Skip to main content

Official website of the New England Patriots

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

Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 12/23/2002

Belichick: We’ll have to put this one away, put this one behind us and we already have and move forward to Miami. That’s the plan this week.



BB: Well, after watching the tape this morning I don't really have a whole lot to add from what I said last night about the game. It's a tie game at the end of the third quarter and from that point on we really just got outplayed in every phase of the game, offensively, defensively and on special teams and just didn't have enough to finish there at the end. The Jets made more plays than we did at that point in the game and that's really what it came down to. That was disappointing. With all that has happened and everything that has transpired, the bottom line is the division is still undecided and won't be decided until next Sunday. We're going to regroup, rally and try to put everything we got into the Miami game because it does mean something. To some extent it's going to determine the outcome of the division. That's what we have facing us this week. We'll have to put this one away, put this one behind us and we already have and move forward to Miami. That's the plan this week. We'll be working tomorrow and off on Christmas, back in on Thursday and finish up a regular week. (We have) a little bit of a different schedule this week. We should be able to get all of our preparation done and we'll need to be ready to go on Sunday.

Q: It seems like you are used to difficult weeks to get ready anyway.

BB: Yeah. There have been some long ones and some short ones this year and this will be one that kind of hits on a different pace but we'll just try to take the time we have and move things up a little bit on Tuesday and try to get a little bit of a jump there on Miami. Again at this point in the season, a lot of those … there's certainly a lot of carry over from previous things we've done so hopefully there won't be a lot of new learning and new teaching. Obviously we'll need to have good execution in the game.

Q: What went into your thinking of starting Leonard Myers instead of Terrell Buckley? Will you stick with him this week?

BB: They both played and I am sure they both will play.

Q: But Myers played a lot?

BB: Myers played the regular and Terrell played sub. They both played regular and they both played sub. I thought Leonard has done some decent things and (we) gave him an opportunity to play and (he) made some plays and there was some he could have played better.

Q: Do you think after the last two losses, do you think the players have lost a little faith in their ability?

BB: You know, I don't know. I think that is a fair question. I don't know. I hope not. I'm not sure what's in every guys mind at this point in time. I think that there are enough positive things to build on but if you don't come out of the game winning then it's not as positive as when you do. There's no question about that. There are still hurdles to be …

Q: Obviously it is very late into the season, and you don't want to try to have your team do something they haven't worked on but given the short passing game has struggled, has any consideration gone into changing the scheme at all?

BB: Yeah. Sure. I think we have enough in our scheme to try to adjust it and adapt to it and try to attack different weak points in the defense, whether it's Miami or the Jets defense, Minnesota's or Buffalo's or whoever it is we are playing. Then it comes down to being able to hit those plays.

Q: How much of Tom (Brady's) ineffectiveness last night do you think was him and how much of it was the fact that he was under so much pressure?

BB: I think anytime that your passing game isn't real efficient, I think it's the overall passing game. I think it's a combination of things. It's the skilled players, it's the protection, it's the timing. Sometimes, we had a couple last night, they are just not good routes against the particular defense that the Jets had called. They mixed up their coverages and, you know, there were a couple of times we didn't really have great plays on against the coverage that was called at the times we had opportunities and for one reason or another weren't able to connect on them whether it was the throwing or the catching or the protection or whatever. So, I think it was a combination of things. I don't think you can just say it was one thing, at least not in this game. There were a couple of break-downs in different areas. The bottom line was, offensively it wasn't a real effective performance. Particularly our third down offense in the first half, we weren't able to stay on the field and that didn't give us very many offensive opportunities.

Q: Are you missing (Deion) Branch?

BB: Well, we'd like to have any of the players who weren't out there, out there. Believe me. There are several guys that aren't playing that we would like to have out there playing. But rather than worry too much about that, because we can't do anything about it, (we'll just) take the guys that are out there and try to find a way to perform more efficiently.

Q: But specifically what are you missing with him?

BB: There's no question that Deion has got some skill and would be an asset to have out there on the field, there's no question about that. Unfortunately, he hasn't been out there since the Minnesota game so there's nothing we can do about it.

Q: What can you do to generate more of a pass rush presence?

