BB: We will treat today just like a regular Friday. What are you working on today?
Q: Can you just talk about Charlie [Weis] and Romeo [Crennel] and what makes them good as coordinators?
BB: A coordinator's job is pretty broad. There are a lot of x's and o's and scheming. It is coordinating the coaches and the coaching staff and their responsibilities and getting all of the information covered. It is dealing with all of the players at some point. It pretty much covers that whole [area]. It is like being a head coach except it is within one area there on that side of the ball.
Q: Have you seen that job become more involved over your time in the league or has it always been the same?
BB: No. I think it is where it has always been since I have seen it. Everybody has a different style and different ways of doing it. I have worked for coordinators. I have been a coordinator. I have been a head coach with coordinators. So, I have seen it from all three perspectives. I think it is pretty much the same. In some respects really it is a good job because it is confined. You can only go to a certain point and there is certainly plenty to do. There aren't a lot of other things that come in from the outside. You deal with that element of it. It is 11 guys. The special teams coach has the same thing, Brad [Seely]. You deal with the 11 guys and those are the people that you work with. You don't have to balance all three phases of the game. It is all contained within that one element. Whatever problems that you have, they probably aren't going to go away.
Q: There were a lot of coordinators who became head coaches, some great coordinators, who had problems when making the change. What makes the difference with the transitioning? Why is it so hard for some guys who were so good as coordinators?
BB: I think there are a lot of things that are involved. I think good coaches are good coaches. How organizations and the total win-loss record of a coach or an organization is reflected, there are a lot of factors. The game has changed a lot in the last 10 years with free agency. That is adding a whole different dimension to it. With the coordinator job itself, I loved that job. Like I said, it is very contained. You are dealing with a lot of people and you are working with a lot of people and it is one very specific thing. It doesn't just keep extending out like a team does.
Q: What will you be looking for this week specifically to show that the team has taken a step forward and bounced back from last week?
BB: I don't think it will be one specific thing. I think it will be an overall evaluation of how we are playing. I think that we go out and do one or two things well and do 30 things poorly like we did last week, I don't think we are going to come away from that saying, 'Well, great. We did two things halfway decent. Good.' We will see how we do from the total evaluation of it, from all of the aspects and hope that there are more things on the positive side than on the negative side. I am sure that we will have some problems. Hopefully we will be able to cause them a few problems, more than we did last week.
Q: Was it so bad last week that you are just going to be looking just for the fundamental stuff, tackling, blocking?
BB: Yes, everything. Do you want to list the highlights from last week? [Brief Pause] Okay well that didn't take long. Hopefully we can find some positive things in the game this week from wherever they come. I am sure we are going to have problems. I am not oblivious to that. I don't think we are going to go down there and it is going to be 80-0. I don't think it is going to be like that at all. I just hope that we can do enough positive things to be competitive and show that we have improved and look like a football team.
Q: One of the things that you do best is scheme for the other team, defensively. You don't do that in the exhibition season. How much of not scheming for the offense is a factor in the team not playing well?
BB: I don't think it is that big of a factor. I don't think they are staying up nights scheming either. I think they are going to run the things that they need to run and we are going to run the things that we need to run. I don't think this is a big x and o scheming thing. I think it is more about, from a coaching standpoint, getting your team to play the way that you want them to play. From a player's standpoint, being able to go out there and play and execute at a high level. That is basically what we want to try to get done. I don't know what Carolina is trying to do, but I would imagine it would be the same thing. When you are an experienced coach in this league, like many of the coaches on our staff are, like John [Hufnagel] is, like Dan Henning, like those guys are, you don't need a preseason game to say, 'Well, this play will work.' You have had enough experience. You know the play will work. It is not, 'Will the play work? Is this a decent blitz?' You have been running it for five-10-20 years. You know that the play is okay, if you can get it done right. That is why I don't think scheming is that important. My first year in the league, or my first year of coaching special teams, or my first year of being a defensive coordinator, okay maybe you run some things in preseason that you don't have a lot of personal background with, 'Okay, let's see what are going to be the problems with this. Here is an idea I had, let's see how this shapes up.' There is a little bit of that now, too. I am not saying everything that we had run was in the Giants playbook in 1981. But, a lot of it was. There are some things that we will do that are maybe a little bit different than what we have done in the past. 'Let's see how this looks. Here is the way we think it is going to go. All right, let's see.' A lot of it, we are not coming out of there saying, 'Gee, what are we going to do? The safety walked up on the line of scrimmage. What are we going to do here? We have dealt with that before on that play and here is what we are doing to do.'
