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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 16 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 21 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talks to the press about the Pats win over Indy yesterday, 38-17.To read a full transcript, click on the button below.



BB: After looking at the tape this morning it was nice to see a real good team win out there yesterday. There were just a lot of positive things for us in the game. I thought that there were some situations that we really handled pretty much the way we would like to handle them. It might have been a blessing for us that the scoreboard was out. We had a lead at the half and it was good that there was no clock up there for everybody to be looking at. Trying to play the game that way I thought offensively that the players and the coaches tried to just keep playing it and keep control in the game. I thought they did a pretty good job of doing that. So overall it was good to win on the road. It was good to win in the division. It puts us at an even point at this point in the season with still a lot of mountains to climb and some tough places to play. I think we can take some of the positives from this. Obviously we had some problems defensively, we were hanging on a number of times. We did a pretty good job of keeping them out of the end zone, but let them get pretty close a lot. Probably the thing that pleased me most in the game was the play of the special teams. I thought we had significantly better field position than we had in the last couple of weeks. We had a lot better field position than the Colts had yesterday by about ten or 12 yards per attempt. I think we were about the 34 and they were the 22 or something like that. So that always makes it a lot easier when you are playing on a shorter field offensively and defending a longer field on the defensive end. It is a nice feeling and we need to get over it in a hurry. Denver, as we know, is probably as tough a place to play as any place in the league and I am sure that they will be trying to settle the score from last year.

Q: On Wednesday you said that you were going to take time from the offense and defense during practice and spend it on special teams, is this performance, particularly by the field goal unit, blocking two field goals a direct result of that added time?

BB: I think it was a combination of time on the practice field, time in the meetings and increased energy and effort and focus by the players. I know that the players have had a couple of meetings just the special teams players or the players themselves have had a couple of their meetings just to, I don't know I wasn't in those meetings, but I am sure to try to pull it together and try to re-commit to playing the way that we are accustomed to playing on special teams around here. So maybe it was a combination of all of those factors at work. But as much as the field goal rush, as good as that was, anytime you get two kicks in a game that is a lot and there were two others that we were close on, really the kickoff coverage was the best it has been all year. It hasn't looked that good consistently this year. We have had our plays here and there, but I thought we had, overall, much better coverage than we have had in any other game. I thought Adam [Vinatieri] did a real good job of placing the ball in the corner and making it hard for them to get some angles on blocks, but the guys covered hard and they did a good job.

Q: The meeting that you had that were held by the special teams were they called by the special teams captains?

BB: Yes and also just some of the leaders on the team, because again everybody really is involved on the special teams. It is not just some backup players you can find pretty much all of our players out there whether it is Troy Brown returning punts or [Mike] Vrabel and [Tedy] Bruschi on the kickoff team or [Lawyer] Milloy on the punt return team or whatever it happens to be. Just about all of them are involved one way or another. So I think it was a team-wide commitment. Certainly there are some core special players like [Larry] Izzo, [Je'Rod] Cherry, [Patrick] Pass, [Matt] Chatham and guys like that. I think it transcended the whole team, not just that unit.

Q: Over the last month can you point to a growth factor or an improvement factor that has allowed this team to win three of its' last four?

BB: I think offensively the passing game is starting to look like an NFL passing game. Receivers are getting open, the quarterback is throwing the ball to the receivers when they are open, they are catching it and the distribution is better on the routes so that their openings are created. I think overall our pass protection, our offensive line I think has improved in the last month. It's basically held together other then for short periods of time, but we have been able to keep the same group of guys playing together. They are functioning better as a unit. Some of the tricks and blitzes and games that we were having trouble with a month ago are less of a problem now. We made some adjustments in the running game yesterday. Indianapolis several times in the game started in one front and then jumped into another front right before the snap. One example during the game was that there were about half a dozen plays where the Colts actually played a front that we had not worked on in practice at all, that they stemmed into a different look. Being able to make those kinds of adjustments in game conditions and under pressure, that is a sign of some progress. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it has improved. So I would say that offensively those are the two biggest areas, the overall continuity and performance of the offensive line, a little more consistency and the execution of the passing game from the receivers to the backs to the tight ends that have made some plays and to the quarterback. I think that everybody has just gradually progressed over the last month and those have been the big steps offensively.

Q: [Tom] Brady hasn't been sacked that much can that be attributed to his mobility or the offensive line?

