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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 9/17/03

BB: Well it is Jets week. This is a great rivalry between these two teams. We have split the last couple of years in the four games. One thing that I know about the Jets is in the last three years they have come up here and beat us and before that as well but particularly in the last three years. It is something that we certainly want to change. We have a lot of respect for the Jets as a football team. They are a good football team. I think they have played well defensively especially in the second half of both of their games. Offensively, I have a lot of respect for their key players Vinny [Testaverde], Wayne [Chrebet], Curtis [Martin], and Santana Moss who has given them a lot of big plays, [Kevin] Mawae and their offensive line, in fact the whole group, and special teams. They continue to be one of the strongest special teams units in the league. They have had big plays on their returns. They are a good coverage team. [Mike] Westhoff does a good job coaching them so they are pretty solid. That is really a challenge for us this week. The Jets won the division last year. They mainly won it because they beat us up here at the end of the season. That was the margin of difference really in the end. We need to play better than we played in that game in all three phases. We just didn't play well enough in any area of the game and we are going to have to find a way to play better. I am sure that the Jets will play well. I am not really worried about what has happened to them the last couple of weeks or before that. We played them last year after they had a couple of losses and they came up and beat us pretty good. I don't think it is important what happened last week or the week before that. It is a lot more important what is going to happen this week and the preparations that lead up games. That is where we are at there. Everybody has the injury report. There isn't really too much to add on the Rosevelt Colvin situation. He is still undergoing some test and trying to get a little more information on exactly what the best thing for him to do and what the best way to handle his situation is. As you know, he had some pain in his upper leg after he recovered the fumble in the Philadelphia game and it looks like it is more in the hip area. What the exact timetable on it is? I just don't know except he will not play this week. He is out.

**Q: Do the doctors not tell you? They don't tell you how long he might be out?

BB:** I don't know exactly how long he will be out. He will not play this week.

**Q: They don't give you a timetable? Like if you go to your family doctor, they give you a scenario, it might be this or it might that.

BB:** What do you want me to tell you? It could be six weeks. It could be 12 weeks. It could be three weeks. It could be eight weeks. Take whichever one you want. That is why they are doing more test. He won't play this week. I could make something up for you if you want me to and then we will change it around next week.

**Q: He is one of your key players and you just seem very vague about what is wrong with him.

BB:** If I had a definitive answer, I would tell you. With some injuries, there are different options on how you want to handle them. If a guy breaks a bone, then you cast it and it heals like most bones do. It takes a certain amount of time. Other injuries, there are other options. You can let it heal. You can do surgery. You can try to rehab it in different ways. Depending on what you decide to do, then you have a better idea and that decision hasn't been made yet.

**Q: Do they know if it is a dislocation, a pulled tendon or a hip flexor?

BB:** Those are all good questions but I don't know the answer to any of those.

**Q: So the don't tell you what the specific injury is? Like whether it is a dislocation, a pulled tendon or a hip flexor?

BB:** It doesn't really make any difference to me. I don't know a hip flexor from a tendon from a dislocation from a separation or anything else. I am not a doctor. I don't know what any of that stuff means. You tell me how long the guy is going to be out or what we can do with him and that is what we will do.

**Q: Do they tell you that?

BB:** That he is not playing this week? I just told you that.

**Q: Okay, but…

BB:** But what? He is still being examined by the doctors.

**Q: I don't know if they say he is not playing this week. He won't be in there for three weeks or six weeks?

BB:** I don't know what to tell you. You can be as belligerent as you want about it. I can't give you any more information than what I have which is the injury and the treatment has not been fully decided on yet. That is a fact and he is not playing this week. Write whatever you want to write. Make it however long you want to make it. I can't verify it one way or the other.

**Q: Moving on to the Jets. Vinny Testaverde is moving closer to 40 years old now. What do you see in him now that he is approaching 40 years old that may be is smarter at?

BB:** I think you see a lot of the same things. Vinny is really a gym rat. He is always in the weight room. He is always working out. I don't think his weight has fluctuated by more than a couple of pounds since I really became associated with him in 1993. He is always in good condition. He is just kind of timeless. Some people are fortunate like that but he works hard at it. I don't think it is any big accident. He gets in there and he plays this year and he looks like Vinny. He has got a great arm. He throws the ball down the field and he doesn't struggle to make any throws. He threw for 300-yards or whatever it was against Miami. He puts the ball on the money and is a big guy in the pocket that shrugs people off when they get a shot in and rush him. He is strong in there and can make all of the throws. Vinny looks like Vinny. You tell me he is 40 and I know he is 40 but you can put on the film from four or five years ago when he was 35 and he looks like he does the same thing.

**Q: The Jets were saying they were going to tweak the offense to suit Vinny when Chad Pennington went out. From what you have seen on film, has there been a drastic change in what they are doing? Are there less west coast tendencies?

