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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 6/6/2003

Belichick: Offseason has been real good. It’s been the highest it’s been in three years just in terms of percentages.



BB: I am sure that everyone has got a bunch of features they're working on so I will open it up with whatever you want to go with.

Q: How is Jarvis Green at the nose?

BB: I think he has got the body type for it. He's got the quickness for it. He's just going to need a little experience in it. We're not going to know until training camp. There's just no way to know. But in terms of getting some reads and knowing his assignments and all of those kind of things, at this point it seems to be coming along okay. Until we get to training camp and are really able to rep those things in pads, that's when we'll know and it will take a while.

Q: Does this team have a preference on who emerges?

BB: Right now, you have got to start somewhere and I'd say right now we're going to start with [Ty] Warren working at left end with Bobby [Hamilton]. [Richard] Seymour working at right end with A.P. [Anthony Pleasant], [Rick] Lyle being able to swing and maybe also possibly playing inside and let Jarvis and Ken [Kocher] and [Ethan] Kelley and Dan [Klecko] work in there at nose and we will just go from there. Like we usually do in training camp, we may end up shuffling that later on, maybe a week through camp and put Warren in there. I don't know. We will start there.

Q: Do you like your depth there right now?

BB: It's fine now. We don't play anybody so it doesn't matter. We've got people to work with and we just see how it comes along.

Q: I think people's impression of the nose tackle is big, 300-pound guys and you have Klecko who is 283, Jarvis Green is 285. Do you think you can do the job at that position at that size?

BB: Well, sure. I think there are different styles. You look at a guy like [Anthony] McFarland, guys like Brad Culpepper, people like that who have played on the nose. Jarvis is 285. We played with Ernie Logan at the Jets and it's probably about the same type of build, same type of body type. Tim Goad played here for a long time, [who was] one of the better noses in the league. I doubt if he weighed 260. There's different styles and different body types, a little difference in style and techniques there, but in the end I think that for a player to be effective, he's got to have some quickness, he's got to have good hand usage and has to be able to play with strength regardless of what his actual 'poundage' and weight room and all of that is. He has to be able to play with strength and balance like a wrestler would with guys leaning on them and different combinations and angles and be able to play with his feet under him and play with his strength in there.

Q: Is Seymour better suited for either side?

BB: He's played both. We might end up with him on the left end. I don't know. But he's played more on the right. Anthony has played more on the right. Ty and Bobby played more on the left. Rick has played on the left and the right. If we have to swing them, we will swing them. Anthony is the guy who, when I was in Cleveland, played right end on first and second down and played left end on third down. Only Clay Matthews went to right end. I think there is some versatility there. Like I said, we've got to them somewhere so that is where we are going to start him. I am sure in the end there will be some movement.

Q: What is it about Seymour's package that makes him an effective end? Is it is quickness?

BB: Well Richard is really a tackle. He's not really a 4-3 end even though he can play out there, he is more of a tackle. But in a 3-4 ends, because they end up inside so much because the outside linebackers are really quasi-ends, that's a fit for him. Richard has played inside at the nose in the '01 season. Not that he couldn't play in there, but with his height and his arm length and so forth, he is probably better a little bit more naturally suited to play end. But he could play nose and he has played nose.

Q: With all this versatility, are you looking to find homes for guys?

BB: Sure. No we're not looking to shuffle the deck and place somebody in a new spot every week but we'll see what the best fit is. We'll see what the best combination is and we'll get the best players on the field. Right now, if our two best players are at right end, then we probably want to move one of them so we can get them on the field. If our two best players are at nose, maybe we want to move one of them to end. We'll just have to wait and see how that turns out.

Q: Can you talk about Michael Cloud the running back out of Boston College? Do you think he can make a contribution to this year's squad?

