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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Apr 16 - 12:00 AM | Sun Apr 18 - 11:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

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BB: We are going to upgrade Antwan Harris from questionable to probable and all of the other guys that are questionable, doubtful or out either did very little or nothing at all yesterday so the injury report, other than Antwan will stay like it is. We signed Fred Coleman. Fred is a receiver that has been with a couple of teams, has been in the league a little bit. He hasn't had a lot of playing time, a young receiver that has good size, good speed. He has played in the kicking game and some preseason and practice squad situations. So that fills up the 53rd spot on the roster. I am not sure that it will stay that way toward game time, we will just have to see where things are at that point, but I felt like it would be good for us to start working with at least somebody that can give us a little depth at that position. Frankly, there is a little bit more out there in terms of receivers then there are offensive tackles or offensive linemen at this point in the season. I am not guaranteeing that's the way it is going to be on Sunday, but that is the way we are for now. Yesterday we had a good situation come up for our team yesterday in practice. It was, as you saw, it was a pretty windy day so we got quite a bit of work on both offensively, defensively and in the kicking game with the wind conditions. We flipped things around quite a bit so that we were working into it, working against it, kicking into it, kicking against it and going through some of the situational things that come up even though it might be the same plays that we ran earlier in the year at a different point in time, but things are a little bit different with the conditions and I think that was good work for us. It was a good reminder for us too, just going back and looking at Buffalo even though some things have changed. But seeing the second game out there in the snow, the 'snow bowl' and those conditions brought up the reminder of what the elements can be this week and really in the next seven weeks when we play in the Northeast one way or another. I think it is a good reminder for the players and the coaches and being ready to handle whatever those weather situations are and we had some good work on it yesterday in practice, it wasn't scripted, but it came up, took advantage of it. No more dome games on the schedule at this point so we are working outside.

Q: To what extent do the injuries change what you would like to do at all?

BB: I think there are a couple of points there, one is that you have to take the contingencies into consideration, as an example from last week, Grey Ruegamer happened to play tight end. You hope it doesn't come to that, but if you only have one tight end you have got to have a contingency. It is the same thing with the receiver situation whether it is [Terrell] Buckley getting some reps at receiver, you have to plan on the contingencies and then I think you have to make a decision as to how much of a game plan you want to put into a player that is really going to be integrally involved in that, that may or may not be available. You need to put a lot of time into a situation or a play and then there is only a 50 percent chance that player will be available. You could be spending a lot of time on something that won't happen. So I think that those are decisions that you need to make. We have to plan for some contingencies this week. We have to have multiple people ready to go at tackle. It could be Kenyatta [Jones], it could be, as an outside shot, it could be [Matt] Light or [Greg Robinson] Randall, it could be [Mike] Compton, it could be [Tom] Ashworth, I mean there is an outside shot it could be any of those guys. So we have to have those contingencies ready and at the same time I think we have to be careful on the defensive line situation as to how many things we can do there and also on the offensive line the amount of new plays or anything that we would add that wouldn't be something we have had a lot of practice on, not knowing who it might be that is doing the blocking there.

Q: Would the Antowain [Smith] situation impact that, I know you said you don't want to invest a lot of game plan on a guy who may not be available?

BB: I think in the running back situation at least we have three running backs there so we are going to put somebody in there at running back, whoever it is, and they have all had quite a bit of experience with us all year. I think whoever it is we are probably a little better off there then we would say… the thing that really concerns you of course is any multiple receiver set. We go to three wide receivers or even the thought of four wide receivers you think about, 'Okay who are they, where are the going to go, who are they?' So that is where you get cutback and again especially the offensive line.

Q: Did Terry Glenn test it at all yesterday?

BB: I think Terry had his best day yesterday since the injury before the Indianapolis game. We will see what he can do today. He didn't' do much at practice, but he had his best day in terms of running and working out with the medical people. So I think he's…well he is a lot closer than he has been and we will see where that puts us today in terms of practice time.

