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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript 8/24/04

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BB: We made two roster moves today, rather, [we are] in the process of making them. We released Fred McCrary. Guss Scott hurt his knee in the Cincinnati game, and we will be placing him on injured reserve, so he will be out for the year. This is obviously disappointing for all of us, but especially for Guss who has worked really hard. Now we are onto Carolina. This is going to be kind of like a regular season schedule week for us. We still have a few camp things to do. We are in a little bit of a transition mode, but it will basically be a regular-season type of week. We will go through our regular run-down type of situation today and passing situations. Tomorrow will be more of a red area, goal line and two-minute, that type of thing, on Friday which will be a Thursday here, that kind of preparation. We are trying to get into the routine of that. We all know what kind of team Carolina is. Nobody has more respect for them than we do and going down to play them in their place Saturday night should be a really good test for us. I am sure the environment will be hostile. We need to learn how to deal with that and play with it. We are looking forward to it. I think it will be a good test for our football team, and they are a really good football team. That is where we are for today.

Q: What were your impressions of Troy Brown when you first came across him?

BB: When I was in Cleveland, I was aware of Troy and we played him. We played him in preseason one year. But, really getting to work against Troy firsthand in 1996 when I was coaching the secondary, we saw him everyday. He was a hard guy for us to handle then. He really was. He made a lot of plays on us on the scout team, running patterns against us one-on-one in training camp. He, at that point, had a really crafty way of getting open. When I went to New York with the Jets and in watching [Wayne] Chrebet and working against him, I think that there are a lot of similarities between those two players in terms of their quickness, their body strength, their work ethic, their consistency and concentration. Troy is better after the catch and he is a returner and that is really not Wayne's strength. But just as pure receivers, I thought in working against those guys during that four-year period before I came back in 2000, there were a lot of similarities between the players, their hands, the strength of their hands and their ability to take the ball in a really tight situation or what would be a tough catch and [use] the strength of their hands to grip the ball and catch it and control it, even in poor weather conditions. I guess that is how I thought of Troy from when I first was exposed to him and then comparing him to a guy like Wayne.

Q: Just thinking back to the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh in 2001 and the return for a touchdown, he has the ability to make quick plays on his feet.

BB: That was a big play, but really a more instinctive play than that was probably on the blocked field goal where he scooped it up and [threw a] lateral to Antwan Harris. That was something that we worked on in practice, but it really had never come up in a game situation in the two years, in 2000 or 2001, anywhere near like that. He reacted very instinctively to it, got the ball, was advancing it and as he was being tackled pitched it back for a touchdown. It was a really athletic play and a very heady play as was the punt return, as was the one against Cleveland. He has made a lot of big plays for us.

Q: How do you feel about the Field Turf surface?

BB: I think it is an improvement over the old Astro Turf surfaces.

Q: Do you think most players like it?

BB: You would have to ask the players.

Q: Have you seen more injuries on it than the old Astro Turf?

BB: I don't know. I haven't done a personal study on it, so I don't know.

Q: Do you think that Ricky Bryant will have more of a chance to play in Carolina?

BB: I think that all of the young players are going to need to take advantage of the opportunities that they get. I can't sit here and know what anybody's opportunities are going to be, but when they get them, they need to take advantage of them and make the best of them. That is the best thing that all of those young players can do. There are other guys that are ahead of them based on experience, either in our system or in the league, or whatever it is. The players that are here will still continue to get opportunities, and they need to capitalize on each on of them. They won't be equally spread out because certain guys have moved ahead of other guys based on their performance so far in camp. Everybody that is here is still fighting for some kind of spot on the team.

Q: What about him on a individual basis? What is it that you like about him?

BB: I think Ricky is quick. I think he has good run after the catch skills. He can be a returner. He has a way of getting open. He has enough speed, quickness and enough savvy in his route-running that he can get open and catch the ball. That is what you look for in a receiver.

Q: Would you use him on special teams?

BB: Well, we used him to return, yes.

Q: Do you subscribe to the old chestnut that the third preseason game is like a dress rehearsal for your team and will allow you to see where your team is?

BB: I think every time you step out on the field, your team has a chance to improve. I think you need to take advantage of all of your opportunities. This is one of four, and we want to take advantage of that and utilize it the best way we can. I feel the same way about the other three games, too. There are different points of emphasis in different games depending on who your opponent is and what the situation is, so forth and so on. There will be some elements in this game that will be great opportunities for us as a team, some of the individual matchups for us to sharpen our game for the regular season and we need to take advantage of those. We've had two already, and we will have another one the following week. When they come, I hope we can gain something from them.

