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LIVE: Patriots Unfiltered, 10:45 AM Thu Jul 25 | 10:40 AM - 12:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talks about the Pats upcoming game against the Colts on Sunday.



              **BB:** There is no update on Drew [Bledsoe] this morning. I haven't been able to connect with the doctors yet, but if I do and if there is any update we will pass that along to you like we did yesterday.  

As far as the team this week goes, I spent some time talking to them this morning. I think what I am expecting is for our team to take out any frustrations or anger or whatever it happens to be, on the football field in a professional manner against our next opponent. A couple of plays here and there and we could be in a different place, but we are not and the only way for us to change that is to do something positively about it and that is what I expect us to do. The Colts are a very explosive team and we know that. They have excellent specialists in the kicking game. They have real good firepower on offense, they have good skill players, tight ends, receivers, quarterback, running back. They have scored a lot of points, had some big plays and they are an explosive group. I think they are much improved defensively. They have several new starters. They are playing very physical up front. They have added a couple of guys in the secondary who I think have done a good job for them, [David] Macklin and [Idrees] Bashir. They are playing pretty well right now. They are a pretty good football team. As far as our injury report goes Drew is out of the game, [Willie] McGinest is questionable, Damien Woody is questionable with his neck, Otis [Smith], J.R. [Redmond] will both be questionable with an leg and ankle respectively and Greg Robinson-Randall is probable with a shoulder that bothered him a little bit in the game Sunday.

Q: When [Tom] Brady was drafted, some people suggested that he might go as high as the third round and then he slipped to the sixth round. If that is true why do you think he slipped? What did you see about him at Michigan that made you want to take a chance on him?
BB: I don't know about him slipping or not slipping. I really don't know anything about that, but I think that he was a very draftable player coming out of college. The opportunities that Tom got to play at Michigan he did a good job with. He was in competition with [Drew] Henson his senior year and really basically beat him out and outperformed him that year. Tom has got a good arm. He has got a good head on his shoulders. He has got a good attitude about the game. He's hardworking. He's confident. He is certainly not overbearing. I think the team and the players and the coaches have confidence in him and I think he has backed that up with his performance on the field both in college and professionally. He is very consistent on a daily basis. It is not just a flashy play here and flashy play there. He is a consistent player that kind of the more you are around him maybe the more he grows on you and the more you appreciate some of the little things that he does. I think those are his positives.

Q: The Colts obviously have offensive weapons in Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison, but is the real hidden strength of their team the offensive line?
BB: I think the real strength of the team is the skill players. I think Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Ken Dilger and [Marcus] Pollard, certainly a combination of those guys, are amongst the best in the league at their position. I think they are very good. I think one of the best things about the Colts offense is that those guys have played together now for a number of years. A number of those players have long lines of consecutive starts, no missed games both on the offensive line and the skilled positions. So they have had a lot of continuity, not only from year to year, but from week to week. They have the same guys out there every week playing 16 games taking a lot of snaps. I mean they have situational players like [Terrence] Wilkins who comes in and [Jim] Finn and guys like that, I am talking about guys that take the majority of the plays. The top 12 or 13 guys on the offensive unit have been very durable and they have been very consistent. I think they function well together as a team, as well as having a lot of individual skill. They are well coached, Tom Moore has done a good job with that offense. He has done a great job with it. They are solid all the way through.

Q: Speaking of durability and consistency, Willie McGinest, last week he was ready to play at one point and now he is back at questionable?
BB: I don't think that I can do any better than that since he didn't play in the game and we haven't practiced since then. I don't really have much evidence.

Q: So you are going by last week?
BB: I think he is probably better than he was last week, but I think until we see him out on the field and can really confirm that, I will just leave it the way it ended up in the game which was pretty close to 50-50 right by game time.

Q: Early on in training camp [Tom] Brady leapfrogged on the depth chart over [Damon] Huard. What was it that helped you make your decision? Was it the way he performed in practice, in preseason games or a combination of both and were you surprised that a second year guy would beat out a veteran with NFL playing experience?
BB: He didn't jump ahead until after the Washington preseason game. Tom and Damon both, actually I would say that Damon was ahead of Tom even though I think it was a competitive situation and they competed well through the preseason both in practice and in game situations and we didn't make the decision until after the Washington game. I think both players in preseason performed well when they had an opportunity. I just think Tom was a little bit ahead of him, but I don't think it was anything…it wasn't a decision that we made early in training camp.

Q: Is there something to be said about Huard's experience having played and started games in the NFL?
BB: Absolutely.

Q: It will be a new experience for Brady?
BB: Right.

