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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript 8/30/04

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BB: I think everybody has the two transactions today with Cody Scates and Brian Sawyer. We have a couple of more things that we have to do to comply with the roster limit for tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Naturally they will get done but it is just a couple of moves that we will have to make here. Right now we are scrambling a little bit like you usually are at this time of year coming off the Carolina game and going over the tape of the players and the corrections and so forth. We have a really short week now for Jacksonville. Then we will turn around and open the season in about 10 days. We are looking at all of those things in addition to our personnel moves and cuts as there always is at this time of year. [There are] a lot of conversations between all of the teams in the league on different personnel matters and so forth. There is a lot of stuff going around. [We are] just trying to make some sense out of it and juggle several balls in the air at one time. That is basically what we are operating with. In terms of Jacksonville, we fortunately had some exposure to them last year at the end of the season. [There is] a lot of carryover from Jack [Del Rio's] staff and his scheme and some of the players and so forth. We have a little bit of background with them. That game was a tough one for us. We got all we wanted that day. This is a good, young football team. [They are] well coached, [they have] a good, young quarterback and are strong on defense. I think they are a good team for us to finish up with here this preseason.

Q: Do you have any updates on Troy Brown?

BB: No, I don't have any update on that. No.

Q: Any guess on when you might expect to get the update?

BB: I don't know, that is not really my field. When we have something that we can pass on, we will.

Q: Does the abbreviated week mess up your timetable a little bit and what you want to correct with the team?

BB: Well, yes it scrambles it. You have just a couple of days to get your preparations in for the game. We are still [working] a little bit on trying to correct some of the things from the Carolina game, some situations that came up there that we were involved in, some two-minute situations there at both halves. We had a couple of calls that came up in the game, timing plays like the fumble that went out of bounds there at the end of the game. Stuff like that where we just really need to brush up on with everybody. Things like that that need to be corrected. It is a short week on Jacksonville, and we want to try to be on top of the tapes that are coming in on, not only Indianapolis, but the other teams, in terms of some personnel things that we might be involved in. It definitely puts a strain on everybody. Every other team in the league is going through the same thing. So, we are not in any kind of unique situation. That is just the way it is.

Q: What is David Givens' status? Is he practicing?

BB: He is getting better day by day. I think he is close.

Q: So he is not practicing yet?

BB: Well, he is doing some things. He is doing what he can do. He is not in a full work schedule but he is close to that.

Q: Does he have a chance to play on Thursday?

BB: I think he has a chance, yes.

Q: Was it a setback that he suffered?

BB: No, he played in the Cincinnati game. His leg tightened up on him a little bit in that game. He is getting better. It is close. He is not quite there yet. It wasn't there for Carolina. We will see what happens this week with Jacksonville.

Q: How would you assess the play of Rosevelt Colvin so far? Is he about where you thought he would be?

BB: I think Rosie has made consistent progress not only in the games but in practices. He has been on a pace in training camp that has been elevated on a regular basis. He has kind of climbed every step, and there have been a lot of them, through the different stages of this camp. I think he has come through them fine. He hasn't played football in one year, so there are some timing effects, for all of the players but particularly for him. But in terms of physically, I think he is coming a long fine. I think he has had a good camp and has continued to move forward on a daily basis.

Q: Is there any way to gauge how close he is to getting back to 100 percent?

BB: I don't think we are really going to know where everybody is until we get into the regular season. Preseason is preseason and it helps with the evaluations but it is not the regular season.

Q: Are you worried that Troy is lost for a long time?

BB: No, not at this point no. Are you?

Q: Yes, concerned.

BB: Okay.

Q: Did you see the improvement that you wanted to see in your team, particularly in the passing game?

BB: Some things were better, yes. Some things were better. Our passing game at times was better. We threw a couple of interceptions, that is not good. The execution overall was better, protection, route running, converting some third downs, there was definitely some improvement. There are some things to work with. We have a ways to go but at least it was a step in the right direction.

Q: You kept that first string out there for such a long period of time. Does that help with the evaluation process?

BB: Well, there are a number of things going on in preseason that you are trying to get done. Part of it is getting players to play that you think are going to need the playing time, evaluating new players, trying to work on some system things. There are a lot of different things going on there. We try to do the best we can to manage all of it so that we can take advantage of whatever snaps we get to do it. If there was just one objective in mind, it would be a lot easier just to gear everything toward that one objective but then you may lose your opportunities somewhere else.

