New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, September 17, 2008.
BB: Well, [we're] back at it in the division again this week. That's a big challenge for us with Miami. In a lot of respects they have some similarities to Kansas City. They have a lot of new players, younger players and obviously a big makeover going on with that team. I think they are greatly improved from where they were last year. I think Bill [Parcells] and Tony [Sparano] have done a real good job down there by putting some young players in place. They have done a good job of improving that football team. You can really see it in all three phases of the game. In a way it just doesn't seem the same standing up here, talking about the Dolphins and not going on about [Jason] Taylor and [Zach] Thomas. But, they're not here. There's been a changing of the guard in that respect. Offensively, with [Chad] Pennington down there, the running backs, offensive line and tight ends. It's a good, very well balanced team. I know [Chad] Pennington has shown a lot of poise down there as he does and has done against us in the past. They are tough and big defensively. [They] do a good job of stopping the run. They do a good job of hitting the cornerback. I think Will Allen is one of the best corners that we will see this year. We have a lot to work on this week, a lot to get ready for. [There are] a lot of new faces, so that's where we are.
Q: After all the changes in preseason with the offensive line, have you seen those five guys settle in?
BB: I think it's worked out ok. Really, [Matt] Light was the big guy that was out and missed the most time. Billy [Yates] played guard and Nick [Kaczur] was over at tackle for a game but we swung him back to right tackle where he has been. [Also] Logan [Mankins] and Dan [Koppen]. So, it was really the last three-preseason games and most of the practices were with those four guys and Russ [Hochstein] working in there as well. We didn't have Light at left tackle. You don't like to see that. You like to see everybody out there and you like to work the guys together who are going to play together. But, in the long run there is some benefit to have other guys get experience and play with different people, to give your team a little more depth and improve the communication process. So, when they have to play they have done it before too.
Q: You are familiar with the Bill Parcells' way of doing things. What signs have you seen so far?
BB: Bigger and more physical. Starting with [Jake] Long. But, even on the defensive side of the ball too - bringing in [Jason] Ferguson and [Randy] Starks. Their outside linebackers are big guys. They moved [Matt] Roth outside and drafted [Quentin] Moses. Of course, Joey Porter was there but he is another pass rusher, outside linebacker. So, their front seven is big, physical and tough. The offensive line - I thought [Donald] Thomas did a good job for them before he got hurt last week and I guess they moved [Ikechuku] Ndukwe - he's another big, physical guy to go along with [Vernon] Carey and Jake [Long] outside. They brought in [Justin] Smiley, [Samson] Satele was there last year, [Anthony] Fasano is a good blocking tight end, as well as, a good receiving tight end. He might be their leading receiver or he is right up there anyway. I think the overall presence of the offensive line and defensive line, including linebackers - that's already been addressed. They have a lot of young players there. Guys who will develop and grow into the big, physical, tough type players that they want to play with. [Phillip] Merling on the defensive line is another one. They have a number of them and they look pretty good.
Q: In what respects, with [Jason] Taylor and [Zach] Thomas' absence represents the change and makeover of the team?
BB: I have been watching them all year. I think their second preseason game was against Kansas City. We saw that game early as we were looking at Kansas City. But, you also see the Dolphins. Then, of course the Jets game on opening day as we prepared for the Jets and now Miami. We have kind of seen them all the way through. I'm just saying, 'it's odd for me to not be talking about them.' On film, that transition has been made and it's been made a long time ago. [Channing] Crowder has done a good job for them inside with [Akin] Ayodele. They are strong at inside linebacker, they are strong at outside linebacker and they are strong up front. It is a little different style of defense that they play down there when Dave [Wannstedt] was down there and transitioning into Nick [Saban]. But, they're pretty solid.
Q: Do you think Ricky Williams is not running as well as he used to or do you think the offensive line is not opening holes?
BB: I think they have run into a couple of overloaded fronts. I know the Jets got them on some blitzes. They brought the safeties up, blitzed the safeties a few times. Kris Jenkins did a good job in there, in the running game. Last week they fell behind Arizona but Arizona is another 8-man front team that brings a lot of people down there. They have been out numbered a couple times. I think he's running well. I think he ran well in preseason. I think Ronnie Brown ran well in preseason. They both caught the ball. I think their running game is good. I think their offensive line is good. I think their tight ends are good. I think they have very good backs and the quarterback is a good player. I know what the stats are but I think some of that is circumstantial. I think when all said and done, they're going to be a good running team statistically. I think they are a good running team now. The statistics don't bear that out but I am sure that they will.
Q: From watching the film do you think Ricky Williams is running with the same explosiveness he used to?
BB: It is a little different running game. But, I would say overall yes. I think he and Ronnie Brown are two of their best players. They pretty much split carries in the first two games. I think that either guy is dangerous with the ball in their hands. They have a little different style but they are both dangerous. They have good vision. They can both get the ball outside and they both have enough power to take it up inside.
Q: What would you like to see be done in the red zone?
BB: I would like to see us get in the end zone more. It is as simple as that. Run it and throw it. Coach it better, would be number one. Number two would be run it better and throw it better. We just have to do a better job. I give the Jets credit. They are a good red area team and we have to execute it better. We had some chances and didn't take advantage of them. Then, there were some other plays that really weren't good plays for what they came up against. Overall, we just have to do a better job. Keep working on it. We will work on it today, work on it tomorrow and hopefully it will be better at the end of the week.
