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Bill Belichick Press Conf Transcript - 10/31

Belichick: I am not thinking about the bye week. I don’t really know when the bye week is and I don’t really care when it is.



            **BB:**  Good morning.  

**Q: Do you find it more challenging to get the team to stay focused going into the bye week or is it more challenging to get them to refocus the week after the bye week?

BB:** I am not thinking about the bye week. I don't really know when the bye week is and I don't really care when it is. It's Denver in Denver. We haven't talked about it. We haven't thought about it. We haven't given it two minutes worth of thought.

**Q: You didn't come in and say…

BB:** I mean, what difference does it make?

**Q: You have a veteran team and they are good at focusing, but you haven't come in and said anything, you know, making sure these guys stay focused?

BB:** Well I said one thing. I said, 'I don't want to hear anything about it.' Let's talk about Denver that is it. That was the extent of it. I don't want to talk about that. I don't want to talk about Dallas. I don't want to talk about Miami. I don't want to talk about the Jets. I don't want to talk about Jacksonville. I don't want to talk about anything other than Denver. There is nothing else.

**Q: I have a Denver question. [Laughter]

BB:** [Laughter] So, that puts you in the minority?

**Q: Regarding the whole Monday night thing. You guys are creatures of habit and I know it a long day on the day of the game.

BB:** It is.

**Q: What do you do about that? The waiting around time, how do you change those habits for the Monday night game especially on the road?

BB:** It is a longer day on the road than it is at home. When you play preseason games at night you are basically on that same schedule though, so we have already been through it a few times this year going back to the preseason games. You have a meeting in the late morning around 11 o'clock or so to try to break up the day a little bit and go back and watch some film and go back through your end of the week preparation similar to what you would do Saturday night before a Sunday game but you would do it the day of the game. Then you get a couple of hours break and then there is the pregame meal and then you go play. It is a little bit earlier out there. It is a seven o'clock game instead of a nine o'clock game here. So that takes a couple of hours out of the middle of the day. That is the same situation in preseason. You are just kind of laying around all day waiting for the pregame meal to come, waiting for the bus to come to go to the stadium and then once you get to that point then you are in it.

**Q: Is there an urge to go earlier to the game?

BB:** I think maybe sometimes guys get a little bit antsy and a little itchy and want to get over there. We have two buses that go to the game from the hotel. One is early and the other is maybe 45 minutes or an hour later depending on the trip. We probably have more guys on the earlier bus in a situation like that, you know they just want to get over there and get going. Not that you can really speed it up any but you feel like you going quicker.

**Q: Have you ever experienced any players who got unnerved by the bright lights of Monday night? Or they seemed to make it a focal point in their planning for the week that they were going to be on national TV?

BB:** Yeah, probably. Sure.

**Q: Is it frequent?

BB:** No. I don't think it is a big thing. I would definitely say I have seen it before.

**Q: Any examples?

BB:** I have seen receivers get together and practice what they are going to do after they make a catch. That kind of thing.

**Q: You are big on that aren't you? [Laughter]

BB:** [Laughter] Oh, yeah. I can't wait to get into those kinds of preparations.

**Q: Is watching the Monday night game part of your weekly routine?

BB:** Rarely.

**Q: What are you usually doing?

BB:** I am usually in bed. If it was a game like a division game or occasionally you get one where you are playing the team the next week. Sometimes you might even try to stay up and watch a good part of that one because by the time you get the film in, it is well into Tuesday and just in terms of injuries or their substitution packages sometimes you can see that. TV scouting is hard. You don't really get a lot out of it but sometimes you can pick up a little bit. For the most part, I don't watch very many Monday night games.

**Q: Some coaches have talked about their preference to play pretty much just on Sundays at one o'clock.

BB:** That is awesome.

**Q: Playing on Monday night, is that a big privilege? How much of a change is that for you?

BB:** Is it really a lot more of a change the following week which doesn't really apply that much to us this year. The worst thing about Monday night is when you are on the road and you come back in and you get in late so maybe you don't get here until real early Tuesday morning. Then you look at the film and you are already into Tuesday afternoon and you are further behind than you normally are and you are tired. The only way around that is to try to do a little more work prior to the game on your next opponent depending on who that is and what the situation is. Sometimes that works and sometimes it just doesn't work out.

