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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

To listen to the press conference click on the play button to the left.



            To listen to the press conference click on the play button to the right.  

BB: As we kind of wind down the week of preparation one of things that I really tried to emphasize to the team this morning is the importance of situational play in the opening game. I'm sure when we see the highlights on Sunday night or Monday from the games there will be some unusual plays on opening week. It seems like there always are. Some situations will come up that it's really hard to plan for. So I showed the team a few plays today and I will show them a few tomorrow. Just unusual plays, things like onside kicks, safeties, fumble returns and what have you. Who knows, but things like that that can come up opening day particularly in the kicking game can really be important. We just try to cover a lot of those things in our meetings and also in practice here the last couple of days. Different squib kicks and all those type of things, guys jumping in the neutral zone and so forth so that we can really try to zero in on some of the game type situations that even though they come up in preseason it seems like they come up a lot more in the regular season when a) there's a lot more on the line and b) other teams are trying to sometimes bait you into those kind of mistakes. They're just a little more likely to come up. We are finishing up the kind of review here on the preparations the last two days in addition to that situational stuff. So that's where we are at there.

We added Richard Seymour to the injury list. His leg tightened up on him a little bit here in practice yesterday. We'll see how that looks out there today. I imagine that will probably be a game time decision. I would probably say the same thing with Ted Johnson. Ted didn't do a lot of work yesterday, but he is getting better. He has been improving pretty quickly so I think that he will probably be more of a decision on Sunday. The other three guys worked and they seem to be moving along okay.

I know there's a lot of interest about the Terry Glenn situation today. My main focus is our game in three days with Cincinnati. I knew when this action was taken back in training camp that there was a chance that there would be some type of challenge to it so if I'm called upon to take part in that I will, but that's really about all I have to say about it. I am going to put my focus and my time into getting ready for Cincinnati on Sunday and that's where most of it is.

Q: Are you supposed to take part in that today?

BB: If I am asked to I will.

Q: Is that here at the stadium?

BB: Well, whatever I am asked to do I believe is.

Q: Are you aware of any chronic hip thing that Ted Johnson had before the Tampa game?

BB: None that I am aware of, no.

Q: One of the things your team has to do to get better this year is win more on the road. That may be an easy thing to say, but how do you employ that?

BB: I think there are a couple of different elements involved. One of the first things that I think is important is the preparation and for everybody on the team to have a good attitude about going on the road. Basically what that comes down to is it's a business trip. We are not going to do anything other than to try to take care of business. So everything is geared towards that in terms of our travel, our arrangements at the hotel or at the city, at the stadium and so forth. Everything is focused with the idea of trying to make it as much like a regular home game as possible like we do similar things at home in terms of staying at the hotel and meals and so forth. I think one of the big differences is of course the crowd noise situation, the fact that when you play on the road you really have to generate your own energy and enthusiasm because you are not going to get it from the crowd or the speakers blasting music or anything like that, you generate it on your own. It forces your team to come together and to handle whatever difficult situations come up in the game. Which sooner or later it seems like they do in every game. You have to be able to handle that without really any support from anybody else. I think it takes good team unity and communication, even better communication anytime you have the ball for example on a punt team or on offense because of the crowd noise you have to be able to communicate and sometimes you can't do it as well verbally. So those are the points that we try to emphasize. There are some unique things about different stadiums whether it be the wind or the location of the 40 second clock, conditions like that, that vary from stadium-to-stadium. Those of us that are familiar with those stadiums try to point them out to the particular people involved.

Q: You have talked about it and players have talked about how the chemistry on this team is different this year, does that translate into having a better optimism on winning on the road?

BB: We will see. I think a good attitude and a positive attitude are important, but in the end winning on the road or winning at home comes down to the performance on the field. That's really what it's about so there are things that contribute to that and I don't mean to minimize them, but in the end their performance either good or bad is what's going to determine the outcome of the game regardless of where you play home, away or on a neutral field.

Q: Did you have any experiences last year that you look at and you will do differently this year?