BB: Well, we didn't probably blitz as much last night. Although I think in the first half our third down defense overall was better. We really, again, came up short at the end of the game and gave up a couple of big plays and a couple of those was when the quarterback was being hit right as the ball was being released but we didn't get there in time and he got it off. I think the pass rush, and it's kind of the reverse of the pass offense; the pass rush is connected to the pass coverage. And if the coverage is tight and the rush is getting there then you are going to get some sacks. If the rush is there but the coverage is loose, then the ball is going to come out and the quarterback is going to unload it. I think it's a combination; we need to do a better job of tightening the coverage and our rush needs to get there in a timely fashion. Which at times it did last night and the ball was gone and at times it didn't and the quarterback had extra time and was able to hit a pass down field. Again, defensively our overall effectiveness in the passing game wasn't as good as it needs to be.

Q: How confident are you going into the last and final game?

BB: Well, I think we can play better than we have played the last two weeks and need to play better than we have played in the last two weeks. So that's … I'm always confident that we will win. I mean every time we walk out on the field, I feel like we are going to win and I think we are going to play well. Of course, that doesn't happen 100 percent of the time, but when you walk out there you get that feeling and that's the feeling we will be working towards on Sunday. But I'm confident that we will bounce back. We've been in tough situations before and there are a lot of tough guys in that locker room and there is a lot of resiliency there. I know there is some frustration too. I don't think anybody was happy with the way this week went. I don't think anybody was happy with the way Tennessee went. It doesn't mean that there wasn't effort there. It doesn't mean that there wasn't preparation there but it does mean that it wasn't better execution that our opponents had and that's the bottom line. We've got to find a way to bring that up.

Q: Jason Ferguson said after the game that he felt your short passing game had become predictable. Do you think that has happened or is it they (the Jets) like a lot of teams have just seen a lot more of it?

BB: I'd say, first of all, at this point in the season I think everybody has seen, obviously, a lot of the other teams, particularly the teams in the division, you know what the team's main plays and main players are. There's always going to be an effort to scheme those and game plan those guys and take them out of there. I don't think that is any secret. In the end it comes down to being able to… offensively you have plays that give your team options and then to be able to execute those plays so you can hit them effectively and we obviously didn't do a good enough job of that last night. Now, how much Jason Ferguson knows, that I am not really sure. I mean I've coached Jason Ferguson and I have a hard time picturing Jason Ferguson's expertise in the passing game. But, if that's what he said then we'll take it at face value.

Q: How do you go into this game approaching Miami's offense and predicting what they are going to do?

BB: Well, I don't think predictability is a bad thing. If you play the Lakers in basketball, they are going to give the ball to Shaquille (O'Neal) in the low post. I can tell you that right now. It comes down to being able to execute the things you do well and that's true in any sport. You look at every good team and every team has got a measure of predictability and when they can execute well, that's really the toughest thing to stop is knowing basically what a team wants to do and how they try to do it and not being able to stop it. Yeah, there's no question that Miami is going run the ball. We all know it. They know it. I'm sure Ricky (Williams) knows it. It'll be a challenge for us, I mean they run it against everybody and they've done a good job. There's no question that'll be a big challenge for us, getting that stopped will be a big part of our defensive plan.

Q: How much can you and your coaching staff do going into this week as opposed to other weeks?

BB: Well, I think that this week is really no different from any other week in terms of preparation. You look at Miami and what they have shown and what they have done and what changes they have made since the last time that we played them, what they are being successful with and take your team and put it in the best position you think you can to deal with all the variables. It's not just Ricky Williams. They've got … we were hurt with in our first game and Miami has done an effective job with their tight end and the receivers. (Jay) Fielder is back; he's an effective playmaker at that position. So, there are a lot of other things to worry about besides Ricky Williams but Ricky Williams is a significant part of it. No question about it. But that's the same as it always is. I mean just like last night we knew Curtis Martin was going to get the ball. It's like the week before; we knew Eddie George was going to get the ball. It's like the week before we knew they were going to throw it to (Peerless) Price and (Eric) Moulds. The week before we knew they were going to throw it to (Randy) Moss. The week before that …

Q: Is it more on the players in that case?