Q: Do you use last week's game as any type of motivational tool or do we make that stuff up? When you have a game like that, is that something that gets your attention?

BB: Well, I would hope that game got somebody's attention. We will find out. I don't know.

Q: Did anything good come out of that game?

BB: Not much.

Q: How does Dexter Reid look in the kicking game?

BB: I think he has done a pretty solid job in the kicking game as a coverage player and also a little bit in the return game on the blocking aspect of it. I think he is one of those guys that is at the point now where a lot of rookies are, if they go out and have a couple of decent performances, now the other teams have seen him, these next couple of games, like we would, we will go out and see how other teams' new guys are doing and get a chance to look at them a little bit. I am not saying game plan for them, but you are a little more ready for them. It will be interesting to see how everybody does as we move forward here in the competition. Sometimes that first game those guys can go out and surprise some people and look good and that is great. Sometimes it continues and sometimes it doesn't. I am not just saying that for him. I am talking about everybody. That includes [Vince] Wilfork and [Marquise] Hill and everybody else right down the line.

Q: How has he been picking up the mental part of the defense?

BB: He is a sharp kid. I don't think that will be a problem. He did that at North Carolina and kind of ran the defense down there. He was pretty much, not only the guy who verbally called a lot, but he was also a senior and I think they relied on him on a lot of the checks and adjustments and we noticed that on film. So, yes, I think that part of it has gone pretty good.

Q: You said after last week's game you are going back to the basics. Does that change how you go about practice this week in any way?

BB: We are going to continue to put a lot of emphasis on them. Maybe there are some things that we had some fundamental things look better that we would move on to something else, but at this point I don't think we can move past some very basic fundamental things because we can't handle those. You have to walk before you can run and right now we are crawling.

Q: Are you concerned about the defensive line or do you just chalk it up to a bad game for the team?

BB: Well, when you are behind 28-3 I think you are concerned about everything. There wasn't really anything in the game that looked good. We couldn't move the ball, we couldn't stop them, we couldn't return it, we couldn't catch it, we gave up a long punt return, we had two kickoff returns that ended up inside the 10-yard line, so if you're asking me if there is any aspect of the game that I am happy with, the answer is no. If you're asking me if I think every game is going to be like that and we are going to get beaten 60 to nothing every week, I hope not. But we'll find out where we are. Am I concerned about it? After watching that, I can't imagine how you could not be concerned about it.

Q: Rosevelt Colvin played a good amount of time. Did you see some of his old flashiness back?

BB: I think it was another step in his process of coming back and playing. He had been out a long time, and he has gone step by step all the way from last September, last October, so I don't think you can climb the Empire State building in one jump. You're going one step of the way and there are a lot of steps to climb. He is climbing them and that is another one, so I think there were some good things there. I think there are some things that he will improve on, and hopefully we will be able to give him more playing time this week and his timing, his techniques and those things, he'll continue on the same course. I think it has been good and I think that he, along with everybody else, still has work to do.

Q: When you are evaluating him is it hard not to compare him to the old Rosevelt Colvin and the way he used to play?

BB: Yes, I think that Rosevelt Colvin is fine. I just think that he hasn't played in a long time and that is different from all the other guys who have played. And I think that he is in the process of coming back on that and continues to improve. Where is it going to go? I don't know, but it is continuing to move forward, he is continuing to improve and so that is good. We'll see where it goes.

Q: How would you assess how he played?

BB: I think it was another step in his coming back to play. I think it was positive. There were certainly a lot more positive things than negative. I'm not going to sit here and tell you it was perfect. There are things he has to work on. There are things everybody has to work on. But, that being said, I thought that he did some things well and he certainly got a lot more playing time and more action than he did the week before against Philadelphia. We'll see what happens this week.

Q: Do you think it is realistic to think that he will regain the explosiveness that he used to have?

BB: I'm not going to make any predictions on where he is going to be or where he isn't going to be. I think his recovery has gone well. I think he is out there playing well. I think he is getting better. Where that is going to end up, I don't really know. But I think it is heading in the right direction, and I think he has done everything he can with it and it keeps moving forward, so that is what you're looking for.

Q: Can you talk about the progress of Marquise Hill and Vince Wilfork?

BB: I think they both made a lot of progress. They are a lot better than they were three or four months ago or even back in the spring camps, and they still have a ways to go. But they have improved significantly. Both of them are, especially Marquise playing over on the left side, it is a little bit different than playing on the right side. Vince is playing some techniques that are a little bit different than what he played in college. But I think they are making good progress and if they keep working hard, I think they will be okay. They both have a long way to go. You don't come into the NFL and learn how to play defensive line in a couple of weeks. There is a lot more to it than that. But, that being said, I think they are moving in the right direction and they have shown a lot of improvement

Q: How close is Jim Miller? Does he have a shot to play in either of the last two preseason games?

