New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 25, 2008.
BB: How is it going this morning? Good, huh? OK, well, we're plugging along. The Giants are a tough team to get ready for. They do a lot [and] they do a lot of things well. This is probably one of those games [where] if we had a month to get ready for them, we'd still be working on them, but we have to schedule, kind of pace our way through it. We're going to try to do the best we can, but they do a good job in a lot of areas - really, all areas - so it's a lot to get ready for, but we're underway. It was good to be out on the field yesterday and we have a couple more days here before we take off on Sunday.
Q: Is their defensive line comparable to any you've faced already?
BB: They're pretty good. They're pretty good. They're strong, they're athletic. The two ends are real good and they're good inside. [Barry] Cofield and [Fred] Robbins do a good job. [Justin] Tuck goes in there. They bring the linebackers up inside quite a bit, too, so you have to deal with them. One time you're blocking a big, 300 pounder, the next play you could be blocking a real athletic, quick type of athlete in there, so it's a real challenge for our linemen and certainly the two ends do an outstanding job in everything, not just the pass rush. They're very good in the running game. [Michael] Strahan is… We could stand up here and talk about him all day. For a guy that's not that big, he has exceptional power and he's a great leverage player, good technique player, smart… He's a hard guy to block. So is Osi [Umenyiora].
Q: Can you say whether Tom Brady will practice today?
BB: Not now. We'll see. [I'll] let you know after practice - Or does everybody have a deadline before then?
Q: Is your experience going through Super Bowl games more important to the actual game itself or handling the hype and pacing yourself?
BB: Probably both. It's a process. The whole thing is a process. I don't think you want to not utilize - Well, I think you want to maximize everything you have. Whatever time you have available, you want to maximize it to be efficient and productive toward your goal, which is playing well and winning, and not get distracted, not get burned out, not get... To have your timing right so that when the game starts, that's when you're at your peak. You don't want to be there before. You certainly don't want to be there after. You want to be well prepared and well rested both physically and mentally going into the game. Getting to that point is important, doing it during the game is important. I mean, one could offset the other, so I think they're both up there.
Q: Can you talk about what makes Kevin Faulk such a unique player?
BB: Well, Kevin has a lot of versatility. He's smart, he's very instinctive, he has a very good feel for the game. He understands really all part of the game exceptionally well - pass protection, route running, receiving, the running game, blocking schemes, play action - all of those things, and he's a good football player. He has good balance, he's quick, he's hard to tackle, catches the ball well, he has a good combination of quickness and power and he's very instinctive. He usually puts himself in the best position or the best advantage to deal with whatever it is he has to deal with, and then he certainly has plenty of skill to execute a lot of different things on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams as well.
Q: Did Rodney Harrison practice yesterday and are there any players you think won't practice today?
BB: I'd love to answer that. Maybe we can give you something after practice.
Q: Why not answer now? Everyone's here.
BB: We haven't practiced. I don't know. We'll see how things go at practice.
Q: What's your best guess?
BB: I'll let you know after practice. That injury report will be out next Wednesday, though, so it'll have everything on it then.
Q: As durable as Tom Brady has been at his position, how durable is your center? I know he had the one injury.
BB: Right, two years ago, but Dan's [Koppen] been great. Dan's been very durable inside and he's given us a very consistent level of play, really pretty much since he's been here his rookie year, which is impressive, for a player to be able to come in as a rookie and handle all of the things, both physically and mentally that we ask an offensive lineman and especially a center to do. He's been great pretty much from day one, and day in and day out he's one of our most consistent, dependable players. He doesn't make very many mistakes. He gives you a very consistent high level of performance.
Q: I know all of those guys up front are pretty much the unsung heroes, but is he the unsung hero of that group?
BB: You'd have to ask whoever… I don't know exactly where that's coming from. You'd have to ask them about that. I think they're very good football players and they play well, so I recognize it. I don't know about everybody else. Dan does a great job. Steve [Neal] and Logan [Mankins] are outstanding. Logan's had a terrific year, and so has Steve. He's missed a few games, but he's played very well. Nick's [Kaczur] been solid for us at right tackle and so has Ryan [O'Callaghan] when he's hand an opportunity to play. I think Matt's [Light] had a very good year at left tackle. And he's had several before. They've done a good job and when Russ [Hochstein] and Billy [Yates] and Ryan and Wes [Wesley Britt] have had an opportunity to play, they've done a good job as well. I think we've had a good level of performance there and good depth.
Q: When you look at Eli Manning, are there similarities to Peyton or are they completely different?