Q: What did you see from Benjamin Watson? Are you surprised how he has come along so quickly considering the time that he missed?

BB: I thought he did some good things against Carolina. There are a number of things that his lack of experience and the time that he didn't have here that he is still behind on. I think he did some good things. Benjamin has been working hard. He is a smart kid and had some background from all of the passing camps and mini camps in the spring, so that definitely helped him. There is no real substitute for experience on the field either in practice situations or in the games. As he gets more of those, I think that if he continues to work hard, that will help him improve. That is really where he is, with more playing time, more exposure, experiencing more situations and then being able to execute them better.

Q: Rosevelt has a substantial amount of snaps in this game. His number of snaps increased from Philadelphia to the Cincinnati game. Did they increase again from the Cincinnati game to the Carolina game?

BB: Not dramatically, no.

Q: How does it work when you pick up guys that other teams have released and vice versa?

BB: First of all, I don't think a lot of guys pop up on the wire that are that unexpected. People in the personnel department look at each team's roster, and they see how many offensive linemen they have. They see how many receivers they have. Here are the guys they are pretty sure are going to make the team. Here are the guys they are pretty sure are not going to make the team. Here are some guys that, maybe it could go either way on, depending on what their evaluations are with that team. Those are the ones you kind of look at the most, those guys you think may be available. You try to anticipate that, and if they are available, whether you want them or not, they are, at some point, available if you need them where they fall on your emergency list. If you have an injury during the season, who would you go to next. That's just procedural. It's policy. We do it every year, with every position, and go through it with every team. So, if we needed somebody at a certain position, at least there would be some kind of priority or group of players that we would want to look at before another group. So then, as the players come over the waiver wire, one way or the other, you make those evaluations, take a look at what you have, and decide whether or not that is something you want to get involved in. In the course of conversation sometimes people talk to you about trading guys. Somebody says, 'We're going to let somebody go', or 'This guy is going to be available. Are you interested in him?' Either you are or you aren't. Sometimes transactions happen before players get to the waiver wire. Quinn Dorsey is an example. That's kind of how it works. There's no set formula. Every conversation is different, but in the end you're still going to have to come up with a group of names by position that give you your depth from the league, that if you need somebody that's where you go to.

Q: What did you like about Dexter Reid coming out of college?

BB: He's very productive. He is very productive. I think he might have had the most tackles of any safety in the country last year, or close to it. He's been a high-producer for North Carolina. [He is a] smart kid. [He] ran their secondary. They had a lot of young players on their defense, and you could see him as a quarterback of the secondary in terms of making calls and adjustments and that type of thing. [He is] strong and has good speed. [He was] in on a lot of plays. [He is] a good leader.

Q: Has he played pretty good so far?

BB: He's done some good things. I think he's done some good things. Again, we're a little bit of a different system than he played in college. There are a lot of adjustments that he's had to make. I think he's worked hard at them. He's a conscientious kid with a good work ethic, and he's been able to be out on the field and get a lot of reps. I think that playing experience has definitely helped him.

Q: Has he helped himself on special teams by covering kicks?

BB: He has shown up in some plays in the kicking game. Some plays have been better than others, but he's had some positive impact there. Sure, that definitely helps him.

Q: There have been times when the pass defense has struggled. Is that a little bit of a concern at this point?

BB: I think everything is a concern at this point. I don't think there's any part of our game that has been consistent, any part of it in any phase of the game. We've had our moments, some good and some not so good, and we have to try to get better in every single phase. Pass defense will be one of them. Pass rush. You can go right down the line. There are times where it's looked okay, but there are other times where it hasn't. We really need to be able to consistently play well in every phase of the game. Some things looked better this week than last week, vice versa. We just haven't played consistently in any area of the game in my opinion.

Q: Can you talk about the progress of Deion Branch throughout camp?

BB: I think Deion has had a good camp. He's been out there every day. He's getting a lot of reps, getting a lot of snaps. I think he's doing well with them. Deion is continuing to show us a lot of versatility in playing different spots in our receiver formations, whether it's two receiver sets, three receiver sets, and so forth. That gives him some flexibility. It gives us some flexibility. I think he and Tom [Brady] work well together. They've been together for three years, and they have a good chemistry there in terms of understanding and seeing coverages and route adjustments. I think he's had a good camp.

