Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 2, 2009.
BB: Winding it down here, good day for us to go over and recap some situations. [We] got caught up on a lot of little things and review everything here for the Ravens. As I've been saying all week, these guys are a real good football team. They do a lot of things well. They do the big things well, they do the little things well, and we know that's what we're going to have to do on Sunday. Good challenge, but I think everybody's looking forward to it.
Q: Was it nice to have Jerod Mayo back out there today?
BB: Yeah, it was. It was great. That gives a good lift for everybody to see him back out there. It was good to have him in uniform.
Q: Can you talk about how his progress is going?
BB: No, not really. He's working hard. He's working hard.
Q: Have you been impressed with his rehab? You obviously can't talk about it, but are you impressed with how hard he's worked?
BB: Jerod always works hard. He's worked hard from the day he's been here. He's the first guy in the building, and last one to leave, and he's working the whole time, too. He doesn't spend half the day playing dominoes and that stuff. He works hard. He does. He's here with a purpose. He gets a lot done. He comes in early [and] he stays late.
Q: With an injury like that, does he study film?
BB: He works all day. He's getting treatment, doing things with his upper body, doing tape work, grabbing Matt Patricia on stuff, Scott O'Brien - whatever it is. He's a hard working player. I have a lot of respect for Jerod, everybody does. Just being elected captain in the second year, and the leadership, and support he has on this team, everyday he's impressive.
Q: I know it's not ideal to start practicing for the week on a Friday. Does that put anybody too far behind schedule?
BB: I think we have a few guys that will probably be closer to game-time decisions; guys that maybe didn't practice one of the days earlier in the week - or maybe both of them - and then they go out there today, and that's good. We'll see where they're at tomorrow and make a call on that on Sunday. Sometimes after they go out and do something today, they realize tomorrow [or] Sunday, it doesn't improve much and they're not ready to go. Other guys, that's kind of the start of further healing and by Sunday they are ready to go. Truly, the term questionable - that's what it is. Just because they were out there today, that doesn't really say where they're going to be tomorrow, or - more importantly - the next day. We'll just see how it goes on a case-by-case basis.
Q: When you have guys that you have to make game-time decisions on, how much do you take part in that or do you defer to training staff?
BB: Depends on who it is and it depends on what it is. Look, there're a lot of players that play that can't do everything 100 percent, that's just the way it is. But maybe a guy can do everything but this: 'This is one thing that I really can't. This bothers me a little bit. I really can't perform this the way I need to.' OK, well either you try to keep him out of that situation or everybody knows we're going to live with this. We're going to live with 100 percent on these things and 80 percent on this particular thing - whatever it is - movement, or whatever. And then sometimes it's different than that. Sometimes it's 80 percent at everything: 'I just can't open up and run, but I can do all the short area stuff.' OK, great. Then, as a coach, you decide what you want. Do you want to play him and know that he's limited? Or do you want to not play him? And I have done both. I'm sure every coach has. Each case is different, each player is different. Sometimes it depends on who the other people are that are active or not active. Sometimes that affects your decision.
Q: When you're talking about the Ravens and how physical they are, how do you take that into consideration when you're making these game-time decisions, or do you at all?
BB: Every game's physical. We don't go into any game and say, 'There won't be any contact in this game.' Every game's physical. Again, if a player's cleared by the medical staff that he can play, then it becomes a coaching decision. You know if he's less than 100 percent, and he can still play then ... I'm sure you've come to work days where you are less than 100 percent, but you still go to work. Well, that's football. When you play, you're a little less than 100 percent, but you can still play. And there are other days you can't go to work and there are other days you can't play. That's cut and dry.
Q: Wes Welker was talking about timing and trying to replicate that on the practice field. And that's one of the big challenges. How do you go about seeing if a player has got the right timing to be ready to play?
BB: You do the best you can. Practice is practice, but it's not game speed. You can see more in practice than you can see in a walkthrough, but practice isn't game speed. It's the best we have and you go by what you see. I think over time, through experience, and watching players, and watching different tempos in practice, you get a gauge for it and it's nothing specific. I don't even know if I could sit here and tell you exactly what it is, but I think you kind of look at it and sometimes you say, 'Nope, I just don't think it's there.' And other times, you say, 'Yeah, I think it is.' And sometimes you come off the field on Friday and say, 'I don't really think he can do it.' But then on Sunday you go out there and workout before the game and it looks different. And those 48 hours - or close to 48 hours - make a difference and things change. So that happens, too. Again, every situation's different and there's no set formula for making decisions - at least I don't have one; it's got to be this, it's got to be that. Once - medically - a player is clear to play, we make coaching decisions based on what we think is best for the team.
