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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 11/18/2002

Yeah, we had some trouble with pass protection. They have a good rushing front, and it was a tough situation, but we need to do a better job of that when we’re throwing the ball.

BB: It was kind of a short night, we got back here really early in the morning. I've spent most of my time, to be honest with you, on Minnesota, but just a couple of recap things from the game: I thought that there were, in a lot of ways, we tried to play the game the way I thought it needed to be played, we just didn't get enough done. We weren't able to capitalize on some opportunities offensively, we could have done a better job on third down defensively, we gave up a few too many yards, a few too many points, and in the end we just couldn't make enough plays. I thought that the elements of the way we were trying to play the game, we just didn't get it done well enough is the bottom line. I felt we got a good performance out of the kicking game, on special teams, but we just didn't get enough done in the other two areas. We lost to a good football team; they played better than we did last night.

Q: Why did you choose to go with the no-huddle offense?

BB: We've had some success with that, we had some success against them last year with it, spreading them out, and they're a good defensive football team, and we thought we would have some advantages to doing that, to spread them out and to get them into some sub situations, rather than go against their regular group

Q: Can you talk about the pass protection on Tom (Brady)? It seemed to break down at times.

BB: Yeah, we had some trouble with pass protection. They have a good rushing front, and it was a tough situation, but we need to do a better job of that when we're throwing the ball. We need to be able to throw it better when we have to throw it, and there were points in the game when we did have to throw it. It was more disappointing for the protection to have trouble in the first half when the game was very competitive, and there weren't obvious passing situations. It certainly became more of a problem in the second half when the score and the crowd noise and the snap count and all that just became tougher. There's no question we had some problems with it.

Q: How much of an emotional letdown were the missed opportunities?

BB: They were opportunities that we missed, you'd like to be able to hit those. You can get a receiver 10-yards behind the defense, the one to [David] Patten the coverage was a little bit closer, but those shots were big plays, we were close, but they were just foul balls.

Q: As a young quarterback, is the long pass something that Tom [Brady] needs to work on, and the more he does it the more he'll get better and be more consistent with it?

BB: I think you always need to work on everything, the quarterback needs to work on. . . There's skills at every position, but certainly at quarterback there are a lot of skills that they always need to work on. They need to work on all their skills, all the different passes, play action, drop backs, long balls, short balls, screen passes, ball handling, all that. Those skills always need work. My feeling with Tom is that I don't see that as a weakness because I see him out there in practice, and we've hit long passes before, and we hit them regularly in practice, so I don't think it's a question of not being able to do it. I just think that yesterday we missed a couple and that's just the quarterback and receiver having to get the proper timing. That's a huge play when you make it, we just need to take advantage of those opportunities, you don't get that many of them.

Q: Is there some drill that you can do that helps Tom secure the ball maybe a little bit better in the pocket?

BB: We do have a drill. We'll do more of them. We have been doing them.

Q: Did they do anything to take Kevin Faulk away from you? He has made so many big plays recently and the only touch he got in the game was, of course, was the kickoff when it was pretty much over. Was there anything offensively they were doing to take him away from you when you had him in the game?

BB: We had one screen to him there, and they did a good job of reading that. You know, we want to give Antowain (Smith) some carries and try to get him a chance to establish a running game like we always do. Obviously most of those attempts were in the first half. It wasn't anything not trying to involve Kevin as it was trying to get Antowain started. Once we got into more tough situations, then that cut down our running attempts anyway.

Q: Is pass rush a concern? (Rich) Gannon had run that quick passing attack and sometimes its hard to get to him but it seems like a couple of times you had an inordinate amount of time to sit back there and survey the field.

BB: Yeah, there were times when we didn't really get a lot of pressure on him. There are times where I thought we had some disruption in the pocket. But other times we didn't. I know what you're talking about and we'd certainly like to get more pressure on some of the plays. We tried some three-man rush and try to mix up the coverage but, you just can't send everybody in there every time against him. I think you have to try to change it up and I felt for the most part our coverage was competitive. We had guys near the receivers and a little bit disruptive. There were a couple of plays that they obviously hit us on. But, yeah, we could have used more pass rush at times.

