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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 11 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 16 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf Transcript

Belichick: In just talking about Washington and going down the roster, there is a very high level of talent on this team. They have a lot of outstanding players on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game.



            **BB:**  I think everybody has the injury report.  There is not too much more to add to that.  The guys that are out are out.  The guys that aren't are getting treatment and working hard to get better and we will just have to take it day-by-day with those guys to see how much they improve and I am sure that we will probably have a couple of game time decisions there based on the preliminary reports.  We placed Mike Compton on injured reserve and signed Wilbert Brown who has played center and guard like Mike for the Redskins.  In just talking about Washington and going down the roster, there is a very high level of talent on this team.  They have a lot of outstanding players on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game.  A lot of those guys were there last year.  Some of them have been acquired more recently.  It is a very impressive group of talented players and they are playing well.  They are high statistically in a lot of categories in the league, third down defense, leading the league in offensive production, red area production and they have good players in the kicking game, Chad Morton, John Hall, those guys.  They have a lot of explosiveness.  They have scored a lot of points.  They are pretty much a threat from anywhere on the field.  [Steve] Spurrier likes to air it out and throw the ball but they are also running it well. [Trung] Canidate is averaging over five yards per carry.  It is a well-balanced attack.  I am sure that it will be a hostile environment for us down there in Washington so we will have to be ready to deal with that.  We will start our preparations today and work to be ready to go on Sunday.  

**Q: Now that players that you have counted on are either injured or out, where is your adjustment time where you have to fit your system to the players you have left?

BB:** I think that is a little bit of an ongoing process. We are in that now. We are going to have to try to adapt to some of the changes that we are going to have to make. Some of that involves scheme and some of it involves personnel and a combination. That is definitely is part of the process this week and probably in some of the weeks in the future.

**Q: Can you think of any team that you have coached in the past that has had this many injuries in this many weeks? Do you recall how those teams responded?

BB:** You always have some of those [injuries] during the year. That is obvious. I don't know. I can't think of any right off hand. I am not real good at ranking those kinds of things. It is what it is. We are going forward. We will put people in the best position we can and do the best we can to work around some of the situations that we have to work around and be ready to go. That is really where my focus has been rather than…I understand what you are asking about but I don't really know where to compare it to other years. We had to make adjustments this week. There is no question about that.

**Q: Do you have to put guys in right now to see if they are ready rather than bringing them in when they are ready, maybe a guy like [Ty] Warren?

BB:** I don't think anybody that we are going to play has not played before, so they have at least played in this system. We played seven games and in some cases guys have played more than that going back to prior years. The players that we play are guys that have been working to one degree or another in the system, maybe not in the exact role that we will have for them this week. We will just have to wait and see how that plays out. They have been in there so they have enough experience.

**Q: Usually after week three or week four, you might be able to stop at that checkpoint and say, 'Okay, this is what we are trying to and it didn't work and we want to switch.' This evaluation it seems, I would think, you really can't do now. It's almost like a little bit of preseason game.

BB:** Right. This is a little bit of a moving target. I don' think we can sit here and do too heavy of an analysis on, 'Well this is what happened the first three weeks,' because we are, in some cases, in a different situation now than we were so the comparisons aren't really valid. That is right. We'll just have to make the adjustments that we will have to wait this week and go from there rather than trying to make comparisons and changes relative to the earlier prior weeks.

**Q: Say you are trying to run the 3-4 defense this weekend and it doesn't take. Do you sit down on Monday and say, 'Let's switch to the 4-3?'

BB:** Romeo [Crennel] and I and the defensive coaches have talked about that scenario. We really don't want to get into that. A couple of things we are dealing with are going to be like this for a couple of weeks. I don' think we want to be sitting here next week saying, 'Let's go to plan 'd' and the next week go to plan 'e' and the next week go to plan 'f', and sit here every week trying to come up with a new mixture. I think what we will try to do now is and basically what we will try to do going forward. I am sure that we will have to make some adjustments along the way. That always comes up whether it is game planning or whatever it is. Basically what we are doing now, whatever we do we will try to build on that. Whatever problems we have, we are going to try to correct them or minimize them and move on.

