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Patriots Replay Thu Apr 15 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference

BB: On the Carolina game, what we're going to do in this game is a little bit different than last week's game against the Giants. We're going to probably play our veteran players a little bit longer, but we're going to rotate some people in there. We're going to have some of our different people playing against some of the same people for them. What we're looking for is just to try to see how some of our guys do against comparable competition and also look at a couple of different combinations that we have. In other words, I've talked about this a little bit before in evaluating college players, but in our preseason games, how a guy does has something to do with who he's playing against. If we can play different players against the same player on the other side of the ball, a lot of times you can see how that matches up. So probably what we'll do is play some of our veteran guys a little but longer, but not all the way through. They might play for a while and then come out, and then play for a while and then come out, that type of thing, so we can see where the competition, where we feel it's pretty close, we can see how they match up and see how they do against relatively equal competition rather than having one guy play the first half, one guy play the second half, assuming that there may be a little difference in the competition at that point. So that's kind of the way we're planning on playing the Carolina game a little bit differently. We expect to play everybody that travels down there. Both punters, both kickers will kick. We want to look at the younger players and I'm sure that we'll want to look at them more in the second half than in the first half, but that doesn't diminish the importance of us seeing them in game action. I think also this will be a good chance for us to get familiar with a stadium that we'll be playing in later on in the year, the 40 second clock, the scoreboard, the field conditions, just become familiar and acquainted with the field that we'll be on in a month, so those are some of the things we want to try to get done this week.

Q: Will the veterans play more plays?

BB: Probably a few more, but I think that they'll be in there longer, even if it's just for the same number of plays.

Q: Have you used this approach before?

BB: Yes. Again, I think it's important when… Well, you come in after the game and you look at the tape and you say, well, so-and-so didn't play too good, but he's playing against [Michael] Strahan. And the next guy, he played pretty good, but the guy he was playing against wasn't Strahan or Sean Gilbert or Warren Sapp, or whoever it is. A lot of guys look bad playing against Warren Sapp, and a lot of guys can look good playing against somebody that might be in there in the fourth quarter that could be on the waiver wire two days later, so one of the things in preseason that we always try to do is we watch the film as a staff so that we can not only see how our players are doing, but kind of what the competition is. And we always make a point of saying, 'Who's in there for them? Let's go through their lineup.' Like in the Giants game, for example, 'When did they take [Luke] Petitgout out? And [Glenn] Parker, and [Ron] Stone and those guys. When did they change the line? When did they put the second receivers in? When was [Amani] Toomer out?' And that type of thing. So we see who's playing against who, which helps in our evaluation. That was good out here because we got to see them against a lot of different people in practice, but had that not been the case, certain guys would have only been matched up against other guys and we certainly know that some are better than others.

Q: What was Andy [Katzenmoyer] doing yesterday? I saw him running back and forth. Was he doing conditioning?

BB: Yeah, he was probably running back and forth. He can't have contact, so his work is all cardiovascular. Mike [Woicik] puts him through different types of workouts to build his endurance, for him to try to maintain his explosiveness and short bursts and that kind of thing, which football players have to do, but also to maintain endurance so that when he does come back, his condition level's not down. Basically, our philosophy is to work the injured players harder than the guys who are working on the field, because they're not getting the resistance or competitive level that the players are getting working against each other. They're out there running circles or running bags or running cones or whatever they're doing, but we want to try to work them at a little bit higher level, so that when they do come back, we don't feel like they're behind from the guys who are out there practicing now. If a player has a limiting injury, say he's got a sprained ankle or a sprained knee or whatever it is, then he can only do what he can do, and that's really more rehab. But with a player like Andy, who doesn't have a leg injury, it's more or a contact situation. Or like when Terrance Shaw was out there with his shoulder, once Terrance regained his running motion, those guys really ran more than the players ran.

Q: So he's made a decision on what he wants to do?

BB: Not that I'm aware of. You might have this one before I do.

Q: But he's preparing to come back to play?

BB: I would assume so, but I don't think that… there's no final decision that I'm aware of. I think this is still a work in progress.

Q: You said he can't have contact. Has anything been diagnosed? I thought he was choosing not to have contact.

BB: They're probably one and the same. The final results on Andy aren't in yet, and until they are, we're not going to put him into a situation that could jeopardize his condition. So until everybody's totally on board and the decision's been made on what he can do, what he can't do and what we're going to do with him, then he won't be taking part in any contact drills.

