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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed May 29 - 04:00 PM | Thu May 30 - 09:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talks to the press about the team's readiness for the game on Sunday.



BB: I am yours. I am just here to try to help you out today. Whatever you need I will try to give you.

Q: Isn't that what you do every day?

BB: Well sometimes I have stuff that I try to give. I don't really have much today, so whatever you need.

Q: How about the tight ends in your offense, I don't think you threw to them last week?

BB: It has been frustrating. We have not gotten production out of that position. It hurt us last year. It was a real emphasis to try to improve it. We drafted two guys and we don't have either one of them on the field. It is what it was last year and the production has been about the same or maybe a little less.

Q: All of the lists are somewhat confusing, Arther Love is on the PUP Reserve List, is that right, what does that mean?

BB: Yeah, what it means is that after the Indianapolis game, I think it is the 23rd, I forget exactly what the date is, but after the Indianapolis game for the next six weeks, any of those six weeks we can activate him to practice for a three week period. It could be the first week, it could be the third week. It is the same thing we did with Todd Rucci last year. He was in the exact same category. Then at the end of that three week period or earlier if we want to we can either activate him in which case we would have to release somebody and put him on the 53-man roster or we could place him on injured reserve which would make his status on injured reserve the same as everybody else. So basically what you have is a guy who isn't participating in training camp goes on PUP Reserve and then after the sixth week of the season you get a three week window where you can see where he is and then either activate him or put him on injured reserve or you could always release him.

Q: Any chance of him getting back on the roster?

BB: Yeah I think so. I think so.

Q: Going back to the Miami game you didn't even throw a pass to the tight end, at least I don't think you did?

BB: I don't think we did either.

Q: Is that something were there are plays called for them or is it one of those things that you see in practice that they are not getting open, it is not a viable thing so you don't even think of focusing your offense there?

BB: Any time you run a pass pattern you have however many guys you have in the pattern three, four, sometimes five, whatever it is. Then the quarterback has a read based on the coverage on what the progression is. So you usually want to give the quarterback at least two receivers to choose from and sometimes you give him three. So he looks to the X, the Y and the halfback, or the Z the Y and the fullback, or the Z to the fullback or whatever the read is on the particular play. So whichever of those options he has, that's the progression he takes. Where the coverage is lighter, that's where he tries to throw the ball. So the only way a guy's not part of the pattern is if he's blocking. If he's in the pattern, then he could be part of the pattern, depending on the coverage, and that's the quarterback's decision, based on the coverage, where to go. Part of that is a function of the receiver being open, part of that's a function of the way the coverage matches the pattern. But it's not that you go into the game and you say okay, tell the quarterback, 'Look, Tom, under no circumstances do I want you to throw the ball to the tight end.' We're not saying that.

Q: But you can call plays to the tight end.

BB: But there are only a few plays you can call that are specifically designed to a certain guy. You can call a screen and there's only one guy that's going to catch a screen. Or maybe you call a quick out to a receiver and the guys inside are blocking. You're either going to hit the quick out or you're going to throw it away, that type of thing. So if you have a real productive player, then that's the type of guy you want to get the ball to and maybe you would design some plays to specifically get him the ball. But with the type of production we're getting at tight end, we haven't seen the kind of production where you sit there on Tuesday and you say, 'Based on plays that have been made here, we really need to try to get the ball to this player three times in a game.' We just haven't seen that.

Q: Are they getting open?

BB: I don't see them open.

Q: Have you used them more in protection than in the past?

BB: Sometimes they're in protection and sometimes they're not. There hasn't been a conscious effort to say that we really want to use our tight ends in protection. We have had a couple of good rushers, Abraham, Jason Taylor, where we've had them bump and sometimes stay in and help on a good pass rusher like that. But I don't think any more than normal.

Q: Based on that you have limited plays where they may be the first option?

BB: That's right. There are probably fewer plays where they're one of the first one or two options, that's right.

Q: What's your comfort level with Grey [Ruegamer] stepping in for Joe [Andruzzi]?

