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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 9/22/2003

Belichick: I am really proud of our team and the toughness that they showed. They hung in there.



            **BB:**  Well, I think after watching the tape, as I said yesterday, I have even more of an appreciation of what a tough, hard-fought game that was.  It was very physical on both sides of the ball, on all of the units, special teams, offense and defense.  I am really proud of our team and the toughness that they showed.  They hung in there.  There were some tight situations when it was 9-6, 9-9 and we came back and made some plays on offense and defense to move ahead in the game.  Then we were able to finish off the game positively and make some stops on defense and run the ball on the last drive to end the game.  There were a lot of good things there.  There were a lot of things that, just in terms of playing in a tough division game like it always is with the Jets, I thought that we had a lot of guys step up and play well in that situation, so that was good.  Naturally, there were some things in the game that were less than perfect.  We had a number of penalties which slowed us down.  Our execution on some other things certainly could have been better than what it was.  On balance, it is good to win a division game.  It is good to beat the Jets.  It is good to be 2-1.  On the injury front we, as I said yesterday, Ted Washington will be out for a while with a broken leg.  It was a physical game.  We got a lot guys with bumps and bruises.  We will have to re-evaluate those guys in the next 48 hours and give you an injury report on Wednesday.  We are going to place Rosevelt Colvin on injured reserve today and re-sign Patrick Pass to the roster.  That is pretty much the agenda there.  Any football, non-injury related questions?  [Laughter]  

**Q: [Laughter] How much stress does that put on your staff?

BB:** We have scheduled a lot of extra meetings with some of the guys who are either doubling up in spots or with some of the younger players we have started doing that really after the opener with guys that we saw their role might be changing, going back to [Eugene] Wilson for example. It definitely puts a little bit of an extra time commitment to the players and also the coaches who are working with them to make adjustments, Brad [Seely] on special teams, who might have to move people around. That kind of thing.

**Q: It must add a little uncertainty to your week to know who is going to be playing.

BB:** What you normally do in those situations, and we deal with it all the time it is not unique, but what you do in a lot of those cases early in the week is you plan to go without the guys who are even questionable. As the week goes on, you adjust it. When you finally see them come on the field and practice and perform then you start to fit them into that role. Anytime a guy is in that 50/50 range, from a coaching standpoint, you take a conservative approach and plan to play without him and get the other people reps. If he is available, he is either a full time player or he is a spot player. Anytime a guy goes into the game with that type of situation, there is always a chance they might not finish it so the guy that you practiced there is going to have to play there anyway. That is usually how we handle it.

**Q: Now that you have had a chance to look at the tape and Ty Law's injury, what did he show you about his toughness and his savvy?

BB:** Ty is one of our tough competitive players. He loves to play. He is a great competitor. He really sucked it up and came back in there. One thing about Ty is no matter what his condition is, it doesn't seem to affect him. He has a mental toughness about him and he doesn't seem to let it affect him in the game whatever it happens to be. He has played through a number of situations like that since I have known him even going back to when I was here before. He is a tough guy, physically and mentally and he is a good competitor. He is a really good competitor.

**Q: Do you feel fortunate at all that the Jets dropped so many passes yesterday both on offense and defense?

BB:** I think the main thing that we can do is control how we play. We dropped our share and missed our share and missed tackles and they missed theirs. I don't think either team played a perfect game. What we try to do is correct the mistakes that we made and play better next week and get those areas up to a higher level. In some cases, that is covering the receivers tighter and not letting them be open or rushing the passer better or making our blocks. A number of the problems that we had offensively, which I can relate to those dropped passes, but a number of problems we had offensively were just things that we screwed up. We got sacked a couple of times where we just didn't block a guy. It wasn't that we got beat, we just had a miscommunication and blew it and turned a guy loose and let him run in untouched on the quarterback. Those are the kind of things that you wan to eliminate. I am sure that the Jets are saying the same thing about some of their plays. I am sure that every other team in the league is saying that this week and we are in that boat. No doubt about it.

