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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 10/09/2002

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BB: I think everybody has got the injury report. We'll have to go through the same process that we've been going through on that. Hopefully a couple of guys that have missed the last couple of games are a little bit closer but, again, hopefully they'll be closer to being out there. I'm sure we'll just have to take it day-by-day and see what the rate of improvement is. Green Bay is obviously a real good football team. I think defensively they have a real good blend of experience (with) guys who are in their middle years, fourth, fifth, sixth year that are kind of really coming into their prime. (Gilbert) Brown and (Cletidus) Hunt on the defensive line, (Hardy) Nickerson, (Na'il) Diggs, (Nate) Wayne is a fast linebacking group. They're good in the secondary. (Darren) Sharper is one of the most instinctive players in the league. They've got a couple of good corners, (Tyrone) Williams and (Mike) McKenzie, physical guys and do a good job in all phases of the game there. I think we all know what kind of explosive offense that the Packers have. I think that Mike Sherman has done a real good job with this club. They've obviously played an outstanding game the other night against Chicago. I think they're real solid in all phases of the game from top to bottom. They are experienced. They know what they're doing. Offensively, they have a lot of weapons, they have real good skilled people. (They have a) good running back, a good fullback, good tight end, good receivers, quarterback is okay. They're a pretty talented group.

Q: On Monday night (Terry) Glenn played a really good game. What have you seen on film? Has he adjusted to their offense?

BB: Sure. Terry is a good player. There's no question about his talent level. Green Bay is using him a little bit more in the slot. I think based on their total receiver situation, he's played more in the slot, played the inside position. He's run a variety of different routes in there. That was by far his most productive game against Chicago. Nobody knows better than we do what kind of threat he is and what kind of skill level he brings to the field.

Q: What is the biggest difficulty in facing Brett Favre?

BB: He does everything well. I think that in some respect he kind of reminds me a little of (John) Elway. When Elway was a younger quarterback, he was really known for his athleticism and for running around and having a big arm and making a lot of big plays. Then as his career, his legacy, went on I think he was known. (He) became more respected for just his pure passing, his touch, his ability to make great plays in the passing game and not that his running was ever a weak point, it just wasn't what it was earlier in the career. I think with Favre, it's a little bit of a similar situation. Brett is a tremendous passer. He's got great touch on the ball. As the years have gone buy, I think that his proficiency in the passing game just seems to continue to get better. I don't think he runs around quite as much as he did in the past although he still shows the athleticism and the quickness to be able to escape and avoid people in the pocket and buy a little bit of extra time. He makes some just magnificent throws right at the very last second. (He) holds on to the ball and it looks like just about as the defense is going to close in on him and force the play, he's able to not only get rid of the ball, but put it right on the money and turn it into a successful positive gain. He really … I think the other thing you are looking for in a quarterback in terms of leadership, he can make all of the throws, he's tough, he's strong, he's mobile in the pocket. He's obviously had a tremendous amount of experience and you're not really going to surprise him and fool him with a lot of new looks that he hasn't seen before. He's seen pretty much everything a defense could throw at him and then some.

Q: Some quarterbacks when they throw several interceptions, they go into a little bit of a shell or they become hesitant. He doesn't really seem to do that. Is that always a plus, that he still keeps firing? Some guys make a bigger hole.

BB: Well I think that, there is no question about the confidence Favre has in himself and his arm. I think all great quarterbacks have that. And there's probably a few plays here and there in each year, in each season and a career that even those great quarterbacks just try to do a little bit too much. But there are so many other plays that override that, every quarterback has thrown an interception, in Favre's case I think that's true. I'm sure that he can look back and find a couple of plays that he wished he hadn't forced in there. And he makes so many big ones and he's so successful throwing the ball and defensively it presents a real challenge because you know he's going to challenge you. There's some quarterbacks you can play and say 'okay, if we rotate this way, the quarterback is going to read it and throw the ball over here.' You can't say that with Favre. If you have what looks like on paper could be pretty good coverage on a particular play, there still may be a soft spot in there and if he wants to challenge it and stick it in there, he'll do it. And he can get it in there a lot. It really puts a lot of pressure and has to tighten the coverage defensively because he'll challenge it at every point in the coverage. Even where you think you're strong.

Q: Why do you think there is so much throwing in the league? Is it just because the weather is good in September and early October?

