Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, September 13, 2010.
BB: As I said yesterday, it's always good to start the season off on the right foot. It's a good win for us yesterday - a quality team. I have a lot of respect for the Bengals and we were fortunate to have a few things go our way there in the first half and then kind of be in control there for a little while. We've still got a lot to work on. There are plenty of things that, when you look at the film, you see are not really the way they need to be. We've got a lot of things to work on. We know we've got a big game this week. The Jets are a really good football team, so we'll turn our attention to them and put this game behind us now. But I think it was certainly a game we can learn a lot from - a lot of positive things and the mistakes that we made, we will try to correct and see if we can get them done better the next time those situations come up. That's pretty much where we are at for today.
Q: Can you talk about the roster move, releasing Marques Murrell today? And also, I assume Quinn Ojinnaka is back on the roster?
Q: What led to the decision about Murrell?
BB: We just had to make room. He played in the game yesterday, so obviously we feel comfortable playing him, but we just had to make room.
Q: Does not putting Nick Kaczur on IR yet mean you think he's improving?
BB: If we didn't think he would be back, then we would put him on injured reserve. So the fact that he's still on the roster means that we think at some point he'll be back.
Q: What changed from the first half to the second half to allow Cincinnati to have more success?
BB: Well, I think offensively, they kind of changed modes there in the middle of the second quarter. They're a good football team. They [had] some plays. There were some plays that we had pretty well defended and they hit them. There were some other plays that we could have played better. Give them credit. They're a good football team. It's hard to keep them down forever. We need to do a better job, but I think out players played hard. I think we had…It wasn't like there was a big physical letdown or anything; we just didn't make as many plays as we did earlier in the game. We got them in some long-yardage situations in the first half and that helped us. We weren't able to create quite as many of those in the second half.
Q: Through the first quarter and a half, I think Cedric Benson had no rushing yards and at that point they went to the no-huddle. As a defensive game plan, is there a certain pride you take or do you want to get to the point where they throw away what they prepared and go to no-huddle?
BB: Well, they've done no-huddle before. They've shown that in other games. They did that last year, so we prepared for it. It wasn't a surprise they did it. But they do a lot of things. They give you a lot of things to prepare for: all the different 'unbalanced line, extra linemen-type' looks, then plus all their regular looks, the no huddle, the third-down package, three receivers, four receivers. They throw a lot at you, so it's a lot to prepare for. They did a good job with what they did there in a couple of those drives in the second half - better than we did, so that's really what it comes down to. We had our chances. We couldn't convert on a couple third-down situations. Penalties hurt us. We kept drives going with a couple penalties. So that's not the way to do it.
Q: Randy said yesterday that he doesn't feel appreciated. Do you think there is any reason he should feel that way?
BB: I feel the same way as I have felt about Randy for the last three years. He's a good football player. I'm glad he's on our team. I think he adds a lot to our football team. He's got good energy. Everybody likes him. He's fun to have on the team and he's a good player.
Q: When Randy has the open conversation that he did yesterday, can that be a distraction at all?
BB: I can't tell you what's in everybody else's mind. That's the way I feel about him.
Q: Did you have any problem with the forum in which he released his opinions - after a game?
BB: I really wasn't even aware of it until today. You had the access.
Q: In that occasion he took the time to talk about his personal situation, which he doesn't usually do.
BB: You guys must have loved it.
Q: It was tremendous. Did you guys sit down and talk about it at all? Hash anything out?
BB: I keep the conversations that I have between the players and myself private. I think that's the way they should stay.
Q: A lot has been reported on the Logan Mankins situation.
BB: No. I have no news for you.
Q: No comment?
BB: I don't have anything new to report.
Q: Do you expect him to be back by the Jets game?
BB: Right now I'm just focused on the Jets. I don't know.
Q: Since the Jets are playing tonight, do you watch as a fan or do you sit there with a notebook? How does that work?
BB: I'm sure I'll watch the game, some of the game. I doubt I'll watch all of it. But TV scouting really isn't the way to go.
Q: Because you can't see the whole field?
BB: Yeah, you really can't see much. For what we need to see as coaches, you really can't see much. It's interesting to watch. We play them. We play Baltimore later in the year. It's interesting to watch, but I don't think we'll formulate any big strategy based on that. We'll look at the film tomorrow morning anyway, so we'll be working on that.
Q: You guys played well in all three phases of the game yesterday. Is there any carry over to the next game as far as confidence and execution? Anything that helps in that regard?
BB: I don't think there's anything that carries over into the next game, per se. Is confidence a part of it? I think any time you do something successfully in competition - well first of all, in practice, and then in competition - I think that helps your confidence. Absolutely. But in the end that doesn't really mean anything either. You still have to go out and do it again the next time. That's a challenge every week. It doesn't really matter how you did last week or who you did it against. It's different people. It's a different scheme. It's different the next time you do it. You have to prove it every week in this league. Last week doesn't mean anything.
Q: Usually we concentrate on the team coming off the short week as having less time, but this being the first week and you not having that much information about the Jets, is it a little more of pinch for you guys since you won't have seen them play until Tuesday as opposed to Sunday night or Monday morning?
