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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 11/1/2002

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BB: Just a clarification on the roster situation, right now we have 52 players on the active roster, and yesterday we started the clock, so to speak, on Antwoine Womack, and he began practice. So, that means, Leonard Myers started last week, and Womack started yesterday, and each of those players has a 21-day window from the time they started practice until the end of their practice eligibility occurs. Within that window we have the option of either activating the player to the 53-man roster, or at the end of the 21 days, if he's not activated, then he would return to injured reserve. So, just as a clarification on those two players, Myers and Womack, they're both actively practicing, at this point they still remain on the PUP list, or NFI list, and at some point, depending on the end of that window, then they will either be active, or go back on injured reserve, or NFI, and that's where they'll be for the rest of the year, and then of course the four practice squad players. I know there was a little question as to where those guys sit, and so forth and so on, but that's the situation there. Otherwise, nothing new on the injury report, and that's all the updates I've got.

Q: I understand that you're trying to improve the team as you go on here. Is wide receiver a position that you may need to address?

BB: No, I don't think it's one we need to address at all. I think that if an opportunity comes up, we would take a look at it, but I feel that our receivers have been productive, I think they will be productive. I think that probably is a position that we have as much depth at as any position on the team, just in terms of depth. Now, we have five players on the active roster, and probably every team on the league, including us, would have at least six receivers, if not more, when you include practice squad players just to be able to run patterns and help the defense, and have potential special teams players and so forth because that's the nature of the position. Some teams carry six receivers and don't have one on the practice squad, some teams carry five receivers and have one on the practice squad, and there are some teams that have as many as eight receivers. So, I think that is a position where, I doubt that there is a team in the league that would have less then six when you combine all of them together. I would say that would be the minimum, I think some are probably closer to seven or eight.

Q: When you look at a guy like Kevin Kasper, would that be more for the kicking game?

BB: Well, [Kevin] Kasper has been a really productive kickoff returner, and I think he probably would lead the league in kickoff returns had he had a few more returns. He came up just a little short in qualifying for the stats, but he's been a productive returner, and that certainly would be part of his value and one of the reasons why we put in a claim on him.

Q: What is the difference between a Wednesday practice and a Friday practice?

BB: Generally, what we do on Wednesdays, of course that's the first day, we give the players the scouting report, we give them the game plan, and we go out there and primarily work on first and second down. Not to say we don't include some third down in that, but it's mainly a first and second down day, then on Thursday we come back and work primarily on third down, review first and second down, and introduce some phase of the red area. Then on Friday, we review first, second, and third down, put a little more concentrated time into the red area, and two-minute. And again, there are some special plays and things like that that may fall into any one of those three days, but as a general format, that's what we would do. So a Friday practice would be a review of first, second, and third down, and a review of something in the red area, maybe it's goal line offense and defense or something like that, but it would be an addition of a couple other things, say two-minute and the rest of the red area, or maybe it's goal line for example. So, the additions each day, that has to do with a couple of things, one, it has to do with meeting time. It would be hard to go in on Wednesday and cover everything as thoroughly as you need to cover it, so by breaking it up into Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday it allows us to take the morning meeting time and say, 'okay, here's what we're going to do on the goal line,' then show the team the film of the goal line, and, 'this is how it would look, this is their adjustments,' and so forth and that kind of thing. So, you're preparation's a lot better, and then when you go out on the field, even before you practice it, and walk through it, again, instead of trying to get through everything in one day, breaking it and segmenting it up is, we just found it's a little better as an installation procedure. Now the things that you review on Friday, could be things that maybe didn't look quite the way you wanted them to look, maybe the defense didn't quite run it the way they run their defense, maybe you just messed up the play and you want to look at it again in terms of timing and execution and that kind of thing. Of course a problem you run into with that is whatever you put in on Friday it's hard to review that again on Saturday. You can review it, but you just usually don't get the same tempo, it's a little bit more of a walk through tempo. Usually if something is messed up on Friday, say you run a play and it doesn't look good, or a guy makes a mistake on it, then usually on Friday you might want to repeat that play again because you really probably don't have another shot at it, unless you just want to do it as a walk through on Saturday.

