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Bill Belichick Press Conference

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



BB: There are no changes on the injury report. Whatever you need, I will give you.

Q: Can you talk about the play of Anthony Pleasant and Bobby Hamilton this year?

BB: They have done a good job, they have really done a good job. It is easy to talk about them. Bobby came in and gave us a great year last year. A lot of production, led the league in tackles for a defensive linemen and was a good leader on the team, was a real consistent player. Anthony has pretty much come in and done the same thing on the other side this year. He has had real good production. He has played strong and those two guys have really been consistent for us and you know what, they are like that as people too. Every day whether it is March, April, July, November, you know what you are going to get out of those guys every single day. You can count on it.

Q: These guys have played for you in the past and you kind of knew what you were getting yourself into?

BB: Right and the big thing was that we knew how consistent they were and what they were going to be. I mean we are not talking about Reggie White here, but they are both good, solid, consistent guys that have been very dependable, have been in the system and we know that they can execute things that we want them to do and they both have some versatility. Anthony has played inside for us on the sub, he has played outside. We have used him a little bit at left end, usually he is on the right side, but he can play a couple of different spots. We have moved Bobby around a little bit too. Bobby usually stays on the left, but in a pinch…we played him inside a little bit earlier in the year with Willie [McGinest] and Anthony played outside. So they have given us a real good year and good production and also a little bit of versatility.

Q: What can you say that Bryan Cox and Roman Phifer have brought to the defense?

BB: I think as players they have a totally different style of play. Bryan is a physical, inside, take-on type of player almost a little bit like a defensive linemen playing on his feet type of guy where Roman is more of a strong safety playing linebacker. I mean he is athletic, not that he is a strong safety, but he has that kind of athleticism for coverage and shows a lot of speed off of the edge on the pass rush and is a real active and a player that covers a lot of ground. I think from a leadership and a veteran standpoint Bryan is much more outspoken. We all know he will say what is on his mind and I think he is a guy that is very committed and vocal and dedicated to winning. I think that comes across. Roman is a little quieter. I think Roman probably has just as much leadership as Bryan does, but it is just in a different way. It is a quieter, more leader by example preparation, hustle, play with a lot of effort on the field. Those things come across in Roman's play. A lot of those things come across in Bryan's play too. His physical play and his toughness, but he is just more of a vocal guy.

Q: Do you find it interesting that this season what in the past would have been looked at as your core group of players Drew [Bledsoe], Terry [Glenn], Willie [McGinest], Ted [Johnson] and so on that you have done this well without necessary contributions from them, it is no longer that one group that the team is counting on it is more of a group effort from everyone?

BB: Yeah and I think we have been talking about that all year, that kind of as each week goes along that this team really becomes more of a team. I mean they have become a team through some difficult circumstances through the course of the year. They have really had to bond together for a lot of different reasons, but then kind of as each week goes by different guys are stepping up, different guys…there are new players that are making the "big play" of the game or "big plays" of the game each week are different guys and that is creating a real good team situation. One of the things that I felt like last year and I said it many times the biggest weakness of that team was the lack of depth. We had very poor depth on that team and that was the number one thing we wanted to address in the offseason from a personnel standpoint was more depth on the team and we have gotten a lot of contributions from a lot of different people this year and that has certainly helped carry us. You are right it hasn't been just one or two guys, it has been a lot of people chipping in.

Q: For Buffalo how does it change their defense to be without Pat Williams in the middle of their line, obviously he is a big guy that is disruptive for them?

BB: Yeah he is a good player. Ron Edwards finished the game for him last week, the Carolina [game] and Edwards is a guy that at Texas A&M…is a real athletic player. He is strong, he is a physical guy and those rookies got in the first game against us KO [Kendrick Office], [Tyrone] Robertson and [Aaron] Schobel and we had a lot of trouble with those guys. [Leif] Larsen is playing the three technique who is a second year player, a kid out of UTEP, so they have had a lot of young players on the defensive line come in there and really I think give them some energy and they gave them a lot of plays in our game. Those guys played well and now they have Hanson back. I mean they held us to 160 yards until the last minute of the game or whatever it was. So that defensive line, those young guys did a good job. Edwards hasn't played as much. He played a lot in the Carolina game. Pat Williams got hurt on maybe the, I think it was maybe the third play of the game so Edwards played the rest of the way and he did a good job.

