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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 16 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 21 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 10/13

Belichick: We certainly started the process on Miami. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s under way and we’ve worked on them.

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            **BB:**  First of all, thank you for coming today. [Laughter]  

**Q: [Laughter]

BB:** Just a couple of updates from the game injury-wise. Nothing really to report at this time. It looks like a couple of the guys that left the game are going to be okay. We will give some updates there on Wednesday but I don't really have anything now. Clearly the big story in the game for us was the five turnovers that led to some points and some field position. It negated some of the yardage that the Giants gained. Offensively, I thought that we had obviously had a lot of trouble in the first half moving the ball, we made some adjustments, executed better in the second half and that was important. I thought it was just a good team win. These guys played with a lot of toughness against a tough team. The Giants certainly gave us a lot of problems in a number of different areas. There were some plays in the game that could have gone a little bit differently and had they that might have changed the game. So we were fortunate that things went as much as they did in our favor yesterday. But at the same time giving credit to the guys out there who stepped up and made the plays and we made enough of them to win. So we are happy with that. The Giants are a good team. They have a lot of good players. We obviously had our hands full. It is good to be 4-2.

**Q: You mentioned that they came out in their basic set and that immediately indicated that you were going to be playing a lot of 3-4. What was that, three wides?

BB:** I think when the Giants started the game I think they were just trying to read what we were doing. They were doing a lot of 'check with me's', coming out in balance formations and based on what the look was, expanding or contracting the formation, that kind of thing. When you are going up against a balanced offense, I think you are better off playing a balanced defense rather than trying to overload it and then going to where the light spots are. That is kind of the way it started and we hung with that for the better part of the day.

**Q: So it was a little chess game early in the game?

BB:** I don't know about that. I just think that we felt that was the best thing for us to handle the multiple formations and looks that the Giants were trying to give us. That is just what we tried to do against it. They made their plays. We made ours but I would say that was the basic strategy.

**Q: A few weeks ago I know you said you and Romeo weren't going to go back and forth between the two defenses from week-to-week and you haven't.

BB:** Did we say that?

**Q: Kind of. Has the performance over the last two weeks enabled you to say you are comfortable to switch them around?

BB:** Well, I really don't think that we played much in the game defensively that we haven't played or have been playing. I understand your question but the 3-4 for us, we have invested a lot of time in that front and I think that we know how to play that as well as we know how to play anything we just have the depth problems there and that is our big issue. But the game just kind of went that way. I don't think…If Romeo and I talked before the game and said, 'Well we are going to play as much 3-4 as we ended up playing,' I don't think we would have thought that. It just kind of went that way. We got into some four-man line there in the second half, more in the fourth quarter. That was just one of those games where, like I said, just kind of worked out like that.

**Q: Richard Seymour seemed to make very noticeable plays yesterday.

BB:** He did.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about his play? Was this a high point for him this season?

BB:** I think Richard has had a pretty consistent year. I would say that he is one of our more consistent players. He certainly had a couple of big plays in the game, the tipped pass early was a good awareness play. I thought really what was the best play was the interception that [Jeremy] Shockey made down there near the redzone where he got a hand on the ball and tipped it up in the air. Shockey looked like he was coming open on the play, had it been a clean throw, I don't know, we might not be talking about the play the way it is now. He got a piece of the ball and it ended up being a big turnover and saved us some points. That was a big one. Richard, I thought, overall did a pretty solid job in the running game. Most of their runs went to our right, their left, so a lot of them headed over there in that direction. Overall, I thought we held up alright on it. I think Richard has had a pretty consistent season for us.

**Q: I may be remembering wrong but I sort of thought that early last season there was a problem where he was having trouble getting his rear up a little too high and wasn't getting the proper leverage. Is that an accurate recollection? If so, has he solved that problem?

BB:** I would say probably every defensive lineman in the league, certainly all that I have coached, have had a tendency to do that. When their pad level gets high, then their effectiveness diminishes. That is something that you are reminding and working on defensive linemen in terms of playing with low pad levels, playing with bent knees and playing with proper leverage. That is something that every defensive lineman, I think, needs to be reminded on, drilled on and needs to play that way. I think you are always going to be able to find plays in the game where it is not really what is should be or maybe what it is on some other plays. It is a natural habit, bending your knees and forcing your knees and ankles and hips to bend and flex, it is kind of an unnatural position to be in. You have to work hard to do it that way. When you don't there is a tendency to be erect and you lose your power base. For Richard, for everybody, that is the case.

**Q: I realize no player is indispensable, but what is the difference between your defense with Richard and without Richard?