Q: It seems as though Branch has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league, whereas his first season it didn't seem that he picked up the system.

BB: He had a lot of production for us the first half of the '02 season. He's been productive for us for three years. I think he catches the ball well. He runs good routes. He's quick. He has good vertical speed, can run after the catch. I don't see his hands as being…I see it as a strength.

Q: How is he from a coachable standpoint?

BB: He's great. He's great. He's one of those kids, 'Tell me what you want me to do.' Then he goes out there and tries to do the best he can with it. [He is] very coachable and has a good understanding of pass concepts. When you talk about different coverages, 'Here is the way they're playing,' he picks that up very quickly. [He] knows how they're trying to defend him. [He] knows and can comprehend very quickly how to change the route or how to run the route to attack the technique that the defense is playing or to beat the coverage they are in. He is very good at that.

Q: Statistically is there a position where injuries occur more often? Do you factor that into your decision-making?

BB: No. I think it's much more on a case-by-case basis. We can all find players at every position that are never hurt and other guys that are hurt much more frequently. I think it's a tendency more towards the individual.

Q: Do you anticipate making your cuts after this game?

BB: That's a good question. We're kind of in a unique situation there in that we'll be starting our preparations for the opening game probably earlier than most other teams will, and that also will coincide with the final cut-down date, which is Sunday. I would imagine that our final cuts will come Sunday. We may or may not do some before that, but I think that our final cuts will probably come Sunday like everybody else's. That would be my best guess. There are some scenarios there that we normally wouldn't be dealing with that are a little bit unique this year.

Q: Adrian Klemm had a few snaps Saturday night. How would you assess his play?

BB: Adrian played both tackle spots. He and Tom [Ashworth] and Matt [Light] rotated in there a little bit, so he had snaps at both spots. I thought Adrian did a pretty solid job up against good competition with [Michael] Rucker and Julius Peppers. I thought that he gave a pretty good account of himself, as he had all preseason. Adrian is similar to a couple of the guys we've talked about. [He] hasn't missed any time, has been healthy, has gotten a lot of snaps. I think his game has improved, and the biggest thing, though, is that he's been on the field working and getting better on a daily basis and hasn't had any lost time. That's a big advantage for any player but particularly the younger ones

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BB: I think everybody has the two transactions today with Cody Scates and Brian Sawyer. We have a couple of more things that we have to do to comply with the roster limit for tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Naturally they will get done but it is just a couple of moves that we will have to make here. Right now we are scrambling a little bit like you usually are at this time of year coming off the Carolina game and going over the tape of the players and the corrections and so forth. We have a really short week now for Jacksonville. Then we will turn around and open the season in about 10 days. We are looking at all of those things in addition to our personnel moves and cuts as there always is at this time of year. [There are] a lot of conversations between all of the teams in the league on different personnel matters and so forth. There is a lot of stuff going around. [We are] just trying to make some sense out of it and juggle several balls in the air at one time. That is basically what we are operating with. In terms of Jacksonville, we fortunately had some exposure to them last year at the end of the season. [There is] a lot of carryover from Jack [Del Rio's] staff and his scheme and some of the players and so forth. We have a little bit of background with them. That game was a tough one for us. We got all we wanted that day. This is a good, young football team. [They are] well coached, [they have] a good, young quarterback and are strong on defense. I think they are a good team for us to finish up with here this preseason.

Q: Do you have any updates on Troy Brown?

BB: No, I don't have any update on that. No.

Q: Any guess on when you might expect to get the update?

BB: I don't know, that is not really my field. When we have something that we can pass on, we will.

Q: Does the abbreviated week mess up your timetable a little bit and what you want to correct with the team?

BB: Well, yes it scrambles it. You have just a couple of days to get your preparations in for the game. We are still [working] a little bit on trying to correct some of the things from the Carolina game, some situations that came up there that we were involved in, some two-minute situations there at both halves. We had a couple of calls that came up in the game, timing plays like the fumble that went out of bounds there at the end of the game. Stuff like that where we just really need to brush up on with everybody. Things like that that need to be corrected. It is a short week on Jacksonville, and we want to try to be on top of the tapes that are coming in on, not only Indianapolis, but the other teams, in terms of some personnel things that we might be involved in. It definitely puts a strain on everybody. Every other team in the league is going through the same thing. So, we are not in any kind of unique situation. That is just the way it is.

Q: What is David Givens' status? Is he practicing?

