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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Apr 23 - 02:00 PM | Wed Apr 24 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

Bill Belichick held his press conference on Tuesday after the NFL took a long weekend off to reflect on the previous week's tragedies in New York and Washington DC.



             **BB:** We took a little break over the weekend as we talked about on Thursday. Coaches came in and did the film on the Jets and put together the game plan on Sunday. We brought the players in yesterday for a kind of light workout to get them some running and break a sweat and see how everybody is doing physically. We just spent a little bit of time on the Jets yesterday, but today is really our first real day on them, so that is where we are at today. I think that injury wise, based on yesterday, I think everybody today has a chance to go out there and we will see what they can do. I am not sure whether everybody will be full strength or not, but I think that there is at least a chance to see where we are on everybody. We have made a lot of progress in the last few days getting over some bumps and bruises. I am not sure that we are 100 percent there yet, but I think we are making some progress. I think basically as much as anything that yesterday was kind of a transition day for us and today we are back to work like we would be on a normal Wednesday. We have got three division games in a row coming up here and the Jets are a team that we are pretty familiar with from several different aspects, but one of the main one's being that they haven't made a lot of changes in some aspects of their game. Offensively I think they have 10 or 11 starters back from last year. They have a lot of the same key players defensively. They look pretty familiar in the secondary and at linebacker other then the addition of Damien Robinson and so a lot of those personnel matchups will be the same. They have a change in their returner with [Chad] Morton instead of [Dedric] Ward, but otherwise there are a number of the special teams players that are still key players there. The specialists, the punter, the kicker, some of their key cover guys like Chris Hayes and guys like that. That is pretty much where we are at today. I think that the players all understand where we are at this point in the season in terms of, it is only the second regular season game, but it is a division game and there are other division games right behind it and it is a key point in the AFC East. There are some other division matchups going on this week and next week and the next couple of weeks so I think it is important for us and all of the teams in the division in those games to do well and try to establish something early and that is what we want to try to do.  

Q: How have the Jets changed on the defensive front?
BB: Last year they were a three man front this year it is a four man front. They have been playing [John] Abraham and [Rick] Lyle at end and [Shaun] Ellis and [Steve] Martin inside, rotating a couple of other people in there, [Shane] Burton. They picked up [Tom] Barndt, signed him last week so it sounds like he may factor in there too.

Q: What would you say was the difference between the two clubs last year, they were able to win both games?
BB: In the first game we had pretty good control of the game for three and a half quarters. Vinny [Testaverde] made some big plays, they had a couple of real good drives, [Wayne] Chrebet made some big catches, they had a couple of big defensive stops and got the ball back in the fourth quarter and scored two touchdowns there at the end. The second game we had a couple of turnovers early, the Jets had a couple of big plays and they got ahead early and that was the way it stayed for the next three quarters.

Q: Is [Shaun] Ellis that much more effective at end than tackle?
BB: Last year he played end in a 3-4 defense so basically he played head up on the offensive tackle. He played what we call a four technique, head up on the tackle. This year to this point he has been playing inside, he has been playing on the guards shoulder, three technique. The position really that [Warren] Sapp plays for Tampa in Tampa's defense. Then in some sub situations last year he usually played inside which is where he has played this year as well.

Q: Is it possibility he could come back and play outside?
BB: I think that is a possibility. That sounds like it is a possibility.

Q: Your knowledge of their personnel is that a significant advantage or is that something that is overrated?
BB: I think it is always good to know your opponent, but I think that those teams know each other pretty well with or without me. The Jets and Patriots have played each other twice a year for quite awhile. There have been a number of exchanges of players in between the two organizations so a lot of information gets transferred there. I think both teams know each other personnel-wise probably as well as any other two teams in the league. I think it goes both ways. There are plenty of people down there that have been here and vice versa.

Q: How much does Herman Edwards change the equation?
BB Defensively it is a totally different scheme from what they played last year. Edwards certainly has a lot of influence with some of the principles that he brings from when he was at Tampa and Ted Cottrell does the same thing with what he brings from what he did at Buffalo and they have married them together and you can see elements of both.

