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Bill Belichick Press Conference

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



BB: We have two players on the injury report today with Willie [McGinest] and Charles Johnson with the flu. I have a feeling that Charles won't be the last guy on there. We have some other guys that are fighting through it to. It is that time of year.

On the roster, we released Ula [Maugaula] Tuitele on Monday. He cleared waivers and we re-signed him to the practice squad today so that keeps our practice squad at five and our roster at 52.

Terry Glenn and I were going to get together yesterday and that just didn't work out. I expect to get together with him soon and as soon as I do then I will pass that along to you. He is not here today and that is really all there is to it today with Terry.

Moving forward to Cleveland I think that this is a very improved football team. I think they are very aggressive on defense. They lead the league in a lot of different categories on defense interceptions and they have only given up 15 touchdowns and they have scored 20 points and on and on. They are very disruptive up front. They have intercepted a lot of passes. They are a tough defense to move the ball and score on and they create a lot of turnovers so that is real challenging. I think offensively this is a team that has a lot of weapons. They have good receivers. [Kevin] Johnson and [Dennis] Northcutt, [Phil] Dawson, Quincy Morgan, [Aaron] Shea is a very productive guy with [O.J.] Santiago at tight end. We had trouble with Shea last year and of course [Tim] Couch at quarterback. We didn't see him but we are certainly respectful of what he can do. I think the offensive line, particularly on our right side, their left side with [Roman] Oben, [Dave] Wohlabaugh at center, [Ross] Verba is a real strong point for them. They have a tough running game a couple of backs that run hard. [James] Jackson is a tough back. They do a good job of being aggressive in the running game and they have some big play threats in the passing game. They are good in the kicking game [Chris] Gardocki and Dawson are both solid kickers, they have good returners so I think that this is overall a real solid team that like us has five losses. They have lost two games in overtime. They have been extremely competitive in virtually every game this year and a very big challenge for us coming in here this week especially offensively as disruptive and as tough as they are on defense in the front seven. This will be a big challenge for our entire offensive unit. That is pretty much where we are today.

Q: Do you know Butch Davis at all?

BB: I do know Butch, yeah. I know Butch from when he coached with the Cowboys and then I of course have seen him a several times when he was at Miami looking at players down there whether it was Ray Lewis or right on down the line, even to Leonard [Myers] last year. He is a defensive line coach in the NFL. He has got a good, strong background on defense. He is a very disciplined person and coach and I think his players reflect that style as well.

Q: Did you have any sense knowing him earlier on that he might be a good NFL coach?

BB: I didn't know Butch personally real well. I was at the Giants, he was at Dallas and then when I was at Cleveland. So we professionally had contact and a lot of mutual respect at least I certainly have a lot for Butch and the job that he did there and Dallas's defenses were very formidable when he was part of that defensive staff with Jimmy [Johnson]. That is really the extent of it. We have never been on the same staff together.

Q: It looked like [Richard] Seymour had a much better game this time against the Jets than last time is that an accurate perception the way he handled [Kevin] Mawae, he didn't seem to get dominated?

BB: Well I wouldn't say he handled him, I wouldn't say that, but I thought Richard played better than he did in the first Jets game. That was his first regular season game. He has certainly made a lot of improvement and I thought he did a good job Sunday. He has still got a ways to go, but he is starting to show up on more different types of plays. Showing up on some inside runs, some outside runs, rushing the passer, running some games, sub-situations so a lot of things on his game have started to come together and that has been good. But he is, yeah I think a lot better football player than he was back in September even though I really liked the progress he made in preseason, but the layoff after the Cincinnati game then the Carolina ended up being a bye week and all of that. That was his first action in the Jet game the third week of the year, second game.

Q: There were some complaints earlier in the season from some other teams about the demeanor of the players, kind of hot dogging it and that sort of thing, is that just the players that he has or is that part of him just letting his players express themselves?

