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Replay: Patriots Radio Tue Jan 31 - 02:00 PM | Thu Feb 02 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

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



BB: Good morning. We're going to downgrade [Terry] Glenn to doubtful. And add [Adrian] Klemm to the injury report, too. His leg tightened up on him a little bit yesterday. Being that it's Friday and we're leaving tomorrow, I don't think he has much chance of making it, so I don't think it's anything serious, but I do think it's serious enough so that he won't be able to play in this game. That's why he's on there. Those are my updates for you.

Q: When you look at the Denver offense, is there one thing you can focus on, or is it too multi-talented to just focus on one thing?

BB: Yes, there are a lot of things that you have to worry about. First of all, they're very well coached, and they're very well balanced. Mike [Shanahan] has always done a real good job of balancing the running game and the passing game. So as much as they run what we call the stretch play, the off-tackle play to whoever the back is, they run boots that complement that play, so when the defense tries to overplay that stretch play, which is their core, their number one running play, off the same look they bootleg off it to keep you honest. For all the times that they run the ball, with [Mike] Anderson or [Olandis] Garry or Terrell Davis, they play action and they throw to Rod Smith or [Eddie] Kennison or use the tight ends. And they do it off the same kind of looks to keep you honest. So when you see a formation, you can't look at it and say, 'Oh, here they come.' They're just as likely to run as they are to pass out of those formations. They do a very good job of balancing it up. You can't play them that way. You just can't play them that way, 'Okay, it's going to be this, we're going to load up and stop that.' They're balanced. Really the best thing you can do is once they show you one thing, it's kind of like playing against [Tom] Landry and the Cowboys, once they do one thing, probably the best thing you can do would be to run to the opposite extreme on the next play and you'd probably have just as much chance of being right. That's the way it was with Coach Landry in Dallas. They hurt you with a running play and then the next play there would be no chance you would get that running play again. It would be a screen or a play action off the same play. It was hard to convince the players of that, but there's just no way he would ever repeat a successful play. He would move on to the next play and you'd have to move along with him no matter how bad that last one hurt you, you wouldn't be seeing that again.

Q: In terms of defense, are they similar to San Diego in terms of strengths and weaknesses?

BB: From a personnel standpoint?

Q: That they're very difficult to run against but they have problems with the pass, that kind of thing.

BB: I think that's a good comparison. I think that in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, even though the players are different, they are similar to San Diego. They have a good front seven. I think the difference between their front seven and San Diego's front seven is that Denver's linebackers are probably a little bit smaller and they're more athletic, whereas San Diego had [Gerald] Dickson and [Junior] Seau and the mike, [Orlando] Ruff, and they were physical linebackers who were pretty athletic, but they were 260, 265, whatever they weigh, they were big guys. This group of players with [Bill] Romanowski, and [Al] Wilson and [John] Mobley, they're not as big as the San Diego linebackers, but they're probably a little more athletic. They're in coverage a little bit more. Both groups are good, both groups have a real good front four, and the secondary, I think the corners for Denver are good. Of course [Deltha] O'Neal had a big game against Kansas City, but he's a good young player and a good returner as well. Denard Walker is a big corner, a 6-1 guy, the kid they got from Tennessee, and Eric Davis is a very experienced player, then they have [Jimmy] Spencer and their number one pick, [Willie] Middlebrooks, who really hasn't played much. [San Diego has] a lot of depth at corner and then they have a couple of big hitting safeties like Denver does, [San Diego] had [Rodney] Harrison, and [Denver has] Kenoy Kennedy, a big hitter kind of different from Harrison but the same kind of player. Their scheme is a little different, and personnel-wise there are a lot of similarities. It's a good comparison.

Q: Do you have to do the same thing against them? Because they're so good against the run you have to open things up?

BB: Well we might. Again, I think the best offense you can have is a balanced offense where you can run and throw. If you can only do one thing… I think if we go out to Denver and have to throw it 55 times, that's probably not the best place for us to be. It's one thing to have to throw it 55 times at home, but it's another thing to have to throw it 55 times on the road and that kind of was the Miami scenario, the crowd noise, the pass protection on the road, the stunting, the blitzing, it's asking a lot. If that's what we have to do, we'll do it, but I hope it doesn't come to that.

