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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 8/28/2003

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            **BB:**  Well there is an old saying that [says] 'No game is more quickly forgotten than the last preseason game.'  I think there is a lot of truth to that.  We looked at it this morning and we are going to show it to the players this afternoon just to correct some of things that came up in the game.  Basically, today is a day that we want to try to recap and put the preseason behind us as much as we can.  Not that there aren't a lot of good lessons to learn from it, but to try to take those and compile them as quickly and efficiently as possible and make our personnel decisions and start our preparations for Buffalo, that is really the mode that we are in now.  It's a little bit of a transition for today but by tomorrow we should hopefully be pretty much in full swing there.  The players will be off tomorrow and Saturday.  The will come back Sunday and we will start to work on Buffalo.  Sunday is when we have to make the final roster reductions as everyone knows and that is what we will do then.  The players will be off on Monday and then Tuesday we will start a regular week for the Bills.  It will be like a regular Wednesday for us.  We made six roster reductions today; the five Europe players that we had and Corbin [Lacina].  I would just say since I have been here, even going back to the 2001 season, I thought that this Europe group was a very competitive group.  None of them ended up making the roster here but I thought overall they performed well.  They were competitive and I wouldn't be surprised if those guys continue to play football one way or another.  I thought it was a good group.  Frank [Moreau], Mike [Malan], and Rod [Trafford] all made some plays in the game and they made them through the training camp period.  Defensively, Dyshod [Carter] and Brad [Harris] showed up well too.  Corbin came in here on pretty short notice and I thought gave a solid performance in the last two preseason games.  I think it was a competitive group there but you just can't keep everybody.  So that is the latest.  We are also going to move from the upper fields, the training camp fields, down to the lower field and we will make that move today.  That is it for me.  

**Q: Do you see Jamil Soriano as a viable backup?

BB:** Jamil got a few snaps in the game, not many of them, it was really a crash course with him. We got him in late Monday night and spent Tuesday and Wednesday, morning with him. But he played a little bit. Jamil is a guy that we kind of had an eye on as a free agent all the way through. He's been in a couple of transactions and we were finally able to see him and take a look at him. Obviously, there are some things that we like because we have been tracking him. How that will all fit together and how much depth we can keep on the offensive line and how many young offensive linemen we can keep, those will be some of the discussions we will have in the next couple of days. We always like to keep a couple if possible.

**Q: Is he more of a guard or a tackle?

BB:** Well he played tackle in college. We played him at guard in last night's game. He may have some position flexibility there. I think for sure he would work at guard, maybe he could also work at tackle. We probably need a little bit more time to determine that.

**Q: What went wrong with Corbin?

BB:** We just can't keep everybody. No, there is nothing wrong with Corbin.

**Q: How you feel about the depth on the offensive line as it stands right now? It seems pretty young and in the past it seemed like you like to have veterans.

BB:** You are always looking to improve your team. If we can, we will. I think that the line has improved steadily through training camp. I thought last night was the best performance that we have had on the offensive line. We've got a couple of players missing from that group but I thought that the ones that played did a solid job. I am not saying great but it was solid and it is getting better. That is encouraging. If this is the high water mark, that is one thing. If it is not and things are going to continue to improve then that could be another thing too. We'll have to try to get a gauge on that. Usually younger players improve and a lot of times veteran players have a standard performance and hopefully it is consistent. We will just have to weigh that out. That is kind of what we are looking at out there. There could always be more depth at every position.

**Q: Is there some reason why it seems like that is the position where so many teams are short and looking for guys?

BB:** Yeah, they are short, there are fewer guys. Just look around. How many guys do you see that are 6'5 300 pounds? There are a lot more guys that are 6'0 200 pounds. There are just not as many guys that are that big and that athletic that can play those offensive and defensive line positions. There is a premium on them. You see it in free agency, you see it in the draft, you see it when those guys hit the waiver wire whether it is in training camp or at the end of the preseason, the 53-man roster cuts. Those guys don't last long. I think whenever you release a player from those positions depending on what you see the players feature is with your team, everybody has got numbers problems and you can never keep all of the players that you want to keep but you keep the guys you can keep and then you have to release certain guys and then you look at them and say, 'What are the chances of trying to get this guy back here?' Just because you know the demand is high and the supply is low and somebody is going to get scooped off by somebody else whether it is your guy or somebody else's guy but there's a premium on those players.