Q: Are you concerned about the psychological after effects of what has gone on and how do you convince players that they have to return to work and try to focus on playing this weekend?
BB: I think the best way I can put it is just from the personal experience I had going through the '90 season with the Gulf War and the Super Bowl and all that. I am not saying it is the same, but there are similarities. There were national concerns, there were concerns about crowds at games, certainly there was concern at the Super Bowl. I've had experience with that. It's like anything else, it's there, you are aware of it, but your more aware of what the job is at hand and what you can actually control and do something about it. You have to have confidence in everybody else that they are taking care of their end of it, the security and the logistics of the event or the game or whatever it happens to be.

Q: You talked about the stretch of division games, with the change in schedule how much more important does that make those games?
BB: I haven't seen anything official on the way the schedule is going to be changed. I've heard a couple different versions of it, but whatever it is the division games are always important. We have three of them coming up and we have a big one this week at home so they're always going to be important. I don't know if it is more important, but it is still pretty high on the priority list either way.

Q: How successful have the Jets been with 3-4 scheme, is it similar to Tampa or Buffalo, more of one than the other?
BB: I think there are elements of both it would be hard for me to put a percentage on one or the other. It might look a little bit more like Tampa on first and second down and look a little bit more like Buffalo on third down, but I think there are definitely elements of both in there. They have played one regular season game so I think it is hard to evaluate it.

Q: When you watched the film of the Jets game against the Colts what were you impressions of the Jets?
BB: The Colts are a pretty good offensive team. The Colts scored seven points on a long punt return, an 80-yard punt return or something like that so that was a factor. The Colts scored on a short yardage play, I think it was a fourth and one. They split the defense and went about 30 yards on that one. They scored after the Jets had intercepted and ran the ball out to about the 20 and fumbled it back to them so they started their drive there pretty close to the goal line. They scored at the end of the half on a two-minute drive so, the Colts are a good offensive team. They had some opportunities. They put some points on the board. Overall the Jets defensively, in all of the preseason games, they have a good group of linebackers, the secondary is the same as it has been with the addition of Damien Robinson. So I think they are a little better at the free safety position. They have gone from a three man line to a four man line. [John] Abraham is a good pass rusher. They have got [Shaun]Ellis and Rick Lyle. They picked up a couple of guys in [Tom] Barndt and [Steve] Martin that are good, solid players so I think defensively they have a pretty experienced club. They are not starting a lot of rookies or inexperienced guys there. The same thing on offense, they have ten of their eleven starters back. [Laveranues] Coles starts for [Dedric] Ward, that is the only change from last year when we played them. Coles is in his second year. The same punter, the same kicker, they have added [Chad] Morton as their returner. Very similar team personnel-wise to what we saw last year other than a couple of changes on the defensive line.

Q: [John] Abraham looked like, before he got hurt last year, like he was really going to be something in league, does he appear to be affected at all by the injury?
BB: No he does not seem to be affected by the injury. He is a good up field pass rusher. He has got real good speed. Gets off on the ball quickly. He can get up the field and he does it on a consistent basis on all downs. I think that in that scheme that they ask him to do that a lot and he does it well. So I think that plays into one of his strengths and he is called on to do that pretty frequently. So that's a good fit there. But I don't see any effects from his injury. He can rush.

Q: Do you feel restricted in ability to open the offense up because you are having a problem running the ball?
BB: I think anytime you can run it you have a more balanced attack and it is easier to run and throw. The bottom-line is you need that balance on your offense. Sometimes you pass it to open up opportunities to run it. Sometimes you run it to open up opportunities to pass it, but either way you are going to have to have balance on your offense and we need to have that balance.

Q: How much does that effect your game planning?
BB: I think you try to go into the game with balance in your attack. I think you try to achieve that. I don't think we have ever gone into a game saying we are not going to be able to do this or we are not going to be able to do that. I mean there maybe some plays that look better than others, but if they are taking them away then there ought to be some other point in the defense where there are less people, where there is more space or you have bad blocking angles or whatever the case is. I think that each week you look for those opportunities and you try to take advantage of them. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. Sometimes they change their things too. It is not like they always sit in the same defense so sometimes they mix it up. Sometimes you catch them. Sometimes they catch you.

Q: After all that has happened do you think these games will serve as a relief?
BB: I don't know.

