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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Mon Sep 20 | 12:00 AM - 08:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 08/13/02

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            **BB:** Two roster announcements today, one is we signed O.J. Brigance, I think we have a release on that out, and we waived Setema Gali this morning.  We have two good practices this morning and yesterday afternoon where we just wanted to clean up a lot of things - plays we didn't run against the Giants and cover some situations and review our goal line, we wanted to try to get caught up on those. We got two good practices here and tonight were going to do some work in the stadium again and try to get a little more acclimated to the field and the lights and the wind and so forth as well as work on some situational things down there and then we will start our preparations for Philadelphia on Wednesday morning.  That's pretty much the schedule that we're on.  It's good to see a couple guys back out today and yesterday and hopefully we can keep making progress with some of the other guys who are out and get back and pretty close to full strength before the season starts.  

Q: (On the weather conditions)

BB: Yeah, it was warm out there this morning we had a couple of guys cramp up this morning.

Q: (On the meaning of wearing red practice jerseys)

BB: Just a limit to contact. Anybody who is in a red jersey is an alert for the players to limit the contact.

Q: (On taking a precaution having Ted Johnson wear a red jersey in practice)

BB: It probably would be, but we probably take another day to limit him from the game.

Q: (On the signing of O.J. Brigance)

BB: Yeah, O.J. has been a real productive special teams player in the league. We just felt like we could use a little more depth in that phase of the game and so we'll take a look at O.J., he's competition with some other guys that could have similar roles but he's had a lot of experience and a lot of production in similar roles and we want to put him in the mix.

Q: Obviously most of the guys on this team were in the Super Bowl last year. But playing in back-to-back Super Bowls, [O.J.] Brigance, is that something that crossed columns for him?

BB: I think it's his overall experience and production through the last five or six years. The National Football League is the biggest thing he's got going for him. I don't think we'd sign a guy based on one game. We might, but I don't think too many. But we look at more long-term production and history of the player rather than just one specific item.

Q: (On Adrian Klemm moving to Guard)

BB: I think it's possible Kevin, I think it's possible. He started camp off at tackle, we got thinned a little bit there at guard for a few days so he moved in there and has made good solid progress the last two weeks so once we get everybody back out there, (Matt) Light came back, whenever (Joe) Andruzzi comes back, we just have to re-sort it at that point but in the mean time we've got a little more depth at tackle with Light and we can use an extra guy inside, Adrian (Klemm) is making good progress in there, so he's probably going to get more reps there than probably he would at tackle after we split it all so I think this is the best place for him to get ahead and he's making progress and doing a good job right now so I wouldn't move him right now, but I certainly wouldn't rule it off down the line, not saying that we wouldn't move him back to tackle and how that line shape's up, once we get everybody out there we'll be able to evaluate that in the mean time he certainly will be in contention for significant playing time based on the way it stands currently today.

Q: (On Adrian Klemm's versatility)

BB: Well I think Adrian has a little position flexibility, he's athletic and he's just a little on the short side for a tackle, relative to the rest of the tackles this league, not that he's a midget, he's a little on the short side which may give him a little bit better fit in there at guard, but he's athletic enough to play tackle. The reason a lot of guards play guard is because they're not athletic enough to play tackle, and they make up for that with bulk and power. There are some guards in the league that have a little less bulk and a little more athleticism and that helps them on pulling and blocking linebackers and pass protection and that kind of thing. They probably come up a little bit relative to other guards in the league, they lack bulk and size and power. You know, it's just a trade off in there and I think Adrian's strong points are his athleticism, his quickness, he has good feet, and to have a tackle pass blocking at guard is really good for your pass protection, but if you really want your biggest strongest road grater kind of guy to run behind at guard, then that's a little different type of player, so you can go either way there. But I think he certainly has the ability to play guard and play it in his style of play. It's not the same style that, say, Andruzzi would have, or, say, Sale Isaia or somebody like that, it would be a different style.

Q: Is [Damien] Woody a full-time guard now in your eyes?