BB: I think Grey did a decent job in the Miami game. It wasn't perfect, but it was decent. Grey is a strong guy. He's a physical guy and he's an aggressive player, which I like. We talked to Grey about his judgement. It's great to hit guys before the whistle blows and give extra effort and all of that. It's another thing to get 15-yard penalties doing it. He had two good blocks in the Miami game that were similar to the plays he's been penalized on, but they were earlier and therefore they were good plays, and that's really what we want to try to get out of that. But he hasn't had the experience playing guard that Joe has. I think Joe was obviously ahead of him, but I think he did a solid job in there against Miami and I think he can give you a good, solid level. I don't think it's a position where it would be a total breakdown. I don't feel that way at all.

Q: Did Grey learn from that Indy experience?

BB: Well, I hope so. I would hope he would learn from the Washington game or the Tampa game, I mean it happened in preseason too. So it was certainly explained to him.

Q: How difficult is it when you have been trying to build continuity with the offensive line and this happens?

BB: I think one of the most encouraging things this week is that Joe's injury doesn't appear to be that long-term and we should get him back… it will probably be a game time decision this week with him. I think we have a chance this week. It's probably a long shot, but we have a chance. And of course the prospects will be even better next week.

Q: Do you have anyone prepared to be the third quarterback?

BB: It would be pretty desperate. Probably Kevin [Faulk].

Q: Do you have a QB handling the scout team in practice?

BB: Damon [Huard]'s handling the scout team.

Q: Did you break out some old high school footage of Kevin throwing the ball?

BB: Yeah, right. Yup, running some options. If it comes to that, we'll have about two plays in the offense.

Q: Single wing?

BB: Yeah, that's about right.

Q: Are you close to making a definitive decision on Terry Glenn yet?

BB: I was wondering when the first Terry Glenn question would come. There's only one allowed. We only take one a day. I think I would put it at better than 50-50 that he would play. We're not going to make a final decision on that until after today's practice and we see him for the full week and make sure there's no muscle tightness or residual effects of practicing for the first time in a while.

Q: Did he get through yesterday okay?

BB: Yes. It was okay. He's a little rusty. He's a little rusty, but we all know that Terry has skill, and he displays that as well, too. We won't make a final decision until we get through today's practice. I think injury-wise we've got a couple of game time decisions with Bruschi, with Andruzzi. Leonard Myers, I don't see him playing. Bledsoe obviously is out.

Q: What about Matt Stevens?

BB: Matt Stevens is probably a game time decision too.

Q: JR Redmond?

BB: JR… I don't think JR's going to make it.

Q: Is that worse than you thought?

BB: Yeah, in fact I was talking to JR about it yesterday and I think it's taken a bit longer than both of us thought it would, because he hurt the ankle midway through the [Jets] game somewhere on that draw play, and then he continued to play and just kind of shook it off and all that, and then after the game it felt a little sore, but we've all had sprained ankles before. It just got worse after that and didn't really get a whole lot better the first week, not as quickly as we expected it would or he expected it would. He's running this week, though and he's certainly a whole lot closer than he was the week after the Jet game after it happened. Even after the game talking to him in the locker room and coming in on Monday, none of us thought it would be what it was, but he's really had trouble getting through it.

Q: Has Kevin's play taken away a sense of urgency for Redmond to come back or do they have different styles?

BB: Well, they're a little bit different player, but Kevin's stepped in and done a nice job. I think he's been a good compliment to Antowain [Smith]. They both have good running skills, but they're different styles. One guy's really a power runner and the other guy's a division cutback runner and a little better in the open field, and I think actually that compliment has worked out pretty well when we've had a chance to compliment them like in the Indianapolis game or a little bit in the Jet game.

Q: I assume that Willie McGinest is going to be a go, and if so, is there going to be a change in the way you scheme your defense? Without him, it's really more of a true 3-4 look.

BB: It's been hard and it continues to be challenging to really devote a lot to the scheme because of the uncertainty of his availability. I think as that becomes more dependable and more consistent, then we can do it, but it just hasn't established it long enough yet. That's not to say that that won't happen, but it's just hard to go into a game not really knowing how long the player's going to be available or even if he's going to be available. You say we're going to do this and do that and then you get to the game and you don't have him. Until we can feel a little more confident about the consistency for Willie, then I think it's really going to be hard to revolve the scheme around some of the things that we would normally try to do with him.

Q: Do you expect him to be 100 percent ever this year?