BB: We've made a couple of minor adjustments from last year in terms of our travel just the overall procedure. I don't think it is really anything significant just a couple of things we tried to smooth out. Nick Carparelli handles that for us and I think that based on the two trips that we've had so far in training camp, which are usually a lot harder because you're more guys, you've got the night game and all of that it is a little bit different, I think that the logistics and all have gone very smoothly and that hasn't been a problem with either game. Last year we did have a couple that weren't the easiest things in the world to deal with.

Q: You'd agree though that to be a playoff team in the NFL you have to win on the road?

BB: Absolutely. I think the mark of a championship team is one that can win on the road. If you win the eight at home and lose the eight on the road I don't think, that won't be good very often so sooner or later you going to have to win on the road in order to accumulate enough wins to have a good team.

Q: Everybody knows that this is a dangerous sport, players get hurt, but given Ted Johnson's injury history do you think it was wise to use him at all on a non-defensive assignment?

BB: I don't think we can take insurance out on anybody. Guys that play football, play football and if you are out there running and hitting, you're out there running and hitting. The plays that Ted has been out on the field for are basically our defensive plays, punt return, field goal rush those plays a lot of players on the defensive team are involved and for good reason because they still have the football. Last year against Buffalo our starting nose tackle blocked two field goals, that helped us win the game. In those situations you play people that you feel confident in, that you need in those situations.

Q: But in an exhibition game when it is unimportant, wouldn't you have a different attitude then?

BB: Preseason is the time for the players to get ready play. That's what preseason is for. I think that all the players that can play in preseason for the most part do play in preseason. There are some guys that weren't able to participate in preseason on our team and I think they wish they could have and I think we wish they could have been. I think they needed the work and they needed the time with their teammates in game conditions at least for part of the time. So that's part of it.

Q: Can you comment on Tebucky [Jones], his reads and how he sees things down the field?

BB: I think Tebucky is ahead of where he was last year because he started this season at safety. Last year he started at corner in mini camp and then we moved him to safety in training camp so he had the whole 2000, from training camp on through the season under his belt as a safety. Then this year he started that process sooner and had a year of experience to build on. A big part of the safety's job is communication and making adjustments and I think that he's doing a good job at that. He is an aggressive player. He is a good, strong tackler when gets a chance to lay the wood to them. I think that it's important defensively to have physical people in the secondary that can control the middle of the field and the inside part of the defense so that the receivers aren't real excited about running in there and catching the ball. They have to think about who is going to hit them after they catch it. I think Tebucky and Matt [Stevens] and Lawyer [Milloy] all have given us elements of good solid contact for runners that might get through the line of scrimmage or for receivers coming over the middle.

Q: Have you ever sat down and just looked at the schedule and said we have to win that one, have you ever gone through week-by-week and tried to figure out in your own mind how you think you can realistically expect to do?

BB: I can honestly say that every game and that I've coached in the National Football League, regardless of what my position was on the team or what my responsibility was, every single game I've been in when we walked out on the field that day I thought we were going to win. I expected to win and I thought we were going to win. I have always felt that way and I think I will always continue to feel that way. Sometimes maybe you feel a little bit better than others, but in the end I've always felt that we would win somehow. That we would be able to put the right plays together and in some cases that we were the better team. That we would be able to put the right plays together and somehow manage the game in such a way that we would win it. I have never looked at a game and never gone into a game feeling that we can't win this game. I think that the time that I came closest to feeling that was during the strike season in '87 where we had a pretty bad team. We put guys out there, a couple of them that literally couldn't play for the Bad News Bears, but I still thought we had enough players even on that team that they would be able to make enough plays that we would be able to beat San Francisco or beat Buffalo or beat Washington as the case was during that year, but I think that is the closest I've ever felt that maybe won't get it done today.

Q: Do you get nervous anymore, especially on the opening game?

BB: I think everybody has a little butterfly on the first game. I really do just because it's different, there is just a different feeling. There is an excitement and enthusiasm in the air. Preseason games are good, they are important, you get a lot out of them, but they are just not the same. It is just a different level of game planning and intensity. There is something special about opening day, but once that ball is kicked off you are into the game then I have always felt like after about one play maybe two plays then everything just settles back in and it is like any other game, but I think the anticipation leading up to it, again because there is so much time and preparation. Not only this week from the Washington game to the Cincinnati game, but when the schedule comes out in the spring you start to do a little work on your early opponents. Then when you go to training camp you know who the first regular season game is with. You have a little bit more time to anticipate that one more than any other one. In some respects it is good and then in some respects you know a lot more about your opponent and there are a lot more things to worry about the more you know about them.

