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Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talks to the media about their upcoming game against the Falcons on Sunday.To read a full transcript, click below.



BB: So what have we got today? What do you guys want to talk about? Do you want me to ask the questions?

Q: What are your thoughts on the fine to Dan Neil?

BB: I didn't see it.

Q: They fined him $15,000.

BB: That's news to me.

Q: Did you think that the block warranted discipline?

BB: I thought it was a clip. Yeah, I thought it was a clip. My thoughts on the fine… I don't know, it's… I'm sure the NFL sees 100 plays a week. Is this play a fine? Is that play a fine? Is this play worse than that play? Is that play worse than this play? I can't really compare one play to another. I thought it was a clip.

Q: Does Dante [Scarnecchia] teach cut-blocking on the offensive line like Denver does?

BB: Well, sure. There are certain plays that you need to cut-block on and I think you need to cut-block on. Most teams do it and there's a reason for it. Sometimes you cut on the back side. Any time you get into a situation on the offensive line where the defender is penetrating so hard in the gap that you can't get him, you really only have two choices. You can either cut him or you can let him run through the gap. That's what it comes down to. Now if he's not penetrating that hard, then you have an option as to whether you want to try to block him high or whether you want to try to get into his legs. There's a place for both on that. Any time you're throwing the ball outside, or even on slant routes or that kind of thing, if you do it on a short drop, a three-step drop, then there's the potential for that end to be standing right there where the quarterback's trying to throw the ball, so those are the kind of plays where you usually try to cut the end so that there's a throwing lane for the ball to get through. You'll at least get his hands down. Whether you get him on the ground or not, at least you get his hands down so he can't stand there and block the ball. We see that, I mean everybody does that.

Q: It's a factor for you because you have defensive lines that will play head up with the offensive lines most of the time.

BB: Right, that's true, so it's not as necessary to cut as other teams that have real penetrating lines. But, when you're blitzing and that kind of thing and a guy's running through, that's just the way they do it. For them it doesn't matter what kind of defense you are. I'm just saying that it's hard if I'm trying to block a guy this way and he's going in this gap and he's firing the gap hard and I can't get over there in front of him, the only way I can really block him would be to cut him. But you're right, that's not especially true the way we play, but Denver does it that way against everybody.

Q: But do you find that maybe the rules aren't being enforced in terms of a guy not getting his head in front when trying to block?

BB: But that's not the rule. You don't have to get in front if you're in the legal clipping zone. It's only if you're outside the legal clipping zone.

Q: But they changed the rule to say that you had to get your hat in front.

BB: Not in the legal clipping zone.

Q: So you can clip from behind?

BB: If you're close enough to the defender. The tackle can't come down and clip the nose guard, but the tackle can come down and cut the guy between the guard and the tackle.

Q: From behind?

BB: Yeah, it's legal if it's in the tackle box, that's the legal clipping zone. But what you can't do is you can't roll him up. You can't roll up the back of his legs and you can't dive into the back of his legs. You've got to try to hit him from the side and… you know how it is in the league. But the league's right up front about it. On the back side plays, there's nobody to make that call. The umpire can't make it because he's looking front side and everybody else has something else to do. So the only way they can do it is to come back on the film and look at it and then fine them, but it's not going to be a penalty in the game even if happens. And they're right up front about that, they say that from day one. They say, 'Look, we can't tell the umpire on the play that's running over here to look back here and see what's going on.' He's got to stay on the ball side, so…

Q: So teams can cheat.

BB: Yeah, you can get away with it during the game, but they're going to fine you for it when they look at the films on Monday. And they've been up front on that from day one as far as how they handle those back side blocks.

Q: Is Terrell Buckley a receiver now?

BB: No. He's a defensive back, punt returner. I mean, he has good hands and we can throw him the ball, but he's… He ran some routes as a receiver in practice for the scout team. We have a couple of receivers that are banged up. So he's gone out there and run a few routes.

Q: A couple?

BB: I haven't been keeping count, but enough to make a good impression.

Q: So no Ty Law? He's lobbied for it before.

BB: No, Ty's trying to concentrate on corner.

Q: Is Jermaine Wiggins over his weight?

