Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.
BB: We're kind of right in the thick of it here with Cincinnati. [They're a] real good football team. A team that had a good year last year - a very good regular season. [They're] strong in a lot of areas, well coached, good on defense, explosive on offense. [They] run the ball well. [They have a] very good return game. [They're] good on special teams - solid there. I think Marvin [Lewis] does a real good job with this football team and they play well. They play sound and I think the way they started out the year last year, coming from behind in four of the first five games, really showed how resilient and ready they were to start the season. They swept the division. I know all of that is last year, but they've added some significant players, skill players on offense - Pacman [Adam Jones]. [They] got some guys back that were injured the latter part of the year. I think it's a strong team, good team, and I think we've seen that in the preseason. They've been very impressive on film. We've got our work cut out for us this weekend. We need to have a good week of practice, a good week of preparation and then be ready to go Sunday at 1 [p.m.].
Q: They had a lot of injuries last year at tight end. How much does getting a guy like Jermaine Gresham involved in that offense change what they do?
BB: I think he definitely helps them, no question about that. He has had a good preseason. He's made a lot of improvement, I think, in his blocking over the course of the preseason. He's a very athletic guy. They get the ball in his hands on a couple plays that kind of look like they were built for him. He can get down the field. He runs well. He catches the ball well. He looks very athletic, so I'm sure he'll help them at that position. Between the running game and the tight end and their outside receivers, [Jordan] Shipley in the slot, they've got good balance on their offense.
Q: How often is he detached from the formation?
BB: It's preseason so they're pretty much just running their offense like everybody does in preseason. We'll see how they game plan during the regular season. I mean, he's been out there. He's been out there. Not a lot, but some.
Q: That's primarily what he did at Oklahoma, right?
BB: At times. He played a lot of conventional tight end too.
Q: What have you seen from Jordan Shipley?
BB: Shipley has had a good preseason. He's been productive for them as a slot receiver and as a returner. [He] shows good running skills with the ball in his hands [and] good quickness. [He] catches it well. He's smart. I mean, that's what he played at Texas. He shows that experience from college, in terms of being able to get open and read coverages. I think it's obvious that the quarterbacks have a lot of confidence in him. They feed him the ball in there and he's done a nice job for them on the return team.
Q: What are your thoughts on Mike Zimmer?
BB: I think that Mike and of course Marvin, I think there is a lot of carryover. Mike and Marvin probably have a similar philosophy. They both like to pressure. They both have done a good job with their teams turning the ball over and stripping it and causing batted balls and hurries for interceptions and things like that. They put a lot of pressure on the ball; they get a lot of turnovers. I think that is kind of the trademark of Marvin's teams and also Mike's. Their pressure defense - you've got to stay out of long yardage with them. You don't want to be in a lot of second-and-12s or third-and-15s against a team like this. They really cause a lot of trouble when they get you in long yardage. They give you a lot of different looks, a lot of things to prepare for. This will be an important week for us just in terms of having our assignments and our recognition ready for the game. That's a really big challenge this week.
Q: How much freedom do those corners give him to pressure and kind of do what he wants with his front?
BB: I think Mike pretty much does that. That's what he's done and that's what Marvin has done. As I said, I think that's a good union there - two guys that like to pressure. Having good corners helps them to do that. It's always good to have two corners, no matter what you're doing.
Q: Chad Ochocinco was talking about the evolution of your relationship earlier today on the conference call. Can you talk a little about that?
BB: The first time I met Chad was at USC when I worked him out there on the USC campus, because he is from California - from LA - or he was at that time. [We] kind of ran him into the ground. It was a good workout. It was very impressive. He was, I'd say, a little raw coming out of college but very talented and clearly he made the transition very quickly to picking up the skills and techniques and so forth that maybe he didn't get a chance to do in college. He picked those up in a hurry. [He's] related to Keyshawn [Johnson], so we kind of stayed in touch with him through the years there and then got to spend some time with him a couple years ago out there at the Pro Bowl. I like Chad. I like him as a player. I like him as a person. I like his enthusiasm and the fun he has with football, and I like how he competes on the football field. I have a lot of respect for that. [We're] an odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.
Q: Do you think follow him on Twitter?
BB: No, I don't do Twitter or MyFace (sic) or any of that stuff.
Q: Do you think it is wise to avoid trash talking with him?
BB: Chad and I have gotten into it before, but in the end it all comes down to what happens on Sunday out on the field. We'll do our best; I'm sure he'll do his best and we'll see what happens.
Q: He said he plans to grab a musket from the Patriots End Zone Militia after he scores a touchdown. How are you going to defend that?
BB: We'll have to pick up a game plan for that one. I haven't been working on that yet.
Q: Are the expectations going to be any different than they usually are since you're starting two younger cornerbacks? Is there any reason to think they wouldn't be able to do the same job?
BB: I think every year you go into games with new people somewhere. The team is always a little different than it was the year before. Our team is like that; so is every other team.
Q: What do you expect from Wes Welker coming off knee surgery and with the tight ends maybe more involved do you think he will have less catches this year?
BB: I think our offense will be a game plan offense like it has been through the years. We'll do what we feel like is best for any particular game to try to win that, whoever that involves - running, passing, what players [there are], we're just trying to win and however those roles unfold, wherever that production is, as long as we are on the winning side of the ledger we're all right
Q: Do you have a favorite of Ochocinco's touchdown celebrations?
BB: No. I don't think so. Certainly not any of the ones he did against us, no.
Q: Can you talk about your tight end situation with two rookies and the veteran Alge Crumpler? How has he helped them come along in training camp?