BB: He is getting better day by day. I think he is close.

Q: So he is not practicing yet?

BB: Well, he is doing some things. He is doing what he can do. He is not in a full work schedule but he is close to that.

Q: Does he have a chance to play on Thursday?

BB: I think he has a chance, yes.

Q: Was it a setback that he suffered?

BB: No, he played in the Cincinnati game. His leg tightened up on him a little bit in that game. He is getting better. It is close. He is not quite there yet. It wasn't there for Carolina. We will see what happens this week with Jacksonville.

Q: How would you assess the play of Rosevelt Colvin so far? Is he about where you thought he would be?

BB: I think Rosie has made consistent progress not only in the games but in practices. He has been on a pace in training camp that has been elevated on a regular basis. He has kind of climbed every step, and there have been a lot of them, through the different stages of this camp. I think he has come through them fine. He hasn't played football in one year, so there are some timing effects, for all of the players but particularly for him. But in terms of physically, I think he is coming a long fine. I think he has had a good camp and has continued to move forward on a daily basis.

Q: Is there any way to gauge how close he is to getting back to 100 percent?

BB: I don't think we are really going to know where everybody is until we get into the regular season. Preseason is preseason and it helps with the evaluations but it is not the regular season.

Q: Are you worried that Troy is lost for a long time?

BB: No, not at this point no. Are you?

Q: Yes, concerned.

BB: Okay.

Q: Did you see the improvement that you wanted to see in your team, particularly in the passing game?

BB: Some things were better, yes. Some things were better. Our passing game at times was better. We threw a couple of interceptions, that is not good. The execution overall was better, protection, route running, converting some third downs, there was definitely some improvement. There are some things to work with. We have a ways to go but at least it was a step in the right direction.

Q: You kept that first string out there for such a long period of time. Does that help with the evaluation process?

BB: Well, there are a number of things going on in preseason that you are trying to get done. Part of it is getting players to play that you think are going to need the playing time, evaluating new players, trying to work on some system things. There are a lot of different things going on there. We try to do the best we can to manage all of it so that we can take advantage of whatever snaps we get to do it. If there was just one objective in mind, it would be a lot easier just to gear everything toward that one objective but then you may lose your opportunities somewhere else.

Q: What did you see from Benjamin Watson? Are you surprised how he has come along so quickly considering the time that he missed?

BB: I thought he did some good things against Carolina. There are a number of things that his lack of experience and the time that he didn't have here that he is still behind on. I think he did some good things. Benjamin has been working hard. He is a smart kid and had some background from all of the passing camps and mini camps in the spring, so that definitely helped him. There is no real substitute for experience on the field either in practice situations or in the games. As he gets more of those, I think that if he continues to work hard, that will help him improve. That is really where he is, with more playing time, more exposure, experiencing more situations and then being able to execute them better.

Q: Rosevelt has a substantial amount of snaps in this game. His number of snaps increased from Philadelphia to the Cincinnati game. Did they increase again from the Cincinnati game to the Carolina game?

BB: Not dramatically, no.

Q: How does it work when you pick up guys that other teams have released and vice versa?

BB: First of all, I don't think a lot of guys pop up on the wire that are that unexpected. People in the personnel department look at each team's roster, and they see how many offensive linemen they have. They see how many receivers they have. Here are the guys they are pretty sure are going to make the team. Here are the guys they are pretty sure are not going to make the team. Here are some guys that, maybe it could go either way on, depending on what their evaluations are with that team. Those are the ones you kind of look at the most, those guys you think may be available. You try to anticipate that, and if they are available, whether you want them or not, they are, at some point, available if you need them where they fall on your emergency list. If you have an injury during the season, who would you go to next. That's just procedural. It's policy. We do it every year, with every position, and go through it with every team. So, if we needed somebody at a certain position, at least there would be some kind of priority or group of players that we would want to look at before another group. So then, as the players come over the waiver wire, one way or the other, you make those evaluations, take a look at what you have, and decide whether or not that is something you want to get involved in. In the course of conversation sometimes people talk to you about trading guys. Somebody says, 'We're going to let somebody go', or 'This guy is going to be available. Are you interested in him?' Either you are or you aren't. Sometimes transactions happen before players get to the waiver wire. Quinn Dorsey is an example. That's kind of how it works. There's no set formula. Every conversation is different, but in the end you're still going to have to come up with a group of names by position that give you your depth from the league, that if you need somebody that's where you go to.