BB: I think it is a combination of things. The most important statistic is the score. If you are down by 21 you have to come back and throw every time, sooner or later they are going to get you. You can't hold them out forever. When you can control the game score-wise and be in control and throw when you want to throw and run when you want to run and make the defense defend all the situations on every down whether it is third and three or first and ten, then it takes a lot of pressure off of the pass protection. It takes a lot of pressure off of everything. It takes pressure off of the receivers. It is not a one-dimensional game. But I think that Tom has done a good job stepping up into the pocket. Our tackles have done a pretty good job on some good outside rushers. We saw a couple of good ones yesterday with [Chad] Bratzke, [Brad] Scioli and Chuckie [Nwokorie], we have seen them pretty much every week. They have been on different sides and they flip-flop around and so forth, but overall the tackles have done a pretty good job of keeping those guys wide. Brady has done a pretty good job of stepping up and again the line functioning on a more consistent basis. Some of the things like I said that we have had trouble with six weeks ago against Cincinnati or the Jets similar type things that have happened the last couple of weeks we have handled better. So I think everybody really has a hand in that.

Q: So to simply look at the fact that Drew Bledsoe has been sacked at a higher rate than Tom Brady is, that really isn't strictly just the difference between the quarterbacks you guys were coming from behind…

BB: Yeah, if you go back and look at the Miami game and we are down by 20 points throwing in the fourth quarter, Brady is going to get sacked in that game too. Bledsoe will get sacked, [Peyton] Manning will get sacked when he is down by 20, I mean any quarterback in the league is…it is hard to be able to go back there and throw the ball every down when they know you are going to throw it. Now when you can do that then that is the mark of an elite passing game. When you can go back and throw it, whatever you want to throw, whenever you want to throw it and you can block them and you can run and you can hit them, then you are talking about, that is the best passing game in the league right there. Not a lot of teams have that.

Q: Troy Brown, not the biggest guy, not the fastest guy, teams know you want to throw to him yet every week he still has five, six, seven, eight catches. How does he continue to do this drawing the attention that he does?

BB: Well Troy is a real smart receiver and I think the things that he has that are maybe underrated are his quickness and his strength. He is a very strong receiver for his size. He is not tall, but he has good strength and he can catch the ball very well with his hands and he has good quickness. There aren't many slot defenders…they have trouble either with his quickness or if it is a little guy then sometimes the little guys have trouble with his strength, but he has that combination that is tough to defend and he catches the ball for the most part very well. He is a good hands catcher. Catches the ball away from his body and he is a real smart route runner. You're right. People know we are going to him. We know we are going to him. The one thing though that we have been able to do in the last couple of games, in the San Diego game we had David and Terry [Glenn] and yesterday we had David, they were able to also catch some balls, catch some deep balls and that starts to take some of the coverage away from the slot receiver. I think in every game, I think we have seen what we call one double 80, which means they play man coverage and then they double Troy Brown and that one double 80 shows up, even though the team may not be playing it in the previous weeks we get it usually on third down or at some point during the game. I think we have seen it every week now this season. I think that shows you the kind of respect that they have for him, but when other people can start making plays then you have the balance and wherever the coverage is light then if the quarterback is reading properly he can work that part of the pattern.

Q: The perception of Troy was that he was perfectly suited as a number two guy, but you are saying he can be the number one guy, he has show that he can be the number one guy?

BB: I think for the most part if you want to take one receiver out of the game you can do it. You can commit two or in some cases you can almost commit three people to him if you really want to just cover that guy. That leaves you awful thin in a lot of other areas, run force and other receivers. I think the best thing for Troy and the best thing for David and the best thing for Tom and the best thing for [Jermaine] Wiggins and the best thing for all of those guys is to be able to spread it around and be able to have a good complimentary passing game that just doesn't feature one guy. Whoever is getting the least amount of coverage then that is where the quarterback is looking and it is up to him to get open.

Q: Perhaps Patten's performance yesterday will alleviate some of problems for Troy?

BB: Well I think that just looking at the Indianapolis game in the second half there was a little bit of a shift in the coverage philosophy that the Colts used to try to compensate for that. In the second half I am sure that you noticed that Tom came more to Troy in the slot, hit Charles a couple of times, ran a couple of screen passes because the coverage was softer so we tried to get the ball underneath a little bit more when they started playing higher coverage on David.

Q: Speaking of receivers, Terry Glenn doesn't play, I heard that interview you did an hour before the game where you said it was 60-40 that he whether he would play…

BB: That interview was taped. It might have played an hour before the game, but that interview was taped.

Q: At any rate…

BB: I don't want to split hairs on it.