BB: I don't know, that is a good question. We have a couple of players and people in this organization that were there last year so I think that we have a fairly good understanding of the personnel, at least the guys that were there last year and some of them were teammates and played with them and so forth. I think there is always a little bit of that that goes on on the field in the game. As long as it doesn't get out of hand that is probably part of the game, you see it in all sports. I think the main thing for us is to focus on the specific abilities and challenges that the Browns present which are considerable and try to block out any of the other potential distractions about who said what or who talks during the game or who doesn't and all of that kind of thing. I mean that goes on every week. I can't speak directly to any of the incidents that happened earlier in the year, I wasn't a part of them, but we played opponents that have said things in-between plays and going back to the huddle and all of that and I think the only thing that matters is what happens when the ball is snapped.

Q: Does [Marc] Edwards give you a good information flow as to some of the things that you might look for?

BB: Yeah, Edwards, [David] Patten of course Romeo [Crennel], I think we have a number of guys that have a background with players on the team. The thing that is different of course are the schemes. It is a new coaching staff, new defensive scheme, new offensive scheme. They are doing a lot of things differently. Some of the players are the same. They certainly have some new faces and some guys like Couch who are there that we just didn't see last year. There are plenty of new things for us, but I think we do have a little background with some of the players and we did match-up against some of them last year so there is a little bit of knowledge there, but we did so poorly and we just didn't really have much of any chance to win that game. We are going to need to, whoever is out there for us or them, we are going to need to play a lot better than we did last year.

Q: Was that one of the low water marks of the season last year?

BB: Well when you are 5-11 there are a lot of low points in the season and that certainly was down there amongst the lowest. That was one of our worst efforts of the year. So I hope we don't see that again.

Q: Can you expand a little bit on what you said about Terry Glenn, why is he not here, is it injury related?

BB: No I think I pretty much said…I told you everything that I know about it. That's it. I am sure that the situation will be addressed as soon as possible and I will let you know as soon as it happens.

Q: Did you tell him not to come today?

BB: We weren't able to get together yesterday or this morning…

Q: He said last night that he would be here today…

BB: Well I am just telling you the way that it is. We weren't able to get together and we will do it as soon as we can.

Q: When you say soon do you mean you are going to try today?

BB: Soon, as soon as we can. I mean right now I am tied up. I can't meet with him right now.

Q: Do you want to take a break and…

BB: That is a good idea.

Q: Because he is not on the injury report if and when he does show up do you expect him to practice?

BB: Well he is not on the injury report.

Q: Do you expect him to play against Cleveland?

BB: I don't know.

Q: Do you expect Fred Coleman to play against Cleveland?

BB: I don't know. We have to make the same decisions every week on offense, on special teams and on defense. Right now with the injury report being a little shorter than it has been then there are more players that are available and have potential to be active. We have had several weeks where in all honesty we have had to take players either off of the practice squad or players who we knew were less than 100 percent and activate them for the game and knew that they would be playing at a little less than full capacity. When you have a situation where you have players who are healthy that you have to inactivate then you have legitimate decisions to make as to which players you feel like will be able to contribute the most. I think all of the players know and particularly the ones who aren't starting that their role whether it be on offense, defense or special teams and as a backup player that it depends on what value they will be able to add to the team and the game we would like to be able to take 52 or 53 or however many we have, but that is not an option. We will have to cut it down to whoever we think are the ones that will fit in this game and game plan the best.

Q: With all of the things that you have had to negotiate this year this ongoing Glenn situation, the passing of Dick Rehbein, Joe Panos retiring, Andy Katzenmoyer…

BB: You don't have to go on and on we got you.

Q: What has been the single thing that has been able to keep you guys on course, you personally and this set of circumstances is pretty unforeseen?