BB: No, I think Woody, no, he could go back and play center and I don't think it would take him long at all. That's the reason why we wanted to start him at guard in training camp, because even though he played guard in the shotgun situations last year, he didn't play a lot of regular offense guard. I think that if we wanted to move Woody back to center, it would only take a couple of days and he'd be right back at home there without a problem, whereas if we ended up starting him at center and moving him to guard, it would be a much longer process. So he's gotten … now we're on his third week of real good, solid work at guard, both techniques and all the plays and all the adjustments and all the assignments. He's had three years at center, so I think that just gives us a little more flexibility in the offensive line. I certainly wouldn't rule him out playing center.

Q: As you're looking at it right now, would he be at guard unless anything else happens?

BB: No. I'd say looking at it right now, he's one of our five best linemen and he's going to be there somewhere. Whether it's center or guard, we'll just have to wait and see. That may depend more on what other people do that what Damien himself does.

Q: Can you talk about the [Bernard] Holsey situation? How can you find a guy like that out of football?

BB: Well, he was in football for five years, six years, whatever it was. He played with the Giants and then with the Colts and we saw him twice a year there. But you know, sometimes they just kind of slip through the cracks for a while and I think that's sort of what happened to Bernard last year. He ended up out of football and in the arena league. We've been talking about him for a while. We talked about him back in the off-season in March or April. Then, when we got to training camp and we made a couple of roster adjustments on the defensive line, we felt like we needed him and in retrospect, we probably should have gotten him sooner. We didn't, but I feel fortunate that we've got him now. Bernard's got some quickness, he's got some explosive strength and he's got some pretty good balance inside there, so he can kind of stay on his feet and have some quickness to get into blockers and he's pretty active for as big of a guy as he is and the strength that he has.

Q: Considering that he was out of football for a year, have your guys seen him play in the arena league?

BB: Yeah, a little bit, but it was a lot more of what he did in the NFL. We saw him or five or six years in the NFL and played against him at Indianapolis. He also has played end and tackle in his career, even though he'd probably be a little on the short side for an end. But sometimes the way we play end it's a little more like a tackle, so it's maybe a little better fit for us than some of the other teams that would just have him out on the edge. But he's a guy that we've had on our list. We keep a list of all the players who aren't in the National Football League right now as their status changes. Whether they're restricted free agents, waived by a team out on the street, guys who didn't play last year, say, because of injury and now may or may not be healthy depending on their rehabilitation and so forth, so there are all different kind of categories, and he's been on it for a while and we have pretty good numbers at that position – more than we usually do – again, we just felt like given his experience heading into training camp that he'd be a good guy to throw into the mix there.

Q: Did he surprise you with the way he has been able to perform so far?

BB: Not really. I think he looks kind of like he looked when he played for the Giants and when he played for the Colts. He was a pretty decent player for them. He just wasn't a full-time player for them other than the one year with Indianapolis, but he played more on a rotational basis and we thought had some effectiveness when he was in there.

Q: Was he on your radar screen last off-season?

BB: Yeah. I'd say a lot more this year than last year, but we've talked about him, we talked about him when he signed with Indianapolis. He was on our radar screen after the Giants season when he signed with Indianapolis after the 2000 season and then he went to Indianapolis in 2001. We've talked about him every year now. I mean we talk about a lot of guys too. It's not like he was a major topic of conversation for six months, I'm not saying that. I remember when we talked about him when he went to sign with Indianapolis and the contract that he got was higher than where we were at and that's one of the reasons why I'm sure he ended up there. We had those discussions about him when he was available two years ago.

Q: Is the competition between Kenyatta (Jones) and (Matt) Light right where you want it to be?

BB: Is it where we want it to be? I don't know, I mean what you probably want for your right tackle is if we had a John Hannah or a Leon Gray at left guard and left tackle, you'd want the best guy in the league and you want it to be clear cut, but right now they are both young players and they're both going to get good opportunities here in training camp and the best one will play and the one who doesn't play as well will be behind the one who plays better.

Q: What type of camp has Kenyatta [Jones] had?