Q: Going in you said you expect to win every game, but the last time a team was undefeated was the '72 Dolphins, so do you just go in expecting things will happen, you think you will win every game but you won't?

BB: Well I think there's a difference in the question. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I think we are going to go 16-0, that is a lot to ask, but every week I believe we're going to win. I have always felt that way going into any one single game. Now have I ever said at the beginning of the season I think were going to be 16-0 or 19-0 whatever it is, that is a pretty tall order and your right there's only one team. I think that is a tough one to say, 'well yes I really feel that way', in all honesty I'd take 15-1.

Q: Another thing people say about playoff teams is looking at the schedule they have to beat the teams that they are better than, do coaches look at it that way?

BB: I think it depends on the particular situation you are in, but as an example when I was with the Giants defensively there were a number of games where we felt as a defensive staff that we were better then the team we were playing. We just had better players and that if we just played well they would have a hard time moving the ball on us consistently. A lot times when you play those kinds of teams, we played our base defense and kind of felt like that would be enough. Not that we couldn't do more, but we didn't want to give them an opportunity to hit us on something that wasn't really our base defense. There were games with the Giants where we played our 34 defense and played cover two over 50 times in the game, many cases. So everybody in the stadium knew what it was, my wife could have called defenses that day. We played cover two and we played it until the cows came home and that was just a philosophy. When John McKay was at Southern Cal, I remember this and he talked about it a lot, that they had three plays and that's all they needed, with the backs they were giving the ball to they had their student body play, they had their off tackle play and they had their spring draw play and that was it. Everybody knew what the plays were and everybody knew who was getting the ball. They won a lot of games doing it and they ran the ball better than anybody. I don't think it is always how much you do, but sometimes when you feel like you're overmatched, you just sit there and play one thing and they know where you are and they can tee off on you and take advantage of those mismatches I don't think that it's necessarily always the best thing to do. It was like when Chicago had the 46 defense and went to the Super Bowl and '85. That next year there were several teams in the league playing the 46 defense. Atlanta for one and I think they gave up 500 points. So sometimes when you feel like you have the advantage in personnel and you feel confident about your overall scheme you just go out there and play it and not try to get too fancy and feel like you have enough to just stay basic and do it. There are other games sometimes as a coach where you don't feel that way and you need some type of changeup or some type of compliment to try to create some mismatches because you just don't have them all the way across the board, just like on that Giant defense. We had Carl Banks and Lawrence Taylor playing outside linebacker, we had Pepper [Johnson] and Harry [Carson] playing inside, we had Jim Burt on the nose and Leonard Marshall and George Martin at end. I mean honestly there were plays where they didn't make one block among seven. I mean they would block all seven of them and not make any of them. When you are that solid on the front seven like we were with the Giants after awhile that effects your thinking. You don't need to blitz, you don't need an eighth guy down there, they couldn't block those seven. They probably couldn't have blocked six of them if we had taken one of them out.

Q: Is that a fun feeling to be able to yell across the line what you are doing and people still can't stop it?

BB: Sure it is a very confident feeling, in fact I had this conversation with Pepper [Johnson] several times when we were in New York. There was one game we went into, we went into the game with the idea of putting some people in front of me and I would give him my signals, the defensive signals. We were having a little trouble in that game and Pepper got upset because one time he looked over there and the screen was on him and he couldn't really see the signals so he said, 'Look just get all of those guys out of the way. We are going to play cover two. We don't care if they know the signal, just signal two. We know it's two, they know it's two each, I don't care if they know it is two they are not going to do anything about it. We are just going to get straightened out, we are going to play. We are not going to make any adjustments we're just going to play the way we know how to play'. Sometimes that works out, players are confident and again it was a real attitude thing with Pepper I remember on that particular day, 'We don't care if they know the signals tell them we are in two, we are going to be in two and we are going to stop them just call two'. So I started calling more two

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