Q: What about the probable guys that are on the list, did most of them practice?

BB: Most of them did something, yeah they did something. I think probable is just what it is, probable. You acknowledge that there is a little bit of a problem, assuming there is no setbacks then those guys will probably be okay.

Q: Some of those guys on the list seem to be high threshold guys like Joe Andruzzi, you said he would have to be dead for him to not play?

BB: I think it would take a lot to keep him out, I really do.

Q: And Troy Brown plays through a lot?

BB: Right, but again I can just tell you from experience that if a guy does have an outstanding injury that is being treated that there is always a possibility that on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday that it could get aggravated and be more of a problem on Sunday than it was on Wednesday or Thursday. We are just acknowledging that, that's all.

Q: Are you happy right now with your punting situation and do you think this is the way it will be for the rest of the year or do you anticipate changes?

BB: No, I think…happy is not the word I think I would use. I think it is better than it was, I don't think the other teams in the league are looking at our punting game and saying, 'Boy this is the epitome of it, this is really where we would like to be.' I think overall our punt coverage, overall has been pretty good. We have had a couple protection problems. A couple of them hurt us, a couple of them didn't. I thought that overall the punting has been better the last three weeks than it was. I am not saying that it is great, but I think the last three weeks have been, in relative terms, more favorable punting conditions. We have had two dome games and one game in Denver in which we had pretty nice conditions out there. I think the next seven weeks we are probably going to get some bad days in there somewhere along the line. I think that overall the conditions in New England during this time of year, the next seven weeks, will be challenging. I mean we saw it out there yesterday in practice. They will be challenging. Not only for the punter, but the snappers, the holders, the guys fielding the ball, all of those things.

Q: What tackle spot has Kenyatta Jones been practicing at?

BB: Kenyatta has had most of his work on the left side.

Q: How has he been doing going from tackle to guard, guard back out to tackle?

BB: I think it is okay, I think it is okay. The biggest thing with Kenyatta, like a lot of young players, the big question is what is going to happen in the game. He really has had very limited opportunity to play this year in regular season games. Most of his playtime came in preseason. He has been out there practicing and practicing at those spots, but practicing and playing, as we know, that is a different step and clearly regular season is a different step from the preseason. That is a little bit of the unknown there.

Q: If you had to play Kenyatta do you feel like you have to play him at the left whereas with Grant [Williams] you can play in either tackle spot?

BB: Yes, exactly.

Q: In terms of the Buffalo offense, can you take the same approach to [Rob] Johnson as you did with [Chris] Chandler? You have got to put pressure on him whatever it takes, you can't rely on three men rushing, eight guys in coverage?

BB: Well we did that some against Atlanta. What we did against Atlanta was we mixed it up. I know probably the fans think we blitzed every play, but we really didn't. We blitzed sometimes and at times we made some plays. We also gave up a long scramble to [Michael] Vick, a long pass to [Brian] Finneran and a long run to [Maurice] Smith. All of those plays came on some type of blitz. What we tried to do in that game was mix it up and I think that was effective for us against Atlanta and we probably blitzed a little bit more in the passing game when we saw that we were having a little more production with it. How that will go against Buffalo I don't know. We try to mix it up every week, maybe it doesn't look that way, but honest to God we do. We have called plenty of blitzes this year, we have called plenty of coverages and I think that is our style of play. I think that is the way we are probably going to play each week now. There are some weeks that we have been better in coverage like against Indianapolis and did less blitzing. Last week we did a little more blitzing and a little less coverage and that was effective for us. Then there have been weeks when we have been ineffective at both. The bottom line is it is all part of our scheme, we are going to use all of them. If one is dramatically better than another then I am sure that we would try to lean more towards that one in that particular game in that situation.

Q: In terms of setting it up though, is this an offense that has had trouble when people pressured them? If you let him stand back there is he, like most quarterbacks going to pick you apart and conversely does he get really rattled and make bad decisions when he has got pressure?