Q: What are you waiting on?

BB: We're waiting on a final decision.

Q: So it's on him?

BB: Certainly a very high percentage of it is his decision. Based on the information that he has and what he wants to do. Certainly part of it's our decision, based on what we feel like he can do and where he is and how we evaluate his condition as well, but before we can do anything, I think that Andy has to make the decision on how the injury is going to be addressed. Until that happens, it doesn't really matter when we think.

Q: Do you have any timetable on that?

BB: I'd like to know as soon as possible.

Q: But this has been going on… Wasn't it two weeks ago you said that the tests were over?

BB: Tell me about it. I never said that the tests were over. I just said that he was undergoing tests and he's undergone some more and there's probably more to come. The testing, as far as I know, is not completed and there's no decision and I would definitely like to know as soon as possible. But on the other hand, I think that the right decision's more important than a quick one, and whatever it takes to get it resolved in a satisfactory way so that everybody's comfortable and confident with it… If it means another day, is it means another two days, if it means another week, then I guess that's what it is.

Q: Do you know how you'll rotate your quarterbacks and how you'll play them against Carolina?

BB: I think that Drew [Bledsoe] will play more than he played last week. I think that they'll all play. Depending on how the game goes, that will determine a little bit of how everybody else gets split up. Because Damon really becomes the next priority, there are some things that we'd like to see Damon do that he really didn't get a good chance to do last week, so we want to put him in those situations and then we'll just have to work everybody else in after that.

Q: What are the chances for Robert Edwards to play against Carolina?

BB: Less than 50-50. I would just say less than 50-50. I wouldn't rule it out, but three days ago I thought he was more likely to be playing than I feel right now. We'll see what happens today out there in practice and after practice and I think there's a chance, but less than 50-50.

Q: Is he still having problems with his groin?

BB: Yes.

Q: How much of your offensive line will be back this week? Does it make it difficult to evaluate your running backs with a depleted offensive line?

BB: Well, it would be better for us offensively overall, if they were all out there, there's no question about that. I think that we'll get more plays out of [Damien] Woody this week, and I think that we'll get some plays out of [Joe] Andruzzi. [Matt] Light and [Mike] Compton won't play. And [Adrian] Klemm, I would say it's unlikely that he'll be able to play, or that we will play him. He might be able to play, but I doubt that he'll play.

Q: Does it make it harder to make that decision of whether Antowain Smith or J.R. Redmond are gaining an upper hand when there's more resistance earlier than there ought to be?

BB: I don't know. That's a good question. I don't know. It would be nice if we had what we feel like are our best linemen out there playing and letting them compete, but we don't. There's nothing we can do about that. When the back gets the ball, all that's out of his control anyway. He can't throw any blocks. He's got to run and take his run-reads and find the right hole and then he's got to gain yards. So, whatever's there is there. Big holes, small holes, whatever's there is there. So they're going to have to run in that and pick up the blitzes whenever they some, and they have no control over that, so that's what we have out there. I think we got a good evaluation last week against the Giants on all the backs that played. Kevin [Faulk] saw the least time. He'll play more against Carolina. And we'll evaluate these guys based on what they do in this game and I think we'll get a good look at them.

Q: Will J.R. start against Carolina or will Smith get a chance?

BB: I don't know how we'll do that, but I think you'll see them both. I think you'll see all three backs relatively early in the game, whatever the rotation is, so that we can get an opportunity to se them in there against relatively the same competition.

Q: Can you talk about the wide receivers? Will anyone in particular be a starter at Carolina?

BB: No, I think that we'll try to work in as many as we can to see them against equal competition, but we can't play nine receivers all in the first quarter so that wont work, but we'll do as much as we can on that and I think that we'd like to see them all. We really would like to see them all. Tony [Simmons] and Shockmain [Davis], they've both done some good things. Charles Johnson has come on a little bit this past week. Curtis [Jackson] played well last week against the Giants. [Bert] Emanuel didn't get many opportunities in that game. We'd like to see him get some chances. [David] Patten's done a couple of good things. The guy I feel that we know the most about and probably need to play the least is Troy Brown. The other guys, we need to let them compete and see what they can produce. Torrance [Small] won't play in the game, but he should be back next week. We won't play him.