BB: Well, Mike is going to try out, he's not signed. He is not on the team. But we'll make a decision on that at some later point in time in conjunction with him, what his situation is, what to do with, obviously we know what that is for the first four games of the season. We'll just have to take a look at the whole situation and decide what we want to do and also he has to decide what he wants to do. So far, I think it's been good. Mike has got some quickness, he is a good runner, he showed up in the kicking game a little bit in yesterday's practice and he's done that before. I think it's going fine. We'll just have to re-evaluate it at the end of camp, both our situation and his and then put it all together.

Q: On that topic, did you look into that and does it matter about the supplement and he says it was a contaminated protein thing that he took as opposed that he actually took steroids?

BB: I think I would just say first of all, that is kind of the way the program is right now. I think a lot of the players that are going through that, what's in the product isn't necessarily what's on the label or what's advertised isn't what it turns out to be. That's something that we try to make our players aware of on a regular basis. We had the situation with the Jets, same type of thing where a guy tested positive, took a lie detector test and the League still suspended him. We know once the League says that's it, that's it and it's out of our hands. We're not part of the jurisdiction there. Whatever it is, it is. Whatever happened, happened. We're not really looking too closely back at that because there is nothing we can do about it. We want to be careful going forward and that's really where we'll put most of our energy. I think we will be able to be comfortable with that whole situation. I'll put it that way. I don't think that is going to hold up the process because we are aware of it and we know what it is. If we don't want to deal with it, then we wouldn't be at this point right now.

Q: If you sign him, would you take up a roster spot on the 53?

BB: Well, not for the first four games, not for the games he would be suspended for. No, he would not count. If you are in the NFL, as far as the league is concerned, you are either in one or two categories. Either you are active or you are not active. You are on some kind of either, suspension or reserved list or whatever it is. You are either active or inactive. There are no gray spots. If he's suspended, then he would be in the reserved category. If they are active, then they are active.

Q: He can't practice during that time?

BB: During time of suspension, no. It's different but it would be similar to the Terry Glenn situation for the first four weeks of the '01 season in terms of what the rules would be and how the league looks at it.

Q: So he can't practice?

BB: Not for those four weeks.

Q: But he can participate in training camp?

BB: He can do training camp up until the time the suspension kicks in, whatever it is, Tuesday, before the first week, whatever that date is.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the difference whatever is it with the skills of Lawyer [Milloy] and Rodney Harrison?

BB: Well, again, I've only coached Rodney Harrison for a few days here and in the '98 Pro Bowl, so I know Lawyer a lot better and have seen him a lot more closely as a coach observing him than Rodney. I think there are a lot of similarities. I am not sure exactly what all the differences are to tell you the truth. They are both big. They are both physical players, they are hard hitters. They are good blitzers, good tacklers. I think there are a lot of similarities. At this point, I am sure that after playing together in the same system, there will be some differentiation between them, I'm not saying that [there aren't differences] I think that there are probably more alike than they are unalike at this point.

Q: Back to Seymour for a second, was it always in your plans to eventually move him to end or was there a point last season where you said, 'you know what, I think next year I might want to move him.'?

BB: No. We basically saw Richard as a tackle even though when we drafted him, we felt that he could play end in a 4-3. We felt like he was more of an inside player than an outside player and I still feel that way. I think he could play end in a 4-3 defense and I think he could play nose in a 3-4 defense and he's done both of those for us at one point or another. But I think basically his best spots are between the inside shoulder of the guard and the outside shoulder of the tackle, in that framework right there. So whether it's an end in a 3-4 or a tackle in a 4-3 or a three technique in an under or whatever you want to call it, I think he's best in those spots.

Q: Just for clarification, because you are playing a base 3-4, that is why you moved him to that spot?

BB: Well, again when you look at last year's defenses you are going to see him pretty close to that spot, him in particular, Richard will be pretty close to that spot in last year's fronts as well.

Q: Switching to the offense for a moment, Dedric Ward, I know he has played in Charlie Weis' system before.