BB: I thought that the best he looked this year was before the Jet game. I thought he really looked like the player that we saw at times last year, and of course he didn't play in that game. I think that it's looked better this week, but it's still… I don't know. That's a good question. I really can't answer that. I really don't know. I'm not sure what we're going to see this year, because it isn't like he's been out the whole year, but he hasn't been in the whole year either. It's really been a roller coaster for him and for us.

Q: When Willie McGinest has been recovering from injury or injured, how tough is it to build a defense when he is an important part of it?

BB: It's been challenging. It definitely affects our pass rush, but I think it's almost gotten to the point now where we haven't had him for so much of the time both this year and last year, I think that now, defensively, the team looks at it like it's a bonus if we've got him. Instead of counting on him and being disappointed when he's not there, just go forward with the plans the way they are and then when we have an opportunity to insert him, then that would give us a lift. I think that's where we are now.

Q: Did you have any indication when he had surgery that it would linger this long?

BB: But it's not really a back problem. I mean it is, but it isn't. It's a residual…

Q: The surgery was on his back?

BB: Yeah. But the problems he has had haven't all been the same. I think it's been not just the back, but how it affects the rest of the body. It's a similar thing to what Robert Edwards went through. He never had any problem with his knee, but since there was an adjustment in his knee, and his knee wasn't the same in 2000 as it was in 1997 or 1998. That effected other parts of his body when he fully exerted them. That caused some residual strains or pulls or discomfort or whatever, and it was trying to get all that in alignment. I think Willie's going through a little bit of the same thing. His body has to make an adjustment to the change. It's not the surgery he had that keeps becoming the problem, but it's all the things that are tied into it when he fully exerts himself. They haven't for whatever reason held up 100 percent.

Q: Talk a little bit about Bobby Hamilton and his evolution from the Jets to where he is now.

BB: Bobby really didn't get much of an opportunity to play with the Jets. He played very infrequently and ever since he's come here and gotten an opportunity, he's totally taken advantage of it and capitalized. Bobby's one of the hardest working and most dedicated players that we have. Football's very important to him and he puts a lot… everybody puts a lot into it, but he really puts a lot into it not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically. And he plays that way. He plays with a passion. He plays with a lot of heart and a lot of effort. He does a good job of utilizing his strengths and his ability. He's not a real big guy for the position, kind of like Anthony Pleasant, but he plays with a lot of strength and he plays with good explosion. He's a good fundamental player. He's not out of position much. He can control his area even though he's not a 310-pound guy. He doesn't have that kind of build, but he plays probably a lot stronger than his weight is, as does Pleasant. In that respect, I think they're similar.

Q: Do you expect any activity before the trading deadline? Are you in a position to do something?

BB: I think that we'll be limited. I certainly don't see anything I would tell you that I think is going on, where we've got a couple of things cooking and one or two of them might work out, that type of thing. I don't see that. From the people that I've talked to in the league, I think that everybody's pretty much sitting tight with what they have. If you were to bring in a player, no matter what his salary is, half the teams in the league right now probably wouldn't be able to afford much more than a minimum salary player. And then to do that, who wants to give up a player that's at the minimum salary. I'm not saying minimum in terms of his worth, but from a cap standpoint. When you go to training camp, most teams in the league have spent all of their money. In other words, they don't go to training camp with two or three million dollars in the bank. They pretty much spend it all. Then what happens in training camp, what normally happens is how ever many rookies make your team, whether it's six, eight, 10, or whatever, obviously those guys are the lower paid players and they replace some guys who are making more money than that. So that creates a little bit of space in your cap. Then due to injuries and also when… you only count 51 players in the offseason, and once you get to the first game you count 53 players. The extra couple of players and any injuries you have, we had some guys like for example [Andy] Katzenmoyer, Ray Hill, Brock Williams, players like that. Then that money goes obviously directly against your cap, in addition to the 53 players that you're paying for. You usually go to camp with not a lot of money. You usually come out of camp with a little bit in anticipation that that will be used up with injuries during the year and practice squad players and generally that's what happens. I'd say that over half the league is probably in that category. There really isn't much there other than to get through the remainder of the year, pick up a guy here or there to replace an injured player, but there aren't a lot of teams that have a lot of camp money. The teams that do, and I think you're seeing some of them right now like Cincinnati signed [Glenn] Foley the other day, some of the teams that do have cap money are taking some of their players who are going to be unrestricted free agents and signing them now rather than having that money carry over to next year when they can't use it. Try to use it now and retain a couple of their restricted players. So, a long winded answer to your question, I don't think there's going to be a lot of movement and I think a lot of teams are probably out of the movement game and I think we're probably in that group too.

