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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 10/17

There is nothing special about the match-ups with Miami, it is unique to Miami but it is true of the Jets and Buffalo and other teams like that

BB: What do you have going today?

**Q: Is there a difficult balance between forgetting about what has happened previously down in Miami but maybe using that as motivation?

BB:** It could be. To me the biggest thing for us is just learning from past experiences good and bad how to do and how not to do it. Especially against a team like Miami where a lot of the elements are in place from other games, the same coaching staffs, a lot of the same players, a lot of the same schemes, what is effective and what is not against a team like that. That is true of a lot of division games. There is nothing special about the match-ups with Miami, it is unique to Miami but it is true of the Jets and Buffalo and other teams like that who we play competitively. You always want to do well and we haven't done well. You want to try to reverse that trend.

**Q: Reverse the curse?

BB:** Or in our case, start a new one.

**Q: Where is Matt Light? How far has he come in his 2-½ years as a starter?

BB:** I think he has come a long way. I think he also, for a rookie, did a pretty good job coming in and playing left tackle as a rookie for the majority of the season. He missed some games and wasn't there every snap but he played a lot and he played pretty well for a rookie at that spot which we know is a tough one. I would say since then, I think his game has improved. I think he has really improved in the running game. He has more overall body strength and explosion and he is a pretty good pass protector over there. I think his game has improved a lot. I also thought that he had a good rookie year, all things considered, good not great.

**Q: How about Rodney Harrison? What kind of impact has he had with not only his play but also his personality?

BB:** I think a big one. He has really come in and done a good job for us. He has taken control back there in the secondary. I think he has got a real presence on the field that the whole team respects, not just defensively, but you hear the offensive guys talk about it as well. He is just a real respected guy. He works hard. Football is real important to him and he wants to do everything that he can to not only be the best he can be but also to help the team in whatever way he can help it. That is one way to really earn everybody's respect in a hurry is to show that kind of unselfishness as well as a real physical style of play. I think in terms of the recognition that he got from the team a couple of weeks ago about wanting to make him a captain is I think indicative of what kind of respect he has back there. He has given us a very high level of play too.

**Q: How did that happen? How does the team elect captains?

BB:** We got talking and talked to the captains about it, the feeling that was conveyed…that is one of the things that captains do. It is hard as a coach to talk to every single player on the team all of the time. It is also hard for every single player to talk to the coach and that is one of the things that captains do. They represent the team and what their feelings are. Sometimes if they have a question about something, 'Why are we doing this?' or 'Why are we doing that?', sort of like the media and the fans. It is a conduit of information. It is a very important position on the team. I personally have always have put a lot of importance in it and try to talk to the team about. It is not just a popularity contest or that type of thing. The captain is an important job and the people that represent the players should be good representatives. A lot of things get done that way. Probably on any team, but on this team as well.

**Q: Is that at all unusual for a new guy to come in and earn that respect right away and be voted to captain, especially in a locker room with so many veterans?

BB:** I think it is unusual but not unprecedented. We had a similar situation with Bryan Cox a couple of years ago. Again, not unprecedented but it is not the run of the mill thing either. I think it is recognized and I think that everybody felt like it was the right thing to do. Then when I mentioned it to the coaching staff they felt the same way too. It is just one of those things sometimes where you know it is the right thing to do. You don't want to have a process in place that inhibits what the best thing for the team is. You find a way to put the team first and get done what you have to get done.

**Q: This was the other team captains coming to you?

BB:** Well, I think there were other people talking on the team and again as we were talking about some other things, some subjects bump into each other. It kind of came about that way.

**Q: What are those captain's meetings like? Do you have agendas?

BB:** Old business, new business? Sure. We meet on a regular basis and talk about the things that are pertinent to the team obviously the upcoming game is on the agenda. Other things that can come up from time to time, the schedule, and the flow of attitudes in the locker room. If the team sees a problem coming, they bring it up to me. Sometimes I can see a problem coming and bring it up to them. Sometimes reinforcing things that are going well, 'Look I like the way the team has been doing this or doing that, let's keep doing that.' Or the players might say, 'This has really been working out well the last few weeks. Can we keep doing this? We were able to get things done more productively by doing it this way.' Sometimes they have questions about the way we do things whether it is a particular part of the game plan or play calling or a situation that comes up. It just helps to try to clear things up.

**Q: Do you depend on them more than some of the other coaches you have been around?

BB:** That is a tough question. When you are the head coach and you deal with the captains, it is hard if you are not a part of that group, if you were another assistant coach or another player to know exactly how that interaction worked back and forth. It would be hard for me to say exactly how that was with somebody else when I wasn't a part of it. It is important to me and I think that our captains here through the years have really done a great job. I think we have a great group this year. These guys, they put the team first. When they speak, they speak on behalf of the team not on a personal basis like, 'Here is what I want' or 'This would be great for me.' They really think about the entire group. Sometimes it is little logistical things, whether it is traveling or again, our schedule or just the way things are in the weight room or the locker room or whatever it happens to be. A lot of times it is little things but those little things add up and make a smoother flow.

**Q: Who are the other team captains?

BB:** Larry Izzo is our special teams captain. Tom [Brady] and Troy Brown are the offensive captains. Ted Johnson, Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour are the defensive captains and then Rodney is also now a defensive captain.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about [Sam] Madison and [Patrick] Surtain and how prepared you are to match-up against them?

