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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Feb 22 - 02:00 PM | Tue Feb 27 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conf.Transcript 8/8/04

Belichick: We are picking up a few numbers there and that is good, plus some other guys are coming back that have been on and off before but are back out there today.



BB: We had four new guys out to practice today, in other words, guys that have come off the PUP list that is Christian [Fauria], Rosevelt [Colvin], [Eric] Alexander and [Willie] McGinest. We are picking up a few numbers there and that is good, plus some other guys are coming back that have been on and off before but are back out there today. Hopefully, we can keep those guys coming. As you saw this morning, there was quite a bit of situational work done today. We kind have been working on that the last couple of days, and we will continue to do that through tomorrow and then we will start gearing it towards the Philadelphia preparation. We want to try to clean up as much of this as we can so that as we go forward and prepare for the games. We at least have worked on the situations so when they come up we can coach off of them and apply them and [we] sort of know what to do. That is where we are for today.

Q: Are you encouraged at this point by where Rosevelt is at?

BB: He is about where I thought he would be. We will see. He has been coming along. He has worked hard. He has made some steady progress. He is not there yet, but hopefully we will continue to make strides in that direction.

Q: Would you have to look at him in practice right now to get an idea of how much you are willing to toss him into the preseason game against the Eagles?

BB: Yes. He still has to go through the process, just like everyone else, the first day in pads, all players have to go through the same soreness, the contact, putting some different stress areas.

Q: Would you anticipate using him in this game?

BB: I don't know. We will just take it day-to-day.

Q: You talked about working on situations today, were you working on things that you might see only, say, once per season?

BB: Yes, once per season if that. Today was mainly offensive and defensive situations. Again, not all of them but certainly a good number. Special teams situations, we hit a couple today. We will hit several more tomorrow. I think it is something that you just can't do all at once. There are too many things, and it is kind of too confusing to try to cover all of the situations in just one block of time. We have tried to break it up so that we can segment them and shift the concentration from day-to-day, in some cases repeat them if we didn't get them right. It is a cumulative process. It is not all done at once. It just accumulates from day-to-day, and it will carry over as we will review these situations prior to the preseason games and make sure that everybody understands what it is we are trying to do.

Q: How do you know when to give the team a day off?

BB: I think you just start to get a feel for it. I don't think there is any science. When everybody is working hard and you feel like you would get more done with a little rest time and maybe a little resurgence of energy, then that is probably the time to do it.

Q: Is it best to ease them back in after having a day off?

BB: I don't know if there is any set formula. I think mentally what we tried to do today was put the players in a lot of mental situations, things they are really having to think about whether they are really thinking about football, thinking about situations, thinking about all of the different things that could come up and try to get them into the game mentally. We have days off during the season. I really don't think it is anything that is that out of the ordinary.

Q: How are Guss [Scott] and Dexter [Reid] doing mentally themselves?

BB: Good. I think they are doing well. They have had a lot thrown at them. Probably as much at any position on the field other than quarterback. The number of adjustments and what we require our safeties to do defensively, I think they have handled it well. I think they have done a good job of 1) knowing their assignment and 2) communicating and 3) having an understanding of what the overall defensive concept is on the play so that they can help the defense adjust to the different things that an offense does to it.

Q: Does it help to have two guys who are rookies, with complimentary games and playing the same position, to help them learn?

BB: I think there are some benefits. They can study together. If one had more experience than the other, then the younger guy could maybe play off of the more experienced one. They can work together and communicate just as they study and kind of quiz each other and test each other. A lot of times they are on the field together but a lot of times they are not. I think there is a trade off there but that would be one of the positives, yes.

Q: With the situational work that you do, do you ever assume that the team knows certain things to do or do you go over every, single thing just on the chance that someone may forget or may not actual know the rule?

BB: Well, we go back over it on an annual basis because there are new players on the team that weren't here last year even if we had covered the same thing last year, there are new guys to cover it with. But I think it is good for all of us, coaches, the players and everybody so that we all understand when 'this' comes up, 'this' is what we want to do, so there is no misunderstanding between [them], for whatever reason, one guy is thinking one thing and somebody else is thinking something else. It doesn't really matter who is right or wrong, you are probably not going to get what you want in that type of situation. It is a lot better when everybody knows what the plan is and then try to follow that through.

Q: How much time are you able to devote to something that might come up only two or three times per year?

BB: I think this is the best time to do it in training camp because you can allocate situational time to different practice segments and get it covered. When you get into the season, you go back over various things, you kind of just shotgun approach it. I don't think you can go through a checklist of 200 situations every week. That is probably not a good utilization of time because they just don't come up that much. But if you can keep reminding everybody so that when these things do come up, and that is kind of how we do it, we don't practice them all every week, but we hit a few this week and then a few more the next week and a few the next week. At some point, that starts to recycle around mid-season or somewhere in there.

Q: How is Vince Wilfork adjusting to the system?

