Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 9, 2009.
Q: Do you like the later Fridays?
BB: I'm good. Get through the morning, get out on the field and practice, and then we're at a little bit of a resting spot here, a little bit more so than Friday morning, but it could go either way.
Q: You mentioned that you speak with Josh McDaniels frequently. Is that unusual for coaches in the NFL to speak often?
BB: Well, the coaches I was close with - Charlie [Weis], Romeo [Crennel], Nick [Saban], guys like that. Yeah, I speak to them on a - I wouldn't say weekly - but fairly regular basis.
Q: Did Josh McDaniels ask for your advice on Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall?
BB: You know, we never got into ... Most of Josh's conversations that I've had with him are either more personal. Obviously, we did two trades with him, so personnel or something like that, that is appropriate at that time - draft choices or whatever. So the business is business and then the personal, I'll just keep that personal.
Q: Can you tell us who the inactives are for Sunday's game?
BB: Fred Taylor will be one.
Q: There was a great article in Sports Illustrated where Josh mentioned to the reporter that you had given him a typed-written packet of things to be prepared for as a head coach and he was taken aback by it because it was after a two-week vacation where he said you could be out in Nantucket sailing, but you came back with this for him. What was the motivation for you to do that for him?
BB: Well, most of it was already done. It wasn't that big a thing. I kind of did it for myself as I was getting ready to go through the process, and then updated it a little bit. But it wasn't that big a deal.
Q: Your thoughts on the willingness to share it with him?
BB: Yeah, I'm happy to try to help any of our assistants with situations that are better than what I can provide. Like when Rob [Ryan] went to Oakland as the coordinator, that wasn't an option for him here, so to help him somewhere else move up in another position or whatever it happened to be. That's why I can be a head coach because I have good assistant coaches. They do a great job, so I'm happy to try to help them if they have a situation that's better than the one I can provide, then I am happy to try to help them with that.
Q: How does the loss of Fred Taylor affect you guys and what adjustments have you had to make?
BB: Well, we'll have to try to figure that out. That's a good question. We'll have to try to figure that out between now and game time. We have confidence in all our backs. We have four other backs on the roster, so how all that will work we'll have to see how it all materializes. As we all know, that could change during the game anyway just like it did last week. We have to be ready to adjust to it, but we have confidence in everybody. I'll have to wait and answer that after the game.
Q: BenJarvus Green-Ellis becomes active, right?
BB: That's a possibility.
Q: What did you see from him during the preseason?
BB: BenJarvus has been productive whenever he's played for us: preseason, last year - he had a big game against Buffalo. He's a solid guy. He can catch, can run, can block. [He is a] good player in the kicking game, all the guys on our roster are valuable, and they do a good job where they wouldn't be on the roster we just can't activate all of them. Whichever ones we can bring up, basically, those guys will have a role. There are always guys, if we could have 46, 47, 48, we'd have them and they would contribute, but we have to limit it to 45. But he's done a good job from the day he got here last year, undrafted. He was impressive in the spring, had a good training camp, was on the practice squad. We moved him up after we put Laurence [Maroney] on injured reserve last year about this time - fifth, sixth game in the year - I think that's about when Benny came up.
Q: There's a long line of activating somebody. How has Terrence Nunn impressed you?
BB: Every practice squad player's in the same boat. I've talked to all of them and kind of remind them on a weekly basis that Thursday, Friday, Saturday [during] the week of the game, you could be going from the practice squad to the roster. Sometimes they practice during the week, and it might happen, and it doesn't happen. Sometimes that same scenario takes place and it does happen. So there's an unknown factor on that. But all of our practice squad players - whichever one you want to talk about - we treat them all the same and they prepare knowing that there's a chance at the end of the week that if something happens they could be up.
Q: It is sort of obvious, but how tough is that to see what happened to Fred Taylor, and what conversations have you had with him?
BB: Well, it's disappointing when any player is injured. That's what they live for. They train all offseason, training camp, preseason games. There's a lot of preparation to be ready to play, and to not be able to play is disappointing, obviously to the player, and disappointing for the coaching staff and the rest of his teammates because everybody wants all the players to contribute, have an opportunity to play and get back what they put into it. Sometimes that isn't always possible or the way it works out. Fred and I talked a little bit about that yesterday, but I'm sure he'll be back.
Q: [On Denver's defense and cornerbacks]
BB: Denver's good. They have a real experienced secondary. They brought in [Andre'] Goodman, of course they have Champ [Bailey], [Brain] Dawkins and [Renaldo] Hill. They are a very experienced group. They know what they're doing back there. They make good adjustments. Mike [Nolan] has a defense that has a lot of different looks to it, they do some different things and it's clear their experience has paid off and benefited them. They disguise things, and they're able to show different looks and matchup in their scheme. Corners are good, safties are good, it's a good group back there.
Q: From what you've seen of them this year are they moving Champ Bailey around to cover a specific receiver?
BB: They haven't, no, they really haven't. For the most part he's been on their left and Goodman's been on their right.
Q: Do you prepare for the possibility?
BB: Sure, they did it against us last year, not that that matters, but at least as a player he's done it. Last year, against San Francisco, they matched [Nate] Clements up on Randy [Moss]. I know Mike [Nolan] has that, he can do it if he wants to and he cannot do it if he wants to. Sure, I mean, I think that's a possibility.