BB: I'm not really sure on that one. Most of my experiences would just be in the games that we've been involved with or the games we've seen on tape. I haven't seen as many, the expanse of games in the league I think to know what everybody is doing. In our case, there were certain games where it seemed like it was the best attack to throw the ball. And there were a couple of games where we fell behind and we ended up throwing a lot in the second half. Overall the passing game has been a little bit more productive for us than the running game has just in terms of straight production. Not that that's what we are looking for, but that's the way it's turned out. In our case, I think that the best I could say to answer that question. What's going on with some other teams, I don't know what the circumstances are for them. I'm not sure if I'm really on top of those.

Q: The situation in Green Bay where they lost (Joe) Johnson and (Vonnie) Holliday is out. Is the assumption, when they lose key defensive players, does that make them that much easier to deal with or is that a trap?

BB: Well you know one thing about Green Bay is they have a defensive line rotation where they use everybody. They use all of their defensive lineman and they have always done that. Through the years, they've been very good at doing that. They have several good players there, (Aaron) Kampman is a good young player. KGB (Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila) is probably the fastest pass rusher we have seen. Hunt and Gilbert Brown are two of the best inside players in the league. They have a real solid linebacking core with Diggs, Wayne and Nickerson. They will roll those guys through there. They've lost one last week I guess, but the rest of the guys will rotate through there. Instead of playing 25 plays, they may end up playing 30, whatever it is. But I think we're still going to see the same guys out there.

Q: Terry Glenn has been shown to be an emotionally driven player at times. Coming off his Monday night game, do you anticipate him wanting to come out here and have the game of his life?

BB: Well I think that Terry is a competitive player and I'm sure like every competitive player he will want to do his best. I think everybody wants to come out there and play well. So I am sure he will be in that category. He played well and they had a great night throwing the ball and he had a lot of production against the Bears. So there's no question that he's got great ability in the passing game and it showed on Monday night. There's no question about that.

Q: Do you have a history with Mike Sherman? Have your paths crossed at all on the coaching side?

BB: Not directly, we've never worked together. When you're a defensive coach, you know who the offensive coaches are and I imagine as an offensive coach you kind of know who the defensive coaches are. Certainly from my end there is a lot of respect for Mike and what he's done both as a coordinator when he was at Green Bay and then moving into the head coaching position. I think that he does an excellent job in all aspects in terms of preparing his team offensively. They're as well balanced in offense as you are going to see in the league. It's probably what every team is striving for to have the kind of passing and running balance and efficiency that they have game after game, year after year. I think they are one of the most consistent teams in moving the ball, utilizing their personnel and putting points on the board and controlling the tempo of the game. They just do a great job in all of those areas. Their offensive line, I think it's underrated, but they are very good. They're experienced. They're tough. They're physical in the running game and then they protect the quarterback well. They keep you off balance. So I think you have to give him a lot of credit for how well he has been able to utilize the talent that he has there and how consistent that they've been with it.

Q: When you are going against a player that has been in your system like Terry Glenn, is there an advantage either way? Either with him playing against your defensive players that he knows so well, or your defensive players going against him and they know him so well?

BB: I think it's probably offset. It's probably about equal. We've been in that situation a lot and with free agency now it comes up almost every game. The other team has got somebody that we've had or we have somebody that was on the other team. Certainly in this division with Miami and the Jets there's been a lot of exchange of people in both directions. You know what you know about that player and that player knows what he knows about your team and that information I'm sure gets exchanged amongst the players or amongst the coaches and the players. You try to build up your information, your resources, there's no doubt about that. So I think that there are certain advantages both ways. In the end though, it's probably about a wash.

Q: Looking at their offense, as a defensive coach, what do you try to take away first?