BB: I think Vince has made steady improvement for us out there. He has been out there everyday and has worked hard. I think he has a much better understanding now of what we are looking for because of the contact. That is really what linemen need. They need to practice in pads with contact because so much of their game is leverage and the pressure of the blocker, reading the run pass sets and all of that, with a quick read, because they are so close to the opponent. I think he is coming along well. I think he has been pretty consistent and that is really the big key for those young guys is to be able to do it on a pretty consistent basis rather than jump up and down on their daily performance.

Q: Did he come in better prepared because of the college program that he came from?

BB: I think in a lot of respects, I think that Vince is very well prepared. The techniques and the defensive scheme that they played and what they asked their players to do is a little bit different than what we do. So, I think that is probably part of the adjustment for him. Also, he is working against bigger people than what the big guys were in college. There are just not as many of them at that level.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Marquise Hill and his development and whether or not he is ready to play right away or is he still a ways off?

BB: I think all of the rookies are a ways off. I don't think any of them are ready to start in here and start making them the core of the game plans. I don't think that is the case at all. I think Hill will, in time, will be a solid player. He is coming along fine. When that will be? I don't know. It could be early in the year. It could be later in the year. It could be not at all this year. I don't know. I think as long as he continues to stay out on the field and work hard and get better at the techniques, then he is a lot closer to doing that. That is the track we are on now. Hopefully we can keep it that way. The same thing has been true of Vince. Those two guys have consistently taken all the reps, taken all of their turns, have made a lot of mistakes, but they have been able to correct them, get better at it and the next time showing an improvement in their performance. So, those are all positives for both of those players.

Q: Are there certain college programs that you favor over others when it comes to looking at prospects?

BB: No, not necessarily. I think that when you look at the draft, I don't know what it is, 250 players drafted, you're going to have over 200 of them drafted from [division] I-A programs. On an annual basis, the best players in the NFL come from the best programs in college. Nobody set it up that way, that is kind of the way it is. I think we all understand why it is that way. Miami had six guys drafted in the first round last year. That says something about the level of players they have and also something about the level of their program. No, we don't go into the draft and say, 'Okay, we have to get a guy from Ohio State. We have to get a guy from USC. We have to get a guy from Texas A&M.' We don't approach it that way. You just evaluate what is out there, but it would be unusual to go to a good school like Miami and say, 'Well, they don't have any prospects this year.' I would be surprised if that was the case.

Q: How has Tom Brady progressed in camp mostly in terms of decision-making, timing and placement of the ball?

BB: I think we're at the point in camp with the passing game with the skilled players that it is definitely a work in progress. We have multiple quarterbacks throwing to multiple receivers on a wide number of routes. In other words, right now we're at one of those real stress points in camp where most everything has been put in offensively and defensively. The players are responsible for running all of it against everything the defense runs, which, in our case, is an extensive defensive system as well. Whereas, if we were to play a game, which we are in a few days, then we'll take that offensive system and scale it down to a much smaller percentage and [determine] these are the plays that we're going to run against Philadelphia and these are the things that the Eagles do situationally, and so forth. So, it actually condenses from where it is right now. All I'm saying is, given the volume of the plays, the volume of the defenses, the number of different quarterbacks throwing to different receivers, there is a lot of fine tuning that needs to go on on everybody's part, Brady, [Rohan] Davey, [Kliff] Kingsbury, all the receivers, all the tight ends, everybody. That is something that as we start to work the groups that we think are going to be playing together more together, then hopefully that will improve. I don't think that it is bad. It needs to get better, and it should get better.

Q: Are you confident that Tom Brady is at a point where you can just tell him what you want to accomplish and he can carry it out on the field?

BB: I think we have confidence in all the players we put out there. If we don't have confidence in them, there would be somebody else out there.

Q: As the quarterback, do you have complete confidence in Brady's ability to lead the team on the field?

BB: Sure, we have confidence in him, but I'm saying we have confidence in all the players we put out there. If we don't have confidence in them, then we shouldn't put them out there on the field. We should find somebody else that we have more confidence in. If we put a guy out there, we have to feel like he can do the job. What is the point in putting him out there?

Q: Have you seen him make significant improvements, even over last year, every year since he became the starter?

BB: Yes, I think Tom has improved every year. Without a doubt, I think he has improved every year. This is only his fifth year in the league. He has definitely improved every year. It is not like he had it all down after year two, by any means.

Q: You integrated some new players on the defensive side of the ball. How is that coming along?

BB: Kind of like what I said about the quarterbacks and the receivers, it is coming along. It is not there yet. Again, we have a lot of people playing with different people, a lot of different combinations. A couple of guys until today were not even out there. They were out there but not practicing with everybody else. All that is going to have to come together. We're not there yet. By no stretch of the imagination are we there. It is coming. It is a lot closer than it was a week ago, I'll tell you that, but we still have a long way to go.

Q: In visiting other camps I hear a lot of people talk about attention to detail regarding this team. Can you talk about attention to detail being maybe the most important thing about playing for this franchise?

