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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed May 12 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 9/15/03

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            **BB:**  I thought that, as I said yesterday, it was a real good team effort against the Eagles.  It was a tough game on the road against a good football team and I thought that the players did a really good job of executing the game plan by playing a tough, physical game.  They made a lot of big plays when they had an opportunity to make them.  As usual, that is a good formula.  Turnovers were a big key in the game and I thought that taking care of the ball was something that we haven't done very well in the last three weeks offensively and we did a much better job yesterday and defensively and special teams when you get those kind of turnovers and field position that creates some nice scoring opportunities for you.  The bottom line was the players made a lot of big plays. They came from all different areas, all three phases of the game.  The coaches and the assistant coaches did a nice job of getting the team prepared.  I thought both coaches, Romeo [Crennel] and Charlie [Weis] called good, aggressive games.  Again, we had some big plays to show for it.  Injury wise, we had a lot of people go in and out of the game.  I think both teams did.  The humidity was definitely a factor.  At this point we are just looking at everybody. I don't think we will have anything real definite for a while yet.  It was a tough game, it was a hard fought game and it was physical.  I am sure that both teams are sore this morning but nothing really substantial to report on that.  As I said yesterday, as quickly as we put the Buffalo game out of our minds to get ready for Philadelphia, that is how quickly we need to put this game out of our minds to get ready for the Jets.  It's a division game; we need to get back to .500 in the division.  This is a game that we really need to put a lot of focus and concentration on this week.  They were the champs of this division last year.  We know they are tough.  

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about Ron Burton, Sr.?

BB:** Ron had been a great supporter personally and a team supporter and was the first Patriot. We had all gotten to know him, I am speaking for myself as well as the team here, through the years because he had come around and had been active and had been involved and been supportive. He'd fought a very tough fight and fought it with a lot of dignity and courage. That has been inspirational for all of us. When we had him and we honored him and he honored us at the kickoff gala, that was a real special moment, speaking for the entire organization and the fans and everyone who was there, it was emotional and a very touching moment.

**Q: Do you have any sense of what Tom Jackson on ESPN was talking about yesterday?

BB:** I was asked about that yesterday. I really wouldn't dignify those comments with any type of response.

**Q: Do you know him at all?

BB:** I coached Tom.

**Q: Have you spoken to him recently?

BB:** Yes, I have talked to him.

**Q: Are you surprised he would say those things?

BB:** I am not going to dignify the comments with any type of response.

**Q: Are any of the team injuries long term?

BB:** I don't think I could say that at this point. We will just have to re-evaluate them. A lot of times what happens the day after the game, as we all know, is things that look serious on Sunday, don't look as serious on Monday. Some things that don't look serious on Sunday could be a little bit more of a problem on Monday. We take a look at them. We do whatever the medical process that needs to be done is and re-evaluate them accordingly. Now, if a guy goes out there and breaks his arm and they do an X-ray and you see it's a broken arm then that is one thing. When it is not quite that clear-cut, sometimes you just don't know for 24-48 to sometimes 72 hours what the situation is. I am not trying to give you the run around. I am not saying we don't have any injuries. I can't tell you right now more than the doctors and the trainers can tell me exactly what it is or exactly what we are dealing with.

**Q: Did you have to make many adjustments when Rosevelt Colvin went out of the game?

BB:** Yes. We had people going in and out of the game really the whole game. We had adjustments we had to make at corner when those guys came in and out on the defensive line, Rosie [Colvin]. Obviously [Willie] McGinest stepped in and played an outstanding game. He was very disruptive and productive in the game. He played a lot and played well.

**Q: Are you pleased to get seven sacks without Rosevelt in the game? Is that encouraging to see from your defense?

BB:** Well, I think a lot of that comes down to team defense. I thought our defense as a team played well yesterday. There were times when the coverage was tight and it forced the quarterback to hold the ball and it gave the rush a chance to get there. Sometimes the rush got there quickly and the receivers were open. Overall it was just good team defense. I don't know what the exact numbers were but there were a number of guys that had pressure on the quarterback. It wasn't just any one single player. That is good anytime you can get that kind of production from more than one person. It balances your rush and it keeps them honest. They can't just key on one guy.