Q: The point is today we find out that he feels he was mistreated that he has to run a pass pattern?

BB: I am not sure that I am up on everything, but I have talked to Terry, I don't think there is any problem with Terry and I don't feel like I have any problems with Terry. Now I don't know what some other people are saying and all of that. The quote from his agent is just ridiculous and then there was some other ridiculous report, comments that I made about Terry that were attributed to me, but they were so totally inaccurate and ridiculous I won't even comment on those.

Q: How hurt is he? Do you expect him to practice this week?

BB: I don't know. I certainly wouldn't rule him out, but I couldn't say that he will be there for sure either, so put that wherever you want it.

Q: How does this happen? How does something so bizarre as complaining about working in practice become an issue? I have never seen that before, I don't know if you have?

BB: Yeah well again you would have to talk to Terry about that. I don't want to speak for him, but I don't feel like I have any issues with Terry there at all. So where all of those comments are coming from and all of that, I can't give any credibility to that at all.

Q: It is not getting an easier with this situation is it?

BB: What's that?

Q: Just the hoopla around it.

BB: I talked to Terry, I talked to him for quite awhile last night. That doesn't have any effect on me. What affects me is my relationship with Terry and I think that it is good.

Q: It is almost as if there is a camp there which is sending out information an statements that you have to react to?

BB: I can't control what the barber thinks and what everybody else thinks. I can't control all of that, but I do think that as the coach and Terry as the player that we need to have a player-coach relationship that is functional and I think that we have that. I don't think there is any doubt about it and I feel good about that. Whatever else is going on and other things that will be resolved one way or another, they will be resolved.

Q: Do you take time after the game when a guy like David Patten has a game like that to think about how special and kind of unprecedented what he did was?

BB: To be honest with you I wasn't fully aware of it until after the game. It didn't hit me at all, I mean I saw him make the plays, but the way the whole thing tied together and with [Walter] Payton and all of that, I wasn't made aware of it until after the game. In fact when we were in the locker room and Kevin Faulk was saying, 'You don't have to make any decisions about the game balls today. Give Patten one ball, give him two balls, you can give him the ball you buried against Miami, you can give him every ball you want because he earned it today.' Then I started thinking, 'Geez let me think here' and then I kind of started adding it all up and that is when it really hit me that it was kind of as big a day as it was because there were some other guys out there making some plays too, but he no doubt, he had a big one.

Q: If we started the season talking about potential that two weeks in a row a third of the way through the season the AFC Offensive Players of the Game would come from the Patriots offense, assuming Patten receives that honor. How do you view that?

BB: It is great. If they are getting that kind of recognition then that means that not only are they making those plays, but we are winning and that recognition comes when the W's go up on the board. That has really been the best thing about the last four weeks. We have one three out of the last four games and the fact that we have had a lot of players step up and make significant plays and certainly David and Tom have made more than their share, but a lot of people have contributed as well and if they are getting recognized that is because good things are happening. If that comes with it, I will certainly accept it.

Q: The quick strikes yesterday, it seemed like the offense wanted to get up on them early was that an effort to again take [Edgerrin] James out of the game the way you did in the first one here?