Q: What did you like about Dexter Reid coming out of college?

BB: He's very productive. He is very productive. I think he might have had the most tackles of any safety in the country last year, or close to it. He's been a high-producer for North Carolina. [He is a] smart kid. [He] ran their secondary. They had a lot of young players on their defense, and you could see him as a quarterback of the secondary in terms of making calls and adjustments and that type of thing. [He is] strong and has good speed. [He was] in on a lot of plays. [He is] a good leader.

Q: Has he played pretty good so far?

BB: He's done some good things. I think he's done some good things. Again, we're a little bit of a different system than he played in college. There are a lot of adjustments that he's had to make. I think he's worked hard at them. He's a conscientious kid with a good work ethic, and he's been able to be out on the field and get a lot of reps. I think that playing experience has definitely helped him.

Q: Has he helped himself on special teams by covering kicks?

BB: He has shown up in some plays in the kicking game. Some plays have been better than others, but he's had some positive impact there. Sure, that definitely helps him.

Q: There have been times when the pass defense has struggled. Is that a little bit of a concern at this point?

BB: I think everything is a concern at this point. I don't think there's any part of our game that has been consistent, any part of it in any phase of the game. We've had our moments, some good and some not so good, and we have to try to get better in every single phase. Pass defense will be one of them. Pass rush. You can go right down the line. There are times where it's looked okay, but there are other times where it hasn't. We really need to be able to consistently play well in every phase of the game. Some things looked better this week than last week, vice versa. We just haven't played consistently in any area of the game in my opinion.

Q: Can you talk about the progress of Deion Branch throughout camp?

BB: I think Deion has had a good camp. He's been out there every day. He's getting a lot of reps, getting a lot of snaps. I think he's doing well with them. Deion is continuing to show us a lot of versatility in playing different spots in our receiver formations, whether it's two receiver sets, three receiver sets, and so forth. That gives him some flexibility. It gives us some flexibility. I think he and Tom [Brady] work well together. They've been together for three years, and they have a good chemistry there in terms of understanding and seeing coverages and route adjustments. I think he's had a good camp.

Q: It seems as though Branch has emerged as one of the top receivers in the league, whereas his first season it didn't seem that he picked up the system.

BB: He had a lot of production for us the first half of the '02 season. He's been productive for us for three years. I think he catches the ball well. He runs good routes. He's quick. He has good vertical speed, can run after the catch. I don't see his hands as being…I see it as a strength.

Q: How is he from a coachable standpoint?

BB: He's great. He's great. He's one of those kids, 'Tell me what you want me to do.' Then he goes out there and tries to do the best he can with it. [He is] very coachable and has a good understanding of pass concepts. When you talk about different coverages, 'Here is the way they're playing,' he picks that up very quickly. [He] knows how they're trying to defend him. [He] knows and can comprehend very quickly how to change the route or how to run the route to attack the technique that the defense is playing or to beat the coverage they are in. He is very good at that.

Q: Statistically is there a position where injuries occur more often? Do you factor that into your decision-making?

BB: No. I think it's much more on a case-by-case basis. We can all find players at every position that are never hurt and other guys that are hurt much more frequently. I think it's a tendency more towards the individual.

Q: Do you anticipate making your cuts after this game?

BB: That's a good question. We're kind of in a unique situation there in that we'll be starting our preparations for the opening game probably earlier than most other teams will, and that also will coincide with the final cut-down date, which is Sunday. I would imagine that our final cuts will come Sunday. We may or may not do some before that, but I think that our final cuts will probably come Sunday like everybody else's. That would be my best guess. There are some scenarios there that we normally wouldn't be dealing with that are a little bit unique this year.

Q: Adrian Klemm had a few snaps Saturday night. How would you assess his play?

BB: Adrian played both tackle spots. He and Tom [Ashworth] and Matt [Light] rotated in there a little bit, so he had snaps at both spots. I thought Adrian did a pretty solid job up against good competition with [Michael] Rucker and Julius Peppers. I thought that he gave a pretty good account of himself, as he had all preseason. Adrian is similar to a couple of the guys we've talked about. [He] hasn't missed any time, has been healthy, has gotten a lot of snaps. I think his game has improved, and the biggest thing, though, is that he's been on the field working and getting better on a daily basis and hasn't had any lost time. That's a big advantage for any player but particularly the younger ones

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