BB: I can't really speak to what the other teams are doing. There are 31 other teams in the league, and I think they are all pretty well coached. All I can tell you is what we try to do is prepare our players both physically and mentally for what we think is going to happen in the games. On a weekly basis it is more of a game-planning thing where you can see the specific opponent and react accordingly. Some things are more determined by the situation than they are the opponent. You know, you're behind by four, there are 30 seconds to go in the game, you don't have any timeouts, you have an onside kick, that is the situation. It doesn't matter who you're playing, that is what you're going to do. Those situational plays, again we try to classify those by situation then put it in the general terms. Now, if against a certain team, if you were sure of what they were going to do in that situation, and you had seen them do it enough you could really predict what they were going to do, then you might have a specific strategy against it. Again, a lot of these situations come up so infrequently it is hard to be sure of that. Even if you've seen them do it once before and it comes up again based on one look, you don't know if that is exactly what you're going to get or not. From that standpoint, we try to have a general framework of rules, 'Here's what we're going to do.' We have to be ready for a couple of different things to happen and just try to play off of them when they occur.

Q: How do you foresee the addition of Corey Dillon making the team better?

BB: I think the combination of personnel and scheme and performance, in the end I hope that our running game will be more productive than it has been. We haven't, in the last few years historically and statistically, been a great run-producing team, and that needs to be better on all levels, whether it is goal line, whether it is short yardage, whether it is first down so we can shorten the second and third down distances. Whatever the situation is, we can be better running the ball, and hopefully that will put more balance into our attack and help us either running or passing, depending on where we feel like the defensive weaknesses are.

Q: So you see it as a tide raising all the boats on offense?

BB: Yes, if we can improve it, absolutely. I think it will help all the aspects of the offense if we can run the ball better and more consistently.

Q: How is Kliff Kingsbury's progress going?

BB: It is okay. Kliff is clearly third behind Tom and Rohan. His opportunities will be much fewer, and he will have to be ready when he is called upon. That is going to be his role, at this point, during the season until something changes. He could have to be ready to go in a moment's notice with no preparation, and that is the nature of the position that he is in right now. That is the way he is approaching it now, and that is the way he is being called on now. It is kind of sporadically. It is sort of like a guy in the bullpen, you never know when you're going to have to come in or exactly what the situation is going to be, but everybody is counting on you when that happens. I think that is kind of where Kliff is now. He is still a guy who is learning a lot. He can look at Tom. He can also see Ro's development over the last couple of years and how he has handled his situation. I think also that all three of them are learning from Jim Miller.

Q: How is Kliff doing with play action, in terms of turning his back on the defense, something he didn't deal with much in college?

BB: I think those are things that Kliff, as you said, didn't have much experience with in college, and they are things that he hasn't done as much, therefore, he needs more work on [them]. Practice is good, and the games are even a little bit different there because just the whole everything happens so much quicker and it is so much more physical up there. He definitely needs work on those aspects of the game, things that he either hasn't had a chance to do here or in college. Really, he had very little background with those type plays.

Q: Is it legitimate to say that a guy can pick some things up just by growing up watching another player as Tom Brady says he watched Joe Montana? If so, do you see any of Montana in Brady?

BB: I think it is an interesting question. I think Tom could probably answer that better than I could. I don't know. I think young players, regardless of what age they are, I think young players learn from watching older, more experienced players in general. Whoever the young player, whether he was in high school, junior high school, or whatever, and he was watching an experienced veteran quarterback, whether it is Johnny Unitas, whether it is Fran Tarkenton, whether it is John Elway, whether it is Phil Simms. I can't imagine they couldn't learn something and pick something up from just watching those guys by the way they carry themselves, or their mechanics, or whatever just because of the spread and the differential in the players where one is watching the other. I'm sure they could definitely be helped by watching guys like that. How much it affected Tom, I think he would have to answer that.

Q: Did you do the same thing with learning to coach?

BB: You know, in my situation I was exposed to a lot of different coaches, a lot of different coaching styles and a lot of different people, so I don't think there was the one, just one or two, major influences. Outside of my immediate family there were influences, but there were a lot of them and they were in large multiples. My first five years in the league I think I coached with close to 80 coaches or something like that. It was a lot of coaches. As a kid growing up, I saw a lot of coaches come through the Naval Academy. My dad had football camps where 15 to 20 college coaches would come coach in the camp, guys from Maryland, Penn State, Pitt, Delaware, North Carolina, some of the Ivy [league] schools, so there was another exposure to coaches. I saw a lot of different coaches and a lot of different styles, a lot of different personalities. So, it wasn't just one. I played for several different ones, too, with the same thing, very contrasting styles. In my case, I wasn't trying to pattern myself after anybody in particular, and I don't think that probably happened. But I saw a lot of Don Shula and Corralling the Colts and Colts Extra and all those coaching shows they had in Baltimore with him.

Q: Can you imagine doing anything other than coaching football?

BB: Not right now. For right now, I'm good. [Laughter

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