Q: You had five receivers activated last week do you usually prefer to go with four?

BB: Yeah, that is what it comes down to. It comes down to your fifth receiver, your fifth back, your third tight end, your seventh linebacker, your tenth db and depending on special teams, your scheme on offense, your scheme on defense or maybe a couple of mix and that type of thing, that is where those decisions come from.

Q: Did you do it last week because Terry [Glenn] was tenuous coming back?

BB: Well no, what really gave it to us last week was Fred Coleman. I mean I know everybody talks about the catch he made against the Jets, but he also was in on a couple of tackles on special teams and he did it again against Cleveland he made a couple of plays there in the kicking game in our kickoff coverage which as we all know has not been a real strong point for us. So we want to keep him involved in the kicking game and Charles and Terry both played at wide receiver in the game so it was a case where we just thought that Fred could give us a little bit more in the kicking game than wherever the next guy was coming from. You guys thought it was the long pass against the Jets that did it with Coleman, but it wasn't, it was the tackles on the kickoff team, but really that's…

Q: And that goes week-to-week?

BB: Yeah I think it is week-to-week in terms of…we are not trying to decide whether to activate [Richard] Seymour or [Tom] Brady you know what I mean. We know those guys are going to be at the game, we know Antowain Smith is going to be at the game, no it is going to come down to those same five, six, seven guys a) based on injuries and then b) based on the contribution that they can make either on the offensive or defensive side of the ball as a role player, as a situational player or in the kicking game. Brad [Seely], depending on what he is doing, sometimes you would rather have another returner, another ball handler, sometimes you need another linebacker or tight end or bigger kind of guy to match-up against the particular scheme that they are using, sometimes you need another smaller, faster guy and if you are going against a team like say St. Louis or Miami that uses a lot of four wide receiver or St. Louis that uses, you are in sub defense most of the game anyway then there is a tendency to take another defensive back because you are just one injury closer to being knocked out of it. So you carry a little more depth in the secondary against St. Louis then you would maybe against another team that you are not playing as much sub defense against. Those are the considerations and every week we try to talk about them on Tuesday when we just are beginning to setup the practice schedule and the game plan and all of that. We talk about, 'Okay we have to inactivate eight guys,' really it is seven because you have the third quarterback, we have to inactivate seven guys and usually three or four of them are no brainers. They are the guys hurt that can't play or it is somebody that we know has the least value and then there are three or four guys right there on the bubble that each week you have to talk about, 'Okay what is this guy going to be able to do, what is that guy going to be able to do?' and then you take it into the week and see how practice goes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then sometimes you go right to game time where you say, 'If Ted Johnson plays then so and so doesn't or if Ted Johnson doesn't play then this guy plays or Willie McGinest or…

Q: One guy that has been inactive a lot after being active is Leonard Myers. Did he fall off at all, did he hit the wall?

BB: Well Leonard was playing earlier and he got a good opportunity when Antwan Harris got hurt and missed about three or four games there about a third of the way through the season. Antwan has come back. Antwan has done a good job. He has really helped us on kickoff coverage. He has done a good job on punt return. He did a nice job last week against Cleveland on several of the returns, especially on Troy's long one there. So Antwan has got a little more experience and he has been able to just for the situations that they are in we just felt like he has been able to give us a little more value. That's not to say that Leonard doesn't, but you can only have so many guys there, but Antwan coming back has impacted that one. Hakim [Akbar] being injured and then Ben Kelly that got into a kickoff return situation there for a couple of weeks where we were trying to use him in the kickoff return phase…So it was Kelly, Myers, Antwan, Akbar was inactive a few games early in the year, I mean that is the conversation, that is what it comes down to.

Q: We have also seen a lot of Terrance Shaw lately?

