New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 31, 2008.
BB: Happy Halloween. It is red area day here with the Colts. As usual they are right up at the top of the league with that both offensively and defensively. We've had a lot of games with them that have come down to that, both of our last two really have. That will be big for us this week. We are trying to work on that today and try to pull everything together here at the end of the week and be ready to go out there and play our best game on Sunday - making sure [because] that's what it is going to take.
Q: When do you find out whether the roof will be closed or open?
BB: I think it is an hour and a half before the game.
Q: Does that affect your preparation at all?
BB: No, I don't think so. We will be outside today. We have been inside the last couple of days just to crank up the noise and all of that. But they have had plenty of work in both spots, so I think we will be all right.
Q: In what way does it affect the kicking game?
BB: I am not saying it wouldn't affect the game. When we have been in those dome stadiums like Houston and even Dallas to an extent it is just an opening on top so the wind doesn't really affect the kicking game like it does in a normal outdoor stadium like ours or even the bigger stadiums. When the ball gets up in those outdoor stadiums it still gets affected by the wind but there really isn't any wind, in Dallas stadium I think is the best example with the roof they have and down there where it has been windy outside but you get in there, you get inside and you can barely feel it. I don't think it would affect it too much.
Q: Given that it is a red area day, how much is designated to the kicking game?
BB: We work on a couple of phases of the kicking game every day. There is really six phases - kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return, field goal, field goal rush and then there are situations within that like the hands team. So we do two a day - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we do two each day.
Q: What are your thoughts on Stephen Gostkowski being names special teams player of the month?
BB: He has kicked well for us all year all the way through - kickoffs, hang time, field goals, height on the ball, accuracy - he is kicking the ball very well. It is a good operation with Lonie [Paxton] and Chris [Hanson] but obviously he is hitting the ball well and he's had a real good year kicking off too, not just the touchbacks but even the ones they bring out a kickoff coverage that's been good and a lot of that has been the extra half a second or so - the difference between 3-8 and 4-3, 3-7 and 4-2 - that extra half second makes a big difference in kickoff coverage and he's pretty much been giving us that.
Q: Have you had to make a significant change in preparation now that the Colts placed a specific player [Marlin Jackson] on injured reserve?
BB: Well, certainly the film study on that player can be eliminated. We had a lot of cut-ups on Marlin Jackson as both the perimeter corner because he played on their right -- on our left -- in their regular defenses, and then he moved inside to play the nickel back when they went to five defensive backs or six defensive backs. That eliminates that. I feel sure that they will continue to play fundamentally the same coverages and stuff they are playing but you who will be in there - [Kelvin] Hayden has played there in the past and [Tim] Jennings has played there some in preseason. Sometimes even against three receivers on early downs they don't even sub they just leave their linebackers in because those guys are pretty fast and pretty active too. I think those are some of the options. So we will have to look at a couple different options because Jackson has basically been in there the entire season. When you look back to preseason you saw Jennings in there.
Q: What has the Colts' running game lacked based on the last couple of weeks?
BB: I think their running game is the same as it always is. It is based on the look, based on the front and they try to get the blocking schemes that are most advantageous to the look that they have and they are always looking for a fair fight. So if you have too many guys up there then they are going to throw it. If they have the numbers on you than they'll take the blocking angles that are most favorable and that changes from game to game. So a team like Houston won't get the same blocking schemes as a team like Green Bay and a team like Green Bay won't get the same ones like a team like Chicago - so it just depends on what game you turn on. Once you see the front and once you see the overall distribution of the secondary then there is consistency in the running game because they have got plays that are most advantageous to attack that defense. But they still run the perimeter plays a lot, they run the inside trap plays and pretty much every play that they run they have a play action that looks exactly the same off of that same action. So both of those things marry well together.
Q: Do you still consider Marlin Harrison a number one receiver?
BB: Sure. Absolutely. I mean I don't know who is number one and whose number [two]; I would say the number one receiver is the guy that is open. [Marvin] Harrison, [Dallas] Clark and [Reggie] Wayne are the three major candidates and certainly [Anthony] Gonzalez, [Joseph] Addai, [Dominic] Rhodes - those guys and [Gijon] Robinson at times - they show up at times. But I would say the big three are Wayne, Clark and Harrison. You can get one of them but that's fine he will throw to the other two or you get two of them and he will throw it to the other one - it is really hard to get all three. You can see one-week one guy having a big game and the next week if the team takes away that guy than he will give it to somebody else. But they are all hard to defend. And Addai is a good [running] back coming out of the backfield both as a route runner protector and run after the catch player, as is Rhodes - whoever that happens to be.
Q: Does the Colts receiving end looked more balanced?
BB: They all look pretty good to me; they have never really had a problem throwing the ball - [Dallas] Clark has been there how long? It has been awhile. They have different guys at tight end, different slot receivers but in the end [Reggie] Wayne, [Marvin] Harrison and Clark have really been three staples with whoever the [running] back is whether it is [Edgerrin] James or [Joseph] Addai. Those guys have been a good part of the passing game and good receivers - they can catch the ball, they can run. Some of the routes they are asked to run occasionally deep down the field on a close pattern or a wheel route up the sideline to keep you honest but they really hurt you on the check downs like Addai did against us last year or screen passes and things like that where the defense is so overly trying to defend your outside guys and Clark that they are light underneath, so they can kill you there too. It is a very well designed and executed offense - the coaches, the players, the scheme [and] the decisions that Peyton [Manning] makes with the ball - they are very good.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory of the dome?
BB: Probably last year, last November - that would be one good one. We have had a few up there - Willie McGinest stop on the goal line - put that up there too.
Q: Anything you miss about it?
BB: Probably not too much. All of the combines, it is an annual NFL convention and all of the college players and everything, there have been some interesting moments there - Deion Sanders running a 40 straight off into the tunnel and stuff like that. It is always a little bit of mixed feelings when you see these stadiums that had so many great moments in them, both ways, go. RFK [Stadium], The RCA Dome, now it is going to be Giants Stadium and even Foxboro [Stadium]. They all had their certain moments that were special. We are onto another age… Mile High [Stadium] - We are all moving on.
Q: Will you request anything from Giants Stadium when it is torn down?
BB: No, I don't think so. They will still be digging through looking for Jimmy Hoffa's body.
Q: If they found that would you want it?
BB: [Laughs] I bet they will be looking for it. And they found that [Red Sox] shirt in Yankee Stadium right? So who knows what's in there.