**Q: [Patrick] Ramsey is a relatively newcomer to his team. What does he do particularly well that might cause you problems defensively?

BB:** I would say going back to last year, Ramsey showed a lot of toughness. He showed a lot of courage in the pocket. He would stand in there and deliver the ball and take the hit, come back and do it again the next time, very Phil Simms or Troy Aikman-ish, guys like that who I have seen as rookies come in and just not back down from the rush and stand in there and make the throw. He is a good athlete. We are not talking about Donovan McNabb but he can certainly make some plays with his feet and get out of the pocket and buy a little bit of time. I think his main assets are his accuracy and his toughness. He recognizes things well. They have a good passing scheme. Steve does a good job with that and he does a good job of attacking your coverages. Ramsey has done a good job of putting the ball on the money. He has got some good players to throw to. They have a good receiving corps. They bring Morton in there as a change of pace runner and a change of pace receiver. Canidate and [Ladell] Betts have done a good job for them. They have a solid offensive line, especially with the tackles there with [Jon] Jansen, [Chris] Samuels, Randy Thomas, and [Larry] Moore. They are good, solid offensive unit and Ramsey does a good job of making plays and getting the ball down the field and running the team.

**Q: That New York Jets crew that they got, [Laveranues] Coles, [John] Hall, has it really elevated that team to a pretty obvious degree?

BB:** Well I think that Coles is an outstanding receiver. We saw that when he played for the Jets and he has added a lot of balance to the passing attack with [Rod] Gardner on the other side, well a lot of times they are together, but in terms of having two receivers there. Hall has been solid for them in the kicking game as has Morton. Thomas has filled a need for them in there at guard. There is no question all four of those guys are contributing for them.

**Q: What would you consider priority number one Canidate or Coles?

BB:** I think defensively you are going to have to balance and do a good job all the way across the board. They are going to run it and they are going to throw it, it is not like it is going to be one or the other. They will do both. As I said Canidate is averaging over five yards per carry. You don't want to let them get the running game going but at the same time, they are leading the league in pass offense. It's not like they are not going to throw the ball. We are going to have to do a good job all the way across the board. I don't think you can just take one guy away and say, 'Okay we are going to stop Coles.' You have to worry about Gardner and all the rest of them. In order to do a good job against a team like this we are going to have to play good team defense. You can't just take one guy out.

**Q: In comparison to the last two seasons, Troy Brown has had a pretty quiet first three games. Is there a logical reason for this and how important is it to get him more involved?

BB:** I think we could use more production from everybody offensively, that includes all of the receivers, the tight ends and the running game as well. I think that Troy has had some opportunities and he has done well with some of those. Maybe not as many as in some other games, he is a solid playmaker for us. I am sure that if he gets enough opportunities he will be a productive player. I don't think we can force it in there to him but when we have the opportunities we certainly want to make him involved in the offense. Some of that will come in due course.

**Q: Is it ironic that in your secondary is your most 'set' position?

BB:** I don't know if set is the word. I think we are still undergoing a little bit of a transition there. I think those guys have done a good job and they have played hard. They have made some plays. They have been relatively productive, not that is has been perfect but they are hanging in there. I think it is a good, decent group to work with. I like working with these kids. I don't mean just the rookies, the whole group.

**Q: How is Eugene Wilson adjusting to safety and that third corner?

BB:** Well it is definitely getting better each week. It gets better every week. You start in there the first week and you have thousand things to think about and now we are only several hundred. There are all the different situations. First and 10 is one thing but you get into third down and red area, all the blitzes, multiple formations, play action passes, flea flickers, all of those kinds of things. Each one is a little bit of a different read, the technique or the skill of playing it is not just a standard drop-back pass. All of those are learning experiences for him. He is working hard. I think it is getting better each week. He has got a lot of things to see back there but I think he is holding up okay.