BB: I think that you could find both. I think that there are times where Buffalo has had trouble when the quarterback has had to hold the ball because there weren't people open and there have been some coverage sacks. I think also there have been some breakdowns where the pressure has got to them. There also have been plenty of plays where in both situations, both in coverage where Rob has had time or in blitzes where he has gotten the ball off quick and [Peerless] Price or [Eric] Moulds or [Larry] Centers break a tackle, come loose and make big plays in the passing game there too. Again I think the best thing to do, just generally speaking, I think the best thing to do defensively is to try to mix it up on NFL quarterbacks. Those guys, once they know what you are in, if the guy is good like Rob Johnson or Chris Chandler or Peyton Manning or Vinny Testaverde or Doug Flutie or [Jon] Kitna, all of the guys that we have played this year, you just do the same thing time after time against them, I don't think it is going to be too long before you are going to pay the price. I think for the most part unless you can just dominate the game which is then it is easy, then I think mixing it up on those guys gives you the best chance.

Q: I know coaching is a benevolent dictatorship, but how much stock do you put in to players coming to you with suggestions?

BB: I try to have an open line of communication. I am sure that and I know for a fact that some players feel a lot more comfortable walking into my office then others. I meet with the players on a regular basis, on a weekly basis where we just talk. We talk about things that are current, things that may be coming up in the future, maybe things that have happened in the past, that there is a forum there that they can be addressed. I try to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, I think sometimes they have real good suggestions and it is from a players point of view and I don't see it as a player, I see it as a coach. I try to consider that it is not the same. There are other times when they make suggestions and I tell them why it is not that way and sometimes that helps them understand why it isn't that way. I am not saying it is perfect, but I feel like we have a line of communication on the team that is available either to any player or the representatives of the players. I definitely try to take those things into consideration when they come up. Sometimes I agree with them and sometimes I don't. Or sometimes I agree with them and I can't do anything about it.

Q: How much of you is willing to take a chance on things that players have said?

BB: It depends on what they are. I can give you examples where players bring up a suggestion and maybe it is something that I haven't thought of, we haven't put a lot of consideration into with the coaching staff and it comes up and it is great. We talked about, as an example earlier in the year we talked about in our sub defense of playing Ty [Law] in the slot and for a combination of reasons we didn't really think it was going to be that good and we really didn't get to it. We got to training camp, Ty brought it up and after talking to Ty about it we all felt like that was the best thing to do and I think it has worked out fairly well. So that was kind of a suggestion that came more from the player. Not that we hadn't considered it, but that really pushed it over the edge and I think that worked out positively. So sometimes it is that, sometimes it could be a suggestion during the game. We have had a couple of situations the last two or three weeks where Drew [Bledsoe] or Damon [Huard] has made a suggestion during the game about a play or an adjustment on a play, something that we hadn't used and Charlie [Weis] and I and the quarterbacks talked about it and went to it. It was a good suggestion and it worked. There were other times where in all honesty things have been brought up like that and Charlie or I would say, 'Let us call the plays, okay, we are not doing that.' So there is give and take there.

Q: How has Arther Love been progressing and where are you on the decision on him?

BB: That is a good question. Here are some of the pluses and minuses of the Arther Love situation. One problem is right now, today as we speak, there are issues on the offensive line and receiver and to a degree on the defensive line so if those things weren't in place that might make it a little bit easier. We talked about taking the roster spot that we just signed Fred Coleman with and using that with Arther, but the reason why we didn't do that is just because of the concerns we have with the other two positions. So that factors into it a little bit. Arther went out there last week and it was really his first chance to really run any plays with the offense and as you might expect it's an adjustment for him. The type of offense they ran at South Carolina State and what we do, there are one or two little minor differences. Arther wasn't really able to do much in mini camp, he had the surgery and was out so he is just getting some exposure and it is an adjustment for him. He does some things that catch your eye, but in the end he has got a ways to go. Are we any closer to making a decision, yeah I think we are a little bit closer. Is it at the doorstep, is it going to happen, I don't know. I think probably that my guess would be that we would take the full 21-day period. Go through this week and then next and then make the decision at that point. Obviously if we lost a tight end that would be a no brainer and if we don't lose a tight end, which hopefully nothing will happen further to Rod [Rutledge] or Jermaine [Wiggins] and that was one we got into last week too. That came right down to the wire with Rod and Arther last week when Rod ended up being inactive. It is one of those deals where it is kind of good that we have him where he is as a semi-insurance policy that doesn't cost us a roster spot. In a couple of weeks that is going to expire and we are going to have to fish or cut bait. We are either going to have to put him on the roster or put him back on reserve.