**Q: Has it always been like that?

BB:** As long as I can remember. But it is reflected in the draft. It is reflected in free agency. For the most part, defensively, pass-rushers and corners, there's a high premium on those players. On the offensive line, it's tackles. Not that all the other positions aren't important, I am not saying that. I am just saying from a league wide basis, that is no secret. You can look at the salaries, look at where the people are drafted, look at the type of transactions you get at those positions. That is the way that most of the people in the league feel.

**Q: When you make a decision on back-ups at any position, does the quality of the team affect who you are going to put in as a back up?

BB:** I think it could. Sure. I think there have been times in my coaching career where you sit there at the beginning of the season and say, 'Realistically, a lot is going to have to go right for us this year. It's a year where we are going to have to play a lot of young players and we may not be quite as good as we were last year or the last couple of years.' Maybe that is a time where you make more of a transition on that. I certainly understand what you are saying. I think that could be a factor. Generally with the back up players it all comes down to, again I don't know if back up is a good word here because I don't know what that means…

**Q: The guys that start the game.

BB:** Yeah, but when you look at who starts the game, it could be a number of different people. There are different people, there are different combinations. It's not like it was 15 years ago where the same 11 guys start and play first, second and third down on both sides of the ball. It's just not like that anymore. Every team has different role players. Anyway, I think there are a combination of factors in there and part of it is related to the positions the players play, but part of it is related to either the adjacent positions or the complementary positions on the other side of the ball as it relates to special teams where you can get your depth. The whole key to those players is the more things they can do the more, the more valuable they become. If a guy can play guard and tackle or can play center and guard or can play sam and will or can play half back and full back, then he just becomes more valuable than the guy beside him who is only a one position player. That becomes even more of a factor when you go to the 45-man game day roster as opposed to the 53 because you only have 45 guys. Now somebody that can do two or three things or have a role on offense or defense or play on special teams or maybe have two roles on offense or defense and play on special teams, they have more value than the guys who can't.

**Q: What about on the quarterback position? If you have a young quarterback who's got promise and you also have your veteran who will make fewer mistakes than a younger quarterback might.

BB:** Again, the younger player is always a tough question because what you don't like about young players is their lack of experience. What you usually do like about young players that you keep is the potential for improvement and upside. You just don't know where a guy is going to be in a month, where he is going to be halfway through the season, where he is going to be at the end of the season or where he is going to be next year. We have all seen those dramatic rises and we've seen others that are more level. You say, 'Well we don't want to go with the young guy because the other guys is a little bit ahead of him now but that could change in a month and that could change in six weeks. It could change significantly. I think depending on how you feel about the young players, how quickly you think they are going to improve and maybe what you think your needs might be, although we know that can change in a hurry, you just have to try to project that. It's a very inexact science.

**Q: You have few guys that are banged up like Bethel Johnson and Damien Woody. Do you think they will be ready to go for Buffalo?

BB:** I hope that everybody will be practicing next week when we begin our preparations for Buffalo, yes. I hope that everybody will. We'll have to wait and see but I hope that they will, other than the players who have been placed on the injured list.

**Q: Are you going to announce anything positional with the competitions that have been going back and forth the back up quarterback position being one of them?

BB:** I really wasn't planning on it.

**Q: As a public service. [Laughter]

BB:** No, I really wasn't planning on announcing a lot of lineups and role responsibilities and all heading into our regular season opener. Honestly, some of that is game related…

**Q: Two years ago you did say before the week the season started that [Tom] Brady was the #2.

BB:** Thanks for reminding me of that. [Laughter] Each situation is a little bit different and we will take these as they come. If I have something that I feel like I can get you, I'd be more than happy to give it to you. There are other things that may not be quite as clear now and maybe they will clear up in a few days and maybe they wont

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