Q: Does the evaluation on timing vary from player to player?
BB: Timing is an issue for healthy players. Again, you do the best you can. It's inexact. We only play at game speed once a week and then we have a lot of practice opportunities during the course of the week on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or sometimes more than that in training camp and preseason. You just go by what you see. You talk to the position coach, you talk to the strength coach, you talk to the player; and [with] that whole composite, you come up with some kind of decision.
Q: What are your thoughts on what you've seen from Randy Moss and the toughness he showed, specifically last week?
BB: I thought he showed a lot of toughness last week. I think that's one of the stronger performances I've seen. He was hurting. He had a will and he played through it. I know he's doing a lot better this week than he was last week, but he showed me a lot of toughness in that game. He's been tough, but I thought that was really ... It was a pretty special performance, going over the middle, blocking, catching short passes, taking a lot of hits, making first downs, and he was making a lot of them. I thought it was a real good performance.
Q: After the game, you mentioned some different routes he ran - some long, outside, short, intermediate. Is that unusual?
BB: No, that's what he does. It was just one of those games where the ball came to him. There were a lot of big plays. A lot of those were critical plays, a lot of it was tight coverage. We needed those plays and he came through.
Q: Can we expect to see you in a pink hoodie?
BB: I think that's something that we've all been affected by - one way or another - family or friends, or friends of friends, in varying degrees of closeness. It's a cause that, in this organization, we're all behind. I think what it represents ... I think it's a great statement by the league, and by the players, and all of us that are putting our support behind something that hopefully can be better for everybody going forward. I don't think I'll be in a pink hoodie though, no.
Q: There's hitting in every game, but when everybody brings up the Ravens they talk about how physical they are. Do you go lighter in practice to make sure the guys are fresh for the game?
BB: I think that's an interesting question and an interesting angle. I think it depends on where your team is. I think that's the most important thing. Through the course of my career, we've prepared for physical games by being in pads every day and hitting hard every day. And we've also prepared for physical games without having pads on the entire week. But I think, again, that's more of a reflection of where your team is. If you can go out there and practice, great. If you can't, if you feel like your team is banged up and you don't want to lose them on the practice field, and not have them healthy and able to be physical on Sunday; you have to try to make a decision on how to get to that point, what the balance is, whether it's to go out there and hit'em, more of whether it's not to, or somewhere in between. That's a question that comes up week to week and in the end you want your team to be - optimally - you want them to be in that spot. You want them to go out, and play physical, and be ready to go out there, and play that type of a game. So how do you get to that point? I think there are a number of different ways to arrive there. As I said, it can be on either end of the spectrum: to a lot of hitting, to none, to some in between.
Q: Where were you guys this week?
BB: I would say in between. I mean it wasn't the heaviest contact practice of the year, but it wasn't none either. So I would say we were in the middle somewhere.
Q: The Ravens have made a switch in defensive coordinators, but would you say they have the same defense they did when you saw them in 2007?
BB: Yeah, I'd say it was a lot more similar than it is different, but there are some differences. Greg Mattison's been coaching a long time, has had a great career in college. [He] went to the Ravens last year and was with them in the 2008 season, and I've known him for a long time. He's a very good coach, very sound and good fundamental coach, and I think their team reflects that. Do they have probably all or most of the calls the Ravens have had in the past? I would say they probably do. Do they run as much, or is it exactly the way the Ravens did it? No, not really. They've kind of - I'd say - modified it a little bit. But again it's only three games. So who knows? By the end of the season, if you watch them play at the end of the year, maybe by that time you would have seen everything in '09 that you saw in '08. I don't know, but I would say to this point it is not quite as exotic. We know that stuff is probably still in the playbook, and it might come out sooner or later. If it comes out this week, then I hope we're ready for it.
Q: They said in the preseason they were going to overload less. Do you see that now?
BB: Yeah, I mean they do it, so they have it. I'd say they don't do it as much as they did it a year ago. But that doesn't mean they couldn't come back and do more of it, and they've definitely shown it, so we know they have it. How much they call it? I don't know. In the San Diego game [with] all those stops down there in the red area, there was heavy blitzing; they sent the house a lot, a lot more than they covered. They're not afraid to do it and they did it very well in the San Diego game. It's not like they don't blitz - I'm not saying that - they blitz a lot. [On] third down, you're going to get it half the time, or at least that's what it's been.