New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.
BB: Our thoughts are with Matt and his family during this time. From a football standpoint, we will just handle it with the other guys like we normally do in any other situation. Otherwise, we are getting ready for Oakland. It is good to be out here. I hear we are missing some good weather back east.
Q: Have you spoken with Matt Cassel?
BB: I have.
Q: Do you expect him to start on Sunday? Has he indicated what he would like to do?
BB: Right now, we are just taking it day to day.
Q: So you don't know when he will rejoin the team?
BB: He's going to take care of what he has to do.
Q: With all that is going on, how tough is this blow as far as trying to get ready for a football game without Matt?
BB: Well, it's bigger than football. I have been through that during the season as well. It's a personal situation that you just have to deal with. As I said, our thoughts and prayers are with him.
Q: Do you have an update on Tedy Bruschi?
BB: Tedy Bruschi will not practice today.
Q: Is he in town?
BB: We will do the injury report at the end of the day like we always do.
Q: On practicing at San Jose State University for a second time…
BB: It is a good setup here. San Jose is great. They have been very accommodating. Right now, it's really just up to us to have a good week of preparation and practice and get ready to go for Sunday. But, I think we have everything we need here.
Q: On the Raiders' close games against AFC East opponents this season…
BB: They are tight. The Buffalo game they had a nine point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. Buffalo beat them at the end, [they won in] overtime against the Jets and in the Miami game [the Dolphins] kicked a field goal at the end. They are very competitive. We know how tough this division is. The Raiders are a real physical football team. I don't care what their record is. They have a lot of talent. We have seen them play well and have a lot of respect for them.
Q: What are some of the pros and cons of staying out on the West Coast as opposed to going back home?
BB: It is just a matter of crisscrossing the country two more times in a period of six days, or five days, whatever it was, so we would be coming back out on Friday. We just felt like we get more rest and more production staying here and I think it worked out well last time and that's why we did it again.
Q: Are you guys San Francisco 49er fans again this week? They have done pretty well for you the last two weeks.
BB: We can't control anything that anybody else does. We always root against the AFC East teams, you know that. But, we just worry about what we are doing and let everything else...however it happens, it happens. We just try to control what we can control. That will be to play well on Sunday against Oakland.
Q: What have you seen from Nnamdi Asomugha this year? Teams have been avoiding him, what is it that makes him so good?
BB: He really does everything well. He is probably as complete of a corner as we have faced all year: excellent run force, good tackler, physical guy, long arms, good ball skills. He plays good press coverage. He reads the quarterback well. He plays the ball well. He is a hard guy to throw over with his height and length. He really has no weaknesses. He matches up well against everybody. He does a good job in the running game, and as a tackler and in run force.
Q: On Oakland's offense…
BB: Power. A physical team. A lot of running backs. They have great depth at that position. All those guys are good, and they run a lot of play action to go with it. So, you get the running game play action and the vertical receivers - they have great speed at that position. The tight end, [Zach] Miller has had a great year for them. He is an outstanding player. He reminds me a lot of [Antonio] Gates in terms of his ball skills. It seems like he is always open. He comes down with the ball in a crowd or in tight coverage. So, they have a big offensive line, good backs, big quarterbacks - guys that can throw the ball down the field, pass receivers [and a] real good tight end. They do a good job of mixing up the formations and running the ball, running the stretch and zone runs and you have to fit on them good defensively or those backs get through there and it's a big play. It is similar to what we saw from Denver in terms of the offensive scheme.
Q: On the San Diego vs. Oakland game…
BB: San Diego played well against them. They sure did. They played real well against them. They did a great job all the way around.
Q: How has Kevin O'Connell progressed as the backup quarterback through the course of the season?
BB: I think Kevin learns every week. He takes advantage of the opportunities that he gets in the meetings and on the practice field. He is a smart guy. Football is important to him. He works hard at it and I think he gets better on a daily basis. He's gotten better through the course of the year with the opportunities that he's had, which have been limited. But, he's always ready to go when we put him in there.
Q: Have Junior Seau and Rosevelt Colvin felt the effects of getting a bigger workload than anyone would have expected?
BB: I think they will be alright. They seem to be in a good frame of mind this morning. I think they will be alright.
Q: You were out here 10 years ago interviewing with Al Davis. What were your impressions of that meeting and of the Raiders organization back then?
BB: It was a pretty interesting interview to be talking X's and O's with an owner. Al's had six decades in the NFL, so he has as much history and knowledge about the game, what he wants and what's going on in the game during that time as anybody. We talked a lot about strategic football, X's and O's, as well as overall organizational stuff, and personnel and philosophy. It was great to sit down and talk with him. We shared some views and conversations on different aspects of technical football. It wasn't a big social interview. It was much more detailed and specific to football.
Q: It was more chatting X's and O's than actually interviewing for a job?
BB: Well, no, we talked about a lot of organizational things: putting a staff together, putting a team together, different ways of doing things, how to organize it and how to build an organization. He shared what his views were with me and I gave him what some of my thoughts were at that time.
Q: This is Randy Moss' first game back and those Raider Nation fans can be tough. How do you think he will be received?
BB: I don't know, probably about the same way I will. I am sure they will be happy to see us.
Q: Has anything changed for you up front defensively, if Vince [Wilfork] and Ty [Warren] can't play this week?
BB: We do the same thing we try to do every week. We try to put together the best combination of people and schemes that we can against the opponent that we are facing. This week we will do the best we can to try to stop Oakland's offense. That is a big challenge. They do a lot of things well, but we will try to put together what we think is best to try and match up against it. That's all we can do.
Q: What about the inability to rotate guys through on defense due to injuries?
BB: We will do what we can do.
Q: How pleased are you with where you stand at this point in the season?
BB: We are really not thinking about that too much. It doesn't make any difference where we are right now. It only matters where things are at the finish line and right now the only thing we can do anything about is the Oakland game, so we are just going to put all of our energy and effort into this game and try to be as competitive as we can on Sunday against the Raiders. We will worry about next week next week and whatever is in the past is in the past. That's already in the books, so whatever it is it is. We just have to try to control what we can do this week and that's all we are thinking about.
Q: Is San Jose becoming like a second home for you guys?
BB: Yeah, kind of. It seems like we have spent a good part of our season out here. One quarter of our games have been on the West Coast. We have spent two solid weeks out here, so it does. It feels like home. You know your way around, know where the bus driver is supposed to turn and recognize all the little spots. It's been fine, it's been good.
Q: Any spots in particular you guys have gotten to know?
BB: I know that hotel like my house. I have the floor plan down.