**Q: Without being specific because I know you don't want to get into specifics on injuries….

BB:** Right, so do we want to go on to something else that we do want to get specific about? [Laughter]

**Q: [Laughter] You've have got four, five or six defensive players that you maybe out just after only three games. Have you ever experienced a run like this before in your career?

BB:** It has been quite a few in a short period of time. I can't think of one situation like this. I am hoping I don't make the comparison again.

**Q: I am sure you have your reasons for re-signing Patrick Pass but it doesn't seem like you addressed your needs on defense. Are you investigating the possibility of bringing people in and addressing those needs?

BB:** Sure. Anybody that we think can help our team, we would definitely investigate that. The problem is that we are a little thin at the running back position and Patrick has been a productive special teams player for us in the past. A lot of your special teams players are on the defense side of the ball. I think there are things that Patrick can do to help us. That is why he is here. If there are things that somebody else can do to help us and we can find a spot on the roster for him then we will consider those. Certainly we would consider them on defense.

**Q: Is Mike Cloud on your view screen or is that still too far ahead?

BB:** He is not an option until after his suspension with the league is over. We will deal with that when it comes which will be after next week's game. At this point it is on the back burner.

**Q: What types of problems does Laveranues Coles present?

BB:** Coles presents a lot of problems. We have great respect for Laveranues from playing against him with the Jets. I think that in general, I would say that [Steve] Spurrier's pass offense is a little more of a vertical game than the Jets offense is although, again, Coles gave us a lot of problems in the Jets offense the last couple of years as well. I don't mean to minimize that but it is a little bit of a different style. Coles has really everything that you look for in a receiver in terms of size, speed, hands and run after the catch. He is a tough guy that will come inside for the ball. He is a vertical threat. He can take a short pass and make a catch and run play out it. He has got real good skills in all areas of the game. I don't see any major weaknesses in his game. He is tough. He is young. He is a good productive player.

**Q: Did you celebrate when he was traded out of the division?

BB:** Well, I wasn't sad to see him go but at the same time we got him on the schedule so we are going to have to deal with him.

**Q: Only once every four years.

BB:** Right. We'll be glad to see him out of the division after this year.

**Q: Do the Skins look more comfortable in Spurrier's offense?

BB:** Their pass offense has been real productive. You are talking about relative to last year?

**Q: Yes.

BB:** Last year although we didn't play them but just watching them on tape and getting ready for them because we played them in preseason earlier this year, I think that they have a lot more continuity at quarterback. [Patrick] Ramsey was in and out and they played a couple of different guys, had some injuries. They added Coles to the mix and in the second year of the system, I think the overall execution of the pass offense is better. The quarterback certainly is very confident and capable and I am sure he has a better understanding of the system. We have all seen that with young quarterbacks and the difference between year one and year two. I think they show a much higher level of execution probably than they did overall last year. They have had a lot of production already this season. They can wing it.

**Q: How much did Ty Law have to convince you to get back on the field?

BB:** I am all for playing anybody that is healthy enough to play but I need to see it. I just don't feel confident putting guys on the field until with my own eyes can see that he is ready to go. Or, in some cases, talking to the player and making sure that mentally he understands the game plan, knows the adjustments that he needs to make and think on the field in the situations that will come up quickly like they do. Once that bridge has been crossed, then we are ready to go. Sometimes it could be one play, sometimes it could be longer than that. It just depends on each situation.

**Q: What did he do to say to get back out there?

BB:** After I watched him run and Eric [Mangini] watching him run. There are two decisions when you put a player in the game. One is a medical decision and one is a football decisions. For the most part, they are all football decisions. As long as the player is cleared medically to play, then we decide who plays in what situation or how much they play and the coaches handle the substitution. When a player is not cleared to play by the medical staff, then we don't play him. Once it passes that muster then it goes to a coaching decision. And, not every player that plays is 100 percent. We all know that. Sometimes you play a guy that is less than that, but he still plays.