BB: Well, any team that is that well balanced you can't just say 'well we're going stop one guy.' There's just too many problems. They have a good receiving core, they have a good tight end, a good running back. I think that (William) Henderson is probably one of the probably more underrated fullbacks even though he doesn't get a lot of carries but he's at the point of attack in a lot of the running game and in the passing game too. You know he's a significant threat as a receiver. When you take all of that into consideration, again, it's going to just come down to good team defense, the guys that have to stop Ahman Green and the inside running game aren't going to be covering (Donald) Driver and (Javon) Walker and Glenn. And the guys that are covering (Bubba) Franks and Walker aren't going to be stopping Henderson up the middle and Ahman Green running behind them on draw plays and screen passes and stuff like that. Whatever or however the responsibilities break down defensively on any given call against that formation they happen to be in, we're just going to have to do a good job across the board because they attack you on all fronts. Their run/pass ratios are very close to balanced, 50/50 in a lot of down and distance situations. Obviously they throw it a little bit more on third down like everybody does but as long as they've got you in a balanced situation, they're going to throw as many runs as they are going to throw the ball. And they are going to run play action and they are going to throw deep and they are going to throw short and they are going to hit the tight end and they are going to throw screens and they are going throw to their receivers. I think that if you just try to take one guy away, then you are going to come up light on four or five other threats and your chance of being right in that 20 percent rather than wrong on the 80 percent just really prohibits you from loading up on one guy or one thing. It's just too hard to hit it right.

Q: Is bringing the pressure in on Brett Favre a good thing?

BB: If you get there it's great. If you can get there. Seriously, if you can't get there then you've just got less guys to cover and he's going to probably have as much time to throw. So, if you blitz you need to have something against what they happen to be doing on that particular player in that situation that will effectively force him to rush the throw and get it out of there. I think that their offensive line, and again their backs, especially Henderson, do a real good job in pass protection. That's an experienced group. They pass off stunts well. They pick up blitzes well. A lot of times, for example, we'll be running a play action pass and if you blitz then there is no play action play, the backs just go and block the guys they are supposed to block and they abort the fake and they are right there for the blitz pickup. And if you're not blitzing then they really sell the play and the guys who are in coverage suck up and have to play what looks like a running play, but then it ends up being a passing play and that distorts the defense and you get separation back there. So, just little things like that from an execution standpoint. I think that they do a real good job that when they need to block, they block. When they don't need to block, they fake and force you to honor the fake and little things like that. I think that their scheme and their execution and the pass protection is as big of a key in the passing game as the quarterback and the receivers and the tight ends who throw and catch the balls.

Q: You guys have good numbers in terms of sacks. Are you guys having as much success bringing heat lately against the last two quarterbacks?

BB: Well I think that's usually the way it works. When you are ahead in the third and fourth quarter, you've got a lot more opportunities to rush the quarterback, to rush him on your terms to run the games you want to run and not be worried about a lot of other things than when you're behind by seven points or 10 points in the third or fourth quarter. You can run it, that's nice, but the chances of them working better against the particular protection that you are looking for is … you just have little odds of hitting it. Controlling the score and controlling the situation in the game has a lot to do with the effectiveness of any team's pass rush in the second half. The more of those plays you can make early in the game that affect the game like for example, one of the ones that we had last week in long yardage where we got stripped and sacked which ended up leading to no points, those are the kind of plays that can really turn a game. And then if you can create a point differential in your favor then you can pretty much do whatever you want in terms of pass rush. They're just not enough of a threat or there's not enough time for them to run to get back in the game with few exceptions.

Q: Is it more difficult to compensate for an injured player? Like a Troy Brown or an Anthony Pleasant?

BB: Yeah, it probably is. And because there has been some kind of rotation or transition in positions where that hasn't been the case for one reason or another whether it was injury or whether it was just normal turnover or whatever it happened to be. There's probably a little bit of truth to that. Again, when we go through the process that we go through that all teams go through in training camp, you rotate all the players through. Not just one guy plays a spot and you've got multiple people playing those positions in preseason games and in practice sessions, you have to create your own depth at those spots. Unfortunately injuries are a part of the National Football League. Every team has got them. So wherever you get them, you have to somehow manage your depth at that position. That's something that as a coach, coaching staff, you always have to be thinking about that. Even though you don't want to think about it, you don't want to really to deal with 'well what happens if something happens.' You have to prepare for those situations.

Q: Do you worry about the power of momentum whether it's positive or negative in this case you are coming into this game with two losses?

BB: Well there is nothing we can do about it. There isn't anything we can do about it. What's in the books, is in the books. We can't change the outcome of any of those games. The only game we can control is the one that is coming up. Whatever happens beyond that at this point I think really would be wasted energy because we can't have any effect on those games either. There's only one game that matters to us right now. There's only one game that we can do anything about and that's totally where our focus and energy needs to be spent. That's the way I feel about it, again, I can't speak for what's in the mind of every other individual but that's the mentality that I have. That's the mentality that the team should have and I think that's the only approach that can be successful, day-to-day, focus on the next challenge and meet that one. You just can't worry about what's already happened, there's nothing we can do about it.

