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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 8/3/2003

BB: We should have had this over coffee. You deserve it. Go ahead.

**Q: First of all, did you get a chance to see the first football game of the season yesterday?

BB:** I probably saw five plays. Yeah, that's about all I saw.

**Q: You didn't get up at 5 o'clock in the morning?

BB:** No. No. I didn't.

**Q: I did.

BB:** How did it go?

**Q: Ahh, it was wonderful. I think you ought to play at five in the morning.

BB:** When I turned it off the Jets were up 7-0. Then what happened?

**Q: It was 30-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jets lost. The first unit got that first drive then they yanked them out of there.

BB:** I saw [Lamont] Jordan score there and they threw a pass down to about the 12 or so to set it up and then that was it.

**Q: Did you watch it in the morning or last night?

BB:** Last night. I was flipping through, I saw about four or five plays. Once the Jets went ahead, that was it for me.

**Q: You have spoke in this training camp about targeting and improving your run defense. Is that something you can really judge until you start playing games? Can you assess much to this point?

BB:** No, not really. I can tell you how it's going in practice. We make corrections everyday on it to try to get everybody on the same page and get it ironed out. But we're not going to really know until we start going up against other competitive people. And that's the way it is on everything really. Some of the things we see in training camp from ourselves, we don't necessarily see from our opponents. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But it's not the same as playing us. We're dealing with somebody else and their scheme and their system. We'll have to wait and see on that.

**Q: What are you hoping to see out of this first preseason game? I know it's kind of early, but what are you hoping to see?

BB:** Just like every year, we have to re-establish our level of play in every area regardless of what it was last year, good, bad or indifferent. The Giants are a good team to do that with. We've played them the last couple of years in preseason. They've been good games. They are a very good team in all facets of the game. In looking at last year's game, we certainly learned a number of things from that one. This game has a little bit of a different twist, because we do play the Giants in the regular season. But our next two games, against Washington and Philadelphia, are against teams that we play even ahead of the Giants in the regular season. In relative terms, this game will take a little bit of a different spin than those two, because those games are even closer together than this one. But a combination of getting our system and our scheme installed and executing it, also getting the players individually to work on their execution in games and their conditioning and so forth and start to be able to execute different situations that come up in the game that you simulate in practice but they just occur much more randomly in the game. Like in practice we do third down drills, but in the game third downs, one of every three plays, who knows when it is going to come up. So you have a lot of random situations like that that are just less structured in the game and you have to be able to react quicker and put it all together.

**Q: How much game planning do you do for the first preseason game?

BB:** I think usually in the first preseason, you pretty much run what you have in at this point. But at the same time you have to be aware of some of the things that your opponent is doing and where you have to adjust to it, you have to adjust to it. You just don't want to go out there and not really give yourself a chance on a play or give yourself a chance on certain formations that they run. So we are going to have to prepare for it and we're just going to have to see how much of it comes up. The Giants do a couple of things defensively. They run some 46 defense and they have a couple of blitzes that you have to be aware of. Offensively, like with Shockey, they sometimes split him out and isolate him, which is a little unusual for teams to do with tight ends. Things like that you just have to cover because they have done it in the past. It could come up in the game. Whether it will or not, I don't know, but we at least try to go over it.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about this afternoon's practice?

BB:** Well this week we practice Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and we're going to try to treat that like a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday routine during the regular season. Obviously it's not the same, but in terms of what we do on a daily schedule it will be like that. We will on some regular, first and second down type things today. Tomorrow we will build into third down and some red area. The next day, which will be a normal Friday, but for us will be Tuesday, will be two-minute and goal line and things like that. We are going to try to keep a regular four-day practice structure to cover the things that we would generally cover during the regular season. But again, we are trying to get a lot more people ready, and we also have to cover a lot of situations now for the first time. When you get into the regular season, you've already been through a lot of these situations, last play of the game, onside kick, the hands team, and stuff like that. Now we are going through it on a first time basis with at least one and sometimes two or three groups have to do it. So it just takes a little bit longer.

