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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Apr 14 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

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BB: I think that everybody that saw the game last night probably saw it the same way. It was a pretty statistically evenly played game in a lot of respects. It came down to four turnovers, which cost us scoring opportunities. We had a couple of costly penalties and that was the difference in a close game. It is disappointing. I thought we went into the game with a lot of emotion, but that is not really the bottom line. The bottom line is performance and execution and we just came up a little bit short. I know what the record is, we all know what the record is I am not going to stand here and gush about anything. I see some positive things going on on the field. I put my trust in the hard work that our players and coaches are doing and we are going to continue to get better. That's the direction that we are headed in. That's how I feel about the situation right now.

I will try to give you some, with the emphasis on some, information on Drew [Bledsoe]. When he got hit last night he had some pain and was kind of knocked out. I talked to him on the sideline, he felt okay, put him back in the game. After the series it was clear that he was a little woozy, not quite himself so that is when I put Tom [Brady] in for the last series. After the game he felt okay, but as time went on maybe to about 45 minutes after the contact, he started feeling more pain and more discomfort so he was taken to the hospital last night for observation and for treatment. He had a little bit of bleeding. He did have a chest tube put in to remove the blood. His situation is stable now. There was no surgery or anything of that type and we expect that he will be released tomorrow morning. They are going to keep him under observation through the day, but it looks the situation is stable and that he will be out tomorrow. And that is really about all I know. I am sure that there are a lot of other questions that I can't answer, but I think that really sums up the situation, that's the summary of it as best I can give you.

Q: To clarify what you just said, when you were referring to his pain and discomfort after the game are you referring to pain in his head region, his chest region or both?

BB: No, in the chest region.

Q: Did he lose consciousness or was he just a little woozy?

BB: You saw the game he got hit on the sideline, he was out. We came over to him, the doctors were right there, it was right on our sideline, they came over to him. After I don't know how long, a few seconds whatever it was 20 seconds, ten seconds, 40 seconds I don't know you all saw the game. He stood up, he walked over, he was conscious at that point. Then we were on the field on defense. Then the doctor came back to him and said he was okay. I went over to him and said, 'Drew are you okay?' and he said, 'Yeah I am all right.' So that was the time frame. You were there, I can't tell you exactly how many seconds it was, but that is what happened. That's when it was.

Q: Where was he bleeding, in his chest?

BB: Yes.

Q: Have you spoken to him today?

BB: No.

Q: You said yesterday that you could tell after that series when he came back in that he wasn't quite right. How could you tell that he wasn't quite right?

BB: I just didn't think that he was right.

Q: He really only handed off twice and had the shovel pass, did he say something funny?

BB: Just the operation on the field. Sending in the plays and the reaction and recognition of the plays and that he just didn't seem that he had the normal control, he didn't seem like he had control like he normally does. I have seen him in those situations a lot, I know what I feel like his standard is, he just wasn't like that in that series. I felt like after the series, I wish I hadn't put him in after for that series. I thought when I was putting him in that he was at a little different state then what he was really at.

Q: Have you been told that he is day-to-day?

BB: I don't know exactly what we are talking about on that one. My guess would be that this would probably be something that would be a couple of weeks before he would be able to play. But that is strictly a guess. Don't hold me to that, but based on the way it sounds until they have a chance to look at him a little bit longer my guess would be that he would not play for at least a couple of weeks.

Q: If you have to begin your preparation for the Colts right now, you obviously can not prepare with Drew playing, who is your quarterback?

BB: Tom Brady.

Q: Do we know if he has a concussion, did they say that?

BB: I tried to give you as much information as I can. I have told you all that I know. You can ask the questions 14 different ways, I really don't think I am going to be able to come up with anymore then what I have already told you if it is a medical question.

Q: What did you think of Brady's performance last night, did it exceed your expectations?

BB: I think he had about ten plays. I thought he did okay with what he had there. He had a shot there on the last play, tried to get on about the one or two yard line on a good throw inside there. He got his arm hit on the seam pattern down the middle. It would have been tight. I don't know if we would have got it in there or not. I think he was going to the right spot. They were back there in soft coverage, but I thought he put us in position to go down the field. The holding penalty there was a big penalty. It cost us really 20 yards of field position. Had we not had that holding penalty I think it would have been a lot closer to the goal line. What would have happened, we won't know, but we would have had a lot less yardage to be dealing with instead of trying to throw it in from the 30. We would have been considerably closer than that. All things considered I thought in that situation he threw the ball pretty accurately and made good decisions, but it would have been good if we could have just made one more play.