BB:** Well in terms of preparation we have played against them a lot. So I think that we have seen them play in a lot of different situations and against a lot of different types of receivers, the big receivers, the quicker receivers and all of the different types of styles of guys. I would say the main thing on those guys is they are very good. They compliment each other well and they performed well consistently. They are both real physical at the line of scrimmage. They all can jam the receivers. They get up on them and use their hands, and they make it tough to get off the line of scrimmage. They both have very good ball skills. When you throw a ball around them rather than some guys it is…as a quarterback and as a coach you don't really worry about incompletions. You can't go into the game saying, 'Well we can't afford an incomplete pass.' You just can't think like that. You are going to have them. Turnovers are another matter. So when a defensive back is able to take a bad pass and turn it into a turnover and change of possession then those are the big plays and that is one thing that they do a good job of. They have good hands, they have good ball skills and if you put a loose ball in their area they will make it a turnover and those are the kind of plays that chance a game. They are instinctive. They have good ball skills and they are physical and they make it tough for the receivers to get off the line and run their routes. That being said, the Dolphins play a lot of two deep coverages so they have a lot of deep help from the safeties. Not a lot, but they have deep help from the safeties at times, which allows them to be more aggressive. Part of it is the scheme but they are also good players.

**Q: What does Sammy Knight add to their defense?

BB:** Sammy is a very instinctive player. Most of the time in New Orleans he played strong safety and they played a lot of eight-man fronts and he was down closer to the line of scrimmage. So he is very good in the running game. He ends up on the ball a lot. He just finds the ball and ends up on it. He is really kind of, not that every player couldn't be classified in this a little bit, but I would say that he is really a playmaker. He anticipates things well. He has historically had a lot of interceptions, a lot of big hits, a lot of big plays and I think that comes from his film study and his preparation and kind of knowing what is going to happen and then getting a little bit of the jump on it and being there and making big plays. He is a very instinctive guy, he is a hard hitter and he is good around the line of scrimmage in terms of fitting on the running game and tackling and that type of thing.

**Q: Did you look at him during free agency and say, 'Hey he might fit I here?'

BB:** We look at all of the players that are available. We didn't visit him or that type of thing. He ended up signing with Miami. We weren't really in on that one heavily. We have a lot of respect for the player and were certainly aware of what his accomplishments are. Given the position that he played and the way the rest of our team was made up, it wasn't a top priority move for us at that particular point in time.

**Q: Does Mike Vrabel have a chance to play this weekend?

BB:** Mike has been out there moving around a little bit. I think there is an outside chance, I think if he did play, I am not sure that he would be able to do everything that he would normally do if he played. We will just have to see how is today, tomorrow after being a little more active. He hasn't really done anything now for a few weeks. We will see how that is coming along and how close he would be actually in the game and what roles he would be able to fill because I doubt that he would be able to, if he did play, do all of the things in the past he has been able to do.

**Q: Does he still have to wear some sort of protection?

BB:** Sure.

**Q: But is it removable?

BB:** Well, it is something that he wouldn't have normally played with so it is a little bit inhibited.

**Q: But it is not a hard cast?

BB:** Those hard cast have to be padded. The officials check that in the locker room before you go out for warm ups every game. Whatever it is you have to comply with whatever the exact requirements are on a cast. It is definitely something that has to be complied with in terms of the protection of the player but at the same time so it can't be used as a weapon out there.

**Q: Earlier this year Ricky Williams ran 42 times against Buffalo. Why not throw an eight-man front against them? Is it not that simple?

BB:** Well I think in a game like that, and we have all seen those before especially with a team like Miami that has a running back like Ricky, you get ahead in the game 17-0 or whatever it was and you are playing pretty well defensively, you just keep giving it to him and you stop them. You get it back and you just keep giving it to him again and those numbers can pile up. Miami played very well defensively in that game. They didn't give up much of anything. When you feel like you have that kind of control of the game and you have a back like that, I think it is easy to keep handing him the ball. It is not like he couldn't gain yards either. Now if it is 17-0 the other way, then you just don't have those same opportunities. If we get behind 17-0, I am sure you will see up I a lot of eight-man fronts and I am sure that you will see them handing the ball to Ricky a lot. I hope it doesn't get to that point but if it does, I think that is probably the way the game is going to go. If the score was different and the circumstances were different, I don't know that they would be doing that every play and I doubt that we would be playing that same type of defense. To answer your question, I think some of those things are situational.

**Q: Was it situational, because I remember after the first Miami game last year, you talked about how he got 100 yards, but the average yards per carry, he ran 30 something times. But when he came up here he averaged 6 yards per carry. Was it just situational? You weren't expecting them to run when they came up here?

BB:** Well, when they played us up here, Ricky running the ball had a lot to do with them getting the lead in the game. He bounced some plays out and he hit some big runs on us. I would say a lot of that running, no, wasn't after the fact. I don't think he had the same number of carries. He wasn't up in the 40 carry range which all I am saying is when a back has a lot of carries like that, a lot of times that is the result of the score and situation in the game. No, his yardage was not because they just kept handing it to him. It was because he had some long runs in there.

**Q: I may not have asked that clearly. Down there they were ahead and they kept handing it to him.

BB:** And he probably had more carries in the first game and less yards.

**Q: Exactly. But when they came here what happened with the defense?

BB:** Most of his yardage came outside. Sometimes he started inside but he bounced it out and he hit plays on the perimeter. That is where a lot of his yardage came. With Ricky, you have to defend the whole field. Some runners make a lot of yards outside and some guys make a lot of yards inside. He really makes them in both spots. He is a power down-hill runner so if he has got a crease he can hit it and make plenty of yards if the defense really collapses on him and doesn't keep a good force position outside, then he has got the speed and the quickness to get it out there and make yards on the perimeter. In our case he had several runs where he started inside, it was kind of congested and then he bounced it out for some 15, 18, 20-yard type of runs. And that yardage piled up in a hurry. That is what happened. In the first game, there weren't as many of those although he did score on one down there, I think, from about…well no, he scored in the second game, I'm sorry. He scored in the second game on about a 15-yard run where he bounced it out and hit it in right inside the pylon.

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