BB: I don't want to make this into too much of a cliché, but when you call a play on offense, when you call a play you never know exactly what is going to happen on that play, when you are throwing the ball, okay because to a certain extent it depends on what they are doing. Now if you call a screen pass you are pretty sure that at the end of the play your guy is going to end up with the ball or it is going to be an incomplete pass. But when you call another pattern when you have three or four or five guys in the pattern, there are a lot of different things that can happen depending on what they do. If they blitz, the receiver has to adjust his route and you throw it quick. If they drop back into a real deep zone coverage you throw it underneath. If they come up and play tight coverage then you throw it deep. So you don't know for sure where that ball is going to go. What you are counting on is the decision-making by the guy who holds the ball to do the right thing with it. To do the right thing, not to throw it to the other team and to make the right decision with the ball. When they came up, when we were on the nine-yard line there, when they came up and played man-to-man coverage and showed that they really were going to be light in the deep part of the field and we had a deep route called, then Tom made a great decision on the play-action fake to check the safety, to check coverage and to take a look down there first and let it go and he made a great throw and hit Patten in stride. If that ball is thrown a foot or two shorter they would probably tackle him at mid-field. The idea on the play wasn't necessarily to say, 'Okay we think we are going to score a touchdown on this play.' I don't think anybody thought that when the play is called, you really didn't, but you do feel like, 'Okay if we are going to call four or five of these plays and sooner or later if we catch them in this situation we want the quarterback to take advantage of that and be aggressive and go down the field' and that's really what the context of it was. We saw that the Colts were playing a lot of aggressive, tight to the line of scrimmage coverage, trying to chock us off. Similar to what we have seen some other games this year and Tom was able to, with the receivers, with David, to be able to take advantage of it. Where we threw it to Patten, the double pass there, that is a little bit of a different play. That is truly what we would call a shot play. I mean that is either a home run or a foul ball. There is not going to be any five-yard gains on that type play. You are either going to hit it or you are going to miss it and come back and go again on second down. We usually have one or two of those types of plays in the game. It may not be that exotic where it is a double pass maybe it is just a play-action pass where you only have one receiver in the pattern and you either hit him or you throw it away. That was one where, I think the score at the time was 14-3, something like that and we felt like we could score right there that would put us up by three scores and that would really give us some momentum and be able to maybe take James out of the running game a little bit. That was the idea of that call, but the other calls, you don't know that that is going to a 90-yard touchdown. Swear to God, you really don't. If they had dropped off and been in another coverage we probably would have hit Rod Rutledge and gained five yards, but it was the quarterback that made a great decision on the play. That's what you are counting on when you call a pass blitz. Your quarterback is going to see what you want him to see and then he is going to do with the ball what you expect him to do with it in that situation. If he had thrown that deep pass in there and they had been in a three deep zone and the corner and the free safety had knocked each other down trying to get to it, nobody would have been happy about that decision.

Q: On the double pass, you said originally it was Troy throwing to Patten, can you tell us how that developed?

BB: We went out there on Wednesday and we ran the play with Terry throwing it and Troy catching and then Thursday when we had the play scripted in practice to run and Terry wasn't in practice at that point then we had Troy throw it and David run the route. We just kind of coached it up. So we said, 'Okay after practice we want to get a few of these passes.' So we stayed out after practice with Brady. So Brady threw it out there to Troy and Troy threw it down there to Patten and David caught the ball and he just turned around and slung it right back and threw it about 20 yards over Brown's head, 'I can throw too.' So, 'Okay let's run another one with Troy and then we will give you a shot at it.' So we ran it again with Troy and it didn't look bad there, but then we let David throw it and it looked pretty good. So we didn't want to just hand it to him on one play, we didn't know if it was luck or talent, skill. So we ran it again and ran it the second time and David really laid it out there. He threw it about 60 yards and hit Troy right in stride. It was beautiful. We were trying to tell Brady to watch Patten do this, actually using Patten as the model thrower there. Walking off the field, I walked in here with Charlie and we both looked at each other and said, 'What do you think?' 'Patten.' 'Okay.' So we came out and ran the play on Friday and they got in the huddle and Troy originally went to the position that was in motion to throw it and then we all looked at each other and said, 'Stop and said we made the decision on this, we are going with David.' So they switched spots. We ran it in practice same thing in practice David hit them right down the field in stride it was perfect really just like it was in the game and that is the way he did it against the Colts.

Q: You have a very young team, do you sense a building confidence within your team?

BB: I think the San Diego game definitely helped our confidence. I think it helped team-wide. I mean it was because we beat a good football team, but it was the way we won. We were down, I think some people counted us out in the fourth quarter and not only did we come back, but we came back and won. I think now that the team has more of a sense it will only grow, I don't think we are there yet, don't get me wrong, but I think we are more at a point where we feel like we are going to find a way to win. Whether it is the offense scoring 40 points, whether it is the defense holding them to three, whether we have to block a kick, whether we have to return a kick, whatever it is, whatever we need to do, that we have the confidence that we can step up and do that. I am not saying that we lacked that before I just think it is stronger now and I think after what happened against Indianapolis when you go out and block a couple of kicks earlier in the game that maybe there was a little bit of intrepidation with the team about how is their special teams going to play, are they going to step up this week, the way they played I think that just gives more confidence to everybody that we know that we can do it. I think the key for us is that we have to play a certain way. We have to play a complimentary game, we have to play a good field-position game, we can't turn the ball over and hand them the ball in good field position. At the same time even though we had a long touchdown against the Colts, if we start inside our ten I don't think we are going to score a lot of points on a consistent basis either. If we can play into our strengths there and play that way I think everybody on our team feels good about, we have a pretty good chance to win every week.

Q: Any health concerns from yesterday?

BB: No I don't think so, some bumps and bruises, but I don't think so.

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