Q: Do you feel that they're all at the same level?

BB: No, I wouldn't say that they're all on the same level. I'd say that some guys have moved ahead of others, but I think it's too early to place a crown on anybody's head. The competition is still there, and I think that there's certainly plenty of time for guys to step up and show what they can do in games. And again, there are some players, like Bert, who have had a good camp and done well, but last week didn't get any opportunities in the Giants game to handle the ball. A couple of times he ran good routes but the protection broke down, so we'd like to get a look at him and see what he can do. There are other guys who haven't looked as good in camp, but maybe they'll be better in the games. I don't know. That's why we play them. So we'll just see what happens.

Q: How far away are Compton and Light and Klemm from actually competing again?

BB: They're coming. It's day-by-day. Each day they're better, they do a little bit more. They're not going to be ready to play this week. We'll start off next week and see where they are. If they're not ready next week, then probably the following week.

Q: Are they likely to be ready for the Tampa game, the way their progress has been going?

BB: Well, again, that's not the objective. The objective is for them to be better today than they were yesterday, for them to be better tomorrow than they are today. When it looks like they're ready to practice, then we'll put them out there then hopefully they won't have any setbacks in practice and they'll continue to move forward. But sometimes when you put players out there to practice, going from the rehab to the practice stage, sometimes the process slows down. Sometimes it doesn't. So we're not really looking toward what a guy's going to be doing two weeks from now. We want to make sure that in the consecutive days we move forward, and when they're ready, we'll put them out there.

Q: How about Willie McGinest? What's going on with Willie?

BB: Willie's making good progress as well. I thought that he was a little bit behind Brandon [Mitchell] when we started camp, and I still think that's the case, so Brandon was out there practicing this week, doing some things, not everything. Assuming that he doesn't have any setbacks, then he'll be able to do more next week. And at some point, Willie will do what Brandon did. Whether that's at the beginning of the week, in the middle of the week, the following week, we'll just have to wait and see, but I think he's a little bit behind Brandon, whether that's four days, seven days, ten days, I'm not sure. But we're getting close.

Q: When do exhibition games go from evaluating your talent to trying to win football games and preparing to do that in the regular season?

BB: I think it happens from the first game. What I told the team is that we're trying to win every game, and when you step on the field, we expect you to play to win. So whatever the situation is, we expect you to play it like we're trying to win the game. If we're trying to stop the clock, then get out of bounds. If we're trying to eat up time and run the clock out, then we want to stay in bounds and get first downs and control the clock. Whatever the situation is. If we throw a guy a ball, we expect him to catch it. If we're covering a guy man-to-man, we expect him to cover him. Now, it's not the same as regular season, because we're not pulling out all the stops in terms of game plans. We're not playing players 60 or 70 plays per game like we would in the regular season. But the players that are out there, we expect them to play to win. But we're not pulling out all the stops. I think that's from the first play of a preseason game until the last play. It doesn't mean that every single thing we've got in the arsenal is coming out, but when a player walks on the field, we expect him to give his best and we expect him to play the game just as if he were playing it in any other game, whether it's regular season, playoffs or anything else. To make the decisions that he would make to try to win the game. That's what it's for. Understanding that some of those players, obviously not all of them, will be playing regular season games, but I don't think we can evaluate them any other way. In other words, I don't think you can evaluate a player by telling to go out there and we don't really care how you do, but this is important to your future here and to your evaluation. 'Here's how we want you to play the game and this is what you're looking for. Go out there and do it.' But we're not going to game plan every play and every situation and things like that that we'll do at a later point in time.

Q: Does your approach change knowing that you're going to play them again in a month?

BB: I think it's a cat-and-mouse type of situation. I think we have to make a decision when we show different things of how important it is for us to run them and to learn how to do them and how important it is for them to see us doing them. Both teams are going through the same thing. I think for the most part, at this point, we need to learn to do what we're doing and not be too cute about the Carolina game. But we do play them in a month, so it certainly is in the back of our minds to some degree. Maybe there are things that we would normally do in the second preseason game that we'll be a little bit tighter on. Last year, it was a little more of a tighter squeeze with Tampa in the preseason and the regular season. They were only one game apart. It was the third preseason game, so it was squeezed two weeks tighter. I don't think this is that bad, but still, it's a factor.