**Q: What was the thinking behind putting Eugene Wilson in at safety?

BB:** We went with the three-corner package just because of Philadelphia's use of a lot of multiple receivers and their tendency to spread the field. They also have a very good receiving tight end with Chad Lewis so a lot of times, even when they had the regular personnel in the game, it's kind of like having another receiver on the field, like a guy who has caught 50 passes a year for the last, I don't know how every many years it has been, four or five years. It was kind of a match up thing against Philadelphia that we felt like was a game plan thing. We wanted to make sure we had a good match up against all of their multiple receiver sets. We have a lot of respect for the way they threw the ball.

**Q: So we shouldn't expect to see him there too much more?

BB:** I wouldn't rule it out. It is part of our defensive package and it's something that now that we have it, we can definitely use it again. I don't know if necessarily that we would use that every week all of the time but we will see.

**Q: Are you still looking for someone to fill that spot or was yesterday just a match up situation?

BB:** I think we got a lot of production out of a lot of defensive players. We will put whatever group out there on a week-to-week basis that we think is the best for that particular game plan or that situation. It could change from week-to-week. I wouldn't take it as a negative on anybody who wasn't out there or necessarily as a superlative on somebody who was. A lot of times it is just situational or game planning to look at what you have to defend.

**Q: How did you feel Eugene played at that position?

BB:** [He did] some good things and some other things that with experience I think he will be able to do better. He ended up playing several different positions. He played some safety. He played some inside cover spots. He played some outside cover spots. The one thing that he did give us and that he does give us is some flexibility back there in terms of being able to play different spots which depending on the call gives you some versatility in your defense.

**Q: Do you feel like last week against Buffalo was an aberration?

BB:** I don't know. That is kind of like the story about the guy who has got one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other foot in a bucket of ice water and you feel like he should be perfectly comfortable, you know? I don't know. I think each week is its own entity. I don't think last week necessarily affected us against Philadelphia and I am not sure that our performance against Philadelphia is going to have anything to do with how we play against the Jets. I think it will more depend on how focused we are this week in our preparations and how well we execute on Sunday during the game. That is what I think it will come down to this week regardless of whether we won or lost by whatever the score was the previous week. I really think that is what is at stake moving forward. The sooner we forget about Philadelphia and focus on the Jets, I think the better off we will be in terms of the Jets.

**Q: How did Dan Koppen hold up yesterday?

BB:** I think Dan did some good things in there. He went up against some very good players. Some things were better than others. Overall, it was certainly a respectable performance in there against some very good players like [Paul] Grasmanis, Hollis Thomas and of course, Corey Simon. You don't face many tackles much better than him. I think that he will learn a lot from this game and hopefully be able to build on that and continue to improve as a player.

**Q: Why didn't you put Mike Compton there?

BB:** That is a good question and the answer to it really was more of a series of events that happened during the week. We weren't sure about [Damien] Woody's status but we were hopeful that he would be able to play yesterday. As it turned out, that wasn't the case. We went through the week practicing Dan at center thinking that Woody had a pretty good chance of being there. In the end, he didn't quite make it so it would have been a real re-shuffling by the end of the week to bump Compton in and all of that. It kind of just came down that way due to some specific circumstances during the week. Dan has had a lot of snaps at center between the preseason and in practice. Mike has had the majority of his snaps at guard other than when we have been in the shotgun.

**Q: How long does it take before you have an idea of what to expect from your team?

BB:** On a week-to-week basis or are you talking about longer than that? What time frame are you referring to?

**Q: On a week-to-week basis, how many performances in a row before you can say, 'I can expect this from my team?'

BB:** I can't answer that question. We have all seen teams win 'x' number of games in a row and then go out and lay an egg or lose 'x' number of games in a row and then come out and win big. I don't think you ever can ever define that. What I do feel about the team is we have a strong veteran leadership presence on the team. It's a physically and mentally tough team and I have a lot of respect for the way they prepare and the way they work. That really hasn't been a problem. We have some young players on the team. We had five rookies that played significantly in the game yesterday that contributed in one way or another. There is a mix there that is not all one type. It is a mixture of players and people. To definitively say how that is going to turn out, I think it is a little too early for that. I was pleased the way it happened yesterday. It was a significant improvement from the week before. I don't know that I can guarantee what is going to happen next week or any other week.

**Q: In a general sense, do you start to get a feel from your team like say, 'If I want to blitz a certain way, I know I have the talent to do it?'