BB: No, I don't think so. If he's been over, it's insignificant. I can't remember and I don't want to say he has. If he has, it hasn't been by much.

Q: It's just his body, he seems big. Is that just his body type?

BB: He looks like he's overweight. Yeah, he does. He doesn't carry it well, and I can relate to that too.

Q: Do you think he would be better off at a lower weight?

BB: He actually is at a lower weight than he was last year. Do I think he would be better at a lower weight? I don't know. I think his weight's okay. I think it's okay. He might be a little faster at a lower weight, it might help him a little bit, but when you get them too small and too light at tight end, and they have to block the linebackers and block those defensive ends, which is happening more and more now, more teams are playing a defensive end on the tight ends. You're robbing Peter to pay Paul, so…

Q: How's the weight issue overall? Last year you had a problem.

BB: Yeah, last year it was terrible. This year it's been better, not perfect, but it's been much, much, much better. We got off to a lot better start in training camp. We didn't have a lot of the excessive weight that we had last year in camp and it's been better through the course of the year. There's always that period at the beginning of the year when you go from two-a-days to one-a-days and making the adjustment from really practicing eight or 10 times a week in training camp counting double sessions, to really two-and-a-half times during the regular season. Just Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday's a pretty light day. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, there's almost no practice on those days. You're just down to a lot less on the field calorie burning but you've got the bumps and bruises and the soreness from the games. So it's something they have to make an adjustment to and spend a little more time on watching their diet and burning more calories on the treadmill, the stair-stepper, that kind of thing. A lot of guys get on the stair-stepper to burn calories.

Q: With [Willie] McGinest back, are you more likely to go back to a 4-3 look?

BB: I think at this point, we are pretty much what we are. Willie was productive last week and I think Willie can be productive with what we're doing, but we started the season and Willie missed the first two preseason games, he missed the first couple of weeks of camp, he really missed about a month of camp total. We just had to go and put in what we had in and then he's been on and off a little bit since then. I just think at this point, it would be too hard to try to reconfigure things dramatically defensively. But I think that what we do have, certainly we can plug him into and it's a big plus to have him and he can be productive in it and that's basically what we're going to do. When we've got him, we can certainly use him and it gives us an explosive player that can give us a little more juice in the pass rush and run some people down in pursuit and that kind of thing. And we'll just plug him in there in our normal system rather than try to redesign things at this point.

Q: So he came out of the game fine?

BB: Yeah, it's the most he's played all year, but I think that he's had another solid week of practice and should be okay.

Q: And [Richard] Seymour looks okay?

BB: Well, Seymour's better. I think he's better. He's unlike Willie, because he hasn't played in a couple of weeks, but he did a lot more in practice this week than he did last week and he did a lot more last week than he had done the week before, so I think he's headed in the right direction. Provided we get through today without any problems, I think he'll be able to play in the game. I'm not sure how long or what the duration will be, but I think he'll definitely be active and be ready to contribute.

Q: How about Matt Light?

BB: Light didn't do much yesterday, he didn't do anything on Wednesday, I'd say he'd need for things to turn around pretty quickly for him. I think he's definitely feeling better than he did earlier in the week, but he'd need to make a real quick recovery here.

Q: Did you watch the baseball game?

BB: You know, I just saw the highlights on it. Two great games, huh? It doesn't matter whether those guys are 0-for-20, they step up and get a hit when they need a hit.

Q: Do you have a Yankee hat down in the office?

BB: No, I don't own one. I'd tell you if I was a big Yankee fan. I grew up in Annapolis, so I like the Orioles and it's hard to like the Yankees and the Orioles. When I was with the Colts, Earl Weaver's office was my office. We kind of had the baseball locker room. It wasn't that nice, but it was sort of fun sitting in there when you're 22 years old in Earl Weaver's office. You could see the marks on the wall where the chairs had gone into it. He was quite a character.

Q: Does Atlanta's quarterback seem old?

BB: He's been around for a while, but he's not slow. He's a good athlete.

Q: Can you find a way to block [Keith] Brooking?

BB: Brooking, yep… he's their leading tackler on defense, isn't he. He's almost got twice as many tackles as anybody else.

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