Q: So you want everything tight on Friday?

BB: Friday is more of a mental day, it's a concentration day, and it's an assignment day. The contact's not as high, in fact it's light, but the game plan is in, everybody knows what to do. If you run a blitz, then everybody should be hitting the right gaps, you should cover the pattern the way it comes out, and everybody should be on their assignment. If you're on offense and you're blocking a blitz, everybody should know who to block, they should be able to pick it up, the receivers should know what adjustments they need to make on the routes, and the quarterback throw the ball accordingly. You're looking for those kind of execution things, not at the same physical tempo you would get on a Wednesday or Thursday.

Q: A guy like Larry Centers, does he remind you of maybe some older guys on your team who have maintained good physical condition?

BB: Sure. Larry's had a great career. One thing about Larry too, he's one of the toughest, most physical players, I think, in terms of his entire career, just playing the same way. He's always a guy that runs hard, that breaks tackles, you'll see him down the field throwing a block after a receiver catches the ball, and he's always hustling. He played that way at Arizona, and he's always played that way. I think he's one of the guys that, you know, there are a thousand players in the league, and you can't know all of them and you can't study all of them, but there are certain ones that catch your eye when they're not on your team for one reason or another. I think Larry's the type of guy that I've noticed ever since he's been in the league, however many years it's been, 12, 13, whatever it is. He's the kind of guy that every time you see him, he kind of catches your eye because he's hustling, he's aggressive, he's a playmaker, and he just goes out and does a good job. He's not maybe the most spectacular player, and doesn't try to draw a lot of attention to himself, but he's just a good football player, good on special teams, very dependable, and he's a playmaker. Usually, when he's a around the ball good things happen for him, and for his team. I have a lot of admiration for Larry Centers, I think he's a heck of a football player. And he's tough, he is, he's tough.

Q: Is he like a guy like Tony Gonzalez who's more of a wide receiver playing tight end? Do the Bills use him in a similar way as a receiver, but from the fullback position?

BB: I think that probably Tony Gonzalez has maybe a little better receiving skills as a tight end than most tight ends, I'd say more special skills, let's put it that way. I think Larry Centers' skills are good, they're very good, I don't think that he's quite in the spectacular fashion that Tony Gonzalez is, but Larry Centers is a very good receiver, and he's very consistent. In terms of knowing how to run routes, knowing how to get open, he hurt us a couple times last year, with routes that normally wouldn't be that big of a problem, but when he runs them . . .To me he's more like Troy Brown. He knows how to play and he's very dependable, and he's very tough. His route may be to go inside, and the one time in a thousand you wouldn't want him to go inside, he'd recognize it and pull back out of it. Or, his route may be to release inside the tackle so he can get across the field, but they run some kind of stunt, and he just instinctively knows to go around it instead of go through it so he doesn't get caught up in the traffic, and ends up running the route a little quicker to make up for it because he had to take a different release. Just things that, I don't want to say you can't coach them, you can coach them, but it's one of those plays it might only happen once in his career, and he's going to do the right thing. The one time when you wouldn't want to get out of bounds in a two-minute situation because you've got all your timeouts and there's only a little bit of time left, he'd cut it back and gain an extra 10 yards because they had an extra timeout, and it was the right play to make in that one situation, the one time during the season. He just does a lot of little intangible, smart things. Like I said, Troy Brown, to me, would be, he's that kind of a player.

Q: Could you comment on the Bills' tendencies on offense in the red zone and what you have to worry about and try to contain?

