. All the teams in the league are. It doesn't really matter who is ahead or who is behind at this point. It's going to start counting in September. You want to try to make as much progress as you can. We know everybody is holding stuff back. We won't know for sure until the regular season games start how everybody's improvements in the league have been. Not just ours.

Q: Going into the Washington preseason game last year, I guess it is fair to say that their coaching staff wasn't exactly characterized by humility?

BB: Well, they hung up a lot of points last year in the first four preseason games.

Q: You didn't seem annoyed by it but you did seem sort of amused by the whole attitude, 'Well, this is going to be easy.' But you kind of sicked the dogs on them in that game last year.

BB: I thought we played fairly well in the game. The NFL is a tough league and I think all of us that compete in it know how tough it really is. You don't just walk up to opponents in this league and really start just dominating it. It just doesn't really work that way.

Q: Do you think Steve [Spurrier] understands that better than he did a year ago?

BB: I don't know. Steve is a good football coach. He has a tremendous record and he's got a great offensive mind. I just think that it is a real competitive league and even when you have a real good game and you are high, you are only one step away from disaster. In the end, it evens out a little bit more than maybe it does in college

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