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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 10/22

Belichick: I’ve spent the last couple of days looking at this Cleveland team and this is really an explosive football team.



            **BB:**  I've spent the last couple of days looking at this Cleveland team and this is really an explosive football team.  I am very impressed by their offensive weapons, their receivers, the running game, and the quarterbacks.  They really have a very explosive group, a very fast group and the kind of team that can score from anywhere on the field including the kick return game which includes the same people.  Defensively, this is a team that I think is very strong.  I think they have only given up 16 points per game.  They are second in the league in red area.  They are knocking the quarterback down.  They had a couple of games in the running game that weren't that good but most of the time they have been pretty good in the running game.  This is a playoff team from last year and that is what it looks like on tape.  They look pretty good.  I think that Butch [Davis] has done a real good job of cutting down some mistakes there.  They are not very heavily penalized at all.  They take care of the ball and they get some turnovers.  I think these guys are pretty tough and offensively this is a very explosive group.  There are a lot of things to worry about on the defensive side of the ball.  You all have the injury list and it is what it is there.  I think as it has been for the last few weeks, we'll still be working pretty close to game time before anything even begins to start to clear up.  That is where we are for this morning.  

**Q: Does not knowing who is going to start for them at quarterback cause you some problems?

BB:** Sure, it does. Both guys have been very productive. They have won with both players and both guys have really shown the ability to make big plays and move the team. They a little bit different playing styles and that is a problem for us. We will have to be ready for both. I am sure they feel comfortable with either guy in there and feel like they could win with either guy because they have won. That just makes our challenge that much tougher. We will have to ready for both of them.

**Q: Jamal Lewis set a record in rushing yards against the Browns. What happened there? Did they have guys that were out for that game?

BB:** Lewis had a couple of long runs and [LaDanian] Tomlinson had one last week so naturally that pushes the numbers up. If you take away a couple of those long plays…when you are looking at a team and you see somebody hit an 80-yard touchdown against them, it is hard for you to sit there and count on that play every week. It was a big play. The guy made a good run. Cleveland missed a couple of tackles. But then you look at the rest of the plays and there is not much there. It is hard to count on 80-yard touchdowns. It is hard to count on intercepting a pass and running it back for a touchdown. It is hard to count on a punt return for a touchdown. You work hard for those plays and when they come they are great plays, but it is hard to go into the game and say, 'Okay, we are going to have two 80-yard touchdown runs and scoop up a fumble and run that back for a touchdown and now we are up in the twenties.' That is the tough part. Yes, they have given a couple of big plays but overall they look pretty solid and again, I think in five of the games this year, the other team hasn't rushed for 100 yards and they are leading the league in pass defense. There are a lot of plays there that don't look very good. Like all of us they have had a couple that could have been better.

**Q: Do you have comments or any updates on Kenyatta Jones' situation?

BB:** No. I was informed about it this morning. I am not going to comment on it right now. I don't really have enough information at this point to shed much light on it. I can't really comment on it. I'll just have to find out more information.

**Q: Do you expect him to practice this week?

BB:** Not today, but I will have to wait until I know more about the situation.

**Q: What makes Cleveland such a good road team?

BB:** That is a good question and sometimes it is a funny thing. Sometimes your team just takes on a personality or an attitude about us against the world going on the road playing in a hostile environment, not really having much support, just pulling everybody together a little bit tighter knowing that you are never going to get any support on the road from the fans. You are going to have to generate all of your energy internally. Sometimes that pushes a teams performance level up a little bit. I am not sure exactly. I am not part of the team. They seem to have a good attitude about it because they have done very well in the last two years. They are as good as anybody in the league.

**Q: Coming off an emotional win in beating Miami and Cleveland losing to San Francisco last week, how do you guard against your team being over confident this week?