BB: I think anytime you head into a football season you know that those six months from the start of training camp until you finish playing that there are going to be things that you are going to have to deal with along the way. There are going to be injuries, some players are going to want to play more than they are playing, other guys, their roles and wants it to be a little bit different than it is. You are going to have your ups and downs along the way that is all part of it. Other than the Dolphins you are not going to have an undefeated season. You are going to have to deal with some setbacks over the course of the season and that is just part of it. This year we have had some challenging situations. I think that the main thing I try to focus on and the team tries to focus on is just day-to-day what can you control, your performance today, your attitude, your ability to get ready for the next opponent and that is really what it's about. The things that are out of your control; the weather, somebody else's situation, next week, two weeks from now, two months from now, two years from now, you let those things run their course and you take care of them when they present themselves. Right now what's really important for us is getting ready for Cleveland, trying to do a better job, each day is about competition, about trying to prepare and do a better job in preparation Wednesday than what they are doing and try to do a better job on Thursday and then try to have a little bit of an edge on Sunday going into the game and then transfer that to our performance on the field Sunday afternoon. Those are the day-to-day challenges and my experience has been through league and through my time in the National Football League, even on some of the most successful teams I have been on, when the team had a day-to-day attitude and not worrying about what is going to happen down the line, but trying to take care of business today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow that those teams were a lot more successful than the ones that were trying to calculate what would happen down the line and didn't take care of the business that was immediately at hand.

Q: Why even bother with Terry Glenn right now, why not just pull the trigger and get it over with?

BB: I have said all that I am going to say about Terry Glenn today, that is where it is.

Q: You have been in this position before as a head coach, how much better prepared are you now as a coach than you were two years ago?

BB: I think you learn something every or I feel like I have learned something every year, a lot of things. Each year you go through things you just put in the bank the things that you feel like you did right and try to do them more often. The mistakes that you made or the things that you feel like you could have done better you analyze and try to figure out a better way of doing it. How to be more productive, how to be more efficient and the next time that situation comes up you try to do that. It is a self-evaluation that I think is important both personally and organizationally. We do it really at every turn. Every time the book closes on one thing we try to self-analyze that and store it up for the next time the situation comes along whether it is the draft, free agency, a game plan against a particular team, a mini camp, whatever it happens to be. I think those lessons can be valuable if you can accept what the learning lessons are and then apply them the next time the situation come down the line. Some of the things that we learned last year about our football team have helped us this year going forward and they have helped us in terms of our work ethic, our practice schedule, our meeting schedule, doing some things game planning that this year I think have been a little more efficient than they were last year. We tried some things last year that I think are sound and they are good, they didn't work that well in our particular situation and we have moved on from it and found a couple of things that are better.

Q: What about your personal interaction with your players compared to when you were the Browns coach? Coaches change I know that Don Shula use to say that he regrets his lack of personal relationship with the players early in his career as opposed to later and those are things that I guess experience taught him?

BB: Well there is no question I think that is real important. The thing that I would say this year is that the circumstances this year are a little different than they were last year or really then they have been in the past. With the situation offensively with Dick's [Rehbein] passing and unexpectedly from the beginning of the year I have been more involved with the quarterbacks and more involved with the offensive staff than I had anticipated, but I feel like that's worked out fine. It is positive and something that I have enjoyed doing, but it wasn't really the way that it was setup to be so my interaction has been a little bit more with some of the offensive players particularly the quarterbacks this year because of the way that it has worked out, but I try to stay involved in all the phases of the game and with all of the aspects of our program whether it be the weight lifting, the special teams, the offense, the defense. It is still my job to be the head coach of the team not the coordinator or position coach of a certain group so that really overrides everything.

Q: Up to this point was there any one point this year where you realized that this team was going to react differently than last year's team?

BB: Maybe the fourth quarter of the San Diego game, maybe the second half of the Jet game.

Q: Can you comment on some of the former Jets players that you have brought to this organization and what they have meant to this team? We have seen other coaches do it, is it something that a lot of coaches decide to do when they move on to another organization?