BB:** He is definitely one of our better players and one of the better defensive linemen in the league. You can't have too many good players on defense. I think Richard's ability to play in every phase of the game, playing on all downs, playing in all the situations, he can play the run, short yardage, he can rush the passer, he has got some power and some quickness on his pass rush, he is a pretty good pursuit player for a lineman and can make some plays on the perimeter of the field. Overall, I think he has got a lot of strengths and there are a lot of different ways for him to contribute to our defense. That is a big positive of us.

**Q: Last week you said Michael Strahan a lot of times will make plays that he doesn't get credit for.

BB:** He probably does more of that anybody in the league.

**Q: Does Richard make some of those types of plays?

BB:** I think the nature of our defense and I am sure this is true of other teams as well, but certainly of our defense is for each player to kind of take care of his responsibilities. If the runner gets the ball and things don't look good at that point of attack then a lot of times the guys who makes the play isn't the guy at the point of attack. It is where the runner runs to get away from where the pressure is. Even though that guy ends up making the tackle, he maybe is not necessarily the key player on the play. He is the beneficiary of somebody else. I think in the end that stuff probably evens a lot of itself out. The way it is set up for us, a lot of times the guy who is the key player on the play, the guy who has the biggest impact, doesn't necessarily make the play. That is due to good runners in this league not if it is clogged up here then there is a softer spot somewhere else. If they hit the point directly then, obviously that is not the way we way to try to play it.

**Q: Speaking of clogging up, I think yesterday was Ty Warren's first extensive look at nose for pretty much the entire game.

BB:** Yeah, well he played there last week too, but he probably had more snaps this week. Yes.

**Q: How does he look at the nose?

BB:** I think [he looked] better. As he has gained a little bit more experience this week and got a little more playing time, he showed up on more plays. There are still plenty of things for him to work on there. But I think his size and his power in there, I thought he and Rick [Lyle] both did a good job in there, we mixed it up a little bit inside. But I think they both did a pretty solid job inside. Most of the Giants runs actually went into the off tackle area. So for whatever reason they weren't directly at that spot. I though it was okay. He made a couple of pursuit plays, I thought he made a nice play on [Tiki] Barber's screen pass there. Some things he didn't read as well and could have played better.

**Q: Before Ted Washington go hurt, Ted was taking on two blockers at a time. If he never makes a tackle and does that every play, he is probably doing his job.

BB:** You bet.

**Q: Is Seymour getting some of those duties now?

BB:** I would say in yesterday's game, Richard got doubled a lot because they ran to the left a lot and the nature of the runs, those off tackle runs over there, they doubled him a lot. Now maybe they would do that against the next team but he saw a lot of them yesterday, probably more yesterday than he has in any other game.

**Q: If you are going to consistently double team a guy on a block, you are probably going to do it on one of the better linemen of up there than wasting it on somebody else.

BB:** Well, that is one way to look at it. Just for example, in our running game, most of our runs went away from Strahan. He didn't get doubled all that much because a lot of runs went away from him. If you are running to somebody, you as a significant player, it may be a toughness match, then you might want to double him. Another option is to try to scheme it so you have a better blocking angle on the player and the ball is going somewhere else. There are a couple of different ways to do it.

**Q: Every win is important, but yesterday in your post-game press conference, I was just watching it on TV…

BB:** Couldn't make it to the game? [Laughter]

**Q: [Laughter] No, my wife wouldn't let me go.

BB:** Okay. [Laughter]

**Q: It just seemed like this win meant more than the others.

BB:** I was proud of the team yesterday. I thought they played well. They fought hard defensively. I thought it was a good solid defensive effort. Anytime you can keep an explosive team like the Giants, and they are as explosive as anybody in the league with Shockey, Barber, [Amani] Toomer, [Ike] Hilliard, [Kerry] Collins, there are a lot of weapons there, and to keep them out of the end zone, I thought it was a real good effort. As I said, offensively, we had a poor first half, we couldn't make a first down. We came out the second half and had a couple of good drives and scored some points, got back into a rhythm. It wasn't perfect but it was coming back and executing a lot better in the second half. If we could eliminate some of the penalties and some of the negative plays that we, to me, unnecessarily caused ourselves, we could even do better than that. I thought that we executed some things against a good football team fairly well. I was happy about that. I was happy about the Tennessee game too.

