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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 8/12/2003

Belichick: It’s really not a regular week’s schedule, but it’s pretty close to that in terms of our on-the-field preparation.



BB: We are going to, as I told you last week or at the beginning of the week rather, we are going to treat this kind of like a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the next three days, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Friday we are leaving for Washington. It's still training camp. It's really not a regular week's schedule, but it's pretty close to that in terms of our on-the-field preparation. We are still in the process of trying to balance getting the team ready for the regular season, going though some of the training camp instructional things and covering some situations for the first time through, balancing that with getting the team ready for the game and getting ready to play. We haven't had any meetings or really talked about playing time and rotations and that kind of thing. We are just, today, trying to get into the Redskins, get into everybody understanding what basically we are going to try to do in the game in terms of game plans and plays and that kind of things, and then we will be a little more specific a little bit later in the week. And that's what we are doing.

**Q: You talked about looking at an opponent that you see during the regular season that you play during the preseason and how that puts a little bit of a different twist on it. What does that mean a different twist? Can you explain that?

BB:** I think when you study a team in the offseason and you think about playing them during the regular season, you come up with some ideas and say, 'Okay, this is something we want to do. These are 10 or 15 things that in certain situations, this is what we think they will probably be doing.' These are things that are part of our system that will fit well and match up well against them. So if you are playing that team when you come to the regular season game, a lot of times you start with those ideas in the formulation of your game plan. We want to do a lot of whatever the specifics are. We really want to get in strong side formations because they will overload to them and work back to the weak side. Or we don't want to play a lot of man coverage in these situations, because their passing game would be tough against those patterns; it would be better to play zone. And that type of thing. So now, you come to a preseason game and you might not necessarily want to follow that same script, because those might be the plans that you really intend to have during the regular season. On the other hand, you want to go out there and give your players a chance. There is no sense in running things that you are really going to struggle with just because they don't match up well. On the other hand you don't want to necessarily show what you think your best pitches are against either their basic stuff or in certain situations. You just try to manage that a little bit. Not that we over game-plan for everybody. But I like I say, you want to give your players a chance out there. You don't want to be in the situation where you just don't have any blocking angles to run plays, or you are just in coverages where it is putting an undue amount of stress on the players in coverage. You want to try to be competitive, but at the same time not go all out and try to make plays because of a good scheme. That doesn't really tell you anything about the players.

**Q: And them too?

BB:** Right. Right. Without getting technical that is how we try to think about it a little bit. Sometime in a situation like this to, we will practice plays that we don't plan on running in the game, just so we can see how it looks against what they are doing. And then when we come back and play a team the second time in the regular season, sometimes it helps us coach the plays a little bit better the second time around. We had a little bit of a problem here when we tried to do this, the next time we talk about it in the regular season, we iron that out and say here's how we will handle those problems or those adjustments.

**Q: At what point would Antwoine Womack have to get out and on the field to have a legitimate shot at getting to start?

BB:** Well, I think all the players that have missed some time, the clock is running on them. The players that are out there playing are ahead of the ones that aren't. Each day that goes by, makes it a little bit less of an opportunity, particularly somebody like Antwoine who really has never played in the NFL. It's that much less of an opportunity for him to get out there and show what he can do to get enough reps, so that when he does get into the game, he can be confident enough and have some experience doing the things so that he can show up positively in the game. Each day it is getting a little bit…the rope is getting a little bit shorter. I can't say that there is a cut off day, 'Well after this day, it can't happen.' Or 'Up until that day…' But sooner or later we are going to have to make decisions and if we don't have anything to go on, it's hard to have anything really to grab on to that he's done.

**Q: Is it the knee that he has had surgically repaired?

BB:** No. He's just got a little tightness in the leg. It's definitely getting better. He'll be back out there relatively soon. It's not like he's a month away, but until he's out there, he's not getting an opportunity to play football.

**Q: Is that personally disappointing for you?

BB:** Well, yeah. Sure. It's disappointing for any player, as a coach, especially a guy who works hard in the offseason to get himself ready for training camp and come back from a serious injury like Antwoine had. But unfortunately that's the way it is. We can't…we have our games scheduled with the cut down dates are what they are. We all have to stay on the track and there is no way we can alter that time frame for anybody. It doesn't matter who it is. We'll just have to do the best we can with the input that we can get. But in some cases it's limited. Antwoine, he's had a couple tough breaks here, unfortunately.

**Q: Is J.R. [Redmond] about ready to go?

BB:** J.R. is close. He's close. I would say any day now. Each day it is kind of the same thing. We will go out and we'll get him loosened up and see how he feels running and working out, the individual things. And if he feels good and it looks like he's ready to go then we will start sticking him into some team drills, but I would say any day.

