New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, September 18, 2009.
BB: OK, well we kind of crammed five days into four here this week, getting ready for the Jets and as I said Wednesday, it's certainly a lot to get ready for. We kind of had our final preparations here today and it's time to get ready to go down there, make our trip down there tomorrow and play. I think we've caught up. We could always use more time, but that's the way it is. [We're] expecting a tough game on the road, like always down there, and hopefully we'll be ready to go.
Q: How much are you using this game to assess where you are at linebacker?
BB: We are going down there to try to win the game. That's the only reason we're going down there.
Q: Do you have a personal respect for Gary Guyton?
BB: Yeah, I have a lot of respect for Gary. As you mentioned, [he] signed with us as an undrafted free agent. I was personally involved with that one, talking to him on the phone after he wasn't drafted, answering some questions and things like that. I'm really glad we have him and it worked out. He's a very humble player, works hard and has earned everything he's got. You really have a lot of respect for a player like that, especially when…As it turned out we drafted Jerod [Mayo] in that same draft and those two guys really became close and spent a lot of time together. They kind of came from the opposite [ends] and then their paths eventually met in the same place, but they came from about as far apart as you could come - top of the first round to undrafted.
Q: Is it odd for someone who had the fastest 40-time among linebackers to go undrafted?
BB: Well, yeah at the combine Gary [Guyton] ran well. I can't speak for the league [and] why things happen the way they do. We took a linebacker ahead of Gary in the fifth or sixth round, whatever it was. Obviously, that was a mistake. We ended up with him and we still made him. That was one of the questions he asked me and a kind of a hard one to answer.
Q: You guys have had your hands full with Dustin Keller. What makes him so tough?
BB: He's a good receiver, a tough guy to stop. I think we've seen that all through preseason, definitely last week in Houston. [He's] a very productive player, big guy, runs well, catches the ball well, has a good feel for the passing game. It looks like the quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in him, the ones this year and even last year with [Brett] Favre so, he's earned their trust and confidence and they look for him. Whatever he's doing on the practice field, I'm sure it's something they feel good about. He's made a lot of big plays in the games.
Q: With Brian Schottenheimer staying, is the offense the same or have you seen Rex Ryan bring changes and differences this year?
BB: I think Schottenheimer's offense is pretty much the way it's been. I think he modified it quite a bit last year with the change in quarterbacks. You can see what he wants to do and I think that's shown up every year. He's had his influence on it at the Jets and even going back to San Diego.
Q: Do you see any similarities in Mark Sanchez and Tom Brady?
BB: Ah, well not in their rookie year I don't - Tom didn't play.
Q: Is there anything about the way Sanchez plays that you can relate to Tom?
BB: I don't know. At this point, again, what Tom did his rookie year and what Sanchez is doing his rookie year it couldn't be any more different. I never saw Tom in that situation his rookie year.
Q: What kind of look has your offensive line gotten in practice from your scout team and do you think they're ready?
BB: Good. I think our scout team - Pepper [Johnson] runs the defensive scout team. I think he does a great job, as good as any I've seen. He does a terrific job for us here. I think all our offensive players and coaches would say that as well. He does a great job of getting them ready and giving our offense a good look at whatever the defense is doing that week and I think they did a good job this week. We talk to those players about what we need from them and how the Jets run certain things and our guys have done a good job to try to make a Rembrandt of that out on the field.
Q: You mentioned how good Dustin Keller's been. How would you say Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung have progressed?
BB: Well, I think Brandon - his game has improved from day one. He's gotten better each year at really everything: offense or defense, special teams, playing the run, playing the pass, running the defense, communicating, making adjustments. I think he keys better, covers better, forces better, tackles better and he's done that on special teams, as well. He's gotten better all the way through the process, and I'd say the same thing about Patrick from where he was in the spring to training camp to where he is now. He's made a steady improvement, too. He's worked hard. He spends a lot of time on it. It's important to him and I think we've seen results in his play that he's gotten better in everything, in all phases of the game he's been asked to participate in.
Q: The fact that this is the second divisional game at the start of the season, does it add a little bit of importance to this game?
BB: Absolutely. I think I've said right from the get go that this is a big game, no question about it. Division game on the road, both teams at 1-0 [and] to be playing for first place in the division, we have a long way to go. Everybody understands that nobody's going to clinch anything this week, but to be playing for first place the second week of the season, going on the road, no question it's a big game. No argument there.
Q: When you gave Gary Guyton the ability to call signals, what did you see in him to trust him with that responsibility?
BB: He's been doing it. He did it in preseason. He did it last year. He and Jerod both did it. Tedy [Bruschi] did it last year. All those guys have had experience doing it. Preseason, when one guy's out somebody else is in. They take over those responsibilities.