**Q: Spurrier when he came into the league was doing a few things that was a little out of the ordinary. Do you see a change in what Washington has done from what they did when he first came in?

BB:** We didn't play them last year, we played them in the preseason but that wasn't the kind of study that we have now. I think that basically looking at them now and in the offseason, which was the '02 season, and then watching them this year, I think that the core elements of his offensive system are the same. The things that he likes to do are the things that he likes to do. He is going to have a change up and a wrinkle for you here and there. But fundamentally he has got a balanced attack. Depending on where the perceived weakness is in the team that he playing is at, he is going to attack there. If you sure that up then he will hit the next week spot and try to keep attacking you where schematically you are at the lightest point. He has got good players to do it and he has a good balance in his offense to do it. I didn't study a lot of the Florida tapes, I have seen them I think there is certainly a lot of carryover from that other than the hash mark kind of game.

**Q: How has the learning curve with the rookies been accelerated? Have you accelerated it a little bit?

BB:** Whatever their role is, that is where they have to keep up with it. They are all involved in either the offensive or defensive side of the ball and in the kicking game. I think it is kind of a normal course for them. Whether a player plays or not, the preparation really is all the same. As a player I don't think you can every make the decision that, 'I am not going to play,' whether it is a backup quarterback or a backup anything. You are one play, one sprained ankle-away from being in there. Each guy that is active for the game needs to prepare just as it after the first play he could be in there the whole rest of the way. From a preparation standpoint, being accountable and knowing what to do and all of that, it is really all 45 guys it should be the same for them every week. Obviously some guys are going to play more than others, I am not saying that. But from a preparation standpoint, it is just as important for each player to know exactly what he has to do because you don't know who is going to end up doing it.

**Q: Are you going to give your backup quarterbacks and extra reps this week in practice?

BB:** We'll see how it goes out there. That is possible. We give them reps every week. Whether it is more or not, we will just have to see how it goes.

**Q: What does Ty [Law] have to show you, if anything, this week to play on Sunday?

BB:** That he is able to go out there and play at the level that it is going to take for him to play at.

**Q: Does he have to practice this week? Or is that not very important for him?

BB:** I don't know. At some point we are going to have to see it. We'll see how that goes. I don't think it will be today probably. As we go later on into the week we will see where he is. Like I said, the decisions on some of these guys may come down to game time. If that is what it is, that is what it is and we will deal with it accordingly. I can't sit here and say, 'He has got these nine criteria and based on that this is what is going to happen.' We will just kind of have to play it day-y-day.

**Q: Has his situation regressed from when he came back into the game in the fourth quarter?

BB:** This is not about Ty Law specifically, so let's make that perfectly clear.

**Q: Okay.

BB:** What happens to a lot of players in game situations, the energy of the game, the adrenaline, and all of that, they are out there and they are playing and something happens, and they keep playing and they play through it. When the game is over, when everything settles down, then the injury sometimes it swells up, sometimes there is more soreness. In a lot of cases in all honesty they don't really feel it until they take the tape off or really let the adrenaline from the game wind down. From that standpoint, everybody is a little bit sore on Monday usually than they are Sunday after the game. That is the nature of football. All of us that have played no matter how poorly we might have played can relate to that. Yes there is more soreness on Monday than there is on Sunday. It starts to turn the corner and head in the other direction. Everybody usually starts feeling a little bit better and they get treatment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, eventually the situation improves. To what degree it improves to, then that is a decision that will take 72-96 hours or whatever it is to evaluate them.

**Q: You talked a lot about Laveranues. What does Gardner do especially well? Is there any drop off with Coles and Gardner? Could you compare that tandem to [Eric] Moulds/[Peerless] price used to be in Buffalo?