BB: Well, we were just talking about Centers and seeing how he's on the field, that's certainly one. I think the Buffalo does a good job of using all of their receivers down there in the red area. [Jay] Riemersma's a good red area receiver, Centers is a good red area receiver, [Eric] Moulds and [Peerless] Price are guys who if they get single coverage can beat you on different option routes, slants, fades, underthrown fades, fades to the back corner of the end zone. And, [Travis] Henry is a good runner. As I've said all week, he's a very underrated runner and they've got a lot of production running the ball in the end zone in the red area. So, I think the main reason why they've been so successful down there is they have a strong attack and if you gang up in there on the run, then they throw it out there to Price and Moulds and Riemersma. If you try to play more of a coverage game down there, Henry can track it into the end zone. With their skill players they do a good job of attacking the weakness of the defense and it's hard to hold up when you only can give up a couple of yards. It's hard to keep them from getting that when they use all their different weapons down there. But, they're a good red area team and their receivers are big. They go up and get the ball and take it away from defenders. There are plenty of times when you see them covered and Drew [Bledsoe] puts it in a spot where only the receiver can get it and he gets it.

Q: Is it a case of keeping everybody at home and not biting on the first fake?

BB: Yeah, and just being able to win the one-on-one matchups. Really, that's what it's going to come down to. You double Moulds, you double Price and they give it to Henry and you just don't have enough people for him. You keep the fronts static for Henry and you're going to have to cover Moulds, you're going to have to cover Riemersma, you're going to have to cover Centers. You're just going to have to hold up across the board on each of those matchups. You might be able to help somebody here or there, but if you start helping too much, you're really hanging some guys out to dry. They're going to have to cover a lot of ground, so to speak.

Q: So I guess in summation, the key is to not give them good field position.

BB: No question. Field position is the big key. You definitely don't want to put Buffalo on a short field. You want to make them go the length of the field and not give them a lot of opportunities in the scoring zone or they're going to score a bunch of points. I'm not saying that they can't move the ball down the field, because they've had a lot of good drives this year, too, but from a field position standpoint defensively, you always want to put an explosive offense as far away form the goal line as possible and make them execute as many plays as you possibly can because you don't want to give it to them in two or three plays. And, in saying that, if you have good field position, of course to win you need to make plays because it doesn't do you any good to give them the ball on the 10-yard line and then give up two 30-yard passes. Now they're on your 30.

Q: So whatever the plays are that they make, you need to try to capitalize on that maybe with a turnover …

BB: Right. And, just like every offense, I mean nobody goes out there and averages 30 yards a play. There are always going to be some opportunities to create some negative plays, create a turnover or create some punting situations where you can maintain good field position on the other side of the ball. Those are the ones that we're going to have to capitalize on. But the further you can get them away from the goal line, definitely that's the way to play them. You don't want to give them the ball on a short field.

Q: I know it's been a very Drew-centric week, but is there a theory in place that you'd only trade a player within your division if you have no other options?

BB: As a hypothetical situation, which it's hard for me to see how this would be created, but hypothetically, if two teams offer you the exact same thing for the player and the values are basically comparable, then you've got a decision to make like that. That's a fair question. So, maybe that is what you'd want to do, you'd want to put him to a different team than one you're playing a lot. But, to create that scenario is difficult and it certainly wasn't in place last year. My feeling on that situation and on every situation, not just that one but every situation, is that you look at your options and you make the decision that's best for your football team. To try to worry about how everything's going to affect every other team in the league … The main team I have to worry about is this football team. Again, with free agency, you see it every year and you see it literally every week. Guys who were with Buffalo, with Miami, with the Jets, they're playing for us and we've got guys playing for them. That's the way it is in this league. You can't keep people from going from one team to another. Sooner or later, if they want, they're probably going to end up there anyway.

Q: Were you mindful that you were going to have to prepare for and face Bledsoe twice every year? You thought about the added attention and the added pressure?

BB: Sure. He's a significant player and they gave up a significant draft choice for him. They know they're getting a good player. We know we're trading a significant player. But, you can only have one quarterback

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