BB: Alge has been great. He has been a great addition to this team. He's a very professional guy, good player. Does everything right. Good practice player. Good preparer. Really knows his job, his assignments, and even when he is asked to do things in a backup role, for example some things on special teams, he prepares very professionally for them and is always on top of whatever he is doing. I think that's a great example for any player - all of our players - especially the young ones that play the position he does. He's a good example. He does things the right way and he's a good player. He's been very productive for us, so it's been great to have him. I think those young guys have learned a lot just by watching Alge. They've continued to develop through the course of the spring, preseason, and training camp, so they are doing things a lot better than they did them at an earlier point. They've still got a long way to go. I think that all three of those guys can be productive for us. They have been when they are on the field so far this year, so I hope that continues.
Q: You've played against Carson Palmer throughout his career. Where is he now in his development?
BB: Pretty good. He's Pretty good. I think he's got a good group of receivers and tight ends and backs and he's got good skill players. I think he makes all the throws you want him to make - the deep balls. He's very good on the outside routes, comebacks, corner patterns, things like that. Uses his flare control well. He gets the ball to the backs. Uses the inside part of the passing game: in-cuts and seam routes and things like that. I think he can do it all. Very athletic. Makes plays with his feet. Not that he runs a lot, but he does run. But he can definitely buy more time to throw with his athleticism. He's pretty good.
Q: Even with all the additions of receivers for them, do you still see them as a run-first power team?
BB: I think they are a balanced offense. I don't think you can go into this game saying, 'Well, we're just going to stop this one guy' or 'We're just going to stop this one thing.' They can attack you on a lot of different fronts and their receivers are playmakers. Their tight end is a playmaker. Their backs are playmakers. Their quarterback [is a playmaker]. They do a lot of formation, they give you a lot of different looks and they have a lot of good players to do it with. They've got four real good receivers that play, two backs. They keep them coming. They have a lot of good players. They are well-coached and have a good quarterback, and an experienced offensive line. Not a lot of weak points on this offense.
Q: Tom Brady said this morning he was a little motivated because all the pundits are picking other teams to win. As a coach, do you feel like you have more bulletin board material this year than in the past since everyone seems to be picking the Jets or Dolphins over you guys?
BB: I'm not really too worried about that. I'm just trying to get the team ready to play against Cincinnati and go out there and play a good football team. The rest of it doesn't really mean too much to me.
Q: What have your initial impressions of Jarrad Page been, for a guy who just got onto the field with you guys this week?
BB: [He's] a smart guy. I think, even though he hasn't been in our system, he's a smart football player. He's had a lot of experience. He's done a lot of the things we do. They've just called them differently or it's been associated differently, that type of thing, but I think he has picked things up very quickly. He was able to go out on the practice field and execute things at a pretty decent level for not very much practice. I think he will pick things up quickly. He's got good size and he runs well. He has been a very productive player in the league. I'm excited to work with him. I think he will be a good addition to our team. I think there are a number of different things he can do. We'll just have to see how it all fits together and exactly what his role is, but I think he can be productive for us. I like his attitude, I like his work ethic and I like his skill. I'm glad we have him
Q: How does that work when a guy comes in five days before the game? Do you have a guy show him what to do? Do you make him learn a specific package? How do you make it work so quickly?
BB: It's obviously not the ideal situation, but you have to do what you have to do. You try to teach the player the basics, but you really don't have too much time for that. You have to get him ready to run the game plan that you are going to use that week. You kind of give him the basics to get started and then you go over the game plan in a way. Like all players, each player has to learn the game plan for that particular week. You have to study your opponent. You have to learn what the defensive calls are, what the adjustments are and how they apply to what your opponent is doing. Even though our players are more experienced in our system and they've run the calls more, it's still getting ready for a new team. We're all kind of in that same boat together. Jarrad is just a little less familiar with all the reps and the intricacies of certain adjustments or recognizing certain plays and how we play them. But that will come in time, and in the meantime, you try to catch him up to a lot of the fundamental stuff: the terminology, the basic information and how we call things, what different words mean. Some of those will be in this game plan, but there will be plenty of them that we won't talk about this week because they won't apply. But they will come up in future weeks. He and Corwin [Brown] are spending a lot of time together. Again, I think he understands things because it's football and what our specific terminology is, I think he's just got to relate that to other things he's done, but now it's just called differently and how it applies. It seems like he is picking things up pretty quickly and we'll see how it goes here.
Q: With their receivers, can you tell from the preseason if they will keep them on one side or if they will flip them?
BB: They move them around a little bit. I mean, they have their basic positions, but they do move them around some. When Shipley comes in, he's generally in the slot. [Andre] Caldwell has generally been the fourth receiver. I'm sure they have the ability to move them more than they have done in preseason to get certain matchups or to get the route combinations that they want. They haven't done a lot of that, just a little bit.
Q: I know wins and losses are the most important thing, but after that you always say points scored or allowed. Do you think those numbers can be deceiving as well?
BB: If you score more points then you allow, you are probably going to be alright. You can have one game that kind of skews it. A 50-0 game kind of skews the season stats a little bit. In the end, that's what we're all here for - to outscore the other guys. Whether that is 3-2 or 50-49, that's what competition is - finding a way to do a little bit better than they do, whether that's not giving up any or outscore them or block a kick or return an interception or catch a pass or kick a field goal. In the end, it all comes down to points. Points are a function of turnovers and red area production and big plays, that's how you score. It's got to be one of those three things. If you're making them, you're scoring. If you're not making them, you're probably not scoring too much and vice versa.