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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Sep 24 - 12:00 AM | Sun Sep 26 - 10:40 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

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BB: We made a couple of roster moves this week. We put Marty Moore on injured reserve, we activated Matt Chatham from the practice squad up to the 53-man active roster and we are going to add a receiver, Khori Ivy to the practice squad. He was with Tampa in the preseason. That brings us up to 53 and five [practice squad]. As far as Miami goes, this is the division champs from last year, this is a real good football team. I think they are very good on special teams. They have excellent specialists and real good team speed. I think that is a real strength for them. Defensively they have good speed on the edge guys like [Jason] Taylor and their corners [Sam] Madison and [Patrick] Surtain. They have a lot of power inside with [Daryl] Gardner and [Tim] Bowens and of course Zach Thomas is really the heart of the defensive lineup, [Brock] Marion at safety, so that's a real good defensive football team. Offensively they run the ball. They have got a good runner. They have a quarterback who just makes plays, that is the best way that I can describe it. Some of them are unorthodox, some of them are not the way that you would draw them up, but at the end of the play [Jay] Fiedler makes a lot of good things happen one way or the other. I thought he did a real good job against us last year in the second game. I thought he played well, made some key plays and he has done that for them repeatedly so he obviously has a little magic in there somewhere. He makes good decisions under pressure, he is elusive, very few tackles in the pocket and he is just an efficient player. I think this will be a real good test for us on the road. I know they weren't happy with the way things went in St. Louis and I am sure that they will want to change that around this weekend. We have got a chance now to be on the plus side of the ledger in our division record and we need to do that. That is where our focus will be this week.

Q: What happened to Miami's defense last week, did the roof cave in?

BB: No I don't think so. They had a couple bad breaks and [Kurt] Warner made a couple of throws where he threaded the needle and there was just no place to get the ball in and he got it in there somehow and made great plays. You see the score and that's one thing, but if you just watch the individual plays, Miami is certainly holding their own. They made a lot of good plays it is just that St. Louis made a couple more and they made them at the right time. They score fourth and one right before the half. They run a goal line play. Miami is all over it. There is no place to throw the ball it should have been a sack or certainly an incompletion on fourth down. [Marshall] Faulk just makes an adjustment, Warner is under pressure and he kind of heaves it and it is right there and it looks like the play of the week. They had a couple of those and you really have to give St. Louis credit because they executed well under pressure and they made some really outstanding plays, but at the same time Miami, they were right on them. In some respects it wasn't that they played that poorly it's just that's the NFL, sometimes that happens. They ran a blitz one time and St. Louis just happened to have the right play on. They got about a 30-yard run. They really hit it perfectly. So sometimes that stuff happens.

Q: Does that change without [Zach] Thomas?

BB: He played the whole game. He was in there every snap.

Q: But in the past when he has been out?

BB: He is a key player on their defense and I know he is a great leader on the team. He is a tremendous run player. He is really instinctive and he has real good quickness in the passing game. I think he covers a lot better than people give him credit for. He is really a terrific player. But I am sure that he will be there. They carried him off of the field down there when we played him last year and he was back about one series later knocking us off. I am counting on him playing.

Q: How do you get your team to play with the emotion that they played with last week going on the road where you had some trouble last year?

BB: I think that is going to have to be the maturity and the mental toughness of the team. It is always tough to play on the road. It is always tough to play on the road in the division. I am sure it won't be any exception in Miami. It is going to be a test of our mental toughness of being able to handle that situation. Hopefully the team can understand what we need to do and do it on a consistent basis and that is what it needs to be. We can't be a play one good game, play one bad game type of thing. We need to become a team that can be more consistent and do things on a regular basis if we are going to win consistently. So this is a good challenge for us and it is a good opportunity to prove that.

Q: When you signed Bryan Cox you knew that he was a proven leader, but did you know that he would have this kind of impact?

BB: I never try to predict what kind of chemistry a team is going to have. I think that is up to the team itself to determine how players interact with each other. Each year each team has it's own unique chemistry from within. Even when it is the same people sometime there are events that somehow or other change it from year to year. I know Bryan is an emotional player, a guy that is well respected in the locker room by his teammates and his coaches. So it wasn't any surprise to me that that surfaced, but how he would interact with this group of players, you can never really predict that. He has always had a pretty positive relationship with the people that he has worked most directly with, from the people that I have talked to in Chicago and Miami as well as seeing it first hand in New York and here. I think a lot of the criticism of him has come from outside of the players and the coaches, the officials or whoever.