BB: I thought Kenyatta got off to a real good start, he worked over there on the left side and then when (Matt) Light came back we moved him back to the right side so he's got work at both tackle's. But I think he's gotten off to a pretty good start and he's way ahead of where he was last year and he understands the offense better, he's not making the same type of mental mistakes that he made last year. His technique is better, he's a physical player, he's a decent run blocker, but he still needs a lot more consistency and he needs work on his technique, it's better but it's not quite there yet. I think we've got a good competitive situation over there.

Q: In your years in the NFL what is the best offensive line you're seen? What made it so?

BB: The best run blocking offensive line would have been Buffalo's line in the late 70's there. They had about seven lineman, with [O.J.] Simpson, [Jim] Braxton was a fullback, he was about 280, the tight end was about 280. That was a pretty good run blocking offensive line. The Pittsburgh offensive lines in the late 70's were pretty good, it was a whole different style of play, you know [Mike] Webster, and [Robin] Cole, and that group. A lot smaller and quicker, a lot of trap blocking and pulling and that kind of thing. The St. Louis offensive line was pretty good with [Dan] Dierdorf and that group, [Hank] Goebel and Sharp, again we were in the NFC east so we saw those guys, you know the "Hogs" were a pretty good run blocking group so I can pick out four or five.

Q: Do you think stylistically it was more skilled back then?

BB: Well, yea. If you're pulling a trap you want to have guys that can pull, trap, and run. If you're a team like the Cowboys were back in the early 90's when they had [Ron] Stone, [Erik] Williams, [Mark] Stepnoski, and that group. The guy who died, [Pat] Toomay. They were a big physical run blocking group and they zone blocked a lot and they hardly ever pulled. That was there style of play, and the Redskins line was like that, they ran that counter a little bit but they were with [Dave] Kopay, and [Mark] May, and [Don] Graham and that group. They were a lot of just zone run blocking, get up there, cover up the defender and let the backfields run up against them, and run it up in there on the line. Emmitt [Smith] did it, [John] Riggins did it, but if you're going to run a pull in trapping, more of a parameter game, those guys that can pull and run are pretty good. I tell you, that Patriots line in the 70's was pretty good too, [Leon] Gray, [John] Hannah, [Paul] Lindquist, [Russ] Francis was part of the line, [Sam] Cunningham. I remember when I was coaching with the linebackers at the Giants, there was a lot of days when you'd go up against those big fullbacks and big tight ends and there job is to run up there as hard as they can on the line of scrimmage and hit them full speed, and meet them on the line, and knock them back. It's [Jim] Braxton, when it's Sam Cunningham, and when it's guys like that you know a lot of times they'll just say, 'Hey, give me a minus on the play, I didn't do my job, lets go onto the next play.' The same thing for some of those tight ends. There's going to be a lot of times you're talking to the offensive line you got to include that position or those two positions because there really becomes to effect another lineman once they fill there gap it becomes six or seven guys there rather than just the five.

Q: You named quite a few from Denver's line of a few years ago.

BB: I'd say certainly the Cowboys line form the early 90's was excellent. It was a real good, at least a good a line as I've seen around, those guys were big, powerful guys that gave the quarterback a lot of time to throw and Emmett [Smith] ran behind pretty effectively. Let me see. I think they [Denver] were pretty good. Going back, I don't think they were quite as deep last year, but going back just three or four years, with Tony Jones, [Tom] Nalen, they were a lighter quicker line, more like the line you described in Pittsburgh, but yet they don't pull a lot, they just use their quickness to gain position laterally. Really, I'd have to say, I'm not putting this line with the Dallas line, or the Pittsburgh line, but I'd say the line we had in Cleveland was a pretty good line with Orlando Brown, and Tony Jones, who's gone on to be a pro bowl tackle, you know and [Steve] Everett. That was a decent group too, when Tony went to the Ravens, and they picked up [Jonathan] Ogden, that line there with Tony and Ogden was pretty solid too. I think when you look at a line; it's really what the composite of the five guys can do, regardless of what the individual talent is along the line. Whether you want to create an A, B, or C type players, it's really what the group together can do that makes them an A, B, C type line, and I think that's part of what the Redskin line, when [Joe] Gibbs was there, or the Denver line under Alex Gibbs and [Mike] Shanahan that individually you might look at those guys and they might not be quite as good as some other guys playing in the league, but when you put them in there collectively, and how they function as a unit and the blend of all five guys that it makes them a good line. That's really a solid point and observation that individually you can take two or three good guys, but that doesn't mean you have a good line. It's how they fit together, mesh together, and work together because so much of that's team work and passing things off and recognizing, I mean so much is happening in so short amount of time those guys have to react just as one. That's not easy.