BB:** Cleveland is a good football team. Watching them on film it is easy to see, they make big plays offensively, they are tough defensively, and they are good in the kicking game. When you watch Cleveland on tape, you see a good football team. They are well coached and they are tough and they make a lot of good plays. That is really where our focus is; to try to be ready to match their strengths and they have a lot of them.

**Q: Your record is 8-3 here at Gillette Stadium. Do you notice a difference in playing here in the stadium?

BB:** I think there are always some advantages to playing at home. One is being n a regular routine. Anytime you have weather conditions, which we have in our situation, sometimes you can use those to your advantage or at least your players are a little bit more familiar with the surroundings and the intricacies of the weather situation on your field relative to doing it somewhere else. Sometimes there is just a comfort level of being in an environment that you are familiar with and the support, those all can be positives. But none of them are positives if you don't play well out on the field. If you go out there and turn the ball over and give up big plays and have a bunch of penalties, that spins everything in the other direction. A big part of the home field advantage is going out there and playing well. If you can do that then you will have a better chance.

**Q: With the streak that you team is on, is there any one characteristic that you can say has been carrying your team the last three games?

BB:** I think it has been a combination of things. I don't think I am really looking at it or the team is looking at it as anything of a consecutive nature. This week it is get ready for Cleveland and find a way to play as well as we can against the Browns and that is what it is about. It is not about last week or the week before. We have had our ups and downs this year. Some weeks have been good and some weeks haven't. We have been on both sides of the roller coaster. That is really a lot less important to us than what we do looking forward.

**Q: If you asked 100 football fans to assess Cleveland's play this year, I would guess that over 90 of them would use the word inconsistent. Is that because we are letting the big plays that they have given up skew our perception of what is going is on?

BB:** Sure. Big plays change games, we all know that. You go out there and then a team runs the ball 20 times for 50 yards and then they break one for 80, now they have run 21 for 130 and you have a whole different picture. You can't take that play away but again, when you are playing that team, you see a lot of plays that are good plays and okay they had one bad one, well let's hope they have one against us but it is hard to count on that. Or it is hard for you to count on having the right play on against the right defense and we just hit it perfectly and everything works out great. It is just hard to count on those things and really they are few and far between. There aren't a lot of those plays but there have been a couple and every team has had them. Cleveland is in a lot of close games. They win a lot of close games and they do a lot of things right. We are going to have to go out there and play well to win. There is no question about that. This is a good football team. They were in the playoffs last year, which is a lot more than we can say and deserved to be there.

**Q: Your team is a favorite to win this week, do you have to say anything to your team to guard against that?

BB:** I think when we watch Cleveland play on film, you have all of the respect in the world for the Browns. To me, that is where it is. I don't know about any of that other stuff, I don't rally care about it. If we can get the points, I'll take them. But I don't think we are going to get any. It is going to start 0-0 and we are going to have to generate our own production out there. But when you watch the Cleveland Browns on film, you see a good football team. You see a team that is well-coached, you see a team that is tough, you see a team that makes a lot of big plays and they are a good football team.

**Q: With you injury situation and their depth at receiver…

BB:** They have great depth at receiver.

**Q: Is this one of the biggest challenges, position versus position, that you are going to face?

BB:** Sure. It wouldn't make a difference who you have, their receiver situation is very strong. Four guys have been very productive and then you have White who is a back but he is a receiver, he is out of the back field a lot, they split him out into a receiver position. A lot of times they have five guys out there. All five of them are productive. All five of them are fast, they can all make big plays, they can beat you on a go-route, they can take a two-yard pass and run it for 70 yards and run all the intermediate stuff in between. So it is a very explosive group and whichever quarterback is in there, that guy is going to get them the ball.

