Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Friday, October 1, 2010.
BB: We're winding down the week here. It looks like we'll be inside today and get ready for the nice weather in Florida.
Q: Would you have been inside regardless?
BB: Probably not. Probably not.
Q: So was it because of this weather?
BB: Yeah, because of our great weather.
Q: How did it affect your practice yesterday?
BB: I think it's a cumulative thing that you kind of take what you get here in the earlier part of the fall: the wind, the rain, the cooler temperatures, whatever it happens to be. Sooner or later, those days are going to come during the season and so we can kind of fall back on some of those experiences, whether it's the kicking game or ball handling or whatever it happens to be. We don't know what we're going to get or when we're going to get it, but I think sooner or later the practice opportunities in less than ideal conditions end up being experience that we can use when those conditions occur in games.
Q: Have you ever simulated the heat in practice the way you would with music? Have you ever made it hotter?
BB: If we were practicing inside, yeah, sure.
Q: So would that be a way to sort of help acclimate?
BB: The easiest way to get hotter is just to put on a couple sweatshirts. Really, that's as good a way to raise body temperature as any. [It's] a little more cost effective.
Q: Can you talk about the roster moves yesterday bringing back Thomas Clayton. Is that maybe a way to shore up that position with the uncertainty of Fred Taylor's injury?
BB: Yeah, definitely. It gives us a little more depth at that position. Yes, absolutely.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw from Thomas Clayton in training camp?
BB: He missed a little bit of time in camp. When he was out there he did some good things, but he came in late in the spring and fell a little bit behind with a little bit of missed time in practice, so I think that slowed him down a little bit. But we were impressed with his skills and thought in the preseason games when he had an opportunity to play, he showed up and did some good things. He was just kind of behind where everybody else was. But we, at this point, looked at our options and felt like he was a guy that we wanted to continue to work with. He was on another practice squad, so we had to put him on the roster in order to do that.
Q: Is Fred Taylor's injury such that you're expecting to be without him for a significant amount of time?
BB: Well, we'll see. We'll just kind of take it day-to-day. I think he's doing better. We'll see how quickly it turns around.
Q: If it's a nagging injury, does the bye week play a role in that there are two weeks of rest you can give him. Does that play a role in your decision making?
BB: In a roster decision?
Q: In your decision as to whether you play him Monday night.
BB: No. No. If the player is cleared to play medically, then it becomes a coaching decision as to which players you want to activate and play. If he's not cleared to play medically, then there's no decision; he's not cleared. That's the way it is with every player. It's every week. We'll go through the same process.
Q: With some of the new faces you had back there last week like Julian Edelman and Danny Woodhead, do you expect that now that teams have seen them they will try to blitz or challenge those guys in terms of pass protection?
BB: I don't know. I don't know what they'll do. Teams can blitz. They can cover. We have to be prepared for all of that. So sure, it's definitely a possibility. We have to work on those things. I don't know what they're going to do.
Q: Is there some uncertainty on your end because those guys haven't done much of that?
BB: Any time you have a player back there, you have an advantage with certain players and maybe you're at a little bit of a disadvantage with certain players, but it's the same for them. It's hard…when you're defending that kind of player, it's easy to say, 'get them on blitz pickup.' If you can, that's good. If you can't, then you have to cover them. It goes both ways.
Q: Wes Welker was talking about his Miami days and how they have Davone Bess now who does some of the the same things he did. Are the two players comparable?
BB: I think they are both very good slot receivers. They both return punts. There are a lot of similarities there. Bess is the punt returner. He's a slot receiver. He also plays in some of their other positions; he doesn't just play the slot. He's a very good player. He's got good hands. He's quick. He gets open. He's good after the catch with the ball in his hands - a lot of the same things you could probably say about Wes.
Q: When you first saw the Wildcat, was it something they first implemented to make up for a deficiency at quarterback? What do you think the thought process was for them starting to employ that?
BB: I really think that's probably a better question for them to answer and I think they have. My understanding of it was it was something that after they had lost to, who was it - San Diego? They were trying to get a little spark there, just a way to run the ball, a little different look, and that's kind of how they've used it. They haven't really used it any differently. This is the third year now and they really haven't used it any differently. They have different versions of it, but they use it as a change of pace thing. It's certainly something you have to defend every week. They're not going to be in it on every play, but you have to be ready for it. I think Chad Pennington is a pretty good quarterback. I don't think they put it in because of him. I don't know. You can ask them and let them tell you, but I can't imagine that that was the problem. I don't know.
Q: Can you talk about the role Nick Saban played in helping you scheme against them the second time you played them that year, since he had obviously faced it with Arkansas. I know you consulted him on that, right?
BB: Yeah, I've talked to Nick and other college coaches about those type of things, Xs and Os and scheme stuff, preparation things, how to work on it in practice, things like that. Yeah, Nick is real good at handling offenses and making defensive adjustments and all of that. We talk about a lot of things.
Q: How big a resource is that for you to have when something like that pops up?
BB: It's always good. It's always good to talk to people. The biggest thing with us was that the second time, we had at least seen it the first time, so we did a little better job preparing for it.
Q: With the extra day leading up to the Monday night game, how will you use it or how have you used it this week?
BB: Probably just to continue to review at the end of the week. We kind of installed things the way we usually do so that it's just an extra day at the end of the week to go back and cover all the situations: first down, second down, third down, fourth down, and all the other situations in between. Just to kind of take another swing at it. Friday we'd do that anyway and then come back and do it again on Saturday as another review of all the overall game situations.