Q: (On solidifying the offensive line)

BB: No doubt you'd like to have it done as soon as possible, we'd like to have Joe [Andruzzi] out there, Joe's not out there, so that's the way it is and there's nothing we can do about that until he's ready to go. [Mike] Compton and [Damien] Woody have worked side by side through the year last year, and have exchanged positions a number of times so them switching positions, whether you want to call that a plus or a minus, you can write that however you want it, but it's something that we did all last year and it looks to me like they'll be side by side this year one way or another. We expect [Matt] Light to play at left tackle, and we've got good competiton at right tackle between a few guys that were here last year, and when Joe comes back, it could be a lot less moving parts than what it looks like, but I think Adrian's [Klemm] come on there and has provided some competition and may give us some depth inside. And Grant [Williams] is another guy that played both left and right tackle last year and has already done that for us in the preseason. That's where depth becomes important, so there's a lot of the same faces there, we played three tackles a lot of the time last year if you remember. So, it is what it is, I think the competition in the end, I think will make it better, but that remains to be seen.

Q: Is that a value of preseason, the feeling of a team?

BB: Well I think you can make a lot of progress in practice. If we didn't think you could gain anything in practice, there's no sense in us going out there. Almost 25 practices now, and that's got to make us better. No question the games add another dimension to it. Particularly in the way we practice. We don't cut block, and we don't reverse body block and stuff like that. So we try to minimize the piles and guys falling down and all that type of thing, but that's the way you play the game on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, whatever it is. There's some intangibles and there's some things that happen in interior line play that I don't think you can really simulate in practice without putting too many guys at risk. It does show that there's a little different level of aggressiveness and some things happen in a game that don't happen at practice, and certainly all the stunts and blitzes and all those things happen quicker and you have to react to them quicker, and that's a good measure. I do think we get good evaluation going against our guys. You go up against [Anthony] Pleasant, Bobby Hamilton, [Steve] Martin, [Richard] Seymour, [Willie] McGinest, [Mike] Vrabel, [Tedy] Bruschi, those guys. You find out whether or not they can block them or not, and if they can then it gives you some encouragement.

Q: What's the word on Walt Williams? When are you expecting him back?

BB: Walt's not here today for personal reasons and that's about all I can say about it.

Q: Are you looking forward to opening up on Saturday night?

BB: Sure, I think it'll be, I think we're looking forward to playing again, we're out there hitting each other 24, 25 practices, and it was good to see some different color jerseys in New York, and it will be good to see some green ones, white ones whatever they are, Saturday night. It's just another step in the process that needs to take place, but also to be in the stadium and to start acclimating ourselves to our own field and our new home field and try to become familiar with it, and really make it a home field for us, I think we're all looking forward to that I'm sure.

Q: Who are some of the guys, specifically, that will be ready to play on Saturday?

BB: Well I think the guys who have been out there practicing the last couple days, have a chance to, I mean we're not going to play them unless they've practiced. They're just not going to walk out of the training room and onto the football field, that's for sure. But if they're out there practicing this week, guys like [Cam] Cleeland, and [Richard] Seymour, [Matt] Light, Ben Kelly, guys like that. If they're out there practicing, and they're ready to go by the end of the week then we'll play them. None of those guys played last week, so maybe they'll be ready this week, if they're not, then maybe they'll be ready next week

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