Q: You mentioned the maturity, a lot of the players you brought in this year are eight or nine year veterans. Did you make an effort to not only get mature guys, but experienced veterans?

BB: We just really tried to get the best guys that we could get. I think that part of the criteria, definitely the criteria we were looking for was guys that were tough, guys that were dependable, guys that we thought would work hard, had good character and didn't make a lot of mental mistakes. That football was important to them. I think that those are the type of players that we signed. We just tried to get the best players we could that were available. We got quite a few guys and we felt like the ones that we got at least fit that profile that we were looking for.

Q: Do a lot of those attributes seem to come out after seven plus years in the league?

BB: I think it depends on the player. I really do. I think it depends on the player. There are plenty of players I really didn't feel that way about.

Q: What are your plans for the size of the play book this week? Did you scale it down?

BB: No not really, not a lot. In the preseason games which really in one respect wasn't that long ago and in some respects it seems like it was a long time ago, it really wasn't, we just rotated them through and when he played in the Carolina game, or the Tampa game, or the Washington game he ran whatever plays Charlie called just like Drew [Bledsoe] and Damon [Huard] did. Last week we tried to look at Indianapolis, put together a game plan that we thought would be the best for us to try to address and attack their defense. It probably would have been about the same plays we would have called if Drew had been the quarterback.

Q: Is it a challenge to keep things simple, to just let them lineup and play? Is that a struggle for you?

BB: No, no not at all. I think what I have always tried to do is take a look at our team, take a look at the opponent we are playing and try to put together what I feel is the best thing to do in that situation. It is not always the same and it not how many things you do. Going back to when I was the defensive coordinator with the Giants there were, I can't tell you how many games, certainly well up into the double digits where we played cover two over 50 snaps in the game. That's all it was. It was just cover two, that is all we played. I have also played cover two in a couple of games where we got run out of it. So it is not always about how much you do, it is how well you do it. Having a lot of different things isn't necessarily always better. Sometimes you can do something new that can keep the opponent off-balance and create an opportunity for you. Sometimes it screws you up. A) It comes down to timing, when it is called and if it hits against what you want it to hit against and B) it obviously comes down to the execution of what you are doing. If it is executed well then it can look like a great play and a great wrinkle and the coach is a genius and all of that, but then if it isn't executed well then why did you do that, stupid call, run the stuff we have been running all year.

Q: You have a number of players with a Miami connection, particularly Damon Huard. Is it overrated to say that you can use that product knowledge that they have in the game?

BB: I do think that both teams know each other pretty well. I feel like we know the Dolphins and the Dolphins don't, especially defensively, their scheme isn't that complex. They basically play one front and two coverages and they have some adjustments off of it and all of that, but for the most part it is not a big disguise and deception type of thing. They lineup and say, 'Hey here we are come and get us. See what you can do about it.' There is no question that Damon, Larry [Izzo], Terrance [Shaw], Bert [Emanuel] and those guys have given some insight into a little bit of what they are doing from both a personnel standpoint and from an experience standpoint. But again I think that a lot of the things we knew have been confirmed, but they have added a little bit of insight about what they were trying to do last year against us particularly in the December game which was the last regular season game. They remembered some of the game plan things that were being used in that game. There has been a little bit of insight. I wouldn't say that it was dramatic, but it is nice to know that some of the things that you thought they were doing they actually were doing.

Q: Why is it so tough to win in Miami?