BB:** I think the Jets offense is what it is. It has a broad base and when Pennington came in last year, again, a lot of the plays and a lot of the things they do are the same. I am sure that there is a little bit of fine-tuning, now how much of that is game plan and how much of it is directed at the quarterback and so forth, I don't know. I know this, Vinny can make every throw that he needs to make. He has got a touch. He can throw the short balls. He can throw the long balls. He can put air on it. He can throw it on a string. I think he is capable of doing whatever it is that they want him to do. Whatever that is we'll find out on Sunday, but I don't think that there are any shortcomings in terms of ability of him being able to do it.

**Q: The Jets shortcomings seem to be coming in the running game. Curtis Martin hasn't shown the full skills that he has. Is it something about their offensive line? What is the problem?

BB:** Certainly last week's game against Miami, they were down 21-3 and it is tough to call a lot of runs when you are in that situation. We have been there before. I think that, again, it is pretty early and in a couple of games it is hard to really say definitively that this is the way it is going to be all year or not going to be all year, good or bad. I think that is still a team that has Curtis Martin who is a good back and they have [Jerald] Sowell back. They have got good perimeter people in there with them, full backs and tight ends. Their offensive line is solid, the tackles, the center and guard are experienced. They ran the ball well on us last year, fairly well on us. That is really all I care about is what happened in our game. Basically we are playing against a lot of the same people and we need to play them better. They did it against us. That is really all that matters.

**Q: I know you got good efforts from Willie McGinest and Roman Phifer last week in replacing Rosevelt Colvin and Ted Johnson but how much stress does their absences put on the defense as a whole and your depth there?

BB:** Well that is part of trying to manage a team is having depth. You never know where an injury is going to hit or how many of them are going to hit so you try to get the best depth that you can on your team. When guys go down, which we all hate to see and unfortunately it is something that pretty much happens every year. That provides opportunities for other people to step up and for the other people who normally play, sometimes their contributions become a little bit different when you take somebody out. I think it is a combination of those things, guys stepping up and guys taking advantage of their opportunity for people who aren't in there and at the same time the other people who are in there sometimes their roles get redistributed just a little bit.

**Q: How different a player is Willie than the player that you coached in 1996?

BB:** Well I would say the two obvious things. He has got a little more wear on him but he is also more experienced and he has been through a lot of things that he hadn't been through in '96. In 1996, it was the first year that he played defensive line in the NFL. He had played linebacker the year before and played some defensive line positions at USC where they moved him around quite a bit. He played pretty much everywhere there. He played linebacker in 1995 and then in 1996 he played defensive end for us. Now he is kind of a hybrid where he plays a little bit of both. Willie is a pro and he knows the game. He knows how to play his role. I think he has, probably with his experience, gained an appreciation kind of doing his job and not trying to make every play and not trying to play way out of the scheme but trying to play within the context of what his responsibilities are. I think earlier in his career, he was such a great athlete coming into the league and still is a top athlete but a lot of times those guys have a tendency to just try to do things, and they make some plays, sometimes too much and then they maybe end up maybe taking themselves out of play that they might other wise make. I think that is a maturity level that he has gained. A lot of times you can do your job, defensively, and somebody else makes the play and it looks like you are not productive but the fact is that you turned the play into somebody else and he made it. Eventually somebody else is going to turn the play into you and you are going to make it and you just have to be patient at times and work through that.

**Q: Was that an easy thing? I know you didn't coach him all of those years obviously. You just started coaching him again in 2000. Was that something that you or other coaches had to make him consciously aware of that he couldn't do as much as he did as a younger player and he needed to play more in the scheme or is that something that he just sort of picked up on his own?

BB:** I think every player has to go through that phase. I have coached a lot of players and I have seen a lot of guys go through that. There is a point in their career where they feel like they can make every play and they try to make them and they make some but then there are some that just put somebody else in a bad position by gambling. There is a point where you wan to be aggressive and take a chance and there is another point where you just have to take care of your responsibilities so you don't open up a problem somewhere else. I think that comes through maturity and discipline. Obviously Willie has the ability to make a lot of plays, I am not saying that. I am just saying that the discipline on his game is better than what it was earlier in his career but I think that is fairly common.

**Q: Is he a guy that has a large gap in between his strengths and his weaknesses?

BB:** Willie is about as athletic of a player as you could find. He is a guy who is big. He can run. He has got explosion and strength. He is light on his feet. He is not 290 and he never will be. But guys that are 290 there are not too many of them that can do the things that he can do at 265 or whatever he is, 260, whatever he weighs. There are probably guys at 220 and 230 that can do some things that he can do. They don't weigh 260 and they don't have the kind of power and explosion that he has at that size. I think for what he is, he has quite a bit of ability for his body make up, his size, his strength, his quickness, his athleticism, his power. He is a good athlete. The guy was picked, what, fifth in the draft or whatever it was. That is reflective of the type of skill that he has.

**Q: When you have talked about Willie in the past a couple of times you have referred to 'football is important to him.' Obviously, that is what you look for in any player. How much of a factor is his devotion to football in his longevity?