**Q: How about William Green? What has he shown you and how has he been running?

BB:** I think he has been running well and the Browns have been running well about the last two or three weeks. Their production has been good. I think that Green is a back that has, it's only his second year in the league, but I think he has similarities in terms of style to Ricky Williams. He has the speed to bounce outside. He has the speed to hit the perimeter of the formation. At the same time, when he gets going north and south and gets his shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage he runs hard and he is powerful. He runs through arm tackles and he makes a lot of yardage. If you give him a crease, he will hit it and he will make good yardage. If you don't keep him contained, he has the speed to bounce it out and make big plays out there too. You have to defend the whole field against him.

**Q: He has a shoulder problem as well then you have the [Kelly] Holcomb/[Tim] Couch situation. How does that enter into your plans?

BB:** It just makes it more difficult because they are all good players, they are all productive players. They have all done very well when they had an opportunity so we have to be ready for all of them. Anytime you go into a game, you always have to know who the second quarterback is. Every player is one sprained ankle away from the other guy behind him coming in. So you always have to be aware of that. This is a week where, again, both quarterbacks have done very well when they have had an opportunity to play. We will have to be ready for either guy.

**Q: what is the coaching dynamic when dealing with two quarterbacks? Is must be tough to juggle that.

BB:** I think it depends on who the two players are if they are at opposite extremes like for example a couple of years ago when we played Michael Vick and [Chris] Chandler in the same game. Those guys are about as different as you could be as quarterbacks. So you might have calls for one guy that you wouldn't have for another otherwise I think it is more of an awareness thing of being aware of each guy's tendencies and maybe things that they do a little bit differently but the overall structure of the offense stays intact. That is I think more of the case with the Browns that they are pretty much going to run all of the same plays no matter which quarterback is in there. I don't think that affects them too much. But there is a little difference in the execution styles of Tim and Kelly and so you just have to be aware of which guy is in there.

**Q: On the other side with Butch Davis, you have dealt with two quarterbacks at once. What do you have to do as a coach of a football team when dealing with two quarterbacks?

BB:** Well, I am sure what Butch will do is make the decision that he thinks is best for his football team and take everything into consideration which I don't what all of those factors are but whatever they all are, he will take a look at all of them and say, 'Here is what is best for our football team,' and make that decision to try to win the game. I am sure that is what he will do. That is what you have to do. What all the factors are and how things interact and play off of each other, that is something that you really need to be a part of a team to understand that either as the coordinator or the quarterback coach or the head coach or whatever the positions are that get into those decisions.

**Q: How pleased are you with Ty Warren's performance?

BB:** Well I think that Ty is making progress. I think he has played better the last few weeks. He has gotten a little more playing time and he has learned from the game experience. I think he has made some improvement based on game experience and those have been positives. He has still got a long way to go. There has been some progress and that is good.

**Q: His time, is that more of a result of necessity, the injuries, or did you feel he was ready to take more time out there?

BB:** I think both. I think he has improved. I think that he has shown that he is ready for playing time and can play and contribute in the league and then as he has played, he has played well enough to warrant more playing time. At the same time, we have had some guys that have gone out and their playtime has to be taken by somebody else. I think he is a little bit of the beneficiary of that too.

**Q: At the start of the year, what was holding him back?

BB:** Nothing. Like any other rookie, they come in and start at a point that other veteran players are at particularly ones that have been in our system where they have a lot of experience in the league. It is a process where they have to improve and understand not only our system, but how to play against bigger, stronger, faster players than they played against in college and refine their techniques and Ty has done that. He hasn't done anything other than make steady progress but he wasn't at the beginning of the year where some of veteran players were based on their experience in our system and in the NFL.

**Q: When preparing for team that has so many question marks with regard to injury, how much does that take away from your preparation during the week?

BB:** Every team is going to have a couple of those. There are a couple of those things every week. I think that is kind of the normal procedure. The Browns look like the Browns to me. Whichever quarterback is in there, both quarterbacks have performed well. I am sure they feel like they feel like they could win with both of them and they should because both guys have won. On the offensive line they have mad a couple of adjustments in there over the last couple of weeks but they have played well. They have run the ball well and that part of it has been solid for them. Defensively, it is all pretty much the same guys to me. The same linebackers, the same linemen, the same secondary, for the most part, in all six, seven games this year. It looks like it is pretty much the same guys to me.