BB: I think both teams know each other pretty well. It's just the reverse of what it was last year. I don't think that was a big factor in the game. Both teams know each other really well. It's early in the year, so this won't be like it will be when we play them the second time. There will be a lot more information. It will be a lot more currant, but nevertheless we know them. They know us. If you were going to play somebody on a short week, I think it's easier to play somebody you're pretty familiar with. You know the personnel. You know most of the schemes. They'll have some wrinkles, no doubt about that. They'll have a couple new guys that we haven't faced before [and] vice versa, but there's a lot of carryover from the last time we faced them.
Q: You seemed to use a nickel packaged yesterday with James Sanders that worked effectively. Were you happy with how that package worked and the play of Sanders?
BB: I would say overall we had our moments. There were times when that was good for us. There were times when we could have done it better. I though overall James had a solid game. That was a big play he had on the fumble. He caused the fumble there on [Cedric] Benson. That was a good play in that game, which wasn't on the nickel, but it was a James Sanders play. I thought he had a solid game for us.
Q: Given what he went through this offseason with the rehab, is Wes Welker where you expected him to be at this point?
BB: I really didn't have an expectation of where he would be or wouldn't be. I just took it day-by-day. And every day he came out on the field I looked at him. I saw what it looked like and saw it keep improving and that's really the way it's been all the way through the spring, through training camp, preseason and now the regular season. We felt comfortable putting him out there based on what the medical recommendations were and then what we saw on the field that confirmed it and continued to get better. I didn't really have any expectations for where he would be. I just took it day-by-day and tried to evaluate what I saw.
Q: Patrick Chung also had a good game yesterday. Your confidence in him seems high and I think I saw him move into that James Sanders position later in the game. Are you confident in that heading into this game as well?
BB: Any player we put out on the field we're confident in. we wouldn't put them out there if we weren't. I feel that way about every player that steps on the field. If I didn't feel good about them, then there would be somebody else out there for them. That being said, I think Patrick did a lot of good things in the game and he was in on a lot of plays. Some other things could have been better. That's the way it is in every game. You always feel that way as a coach [and] as a player. You're happy about some things and there are other things that weren't as good. Sometimes those things show up and sometimes they don't. Sometimes you can have bad calls or bad plays and because of what happened on the play, it doesn't get exposed and you kind of get away with it or 'it's a good thing they weren't doing this when you were doing that.' And then there are other times that you might do something right 10 times and that 11th time it's not quite there and they happen to have on the right thing and it looks bad. We all have those. There were a lot of good things out there. There were other things that could be better, will be better, and need to be better. But again, you can say that about all the players and all the coaches. I think we all had our moments that we look back on and say we need to do a better job here or there. I'd definitely put him in that category, but that being said, he had a productive game and was in on a number of plays and played a number of different positions in the game.
Q: Carson Palmer said after the game that he was confused early on with some of the disguising you guys did in pre-snap and post-snap looks. Did you notice them looking confused on anything?
BB: They looked like they did a pretty good job there getting to where they wanted to go, from about the end of the second quarter on. He made a lot of great throws. He's a really good quarterback. They've got good receivers, good backs, a good tight end, a good scheme. It was a little bit of a chess match. We had our moments. They had theirs. But they're good. They're hard to defend. They have a lot of weapons. You just can't do the same thing all the time because they've got too many different people to go to. I don't think it was a case of that. Give the credit to the players. They executed some things well. The interception and the fumble were two big turnovers. Even though we didn't get any points out of the fumble, it was still - that was a big play. We had a couple good third-down stops early in the game and our offense converted those, so all those things came together and made it 24-3, 24-0 or whatever, and we were able to play from ahead in the second half, which is a nice position to be in. Had it gone the other way, who knows.
Q: Did you make a conscious effort in the offseason to get faster on defense?
BB: I think in the offseason you look to improve your team wherever you can. Sometimes you can address areas and sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can address them more than others - let's put it that way. You'll always try to improve your team. We try to look at it very objectively and say, 'What can we get better at? What do we need to get better at? And how can that happen? Is it scheme? Is it players? Is it draft choices? Is it free agents? Is it improvement of players who are here?' It can be a whole combination of things, but the bottom line is you try to identify the areas that you need to improve in. Other things that you're doing well, you hope you can maintain those. I think that is kind of how you approach the offseason. You try to shore up your weaknesses, whether that is scheme or personnel. You try to maintain your strengths or build on them if you can [and] find other ways to utilize those type of players or schemes or whatever is working for you. That's kind of how that evolves. Sometimes you have opportunities to do that and sometimes you kind of don't, or not as much as you would like to have - let's put it that way. You can't manufacture players. They just don't grow on trees. You've got to find the right guy. He has to be available. You have to be able to get him and so forth and so on. That's not always a straight line solution. There is a lot of different judgments you have to make, especially if you're trying to do more than one thing, which I'm sure every team in the league is. They don't go into the offseason saying, 'We just need one thing.' It's usually a lot more than that. That's how we try to manage it.