Q: Was that some that seems to have phased in and out? I know earlier in the year you were talking about how the pass rush maybe was a little deceiving because you were up in games and you were forcing teams to throw. Then you went through a couple of weeks where you weren't getting pressure. Then (the) last (couple of games) against Buffalo and Chicago it sort of improved a little. Was this a set back in that regard?

BB: I don't know about that. Look, we played against a good offensive football team. They run the ball well, they throw it very well, they have a good offensive line and they have a hell of a back. What you try to do in the end is just manage the defensively and keep them from scoring as many points as possible. You can pick out any one half type of a game and say, 'Well, you know, this could have been better, that could have been better.' But in the end, what you try to do is hold an explosive offense like that to as few points as possible. And whatever you need to do, to do it, then that's what you try to do. And if you have to sacrifice something, you try to achieve that goal, then you sacrifice it. Against a team like Oakland, that really what it comes down to. You just have to pick your choices on what you want to try to stop and what you are willing to give up and what you are not willing to give up and it's hard to stop everything.

Q: Otis Smith seems to be showing up in a more positive fashion lately. Is he starting to play a little bit better?

BB: Overall, yes. Last night our team defense, we were close on a lot of things. I thought we made enough plays, and we didn't make all the plays, I'm not saying that, there were plenty of plays we did make. I thought we played the game we wanted to play it we just didn't quite get enough done, and I would say Otis certainly goes into that. Their receivers were, I'm not saying we shut them down because we didn't shut them down, but we kept them somewhat under control. I'm talking about (Jerry) Rice, (Tim) Brown and (Jerry) Porter and those three guys, they're damn good receivers. They put up a lot of production, and I thought their production was kept to a reasonable level. And the same way with (Charlie) Garner both rushing and receiving. That's team defense, it's not one guy, it's team defense. But in the end we just didn't make enough plays, and part of the problem on defense was on offense and part of the problem on offense was on defense. We had bad field position offensively most of the game, we weren't on a short field, it seemed like we were always on a long field. Offensively, we did not convert enough third downs which kept the kept the defense out there, and then defensively we didn't convert on enough third downs which kept them out there a little bit longer, gave Oakland a few more opportunities. In the end, we just didn't make enough plays, but specifically to Otis, I thought Otis along with a lot of other guys on defense battled it pretty good, just not good enough.

Q: You were 5-5 like last year, but it's a different 5-5 because you can control your own situation at this point. Can you talk about the difference?

BB: Well one big difference is as I've said many times, I don't care about last year right now. It doesn't have anything at all to do with where this football team is today. So I'm not worried about it and I don't care about it. The only thing I care about is trying to be 6-5. I'm not really worried about the other five games right now, I'm just worried about one and that's the Minnesota game. That's all I care about, that's all I can do anything about. So I know what you're asking, I understand the situation, the comparison and all that. I don't think about it, I don't care about it, I don't want to care about it. All I want to do is try to beat Minnesota.

Q: Are you able to use last year as a positive at all with the players?

BB: No.

Q: Are you going to squeeze in any work this week on Detroit with the short week next week?

BB: It will have to be done next week. As far as from a coaching standpoint, we'll do what we always do. It's just like today, a couple of our coaches on the staff usually break up the duties. A couple of coaches on our staff have already gone through the Minnesota game, they've broken them all down, they drawn up the diagrams of what they're doing. And then today's the day where other coaches now have to jump in there and start working full time on Minnesota. Whereas, part of the staff already worked on Minnesota prior to the Oakland game. The majority of the staff didn't, especially the people who are calling the plays and that kind of thing. It's just hard to keep two teams in your mind straight at the same time. At the end of the Minnesota week, again that same part of our staff that's always a week ahead will have everything in place for Detroit, but we really won't start on Detroit until after the Minnesota game. And as far as the team goes, no we won't. The only thing the team's going to work on this week is Minnesota, but believe me that will be plenty.

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