Q: How do you maintain a constant confidence level after starting out 3-0 and everybody was hyping them up and now after two losses how do you maintain that constant intensity level?

BB: Well I think that you have to really just be realistic about it. We look at the tapes, the things that we're doing well on film, we need to continue to do well. Just because you have a bad play, that doesn't mean that all 11 people were bad. But, if it wasn't successful, it had to break down somewhere. You need to get that corrected. And just because you have a good play, that doesn't mean that 11 people did it exactly right either. But for whatever reason you were successful enough on that play and you want to maintain that and try to upgrade the other areas and the other point of that play or the parts of your game that can be upgraded, that can stand to improve. To me it's a constant evaluation improvement, and as you face other teams and new opponents, they challenge you. Each one challenges you in a little bit different way. At some point, it points out a weakness or an area that either you need to emphasize more or somehow change your scheme to adjust to whatever it happens to be. So you are constantly moving. This is a game where there's always transition, there's always different movements going on each week depending on your situation and how you're doing and what the threats are on the other side of the ball. That's the way we try to manage it.

Q: When you are trying to get back on track, how significant is it that you just don't have to travel?

BB: We play 16 games, eight are at home, eight are on the road. For every one we travel for, there's a home one. For every one we play at home, we have to travel. For every long week, there is a short week. For every short week, there's a long week. But in the end, in a 16-week season, it all balances out somehow. So wherever the home games are, wherever the away games are, the short weeks, the long weeks, the bye weeks, wherever they are in a 16-game schedule, it's all equal. You have to manage each week as it comes and if you're traveling, you're traveling and if you're not then you're on a regular home schedule like you are half the season. But the other games, you go through the process that you have to go through to travel to a Monday night game or a Thursday night game or a Saturday game, whatever it is, you just manage that time the best given the environment and the circumstances and the conditions at that particular point and time. It's not always the same. Long weeks in the early season or late season, sometimes you handle them differently based on the needs of your team. So the only thing I can say is you just look at each week, you try to look at the situation from everything, physically where your team is, what it's been like on the practice field, what you feel like the game, what are the critical things in the game that you want to get done and try to adjust to try to maximize your performance in the game. It's not always the same every week. We have a general pattern, a routine, but it certainly has to be adjusted based on the specifics of each game.

Q: What are Donald Driver's strengths?

BB: Well, he's a very strong runner after the catch. He gets a lot of yardage after he makes the play and then breaks tackles and can run through the secondary. He's a big kid, and he's got strong hands. He goes up and takes it away from defenders who are close to him or who are on him. He can really use his body to leverage out the defenders and goes up and catches the ball and then runs hard after the catch. He's got good speed, he's got good quickness. It seems like he's got a lot of confidence. He knows he's going to get open and Brett will wait him out until he does get open. Sooner or later he comes clean.

Q: Is he like (Oronde) Gadsden?

BB: Well I don't think he's that big but he has good physical skills in terms of speed and quickness.

Q: Do you expect Troy Brown to be a game-time decision?

BB: Well at this point I really don't know. It certainly could be. If something happens before then, if we know sooner, we'll know sooner one way or the other. If we don't then it will be a game time decision.

Q: Your red zone defense last year was a great source of pride for this team. Is it scheme this year? Is it guys not making plays? What seems to be the problem?

BB: Well it's still a source of pride, it's just our effectiveness isn't what it needs to be as you alluded to. I think it needs to be, again, red area defense is team defense. And everybody is included in that. We need to do a better job of playing defense in that area of the field all the way around, the running game, the passing game. We need to tighten our assignments up. Offensively, that's an area where teams usually try to give you some different looks and try to force you to adjust quickly because they only need to get a guy open for a split second and they only need a few yards, so everything defensively just needs to be tighter and matched quicker particularly in the passing game and be more efficient down there. We need to do a better job on all downs, first downs, second downs, third downs, and last week it was third down. But first and second down through the early part of the year, that needs to be better too. All the way around, we're not happy with that, where we are in that area.

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