Q: When you said you're sure that Fred Taylor will be back, is it your understanding that he'll be back this season?
BB: We'll list him on the injury report weekly as we always do. I think obviously if he wasn't going to come back this season, then we would place him on injured reserve at some point. He's not there now, so that wouldn't be the expectation.
Q: Benjamin Watson's great effort play against Denver on Champ Bailey, what you remember about that and what made that such a memorable play?
BB: The memories aren't very good. I mean, it was a great effort play by Ben - don't get me wrong. It was a tremendous play. The play wasn't overturned. We challenged it, it wasn't overturned. We challenged it and it wasn't overturned. It was the infamous 'We don't have a good look at it' play, so in the end, he just intercepted the ball and ran back for a touchdown. It's hard for me to be doing hand springs when I think about plays like that.
Q: But in terms of the effort Benjamin gave?
BB: Yeah, it was a great effort. It was a tremendous play. It was a tremendous play.
Q: When you go through your decisions game day, the inactives, do you ever take into account the elements like in Denver with the altitude you would go a little bit deeper at a position that other weeks you wouldn't?
BB: Yeah, I'm not that concerned about the altitude. But I think that the conditions could definitely play into it and that's a factor. Again, having coached in Denver, I don't see the altitude as that significant as a factor personally. But I think that's certainly a factor, and if you think the game is going to go a certain way this team is going ... They have a big running game, they are going to try to run the ball 40 times a game you're going to be a little heavier on the defensive linemen. If you think there's a team that wants to spread you out and they're going to be a multiple-receiver team then maybe you're going to want to carry an extra defensive back because you have a big dime package or nickel package going into the game, and you don't want to lose one guy, and then be knocked out of it, and then have to shuffle three or four guys around. So you might want to carry an extra guy so you have fewer moving parts on your end. Essentially, that's part of the decision-making process is depth, and the health of your players, and if there's a specific role that you want somebody to play than how big of a role is that. Everybody has a role it's just how much does that become? This guy can play this much of a role; this guy gives you depth where you need it; which one do you take? So that's really what it comes down too, those types of decisions. And you can't have insurance on everything. You carry seven offensive linemen, you can carry another receiver, another tight end or another back. You carry eight offensive linemen, you are short at those positions. You carry more linebackers, you have fewer defensive linemen. You carry more defensive linemen, you have fewer defensive backs. You can't ensure every position, so you've got to put your chips somewhere and role it.
Q: Have you taken any precautions for the H1N1?
BB: Sure, we've talked about it with our team and the whole organization before we started training camp. In fact, I think we talked about it in the spring if I'm not mistaken, but definitely at the start of training camp with everybody again. The league sent out information on it and some guidelines, and of course we followed those. Look, there's nothing more important to this football team than the health of the players. Without players healthy, there is no football team. Whether that's injuries, whether that's a virus, whatever it is, that's at the top of the list. There's nothing more important than that, taking care of our players. We address all of it as it's appropriate, as it comes up.
Q: Did the league address if a team gets it what will happen?
BB: Yeah, they did. I think they sent out a memo last week, or two weeks ago, basically I forget the exact nature of it, but something along the lines of if you had an epidemic that up to four hours before the game you could activate your practice squad players that game. I forget the exact specifics about it, but it was a competitive rule relative to the termination of the virus. And ultimately, the league would grant a certain number of exemptions, or whatever you want to call them for that situation, yes.
Q: [On receivers matching up with cornerbacks]
BB: The advantages of it are that you get the match-up you want. You want this player covering that player, you got it. The disadvantage is, where do the other 10 guys go? Normally, that's not an issue because we just line up where we line up. But OK, now you're going to match-up to so and so. So where do I go? And alright, I take somebody else, but what if he's not in the game? What if we're playing zone? What if this happens? What is that happens? What if this combination of guys is in the game? What if that combination of guys is in the game, then who do we match up to? What if the guy that we're matching up to is out of the game, then who do you match-up to and who do I match-up to? There's a lot of moving parts there. It's real easy to say we'll just take him, but it's not that easy. I mean, if you just want to play One Coverage, but nobody does that. You've got zones, you've got man's, you've got combination man/zone's, you've got blitzes, you've got zone-blitzes. So it's easy to match-up and it's easy for that player, the hard part is what does everybody else do, and we all have to wait and see where you go before we can all figure out where we go. A lot of times, the corners like that. Ty [Law] was like it. It seems like every other week he would come in my office and say, 'Hey, let me match up on so and so.' That's great Ty, and we would love to have you on whoever that guy is, but everybody else has to get lined up, too. And they put him in the slot, they line him up at X, and then they line him up at Z, and then they have three receivers, and then they have four receivers and they move him around, too. It's not like they are just going to put him out there and say, 'Match up and do whatever you want with the guy'. It's like Randy. If you want to match-up with Randy, go ahead, but where is he going to be? He's been at X. He's been at Z. He's been in the slot. At times, he's motioned out of the backfield. Sometimes he's in there with another receiver, sometimes he's in there with two other receivers. If you want to do that, you can do it, teams have done it. I'm not saying that, but there're some moving parts to it. Those are the pluses, those are the minuses; you just got to decide what you want to do. You can do whatever you want, but there's some upside, but there's also a little bit of downside.