**Q: Would you be perfectly happy to play all of your games on Sundays at one o'clock?

BB:** Sure. There wouldn't be any complaints from me. But I do think that the Monday night game or any national game it does put a little more of a spotlight on that game. There is nothing wrong with that. Pick out a few teams that deal with it every week whether it is Sunday night or Monday night or Saturdays at the end of the season or Thursday night or Thanksgiving or whatever. You get a couple of those games, two, three whatever it is during the year, it does break it up a little bit. It puts a little bit extra spotlight on the game. That is fine.

**Q: When you go home on Monday night are you all football-ed out?

BB:** Well my kids usually have the game on. It's not like the game is not on. But it is not a big thing to me where I am breaking the speed limit to get home so I can see the game Monday night.

**Q: How was the other Denver team that you coached when you were out there?

BB:** Well that had lost in the Super Bowl to Dallas the year before in 1977. So in 1978 they were coming off of a real good season. We had a good team. We won the AFC West and went 12-4 something like that. We beat Oakland twice and lost to Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Yeah, it was the orange crush. Joe Collier was the defensive coordinator. That was a great experience for me working with Joe and Stan Jones was the defensive line coach. Richie McCabe and Bob Zeman, there was a real good staff there defensively. It was my first real exposure to the 3-4 and the way that Joe played the 3-4 was a lot different than say the way we played it is New York a couple of years later. There were a few things that were the same but there were a lot of differences philosophically and fundamentally. It was interesting to have an exposure to a different type of defense than the one we ended up running with the Giants. It was a good year. We had a good team and had a lot of good players especially defensively.

**Q: Did you have a leaning at that point in your career as to weather you were going to be a defensive coach or an offensive coach?

BB:** Yes. To me, I had a fantastic opportunity at the beginning of my career when I was with the Colts in 1975. Maxie Baughan was the defensive coordinator and I worked on defense and special teams with George Boutselis the special teams coach. Then, when I went to Detroit the next year, I worked with the tight ends on offense. But the fact that I had been on defense the year before and also worked on special teams with [Jerry] Glanville and Floyd Reese kind of pulled me over there a little bit on the defensive side of the ball even though I wasn't coaching, but the special teams did and Jimmy Carr and Fritz Shurmur were there on defense as well. Any free time that I had, I got in there and they weren't playing the 3-4 but they were in an odd front and it was very similar to a 3-4. Then the next year, I went from the tight ends to the receivers so I kind of had two years on offense, three years on special teams and then when I went to Denver, it was more back to the defensive side of the ball and a little more with the secondary with Richie McCabe and special teams as well. So really I had four years of special teams, two on offense and two on defense when I came to the Giants in 1979 as a special teams coach. A lot of exposure unfortunately to a lot of different systems and a lot of moving around, but I learned a lot in those four years and they were all different. Maxie's defense when he came over from Washington with George Allen, had every coverage, every adjustments, every thing in the history of football you could do and 20 different adjustments on every defense. By the end of the year we windowed it about two calls. That is when we ended up winning. But the Redskins played it and it was obviously an experience thing. Out in Denver we would go into a game plan with 50 different fronts. It was unbelievable. 50 different fronts, maybe four coverages, but 50 different fronts, so that was another whole exposure to a defensive system and all of them were good. You can't play any better defense than George Allen played with the Redskins. So that is a great system and the orange crush system. Then being in Detroit and watching the defensive system that we ran there which was kind of maybe a little bit of a contrast between the two of them. It was a lot of exposure plus four years on special teams.

**Q: Being exposed to Lyle Alzedo, was that good preparation?

BB:** Oh, yeah sure. Lyle was an interesting guy. Those are back in the days where, first of all, I don't know if there were any teams that had a weight coach. The weight coach was a position coach who took role in the weight room, that type of thing. Lyle was one of the first players, you know they had a universal gym or whatever it was, 40 guys on the team all worked out in that one little, you know, with the pulley's, that type of deal. Floyd Reese did it at Detroit. Floyd lifted weights at UCLA and was kind of a small guy but he was very bulked up and that is why he was, I am sure, such a good player. He had a pretty good program there and then we had some free weight and had a decent program out in Denver and Stan Jones was the coach out there who of course is in the Hall of Fame and all. But Lyle was kind of the guy who was the first guy in, last guy out, doing 200-pound dumbbells and all of that kind of thing. He was packed. He had a lot inside of him, in a lot of different ways.