BB:** I think they are both real good receivers. Gardner is bigger. Coles is probably will probably have a little better time speed in the 40. I think Gardner plays with good speed. He plays physically like a 215-pound guy would. He is a big target. He has got real good hands. Coles is a complete receiver similar to the guys you mentioned from Buffalo. He is an outstanding receiver. He has got good speed. He has got good hands. He can hit the long ball. He can take a short pass and run for 40 yards. He is tough. He will come over the middle and catch it. He will block. They ran a reverse last week, he comes around and the guy is standing right there waiting for him at the line of scrimmage and it looks like no gain and he gains 25 yards. He does a lot of things well. Gardner does a lot of things well too. They are just a little bit different in their style of play but Gardner has been a very productive receiver for them. It is hard to get them all doubled.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about the coaching challenge with the inordinate number of injuries on the defensive side of the ball?

BB:** Going against Washington, no question that is a big challenge. Offensively they do a lot of things well. We'll have to play good team defense all the way across the board from the pass coverage to the run defense to the gadget plays to the red zone to third down to, you name it. We'll take the players that we have and try to put them in the best position that we can. That will be a challenge regardless because Washington is a good offensive football team and they are well coached. We have a couple of guys working with different people this week than who they have been working with. We will stress the communication issues there and try to make sure that we have that as tight as we can going into the game. We just won't have as many reps with is as maybe we had with another guy in the past. There is nothing we can do about that.

**Q: What do you attribute your success on third down defense to in the last couple of weeks? Is it a variety of things?

BB:** Not to be corny but I think it has been better rush and better coverage. The two have to work together. We have all seen good pass-rush and you get there just as the guy is throwing the ball and the receiver is wide open and they still convert it. We've seen plays where the coverage is good and the rush doesn't get there and the quarterback holds the ball and eventually somebody breaks free and they hit that too. What you really want on pass defense is you want the rush to obviously get there as soon as possible but you want it to get there to when the coverage is going to match the routes. If the coverage matches the routes, and the rush still isn't there yet, then the receiver is uncovered and you can't stay with them forever. That is hard. On the other hand, if the rush is getting it right there and closing in on the quarterback, and the coverage hasn't matched the routes at that point and the guys are standing there wide open, quarterbacks like Ramsey and Vinny [Testaverde] and guys like that, they will stand there and take the hit and still fire it in there and make the completion. They don't care. It is team defense. The coverage has to match the route at the time that the rush is forcing the ball out. So, if you are blitzing and everybody is coming in there all at once then the coverage has to be tight on those receivers because you know that ball is going to come out in a hurry and vice versa.

**Q: On first down, have you been putting yourselves in a good position defensively?

BB:** They [Washington] are one of the best first down teams in the league. I think it has been okay. I think it could be better. It has been okay. It's a lot easier to defend third and nine's than it is third and two's, we all know that too, keeping that yardage a little bit past where everybody is an option. The toughest thing is defensively is when you have to stop everything. So, if it is third-and-three they can throw it to any of the five receivers. They can run it. The quarterback can scramble. They have seven or eight ways to pick up a first down. If it is third and 10, how many guys can gain 10 yards? Maybe the receivers can. Maybe they have one back that can. Not every quarterback is going to scramble for 10. Not all the receivers are going to be running 10-yard routes. Somebody is going to have to be in the shorter areas and that kind of thing. You just don't have to defense as many people. I am not saying that is easy. You still have to defend good receivers and good quarterbacks getting the ball down the field. But you are not spread quite as thin as you are when it is a situation where pretty much anybody can pick up the first down yardage. Now you have seven or eight different options. It's just harder to defend that situation.

**Q: Could you just comment on 18 or 19-year olds playing in the NFL?

BB:** I don't have any comment on that one. You are not going to get me on that one.

**Q: [Laughter] In general…

BB:** What I will do is I will come back to the question from Monday and talk about the most consistent players.

**Q: Okay, what do you have?

BB:** I would put [Lawrence] Taylor in there. He would be one. I will put Pepper [Johnson] in there too. Pepper, now this is going back a ways, but he never missed a game and never missed a practice in high school, college or the NFL until 1997 when he broke his leg in the Baltimore game. Just in terms of consistency, to be out there everyday, every play, every year for however many years that is, 15 or 16 years whatever it was, I would say that is pretty consistent. There are two for the road

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