BB: Yes, Terrance and Terrell [Buckley] have kind of both taken over a good solid role in our sub defenses. We have been using a lot more sub defenses in the last five, six games then we did in the earlier part of the season and Terrance and Terrell have both, sometimes they are on the field together, sometimes it is one or the other working with Otis [Smith] and Ty [Law], so it depends a little bit on what we are doing and how we match-up there, but yeah, both of those guys have contributed for us a lot on defense and then that has led to some special teams opportunities too being on the return teams and Terrance has covered kickoffs for us. Yeah, Terrance has matched-up against some of the bigger receivers and Terrell has done a real good job in the slot. I think he has had a couple of sacks and interceptions playing in there and he has made some big plays for us.

Q: Earlier in the week you touched on the fact that you probably had more injuries than anybody in the league this year…

BB: I think we have more guys on injured reserve than any other team in the league.

Q: Have you ever been around this many injuries, especially with key guys?

BB: I don't know, I try not to rate those kinds of things. I don't know you just keep going. I mean each week you just keep going, you kind of don't sit back and whine about who you don't have you just take a look at who you do have and if you have to go out and sign Fred Coleman, if you have to go out and sign Chris Sullivan, if you have to go out and sign whoever it is then you go out there and get them and do the best you can with them and put them in there.

Q: Because you have had more guys on IR than anybody in the league, you've signed a lot of people later in the year than you would have normally?

BB: Yeah. So in other words…right the total number of players on the roster is, yeah I think we're at probably the top of the league there because we have had a couple extra guys all the way along. I am saying relative to everybody else. We had some preseason Injured Reserve guys like [Andy] Katzenmoyer and Ray Hill and guys like that. We had [Arther] Love who was on PUP. So that's another guy that we were carrying and then that's gradually built up. You know Marty [Moore] got hurt early in the year and Curtis Jackson, [Adrian] Klemm. I mean we can go through the list, but it seems like every week or two there has been another guy that's gone to the IR. You know we've had various cases of people that were kind of on our roster, but not actively playing for one circumstance or another. Yeah, that number is high.

Q: I wanted to ask you about some of the motivational techniques you have used, whether it is the horse race or the anchor…?

BB: Maybe we should try out some cartoons.

Q: Where did you learn that or was it something that was used on you when you were a younger athlete?

BB: I just think in sports, just generally in sports, that if you see a competitive competition in virtually any sport, there's always a good lesson to be learned from it. And some of the biggest events sometimes it's just the lesson is a little more profound. You know sometimes in football it's hard to, not hard, but it's just that it gets a little bit stale. You point out the same things day after day after day. You know here we are trying to run this pass or here we are trying to stop this play or whatever. You know sometimes I think it's good to change the flavors a little bit and show a basketball competitive situation of a guy hustling or using his time outs or a team coming back or whatever happens, take it to another sport where it's not a direct commentary on one of your players that's made a mistake or a situation that you are involved in and been over, at least in your mind numerous times. You bring in something fresh and a lot of times I think I can take a situation like that and they don't know how it is going to come out. You throw up a horse race and I mean how many guys have watched the Breeder's Cup? Who's going to win? Well, [Bryan] Cox knows maybe, all right, but I don't know if anybody else would know.

Q: Who finds those? Do you keep your eyes open for them?

BB: Let me tell you, when you're a head coach in this league, probably in any league, college, high school, but when you are a head coach in the NFL, you can just be sitting at your desk, minding your own business, not bothering anybody and stuff just drops into your lap. Stuff just drops into your lap sometimes. Somebody said something, somebody writes you a letter, somebody in your network of people that you talk to just happens to mention, 'Hey, did you see this' or 'Did you hear about that guy' or 'What did you think of this' or that type of thing. You know a player might mention it or another coach might mention it. Not even looking for anything, but it just falls into your lap.

Q: Say for example burying a football, you buried the football after the Miami game?