Q: You talked about in the past and the players have talked about having a bull's eye on their back. It is preseason but what kind of reception do you think you are going to get down in Carolina?
BB: Probably a parade when we land. I imagine there will be a lot of cheering when they introduce us, I would think, maybe some fireworks. I bet they are going to be happy to see us. [Laughter] I am sure it will be a real hostile environment. It is going to be what we would expect it to be. It will be loud. There will be adverse conditions. That is an enthusiastic town. They are enthusiastic about their team. They have a good team. The team plays hard. They are well coached. I am sure they will be ready to go. That is what we expect. I am sure that is what we are going to get. We will have to match that intensity and that energy level with a lot less support than what they will have. That is the way it is going to be eight times a year during the regular season for us. I think it is a great situation for us to go into especially after last week. To be able to look forward to that type of environment, that type of crowd noise, that type of hostility and really, to a degree, block it out and be able to focus on the team that we are playing and execute our game plan. It will be a big challenge for us, and one that we need to face and meet.
Q: You've won game in hostile environments and lost games when you had the entire stadium cheering for you. How much do the fans count?
BB: I think when you are playing away from home, you have to bring your own energy. If things don't go well, there is not going to be anybody there but basically those guys on the sideline to create positive energy for your team. But that's it. Now, sometimes you're playing at home and things don't go well, there is a little bit of support that can try to create some positive energy there, and sometimes help get you going and that type of thing. So to me, that's the difference. Whenever you are on the road, what you create, you have to create yourself. And at home, you might get a little bit of help and you might be able to help yourselves if you can play well, and that creates an energy with the fans. If you don't play well, then you're not going to be able to create too much. They might want to create it for you, but you just don't give them anything to work with. So, I think that is the big difference. Obviously there are some technical differences, like the crowd noise, like the wind conditions, or the 40-second clock, or the environment and the familiarity with it. So there is a little bit of that, and the field surface-- if it is consistent or if it isn't-- lights and all of those kinds of things. But that is something that you try to go out there and get as much experience as you can before the game in pregame warm-ups, look at everything and try to project how it will affect you in the game. That is what pregame warm-ups and all that are for. A lot of guys have played in other stadiums before so there is a background there, but just the energy. There won't be a lot of positive energy for us down there.
Q: What kind of environment is better for a rookie or maybe guys who played at small schools and aren't used to that kind of environment?
BB: Well, everybody is going to have to get used to it. I never coached in college so I can't really comment on what the differences are. I'm sure there are a lot of tough stadiums to play in in college football. But, again, a lot of that comes back really back specifically to your system. There are certain communications that are involved in every system, regardless of whether it is college or pro, whatever it is-- audibles, adjustments, communication and somehow or other you have to be able to play through that noise situation. However you do it, whatever level it is, you have to find some way to deal with it. And what a word means in our system and what a word means in some other system, somehow that has got to be able to permeate through the defense or the offense, whatever it is on an audible, so everybody has got it. Then, that is really what we are talking about, is being able to deal with that climate, however you do it.
Q: How did these two teams, with such tremendous defenses in last year's Super Bowl allow 61 points in just 12 or 13 minutes of play? Have you taken a look at that game?
BB: Well, as dumb as I am, I could figure that out after the game. That was a game where there was a lot of energy expended in the game, on the day of the game leading up to it and then within the game itself. I think that both defenses were a little less than full throttle there at the end. And that is not uncommon. I think we saw a similar thing in another game a couple of years before that. So, it is a long day, it is a long game, and defensively, when you run out of gas as a team and you don't get it back, you are probably going to see the other team move the ball.
Q: What about the 24 points just before halftime-- was it the same thing?
BB: Well, no. I think before the half we had some breakdowns and they made good plays. They made good plays and we didn't, and they were big plays.
Q: Did you watch that game for enjoyment at all?
BB: Not recently, but yeah, I did.
Q: With the family? Can you describe the circumstances? Was it just once?
BB: No, it has been a few times, when the kids are watching it or whatever, just kind of hoping that the end turns out well, you know, Adam's going to make the kick.