BB: The main reason is because they have a good football team. I think that is the bottom line. I remember when I was in New York with the Giants and all of the talk was about the Cowboys home record. We would go down there and play the Cowboys and all of that and it was all about the same thing. It was the heat, it was the sunlight on the stadium, it was the cheerleaders distracting the team before the game, I mean it was all of that stuff. A big part of the problem was Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Too Tall Jones, Martin, all of those guys. That was a major part of the problem. Danny White, [Billy Joe] DuPree and all of those guys after that. We haven't been in Dallas the last couple of years, I don't know how hard it is to play down there know, but I'll tell you it was a lot harder when they had a lot of those guys playing. I can tell you that. Miami has got a good football team. They are very good on defense. They are very opportunistic on offense. They run hard. They are well coached. They are very good in the kicking game. You don't look at that team and say, 'Boy there are a lot of weaknesses, we can't wait to run at Tim Bowens, we can't wait to run at Zach Thomas, we can't wait to throw out there on Sam Madison and Surtain.' There are not a lot of guys that you are drawing straws to get at. They have a lot of good football players, Jason Taylor and you can go right down the line. Same thing in the kicking game, you have an All-Pro kicker and guys that can run and cover. You have two good returners with Marion and now [Chris] Chambers on kickoff returns, [Jeff] Ogden's 12-yard punt return. There are not a lot of opportunities on that team where you are just sitting there saying, 'Well we can't wait to go after this guy or that guy.'

Q: How do you prepare for the heat playing in Miami?

BB: I don't know I think it is supposed to be 85 for the game, it is 75 today, put on a sweatshirt.

Q: Is it the goal of any coordinator to get the kind of players on defense that they could just play pure vanilla and know that you don't have to do anything fancy because most of what you do that is fancy is to camouflage?

BB: Yes, right. It is either to camouflage a weakness that you have or it is to try to create a play. Going back to the Giants, since you brought it up, the flip side of it that there was a period of time there when I coached for the Giants where you couldn't count on 20 points a game. You couldn't count on ten points a game. So there are a lot of times and I know the defensive players felt this too, that we give up a field goal and they are coming over the sideline thinking, 'This might be it. We have three quarters to go and this might be it. We might have given up too many points. We gave up seven points. Even if we shut them out the rest of the way this may not be good enough.' Then you start playing with a little feeling of desperation that, 'Hey if we don't pick up a fumble and run it in, if we don't intercept a pass and get it on the 20 yard line, what is going to happen?' There was a point in time where the offensive line was kind of being rebuilt and there were some questions about the quarterback, [Phil] Simms was hurt and so on and so forth. I am not talking about in '90, more like in the early '80s and mid-'80s in there, that type of thing. Sometimes you are doing that kind of thing to make plays to try to create an opportunity for yourself and sometimes you create them and sometimes you give them up. That is the flip side of it, but when you know that you can go out there or you feel like defensively you know that you are going to go out there and score 20 or 25 points. You can count on that because it was Phil Simms and [Mark] Bavaro and Joe Morris, O.J. Anderson and those guys that they were going to hang up some points for you that you could go out there and if you give up a field goal that's not a bad play. When you think that a field goal is more points than you are going to score then it puts a whole different light on it.

Q: Did you feel like your team played with that desperation last week?

BB: No I thought our defense played good, solid team defense. I don't think it was a desperate feeling. I think it was a confident feeling…to play good team defense what you have do is you have to have confidence and reliance on the players beside you and your teammates. If you are playing defensive end and you have to worry about taking care of your gap and you don't even think about what is happening outside of you because you know that the linebacker is there or vice versa. It just goes right down the line. One of the things that hurts you defensively is when players start having to compensate for other players. 'I got this gap, but I am worried about the play out here so I am going to play a little bit wider and then they end up running inside.' I think what we saw last week, what the attitude was on defense was that everybody across the board felt confident, totally confident, in what their teammates were doing. So they played aggressively at their position and if it was at their spot they were able to handle it for the most part and if it wasn't than the guy who was being attacked was able to hold up. That is what gets your aggressiveness on defense and allows you to play good team defense and I think Miami is a good example of that too. They are a good consistent defensive club. I don't think Jason Taylor is worried about them running over Tim Bowens and I don't think Tim Bowens is worried about them running over Jason Taylor. I don't think Jason Taylor is worried about them running over Gardener either. I don't think that either one of them are worried about Zach Thomas not being there in the gap when the ball hits. I mean those kinds of things. I don't think those guys are worried about Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain ten completions for 120 yards out there on the corner. So I think that that confidence, which only comes with game performance, you can talk about it all that you want, read books and all of that stuff, but in the end you better be able to go out there and play it under pressure against a good team. That is where you really get it from and I think those are good examples of it.

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