Q: Where does he fall in the parameters for arm strength to be a successful NFL quarterback?

BB: I think his arm is good.

Q: Obviously he doesn't have a cannon and a lot of guys who do have cannons couldn't hit the side of a barn, but…

BB: I don't think we are talking about John Elway here, but I don't know how many of those there are. I think he has got an NFL arm, he has got a good NFL arm.

Q: How does this change now going from a very experienced quarterback to a young inexperienced quarterback in terms of changing dynamics and how you start preparing for your opponents?

BB: One thing we have tried to do through the year is to, whether it be in preseason games or in practice, we really haven't called plays with regard to what quarterback is in there. In other words when we started training camp everybody would just take their rotations and whatever plays came up, came up. In preseason games we did the same thing. Whichever quarterback was in there they ran the plays that were called, in contrast to the Michael Bishop situation last year where we had a shorter list of plays and said, 'Okay when Michael is in there these are the plays that we want to get called with him in there at quarterback.' Or conversely we might say, 'These are some things with Michael that we want to stay away from, these are more things for John [Friesz] and Drew.' This year it has been consistent for us to run whatever plays we run in practice, whoever is in there at quarterback is in there at quarterback. There are no specific plays designed for any one guy. That being said I think that Tom and Damon [Huard] have both had an opportunity to execute the offense, not as many reps, but the same plays that Drew has had. I think that all three quarterbacks are similar in their style of play. I am not saying that they are the same, but I think they are similar in their style of play, their mechanics, their overall athleticism, their arm strength. They are not the same in experience, but they are the same in a lot of things that they do physically and mentally. I think they are all real sharp and that they all seem to be able to handle the same types of things whether they are check with me's or audibles or recognition of coverages or that kind of thing. They all seem to have a good awareness and a similar awareness. So I feel that it probably won't be quite as expanded as it would normally be with Drew, but I think that Tom and Damon both could certainly run the offense and do the things that we have been doing and so that the other guys can get better at them.

Q: The team doesn't know anything different then Drew in at quarterback, what is your biggest challenge because of that?

BB: I think our best preparation has been this year. That all three of those quarterbacks have taken a good number of reps with the team. Damon and Tom I would say had pretty close to equal reps at quarterback. Then after the Washington game Tom has gotten a few more reps than Damon has in practice, but when you add them all up over the seven, eight, nine week period, whatever it is, I think that those numbers will come out pretty close. Again I can't speak for the team, but my sense of it is that the team is confident with any quarterback in the game. I think that in preseason Damon has had a couple of good drives and Tom whether it would be in the first half of the Carolina game or the second half of the Washington game, he has had success on the field in this offense with this team. So I think people feel confident in Tom as I do and the coaching staff did when we made the decision before the season, but also in Damon for what he has done in regular season games and also how he has performed when he has had an opportunity. So that is what we will go with and I feel confident that Tom will do well, but if Damon has to play I am confident that he will do well too.

Q: If in the next couple of weeks Drew is still iffy and the team wasn't in contention would that effect your willingness to use him?

BB: I really can't make any kind comment on that whatsoever because I don't know what we are talking about. These are all just hypothetical questions. I will just go with what we are dealing with now. We will talk about those things if and when they materialize at a later point in time.

Q: Tom isn't exactly an established NFL quarterback as of yet, so how much quicker would you be to make the change with him?

BB: I can't put any timeframe or parameters on that. Tom will play and we expect him to play well.

Q: As far as you know was Drew hurt just on that Mo Lewis hit?

BB: Yes.

Q: It was just that hit, nothing before that?

BB: That is correct.

Q: Will you expect to sign a quarterback this week?

BB: I think that is a possibility, I am just not sure at this point what we are talking about with Drew's injury. If it ends up being a long-term thing, six, eight, ten weeks, something like that then there is no question that's what it would be. If it turns out to be a week, ten days, two weeks, then that is a whole different situation. I am really not sure what we are talking about at this point in terms of the length of the injury. I think that decision on the quarterback would depend on what the projection is with Drew.

Q: Would you consider bringing Michael Bishop back since he knows the system?