Q: There are rumors out there of you trading Terry Glenn, but that probably couldn't happen because of the cap ramifications.

BB: Yes, that would be hard, and I think you can look at a lot of other caps – look at 15 or maybe 20 of the teams in the NFL – they'd have to cut two or three players to trade for him. It's just hard to do that at this time of the year. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but it would be hard. As I said back in August, there are no plans to trade Terry this year and there aren't any. I didn't think it would be this year, but it turned out that it is, but I wanted to renew my efforts to work with Terry and his efforts to work with the team. Instead of that taking place next year, it's taking place this year. So that's what we're going to do. I don't have any negative feelings about that. I went on record as saying we were going to do that back in August.

Q: With a player like Bryan Cox – who would play unless he was dead – how much say does the player have in whether he plays or not?

BB: Well, I think the answer to that question is as a coach, here's the way I've always approached it. As a coach, you ask the player and the doctor… First of all, the doctor has to clear the player to play. There are certain cases, like in Drew Bledsoe's case, he could say 'I want to play' and the doctor says 'You can't put him in the game. He can't physically play.' Then he's out, there's no question about it. If the doctor clears him to play, then what the medical people will say is, 'Bryan's okay to play. He may not be 100 percent.' So then as a coach, you go to the player and say, 'Bryan, what do you think you can do and what do you think you can't do? I'm not asking you to make the decision, just tell me what you can do.' 'Well, I feel pretty good in the running game, I feel like I'm limited in coverage, I can't really run, I can't really accelerate.' Then it becomes a coaches' decision. Do you want to play a player knowing that he has certain limitations, but you want to be able to use his strengths? Or do you want to say, okay, we're going to need to rely too much on the things that he can't do and therefore we're better off without him. I can give you a couple of examples from when I was in Cleveland, Michael Jackson was our leading receiver and we had one game where he could play, he couldn't open up and run. And he was a fast guy, and he couldn't open up and run. But he felt like he could run the underneath patterns where he didn't really have to really stretch it out, where he could run hitches and outs and curls and that kind of thing. We felt that by his presence out there, they would still have to respect his ability to go deep because he really was a deep receiver, so we played him in that game and we never threw deep to him, but our opponents couldn't really pick that up and they put pretty heavy coverage on him and that helped out Derek Alexander and Keenan McCardell and a couple of the other guys. At the same time we didn't want to put him at risk, but we felt like we could manage the situation. There are other cases where a player tells you he's limited and… For example, Willie. Willie played against Indianapolis, and in the Jet game maybe he could have done the same thing, but we just felt like in that game because of what he would have had to do and the fact that he was having trouble doing it, it wouldn't work and therefore we made him inactive that game. I'm not sure he would have been any worse or any better in the Jet game or the Indianapolis game injury-wise, it was more of a decision of where we thought he could contribute. We had a situation with [Vinny] Testaverde when I was in Cleveland. Testaverde dislocated his shoulder and missed six or seven weeks. And we brought him back. Vinny could throw the ball as far as Michael Bishop. As far as you needed it to be thrown, he could throw it. Arm strength's not an issue. But coming off that injury, he wasn't able to throw the ball 50, 60 yards. But he could throw the shorter passes, so it was he 100 percent? No. Could he do all the things we wanted him to do? No. Was he still our best quarterback at that point in time and could he function? Yeah. So what I'm looking for from the player is to be honest and say, 'Look, this is what I can do.' We make the decision as to whether we want to live with that or not. Now, what I tell the players is, 'If you tell me you can do something then go in there and can't do it, we're not asking you again.' If you go in there and say, 'I can play the run, I just can't run full speed and rush the passer,' then you put him in on the run and he comes out after two plays and says, 'Coach, I thought I could play it but I can't.' That's a bad situation to be in, so we try to eliminate that before it happens.

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