Q: Can you put him on the practice squad?

BB: If we put him on the practice squad we would have to waive him through the league, which I don't think is an option that we would exercise. I don't think that we would release the player and then if he cleared then we could put him on the practice squad, but I think at this point in the year you have to think about who you put on waivers. Every team is looking for, each Monday and Tuesday when we get the waiver wire the league lists all of the tryouts. By rule you have to turn in a tryout and you can just see the players that are getting tried out by all of the teams. You can see how hard everybody is looking for…

Q: And the positions?

BB: And the positions, but just the names that are on the tryout list. You look at the tryout list and there might be 50 names on it Monday or Tuesday. Then you look at it and there is not a lot out there right now so if there is a good name out there it really catches your eye and catches your attention and you are thinking, 'Man that guy is not going to last long. I am surprised somebody hasn't signed him already.' But there aren't very many of those.

Q: Does it also say who tries them out on that list?

BB: Yeah each team has to list it. So like yesterday we worked out Fred Coleman, everybody in the league saw that we worked out Fred Coleman yesterday whether we had signed him or not, you have to do that.

Q: But as an opposing coach you see that Baltimore has a concern at tight end, they tried out four guys?

BB: Absolutely. The Giants tried out four punters. There punter is hurt, they tried out four punters. So you can definitely see if a team comes in and workouts five tight ends, you know what they are looking for…

Q: They have an issue at tight end.

BB: Exactly. I would just say I don't think that would be an option for us. I don't think we would want to expose Arther to waivers at this point hoping to get him on the practice squad. If we could do it without that risk then yeah it would be great, but I don't think we would do that. We would probably have to either put him on the roster or just put him back on reserve.

**Q: Can you talk about Otis Smith and his age and how he continues to be so successful at his position?B: Yeah he just keeps on ticking, he just keeps on ticking. Otis has got real good work habits. He's always in good condition. He always works hard and as long as I have known him, which started in '96, when I was here with New England and we brought him in the fourth or fifth game of the year, somewhere in there and in three or four weeks he was starting and made big contributions in the run to the Super Bowl there. Otis is one of those guys that is the consummate pro and one word I would describe Otis Smith with is consistent. You are going to get pretty much the same thing from him every single day. When he walks in that room you know what you are going to get in terms of preparation, in terms of practice performance, in terms of game performance, communication, effort in the weight room, he is very diligent and consistent. So he has been able to I think make his career go longer and stronger than a lot of other people his age. Now one thing that I think Otis had going for him was the fact that there wasn't a lot of tread on his tires from the early part of his career. He went several years without getting the wear and tear that some other guys get at that point. He was very good in the kicking game when he first came in at Philadelphia. He just keeps on trucking and each year, again I have kind of been through this since '96 because he started to have a little age on him at that point, each year you would say, 'How much longer is this going to last, at what point is he going to start to decline' and I just haven't seen it, I just haven't seen it. Mike Woicik tests, we test them every year and through the year and you are kind of looking for a player his age, when is it going to start, well he really has a lot of the same qualities now as he did five years ago.

Q: Could he move to safety?

BB: We played him some at safety last year when we first got him here and at times we were playing a three corner type of defense and we played him some at safety. I think in the end his best position is corner. Could he play safety, yeah I think he could go in there and play it. He would be a different type of safety then what our other safeties are. More coverage skills and less size and bulk.

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