**Q: You obviously believe in him. You've kept around for four years now. Do you think when he does come back he will contend for that job?

BB:** Well he will get an opportunity to. I don't know how it's going to come out. I can't predict what the competition…how that is going to unfold. But J.R. has played some good football for us. He's helped win some games for us. And so have some other guys. We'll just let him compete with everybody else. He certainly deserves that opportunity. What that competition will bring, we'll just have to wait and see.

**Q: On a general or a philosophical level, do you think that…other teams have tried to have two running backs, kind of split the load…philosophically, do you think that can work in the NFL?

BB:** I think it can work and I think there are plenty of examples to show where it has worked. There are also plenty of examples to show where there is one back that's carrying the ball most of the times and pulling the load. There is a lot of different ways to win in this league.

**Q: How does having the two backs change the rest of the offense? Does that affect the offense of line on their blocking?

BB:** Well, you can either take it as a positive or a negative. It's a change of pace and if you can make it work effectively. I know defensively when you get a different style of runner, a different tempo or sometimes a guy that runs different plays, it forces you to defend him differently. That creates some problems. On the other hand, sometimes it can work in the other direction. I think probably what you are referring to is two different guys running the same play a little bit differently and trying to get into a rhythm and trying to get the execution done right with two guys doing it instead of one. It can work in both directions. It definitely can be an asset if things go right.

**Q: Do you have a better sense of Leonard Myers now than at the end of last year when he got some time in but was coming off of a groin pull?

BB:** Leonard has had a much more consistent year than he had last year. Last year he missed virtually all of training camp and then came back and started working back into it in mid-season with the PUP thing and then we activated him and then he played a little bit at the end. This year he has had a good offseason of training. He's been at practice everyday; he's worked out there. He's had a much more consistent lead-in period to the season than he had at any point last year. That certainly works positively in his favor and I think his performances shows him. I remember walking out on the field with him a couple of times already this year and saying, 'Well you are already ahead of last year.' It's not even close. So from that standpoint, we'll see how it turns out when his opportunity continue to come up as they did last week. He made a nice play on the interception there against the Giants. That's a lot more than he did last preseason.

**Q: Is it unfair to judge him on that little window that we saw him last year?

BB:** The National Football League is a production business. Sometimes you can't control what opportunities you will get or when you'll get them. So it's in everybody's best interest to make the most of those chances that we all get, whenever they come. As a player, you can't control that. Sometimes you get a lot of plays or a lot of games, and sometimes you only get a few, but you need to be ready and you need to be able to take advantage of those opportunities. All the plays that the players play get evaluated, whenever they are, some more than others. Sometimes the circumstances vary, but if we don't think the player is ready and we don't think he should be out there, then we won't put him out there. If we do, then we are going to evaluate his performance when he does get the opportunity. I don't think any player would go out there, if he didn't feel like he was prepared as well. So does everything count? Yeah, everything counts.

**Q: Where is Otis Smith physically at this point?

BB:** That's a good question. I don't know. Until he can consistently stay out on the field so that we can evaluate him and he can perform on a regular continuous basis, it's going to be difficult have a real accurate evaluation of where he is. We're not at that point yet. Until we are, I really don't know.

**Q: What is J.R.'s status?

BB:** Day-to-day. I think he will be out there soon.

**Q: You said it was his ribs before, is that still the case?

BB:** Yes.

**Q: Is that a rare training camp injury? I can imagine that a lot of guys have sore ribs.

BB:** No. Well, there are different degrees. In any case a rib injury is the type of thing that there isn't really too much you can do for it. You can't put it in a cast. It's just something that has got to heal because of the nature of the position of the injury. Whenever he can go, he will go. He is getting closer. I think it should be very soon. We'll put him out there and take a look at him. Again, in each practice like we've been doing and see how he feels and see how he is moving, if he is able to do more then we will plug him into the group and team part of the practice and let him go. I think we are very close to that point. We are not quite there yet. But I think it should be very soon.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about Ty Warren's progress?