**Q: Do you feel like the coaching staff has a special connection with this defense? Is there chemistry there?

BB:** I think on every team there is chemistry. Every team there is a certain feeling. That group spends a lot of time together, those coaches and defensive players are in that room for quite a few hours every week and it has been quite a few weeks. Sure there is a bond and a chemistry and a mutual respect for one another and a reliance on one another. Players can't play good without good coaching. Coaching can't perform well without good players and everybody doing their jobs. I think there is definitely a good bond there. I think it is true of every team that those groups have to come together. They just spend too much time not to.

**Q: Talking about the penalties, it seems like they are up.

BB:** they are definitely up. It doesn't seem like it. They are definitely up, there is no question about it. They are up there high and we are fortunate to be where we are given the number of penalties and the penalty yardage and the yardage that we, again, lost on the penalties. Last week it was an 80-yard punt return among others. Yesterday it was a lot of yardage on the reverse; a lot of yardage on the seam pass there at the end of the game. There is a lot of yardage there that we are giving back one way or another and it is hurting us. There is not question about it. It is hurting us.

**Q: Is that especially frustrating for you considering how you stress mental toughness and focus?

BB:** It is not good. We have way to many of them. Some of them are avoidable. Some are going to happen. You are not going to go through a whole season and not get penalized. Some of them are definitely avoidable and the one's we are having are extremely costly. We are getting them on third down; we are getting them on fourth down. We are giving up a lot of yardage when we get them. Some of them don't even help the play.

**Q: What do you do besides stress that to the team? Is there anything else that you can do besides give speeches and that kind of thing?

BB:** Yep, all of the above. All of the above. I think you take all the steps that you can possibly take and we've got to improve the situation. It's certainly not where we want it to be.

**Q: How many of them make you scratch your head and say, 'I'm not really sure where that call comes from?'

BB:** There is always going to be a couple of those and we can't control that. We don't throw the flag. We don't see the play. If that's the way the official sees it, he sees it and we try to correct the players and say, 'You know look, this is maybe why he made that call and this is what you've got to do differently.' There is going to be some close calls like that in the game that can go either way. And there are some that could have been called on us that weren't called. There is going to be that. But there are other ones that are just violations, they are clear-cut violations. There is no gray area at all. We're wrong, we're called for it, we're penalized and it costs us. So those are the ones we've got to fix.

**Q: There are three different penalties, hitting penalties, that I can think of the Rodney Harrison incident, Larry Izzo on the punter in the Jets game and there is another one that I can't put my finger on it. Do you call for clarification on what exactly is going on because that is 45 yards?

BB:** You are probably talking about the punt return last week against Tennessee.

**Q: Yeah. Do you call the league office?

BB:** Yeah, if I have a question about a play, I'll talk to the league office about it and they'll give us an explanation. Sometimes they say, 'This is what the official saw and he probably made the right call. Here's another one that he made that call, he's wrong. He'll be graded down for it. Here's another one that it was the wrong call. But here's another one over here that this was the right call and it didn't get called.' The officials want to get it right, it's not like they want to go out there and…They miss calls just like receivers drop passes. If they are wrong, then they are the first ones to stand up and say, 'Hey, we missed it and here is the way the rule is to be enforced and this is what should have happened and that's what we are going to instruct our officials to do.' So at least you know moving forward, this is how the thing should be called now. There is always going to be some variation on that, we understand that. But I'm not worried about that. That's the league office's job. That's the official's job. I'm just worried about my job and my job is to eliminate the penalties that we can control. You are running 100 miles per hour and you hit a guy. Is it from behind? Is it not from behind? Is it late? That's one thing, it's another thing if you line up offside or you jump on a guy's back on an obvious pass interference call and the ball's 50 yards away. You clip somebody from behind when you are standing two yards behind the guy. That's just bad judgment. It's bad decision making. It's bad football.

**Q: Do you sense, and it happens in every sport, where early in the season the referees try to set a tone particularly early in the season? Do you sense any of that going on across the league?

BB:** Sure. I'm not sure that's it tighter and the looser. I think there are different points of emphasis. As certain plays or certain situations develop during the course of the year, I think that the emphasis points change. Sometimes it's to be tighter on roughness, to be tighter on interference, to be tighter on holding, to be tighter on the line of scrimmage violations, whatever it is. I think when the league office says to the officials 'Hey, teams are getting away with too much of this, we want this tightened up.' Then they tighten it up. Then a week, two, three weeks later, some other situation starts to become prevalent and they shift their emphasis to that. Just trying to a consistent job officiating. I think they do a good job. I'm not worried as much about the calls that they miss, as the calls that we miss. If they are going to miss them, we're going to miss them. We have to try to eliminate ours. I'm sure they will work to get theirs right.