BB: Right. Well I went to the Jets in 1997 and we drafted him that year, I think it was in the third round. So he played there for three years and then we coached against him here in 2000, 2001 when he was with the Jets and in 2002 when he was with the Dolphins. So we know Dedric pretty well from those six years of either coaching or playing against him. He's a guy that has good ball skills, he's quick, he has some return ability, has a little bit of run after the catch ability. He is a smart guy, picks up the system well and can play multiple positions in the offense. He can play the inside slot position. He can also play outside spots and did a lot of those things for us at Jets in the same system. That's kind of the background on him. He's in the competition with some of other veteran receivers and also some of our younger receivers. We'll just see how that pans out. He's been productive in our system and really he has had six years of good NFL production, not great, but good, consistent production.

Q: Are big bodies still a concern to you at wide receiver?

BB: Well we have some that are bigger and some that aren't. In the end, I think the bottom-line for the receiver is the receiver's ability to get open and catch the ball. In whatever shape, form or fashion it comes in that's good and if it doesn't come then that is bad regardless of whether the guy six-foot five inches and 250 pounds. If he can't get open and he can't catch the ball, then it is really hard to play receiver. It is nice when you have a big guy that can do that. The bottom-line is that you need receivers that can do that whatever size they are.

Q: How is Daniel Graham progressing?

BB: Daniel is doing well. I think that he has had good offseason. I think he much more comfortable in what he is doing then he was a year ago. Naturally, a year ago he was just looking to find the field like all the rest of the rookies. I think he is a lot more comfortable in the system. Tight end is a position where there are a lot of moving parts. There are defensive lineman, linebacker and safety blitzes. There are a lot of things that happen around that position in terms of the configuration of the defense and the scheme and so forth. I think he is a lot more comfortable and more confident. I'm looking forward to seeing him in training camp this year. I think he is looking forward to it too. I know he feels a lot better about what he is doing.

Q: Is the red jersey just precautionary for him [Daniel Graham] right now?

BB: The red jersey is for the guys that we are just limiting. We expect all of those players to be ready, and certainly in Daniel's case, by training camp – right at or very soon at the beginning of training camp. It is something this time of year when we are not in pads and we want to make sure that we don't have any big collisions between guys who are in the red jerseys. It allows everyone to keep an eye out for them so we don't get an accidental injury that we don't need.

Q: What about Graham's hands? It seemed like he had a lot of drops last year.

BB: I think he will be fine.

Q: How do you work on that?

BB: Catch the ball. The offseason is a good time to do it. It really is. It is sometimes harder to do during the season when you have meetings, practice and preparation after practice and so forth. It is easier during the offseason to catch 100 or 200 balls a day. When you are working out for a couple of hours, you have a lot of other time available to do that. You can do different drills. Any of us that play sports … if you play tennis, you hit some shots better than others. In football it is easier to catch some balls for some guys than it is to catch others. You work on the one's where the hand placement is somewhere difficult or maybe it is just not as natural for one particular player as it is for another. Some guys make one type very easily and struggle with another one and vice versa. Again, I think a big part of that is just understanding the offense – understanding the play and pattern and knowing where the quarterback is going to locate the ball. A lot of times a player, like Troy Brown, who obviously is one of our best and most experienced players, just knows when he run a route kind of where the ball is going to be based on where the coverage is and how it anticipate it. That just makes the catch look a lot easier. That is just an experienced, smart football player in tune with the quarterback.

Q: Does spread formations play away from the strengths of Lawyer Milloy and Rodney Harrison?

BB: Both guys have been in the Pro Bowl. They are both good players. When you are a safety, you have to play whatever you have to play. If the guy has the ball on a running play, you have to tackle him and if it is a pass play you have to handle your coverage responsibility. I think that they have been able to do that. I think that they are going to be able to do it. There are times when they are going to blitz. There are times when they are going to cover man-to-man. There are times when they are going to cover in zone. They will be involved in the running game when the other team hands the ball off, not when they throw it. I hope that they will be able to get all of those skills down and do it efficiently and play good team defense around it. Again, defensively there is no other way to answer those questions. They control the ball. They have it and we don't. If they want to hand it off, we go up and play the run, and the guys that want to play the run can all be thrilled about that. If they want to go back and throw it, then all the guys that want to rush the passer can be happy because it is a pass. You just have to defend what they call defensively. You can't control where the ball is going to go or what type of play they are going to use. If aren't very good at one thing, then you are probably going to see a lot more of it until you can get it stopped.