BB:** Sure. At this point, there are some things that we are doing better than others and the things that we are doing well, there may be a tendency to try to do a little bit more of that. The things that we aren't doing as well, we need to make a decision of committing more time to get them straightened out or maybe eliminate them. Those are decisions that you make all the way along through the year. You try to find the reasons why. Sometimes when something isn't going well, part of it may be the fact that you are not doing it well. Part of it may also be the fact that you've really run up against a tough match up on the other side of the ball and maybe 75 percent of the time you would be okay but it just wasn't that way yesterday because of special circumstances. There is no question, we've played two regular season games and there are some things that are better than others. We want to try to build on the things that have been positive and we want to try to correct or eliminate the things that have been negative. One way or another, those things have to improve or it will continue to be a problem.

**Q: What are your impressions of Vinny Testaverde through the years?

BB:** I have gone back with Vinny a long way. I have a lot of respect for what he did at Tampa. He was in a tough situation when he started down there. He came to Cleveland and led our team to a strong season in '94 and has played good football for a number of different organizations whether it be in Cleveland, Baltimore and now the Jets, taking teams to the playoffs and championship games. I think that Vinny has got all of the talent in the world. He is a gym rat. He works hard. He is in great physical condition and he is 40 years old, or whatever it is, but I am sure he can do things that a lot of guys half his age can't do. He has a great deal of experience and he is a very talented player and I have tremendous respect for Vinny and what he brings to the game. His athleticism, his toughness, his experience and his ability to make plays. He has brought teams back from some of the most impossible situations that you can imagine to win. He has played a lot of good football through the course of his career and is a solid guy.

**Q: Is it a challenge convincing the team that the Jets were division champions now that they are 0-2?

BB:** No. We will take out last year's game where they came up here and beat us. In the end, that is really the game, from our standpoint, that made them the division champions. Just look at the game. Just look at the score. Just look at what happened. I think that is all we need to see. I don't care what they did against anybody else. I don't care what anybody else did against them. I know what they did against us and they beat us and they deserved to win that night. That is why they ended up ahead of us.

**Q: They have obviously struggled running the ball so far this year. Is there a tangible difference in Curtis Martin comparing this year to the last two years?

BB:** I think that Curtis is another player similar to Vinny that has a lot of experience and is one of the toughest players that I've ever been around. I think pound-for-pound he is probably as strong as any player in the league. He has got great vision and I would not underestimate Curtis Martin for one second. I think that anybody that does would be a fool.

**Q: Did Deion Branch get hurt yesterday?

BB:** No. He played.

**Q: I didn't know if he got injured during the game.

BB:** Well again, a lot of guys came in and out with the humidity there was some cramping and that type of thing. We had that with a number of guys. We probably had seven or eight of them. It looked like Philadelphia probably had it too. He played a little bit less at the end of the game. He didn't have a major injury that occurred during the game.

**Q: Can you talk about how it happened that Christian Fauria became the pass catching threat that he has after not being one in Seattle?

BB:** That is hard to explain. I don't have a great answer for it. Christian is a very dependable catcher. You put the ball anywhere around him and with a lot of guys it has to be right in the right spot and Christian is one of those guys that has good flexibility with his body. He can twist around and turn and get his hands in a position where he can catch the ball cleanly even when it is not put right on the money which a lot of passes in the red area aren't. It just kind of worked out that way. Like I said before, you run plays down there and you have two or three receivers and you don't always know which one is going to be open. Your quarterback just takes his reads and for some reason he comes open and has made good catches as well. That is a big part of it. A lot of guys get their hands on the ball in the end zone and there are very few of them that he hasn't come up with. He has made some tough catches in the last couple of years.

**Q: Does the fact that Tampa Bay had three field goals blocked in one day start conversations with your staff about the details on special teams and execution?

BB:** I didn't see the game. But, yes. We saw it first hand yesterday. We had a field goal attempt and the ball literally never got off the ground. There are no gimmies in this league. You don't take anything for granted. Not an extra point, nothing, not a quarterback sneak, not a snap from center. It is still fundamental execution. Whether it is at the high school, college, or professional level, fundamentally if things aren't executed properly they will not work. I haven't seen it [the Tampa game] but those are all good lessons. Again we have plenty of them that we did that we can learn from as well.

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