New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, December 5, 2008.
BB: I know everybody got the transaction. We added Junior Seau to the roster to give us a little bit of depth at linebacker where it was getting kind of thin. We are finishing up our preps on Seattle. They're a very good situational team: third down, read area, two minute. Matt Hasselbeck has been tremendous in those situations. So that will be a big challenge for us as well as going against Seattle's defense, which is a lot of pressure in those situations. We have a lot of things to work on so we will wrap it up here this afternoon and head out west.
Q: When you add Rosie Colvin and Junior Seau at this stage in the season, how much of it is because of their knowledge of the system?
BB: It definitely helps. It doesn't take them too long to come in, learn what we are doing and pick up on the things that have been changed from the last time they were here. Probably 90 percent of it is the same and 10 percent is different — new or specific to this week — that they haven't done before. That definitely helps.
Q: Will Junior Seau travel with you today?
BB: Yes. That's a lot of miles for him. He will be on the plane.
Q: Is it disappointing to lose Adalius Thomas?
BB: Yes, it sure is.
Q: Can you talk about the process between when Adalius Thomas got hurt to when you put him on Injured Reserve?
BB: We wanted to monitor the situation, get all the information and take as long as we could. We felt like, at this point, we needed to make a move for the team. It was probably a long shot for him anyway, but we just couldn't keep it open much longer.
Q: How much of a boost can Junior Seau and Rosevelt Colvin give the pass rush?
BB: Well, I don't know. Junior hasn't even practiced yet. We will see how it goes. I am not saying it can or it can't; I just don't know. We will take a look at it in practice and make a determination going into the game, evaluate it during the game and go from there.
Q: In terms of conditioning not many athletes can go from off the field to NFL ready in a short amount of time.
BB: It depends on how much they are asked to do. We will just have to see. I can't tell you exactly how that is going to go, although I know that we don't have a lot of depth at that position. So there is a possibility that they might have to play more than any of us think that they will. But I don't know.
Q: How has Rosie been acclimating out at practice?
BB: Good, fine. He has taken some reps. He has gotten a lot of work with the scout team and has done a little bit of work after practice getting back into the calls. It is playing football. You just can't play football unless you play football. You can run around the track and do 500 sit-ups and jumping jacks, but it's not playing football. No matter what kind of condition any athlete is in, no matter how many balls somebody throws to him or he catches, it is different when the other 21 guys are on the field and you are running a specific system against another opponent. That is all reactionary quickness, anticipation and communication with your teammates. That's what makes football football and there is no other way to simulate that other than to actually do it. That is what he has been doing and that's what he needs to do. That's what all our players need to do, but especially a new player. That's the adjustment they need to make. Conditioning is important, I am not trying to minimize that, but at the same time you could be the greatest decathlete of all time but that doesn't mean you are ready to play football. Football is football. It is not just conditioning, it's all the things that go with football as a team sport and there is a lot.
Q: Is the biggest challenge mental or is it a combination of both?
BB: I think it is a combination. I think it's reactions really. Not that guys that are experienced don't know what to do, they do know what to do, but seeing it and reacting to it as quickly as you have to do it at this level in this league is a lot different than running sprints. You see 21 other guys moving and that means you have to do a certain thing, whatever your job is on that play. So seeing it, reacting to it, being able to get the jump on it and anticipate it; those are all the things that come with repetitions and experience. I think we have plenty of experience there but how quickly those reactions, anticipation and communications will come. I am sure it will come, but I am sure it will be better next week than it is this week. We will see how it is this week if that opportunity comes up.
Q: Do you find that rookies hit a wall typically when their college seasons are over?
BB: I don't know that there is any formula for it. I think they hit it, but I don't think you say whether it is this day or that day. I think it depends on the player and the circumstances he's in. Some guys it affects more than others. I don't think it affects everyone the same. The season grinds everyone down: players, coaches, experienced guys, inexperienced guys. It is a long season, it is a lot of work and you have to keep up the pace and that is challenging. For somebody who hasn't been through it before, I think that it is always a little bit tougher the first year, whether it's a first year NFL coach or first year NFL player. You don't really appreciate it until you actually go through it and you don't really know what you are going to go through until you are there doing it. No matter how much everyone tells you it is going to be like this or that, until you actually experience it and learn to deal with it yourself internally from a stamina and concentration standpoint, I don't think you actually know exactly how to do it. You have more confidence and better understanding the next time around or in some of our cases, many times around.
Q: How is it for the coach's to go from having Gary Guyton, Pierre Woods and Jerod Mayo on the field at the same time to having Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel on the field at the same time?
BB: It is different interacting with every player. I am not saying it is good or bad; it is just different interacting with these three players or those three players, however you want to switch them around or change the names. It is like dealing with any other group of people. You deal with five people; you deal with five other people and it is not quite the same. It can still be effective. It can still be functional. It will work, but it might not be exactly the same. That is the way it is on the football field. Dealing with the offensive line and is not like dealing with the receivers. Dealing with the linebackers isn't like dealing with the defensive backs and different people within those groups. There are different ways to communicate with them. Some people understand words better than pictures, pictures better than words, diagrams better than film. You try to be as effective of a teacher as you can in whatever the situation is whether it is in the classroom, on the field or during a game.
Q: You run a lot of defensive packages from week to week. Assuming you could have gotten by this week without Rosie or Junior but does this give you a little more flexibility?
BB: I wouldn't say it is as much flexibility as it is depth. Again, one day ago, Junior wasn't here so it wasn't like he was included in that game plan at all. It's even the same thing with Rosie. Until you actually get out there, see what they can do; and until you get confident in what you are going to be asking them to do, it is hard to count on someone to do something in a game plan situation until you get to that point. To me, they are here more for their depth. I am sure they can contribute. I think in the short term you need to take it step by step and see where things are. I think that will change on a day by day basis or in a shorter time frame because you don't have the learning curve but you still have to go out there and show you are productive.
Q: In talking with Junior, is his enthusiasm the same as always?
BB: He hasn't changed a bit. It was great to see him yesterday. Junior is Junior. It is great to have him. I think everyone appreciates his presence, his passion for the game and his passion for preparation, which is another aspect that is very important that I think he does extremely well, as good as anybody.
Q: Does that help this time of year? It is late in the year and maybe the club just needs a little genuine passion for the game?
BB: Sure, but I think Junior is good for your football team anytime of the year: September, November, January, February or July. He is just good for your football team period. He is a good player. He is a good person and he loves the game. I think that enthusiasm and passion carries over to everybody who is around him: players, coaches and people in the organization. He is a special guy and a special player. He brings a lot, he really does. It is pretty remarkable what he is doing and the fact that he played as much as he did last year and at his age, at this level it is pretty remarkable, especially at that position. I am lucky to have coached a couple guys like that: Clay Matthews and Junior. That is rare at that position. A lot of guys don't even make it until 30, let alone 40.
Q: How much do you appreciate the fact that you call him and he says, 'I want to play for you'?
BB: That is part of the whole makeup of Junior that is so phenomenal. He is ready to play football. He is a football player. You look up football player up in the dictionary; Junior Seau, Troy Brown, they just define it in every sense of the word and that is part of it. You could go on and on. Just about everything he has does is exemplary and that would be part of it. It was one call, short conversation, he called me back and it was done. He went from the surfboard to the football field. He could probably make that transition better than any player that has ever played and back again in the other direction. I asked the players some questions today about their preparation for Seattle, what they do in certain situations, who plays what, what their tendencies are and I asked Junior who we were playing.