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Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, September 12, 2009. BB: OK, we're winding it down.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

BB:OK, we're winding it down. As I said yesterday, I think everybody's really excited about getting the season started. We've had a lot of meetings, a lot of practices, a lot of walkthroughs and all that. So now we're pretty close to wrapping things up, turning the corner and getting into the regular season. We're excited to play, looking forward to Monday night. Hopefully, we'll have some energy and be able to play and coach well.

Q:Can you talk a little bit about Fred Jackson and what you know about him?

BB:We got a pretty good look at him last year in the last game. [He's a] very good player [who] does a lot of things well. [He] catches the ball well, obviously, runs well. He's got good vision. He's strong. He's a hard guy to tackle in the open field, but he does a good job of picking his holes inside. He's a good inside runner, good outside runner, again [as a] screen back, flare routes, things like that – real good player. We had a hard time with him last year. He did a good job finding holes. We had a hard time tackling him. That's not the first time he's done that either and I thought he did well in preseason.

Q:How important is it against the no-huddle offense to simplify the substitution groups so you don't have confusion?

BB:Right. Well, there's no doubt you have to be concerned about that because you might not have a chance to get them on or get them off, more importantly, probably, get them on. I don't know if you can get them off. So everybody needs to know what we're doing on that and when we do sub we need to sub quick, but it's going to be hard to sub. We're going to have to be careful about that there's no doubt about it.

Q:Sam Aiken has a pretty interesting story that's similar to Larry Izzo's. He started out with an AFC East rival, came here and made his name on special teams and is now a captain.

BB:Yeah, Sam's done a real good job for us. It's his third year. He's done a good job with us all the way through — in the kicking game, solid. [He's a] very versatile player, can do different [things]. He's got good size. He's strong. He runs well. He's tough. He's got some versatility in the kicking game. Offensively, it's kind of the same thing. He's played in the slot, he's played outside. When he's had an opportunity to play, he's been pretty productive. Sam doesn't say much; he's a quiet guy, but he works hard. He's very well respected as you can see by the team selection of him as one of their leaders. He's really a solid guy, but he's one of those players that — when he's had an opportunity — he's made the most out of it.

Q:Some of the players have looked back and thought about their first game. What were you like for your first game?

BB:It's funny. Yeah, I'd say nervous. We were playing Dallas so that was a problem. It's funny. I talked to Jimmy [Johnson] about that a couple years ago. We were down on his boat fishing … Well, we weren't catching any fish, but we were fishing and we talked about that. I forget who their second game was, but I think it was a division game – maybe the Giants or Washington, or somebody – and I said I knew we were in trouble because Dallas was good. They were real good and he said, 'Yeah, I don't even think we did a scouting report on you guys. We were pretty concerned with that second game, not the first one.' He was right. Maybe it was 19-12; the score was competitive, but it really wasn't. They were a lot better than we were and he knew it, too. So it was pretty funny actually talking to him about that game.

Q:Do you still get nervous before a game?

BB:Yeah. Opening day, I think that's the toughest day of the year. It really is because there are so many unknowns. We have new players. You're going up against a new team. You've seen a lot on them and so the volume is way more than it could ever be. You look at all the games last year and all our games against them in the past since Dick's [Jauron] been there and you look at all the preseason games and you've got 1,500 plays and there's only going to be 60. It's all going to condense down, but you think about a lot of different things. As important as the opponent is, it's probably more important that your team just can do what they need to do, that they can operate efficiently and communicate and execute the plays that we've got to execute. Yeah, we're concerned about what they're doing. But if you don't do what you're doing right then it won't make any difference. I think everybody's got the butterflies on opening day; certainly, the coaches do. Until you really see it, go up against in the regular season and see someone start game planning for you and start seeing the kind of matchups you really have to face, not the preseason ones where it whatever happens, happens. But once you really get someone game-planning for you and trying to create some bad matchups … You get stress put on your team in those areas and you see how you can handle them.

Q:Are you a superstitious guy? Do you have a pregame routine?

BB:No, sorry.

Q:You have to be happier with where your secondary is compared to where it was last year. It seems more stable this year.

BB:We haven't played yet. I think it's really dangerous to look at teams, including our team, on paper. That's easy to do. This guy's got this guy and this team's got this guy and another team's got somebody else. Last year, we were talking about Miami being 0-16 and they win the division. So I don't think that means anything. It's how the players play. It's how the teams perform and we'll start seeing that this weekend. The rest of it is really a bunch of hot air.

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