**Q: [Laughter]

BB:** But he was quite a character out there. Lyle played right end, Rubin Carter played the nose and Barney Chavous played left end. The linebackers were [Bob] Swenson who was probably the best linebacker out there. Then [Tom] Jackson, [Joe] Rizzo and [Randy] Gradishar. In the secondary, [Steve] Foley was a college quarterback who they converted to corner and then converted him to free safety. Then Louis Wright and Billy Thompson was the strong safety who was outstanding, might have been the best defensive player on that team, I would say Billy Thompson and Swenson. Louis Wright was a good player. That was a good group.

**Q: How are they using [Deltha] O'Neal this year?

BB:** He was inactive last week against Baltimore. He has been returning punts. He started off the season at corner opposite of…he was starting corner, it looked like [Lenny] Walls and [Kelly] Herndon were kind of battling for the other spot. It looked like walls ended up starting over there. Herndon was coming in and playing in the slot and on third down. Then Herndon eventually started playing more at corner last week. Deltha was inactive although he continued to return punts and play in the kicking game. He has made some plays. I don't know how many interceptions he has but he has made a few plays. They ended up going with Herndon and Walls now in their regular stuff. Then O'Neal was coming in and playing sub in the outside position I would say for the last two or three weeks until last week when he was inactive.

**Q: How much did you know about these guys before you studied them this week? Those guys are not really household names at cornerback?

BB:** The whole secondary really other than, of course, Kinoy Kennedy we saw him last year. But [Sam] Brandon played in the kicking game for them and he had very little defensive playtime. Izell Reese played there at free safety last year when Kinoy played strong and Brandon was a very good special teams player but didn't get a lot of playing time on defense. He moved in at free safety and then when Kennedy got hurt about a month ago, he missed three or four games, then they took Nick Ferguson and they put him in there. Now we new Ferguson from the Jets but again, he got very little defensive playing time with the Jets. He was primarily a special teams player, and a very good one, but then I thought he really played well for them at safety when he was in there for Kennedy. Now Kennedy came back last week and so they are kind of playing all three of them at that spot. Kennedy is the only guy that we really knew, even though we played them last year, and Brandon and Ferguson, their defensive playtime has picked up a lot. The same thing with Walls and Herndon. Last year we saw [Tyrone] Poole was in the slot and it was O'Neal and Denard Walker. O'Neal is playing a little bit less. Obviously Denard Walker is gone and Walls and Herndon played, well Walls didn't play at all and Herndon played very little defensively I think through the whole season but certainly to the midway point when we played them last year. Yes, there are a lot of new faces there.

**Q: One other guy, the rookie, Jashon Sykes…

BB:** Well, he came out last year. He was a rookie and he was in the 2002 draft. He played at Colorado and was a good player. He was a very good player at Colorado. He broke his neck and so there were a lot of medical concerns about him in the draft. He ended up not being draft. I am sure that was part of the reason. He signed there locally with Denver and then was on their practice squad last year. Then about midway through the season, they elevated him from their practice squad up to their roster, I think he played in the kicking game. I think what he showed last year in preseason was the fact that he had gotten over his injury at Colorado. This year he was backing up, and then got an opportunity to play and [Donnie] Spragan stepped in there last week after [John] Mobley got hurt. It is Spragan, Sykes and big Al Wilson.

**Q: That is a lot of turnover. What allows them to stay at the top of the league in defense?

BB:** I think it starts up front. It definitely starts up front. They have a real good defensive line. Trevor Pryce is as good as it is going to get. You can talk about [Michael] Strahan, you can talk about Simon down there in Philadelphia. You can talk about the guys at Miami and you can put him right up there with them. He is big. He is very powerful. I would say similar, if you want to compare him to somebody, which I know you always like to do that, I think you can compare him to Kevin Carter because Carter plays end for Tennessee but then they move him inside in sub. Pryce plays in when they want him to play in. He plays tackle when they want him to play tackle. He pretty much runs over whoever they put him front up. It doesn't really matter where he plays. So he is a little bit of that kind of guy. [Bertrand] Berry has given them a lot of speed off of the edge, [Daryl] Gardener has done a good job for them inside. They picked up [Mario] Fatafehi so they have a good defensive line. Pryce is really a hard guy to deal with. Their linebackers who are obviously a very fast group, it is like we said before, sometimes you have these guys who are backup players and they are just okay, they are not better than Ian Gold, but that doesn't mean they are not good football players. As soon as they get a chance to get in there, they are chomping at the bit and they are ready to go. The corners, those guys have done a good job for them. They really have. They lost Poole. They lost Denard Walker. Those guys have gotten in and played and they have taken advantage of the opportunity and they are playing well. Izell Reese left and you have two guys battling for one spot and both of them are playing well and really probably either one of them could have got it and then they ended up playing both of them, Brandon and Ferguson when Kennedy was out. Now, it looks like they have three good safeties. That is what competition does. It brings to the best in you. Sometimes you just need the chance.