BB: I don't know. I'm not going to try to make any predictions on him. I think he is getting better. He is gaining his strength back. I think he is way closer than he was two or three weeks ago. And then we'll take it day by day and see how it comes along. I know he is working hard. I think he has gotten himself in good condition. I've really been impressed with his work ethic and when exactly that day will be, I'm not sure, but we are a whole lot closer to it than we were a few weeks ago, so that is good.

Q: Is that a tough roster decision that you might have to make, not seeing a guy throughout training camp?

BB: Right. Well, sure. I think if that cut was today, you would be talking about several players that are in that category that either haven't played or they played briefly and haven't played in a while, or other guys who have come back and maybe played only for a couple of days. Those would be tough decisions because you are really speculating on where you think the guy is going to be or even where he is right now. You don't know if that is really reflective of the point that he is going to finish because maybe he has only been out there for a couple of days or maybe just this past week or a situation like that. So, yes, those are the things that make it hard. Guys that you haven't seen or guys that you have just seen for a brief amount of time, trying to compare them to guys that have been out there practicing 20 or 25 practices, you have a lot better idea of the consistency and the level of their performance. So, yes, that is going to be tough.

Q: Do you expect Richard Seymour to see more double teams this year?

BB: I'll say the same things I've said about the double teams before. In the running game, I don't know how many guys you can double team. How many people can you double team? You just don't have enough blockers. Somebody has to hand it off and somebody has to carry it and you start running out of people. You start double teaming people, you're going to have several guys unblocked, so I don't really see that in the running game. Passing game? They have five to block four most of the time, if you rush four and if they, depending on the protection, if they send out five receivers they have five to block four, one guy can block two and the other three have to block one. So, that's where I think we are on double teams. We have the same number of guys out there that they do.

Q: How does Michael Cloud look to you so far this season?

BB: I think Mike has run the ball hard and has made some good plays. I think that his game is a lot better than it obviously was last year when he wasn't in preseason and then missed the first four weeks of the regular season, so I think he is significantly ahead of that. I feel pretty good about the overall work ethic of the backs, and I hope we can get more production out of that position. We had decent production there in the first game and didn't have too much production anywhere last week, so I don't know what that means.

Q: Do you think his role will be different from last year?

BB: I don't know what anybody's role is going to be right now. We are all trying to establish that. Players are trying to establish that, the coaches are trying to take a look at, not only who is going to be on the roster, but how the groups are going to fit together, how it is going to match up, and I'm sure it will vary week to week based on the game plan, regardless of who is on the roster. Even if it is the same guys every single week, I think the roles will vary from game to game depending on how we want to attack our opponents or what problems they are giving us. So I definitely wouldn't try to predict that for anybody.

Q: What did you see in [Troy Brown] that made him adept at playing corner?

BB: I think there are a couple of things. As you saw last year, we had a little bit of a depth problem in the secondary with the defensive backs, and Troy has the attributes as a slot receiver that are very similar to the attributes that you are looking for in a slot defender—quickness, playing strength, some savvy, which Troy has a lot of football savvy and instinctiveness. So we thought that those things would be worth taking a look at. I think Troy has worked hard at the position. He has made good progress at understanding it from the defensive side of the ball and has adapted his skills to be pretty competitive at it, and I think he has done a good job in the games and also in the practice sessions when we have used him. I think he is having a little fun with it and I think it helps us, in terms of our overall depth, if we get into a situation where we need somebody to help us over there on the defensive side of the ball. In a situation like that, at least we have somebody that has a little bit of a background, and we aren't trying to draw it up in the dirt there on the sideline, 'You go here and try to do this.' We at least have a little bit of experience with it.

Q: Was Fred McCrary surprised that he was released?

BB: Well, I think that you would have to ask Fred that question. But let me put it this way, I think that Fred and I, when we both talked about it, I think we both felt that that was the best thing to do at this time. Let's put it that way.

Q: Give him a shot to catch on somewhere else?

BB: Right. There is still some time to go. We are certainly not closing the door on anything here. At the same time, it is tight and I think that he felt like, and I think that we both felt, and I don't want to speak for him, but I'll just kind of generally say that I think we both felt it was probably the right thing to do at this point in time. And things could always change and they could change quickly, so I don't in any way feel like this is necessarily a position that could never be changed

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