Q: The Giants are going to induct some people into their ring of honor - Bill Parcells and Phil Simms are two of the names they've announced so far. I'm curious of your thoughts since you were there during that time.
BB: Good choices. Good choices: Phil Simms, Bill Parcells and Lawrence Taylor. I don't know how you could leave them off any list at the Giants. Super Bowl championships, division championships, a lot of wins. Those two meant a lot to the organization. Phil and I came in together in the same year in '79. Actually, Bill came in in '79 too and then came back in '81. Those two meant a lot to that organization and a lot of the success that we had. [It's] well-deserved. Is Lawrence not in that? I can't imagine.
Q: They're going to name 30 total.
BB: He wasn't good enough for it or I don't know? I think those three people - talk about the Giants success from '81 to '90 - I don't now how you could leave any one of them out.
Q: Do you know now if some of the changes from last week like starting Kyle Arrington will stick this week?
BB: Each week is a different matchup, so the Miami matchups for us are a little different than the Buffalo ones. Some things will carry over; some things will be modified. Other things might be different. And again, with Miami you never really know what you're going to get. You could come out of this game and say, 'Well, this was a big deal for us this week.' In all honesty, we might not even be thinking it's that big a deal right now. At the moment, we might be thinking it could be more of something else. A lot of those matchups are based on what they're doing and what personnel groups they're using and that type of thing. Miami does a lot of different things now. They're have a pretty broad package on offense - probably as much as anybody we see, so it's hard to tell what number they're going to put their chips on [and] where it's going to be heavy and where it's not. You have to prepare for all of it and then take it as it comes.
Q: After maybe not its best performance last week, are you happy with the defense's response this week in practice?
BB: I think the defense has practiced well. I think that they've worked hard. Every week there are challenges that we face on both sides of the ball: communication, recognition, reactions to certain plays or keys, that kind of thing. That changes every week, but I think the players have done a good job of getting ready, studying the film, understanding what we're doing, trying to execute it. Hopefully we'll do a good job of it on Monday night, but that's taking it from practice field to game situations. Things are always a little bit different in games than they are in practice; they add a couple wrinkles or put in a couple change-ups that are designed o kind of throw the defense off a little bit and reacting to those and so forth, those are always game day challenges. I think their work and preparation has been good. I don't have any problems with that.
Q: On Sunday Randy Moss caught his 150th touchdown pass, second to only Jerry Rice. What does that say about his ability to be some consistent over the years?
BB: Number one: that he's out there. But number two: he's an outstanding red-area receiver and he's a great vertical receiver. I'm not sure what the breakdown would be on those 150, but I'm sure a lot of them are deep balls, like plays kind of behind the defense. I'm sure a lot of them are plays probably inside the 10-yard line, where he's a big target with good hands that can get open and use his size and his catching skills, playmaking skills, to just gain position on the defender and make the play. He's very good at both those things. I would imagine that's where most of those touchdowns have come, as opposed to him catching the ball at the 20-yard line and breaking a bunch of tackles and scoring on those kind of plays. A lot of plays he's either behind the defense or he's a target in the red area to catch the ball when we're fairly close the goal line. He's really strong in both those areas, so that's where the touchdowns come from.
Q: How many times have you coached against a Dan Henning offense?
BB: A lot. It's got to be close to 20, I would think, plus the years at the Jets where we saw it every day in practice.
Q: As opposed to some teams where you can know what kind of team they are and what they do, is he a different kind of coordinator?
BB: Yeah, you don't know where they are. You definitely don't know where they are. Finding them is half the problem and then defending them is another part of the problem. But they give you a lot of different looks. They do a good job of creating a lot of issues for the defense and things that you have to make some kind of adjustment to, one way or another. Then that just puts more pressure on the defense. The key to it is if you can execute those things well, then it hurts the defense. If you try to do all that but then you can't really do it, then it isn't productive. They do a good job of it and they're well-coached. They give the defense a lot of problems. They create tough matchups and a lot of tough decisions.
Q: Did you learn much from him during that period of time about what to anticipate?
BB: Yeah, sure. But again, it's one thing to see it every day in practice. It's kind of like our offense. It's one thing to see it out there every single day in practice; it's another thing to see it once or twice a season. You get a lot more familiar with working on the field with the same players on a regular basis than you do just doing it once a year, even though you've seen it before and you're familiar with it. And it's better than having not seen it at all, but it's not the same as seeing it on a daily basis. I think that's the challenge with playing against really any good offense. You see it, you learn from it, it's definitely a good experience, but when you're only dong it once or twice a year, it's still hard. It's still hard. And they change enough weekly to make it harder on you. They're not just going to sit there and say, 'Ok, here we are. Let's see if you can stop this.' They're going to give you different formations, schemes, plays, that really challenge what you're doing.
Q: Is this offense led by Dan Henning vastly different than what it was with Vinny Testaverde and Ray Lucas?
BB: I think that probably the foundation of it is fairly similar to, really even in the passing game, going back to Washington. But it's certainly been modified along the way to Atlanta, to San Diego, to Carolina - I don't know about BC [Boston College] - but to Carolina, to the Jets - the Jets, to Carolina, to Miami. So, it's had some modifications along the way, but I think that it's pretty close to what we ran when Dan was at New York and I was there with him. It's pretty close to that, but it's certainly been modified and changed from Carolina, [that] Super Bowl, and our games with him when he was with the Panthers. He's tweaked it along the way. But I would say if you asked Vinny or Ray Lucas to go in there and run the offense, that they would probably, in a fairly short time, a lot of it would come back to them and 'Here are a few new things.' They'd pick those up, but I'd say the foundation of it would be pretty close.