BB: I think we will just take a look and again try to get a better read on where exactly we are and what we are looking for. Whether it is a long-term situation or whether it's a situation where we just need somebody until Drew gets back, essentially more of an emergency type of situation for a quarterback rather then something we are looking at long-term and it may be the same player.

Q: As far as you know is the problem in his head or in his torso?

BB: It is not in his head. It is some type of internal injury. Which isn't what it appeared at the time of the play. Initially it seemed that he was out, that he had got knocked out for a second, but then after the game it became apparent that that wasn't the issue it was an internal issue.

Q: But he was knocked out?

BB: He was down on the ground after the play and then after a certain period of time he was up. However long that was I don't know, ten seconds, 20 seconds.

Q: You said he was out. To me that means unconscious?

BB: Let's put it this way. That was a third down play and we punted after that play when we didn't make the first down. Had we had another offensive play consecutively right after that one, say that had been on first down, Drew would not have been in on the next play. He would have been out. At one point in time he could have gone back in whether it would have been one play, two plays or like it was. It was a punt and I would say what three plays on the other series, however much time was elapsed there, at that amount then he was able to go back in the game. Had it happened sooner than that I can't tell you exactly when he would or wouldn't have been able to go back in.

Q: When you say he was out you mean he was out of the game not unconscious?

BB: He was down. He was dazed. We can get out the dictionary and look up the words. He got hit hard, he was on the ground, he was dazed. He certainly could not have stood back up and gone back in and run another play had that been a second down play.

Q: Do you know if they took x-rays?

BB: He was under observation there at the hospital last night. So whatever they do at a hospital when they observe a guy over night that's what they did. That's all I know. That's the most information I can give you. I am sorry I can't tell you anymore than that. I am not trying to keep it from you, I just wasn't there.

Q: It sounds like in general terms it is beyond a normal football injury?

BB: You tell me what is usual and what is unusual and then we will classify it. I told you what it is, you make the determination. If it is unusual then it is.

Q: The fumbles and turnovers were bad enough, but it was surprising to see personal fouls and piling on at the end of the plays?

BB: The two defensive personal foul penalties were bad penalties and they were both on their scoring drives and they cost us on those two drives. They went over 90 yards on the drive anyway and we contributed some of the yardage on the two penalties in each drive and those are penalties that were done in poor judgement, they were costly.

Q: How do you address that?

BB: Directly.

Q: Can a played get fined for that, an internal fine?

BB: No. You can't fine them for missed blocks and dropped passes and offside penalties, nope.

Q: In 1999 you saw the players on the Jets kind of rallied around Ray Lucas, was that a case of the other positional players taking their game up a little bit?

BB: It probably was a little bit if it. I think it was also Ray Lucas playing better. He played a couple of games before we started winning in the second half of the year and I think he played better. That was a little bit of a different situation because the style of Ray Lucas' play was different from Vinny [Testaverde] and then Rick Mirer was in there too, but there was an adaptation by the team and the coaches on what one style of player was versus another style of player. Maybe a little different situation from a fundamental standpoint there, but conceptually I think that there was certainly a mentality of rallying, not depending on a Pro Bowl quarterback which Vinny was the year before and knowing now that maybe everybody had to pull a little bit more. I think that is a good analogy that you made there.

Q: Is his leadership a reason why expect him to succeed?

BB: Yes. I really don't think that I am going to be standing here week after week talking about all of the problems that Tom Brady had. I have confidence in him, I think the team has confidence in him and I think that he will prepare himself well and he will go out there and perform at a good level. I am sure that like every other young player there will always be something in the game that you would like to do differently. People say that about every player young or old. It is always going to be that way. Everybody will make a mistake in the game, but I think overall that he will perform within the framework of the offense that we have designed for him and he will make plays that he is capable of making. That is what my expectations are and I think Tom will work hard to respond to that opportunity. Nobody ever likes to see a teammate go down especially a warrior like Drew, just to go back in the game in that situation and the condition that he did shows the kind of toughness and grit that he has and what he is respected for, but at the same time every player likes to play, every player wants to take advantage, of an opportunity and I know that Tom has prepared hard and that is what a backup quarterbacks job is. To be ready when the opportunity arises. It was a tough situation that he was thrust into last night, but overall I thought he responded to it pretty well I just wish we could have made one more play.

Q: One thing that would prevent you from standing up there and talking about Tom Brady's problems would be an effective running game, I went home and watched the tape and I saw four guys rush for 25 yards each, is that an effective running game?