**Q: Any emotional ties there still with Cleveland with cutting your teeth there as a head coach?

BB:** It has been a while. It has been almost 10 years. It was five years there. It was a significant part of my life and in my career but that was a long time ago. No more than the Giants or the Jets or anybody else. Plus the franchise has moved so there are very few people there that were even there when I was there.

**Q: What about their fans passion for football there in Cleveland?

BB:** They have very enthusiastic fans. They are knowledgeable fans. That is the cradle of football, that is where it started. That is where the hall of fame is. High school football is big. There are I don't know how many colleges in Ohio play football. It must be 40 or 50 whatever it is. There is a lot of football there and there are a lot of fans. The people know the game and they know it well. They are knowledgeable and they are passionate for it. To me it is good that there is a franchise there. I think there should be one there and this is a very strong one. The fans support them with a lot of enthusiasm and vigor.

**Q: Do you feel that you have a better handle on this roster compared to other years, seven games into the season you have seen almost everyone on this roster thrust into the spotlight either starting or the number two guy?

BB:** Right. That is a good point. Honestly, I hadn't really though of it that way. But I think what you are saying is absolutely true. Usually if you play six or seven games, there are going to be some guys that have been inactive every week or really haven't gotten a chance to play. This year our situation, just about everybody that we have on the 53-man roster has played in most cases with significant playtime. And you do, you have an evaluation of where they are in game conditions in the NFL. I would say from that standpoint it is a little bit unusual and we have seen them in game action, which isn't always the case. So, yes I would have to agree with that.

**Q: Does that make it easier?

BB:** I don't know if it makes it easier but I do think when you have seen guys playing games and they have established a level of performance, then until you see something different you are kind of counting on that level of performance. You always hope it improves a little bit but at least you have a base line to work with and you really don't have that if the guy hasn't played. You might think that this is where it is going to be but until you actually see it out there in live competition, it is just not verified.

**Q: Speaking of a guy like that, how about Chris Akins? It seems that he played more at safety than has previously.

BB:** He did.

**Q: Was his performance satisfying to you?

BB:** Chris has had some defensive playing time. He had a lot in preseason. Actually I think he had more defensive playtime in preseason than any other safety. It just worked out that way. Chris has come in and he has learned our system. The opportunities he has had to play, I think he has done a pretty good job with. Some things are better than others but overall he has shown that he can go in there and do what we need him to do and he has been very productive in the kicking game. He has really been outstanding in that area. It has been a big lift for us.

**Q: Is that what you counted on him doing when he came in?

BB:** Well that is what we had seen him do the most of. He really had very little defensive playtime in Cleveland and very little in Green Bay. You could evaluate him a little bit on some preseason games but almost all of his playtime in those two organizations was in the kicking game. To some degree that was a little bit of an unknown.

**Q: All the guys who contribute, does that help in the locker room with bonding? Because it might be easier to respect say a newcomer whose locker is right next to yours and you know that he can be counted on to help win a game rather than being on the team and he hasn't done anything.

BB:** Right, like he is just wearing the jersey. I think that is a solid point. I think that it is more important than in the locker room I think it is on the field. When you are standing out there with your 10 other guys, you want to feel like those 10 other guys you can count on them so you can be aggressive and do your job. That is what you want all of the players to feel. I think that there is a sense of security there that whoever the other 10 guys are in the huddle, our players have confidence in them, not because of anything other than they have gone out there and performed it on the practice field and now they have had a chance to do it in regular season competition. That is a good building base and, again, it gets higher as you can improve communication and work together and build more teamwork but it is certainly a good starting point where a guy is not sitting there thinking, 'I am not sure this guy has got it. Yes, we have played with him, he has got it and I can do my job more aggressively.'

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