Q: Can you describe the depth at those two safety positions?

BB: We have two new players at safety – Chris Akins and Aric Morris. We have seen both of them play in the league at Tennessee and at Cleveland. We will se how they do in our system, but we signed them because we liked them obviously. So, we will see how they do. I think that they will be competitive at that spot. How they will compete against Rodney and Lawyer, that remains to be seen. I don't think that they are throwaway guys.

Q: You aren't going with the free safety and strong safety, but left and right safety. Are they asked to do the same thing?

BB: In a split safety defense, essentially the responsibilities are more similar then they are different. Whereas when you play a high and a low safety, then you have quite a bit of difference in responsibilities on any given play whether it is a run or a pass. From a split safety standpoint, you have your combinations or your side of the field. It is you, the corner, the outside linebacker against whatever the offensive set is on that side, run or pass. There are only a few combinations that can come up there and that is how you have to deal with it. Whereas when you are high and low, it creates a different mix for both players.

Q: Do you do a lot of that high and low stuff?

BB: We have done both. We are primarily a split safety defense. It has been that way since I have been with the Giants – 20 years.

Q: What have you seen in Mike Cloud, especially because he didn't get a lot of playing time behind Priest Holmes?

BB: First of all, there is plenty of preseason film on him. He has also gotten opportunities during the regular season. He is quick. He is a slashing runner. I think that he has good running vision and he has played in the kicking game and we know what he has done there. He plays the wing on the punt team. He has been an edge guy on punt return and covered kickoffs and all that. At this point he is someone who will compete as a back-up running back. The fact that he has played in the kicking game, that he has shown some run skills and been able to step up on blitz pickup we think he might be competitive in there at that situation. So we want to take a look at him in this camp. Obviously, we have to deal with the four-game suspension depending what his status on the team is. We know there is potential there that for a quarter of the season he wouldn't be available. All of those things will be factors. We will have to decide when this camp is over how we want to proceed.

Q: Have you moved on from Victor Green or is he still a possibility?

BB: I talked to Victor last week and at this point he is not here. For right now, that obviously is the case. Could that change? It could. I wouldn't rule it out and say that it definitely couldn't happen, but again at the same point we are here at the end of mini camp or close to it and he is not here. It certainly isn't on the doorstep either.

Q: Are there more responsibilities on the linebackers in the 3-4 compared to the 4-3?

BB: I don't know if it is more. I would just say that it is different. The main thing with the 3-4 is in the running game there probably isn't as much difference in some cases as there is in a 4-3. It is the passing game where in a 3-4 defense you a lot of times don't know which linebacker is going to be the fourth rusher. Depending on which guy rushes, that changes the responsibilities of the other linebackers. Whereas in the 4-3 defense, a majority of the time the four defensive lineman rush and the three linebackers cover and it is more defined. In a 3-4 defense, it is less defined or you have more options and you force the offense to try to either figure out which guy is going to rush so they don't end up with backs blocking them. Then they can get their linemen on the big people or you try to create some confusion

Q: What kind of role is Dan Koppen going to play?

BB: I think that it is way too early to project a role for any rookie on this team. Hopefully they can just learn their assignments and learn what to do. We will see how competitive they are in training camp against good competition. Then it will be up to them to earn a role on the team, whether it is on special teams or offense or defense. Obviously, we like Dan. We drafted him and feel like he will be a good addition to offensive line. I look forward to working with him, but we don't have anything mapped out for him. That will be up to him to develop himself.