BB: No, no, no. This is a football team. Everybody plays a part in it. The coaches, the players, you know, we're all shareholders. We have to try to do the best job we can doing our job. A player is not going to come and make the game plan, the coach isn't going to go out on the field and make a block or make a tackle. It's a combined group effort. Whatever the variables are, whatever the factors are, you have to try to do the best you can at your job and do the best you can to help your team and we're all a part of that. I don't think anybody can absorb all of it. I don't think the players are going to make the game plans. I don't think the coaches are going to make any long runs. We're each going to have to hold up our share of it and collectively put a better performance out there than we did against Miami early in the season.

Q: Is there a problem with Tom and the receivers being on the same page? Have you seen that as being an issue?

BB: I don't know if it's being on the same page as the issue. I think … look there's always going to be a couple of plays in the game where the quarterback and the receivers are looking at something, they're looking at a defense and they're trying to read the same thing and they need to read it the same way. Is that always perfect? No, it's not. But I think that is probably true of every team and every passing game. In addition to that, you know, you have the timing of the routes, you have the protection and getting the ball there on time and having people distributed so the coverage is spread evenly so the quarterback can see the openings and so forth. That's part of it too. I think that in the end it comes down to, forget about protection, it comes down to the precision in the passing game in terms of throwing, catching and getting open. We evaluate receivers by two things. We evaluate their ability to get open and their ability to catch the ball. That's what we need from them. What we need from the quarterback is decision making and accuracy.

Q: (On Miami's corner backs ability to cover)

BB: Well, I mean that why they've consistently been at the top of the league in pass defense. I mean, I think if you look back in the last three or four years, you are going to find them right near the top of the league in pass defense statistics and it certainly starts out there with those two guys (Patrick) Surtain and (Sam) Madison at corner. They're a big reason for it. Now, they have some good pass rushers as well but they cover well and they do play a lot of man to man.

Q: (On having options after the pass rush)

BB: Well, yeah, look you're right. We haven't had much production in the passing game in the last few weeks as we had it at earlier points in the season. There's no question. That's hurt our effectiveness offensively. The more options you have and the more production you can have from different people then the easier it is to not only throw the ball but also run it and be balanced on offense. We need that. We need to get more of it, certainly more than we had last night. There have been some other games where that has been a problem too. There is no question about that.

Q: Is it a frustration realization as a coach?

BB: I wouldn't say we aren't getting anything, but I would say it's been inconsistent. It would certainly help to get more of those. But when the team is, the Jets were a good example last night, when the team is back there taking away the deeper stuff, it's hard to throw back there into coverage, it's just low percentage passing. We've got to do a better job of hitting the one's underneath if they are taking that away. And again, I am not saying that directly at the quarterback. I'm saying the quarterback, the receivers, the entire passing game, we need to do a better job of that.

Q: Can you tolerate a dumb schematic question?

BB: Yeah, sure. I get them all the time. (Laughter)

Q: They've got their safeties deep to take away the deep stuff but yet you are throwing short and it's that area in front of the safeties that you were not able to get things completed consistently.

BB: Well, I think that was the case last night, that we weren't able to get high enough completions for enough yardage in the area in front of the zones. That's exactly right.

Q: On the pass rush?

BB: I think it's a combination. You can look at one specific play and say the pass rush was the problem here, and you can look at another play and the pass rush wasn't that much of a factor. But it was either we slipped on a route, or we didn't get the proper depth on a route, or the ball wasn't delivered right on time when the guy was open, it was a little late. So there are other things that happened in the passing game that limited its effectiveness too. Not just the pass rush, not just the route running, not just the throwing, but a combination of all of the above. In the end, the bottom line is it wasn't effective enough underneath against the type of coverages that they were playing. On the drive that we had at the start of the third quarter, that's kind of how you need to move the ball against the Jets the way they were playing last night. You need to run the ball, you need to hit some possession passes, you need to create some second-and-two's and third-and-ones, and second-and-fours and that kind of thing. And you need to go from second-and-eight to third-and-one with seven or eight-yard passes. That's the way you move the ball down the field on the Jets, and that was a good drive. Unfortunately we didn't have very many of those, particularly in the first half when we had a number of third-and-threes and third-and-fours, but it was one-for-seven or one-for-eight, whatever it was our third down conversions were in the first half, most of those were make-able. It wasn't like they were third-and-12's or third-and-14's, and when you don't convert them … some of it tipped passes, some of it was protection, some of it was dropped balls, some of it was poor timing on the routes. In the end, when you miss them on third down, you're off the field. But those weren't as difficult as some third down conversions have been. Like I said, it wasn't like it was third-and-20.

