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Bill Belichick Press Conference - 09/11/2002

To read the transcript, click below.



BB: Well we're going to be out in just our shells today in practice and get working on the Jets. Watching them all this year, this has been a pretty impressive team, they're of course 5-0, won all their preseason games, won last week in Buffalo. I think there's a lot of strengths on this team, special teams they are excellent in that phase of the game, of course anytime you return a couple kicks for a touchdown that really does a lot for a football team. They were strong last year, they had a lot of scores last year in the kicking game, they're a good punt rushing team, they're a good return team, so they do a real good job in that area. I think Mike Westhoff is one of the best special teams coaches in the league, and his units play well. Offensively there's a lot of speed on the field, they've got real good speed at the receiver position, kind of re-vamped the offensive line a little bit shuffled that around a little bit from last year, but again they've been impressive running the ball with two good running backs and a good complement of production from their tight end, of course at full back with Richie Anderson. Vinny (Testaverde) is a guy that 10 years ago people told me they didn't think he could play in the league and he's still chucking them. He hit 80% of his passes last week against Buffalo and looked real sharp as he usually does. Defensively, some new faces on that side of the ball as well, particularly in the secondary. I think this linebacker group is one of the top units in the league, again we'll see another one this week. Up front, this is a very active front, good speed on the edge with (Randy) Thomas and (Steve) White and (John) Abraham and (Shaun) Ellis on regular downs he moves inside and subs, (Jason) Ferguson is back, he is an excellent inside defensive tackle who plays on the nose, Josh Evans has given them some good production at their three technique spot. This is a team that I think is a good solid team, again they've won all their games, they've played well in all three areas of the game, quarterback looks sharp, running game is good, and they're real tough in the kicking game. So we're on the road in the division. I think we've got our work cut out for us this week; it's a short week so we've got a lot of work to do.

Q: You touched on 10 years ago people said Vinny wouldn't be playing and he was 'washed' up. How has he maintained his longevity?

BB: Well I think that Vinny is a guy that keeps himself in great physical condition, he's kind of a gym rat type of guy, he works out a lot, he's always in top shape, and certainly that's helped his longevity. He's got great throwing mechanics, gets rid of the ball quickly, has a quick release, carries the ball high, sees the field quickly and gets it out of there. This offense is based on a lot of quick throws and quick decisions. Vinny's probably as good as anybody in terms of his quickness of seeing the receivers and delivering the ball. He's a very accurate passer. Vinny is a hard working guy. He's always been that way. He had a reputation early in his career coming out of Tampa but he won a lot of games in Cleveland. He's won a lot of games the last 10 years of his career, not too many where he started in Tampa, but since that he's been a very productive guy. He really looks the same. He's ageless.

Q: How aggressive is the Jets defensive line?

BB: Well they're an attacking style, they get in the gaps, they try to penetrate the gaps and they're disruptive, they get on top of that, they bring their linebackers too, Mo Lewis in particular, is a good blitzer, (Sam) Cowart can come, Marvin Jones doesn't blitz us often but again he's another powerful guy when they bring him. They're very disruptive up front. Abraham gives them some real quickness and disruption off the edge, Evans inside, Ellis, they really try to attack you to get in the backfield to cause the runners to misdirect or to cause the quarterback to get off the spot that he's dropping to, and have to side-step and avoid the rush and give the defenders a little bit longer in coverage to match the receivers and match the routes. That's kind of their style of play and they obviously drafted for speed. They drafted speed on defense and drafted speed at the receiver position. They're interested in being a faster team, you can see that. That's evident on tape of some of the transitions they've made with their personnel.

Q: How much more do you know about your team after one game?

BB: Well I think some of the things are a bit of a situation, there are just more of them. You have all of your team is involved out there, and it's not the fourth quarter, and two minute where you've got sometimes guys playing that may not be playing in the regular season. Being able to adjust and adapt to situations, all the substitution things that come up, teams that really try to in the regular season, teams are using their best schemes against you to try to hit all your weak points, you have to be able to (a) adjust to what they're doing and (b) sure up those that they're trying to attack so you get a little bit better idea of where people are going to try to go after you and what you need to do to address it.

Q: When you go through something that has been called 'air Belichick', where you throw the ball 25 times straight, is that something that teams say, how do we prepare for those guys? Doesn't that give teams grief preparation wise?

BB: Again, I don't know really what Pittsburgh prepared for, how they did it, we just felt like at that particular point and time for that game, that was the change of pace that we wanted to have and so we used it. It really doesn't have any bearing on this week's game. This week's game is going to be played on totally different terms, and we're going to have to be ready to adapt to whatever the situations that come with this week

Q: Where do you put Curtis Martin in the hierarchy of running backs?