BB: I don't think you calculate, when you come into a situation like that I don't think you calculate and say, 'Okay I want to get these five guys here or I want to get these two guys or we need seven x-whatever players on our team.' I think what it comes down to, I think Fred Coleman was a good example last week. There are receivers out there available, Fred was one of them, we had a background with Fred. We knew him, Scott [Pioli] knew him, the defensive coaches knew him, the offensive coaches knew him from our experience with him at the Jets. I honestly can't sit here and tell you that he is better than some other name that you can bring up, but there was a comfort level in the fact that we knew Fred, we knew his work ethic, we knew his toughness, we had seen him make plays in our system not in somebody else's offense or some other type of routes or whatever. We had seen him do it in our system. We knew that he knew our system and that he would be able to learn it quicker than, all other things being equal, somebody who didn't know it. In the end he had advantages over some of the other guys that we considered and that is not to say that they are not good players or maybe they would be better, who knows, but there is a certain comfort level I think you get with players that you have been with. You know what they are, you know what they are about, you know what they bring and even if they have weaknesses you know what those are too and you feel like you can minimize them or you can manage them. I think that is really what it comes down to and sometimes those are players that, when you have had a lot of background with them guys like Anthony Pleasant or Otis Smith or somebody like that where it is years and years, you can pretty much predict what they are going to do in situations because you have virtually seen them in all situations. You know what they are going to do in March, you know what they are going to do in August, you know what they are going to do in December. You have seen them do it year after year so you can take the guesswork out of it. Those guys have a lot of strong points that they brought to this team and I think that is why they personally have continued to have success in their careers because they have strong personal traits, not necessarily, I am not saying top of the line talent, but personal traits in terms of their preparation, their toughness, their ability to focus and play the defense or the offense or do what is called for in a particular situation and as a coach you need that.

Q: You mentioned the second half of the Jets game there are so many situations that you just can't duplicate in practice, how much did that contribute to the growth of this team?

BB: It is like that every week. There are plays that you talk about maybe three, four, five weeks ago, maybe even back in training camp, you talk about plays and you just never know when they are going to happen, but when they do you just hope that you have enough background and everybody has enough recall that they can apply it as the situation comes up. One of the key plays in that game that didn't look like too much really was right there before the half when Otis broke up the pass to I think it is was [Santana] Moss there that would have given [John] Hall a shot at a long field goal, I mean he turned around and made that 50 yarder. Only a few yards in a key situation or a field goal, it is a few yards and you either make a field goal attempt or don't allow one. Those key plays like that are situational, they are one-time things. It might not come up again for another month, but when it does it will be important then and that's the time of year we are at and those are the kind of plays that occur. We try to rep as many things as we can during the week…here is what we do during the week, we rep as many things as we can during the week that we think are going to come up. We know Cleveland is going to play their quarter coverage, we are going to run plenty of passes against that, but there are going to be some situational plays that we will try to hit on Thursday, we will try to hit on Friday whether it be goal line, red area, two-minute and then we will go back and review some of them on Saturday. Plays like the end of the game plays, the Hail Mary's and things like that that. Who knows when that is going to come up again. We have been practicing it, fortunately we haven't had to use it, but if we do at some point we have to be ready to execute it. It is kind of a constant reminding and a lot of times you just cover the play mentally. You don't go out there and run it, but you just go over it with the players and show them the diagrams and say, 'Look if this comes up remember here is how we are going to do it, the way we have been doing it in the past,' and there were a lot of those.

Q: I know there is a lot of football left, but has this been a personally satisfying year for you so far with all the hurdles on and off of the field that you have had to clear?

BB: We are 7-5, we are in third place in the division, I mean big deal. There is a long way to go, there is a long way to go and I am certainly not satisfied with where we are now and I hope nobody else around here is either or I am pretty sure that this will be the end of the road. We are in a position to do something, but we haven't really done anything. 7-5 puts us in position, that's it. It is the last quarter of the season for us. We are in the homestretch and it will all depend on how we finish. Nobody will remember the first twelve games they will really remember the last four. I think we saw that with the Red Sox. I mean that is the way that it is. I remember in June we were talking about the Red Sox and we were talking about the Mets and by the end of August everything had shifted. In baseball it is not about where you are in June it is about where you are in September. In football it is not about where you are at the beginning of December, it is where you are at the end of December and that is really what it is about. Look at the college teams, one week you have got a college team that is in the top one or two playing for the National Championship, the next week they are in the Motor City Bowl or whatever it is and that is the way it goes.

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