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

Belichick: As usual, in the first preseason game, there were some positives, some things that showed up that we like to see, things like effort and some attention to detail...

BB: Just a couple of quick things on the game. As usual, in the first preseason game, there were some positives, some things that showed up that we like to see, things like effort and some attention to detail and concentration on different things at different points in the game, in certain situations and that kind of thing. There were also some mistakes, as you would expect. There were some missed assignments, sometimes our judgment or our recognition wasn't what it should have been. So, we're looking at it really as a learning situation. We'll go through the film. We've got some game action and can show particularly the younger guys and some of the newer guys how it's supposed to look and what to do. Not that we haven't done that in practice, but it just happens a little bit differently in the games. There were some good things, some things that aren't so good, and certainly a lot of things to work on. But, overall, I thought that the players were alert and they were competitive and gave good effort in the game. Health-wise, we came through reasonably healthy. I think we've got a couple of guys that didn't play in the game that are much closer to being back out there after two or three days here of treatment right around the game. We'll just take those day-to-day like we always do, but I think they're significantly closer.

Q: Can you name one or two guys that are close? Is Chad Gessner among them?

BB: No. I don't think Gessner is one for tomorrow. No.

Q: Who would be one name of a guy that you would expect to be?

BB: Well Ty (Law) worked with the team some last week and he progressively doing more. I'm sure that he will do work with them this week as well. Willie (McGinest) was out with the team for a little bit before the game as well. I'm sure that he will do more. They are all getting closer.

Q: Last night when we asked you about the rookies' performance, you hesitated to how it was. Now that you have seen the film, could you talk in a little more detail about who did what and how you think they did?

BB: I think that there were some good things. Defensively, several of those guys showed up and made some plays, made some tackles and caused some pressure with some disruption. But we had some mistakes too. There were several times in the game when we didn't have things handled exactly right or guys were open and for one reason or another they didn't get the ball. Had the ball been in a different place we would not have been in as good of a position, so again I feel pretty much the same as I did last night. They made some plays and there were some that they missed. It is one preseason game for those guys. It will be something to build on. We will see how much higher they can build it. I will feel a lot better when we get positive plays out of those guys in October and November and that is what we are all working toward. We have a long way to go to get to that point.

Q: What did we miss? Some of us were impressed with the way (Dan) Klecko played, but what things did we miss that would make what he did less impressive last night?

BB: I am not trying to take anything away from anything that anyone did. Again, I would put them all in the same group. I wouldn't try to single anybody out or differentiate one from another. The guys that played did some good things and they had some mistakes too. Some of it was assignments, some of it was recognition, and some of it was technique. I don't think a lot of it was effort. I think that those guys, the younger kids, played hard. They were hustling. They were playing hard, but they didn't do everything perfectly.

Q: Did the QB's look sharp to you for a first game?

BB: Sometimes sharper than others. We had some trouble with the blitzes and we missed a couple reads. A couple of times they threw the ball well and we didn't catch it. Overall, I thought the time management and the game management was pretty good by all four quarterbacks, especially (Kliff) Kingsbury who is a guy that has gotten very few turns in practice and went into the game and I thought overall handled his situation fairly well.

Q: Back to the rookies for a second. Was there anything that you saw from that group last night that would elevate a few of them into either more playing time or with a higher unit perhaps?

BB: Well we are not going to have any guys that are going to change the depth chart just based on that, but in terms of playing time sure they can. The guys that did well will continue to get opportunities, but I probably think most of them got a pretty decent amount of playing time; I'm talking about the rookie draft choices. They will probably continue to get that until a decision is made to change the groupings and do it strictly based on the guys who are getting ready to play a game, but at this point we are planning on playing everybody so we will try to get everybody ready.

Q: Did the film show the cohesion that you are looking for on the defensive side of the ball considering you have a lot of new faces. Was it a good initial step?

BB: I think that there were certainly some positives and there was overall a good feeling. Again it is far from perfection, but overall I think the communication was satisfactory. The Giants played a pretty straight game too. There weren't a lot of double reverses, shifting and all those types of things in the game by either team. They played pretty straight, so did we to let the kids go out there and have a chance to play and see what they can do. In each successive game here as we go through preseason and our preparation for the regular season all of that will pick up and we will see what the rate of progress is as we move forward into those things.

Q: What do you do when you have a guy for example like Patrick Pass or Leonard Myers, that goes out and has a nice second half for you, but on the other hand they are three or four years into the league. On one hand they flash well, but on the other you probably expect them to play better because they have more under their belt than the other guys do. Is it hard to measure how they do?

BB: That is a good question. I think that it is a fair point. You evaluate what your players do, but you also have to take a look at who they are playing against and what the match-ups are. Sometimes other teams have players in that same situation as you do and sometimes they don't. It varies but it's something that you definitely have to be aware of. I think that it is a good point and we do try to look at that and you are right, they should be. A guy that has been in the league three or four years is going to have some natural edges on a player in their first game. Again, what we really look for the players is to go out there and be prepared, know their assignment, hustle, play hard and they can't really worry too much who the guy across from them is. They just worry about making plays. The couple of guys that you mention had a couple of nice plays last night so that is good.

Q: How did Rick Lyle look on the nose? According to him, it was his first real game there.

BB: First of all, Rick played nose and he also played some at end. I think that he had a good performance for the first time out, for the first preseason game. Rick has experience in the system and even though he hasn't played on the center for a lot of snaps, the fundamentals and the techniques that he uses there are ones that he's very experienced in and he is good at them. Rick was able to transfer that to the position and I think that he held up there fine. Not perfect, but it was certainly adequate.