**Q: Can you update us on some of the injuries that you know of?

BB:** Really I wish I could. I think that we'll have guys closer to being back than they were a couple of days ago, but we'll just have to wait and see how they are today when they get out there and get going. We haven't had any set backs in the last few days. We gained a couple of guys back on the field on Friday. In talking to the guys down there and the trainers and strength coaches, I know that we are getting closer. Whether they will actually be able to go and do the full practice today, we'll just have to wait and see. But we're certainly closing in on it.

**Q: Would you talk about J.R. Redmond a little bit?

BB:** J.R. is a guy that's played different roles for us, since he's been here. He's played roles on first and second down. Also played some on third down. He's been involved in the kicking game. He's got some versatility, but the big thing J.R. will need to do, just like everyone else, is define and establish something for himself in anyone of those. He's shown the ability to do it in all the areas, but not consistently for one reason or another. Part of that is being on the field and being able to do it on a day-to-day basis. That's what he's going to have to do. He's going to have to establish that for himself, but he has shown that he can play in all of those situations.

**Q: Is this an important year for him?

BB:** I think every year is an important year for everybody. I couldn't name a player that it isn't an important year for. I think it's an important year for every player and coach on the team.

**Q: What happened to him last year? He made a lot of production in the post season the year before, and then he just kind of disappeared on you.

BB:** In the end, a lot of his playing time ended up going to Kevin who had a productive year last year.

**Q: Was it more of how well Kevin was playing?

BB:** Kevin had a real productive season.

**Q: But it wasn't anything that J.R. didn't do?

BB:** It was more Kevin was very productive for us and that lead to more opportunities for Kevin. I think when you look at what Kevin did, he made plays in the return game, the passing game, and some runs and sub-runs. It's hard to ignore the contributions he was making when he had the ball in his hand. That's not to say the other guys aren't good players or other guys haven't contributed, but Kevin last year was a real good contributor for us when he was on the field, both offensively and special teams situations.

**Q: How have you seen Adrian Klemm progressing?

BB:** The big thing for Adrian, last year was the first year he was really healthy all year. He made a lot more progress last year than he did the 2000 or the '01 season just because he was on the field and had more reps and gained more experience and became a better football player. He's had a good offseason and his training camp has been good so far. So we'll see how that manifests himself to live game competition, but to this point he seems to be continuing to make progress. More of his progress has come in the last two years than in the first two.

**Q: Were you ever worried or frustrated wondering if you would ever see the player that you drafted in the second round?

BB:** Well, sure I think that Adrian's career has been really frustrating for him. I can tell you that. He's a guy who has talent and is a good football player. He has played several different spots on the offensive line. For those first two years in 2000 and 2001, the fact that he just wasn't able to consistently stay on the field was very frustrating for him. Last year, I think he was active in every game if I am not mistaken. If not every one, it had to be nearly all of them. He had several different roles for us, both in the kicking game and on offense.

**Q: Now that you have made the transition from the instruction part of training camp to the preparation part, do you still have time, if something goes wrong in the Giants game that you really want to fix, to stop and go over it and then prepare for Washington?

BB:** Right. That's definitely going to happen. I guarantee you something is going to go wrong in this game. I don't know what it is, but I am sure that it will be something that will need to be addressed. The way our schedule hits this year, just the way it turns out, is we have a long week now between the Giants game and the Washington game. We have a little bit of time in there. Now we have budgeted some of that time to cover some things that we have not covered as thoroughly leading into the Giants game, but we have also tried to leave a little bit of space there figuring that there probably will be something that will need to be addressed. Fortunately we have a little bit of a longer week there to do it and then still put in some time on Washington. Normally in the preseason games, especially like the first three like we have here, the Giants, Philadelphia, and Washington, we normally wouldn't allocate quite as much time to the opponent as we are this but because we play those teams in the regular season, we think that the time that we invest in studying those teams will help to prepare us and get us a little better foundation the second time around.

