New England Patriots head coach addresses the media during his press conference on Wednesday, October 8, 2008.
BB: It's nice to be out here in California. We've done a lot of work on the Chargers in the last couple of days and they look pretty explosive like they always do. Offensively, they get the ball down the field and they have a great running game. They have a good offensive line. They are strong in the kicking game with [Darren] Sproles and [Kassim] Osgood and all their coverage players. They are very good on third down defensively as well as being a tough front seven. They have a couple of big play corners with [Antonio] Cromartie and [Quentin] Jammer, and they bring [Antoine] Cason in there as the third guy. It's an experienced team. They're well coached. They're tough. They're physical. I hope we can have a good week here and be ready to go on Sunday. The transition has been good. We're right where we would normally be schedule-wise. Hopefully we'll have a good practice today and take it from there.
Q: Is there a little bit of a training camp feel this week? It's all about football and no distractions?
BB: Well, we always try to make it about football. It's been good, though. I think it's good for the team to be together for a while. A lot of guys watched film yesterday [on their off day] and did some extra things. It gives us a chance to spend a little more time together and think about what we're doing. It's fine. It's good.
Q: The Chargers are certainly a familiar opponent.
BB: Yeah. It almost seems like a division game. It does. [It's like] we end up playing them twice a year. It's a little bit like the Colts. It feels like we've seen a lot of them, even though they're not in our division.
Q: You said after the game Sunday that the first 24 to 48 hours after not flying home would be an important period. Do you feel like at this point the team is ready physically for a week of practice?
BB: Yeah, definitely. We got a good night's sleep Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It's good. It's a lot better than flying back there and trying to get up and watch film Monday with one eye open and trying to get it going for Tuesday and just feeling like you're behind all week. I don't feel like we're behind at all.
Q: Have you seen the same LaDainian Tomlinson on film that you've always seen?
BB: Oh yeah. He looks good. Very patient. He has good quickness, speed, [and] breaks tackles. [Darren] Sproles has been a good change of pace for them. So, yeah, [Tomlinson's] good.
Q: How has Philip Rivers' development been? Have you seen him grow?
BB: Good. I had a lot of respect for Rivers anyway and then last year in our game in January I thought that he really stepped up and played very courageously after the injury and threw the ball well on not a great day to throw it. He played with a lot of toughness and courage and certainly gave us all we [could handle] in that game. So I have a lot of respect for Rivers. He's certainly chucking it down the field this year. I think they're second in the league in big plays in the passing game. [Chris] Chambers and [Vincent] Jackson and [Antonio] Gates and [Darren] Sproles and [LaDainian] Tomlinson, there are a lot of guys to defend there.
Q: You were able to get Randy Moss more involved last week. Are you guys thinking about using him that heavily again?
BB: Well, we'll try to do what we feel like is best against the way the Chargers are playing us --what those match ups are -- and try to get the balls to the guys who can be productive with it. Depending on how they play us in the passing game, hopefully Matt [Cassel] will make his reads and make good decisions and get the ball to the open player, whether that's Randy or someone else.
Q: You talked about Jammer and Cromartie being big play guys. Was there a difference between the way they played you in the playoff game as opposed to earlier in the season from a style perspective?
BB: No. I wouldn't say so. I'd say Coach [Ted] Cottrell has been around for quite a while. [He's a] very experienced coordinator. They have their way of playing. They like to pressure you. They like to bring those outside linebackers. They play a decent amount of man coverage and mix their zones in there and they did that in both games last year.
Q: Will you practice on the west coast again when you come back in December?
BB: Right now, we're just worried about this week. We'll see how this week goes and worry about next week next week.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what Mike Vrabel means to the defense?
BB: Mike's one of our most consistent, versatile players. We ask him to do a lot of things, defensively, and also goal-line stuff on offense, things like that. Mike's very smart. He's one of the best prepared, smartest players I've ever coached. He can do a lot of things in regular defense, sub defenses. He can rush the passer, play in coverage. He has a lot of different responsibilities. He kind of thrives when we're changing things up and he's doing different things and playing in different spots and we move him around. But we ask him to do that a lot because he does a good job of it.
Q: Did Tom Brady's surgery go well yesterday?
BB: We're not going to comment on that situation.
Q: Have you actually talked to him?
BB: We're just worried about the San Diego Chargers right now. That's what we're focused on.
Q: Would you talk about that going forward? Both Matt Cassel and Kevin O'Connell have said that Tom's been around in and he's been helpful to them. Do you anticipate that happening going forward?
BB: As I said before, his first responsibility is to do what he needs to do and then we'll take it from there.
Q: Brandon Meriweather has said that he worked at lot on his hands over the offseason. Are you starting to see that work pay off now in the regular-season?
BB: Yeah, he's made a lot more catches in practice and he's had some picks now in games - in the preseason and regular-season. That's good. I'm glad to see it paying off. His interception against the Jets, that was a big play. Then, just sticking with it there on the tip play in San Francisco, that was a big turnover for us after they had just taken one from us. He has worked hard on it; I'm glad that it has paid off in some production.
Q: There were a couple of things that you said you wanted to work on during the bye week - the red area and third-down defense - and it looked like those were improved. Was it just execution or were there some adjustments made? Was there any particular reason it seemed better?
BB: No, you just give the players credit. They executed well in those situations. Defensively, it wasn't very good in the red area, but we've been improving on that. Offensively, it's good to get the ball in the end zone. I wish we could've done it a couple of more times. Third-down was good and that certainly helped us with field position and time of possession and, ultimately, scoring opportunities. That was good.
Q: Any reaction to Commissioner Goodell warning the Raiders...
BB: No, we're worried about the Chargers.
Q: Any thoughts on the facilities here at San Jose State?
BB: Good. We haven't been through there yet, just a walkthrough on Saturday, but it's good. We set it up and we thought that it would be good. There's a good set up and they run a good program here and we appreciate the opportunity to use the facility. Dick Tomey's been great in terms of his cooperation and making things work for us. At the same time, we're trying not to infringe on a very important part of their schedule. We don't want to do that, but they've been very accommodating.
Q: Have the Patriots done something like this before with an extended amount of time out on the West Coast like this?
BB: Not during the regular-season.
Q: Even though he came in at the end of training camp, is it clear to see that Deltha O'Neal was going to be successful here?
BB: Yes, Deltha's a smart guy. He's got a lot of experience. He's worked hard. He's picked up our system. I obviously wish that he would've been there through training camp to get all of the little things, but he's certainly worked hard to accelerate the learning and the communication, the adjustments, and all those kinds of things that we have to do defensively in the secondary. He's got a good work ethic. He's an experienced player. He understands concepts and he's an instinctive player. He's put it together pretty quickly. It's been really impressive really.
Q: Have you and the team explored much of the area, or are you just focused on football?
BB: I'll just speak for myself on that one. We spent a lot of time just trying to do the regular things Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and getting ready for the Chargers. So that's what we're doing. It's football season.
Q: We heard a couple of your players were spotted at Alcatraz yesterday.
BB: Hopefully, they were in civilian clothes. That's quite a spot out there. I guess at least if you're going to be in prison, you get a good view. It's scenic.