**Q: Do you think that Harrison has a target on his back? Given his history?

BB:** I don't know. To be called? No, I don't think so. Maybe to be fined, I don't know about that. I don't know exactly how the fine system works, but I think there's a certain tendency to fine repeat offenders. That may be true. I don't think the officials think about that, I really don't. I think they are out there calling the game, they see something, they call it. I don't think they say, 'Okay, let me get so-and-so here. See if I can find him on something.' I think they are just trying to do their job. If they see something, they call it.

**Q: The area between the hash marks got progressively more chewed up as the game went along yesterday. Does that change in the game the amount of thing you call? Or are their things that you try to stay away from? Do you exploit because of that?

BB:** I think it definitely does. I think that surely it slows down the field, slows down the pass rush. I think it makes it harder for the outside pass rushers to get there. The big thing for the outside rushers is to get up the field and then to be able to turn that corner on the tackle, the guard, whoever is blocking them, could be a tight end sometimes, but to be able to turn that and to get their weight. A lot of the time their weight really isn't over their feet. It's leaning inside over the blocker or as they get past the blocker, a lot of torque is being put just on the edge of their footing their, one or two cleats in the ground, and when it's soft like that it's hard. You are better going straight ahead. In terms of running the ball, it's the same thing. When you start running laterally and then you have to stop and make a sharp cut inside, it's a lot easier for the defense to be under control and make the play than it is for that runner to make that one sharp cut like he would on a dry or an Astroturf surface. It's the same thing with the kicking game, in terms of getting the ball vertically up the field and not trying to run sideways and make a sharp cut, but to try to get positive yardage. A lot of times you can force the defenders, when you are running straight at the goal line, you can force the defenders who are moving laterally to have to stop and cut to get on the runner's path. And sometimes he can get run through an armed tackle. I think Kevin [Faulk] had one of those yesterday on an off-tackle play to the left where the tackler was coming over and Kevin was basically going straight. He just made one little very slight deviation basically going forward and the defender couldn't adjust. When you get into those bad parts of the field, you want to try to keep moving vertically as much on the field as you can.

**Q: Most of the fields nowadays are uniform, new stadium and newer grass. This week you are going to a place that is sort of a throwback if you will with the baseball diamond still exposed. It's only a little bit of the field, but does it affect some of the choices you might make as to what some of the things are you might want to do during the game?

BB:** Yeah. I think it could. It's a factor in a couple of areas. It is definitely a factor in the kicking game, particularly if you get into one of those situations where you are right there on the edge of the infield where you are going from one surface to another. Maybe you are lining up on the grass, but the ball is actually being kicked off the dirt and that kind of thing. I think also it is a little bit of an issue for the players who basically have grass shoes on, but then when you get on the dirt surface it provides a little bit of a different footing. So I think that is more of an awareness thing that they need to know. For example when they are in the endzone and they are planting and trying to cover on that dirt surface, it's just a little bit different than it is on the rest of the Bermuda grass. We try to talk in terms of awareness. Obviously you can't change your cleats going from one surface to the other, but it is more of an awareness thing and trying to play with your feet under you. Now if you ever get into one of those rain games in a day like that, which aren't that frequent down there, then that totally changes it. You go from grass to mud. That Bermuda grass and those fields drain pretty quickly, but mud is mud.

**Q: When you go down to Miami, why does the game seem to go in the same pattern?

BB:** Yeah, we haven't played well down there really since I've been here. We've played them much better up here. If we don't play better, I'm sure the results will be the same. So we've got to find a way to play better.

**Q: Is there any reason for that?

BB:** I think it comes down to in a lot of cases fundamental execution. It will be true this week too. If we don't do that then we'll have problems. If we turn the ball over, if we have mental errors and miss coverage assignments or miss run-force assignments, I'm sure they will gain plenty of yards and they'll gain plenty of yards and they'll be spiking the ball in the endzone. I think if we don't do those things, then…I'm not saying we are going to shut them out…but I think they'll have more trouble doing that. You fumble a snap from center and Jason Taylor walks back in the endzone and scoops it up and lays the ball over the crossbar, it's bad football. Fumble the punts down there, blow a coverage and let a slot receiver run 50 yards downfield for a touchdown, or give up a touchdown pass with 7 seconds to go in the half because you are not playing the technique properly on the receiver. If you do those things then they score points and you get beat.

**Q: Have you gotten into your Miami preparations already?

BB:** Not so much that. It's Monday. It's Miami. We certainly started the process on Miami. We've got a long way to go, but it's under way and we've worked on them.