**Q: How is Tom Brady throwing the ball? His shoulder got jammed by [Sam] Cowart.

BB:** Yeah, I think that a lot of guys are sore in there today just going through the training room and locker room. I think we have a lot of guys that used a lot of ice last night and this morning. I am sure he is in that group. Overall I think that there are bumps and bruises and we will come through them. I am sure that a lot of guys are affected. Tom probably is too.

**Q: Did you scrutinize his delivery, his velocity, etcetera fairly closely after looking at the tape?

BB:** I looked at it on tape this morning and I thought that in the second half of the game there were some throws that were good throws, down the field throws, not little dump-offs, but good down the field throws, that were accurate. Some were better than others. I guess that would be the bottom line is when you see a player do it, at least you see that he can do it but I am sure that there were some plays where it might have affected him more than others. Again, I am just saying that I think there are a lot of players that have soreness and stiffness today. I am sure they had it during the game. How much that affected any one individual play, I am not sure about that.

**Q: Different injuries have resulted in, so far, a little bit more playing time for some of the rookies. Are you still kind of hesitant to giving them that much responsibility or are they gaining your confidence?

BB:** I think the rookies have all stepped up and made positive plays for us. It is far from perfect and there are other plays that could be better but they have all contributed positively when they have had a chance to play. If we can keep working in that direction and have more positive plays and fewer negative plays, then that is going to increase their playing time and increase their opportunity. It is when it goes in the other direction when the team just can't afford it. If a guy just keeps making more mistakes or doesn't correct the ones that he has made previously, then you just can't keep going with that player until that situation turns around. To this point, I think they are all headed in that direction. I think they are a long way from being where they are going to be but we are heading in the right direction.

**Q: Just how much peace of mind does Adam Vinatieri give you?

BB:** Better than sleeping pills. [Laughter]

BB: If you have to have a guy to make a kick, that is the guy I want out there. Whether it be a field goal or kickoff, whatever the pressure situation is, whatever the play, I will take him.

**Q: Is he among the most consistent players at any position that you have ever coached?

BB:** I think I would have to put him up there. He doesn't have a lot of bad plays. He has got some that are better than others, I mean we all have seen that, but he doesn't have a lot of clunkers.

**Q: What is your all time team position by position, year by year? [Laughter]

BB:** Can we come back to that one? That is 29 years. [Laughter]

**Q: Which ones come to right to mind?

BB:** Players that I have coached? Players that I have seen?

**Q: Coached.

BB:** Well he had a long career but certainly [Phil] Simms was a pretty consistent player, not his rookie year, I am not saying that. By the end, he had some pretty good days. [Mark] Bavaro had a few of them too speaking of Simms. So there are two.

**Q: [Laughter] Punters?

BB:** As a punter, [Dave] Jennings was pretty consistent. Especially the years that I had him which were 1979 to 1982. He was pretty consistent.

**Q: How likely are you to use Dan Klecko on the short yardage goal line situation again?

BB:** He is ready to go. [Fred] McCrary was out. We just had three backs active yesterday, Larry [Centers], Antowain [Smith], and Kevin [Faulk]. I thought they all did a good job. None of them are really the prototype lead blocking full back short yardage type of guys so that is something that Dan has done. He played full back in high school, I am not saying it is the same, but he at least had some background in the position. With Pass and McCrary we will just have to evaluate that situation going forward. For yesterday, and we did it a little bit in preseason, Dan has worked there and knows what to do on those assignments.

**Q: On the play where Brady scored, was he hit unnecessarily on that play?

BB:** Let me put it this way, there were a number of plays in that game that I didn't really understand and that was one of them. I don't want to get into a lot of specifics but I will just say that there were a number of plays that I didn't understand. Maybe there are a lot of things I don't understand, so maybe that is not all that uncommon, I don't know. There were some I just did not understand.

**Q: The one play that I did not understand was the penalty on Larry Izzo when he hit Dan Stryzinksi. Would that be one you are referring to as well?

BB:** That would be another one that I didn't understand because Larry Izzo never made contact with Stryzinsk. He never touched him. That is another one I am confused about, yes.

**Q: Was that [Fred] Baxter who blocked him?

BB:** No.