Q: What do you see in him that makes him effective?
BB: He's smart. He's well-prepared. He has a real good understanding of football - the running game, the passing game. He's good in coverage. He understands coverage. He understands the running game, he understands defensive adjustments not just his role, but where other people have to be or if somebody else has to do something how that affects him. That's really what you want in a defensive signal caller, somebody that understands how it all works. It's not always possible. Sometimes you have to have two people on defense do it, one guy with the running game and another guy with the secondary. There's an element of that regardless, but there're certain times that the linebackers aren't involved in coverage - when it's a blitz or something like that, then it has to be handled in the secondary. All things being equal, you want to have somebody that can understand what everybody's doing out there and make the right decision, rather than make the decision that's best for maybe the group that he's involved with, but it's something that isn't really what we want to do because it stresses somebody else's area. He's smart. He understands that quickly. He's a good communicator and even though he's played, but he hasn't played a lot, when he goes in there he plays well and he handles himself well.
Q: I don't know what the breakdown is, but some team's captains wear patches and you guys don't?
BB: Yeah, because we don't wear them.
Q: Are you going to be overwhelmed at all about the nostalgia of potentially playing your last game in Giants Stadium?
BB: It will be, yeah. It will be a little bit sentimental there.
Q: What brings that sentiment out?
BB: Well, I was with the Giants for 12 years. We won a lot of football games there. We won a lot of big games. We won some championships there and there was a great feeling with the Giants fans and what we accomplished from when I went there in 1979 the team…It was the year after the fumble and it probably couldn't be a lower point in franchise's history than the '78 season was for the Giants. [In] '79, '80 we were trying to be competitive, and then '81 we went to the playoffs.  it was the strike year, '83, '84, '85 back in the playoffs and won the championship in '86, so that term 'long-suffering Giants fan' that we heard when we went there in '79, there weren't too many people saying that when I left in 1990. Those were great years. It was a great time for me being defensive coordinator and coaching special teams. It was a great group of players there, a lot of fond memories from those teams and the staff and the coaches that were there as well. Of course, we played three years with the Jets. When we were in Hempstead and going and playing in Giants Stadium, in all honesty, it still felt like an away game. I know when we played there and by the time we bussed back to Long Island I'm sure the Patriots, the Bills and the Eagles were home before we were. We were playing in that stadium, but it wasn't like it was when I was with the Giants and we played in that stadium.
Q: A different feel with the crowd, too?
BB: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely, you got the firemen. You definitely don't have that with the Giants. It's different, but those were great years in my career. I'll never forget those and we had a lot of success and I was fortunate to be with a lot of great people, players, coaches. The Mara family - Wellington of course, [who] owned the team. It was a tremendous experience for me. That time did as much for my career…Every year's important, but that string of years together - it was awesome. It was hard to leave. It was hard to leave.
Q: [On a running back's priority being blitz protection or yards]
BB: I don't know what is the priority. I would say everything's important and any of those things can be a problem. The running backs have a tough job, they really do. They have a tough job. They have to run the ball, find the holes, read the defense and sort all that out. And in the passing game they have blitz pickup responsibilities and have to run routes against different defensive coverages and man, zone, when to break it, when to throttle down, when to accelerate, when to pull up, when to keep going, having to clear the line of scrimmage to get into the route and all those things. They are involved in every single play. It's like being the middle linebacker; there're no plays off. They have to do a good job on all those and a mistake can be costly - missing a blitz pickup, ball handling, not running the right route, not catching the ball, any of those things can potentially be a bad play and it could also potentially be a big play. Those are critical jobs, it's all important. I can't say, 'It's OK if we do OK on this, but we can screw that up'. Everything's important.
Q: [On a running back's success being measured in rushing yards]
BB: Well, I don't think any player's success is measured by one statistic. It's a culmination of how him and his teammates perform collectively on a particular play or situation they're in or a number of situations. Sure, it is all that.
Q: You said the Jets' defense is a photocopy of Baltimore's, what was the root of Baltimore's defense and who influenced it?
BB: Yeah, I am not really sure about that. You probably have to talk to somebody who was there for more of that. Mike Nolan, Marvin [Lewis] - I don't know exactly how all that…I kind of think it started with Marvin, which was the Steelers stuff, but then it got morphed into what it is now. How exactly all that happened and who the influences were, I'm not exactly sure to be honest with you. We've only played them a couple times. We played them in 2007. We played them in 2004. We just really haven't had a lot of games with them, where as there're other teams like Indianapolis [and] Denver, teams like that [who] aren't in our division, Pittsburgh. It feels like we play them twice a year, but it just hasn't worked out that way with Baltimore. I don't have as good a background there as probably a lot of other people do.