**Q: Have you started anyone else on the PUP list practicing?

BB:** Steve Neal, no. [Gene] Mruczkowski, no. We've had five guys. Kenyatta [Jones], obviously [was released], [Tully] Banta-Cain we have activated. [Chas] Gessner is in his second week, whatever it is and Mruczkowski and Neal probably we might activate one of them next week to practice. Since, again, the clock is kind of running on that. But as we are going forward here, I thought we would do maybe about one guy a week just to kind of spread it out like we talked about earlier.

**Q: Do you have to start that 21-day clock?

BB:** No.

**Q: Is there like a certain deadline to start it?

BB:** No. You have a six-week window there. So let's say you started it in the fifth week, then you would only have a 14-day window instead of 21-days. You just cut that window down. If the guy is not ready to practice, then he is not ready to practice. Or for example, you could go through that whole time period and let's say he is never ready to practice, he is just not healthy then you would never practice him and you would just place him on injured reserve.

**Q: As guys start to get healthy, are you going to have different challenges there?

BB:** Well let's wait until they all get back and then we will make those decisions when we have to. Until they are all back, until they are all healthy, until that situation really presents itself, a lot of the same elements are going to be, the names change, but a lot of the decision making, the elements are still going to be the same.

**Q: How are the two Ted's doing? [Johnson and Washington]

BB:** Better. Better. They are walking around normally. They don't have the crutches and the boot and all of that. They are starting to put more weight on it and starting to do some straight ahead running and starting to do some cutting and that kind of thing. It is moving along. It is a day-by-day process. I think you take guys like that and you go out there and do something with them one day. If they feel good and they don't have any pain and they don't have any setbacks then you do a little bit more the next day. If they go out there and it feels a little sore or it doesn't feel as it good the day before, then you back down and wait until the next day and start it back the next day. Sometimes it is this, sometimes it is that. It is hard to know exactly how that progression is going to go but you just take it day-by-day rather than try to do the crystal ball deal and say, 'Okay, on November 15th he is going to be 100 percent.' I mean, who knows? Some people try to do that, it is impossible.

**Q: Have you talked to Rosevelt Colvin at all?

BB:** Yes. Rosie, he comes in about once a week. It is a little bit of a problem for him to get in here. So he is coming in a little bit less frequently. But I think in a short period of time, he will be coming in regularly. The big thing for him is to just be off of his feet. Now when we get a few weeks down the road, I think he will be able to come in on a regular basis. Not that he couldn't. It is just a project.

**Q: It's not like he can come in here and do any work anyway really.

BB:** Yeah, it is limited at this point.

**Q: Can you talk about Larry Izzo and his situation?

BB:** With regard to?

**Q: His father's death. Has he been back and forth a little bit?

BB:** Yes. He has had some personal things there to attend to, yes.

**Q: Someone had a note in their column saying that he had been back and forth between here and Texas. Has he asked for time off?

BB:** Well it is pretty obvious what the personal situation is. His father lived in Texas and he will be buried at West Point. I don't know exactly what…I've talked to Larry. I am generally aware of what he is going through. Some of the specific things, the personal details and all of that, that he has to attend to and so forth, he has attended to them.

**Q: Is seemed like he was going out of his way to stay in touch with the team?

BB:** Absolutely. We have sent him all of the preparation things that we are doing, the game plan things and the scouting reports so that he can keep up with us. But he just physically needs to be away for a period of time to attend to some personal matters.

**Q: How about the THG thing? Do you want to comment on that?

BB:** I comment on as few league matters as possible. I have learned my lesson on that one

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