Q: Was there any hesitation in moving Jarvis Green inside after he played so much on the outside?

BB: We have talked to Jarvis about it. Hopefully he has not forgot everything that he has learned at end. There is always a possibility that we could move him back out to end for a number of reasons. The upside for Jarvis is that there really isn't an established nose at this point on out team. He has an opportunity to go in and really get a headstart and a jump on that position and maybe win it if he is the best guy. Being out Seymour and Pleasant … there is competition at those other spots. Maybe he will beat them out. I don't know. There is an opportunity there at that stop and we will see how it goes. If we need to move him back out to end, then we move him back out to end. I don't think that he will be that far behind. I thought it would be a lot more of a problem if we start him at end and get through two weeks of training camp and say why don't we start him at nose. I think that would be a lot tougher adjustment at that point. We have gone through the offseason and he has taken basically all of his snaps at that position. I'm sure that we will give him some reps at end during training camp in case he does go back out there so he retains a little bit of familiarity with it, but we will see how it goes at nose. There is an opportunity for him to get a lot of playing time.

Q: Is his speed and quickness negated at all?

BB: I think that he is fast and explosive and that is really an asset that we were looking for. I think that there is some misconception out there that we want to be slow. We are not looking to be slow. We want to be fast. Size is important, but speed and quickness are important too.

Q: Inside there is not as much area to burst?

BB: Right, but if you look at the more affective noses in the league, take [Anthony] McFarland as an example, guys that are fast and quick inside are the best noses. The big slow guys that can't run are great on certain plays. The Ted Washington's. No one can move Ted Washington. He is great in the running game. That is why he has been a Pro Bowl player. In terms of being an effective pass rusher, I'm sure McFarland would have a lot more productive in the passing game than Ted would. That is not to say that either one is not a good player, but both can be effective indifferent ways.

Q: Were you happy with the participation in the offseason conditioning program?

BB: Offseason has been real good. It's been the highest it's been in three years just in terms of percentages. We had a handful of players who didn't participate very much in it and then basically everybody else participated all of the time. It was pretty much all or nothing type of thing. We didn't have many guys that made half of the workouts or two thirds of the workouts or that kind of thing. The guys that were here were here all the time. Then there were some guys that weren't here.

Q: Do you have good enough parking spots out there?

BB: Well, that's limited. Again, that's a competitive thing. So, the best guys will get them. No matter how close second place is, it's still going to end up second place.

Q: Do you have an idea that Tyrone Poole was not going to be coming in to work out?

BB: Sure. He's worked out in Atlanta previously. That was one of the things we talked about when he came and visited about his offseason training program in Atlanta. That's something that we talk to about every player that we sign. Some guys… it's one thing when you have a player on your team, who in going into the offseason, knows what the expectations are and knows what your program is, so forth and so on. It's another thing when you sign somebody who isn't on your team has sometimes made other commitments or has other engagements in the offseason that he's already kind of down the road on when you are talking to him in March when that free agency comes up. In Colvin's case, he was here for every single thing. In Tyrone's case, he wasn't here and I knew about that ahead of time and I knew that he would train in Atlanta and that's something that we had talked about when he came up here to visit.

Q: Having to learn a new system, and he was going to be asked to do different things, but he wasn't going to be here, that didn't bother you?

BB: We talked about that when he visited here and when we signed him. We knew that. That wasn't after the fact. That was part of it. So we were aware of that.

Q: [Adrian] Klemm finally had healthy season last year. Has he made a bigger jump maybe because of that?

BB: Yes. It definitely helped Adrian to be out there. Last year was the first year that he actually played with any kind of consistency at all. That definitely helped him and I think that Adrian has made solid progress since the beginning of last year even in this offseason. It wasn't a rehab offseason. It was a training offseason. He has improved some of his physical skills and he's getting a lot of reps out there and I hope that he will continue to move in that direction but it's all been real positive for Adrian since, really the beginning of last season in terms of his health and his improvement.

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