**Q: You have a short turnaround for the Philadelphia game and the Bears game. Then you have a long time to go before your first regular season game. With that kind of scheduling, is it beneficial to get that last game out of the way and then have plenty of time to take care of the cuts, take care of the preparation and things of that nature?

BB:** Well that is definitely the way we are going to have to do it. Whether that is the way we want to do it or not, that's definitely what is going to have to happen. And that contrasts compared to last year when in the preseason we spent either three or four days, I think it was two days on each team, two days on the Steelers and two days on the Jets, our first two opponents last year, during those longer weeks against teams that we played in the preseason like Carolina, Washington, teams like that, that weren't going to be on the regular season schedule. So, we cut the preparation on those teams a little bit shorter to allocate a little bit more time to our early season opponents. Whereas this year, early season opponents, we're getting in preseason games and as you said with the long week with Buffalo, you had it exactly right, we don't see any point in working on Buffalo a whole lot during these other weeks because it's almost a week and a half before the opener. We almost have a bye week there.

**Q: How has Brenden Stai's adjustment been here in this first weeks of camp?

BB:** Good. Brenden has picked up things well. I don't think the learning is going to be a problem, some of the techniques and just the fact that he hasn't gone through the offseason camps, the passing camps and the mini-camps and all of that. He's had the familiarity with the system and also the people around him, how they are going to handle all of the little different combination blocks and that kind of thing. That's coming and I'm sure that with his experience he will be able to pick that up in due course. It's just going to take some reps and time and him seeing it the same way that the people adjacent to him see it. From a learning standpoint, I don't think he will have a problem. He is a pretty sharp guy.

**Q: Can you gauge the progress of the team so far? Can you tell anything at this point?

BB:** Well I think we are improved from where we were two weeks ago. We have improved a lot since then. That I do know. How that gauges with everybody else and what's going on in the other 31 camps around the league, nobody knows until those teams get out there and start competing against each other. We want to try to stay on a course in terms of making sure that we have certain things done to head into the regular season. We have two goals in preseason. One is to be ready for the 16 game regular season schedule. The other one is the be ready for the opener. You try to balance those two things. You can't just put all of your preseason time into the opening game or you are really not going to have enough of a base to deal with the other 15 teams. It's just too hard to keep up on a weekly basis. You need a good base to carry you through the season and at the same time, you want your team to be ready to go opening day. That is a lot of things. Part of it is scheme, part of it is conditioning, and part of it is the guys who are going to playing in that game working together. Part of it is evaluating the younger players to see how they are going to come along because they may factor into your season later on more so than the opener. You are trying to balance those 16 weeks of preparation in the six weeks of preseason training camp. You're really not going to know how that comes out for a while.

**Q: On Fred McCrary, what does he bring to the fullback position?

BB:** I think that Fred is a good all around player. I don't really think that his game has any major weaknesses. He can run with the ball. He's got good hands. He's a solid blocker. He is experienced and has been a productive special teams player in the league. He is just a good solid player. He's not like most fullbacks, not the spectacular, flashy guy, just somebody who is a good, consistent fullback. I think that is what he does. I have said it before about other players. I don't think he is necessarily the best in the league at any of those things, but he does them all pretty well. He is certainly better than a lot of other guys in terms of being able to do multiple things at a good level.

**Q: How does Ty Warren look up to this point?

BB:** Ty has made good progress. I think the big step for Ty now is going to be the game competition and being able to take it out of the segments and put it into game conditions. We go out and we do nine-on-seven and we do a running drill and we all know it's 10 running plays in a row and we all know it's dealing with different blocking schemes and the block reactions and all of that, you improve in there and now you go to the game, you are going get one of those plays every 10 plays. Not 10 in a row, so you are going to be able to, as an experienced player can do, take those different situations on the practice field and adapt them to the game situation and the execution becomes a reality. Just like any player, that is the next step for him.

**Q: Is he still pegged in at end?

BB:** Yes.

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