BB:** I thought Ty was able to take some of the things that he has done in practice and show them on the field against the Giants last week. Ty is coming along. He's got a long way to go like all rookies. I think his progress has been good. We've been using him in every situation, first ,second and third down. There is a learning curve in each of those areas. I think he is coming along about how like we expected he would. Again, the most positive thing for him is the fact that he has been out there everyday, he is working hard and he shows improvement every time he steps on the field. The real key thing for Ty and for all rookies is to be able to take that learning on the practice field and then apply it in a game situation when it comes up. As we know, those game situations vary from play to play. You don't just go through a sequence of 10 straight running plays or 10 straight third down plays. They pop up all over the place. When the situations occur and the calls match the situations, then what a young player needs to do is to be able to take the teaching and the experience that he got on the practice field and apply it into that same situation in the game. You might get two double team blocks a game. You don't know when those are going to occur. You might get two of them per game and you work on the double team block for 15 minutes for a couple of days in practice during the week but then it comes up once or twice in the game and that's when you need to be able to play it the way you are supposed to play it. That is kind of the experience factor and being able to take it from the practice field and apply it in game situations. I thought he did a good job with some of those things in the Giant game. There were other things that weren't as good, and that is really where players can take advantage of their opportunities and do them when they show up in the game.

**Q: Has anything surprised you about him since he got here?

BB:** I don't know if surprising is the word. I think he came in and pretty much did what we thought he would do. Ty is a hard worker. He is always on time. He is attentive. He is there. He is really ready to do his best when you put him in the situation and that is why he keeps improving. He's gotten himself into good condition for a big guy. I think he has come in and really try to apply himself and be the best player he can be. In a short period of time he had made good improvement. He's got a long way to go but I think that he is coming along like we thought he would.

**Q: With defensive lineman, is that what typically holds a guy back?

BB:** Well, I think that is a process that they all have to go through. It could be a physical thing. Some guys go through camp and get banged up and miss some time, other guys don't. Regardless of all of that, I think the biggest thing is for young players, when you go through situations in practice, you work on something, 'Okay here is what you do in this situation,' or 'Here's how you run an in-cut. Here is how you run it against zone. Here is how you run it against man. Here is what happens when they blitz.' Then you call that in the game, say you call it one time and you don't know what coverage it's going to be, but here it is. It's man coverage and then the player needs to go and run the route and beat the man coverage on the route just like he did in a one-on-one drill probably at some point in practice. Whether that all comes together in the game like it did in practice like its been taught, that is the interesting part. It is also the hard part, for it to all happen in that one situation. The next play is something else. It's a running play. Here is how the receiver, if it is cover two, he is going to block the corner. If it's cover three, he is going to block the safety. If it's man-to-man coverage he is going to run the guy off deep because the defender has got him in man-to-man coverage so here is the same play and then one of those things happen. Which one is it? Does he do the right thing? Is he able to execute it the way, not just do the right thing, it's supposed to be executed so that the play will work. That is really a big part of the experience level. The other part of the equation that comes into that is different people. Even though I am running an in-cut against man-to-man coverage, running it against Tyrone Poole and running it against Otis Smith and running it against Antwan Harris, they are all different things. That's another part of it. For rookies, pulling all of those things together and doing the right thing at the right time and knowing how to really maximize an opportunity in a situation, when we are saying experience, I think that is really what we are talking about.

**Q: And they don't have to make that adjustment in college? Is there less scheming in college?

BB:** Well, there are a couple of different issues in college.

**Q: Talent?

BB:** Well, first of all just talking about the passing game, there aren't very many passing patterns. Second of all, there aren't very many coverages. Third of all, in a lot of situations the players that we have in college are just better than the other players they are playing against. They are faster, they are bigger and they may have more experience just because that is their last year in college. They are not playing against freshman and sophomores, and all that. Maybe they are three or four year players because they came in with more ability. In relative terms, they are a lot more experienced sometimes than the players they are playing against in college more experience and better. You can put on a college football game and watch the patterns they throw. When do you ever see a quarterback come back, read the coverage and throw and intermediate route? It's either some kind of quick screen or some kind of play action or it's a bomb. That's really what the passing game is. So we are doing a lot of things that they don't do. I am not saying that it's bad or good, it's just different. We don't run the option in this league. You just don't see that. You just don't see many sprint-out type of plays. You don't see the ball, like it is in college football, on the hash mark where your defensively defending so much of the wide side of the field. We don't really care about the wide side of the field. The ball is pretty much on the field all the time. That is not a big thing for us. But in college that is a big thing. Probably three-quarters of your defense is based on just where the ball is on the field in terms of defending two-thirds of it over here versus one-third of it over here. So it's a whole different… I think football is still football don't get me wrong, but there are a lot of differences there. There are a lot of things they don't' do in college and here, pretty much every guy that steps up there in front of him whatever position they play, is probably as good as, if not better than they are, talking about the rookies. Instead of them being the best guy doing it against guys who just physically don't have the ability to keep up with them, now they make this step where probably most of the guys are doing it against are as good if not better than they are. That's a big transition. It's not easy being a rookie in the NFL. Seriously. It's a tough life. It's better than working, but it's a tough life.

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