Q: He hits it every time, huh?
BB: He has. It's the same when he hits it against Tennessee.
Q: Can you watch it for enjoyment or are you looking at it from a coaching perspective?
BB: No, I enjoyed it. I definitely enjoyed it. It has a happy ending. But, it has been a while. It really has. It has been a while and when I see it now, I don't see it that same way. I see it from more of an evaluation and technical standpoint as I watch it this week. But, back in March and February, sure.
Q: Is it a game you really enjoy watching? Do you like it a lot?
BB: I like it a lot, yeah. I've watched it maybe four or five times. I haven't counted them, but it hasn't been 100, but it has been more than one. The Bills-Giants Super Bowl, I can't really remember watching that game. I was on to Cleveland the next week after the game, and we didn't play the Bills, we played the Giants in preseason, but it was new. It was a changeover, obviously, so it was different.
Q: What about the Rams game?
BB: Well, we haven't played the Rams since that game. You always look at your last games of the year because, when you start the new year, those are the things that people are going to go back and watch. People are going to watch your playoff games, your last couple regular season games, those last four, five, six games. So, I think it is good for you, as a coach, to watch it, just to keep it in perspective that this is what we did at the end of the year, this is what they are seeing, these plays are probably on their breakdowns. This is kind of their last shot of the team, especially if you haven't played them before. So, teams that we play early in the year, like Arizona and Seattle, teams like that, then they have to go back and look at those games. What else are they going to watch? So, I think it is good for you just to kind of know, because when you think back about the season there are a lot of things that stand out to you. I was here for every game, I attended all of them, but when you are another team's scout and you then you have 19 games to look at, they're not going to look at all 19 games. They might look at them, but they are not going to look at them in the same detail. They are going to pick out a few, and when you get the games at the end of the year, we are here in the playoffs and that type of thing, and the importance of the games, those are going to be good games to evaluate because you're seeing the team, I mean that is their best. They aren't saving anything at all. That is their best shot. But, we would do the same thing.
Q: How would you characterize the practices this week as opposed to the practices last week before Cincinnati?
BB: They have been a lot louder. We have had the noise out there every day, so we are trying to deal with the communication issue and audibling, hearing the snap count, making calls and all that kind of thing. We've been in pads all week. Some things look better than others. More importantly, we'll see how we look Saturday night. I don't think last week was a great week of practice, put it that way. I'd say this week's [practices], in some respects, have been better. Not perfect, but a little bit better.
Q: Mike Cloud has been playing for six years. Is there a surprise when a player is able to mature and get better after playing as long as he has? Does that happen very often?
BB: Well, I think physically, once a player matures and he gets into his late 20's, depending on the specific situation, but generally speaking, I would say those players, they mature and physically they are going to hit their peak somewhere in that 27 to 30-[year old] range. And really at that point, what you are looking for is the maintenance. You are hoping that they will test as well, they will run as fast, they will lift as much, they will be able to do all the things they did the year before once they hit that crest from a training standpoint. But, from a learning standpoint, players can definitely improve and, especially when players come in from another system. And in Mike's case, he really wasn't with us last year. He wasn't with us in training camp, he wasn't with us for the first four weeks of the season. He came back and was kind of thrust into the offense and I think was probably reacting to a lot of things, rather than having the background, the amount of carries and the experience in the system that a player who had been there for, whatever it was, nine or 10 weeks would have. So, this year he has the benefit of all that. I think that, in terms of learning, understanding, reading the blocking schemes in front of him and having a familiarity with those players and how they block, there is a lot of chemistry there between a block and his blocking and just knowing the people in front of you and how they are doing it and how they are going to do it on certain plays. You have got to be better off with that.
Q: Is he better off?
BB: Oh sure. Absolutely, as any player would be. Especially if you are making a transition here. Some of the guys on our line this year are going to block differently than some of the guys did last year. I'm not saying better or worse—it might be that too—it is just different. They have a different style, different strengths and maybe different weaknesses, so it just fits a little bit differently. Same thing with a quarterback and receivers and all that kind of thing. You have to go back and reestablish that from year to year. Troy Brown runs his route a little bit differently than David Patten runs his, even though it is the same route and all that. Their technique and their style is a little bit different than Bethel [Johnson] and David [Givens] or whoever they are. And that is true of the linemen and their blockers as well.