Q: How about Jarvis (Green)?

BB: Same thing. Jarvis had a little more playing time at the nose. Rick kind of split it between nose and end, but Jarvis did the same thing. Some plays were better than others, but overall there were certainly some positive signs there and we can build on it.

Q: How about Tyrone Poole considering where his mind was the first week of training camp? Were you encouraged by what you saw from him last night?

BB: I was. I think Tyrone showed up on defense and the kicking game. He is a good athlete and an experienced player. He has had a good career in the league. I don't think that there is any question that he can help our football team. That is why we brought him here.

Q: It is probably a good thing when Michael Strahan doesn't play, but would rather have seen him out there against your guys last night?

BB: I really can't worry too much about that. I was just trying to concentrate on our guys. Whatever there situation is, whomever they play, they play.

Q: How did (Adrian) Klemm and (Brenden) Stai look on the right side?

BB: I thought the offensive line did some good things as a group and that would include Brenden and Adrian. We had a few problems in the game, but I thought overall that the line of scrimmage was fairly solid and the pass protection for the most part, the quarterbacks had chances to throw the ball. There were a couple of blitzes that we got pressured on and we need to do a better job on that, but overall I thought the offensive line held there own and we were able to have some success running the ball and some degree of protection to execute the passing game. Again, it is early and there are areas we need to sure up, that is for sure. I not saying that it was great or anything, but it was okay. We were able to run the game. One thing that I was pleased with offensively and overall as a team was the limited number of penalties that we had. If we can keep it down to three or four, that will bode well for us in all games.

Q: Was there anything that you really wanted to get done last night that as the game slipped away, you didn't get a chance to look at or carry out?

BB: We had a shot there at the two-minute drill at the half and really didn't get much out of it. We got sacked on first down and ended up not having much of a drive. It is always nice to have a couple of those situations in the preseason games just because it forces you to play situation football and really see how your team can execute under pressure which ever side of the ball, offense or defense in terms of rushing the passer, covering, throwing, managing the clock, making smart football decisions and also evaluate the conditioning a little bit. We do those drills in practice probably every other day at least so we can stay on top of that. Those are good situations to have in preseason games. If we could have scripted it, maybe we would have had a couple more of those.

Q: Can you talk about the team's intensity? Are you surprised they came out as fired up as they did?

BB: When I say intensity I am talking about the preparation for the game, being attentive and being alert to the situations and the substitutions. A lot of times, in a game like that, you have 10 men on the field, 12 men on the field, those kinds of things where you are out of place. Not that we did not have a little bit of it. For the most part, it wasn't a big problem or distraction in the game. That was really what I was referring to. I don't know if intensity is the right word. Attentiveness and being alert in the game and for the most part being into the game and trying to execute their individual assignments.

Q: Tom Brady said it was nice to see the defense come out and get him the ball on the second play of the game. Did you sense there was a lot of emotion on the sideline for a preseason game?

BB: Preseason, regular season, post season … whatever it is these guys are football players and they are competitors and they like to go out there and play. It is always good to make a play. When we make a play in practice, get a long pass or make a play defensively or get a turnover in practice, you get that same kind of feeling there. They are competitors and they want to make plays. They feel good when they make them. That is the way you want it to be. That is always a nice way to start. I thought the enthusiasm overall for the situation was good.

Q: Adam Vinatieri looked ready, but how about your punters?

BB: I thought it was okay. We had a couple of chances there on the plus 50 punting to get the ball down. Overall, our coverage wasn't what it needs to be. We had a couple of times where we didn't really get down the field quick enough. I would say that it was all right.

Q: You said this week that both (Dedric) Ward and (David) Givens are having pretty good camps, it looks like it has carried over into the games. Ward with the big punt return and Givens with a couple of catches and a nice block downfield on Fauria's catch. Is either one not putting the other in the rearview mirror?

BB: I don't think that they are concerned about anybody else, just more focused on what they have to do and go out there and do a good job when they are called on. Both David and Dedric played on offense and in the kicking game and had some production in both areas. That is good. When they had opportunities to make plays in the passing game and in the running game, in fact I think that all of our receivers did a pretty good job of blocking in the running game which is always helpful. They did a pretty good job in all of those areas. That was good.

Q: You seem to have a bounty of punt returners. Can you almost put them in a hat and pick them out by one or do you have, in your mind, these are the four guys I want to return punts?

BB: I think that they're a couple of different things that work there. I think that our depth at that position, the punt returner, is very good. We have a number of players that have done it in games in the NFL. Then we have a couple of guys that did it in college that maybe could do it in a NFL game, but we just have to see on that. There is real good competition at that position. One thing that we are going to have to consider is how much we want everybody doing and how best to break up the duties to maximize everybody's productivity. We have several different people doing it. We will see how that goes. I'm sure that Troy (Brown) will be involved in that phase of the game to some degree, but we have seen (Deion) Branch do it, Poole do it, Ward has done it in games. A couple of rookies have returned it in college. Of course, Kevin Faulk has done it too and had success last year in the kickoff game. We have some options there and personally I feel confident with any of those guys back there. What is best for the team and how we should best break those duties up, we will have to wait and see how that plays out in the next few weeks. Hopefully they will all be ready to go and whichever guy does it will have a good year doing it. If it is more than one, then collectively they will do it.

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