Q: Are they using Joey Porter as a more stand up guy?
BB: The only time his hands are down is on third down. He's rushing a lot so whether his hands are up or down, you can call it what you want. He's in the pass rush a lot.
Q: More than last year?
BB: Yes. So is [Matt] Roth for that matter, [Quentin] Moses or whoever is out there. They rush those outside linebackers a lot - both of them. One or the other, you don't know which one, or both of them. You are pretty much getting one of them on every play and you are getting both of them on quite a few plays.
Q: Matt Roth was a defensive end last year?
BB: Three Technique, defensive end and defensive tackle at college in Iowa. They stood him up outside. He's a big, physical guy. I'm sure in the mold for them like a [Shawne] Merrimen who plays in that defense and so is [Quentin] Moses - he's a big guy too. So, they're hard to run against. They are hard to get outside on and block. It is a tough block for the tight ends, the full backs, or whoever is blocking them outside on the perimeter. They are big powerful guys in the pass rush. If you don't get an offensive line on them, then you are probably mismatched. If you put an offensive lineman on them and they happen to not be rushing, then you have wasted your offensive lineman on a guy whose not rushing and you are late somewhere else. They kind of keep moving that around and it's a good scheme. It makes it hard on you.
Q: Was Brett Favre more raw then Chad Pennington was when Chad Pennington started with the Jets?
BB: I don't know. I think you would have to ask them how they are doing and all that. I am just looking at Pennington and he looks pretty good to me, like he usually does. He makes good decisions. He's accurate with the ball. He's an accurate passer. If they are open, he's going to hit them. He's got a little bit of movement. He's scrambled some. He's pulled the ball down a few times and scrambled up the middle. They run a few bootlegs just to move the pocket and keep you off balance. He'll hit the check downs. I think when you look at the stats - to me; it is interesting how the tight ends, the backs and the receivers have the same amount of catches when you add up the group. He spreads the ball around. He basically throws the ball to the guy that's open. You try to take one guy away and it doesn't really matter to him, he'll go to the next option. That's what he does. He's an accurate passer [and] good decision maker. Obviously, we have competed against him a lot. I have a lot of respect for him and I know our team does as well. He's a good competitor and he's given us plenty of trouble.
Q: Can you talk about Richard Seymour showing up in the red zone?
BB: Of course, the Kansas City play - that was a huge play for us down there. The goal line play was one of three that we made as a team. That was a big stop as well. Richard is off to a good start this year. He had a good camp and good off-season. He's been able to take more reps and I think he's a better fundamental player this year than he was last year. Having missed all those fundamental and individual periods in training camp and in the early part of the season, coming in half way through the year and trying to get assignments and game plans - you just don't have as good of a fundamental base. That's one of the things that training camp is the best for. For a player [training camp] is to develop their fundamentals and their basic techniques. Those carry you through the season. As you get into the season you pick up game plan, schemes and adjustments. But, its good to have a good base on the fundamentals. That's why pitchers and catchers go to training camp early. It is the same thing with football. You learn your fundamentals and then you get those down early in camp. They carry you through the whole year, hopefully.
Q: Is having Adalius Thomas on the outside adding a different dimension to the defense?
BB: I am not sure. I don't know. Our outside linebackers have been our outside linebackers. Whether it's [Willie] McGinest, Rosevelt [Colvin], Mike [Vrabel] or Adalius [Thomas]. Whoever it's been out there, its been pretty much the same defense. Those guys have all been an important part of the defense, to the outside running game and in the pass rush. That's where Adalius Thomas is playing. That's his role. He made some big plays for us last year - playing off the ball, playing inside. He's still does a little bit of that. His primary role is on the end of the line and he's been productive for us out there too. So, he's a good football player that has some versatility [and] can do some different jobs. What we've asked him to do this year in terms of rushing the passer, playing outside and setting the edge in the running game, which he did the second half of last year after Rosie [Colvin] got hurt. I think he's done a good job of it.
Q: On defense in the red zone.
BB: Whatever happened happened and that's a matter of record. Some plays are better than others and some plays are a lot worse than others. It's one thing in the Kansas City game where [Dwayne] Bowe goes up there, it's a great throw, and it's a great catch. I don't know that there was a lot of defense that would have stopped that play - that particular play. The way it was executed and the players that did it and all that. Then you see a play were Chansi Stuckey standing in the end zone and there is nobody within five yards of him. You would like to be more competitive on the play than that. Same thing offensively. Sometimes you got plays that are relatively easy to make if you could just make them - that's frustrating. We ran a play into a blitz last week. Kerry Rhodes came off the edge and made the play. We didn't have him blocked. That's one of those situations that it was a bad play into a good defense. We have to do a better job of coaching and give the Jets credit. They really had us on that one. I'm not saying those numbers aren't important. You just have to look at each situation. Some things are a little harder to live with than others - let me put it that way.
Q: Can you talk about your defense in the last two games and how they have played as a whole?
BB: Well, some things are better than others. Our red area defense has probably been better than our third down defense. We still have a lot of things to work on. It could be more consistent. We will try to coach it better and play it better going forward. I think we can improve and that's what we're going to try to do this week. It's been good enough for two weeks. I don't know if it will be good enough this week or not, unless we improve. So, that's our focus for these next three days - to get up to a higher level, I think that's where it needs to be.