Q: Has that swayed your thinking at all?
BB: Sure and we took it into consideration when we made…we didn't make the decision yesterday. We made it after the full preseason of 50 some practices and four preseason games. We felt at that time that Tom was just a little bit ahead of Damon and that is not anything against Damon it is more of a positive on what Tom was able to do with the opportunities that he got in the preseason games. Admittedly, he got a few more than Damon did, but we just made the decision based on what we had seen. I think based on what happened Sunday night there is nothing really to change my mind on that either. I think that the opportunities that Tom got in that game he did about as much as he could do with them. Maybe he could have done a little bit more, but I think he certainly came into a tough situation and handled himself well.

Q: Will you play the next couple of weeks with just two quarterbacks on your roster?
BB: We are talking about that. I can see it going either way. We will probably make a decision here once we get a little bit better timeframe on where we are going to be with Drew. At this point it is just not decisive. There is no need to make that decision when we will probably have a little more information in a day or two.

Q: If you don't sign somebody do you have to list a third quarterback? Who would be your emergency quarterback? Has Bert [Emanuel] done some of that?
BB: Yes, right, Bert did it in college and he would probably be the most likely guy.

Q: What does Tom bring to the quarterback spot that maybe is different than Drew?
BB: I think at this point Tom is maybe a little quicker than Drew is, but I think overall they have a lot of similar characteristics both athletically…arm strength, their intelligence, their ability to read defenses, change plays, make adjustments during the game that type of thing. Obviously Drew has done it a lot more, but from what we have done with Tom and from the opportunities that he has had to do it in practice, I think that he has a lot of those similar characteristics just without quite as much experience.

Q: Can that quickness be used a little bit differently?
BB: It could be. I don't think we are talking about a dramatic difference. Again for example last year when [Michael] Bishop came in the game there was quite a drastic style from one quarterback to the next. Whereas I think that there is less of a difference between the style of Damon, Tom and Drew for that matter.

Q: Being a young quarterback how do you expect the Colts to attack Brady? They blitz a lot anyway, do you think they will try to rattle him?
BB: They are going to blitz anyway. It doesn't make any difference. Yhey blitz Vinny [Testaverde] who is one of the older quarterbacks in the league. They blitz Rob Johnson. They blitz Cincinnati and Minnesota in preseason. They blitzed Drew last year. I am sure they will blitz us this year. They blitz everybody.

Q: What may be more important is how you are going to handle Peyton Manning?
BB: He is a big challenge. He does a lot of things well. We will have to have a good coordinated defensive effort against the Colts. It's Manning, it's James, it's Harrison, it's Dilger, Pollard and [Jerome] Pathon, Wilkins I mean they have real good skill players so you can't load up on one thing or the other guys will kill you. I think everybody all the way across the line is going to have…we are going to have 11 individual battles on our hands and we are going to have to do well in all of those battles not just two or three of them. They spread the ball around. They have too many weapons.

Q: Is this as hot as you have ever seen a quarterback start a season? It is a pretty amazing performance he has had to date?
BB: Yes and a lot of that was in the first half too. I mean really against the Jets, in all honesty they ran out the clock in the fourth quarter. They were in two tights and were trying to run out the clock. No doubt about he is a pro bowl quarterback and he is playing at high level right now. He is off to a good start and I think it will be up to us to slow him down. I don't think we want to sit around and hope for him to have an off day that might be a long time coming. I think it is up to us to do a good job of defending him and again that will take all 11 guys, both keeping pressure on the pocket, having tight coverage, not giving things away early, not letting them know too early where to go with the ball and where the soft spot in the defense is.

Q: Is this where your lack of a running game really hurts you, I mean you could have the Steelers defense of the late '70s, if the Colts have the ball 35 minutes they are going to put up a lot of points?
BB: That is about the way the game went last year out there. We ran the ball for 150 yards and had it for a long time and were in position to win. We had an 11-point lead and it didn't hold up. They don't need a long time to score. They hit us with a couple of big plays and that hurt us. I think we need to play a complimentary game this week. We need to score points offensively, but we need to do a good job defensively of not giving up the big play and not giving up a lot of points and we need to do a good job with their specialists, with Wilkins returning and [Mike] Vanderjagt they have good depth at that position, good strength at that position too.

