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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 08/11/02

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            B>BB: Tomorrow we're practicing at 2:30. That's pretty much it. There weren't any significant injuries to report. Hopefully we'll have a couple more players back this week. We'll wait to see who's out there tomorrow, but guys that are doing better we haven't fully tested them yet, because we're not practicing until tomorrow so we'll do that then. I'm hopeful we'll have a few more guys out there then we played with last night. Last night after watching the tapes, it was a step. There are some things to build on; some things are better than others. We have a lot of work to do. It's a part of the process. We've been putting in a lot of time and a lot of work for a number of months now, and this was another step in the process. I think we need to keep building on it, and correct our mistakes. Every aspect could use improvement. I don't think there is any reason to harp on one thing more than anything else. We had mistakes in all three phases of the game, and we also made some plays in all three phases. That's about where it's at.  

Q: Where exactly did you see things that you would say, "Hey that isn't bad"?

BB: Well I think overall we threw the ball pretty well. We had a lot of production in the passing game. We didn't have a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and for this time of year that's better than it has been, that's for sure. Kickoff returns were better. That was an area we wanted to emphasize and we showed some improvement there. Defensively, considering the fact we didn't play any substituted defenses in the second half, we just played in our base defense, there were times when it was executed fairly well, and there were times when it wasn't. Just the way we played the game, we need work on our defense, and we got plenty of it.

Q: Do you think that personnel moves have helped the passing game?

BB: Yeah, I think we have a little bit more depth there, but also the execution was better on some things. We hit some timing passes, and had protection, not all of the time, but most of the time. There were some passing lanes there, and we scrambled a couple times and picked up first downs. There were certainly some elements of the passing game that looked better, part of it was the personnel, part of it was the scheme, and part of it was the overall coordination. One guy can't make the passing game no matter who he is.

Q: How did [Adrian] Klemm and [Steve] Neal look to you, after looking at the film?

BB: I think both players had some okay moments. We played quite a bit of the game with Klemm, [Drew] Inzer, and Neal as our inside three. They did some encouraging things at times, at other times they had some trouble, its what you would expect. Overall it was okay. It wasn't unbelievably good, but it wasn't bad either. There were some things to work with. In general our offensive line did better in pass protection than in run blocking. We had some problems there; we had some problems getting to the edge in the running game too. Overall, I thought the inside guys did some good things, but we still have a lot to work on particularly in the running game.

Q: It still has to be encouraging for Neal, considering how far he has had to come.

BB: Yeah, I've said many times during this training camp that he is easily the most improved player from last year. He's come a long way, and he's got a long way to go. When you get down to it, that was really his first football game, since junior high school or whatever it was.

Q: What about [Maugaula] Tuitele, he seemed to show up on a number of plays.

BB: Yeah. I think playing in Europe really helped him out. He got a lot of experience there in terms of playing every down, playing all of the time, and I think that that definitely worked to his favor. He is taking advantage of that playing time that he had in Europe. He's reading plays quicker, and he's reacting quicker. I think that experience is helping him there, it helped him in the game last night, and it's helped him at camp. He's a guy that's worked hard for a couple of years, and it's improved. He's a much better player than he was when he got here. There are a lot of things he still needs to work on, but he's certainly headed in the right direction.

Q: Any update on Charlie [Weis], and will he coach against the Eagles?

BB: I think that that is a possibility. I can't make a commitment to it now and again that is not my decision. We'll see how it goes, and if things go well this week I think that is a possibility.

Q: Any glitches last night with different guys calling the plays?

BB: No, I think the staff did a good job of having things organized and put together, and we didn't have any substitution problems, any wasted timeouts, or we couldn't get the play in, or delay of game, or any of those problems. I think it went pretty smooth. I think the offensive staff did a real good job.

Q: Could you talk about Bernard Holsey?

BB: Well Bernard is a guy that we have had our eye on for a while. He played for the Giants and the Colts, and just kind of got caught in the numbers out there, and didn't play last year. We never lost track of him. He's got some quickness, he's got some explosion, and he's got some pretty good playing strength. He's had some experience in the league. He played in the arena league, we got him out of the Dallas team in the arena league right before the start of training camp. We felt he could give us some depth on the defensive line, and based on his experience and his level of play from two or three years ago in the league, and the fact that he is healthy. After we brought him up here and worked him out and talked with him, we gave him a shot, and hopefully he can return to that level of play if not better.

Q: Fred Coleman had one long catch last night.