BB: Well that was one of those where that was such a terrible game and we were at the point in the season where we had just beaten Indianapolis. We were just kind of feeling like, 'OK, we are getting going here a little bit. And then the Miami game and everybody was down and I just felt like, that was just something I felt like, 'Hey we need to put this behind us.' You know we can talk about, 'All right let's put it behind us,' but I think when you visually do something and actually take the box, put it in the ground cover it up with dirt. There's something there that you can tangibly get a hold of it and say, 'It's done,' and step on it too. You know and kick it. It's done. We are finished with that game. And I just felt like we needed to move on from that one. So that was just one of those things that…one that sometimes you've just got a feeling that you need to do something and you do it. Sometimes you need to yell at your team. Sometimes you need to tell them, 'Hey fellas it's not that bad. You guys are doing a good job.'

Q: Are you doing more of that now this year as opposed to previous years?

BB: I don't know. You know we've won a couple games so all of a sudden it looks like a big deal. We were 5-11 last year and we did that and everybody thought it was pretty stupid the way the team was handled or whatever.

Q: Is the Shackleton's one…I mean you went to the theatre and saw that?

BB: Yeah that was one that…you know I never even heard of Shackleton. I didn't know anything.

Q: Who told you about that?

BB: We just went to the…it's a movie. I mean there are a lot of movies. We just went to the movies. Actually I think one of our kids, I think one of my kids read the book in school or read part of the book in school or they did the story in school or something. Then the movie came out, so it was OK, we have some interest in the story so let's go see it and I love those IMAX things.

Q: Did you take a poll? The players couldn't have been like, 'We have to see that?"

BB: Oh, no no.

Q: They probably thought it was a Shaquille O'Neal movie?

BB: Yeah, right. That was the other one that was playing.

But that is what took me to it. And our family went to see it and after I saw it I said, 'Man this is a great story. This is a tremendous story.' No, what happened at training camp was it's the monotony of training camp and the rookies every couple nights we'd tell them, 'All right, look. Wednesday night [Richard] Seymour you get your group together and it'd better be good. And if it's not then we have meetings at six the next morning and they can work on that stuff. So it went pretty good so they did it one night and the next I just made some arrangements down at the Providence theatre and said, 'OK, you guys did a good job last night. I'll do the entertainment tonight. Get on the bus.' We went to the IMAX. Look, it was air-conditioned, it was cushioned seats and it wasn't watching football tapes. So in training camp you can't beat that.

Q: What did the group do, Seymour?

BB: The night before? Oh, you know the usual stuff. Make fun of the coaches, sing their fight song, the ones that know them.

Q: Is there one motivational thing that you or somebody else did that just didn't work?

BB: I don't know, I might have told this story before, but the thing I remember as much as anything else was our high school coach, who was a great coach. He is in the Maryland Hall of Fame, Al Larrimore. He's had tremendous records and there were…when we started football practice there was like 200 kids out for football, that was the start. So I mean he had to cut 100 guys just to even get down to a manageable number. So the first few days are pretty rough just trying to run guys off. It was pretty hot and humid. It is always humid there around the Chesapeake Bay. We were practicing three times a day and the field was all dirt. It's not like today where your kids go to a practice or a game and everybody's got their own water, everybody's got their own cooler, everybody's got their own everything. This was when there was one bucket of water. There was a ladle in the bucket and everybody drank out of the bucket and passed around the ladle during the two-minute break that we had in practice. So it's about three-quarters of the way through practice. We are getting a break. Everybody is dying and he calls everybody up. He tells us how bad we look, how bad we practiced and kicks the bucket over. All the water goes into the dirt. There's one big pile of mud there. It couldn't have hit any harder than if he had just taken a baseball bat and smashed…like oh, you know you are just waiting for that one sip of water for two hours and there it is right there in pile of mud. He said, 'You guys stink, you don't deserve it.' Ok, back to practice. A big flop? I don't know. I'd have to think about that one. Try that next Friday.

Q: That [David] Nugent fight?

BB: What Nugent fight?

Q: The one last year?

BB: What fight? When was that?

Q: That worked though, didn't it?

BB: What did?

Q: Who was that? It was before Cincinnati?

BB: Somebody intentionally started a fight? Is that what you are saying? Oh, come on.

Q: Going after Lawyer [Milloy]?

BB: That's news to me.

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