Q: What did you think of Bill Romanowski's comments last week that trick plays are a sign of weakness?

BB: I didn't see them. I didn't see the comments, so… Romanowski's been around a long time and he's a real experienced player. I had him at the Pro Bowl after the '98 season and I think he's a guy that likes football, plays hard, is well prepared and I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. If that's the way he feels about it… You can put that right down there with his comments on a lot of other subjects that he's been widely quoted on.

Q: Is [Richard] Seymour going to make the trip?

BB: No, I don't know that. I don't know that. He did the practice yesterday, took more plays yesterday than he did on Wednesday. We'll see how he is today. I think it's probably 50-50, right on the edge.

Q: Did Glenn re-injure himself or is it staying the same?

BB: No, I actually think it's getting worse. When I talked to Terry, he has done less and he feels like he can do less than he could a week ago. Even though he really hasn't done anything except get treatment in the last week, he's telling me that it's worse and he feels like he can do less than he could before we went to Indianapolis, so that's why he's downgraded.

Q: How is that physically possible?

BB: I'm not really sure. I can't answer that question.

Q: Are you buying it?

BB: I'm a little confused by it, but if that's what it is, then I guess that's what it is. It's not my leg. I can't speak for…

Q: Is there any way of measuring it? Is there any device that can see how it's healing?

BB: Look, I'm just telling you what's been expressed to me. I don't think there's a way you could scientifically make an absolute judgement on this one.

Q: So the doctors haven't said anything either way?

BB: A lot of it's based on what his response is.

Q: He's been getting treatment?

BB: He's been getting treatment since last Thursday. We went out and we ran before the Indianapolis game, it looked like there was a good to reasonable chance that he would play in that game. Sunday he didn't feel like he was able to, and now we're at Friday of the following week and it sounds like it's a lot worse than it was last Saturday. I don't have an explanation for that.

Q: Is Rod [Rutledge] still questionable?

BB: Rod's been limited in practice, but he has practiced. I think that he's questionable from the standpoint that hopefully he'll turn the corner here as we get to the weekend, but until he actually turns it, I think I've got to keep him as questionable. A little bit of that's in anticipation that since he is getting better and has shown improvement on a daily basis, I would expect that it would continue to improve. In not every case does that happen, you just measure it a little bit with the 'questionable.'

Q: How would that effect the game plan with only one available tight end?

BB: Well, it knocks us out of two tight ends.

Q: Do you have a guy you could use as a second tight end?

BB: We'd have to use one of our linemen or… if it was a goal line situation or something like that we'd have to use one of our linemen there, or we would be in some kind of multiple receiver set.

Q: Would you use [Bryan] Cox?

BB: And Cox, sure. I think that there at least a 50-50 chance [that Rutledge's injury] may be getting better as we get closer to game time. We're still making progress, we've still got 48 hours until the game, and I think Rod is doing better. He's definitely doing better than he was on Tuesday. I think that there's a pretty good chance we'll have him. If something happens today at practice then that would obviously throw a wrench into it.

Q: How about the altitude? You guys didn't have a problem throwing with it last year.

BB: Nope. When I was in Denver, our attitude on it as a team was… Look, that was my fourth year in the league and I was breaking down films, it's not like I was widely quoted, but the overall attitude of the team was to talk about it, to get other people thinking about it coming in there. I personally didn't notice it and I don't think our players really believed it. We talked about it a lot to get everybody else to come in and think about it. I think that back in the days… there aren't a lot of these any more, but back when I first came into the league, teams like Minnesota and Green Bay and the outdoor teams up there would talk about the cold and how cold it was and all that and again, it's the same temperature for both teams. It's the same altitude for both teams. I think that sometimes the teams coming in worry more about the cold or more about the altitude or about the humidity in Tampa. So when you're in those situations, you want to play it up and talk about it and say, 'Oh, we've got a big advantage,' so that psychologically the people coming in think, 'Gee, this is a big hurdle we've got to overcome.' But, like you said, it was no factor in last year's game, at least I didn't think it was. I don't think it will be a big factor in this year's game either. But I think when you're in one of those environments that there isn't anything wrong with saying, 'It's a big advantage for us and we think it gives us the edge,' and all this and that. If somebody else believes it, you gain an advantage. If they don't, you've lost it.