**Q: Do you know who blocked him?

BB:** Yes, Chris Akins.

**Q: It seemed as if he was ahead of the play. It seems like that happens a lot in most games, the hitting.

BB:** Yeah, just like it did to Vinatieri on the third kickoff return. I didn't understand the play. I didn't make the call so I can't explain it.

**Q: Is [Adrian] Klemm still your right tackle or will you explore other options this week?

BB:** Is Klemm still my right tackle? Could we explore other options this week? Well I think if Klemm is 100 percent healthy and is our best player this week in practice at tackle then he would be our tackle. If that is not the case then he probably won't be our right tackle this week. I would answer that with a solid I don't know because I honestly don't.

**Q: Is that to say that he is not 100 percent healthy and he would go under the bumped and bruised category?

BB:** I think he is definitely in the bumped and bruised category, yes.

**Q: Is he on top of the category? The middle of the list?

BB:** He wasn't able to finish at the end of the game and [Tom] Ashworth took the last two and a half series, whatever it was. That is one that we are re-evaluating here in the next 24-48 hours and then we will have an injury report on Wednesday and go from there. We will just have to see how that progresses along and with a lot of other guys too. I don't mean to highlight him but I think there are a number of people that are in that category. It was a physical game and we have a lot of guys who are sore in there today.

**Q: Were you happy with the play of the inside of the line?

BB:** I think overall, the offensive line played pretty well except when we had missed assignments or mental errors. I think a lot of our problems were our problems that when we had the right assignments and blocked the right people, that our production was okay. We had too many situations where we just turned guys loose. We just didn't block them. You let a guy run free into the backfield unblocked, it is hard to have a good play. That happened, not a lot of times in the game, but it happened a few times and when it did happen it basically was part of ending the drives, negative plays are what killed our drives either in the red area or, in some cases, caused us to be in punting situations when we didn't get to that point.

**Q: Assuming you watched the game last night, the Miami/Buffalo game, in a situation like that are you watching the game rooting actively for Miami to win that game to make everybody 2-1 in the division and get you back in it or is it 13 weeks to go and you don't waste that kind of emotional energy?

BB:** I don't waste that emotional energy because in my experience in the NFL, you root for one team one week and then two weeks you are rooting against them or you are rooting for another team. The standings just change. You get into the playoffs, all of those different equations and as you get later on in the season and one week you are pulling for one team and then two weeks later you are rooting against them and they are your biggest competition. I just let all of that take care of itself. I was actually doing some other work as the game was going on. I wasn't watching it with great intensity but it was certainly of interest because it was two of our division teams. It was interesting to watch the game. We study it closer in the game tapes. But I did see it. Obviously, Miami had an outstanding night. They played well.

**Q: When you have success against a team that has trouble defending the run, do you say, 'Well how much of that was us and how much of that was them,' and do you need to see more from the running game in order to feel better about the run?

BB:** I think that we have had a little better production each week in the running game and that has been good. I think we can still do better. I think that it is important to try to maintain as much as you can balancing your offense. At the same time you have to do what you need to do to win and there are some games where one aspect is going better than the other and you lean a little bit heavier on those type of plays, runs or passes, whatever it happens to be. I thought that we made some strides in the running game in the first couple of weeks here in the season. Hopefully we can continue to be productive and give us some balance on the offense. Sometimes when you are not throwing the ball as well, it is good to be able to hand it off a few times and get some yards and start to open things up in the secondary.

**Q: Did Antowain particularly show more bursts yesterday?

BB:** I thought both backs ran well, all three really. I thought Larry had a couple of key plays for us. I thought that Antowain and Kevin both ran well when they had opportunities. Kevin's plays were maybe a little bit different than Antowain's. Antowain has a lot of hard running tough yards, multiple tight end sets, and end of the game short yardage. He has more of those kind of runs and Kevin sometimes comes in some of the more spread out situations, although not all of them, I am not saying that. I thought that Antowain made some tough yards and I thought that Kevin made some key runs like the draw play on third and seven, whatever it was. It was really a nice run to be able to sift through there and pick up the first down. I thought they both did a good job.