**Q: This is what I would think is the most important game of the first half of your season…

BB:** Well, yeah now that six have been played. After you play six, the most important game is the seventh. After you've played seven, the most important game is the eighth. If you've played one, the most important game is the second one. There is no doubt that Miami is a big division rival of ours. It's on the road. It's against a team that has a good home record and a good football team, which is usually why you have a good home record. It's going to be a big challenge for us going down there. We've definitely started prepping on them, not at the expense of the Giants, but just our normal preparation work for the team ahead of the one that we are playing.

**Q: Given the likelihood that it will be hot and humid, what about the difficulty with your limited depth in the type of climate?

BB:** It could be more of an issue. We have played six regular season games to this point and I think a lot of, not all, but a lot of game conditioning is built up in game conditioning. You can run around the track, you can do sit ups, you can go out there and practice, but you build up your game conditioning in games. The fact that we've played six, doesn't mean that we are fully ready for everything, but I think we are a lot more ready for it than if we played two. Let's put it that way. I think we are going to have to rely on that, but certainly we are going to have to keep a lot of people involved in the game and we are going to have to be able to utilize all the resources that we have down there, depth, it's always a problem. And it will be a problem in Miami. Being able to keep people as fresh as possible and keep people executing as efficiently as possible.

**Q: Do you think you will have most of your injured players back by the bye week?

BB:** I don't know. Right now the bye week…you might as well be talking about Christmas. I don't know. Right now, it's Miami and what I'm concerned about is who will be ready to play this week.

**Q: Can you talk about [Tyrone] Poole and how he has fit in?

BB:** I think Tyrone has gotten off to a real good start this year. He's made a lot of big plays for us, and he has been probably as consistent as anybody that we have had on defense. Maybe as consistent as anybody as we've had on the team for that matter. His coverage is good. His run-force has been good. He's been in a lot of man-to-man situations. He has played the zones well too. Made a couple nice plays yesterday in the run force. Made a nice play in man to man coverage down their on the goal line on the fade pattern. He's showing up around the ball and usually for the good. He hasn't given up a lot of completions. He has tackled pretty well. Been involved in some blitzes. He has done a good, solid job for us.

**Q: Is he playing basically the way you saw him play in past years?

BB:** I think our system is a little bit different than the Denver and the Carolina and the Indianapolis system and the other teams he has been with, but that being said, they all play man-to-man coverage, they play two-deep coverage, and they play three-deep coverage. So we've seen him do that, but the thing he did yesterday that he hasn't really done a lot of this year, during the regular season, is to play inside in the slot. He did quite a bit of that yesterday where as in previous games he has been playing more on the perimeter. Now he did a lot of that through his career. Did it obviously in Denver, played the inside spot. Indianapolis. So he's had a lot of background in that and he's done some of that for us as well. Yesterday was the first regular season game where he did it as much as he did. So I think his overall performance, his flexibility, his versatility has been a big plus for us.

**Q: Were you at all worried about him back in camp or did you figure it was something he would go through?

BB:** Tough question. Anytime players go through those kinds of situations, you always hope that it will resolve itself. I would say usually it does, but not always. I think that in his situation the coaching staff, his position coaches, the players, the team, I think everything was handled very professionally and that is what really is important from a football standpoint. Everybody's got a job to do, and everybody wants to do well. Nobody wants to go out there and not be successful, players, coaches, whether a guy is starting or a backup. Everybody wants to do well. Eventually you have to try to get everybody pointed in that direction, and if there are any other side issues you try to work through those at whatever pace you can but try to keep first things first and that's the football performance that we are all here for. And I think that everybody did that and I think that's probably the key to having everything turn around.

**Q: The Patriots have never won in Miami in September and October in franchise history. In your career have you ever been a part of a team that has had a domination like that, whether you have been on the positive end or the negative end of that? Do you recall anything like that?

BB:** Maybe not quite that dramatic. But I've been here three years and a lot of our players, some of them haven't even been here that long. So I really don't think it is that important to our players. Who won when New England played in Miami in 1972? What difference does it make? What is important to us is the games that we have played there in recent years, specifically last year, and how we need to play this year. What happened ten years ago, some of these guys were in junior high school, they don't care what happened ten years ago. I'm not minimizing the effect of the franchise's competiveness and the rivalry and all that, but I don't think those games…

Q: But it could be part of a challenge to the team. You could be the first team. That seems like it would be for another reason a big, big win for you in Miami.BB:** I think the biggest reason for us to play well this year is for what this team can accomplish and for what these guys can accomplish themselves. What happened twenty years ago….We all accept what happened and I'm not try

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