BB: They're in different systems, so that's a big difference right there. But Eli, he's done a good job for them. He's god some mobility in the pocket, he's able to avoid the rush, he's an accurate passer, he's made some tight games, especially - The Green Bay game was - The way he threw the ball last week was exceptional, given the conditions and the tight coverage that Green Bay had on him. There wasn't much space to get some of those passes in there and he threw the ball very accurately, both on the intermediate and down the field routes and the receivers made some good catches. I think he brings a lot to the position. They do a lot of different things with him - screens, play action, downfield passes, intermediate passes, some moving pocket passes, like they scored on us against the sprint-out play and some bootleg plays, things like that. He does a good job in the things that he's asked to do and they ask him to do quite a bit. He does a good job with it.
Q: Osi Umeniyora said yesterday on HBO that Matt Light might have done a few things he shouldn't have, some dirty plays after the whistle.
BB: You'd have to talk to him about that.
Q: Does that go both ways, though, usually in the trenches? If one side is doing it, the other side does?
BB: Yeah… Can't help you there. Really, honestly, when the play gets cut off - When we watch the play, the play pretty much ends when the guy gets tackled, so when they're walking back to the huddle and all that, whatever does or doesn't go on, to be honest with you, I don't really get a very good look at. I guess you'd have to ask Osi about it for more details. I'm a lot further from that play than they are.
Q: But is it motivating to have these types of remarks?
BB: We're playing in the Super Bowl. I mean, I hope there's some motivation to win an NFL Championship.
Q: How do Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs compliment each other and what kind of challenges do they present?
BB: It's a big challenge. Both of them are good. Jacobs is an outstanding back. I think we've all seen plenty of him. He's a big, powerful guy with good quickness and speed and he's broken plenty of long runs. He's not a fullback, he's a running back. He's very elusive in the secondary and he's made plays for them in the passing game, and so has Bradshaw. Bradshaw has shown it on kick returns earlier in the year. I think he did a real good job of that when he had an opportunity. He has good quickness. He's probably a little - maybe a little quicker than Jacobs. Jacobs is obviously a little bigger. They have good complimentary styles, but they're both good. I don't think they really care. It's not like one guy runs these plays and another guy runs those plays, or one guys runs those routes or another - It looks like they don't really care who's in there. They do both things with both players, and they look very comfortable with the assignments they have. And I think the coaches are very comfortable calling plays, regardless of who's in there. I don't think it really matters to them. Maybe it does, but it doesn't look like it, because I think you have to defend the whole variety on both players. They do have different styles, and I think that's important for us to know which back's in the game and be ready to play him accordingly.
Q: Obviously the magnitude of this game makes the preparation different than if you were playing the third game of the regular season, but can you think of anything in the last three Super Bowls you've been to where you said, "That wouldn't have happened if we'd had our normal time to prepare."?
BB: Not right off the top of my head, no. I think we have plenty of time to prepare. I think what you have is, you're playing an opponent that has plenty of time to prepare, too, and a lot of times they'll throw a wrinkle in, as we will, to try to break a tendency or do something that's a little bit different than maybe what you think they're expecting, but still something that you feel you can do effectively. The toughest situation was the first one, against the Rams, on a short week. That was more challenging, but we had played that team in midseason, so at least we had some familiarity with them and that was - in terms of preparation, that was a plus. I think we did, as a coaching staff and the players, we did a lot better job of coaching and playing the second time we did it than the first time. But I think when you have two weeks you have plenty of time to prepare and do what you want to do, but even though you have a whole season's worth of information, that's way more than any team can do. You really have too much information. You have to boil it down and decide what areas you want to focus on, but at the same time it's a little bit of a moving target because you know they're going to make a few adjustments and changes, too, probably to something you haven't seen or that you would spend very little time working on and then you have to adjust to that during the game. From that standpoint, I think the game is challenging because of the changes that the opponent makes in their attack of you, given the extra time they have.
Q: But the event aspect of it doesn't really have that much of an effect?
BB: I'd say it's like any other big game. I'm not saying it's like - I'm saying when you have a big game, one of the things I think you have to guard against as a coach is that the focus is on the assignment and the execution, not the magnitude of the game, so when you're playing those types of games, as you said, it's a little different than playing the third game of the regular season and sometimes players might have a tendency to think more about the overall - the big picture, instead of just doing their job. It always comes back to that. Each of us has to do a good job of doing what we're supposed to do during the game and not worrying about what everybody else has to do. Just get our job taken care of.
Q: How does this compare to the last three Super Bowls you've been in?
BB: They're all special and they're all different.
Q: How is it different?
BB: We didn't go to Arizona before, we didn't play the Giants before and we have a lot of different people on our team from the last time we went, so there are a lot of things that are different.