Q: Ty Law was talking about the cornerback situation and even said he's playing a little bit of safety. Can you talk about that?

BB: He said he's playing safety?

Q: I think the quote was: "Not a lot. Just a little."

BB: With the emphasis on 'not a lot.'

Q: Can you talk about the cornerback situation and how that's shaping up? Obviously Ty's not….

BB: Ty will be playing corner this year. I think that the cornerback position's shaping up very competitively Terrance [Shaw] is back out on the field this week even though he's a little bit limited in the red jersey, but he's shown that, just in this week, that he's going to be very competitive. Leonard Myers came back out this week, too, and it was good to get him back. So I think that those two players certainly added both quality and depth, just in this week of practice. Otis [Smith] is having a good camp. Of course he wasn't here last year until the regular season started, so he's jumped way ahead of where he was. Terrell [Buckley] has made a lot of plays. I'd say that in practice, he's had more interceptions. He's got very good hands. He has quickness and he can anticipate routes and when he gets his hands on the ball, he usually catches it. Ty is one of the most improved players on the team from last year. He's doing things much better than he did last year. I think he's in better condition. His weight's lower. He looks quicker. He's playing with better technique than he played with last year, and I think that he and Eric [Mangini] have spent quite a bit of time together and he understands the defense – I don't know about the safety part – but I think that he understands the things that we're doing better and I think that's helping him play better. We've expanded his role a little bit as well. I think the competition there is shaping up very well. Ray Hill and Kato [Serwanga], I think they've had solid camps, and I think that they're both strong special teams candidates, and they'll need to be, but I think that's an area of their game, particularly Ray, that has showed up well in the kicking game, both for us and at Buffalo and Miami earlier in his career, so a little bit of that decision will probably come down to, with the backup cornerbacks, their value on special teams versus their value and potential on defense.

Q: How's Anthony Pleasant looking? Do you see him as being the kind of guy that Richard Seymour can learn from?

BB: Excellent. For Richard Seymour, there's nobody better than Anthony Pleasant. Anthony's a very good technique football player. He has a tremendous work ethic and his preparation for the game would be good for any young player, but particularly Richard, who works at the same position in a lot of cases. If Richard can learn everything that Anthony tries to tell him, it will definitely accelerate his career. Anthony's having a good camp. He's pretty much gone through injury free. He's got a couple of bumps and bruises, but nothing really to keep him out, unlike a couple of the seasons where I wasn't with him when he missed a lot of time. But I think he's doing real well and I think that he and Bobby [Hamilton] both give a good level of leadership and a presence on the defensive line. So we're very pleased with what Anthony's doing, and I think he'll have a real positive influence on Richard. And I see Richard spending time with Anthony and with Bobby. He can learn a lot from those players.

Q: I don't know the chronology, but was Pleasant brought in before the draft or after the draft? Was that done with an eye on tutoring Seymour?

BB: Pleasant was signed early in March. He was one of the first players we signed in free agency. So that was long before Richard was on campus.

Q: But when you brought him in, did you say, well, if we do make a pick along the defensive line in April…

BB: That wasn't so much specifically thought of that way, but from having worked with Anthony in the past, I know that he's very good with young players, regardless of whether we draft them or they're here. We had several defensive linemen who were here as a carryover from last year. He's very good with younger players, and he's a very good technique player. He uses his hands, understands leverage, hand placement, is good with his footwork. He does things technically very well, so that's a great help for a young player. Not just for somebody to explain it to him, but for him to also be able to see somebody do it. We know Anthony's good with young players. I saw that with the Jets and even in Cleveland, when he was probably in the middle of his career, fifth/sixth year kind of thing, guys that he worked with there and was very helpful to. So, guys like Rick Lyle, guys that came in after him, so he's good that way. He's doing well. The main reason we signed him is that we thought that he would help us on the defensive line. We were in a situation with Brandon at that point. A lot of question marks there. And Henry [Thomas] and Chad [Eaton] were not part of the picture. So with Henry not being here and Anthony taking his place, there's still a lot of leadership on the defensive line on that tradeoff. It's different, but it's still very positive leadership. Henry was one of the best at that, but Anthony's very good too, just in a different way.

Q: How are Jabari Holloway and Arther Love doing?

BB: They're coming. I'd say they're behind the other guys we've mentioned. They're behind Light. They're behind Compton. They're definitely making progress, but they're behind them.

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