BB: Pretty high. He's pretty good. Curtis' durability is impressive. Curtis is a player that I think pound-for-pound is probably as strong as any player in the National Football League, he's not a big 240-pound power back but pound-for-pound, he's as strong as they come. He's got great vision, can cut back run against the grain, breaks a lot of tackles, he knows what you need and can get it. If you need three, he can get you three. If you need one, he can get you one. If you need six, he can get you six. He's a smart football player, catches the ball well, he's tough in space, he's a good inside runner, he really has the whole package. Doesn't fumble.

Q: Was Chad Morton someone you already had an eye on to worry about?

BB: Well yeah, sure. Chad returned some kicks for them last year and Chad's got good skills, got good speed and they also use him on third down offensively. He's definitely a weapon back there. This guy is no sleeper.

Q: Have the Jets changed Santana Moss' features any?

BB: I don't know if feature is the right word; they certainly use him on some plays like reverses and some trick plays like that. He's got a lot of speed, and he's got a different game than say Wayne Chrebet does, they're just different type of receivers. They are both good, but Moss can stretch the field, he's effective on the deep patterns, crossing over routes and things like that where he's got the speed to get the other side but they do use him on reverses and some quick screens and that kind of thing where they throw the ball out to him and hope he can make a guy miss and after catch, similar to punt return type of plays.

Q: Does it change the way the way the corners will have to play with the size match-ups?

BB: Absolutely. Each week, each individual personnel match-up is a little bit different, every single week whether it's size, speed, quickness, experience, the techniques that they use and so forth. Each week is a brand new week – get to know the player and not only the player but what he does in that particular system that's what the preparation is all about. You hit the nail right on the head. Each guy is different, each guy has his own strengths and his weaknesses and you just don't want to go out there and cover Santana Moss the same way you would cover Laveranues Coles or the same way you'd cover Wayne Chrebet or (Kevin) Swayne. Whoever they have in there you need to know what their game is and what they bring you need to know what you need to defend against and make sure that you get that stuff stopped first.

Q: It's only been a few weeks, but in your day-to-day coaching does the new facility make it easier to get prepared?

BB: I think that the facility makes it a smoother operation. From the football end of it, the meeting rooms are much more efficient. The players, first of all, they can see better - there's space to diagram things on, you have enough meeting rooms we we're really crowded, at times we were kind of meeting on top of one another at the old place so that's good obviously. The weight room at that facility when you have everybody lifting at the same time, like after practices for example, where a lot of guys come in there. You have more space and more machines to work on, more equipment to use so that everybody can get their work done and not have to make those kinds of accommodations. That part of it certainly smoothed our operation out the same in the training room.

Q: With the short week, are you going to have a chance to think about what happened last year (9/11) at any point today?

BB: We'll do something at the end of the day. I think that each of us recognizes it and deals with it in their own way. Certainly we are very respectful of the situation of the people and the families that suffered the tragedies a year ago. Obviously this is a remembrance for all of us of the bigger picture and the other things going on in the world besides the NFL, which is a big part of our life right now.

Q: (On shifting the defense around) Is that something you were pushing for?

BB: Just our objective defensively is to try to keep the other team from scoring and try to match up with them. Sometimes when particularly when you get games where opponents they shuffle people in and out a lot particularly a team that goes from two tight ends and one wide receiver to four wide receivers, it's hard. You can leave the same people on the field but the match-ups change quite a bit sometimes if we feel it's an advantage to try to match their receivers with our defensive backs or try to match their tight ends with our linebackers sometimes we feel like if that's good stretch, then we'll try to do that without being particular to any teams that's just in general.

Q: Have you ever called time out in the 4th quarter down 30-7?

BB: Probably have.

Q: The reason being?

BB: Well..

Q: What would be a good reason to call a time out in that situation?

BB: I would just say that when you're coaching a team, whatever the score or situation is in game you have reasons for managing the team the way you're doing it. A lot may have to do with things that are not directly related to that particular game; maybe it's something that came up during the week or the previous game some other game in that past, or you are to make a point or there's something that you're trying to do. I don't really worry too much about what's going on on the other side of the field other than how we have to relate to it, defend it, or attack it. The decisions we make are the ones that I feel are best for our football team. Whatever the ones that the opponents make then we have to react to it. In the end when your on defense its your job to keep them from scoring, it's not their job to not score, it's your job to keep them from scoring whatever the score is, I learned that as a defensive coach a long time ago.

Q: Can you talk about the tight end situation? What options does it give you offensively?

BB: Well I think that being able to stay balanced on offense, particularly, is something that you are always looking for. You want the defense to have to defend all fronts, to have to cover all the receivers, to have to cover the deep part of the field and the middle part of the field and the outside part of the field, you want to try be able to attack everywhere and if you can do that with all of your receivers then that gives you a balanced attack and that's what you are looking for. Probably some teams are going to pay more attention to some players than others and that gives the players where the coverage is lighter an opportunity to be more of a factor. That's something that the quarterback has to recognize but something the receivers have to be able to take advantage of too when that situation presents itself.