Q: Are you amazed at how open their receivers get?
BB: They're pretty good, they're pretty good. A lot of times they are open because of Manning's play action and that is tough because you have to respect James. You have to respect his ability to run the ball and that sucks the defense. Peyton is a very good play action faker. They get people open on that, but also Harrison gets open with his quickness and his double moves and that kind of thing. Like he did in the first game against us last year. He caught a touchdown pass on a double move. He is quick and he sells that first move and the guy and the guy jumps it and then he puts the second move on there. Their tight ends run well. They get matched up on slower guys. They can make big plays. I just keep saying it, but they real good skill at the skill positions, the receivers, their quarterback, their running back. Their running back is a big pass receiver as well so there is nobody there you can disregard. They will all make big plays and wherever you overload then eventually they will come back to the lighter spots in the defense and try to attack those players. For the most part those guys have consistently come through for them. They are there every week and they play at a good, consistent level.

Q: What do you think you did well defensively against them last year to win?
BB: In all honesty the main key was that we didn't give up a lot of points. Even though they moved the ball our red area defense kept them out of the end zone, held them to a couple of field goals. We had some turnovers in the game. As hard as it is to play against the Colts, it is still easier to play from ahead then from behind. At whatever point you can get to where you can take the running game out of it. Now we were never really able to get to that point in the second game because James did hurt us in the fourth quarter with a couple of runs. Anytime you play against an explosive team like that, a high powered scoring team whether it be the Vikings of a couple of years ago or the Redskins back in the '80s when they were scoring their 500 points or Denver with [John] Elway when they were scoring their 500 points, if you can ever get ahead in the game and take Terrell Davis or take John Riggins or take Edgerrin James or take those guys out of the game then sometimes that is one less guy you have to worry about and you are just defending the passing game. You're not worried about eight, ten, 12 runs in the fourth quarter. That is easy to say, but the fact is they have been ahead by 17 and 24 points in the half. So it has worked more in reverse. You have to continue to defend James, James, James, James and the tighter you squeeze up on him then the more vulnerable you are in the secondary. Any team like that, that can get off to a good start and control the game early is tougher to defend for 60 minutes.

Q: What is Adrian Klemm's status and will he have a chance to play at guard if Damien Woody is out?
BB: I think Adrian is very close to 100 percent finally. He has worked hard to come back, but it is just hard to play on the line without being able to lock out your elbow, without the strength in your elbow that he has been lacking. I think that strength is now coming back, it's not 100 percent, but I think it is getting pretty close. He can lock it out and he can use it. He will compete at tackle not guard and we will see how he does relative to Matt [Light] and Grant [Williams]. I think Greg will be okay, but we may have to factor where he is if he is not going to be ready to go. I expect that he will be okay, but…

Q: Will Mike Compton play center if Woody is out?
BB: It would either be Compton or [Grey] Reugamer. It is a question of whether we want to make two changes or one.

Q: Do you want Brady to be more cautious and taking off and running with the ball? The last two years Drew has been more comfortable leaving the pocket, is there a time where you sit the quarterbacks down and tell them to pick their spots?
BB: I don't think you can go into a game playing scared. I think you have to play to make the plays. We have all seen guys get hit hard and be okay. We have all seen guys barely get contacted and have injuries. Some of the worst injuries Dennis Byrd and Brown and guys like that, when you go back and look at it, we have all seen a lot bigger hits then the plays they got hurt on. I don't know if you can really…nobody can predict when that's going to happen or how it is going to happen. I think you have to play the game aggressively, intelligently, but aggressively. Like Tom did in the game there when he rolled out, he dove toward the sideline, got a couple of extra yards and you never know when those one or two yards is going to make a difference. That last pass ended up being thrown on the one or two yard line so it doesn't look like much until a subsequent play comes along and then that yard or two does make a difference. I think we need to be smart about it at the quarterback position regardless of who the quarterback is and that is probably true of every quarterback in the league, but at the same time, if there are plays to be made there and there is a situation where we have to put our head down and try to get the first down then I think that is what a competitive athlete should do.

Q: The tendency in recent years has been the mobile quarterback, but there is plenty of room left in this league for the classic drop back passer, like Manning?
BB: I don't think many better quarterbacks are going to come along than Manning. We have seen our successes and failures with both types of guys. The Akili Smith's and guys like that not be as productive as the Donovan McNabb's and we have seen the Ryan Leaf's not be as productive as the Peyton Manning's. I think it is more in the quality of the player. There have been a lot of different styles that can win whether it be John Elway or Fran Tarkenton or Johnny Unitas, they all have their own style, but if they can play within that style of play and use their strengths and minimize their weaknesses then they can be effective. I think it is more the quality of the player than it is the style. Not to minimize a quarterback's ability to play with his feet because that certainly does add a dimension to a quarterback like it does with a guy like [Mark] Brunnel or Elway when he was younger, but [Dan] Marino never made any yards running and he threw for about 5,000 three or four years in a row.

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