Q: How did Adrian Klemm do?

BB: I thought it was Okay. I don't think we can sit here offensively and talk about anybody having a hall of fame performance. I think there were some things out there from Adrian.

Q: Is this an easy week to reach for motivation for your players?

BB: Is it easy?

Q: As a coach though, is this some you can get your players motivated for?

BB: I think the situation is pretty evident. You can look at the season with four or five games left to go and you can see a lot of different variables and all that. You can't do anything about them anyway. At this point it's pretty clear-cut with how the division is going to turn out based on a couple games, and our game's one of them. So, that tells us that our only chance is to beat Miami, to win the division, and we still would need some help even if that happens, but that's our only chance. For as much as we've put into the season, going back to the offseason program, to training camp, to the practices and so forth and so on, it comes down to one week and one game. And that's what's on the line for us. Giving that a face value with the type of guys that we have on this team, I expect them to respond in a positive manor and meet that challenge. That's what we're going to do as a coaching staff, and that's what I expect us to do as a team.

Q: Are you surprised that it has come down to this one last game?

BB: No, not really. It's been pretty tight all year in the AFC. It's been pretty tight, it's flip flopped back and forth a little bit, but really it's been pretty tight for 10 or 11 weeks so I don't think that's shocking. I think we've had our opportunities just like other teams have to more ahead a little bit more in the position than where we are, but we are where we are.

Q: Have you been satisfied with your team as far as effort is concerned?

BB: Well, there are always plays that can be better. There's always room for improvement. Whenever there's room for improvement, we try to point it out and work toward a higher performance. Any time you get beat by 13 points like we did last night, there can be room for improvement in probably every area – playing, coaching, scheme, effort, everything. We'll work to improve that along with everything else.

Q: Why was Chad Pennington so effective in the first half where he went 11-11?

BB: He hit a couple big plays there, and those are really the key plays in the half. Some of those third down completions I don't think went for first downs did they? I might be wrong on that, but I don't think they did. When you look at a quarterback it's nice to go 11-for-11 or 15-for-18 or 9-for-10, whatever it is, but I think in the end it's really what is the production on those plays. And the main production in the first half, the three big plays, were the quick screen out to (Santana) Moss, the touchdown on the bootleg, and the go-route to (Laveranues) Coles. Those were the big plays in the passing game that really hurt us, and they were the only ones, but they were significant ones.

Q: Has this season gone pretty much the way you thought it might? After coaching a team after winning the Super Bowl?

BB: This is really the first team I've coached after a Super Bowl.

Q: Where did you after the Giants in 1990?

BB: Cleveland. After the 1986 Super Bowl was a strike, we played two games then we had a strike so it was a little bit of an unusual year that year. It wasn't a normal year. We were 0-2 before the strike. (We were) 0-5 after the strike, so that was probably an aberration, too, in the normal scheme of things.

Q: Do you get a feeling that they might be fatigued?

BB: I think at this time of year everybody's been through a grind, but that's the way it is. I think we go through the same thing every year. You play 16 games; you have guys at the end of the year that have got some bumps and bruises. You've had a lot of game plans, you've had a lot of ups and downs in the season, you've had some good moments, and you've had some disappointing ones. I think if you look at our competitors they're all in the same boat. Miami had a tough one up in Minnesota, the Jets had a tough one in Chicago, and Buffalo had a tough one in Green Bay. Whatever it is. There's all been big wins for those teams and many of the teams in the AFC, so I think you just accept that, it's part of the territory. You play 16 games in the National Football League, and at the end of 16 you're probably not as fresh as you are at the end of one, but I think that's true for everybody else too.

Q: By virtue of what happened at the end of last year, you guys have kind of been going straight since July, 2001.

BB: Nobody cares about that. When they kick it off at one o'clock on Sunday against Miami nobody will care about that

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content


Latest News

Presented by

Trending Video


In Case You Missed It

Presented by