Q: When you bring in new players, is it easier to get them to buy into a role when you are coming off a winning season?

BB: I think that the main ingredient with a player on a team is the player's attitude. A player's attitude can make his situation whatever he wants it to be, and the player controls that. However they want to feel about what they're doing, they can either feel good about it or feel bad about it no matter what it is. I've had guys where they play every snap and aren't happy with their role for whatever reason, and other guys who don't play every snap and they try to make the most of their opportunities when they come, so I think that's all in the players control. How he feels about himself, how he feels about his opportunities and doing the best he can with the ones that would be the situations that he gets and the ones that he controls, the ones that don't come up, don't worry about it and move on.

Q: Is it particularly rewarding as a coach to see that three of your new players had touchdown catches on Monday?

BB: I am happy when we score. I'm not really partial to who scores them. It doesn't really matter to me whether it's this player or that player. If the ball is in the end zone we're going to be happy at the end of the play and I'm going to be happy at the end of the play. I am happy for all of the players who had success and who were making contributions but I really feel like if the situation had been a little bit different and the opportunity had gone somewhere else, the contribution and the production would have come from another player. And hopefully they'd feel that way too. We just have to react to what comes up and the player that's called on that gets the opportunity that we're all counting on him to step up and make it.

Q: I know it's only one game in, but do you feel like the personnel decisions as far as the draft and free agency are concerned are panning out?

BB: I think it's way to early to make an evaluation on where everything is. At this point in time some things I think if we had more opportunity to work with them, we'd have a better idea of how some things are going to work out than others, but again it's a long season and a lot of guys can improve as weeks go on as they get more game experience in the situations that they're involved in, that can improve a player's play significantly. Sometimes you see a players start fast and fade out. There's 15 regular season games to go. I think it's way to early to take the final fold.

Q: You have seven ex-Jets on your team. What is the constant among those players?

BB: Is that all we have seven ex-Jets? I mean the players that we brought in here, we're just looking for good football players. Some guys we know, some guys we don't, some guys we have background and history with, some guys we haven't, there's no pre-requisite other than if we think the player is a good player and he has the right kind of attitude and work ethic, if we can provide an opportunity for him, then we'll try to do that, if they see it that way then that's probably why they decided to come here as opposed to somewhere else. But it's not anything that is a pre requisite that somebody has to meet before it would be under consideration just like anything else. People that you know, you have the tendency to probably you know their positives, and know their skills. You know what they can do first and sometimes that's the best person.

Q: Did you have any sort of celebration after Monday night?

BB: I felt good about some of the things that happened Monday night. There's a long way to go. It's one game. That's it. We had four holding penalties on offense. Four interference pass-type penalties on defense, kicked the ball off out of bounds. There's a lot of things that week in and week out won't be good enough. Some other things might off-set them in that game. But we have plenty of things to work on. It's a whole new ball game this weekend. It's totally different. Style of play, division game, it's on the road, be a real hostile environment there won't be any more of a contrast between the hostility that we'll see in New York, and the support that we saw here a couple days ago. You can't get it any dramatic than that.

Q: Can you talk a little about Joe Andruzzi's experience with 9/11. Are you happy for his success?

BB: There's no question that was a very emotional time for Joe and Joe's family, I mean for all of us, but in particular with Joe and the attachment that he had to that whole situation. Yeah, I'm happy for the success that Joe's had, absolutely. Joe's worked as hard as anybody, played at a small school, overcame a lot of long odds just to get to the NFL, as you said, was out of work and he came in and worked hard here and was able to take advantage and create something for himself, given a little crack in the door and he was able to show that he could play well and create a spot for himself on this team. Nobody has more admiration on this team than I do, you know when we got him that's kind of what we thought he would do and he's certainly has lived up to that. Joe's as tough as they come; he's really a hard working guy that's overcome a lot of adversity. I'm really talking about on the field.

Q: Are you surprised that the Jets have been able to assemble what appears to be a great team?

BB: Well I think that the expansion draft probably benefited that team as much as any team in football. That was about as beneficial a situation for them as they could possibly have had. I mean if you're looking for tears on that one you're not going to get them. The salary cap room that was created in that whole situation was monumental.

Q: But they lost a lot of good players.

BB: I mean look at the people they added to the team with all the cap space that was created. Donnie Abraham, (Aaron) Beasley, they brought in Josh Evans, Sam Cowart, (Larry) Webster, (Steve) White, those guys are pretty good football players, (Sam) Garnes. It's not like 'what did they do before they got to the Jets', I mean they played a lot of football, they played for good teams, they were very productive and that's just on the defensive side of the ball.

Q: Do you think that's an unfortunate part of the expansion draft?

BB: I'm not going to comment on the system, it is what it is. We were in the expansion draft and so was everybody else.

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