BB: I think if you look at the numbers, not that numbers are the bottom line, but when you look at the numbers you will see that both teams rushed about the same number of times, both teams averaged over four yards a carry. For us to run the ball that many times and average over four yards a carry is not something that we have done every week. I'd like to see the running game be better than it was last night. I think there were some good signs it, we ran the ball for about 75 yards in the first half which if we could have done that in the second half and if the game had been going a little bit differently there in the fourth quarter where we were throwing at the end of the game and had an opportunity to stay balanced like we did in the first half. In fact, other than the two minute at the end of the game, I think if you look at the runs and passes you will see that our average was pretty close. In terms of number of runs and number of passes. I think that is the way we need to play. I would like to see us gain more yardage in the running game than we did and be more consistent in it. I also think that we did some positive things in the running and the worst part of it was not being able to run the ball into the end zone down there on the goal line.

Q: You have guys that have different styles, if you take a look at [Antowain] Smith, ten carries for 20 yards, he is supposed to be the guy who is supposed to gain that tough yardage inside, why can he not be more effective? What is the problem? Is it run blocking?

BB: I think if you take a look at the way the carries broke down you will see that [Marc] Edwards and Antowain carried the ball the majority of the time in regular situations. Kevin [Faulk] got a couple of carries in sub situations, as did J.R. [Redmond]. When we had the two backs in the game, Antowain and Marc, those guys got the majority of the carries in the regular situations and I think that is the way it is going to be. When they are in there in regular situations then Marc and Antowain are going to get the ball. I think that we might have given it to Antowain a little bit more, but it seemed like they were keying in on Antowain and when we gave it to Marc he was able to find some pretty good creases in there. So we continued to do that, but I think you will find that J.R. and Kevin's carries came mainly in longer yardage or more spread out type of offenses or sub-type situations. I think that is the way it is going to continue to go because that's who is going to be in the game because of their skills in the passing game at that point in time. We don't want to put them in there and throw the ball every single play that they are in there on. When we do run it those are going to be the guys that run it in that situation. I think that is the way it is going to be rather than bring Antowain in with multiple receivers and tell everybody, 'Okay we are bring Antowain in to run the ball because we don't want these other guys to run it.' So that is why is broken down the way it is.

Q: Does your comfort level increase with Tom Brady because you know that he played several games in front of over 100,000 people?

BB: I think that I have more confidence from what he has done here. I recognize what he did in college and college is great and he did some outstanding things, there is no question about it. He really beat out Drew Henson his senior year and all of that, but college is college. There are a lot of guys who do great in college that don't do anything in this league and there are a lot of guys that aren't that great in college that do well in this league. What I put more stock in is what Tom has done when he has been with this team, when he has been in games, when he has had opportunities in practice and that type of thing. I think that that is really where he has gained, not that I don't have respect and confidence in him from Michigan, but I have gained a lot more from what he has done here in our situation against this competition as opposed to in college.

Q: What is [Willie] McGinest's story?

BB: Willie practiced all week, he certainly could have played in the game. When we worked him out before the game though he wasn't 100 percent. It just didn't look to me like he was going to be able to get that last gear that I felt like he really needs. We are in a situation at linebacker, with [Mike] Vrabel being a little banged up going into the game. I felt that we just needed a guy that we could absolutely count on to be 100 percent, to be healthy. To not know whether or not we might have to give Vrabel a blow and [Richard] Seymour was again able to play, but I would say that you just wonder how long he would be able to last. So given the combination of outside linebacker, defensive line, sub-situation we went with healthier guys.

**Q: How much responsibility now lies on the veteran free agents you brought in?BB? I think everybody in the team has a responsibility and an accountability to the team. Whether they be free agents or draft picks or veteran players who were here last year, whatever their circumstance is, that if they are here and they are in a Patriot uniform then they have accountability and a responsibility and they are a shareholder in the team. We are going to need leadership from everybody and we have demanded that all year and we are going to need to continue to get it every week. So I would put some of those players in that group no question about it and some of them have good experience in the league. I think it is going to have to come team-wide. I think that is going to have to come from everybody. That is what I have told the players since the beginning of training camp, that we are all shareholders rookies, veterans, offensive players, special teams players, whatever if they are in a uniform then they are part of the team then they are a shareholder on the team. They are either setting a good example and being a positive leader by their actions or they are not. That's what I will continue to say to them and I think that everybody falls into that group including the veteran free agents.

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