BB: He made two nice catches, one on the long pass, and one out in the flat which I thought he made a nice grab on. It was only a couple inches off the grass top. He made two good catches. He missed one coming over the middle. He put up some production catching the ball, and also made a nice play in the kicking game on punt coverage. That's kind of the way Fred has been for us, he's had a couple plays every game where he shows up and gets noticed, by you the fans, and us, an he did it again last night.

Q: Does he have a leg up in the competition for the fifth spot?

BB: He has an advantage over some of the other people on the team because he has experience, he has a little bit of game experience. He was in the system with us for a few months last year, and is probably a little more familiar with some of the things we're doing compared to other people. He's just like everybody else. Everybody has to establish their game again this year, and Fred will have to do it, and so will everybody else. Then we'll try to make our decisions based on what we see out there on the practice field, and in the games, and what kind of performance we get from him. I don't think anybody has anything locked up, but at the same time Fred does have some experience and did some things last night that we noticed. That's what he needs to keep doing, and that's what everybody else who is competing on this team needs to keep doing, put production out there on the field when they get an opportunity to do it.

Q: After looking at the tape, did Deion Branch look the same as last night?

BB: I think that he has had some opportunities this camp, and he has been able to capitalize on the opportunities he has had. Unfortunately Troy [Brown] was not there last night, so he got a little more opportunity early in the game maybe then he would have if things had gone according to plan. He made some nice plays. Its one half of preseason football, and we've got a long way to go. One thing that Deion and every other young football player needs to do is establish his consistency, and if he can keep doing it day after day, game after game, week after week, then that's the mark of players who have been consistent in this league. Any player can go out and have a good week, or a good play, but he good players are the ones that can do it consistently, and do it in a way that everybody can count on. If he can do that, and we're hopeful that he will, but that's what he needs to do. He certainly got off to a good start last night.

Q: How would you characterize the depth on the team this year?

BB: Well the depth, in 2000, there wasn't any. I thought of all the weaknesses on the team, and there were a lot of them. We came into a situation where we're 10 million dollars over the cap, and we have over 20 rookies, and rookie free agents make the team, and that was the depth of the team. Half of our team was rookies. Compared to that it's a lot better. Compared to last year, I don't know, we'll have to wait and see. Right now it would probably be comparable to last year at this point in the year. How that will all play out, whether it will be better or not, we'll just have to wait and see. At this point after one preseason game this year and one preseason game last year I think the overall depth looks comparable. It could be ok, but a lot of that will depend on how some of the new players work in, and also from the injury standpoint your depth can get eroded in a hurry if you get a few guys out of there. So that's something that nobody has any measure on, we'll just have to see how it goes. Right now at cornerback we don't have any depth, but maybe that situation will improve as time goes by, and hopefully we can get a couple of guys back on the field.

Q: How did you feel about the three quarterbacks yesterday?

BB: I thought that all three of them did a decent job of managing the team, We didn't have a lot of communication and play calling and formation errors, and all of that. Some of the throws were better than others. A couple of the plays on timing, like the screen passes, or the red area passed we could have been a little bit sharper on. Overall for the first game it was ok to good, not great, but its is certainly something to work with. I don't know the exact numbers, but I think last night we threw the ball better than in any other preseason games since I've been here. Its one preseason game and we'll see if we can maintain this kind of production in the passing game, and consistency, but there were some good things last night. We had one turnover on a screen pass, and one sack. We need to eliminate those plays, but otherwise there weren't a lot of bad plays, we just need more production in the red area, and a little bit more on third down.

Q: Was the play consistent with how you felt coming out of the practices?

BB: Well you never know coming out of practice. We're working against our defense, and the way we do things, then you go up against a different group. It never quite plays out the same, especially when you're talking about a lot of moving parts going together instead of just one player. I think that we've had an ok camp throwing the ball. We've seen some improvement the last two weeks between the receivers, the tight ends, the quarterbacks, and the offensive line. Again, passing includes everything. It's not just one guy, it's a total 11-man effort. As a unit I think there has been some improvement in a lot of areas, and that collectively has made the passing game a little bit stronger. I think it was a little bit better last night.

Q: Did it feel weird losing a game?

BB: It's been a while since we've done that. I don't think it was a feeling that anybody was enamored with.

Q: Could you talk about Donald Hayes and that catch in the end zone?

BB: That's one thing he's done a good job of in his career, he's a big guy, a big target. He made a nice play down in the red area, to use his body and shield the defender and make the catch and put points on the board, so that was a nice job. He didn't really get a lot of other chances down the field, but he's had good production at Carolina throughout his career, and we hope that will continue here. He's a size receiver with good range and good hands. He made a good catch over the middle and took a hit on a slant pattern. He had a couple of good opportunities, I wish we could've gotten him a little more, but that's the way it goes. I thought he did okay with the ones he got

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