Q: What's the players' mood, have you addressed it?
BB: Yes we addressed. We talked about it last week. I talked about it yesterday. I think what we are trying to do now though is to move on. We are respectful of what's happened, we have talked about how to try to assist some of the people who are in need and what we can do, but beyond that I think we have to refocus on what our job is and what our situation is and that is not to be insensitive to what is going on at all. I think that we have responded to that and we will respond to that in terms of a commitment by the team to some of the people who can use assistance and we tried to respond to it on a family basis or close friends or that type of thing. I think we all recognize that life is going on and we need to go on too. Baseball started last night. Some of the other events are coming back. I think everybody is kind of going through the same, people are going back to work. The stock market opened yesterday, I mean all of those kinds of things are resuming to normalcy even though it is not completely normal. I think the whole country is in that kind of a state and I think we are included in it.

Q: People haven't asked plumbers and electricians how they feel about returning to work do you think there is too much emphasis on athletes going back to work, what there responsibility is?
BB: It looked like there were plenty of people asking people in the stock market yesterday how they felt about going back to work and how they felt about trading stocks. I don't know. It is not my job to ask the questions.

Q: What is the team doing specifically to aid in the relief effort?
BB: We are going to donate to a fund.

Q: Will the players have to go through any unusual security measures, bags searched, etc?
BB: None that I am aware of. We kind of planned to talk about some things at the end of the week. If there is anything that effects the players or talk about any situations that might come up. At this point really my emphasis and focus is on the Jets. Our security people and the people who handle the event are handling the event, but as it relates to the team and the players we do plan to talk about that later on in the week and if there are any instructions we get from them we will talk about it at that time. I think that may be in the formulative stages, but not anything that I am directly involved in at this point.

Q: Could you tell me based on preseason action how comfortable Vinny Testaverde seems to be in the Jets offense?
BB: I think Vinny did some good things last week. I think a lot of things on the offense are similar things to what they have done in the past. Vinny has been through some offensive systems, he has a lot of experience, he has seen probably all of the defensive looks you could give a quarterback at one point or another. Just knowing Vinny I doubt that there is too much there that he hasn't seen or done before and if he isn't comfortable with it I am sure they would probably change it to doing something that he is comfortable with. Anytime you have a quarterback you never want the quarterback going out on the field saying, 'Well I don't want to run this play' it is just easier to call something that he feels more confident in. There are enough plays to do that with. Vinny is a good quarterback.

Q: A guy with his years of experience, I assume you wouldn't really questions his opinions?
BB: I can't speak for how he is being coached down there, I don't know. I just know from my experience with Vinny, Vinny is a pretty smart guy, he is a smart quarterback, he has a lot of experience and when he brings something up it isn't something that he has seen before and he doesn't know how it works he has already experienced it in one way or another and would say, 'This is where I see a problem with this' and you can usually relate to it because he has a good point. Even though you are trying to accomplish something sometimes it is more of a problem for the quarterback and that is true of any quarterback. Where they can look at it and say, 'I am just a little bit concerned about this situation I understand what the play is designed for, but here is my concern about it.' When a quarterback says that to the coach then you take that into account and either don't run it or try to tell him what you are looking for and why you don't see it's a problem or just move on to something else.

Q: When you signed Curtis Martin in New York while you were there, how big of a coop did you feel that was?
BB: I wasn't directly involved in that negotiation. I was just on the staff like everything else.

Q: Team-wise?
BB: Team-wise Curtis is a strong team player. He is an excellent all-around player. He's a great runner. He catches the ball well. He's tough. He's dependable. He doesn't make many mistakes. He doesn't fumble. He has all of the qualities that you are looking for in a running back. He is a versatile player that is very dependable and very productive. I was with him one year here and he had a terrific year and he came down there in '98 and had a real good year in '98 too. I don't think there is any doubt about Curtis' football ability, his personal character, his dedication, his commitment, his toughness. I don't see how you could question any of those things about Curtis. He is a real warrior.

Q: How did [Roman] Phifer and [Greg] Robinson Randall get back?
BB: One flew and one bused.

Q: Did Phifer fly?
BB: Most of the way, yes

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