Q: But does it test conditioning? Just walking around out there I get breathless at times.

BB: Well, just speaking from personal experience, we've gone out there and I was with the Giants, the Jets, I coached out there, I've gone out there with the Patriots. When we've gone out there and played well and caught the ball and ran hard and tackled well and rushed the passer well, we've done a lot better then when we've gone out there and fumbled the ball, missed tackles, give up plays in the deep part of the field in pass coverage and that kind of thing. That was just the way it was. I don't think it really has a dramatic effect. When I was out there, I personally noticed a big difference between 5,000 feet and 9,000 or 10,000 feet. When you get up in the mountains and you get up to 10,000, 12,000, 14,000 feet, I think that's a whole different story. 5,000 feet, I don't know, maybe they could find something, but… When Denver has a good football team, which they have had quite a few of, they seem to play well at 5,000 feet, 1,000 feet, sea level. I think teams that are good football teams, they'll play well at 5,000 feet or sea level too.

Q: Is there a difference in Invesco Field as opposed to Mile High Stadium in terms of noise factor and that kind of thing?

BB: I've talked to two people who have played there and I asked them, 'Is there anything special about this field that I should be aware of?' And nobody mentioned anything. It's tough playing on the road, you've got the crowd noise you've got the same Bronco-mania out there that you had across the street at Mile High, but nothing special that was a particular problem for either one of those teams, at least they didn't feel like there was.

Q: So it's not noisier?

BB: It sounds like it's about the same. Mile High was pretty noisy because of those bench seats and they would bang on them and again, when I was out there I can remember sitting up in the press box at Mile High wondering if we were okay, but it was an earthquake. It really was. The stadium just reverberated and plus those far stands, which were on the water so they kind of floated them in and out or however that system worked, that seemed to be even more of a vibration over on those stands. As loud as Mile High was, I can't imagine Invesco being any louder. We played in the noise out there yesterday and I think all of us had headaches or ringing in our ears after practice and I can't imagine it being any louder than that stuff we had playing out there yesterday. It was 9:00 last night before I could carry on a normal conversation with anybody.

Q: Was it Bon Jovi?

BB: No. It was just crowd noise.

Q: How about the new field? Mile High had one of the worst grass fields around, didn't it?

BB: I don't know about that.

Q: Wasn't it that the city maintained it?

BB: Yeah, last year was about the worst it had been because maybe they let it go or whatever the circumstances were, but I thought that other than that, it was a pretty good field. But last year it slipped a little bit. I haven't heard any complaints about the Invesco turf.

Q: Will Drew Bledsoe be in uniform Sunday?

BB: I think that there's a pretty good chance that he will be. The plan was to go through the week and see what he could do and see how all that went and then review it one more time before the game and make sure that everybody had signed off on it. So, since that hasn't been done yet, I just have a little hesitation in saying that it's… We haven't crossed that bridge yet, but I think that there's a good possibility that that will be the case.

Q: What's the dilemma? Even if he was the third quarterback, would he play in the game?

BB: I think that even if he were the third quarterback, his ability to play would be pretty restricted. The way the rule reads, there's no disadvantage to having a third quarterback, there's none. We could make anybody the third quarterback. If we want to use him, we use him, if we don't want to use him, there's nothing to be lost by doing it. Maybe you get into a situation in the fourth quarter where you need a guy to go in and hand the ball off on a play because a guy's got an equipment problem or something. Maybe he could go in there and hand the ball off on a running play or throw a slant pass, something that you could feel good about calling. To go in there and play him for a quarter, no I don't see that at all. For him to go in there and hand off on a play, that hasn't been totally cleared yet, but I think that will be cleared before he would go in there and play for an extended period. It would definitely be restricted, even if he was the third quarterback. I think that in the whole process, not just psychologically, but even physically, the whole process of, you're out for a while, you come back, then you do some light things in practice, then you do a little bit more, then you dress for the game, then you go through pre-game warm-ups, then it just builds to whenever you're ready to play. It's hard to go from zero to active, playing and doing everything. Sometimes it happens, but the gradual buildup is a good part of the process. You can check all of those points along the way to see if there are any things that pop up that you have to address before you get to the final step.

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