BB:** I think it is a big factor. Willie works hard. Honestly, there are a lot of players that try to do the things that he does and they have a hard time keeping up with him. Sometimes when he works with the younger guys, they can't keep up with him. His commitment to football is certainly played a big part in his longevity. I don't think there is any question about that.

**Q: With Rosevelt out of the game, who is going to step in and fill his void?

BB:** What we did last week was Willie and Mike Vrabel took most of those snaps. They have kind of been on a rotation type system all the way through camp similar to what we did at the inside linebacker with Ted [Johnson], Tedy Burschi and Roman Phifer. When Ted got hurt it was Roman and Tedy. With Rosie this week, it is Willie and Mike and I am sure that they will take the majority of it as they did in the Philadelphia game.

**Q: Will schemes remain the same though?

BB:** We game plan for the Jets differently than we would game plan for the Eagles that is for sure. In terms of our game plan, I wouldn't say that there has been a point at any time this year where Romeo [Crennel] has said or that Romeo and I have talked and said, 'Okay, well when this guy is in the game, we don't want to call that,' or, 'When this guy is in the game, we need to call something else.' Whoever is in there, is in there and can play it whether it is Mike or Rosie or Willie or Roman or Tedy or Ted Johnson. Whoever was in there, whatever the combination was, whatever the call was, I think Romeo felt confident making the call with whoever was in there playing it and not worrying about it. We feel like there is flexibility and depth there. That is part of managing a team, is having some depth at positions so that if something happens, you have people who you do feel like can continue to maintain and run your system the way you have been doing it. It is hard when you lose one guy then to ask 10 guys, 'Okay fellas, what we have been doing these last few weeks, forget about that. We have to do something totally different.' That puts a lot of strain on everybody when you have to make that move. Sometimes you have to do it, but it is not one you ever look forward to.

**Q: When do you think you will be able to make a long-term decision on Rosevelt?

BB:** Whenever I know.

**Q: Is it possible it could be this week?

BB:** Sure that is possible. Yes.

**Q: Is Damien Woody good to go? He is not even on the injury report.

BB:** He will be out there and practicing today

**Q: After seeing the game film, can you assess Dan Koppen's play?

BB:** Some things were better than others. First of all, Philadelphia has three good interior players in Hollis Thomas, [Paul] Grasmanis and, of course, [Corey] Simon who I think is one of the best defensive tackles in the league. I would put him up there against anybody. There were times where they made some plays and we didn't get them blocked well. There were other times when we did and hung on. There were some things that were good. It was good competition. Hopefully it will be better. It held up all right. I am not saying it was great but it was all right. But they are also good players.

**Q: Do you feel comfortable going with him if you had to for an extended period?

BB:** Well, I think if he has to play, he has shown that he can play. He showed that in preseason that we could put him in there.

**Q: Has Tedy Bruschi's role changed over the last couple of weeks with Johnson and now Colvin out? What is it from here on out?

BB:** I think from here on out is probably not the way I would look at it. I would look at it more from what is it on a week-to-week basis. What we tried to do a couple of weeks ago with the depth that we had in those positions was to try to utilize everybody whether it be in different packages or on a rotational basis, however we decided to split it up. I think now, it will just probably be a little bit less of that and the guys who are playing, are playing. We probably won't have the same type of rotation that we had when Ted Johnson and Rosevelt Colvin were in there.

**Q: Has Rosevelt ever had a hip injury before that you are know of?

BB:** Not that I am aware of, no.

**Q: I wanted to ask you about Dewayne Robertson and Ty Warren. How far has Robertson come along viewing the film on the Jets so far?

BB:** Robertson, first of all, he plays a different position than Ty does. Ty primarily has played outside more on the tackle. Robertson plays more on the guard and the center area. He plays a lot of three technique and then sometimes on their fronts he ends up tighter than that. It is a little bit of apples and oranges there. Robertson has some quickness. He has got some explosion. They kind of have a little defensive tackle rotation there between [Jason] Ferguson, Robertson and Chester McGlockton. All of those guys play. They are all in there at one point or another, sometimes situationally and sometimes it looks like they just rotate them through. All three guys play in there. They are pretty good inside. They have three good players there and they all contribute all a little bit different style of play.

**Q: Is there one thing that surprises you about Ty Warren besides everything else? I am sure that he has good plays and bad plays, etc. But is there one thing that has really impressed you up to this point?

BB:** I think the biggest thing I would say about Ty is he has worked hard. He has been out there everyday and hasn't missed one thing since he has been here and therefore he has been able to get better on a consistent basis. He hasn't gone and made progress and then missed time and then had to start all over again. He has made progress and has been able to build on that each day and each week. I am not saying that is unexpected but it is just the way it has been and that is good for any rookie player. Frankly most of our rookies fall under that category and that has probably contributed to why they have moved along, for the most part, in a fairly positive direction.

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