**Q: Could you comment on Rick Lyle?

BB:** Rick is one of those guys that whether he gets any plays in practice or not or sometimes he gets plays in practice at one position and then ends of playing another position in the game which is a little bit of what happened yesterday, he is one of those guys that plays pretty consistently no matter where you put him. Whether he has had every play in practice or whether he is just on the scout team, he just stays on top of his game. I thought he did a solid job in there. I am not saying it was spectacular or a hall of fame performance or anything like that but I thought is was a solid job. We, for the most part, kept Curtis and the running game, somewhat under control. I am not saying we stoned them cold or anything. But I thought we had it somewhat under control.

**Q: We he get a serous look for that position?

BB:** Well he will definitely be playing. I don't think there is any question about that. How exactly that will break down in terms of playing time will probably vary a little bit from week to week. He will have to step up and step in for Ted [Washington] now.

**Q: How much is Ted's absence going to change what the inside offensive line is going to see?

BB:** They will probably see a lot more than what they have been seeing. [Laughter] Well, it definitely changes it. There is nobody on our team that can play like Ted Washington plays. There is nobody. He adds an element of size and stoutness to that position that just nobody else can match. That is his style of play. I think we have other players who can be effective in their own style. Certainly we are going to miss Ted but we have to try to work around it with whoever the other people are in there.

**Q: There really is no one else like Ted to step in there. His absence changes the look more than other positions.

BB:** I really would agree with that. I don't think that we have anybody else that could play in a Ted Washington style. Any other player, there would be a closer correlation between whoever the other players are than Ted Washington and whoever plays for Ted Washington. I would absolutely agree with that.

**Q: Would you move [Richard] Seymour in there at all?

BB:** We could. He has been in there before. I think what one of the things we are going to have to do this week is just take a look at the hole defensive situation and decide where our best combinations are going forward and also what the best ones are for the Redskins. Romeo [Crennel] and I have talked about that. That is something we are going to have to tackle in the next day or two. It is a possibility because he has been in there and we have had other guys in there as well too. I am not sure exactly what our best move is right now.

**Q: How would assess Ty Warren's progress?

BB:** I think Ty falls into the category with the other rookies that I talked about earlier. I think that he has made good steady progress. I think that when he has had a chance to play, he has shown some positive things, not perfect, but positive, and I think there have been more of them as he has played more. We are heading in the right direction. I don't think we are there yet. I don't think he has peaked as a player or anything like that, I wouldn't even approach to say that. I think that he is improving and I think that before it is over, he will be a good football player for us.

**Q: Is there ever a temptation to rush him in there? It seems like you brought him along at a steady pace.

BB:** I think we have overall pretty good depth on the defensive line. The other players that are rotating in there and are playing in that defensive rotation have been pretty productive for us. When he has had a chance to play, he has shown up. As much as I would like to have Ty Warren in the game or as much as I would like to have Asante Samuel in the game or Bethel Johnson or Jarvis Green or going back to last year, Deion Branch or whoever, as much as you would like to have those players in the game, there are other players in the game who are productive too. It is hard to take the Troy Brown's and the Richard Seymour's and the Ty Law's and those guys and slap them on the bench to play somebody else that you would like to see play. Those guys are all going to have to earn their playing time. I think situationally they can play and help us at some point; they are obviously a part of the future of this team. As they come along and progress and establish roles for themselves, they will play more and somebody else will play less. At this point I just don't think that has happened, some more than others, in Ty's case he is just not there yet.

**Q: You added Ted Washington late in the preseason. Was that a luxury item or a necessity?

BB:** Well, we just thought it was an opportunity given everything that was involved, what the cost was and what we thought we were adding to the team, that is was something that would help our football team. I don't know if I would put it is as either one, as a necessity or a luxury item. If we hadn't got him, we would have played who we played. I think the opportunity to get him given what the cost was, we felt like it was something that we were willing to do, so we did it. I guess it would be somewhere in between a necessity and a luxury item. [Laughter]

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