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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 08/15/02

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            **BB:** On the injury update, [Daniel] Graham and Troy Brown were out there today, so that was their first action in a couple of days, so we'll see how that goes and we'll take it day to day, and that will be a decision we'll wait until game time, or close to it anyway, and see how that's going. Also, on the semi injury front, Charlie [Weis] has put in basically pretty much a full week this week, and so I would expect that he would go back to pretty much normal duties during the game, it'll be a little bit different, but similar to what he would normally do during a game, in terms of all his game responsibilities, obviously from the press box rather than on the field. So that will be a little bit different for us from last week, although I thought last week went very good from the offensive standpoint, in terms of the coaches and play calling and so forth, so that's, I think that's really my biggest update for you.  

**

Q: What are your expectations for Tebucky Jones this season?**

BB: Tebucky is a player who I think has improved every year, I'm really looking forward for him to stay on that climb. He had a real good offseason, is one of our top offseason workers, and producers and performers, and he's gotten off to a good start at camp. Last year he was productive for us on special teams and on defense, and I think we're looking for that same type of role, but with an improvement in experience, not only in our defense but our defensive system. He's having a real good camp. He's a tough hard working guy that really gives it to you every day out there. Therefore, when you work that hard, and compete that well you almost can't help but improve, and he's done that.

**

Q: Has Victor Green given you what you expected?**

BB: Yea, I think Vic has come in and he's picked things up at a very good rate since he's had some background in the system, but still it's working with some new guys and a little bit different than the way it was set up in New York. I think that he's coming along, we're not there yet, but we're making progress. I think he'll be a good addition for us this year.

**

Q: What's the last update on the offensive line? What can we expect to see on Saturday night?**

BB: It's pretty much he way it's been all week. [Matt] Light came back and he'll play, and I think everybody else, other than [Joe] Andruzzi, is the way it's been for the last 10 days. You know, Light's really the only addition, or subtraction for that matter, but he's really the only addition in the last two weeks since about after the first week in training camp, it's been pretty much the same.

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Q: Do you see Tebucky's role being the same as last year?**

BB: I wouldn't say exactly the same, but I would say similar. We'll see how the exact rotation and the way things fit together with the corners and the safety's and our linebacker situation, but I would think it would be pretty similar, we certainly want to use him on special teams because he's an impact player there. At the same time, he's one of our best players on defense, so I don't really think he can do everything that we want him to do, he could be on the field for every play, but I think that would hurt his production and we want to keep his production high, so I think that we'll probably find a way to spread those jobs around so that he can be . . . he can hit his highest productive level for us.

**

Q: Have you liked what you've seen this week from Cam [Cleeland]?**

BB: Yea, I think Cam's had a good week, we tried to break him in a little bit slowly at the beginning of the week, but as we've gone on he's picked up speed, taken more reps, been involved in more things, our regular offense, our third down offense, goal line, so he's starting to get his feet wet in every area. Cam's been really attentive, and mentally participating in all the plays and practicing and he just hasn't been able to physically take part, but he's very involved mentally. You call a play back there and he'll talk about his assignment or, 'here's the coverage, this is what I saw, this is what we do,' that kind of thing, so I think he's well prepared and I think he's been able to step in there and start to get some action. So we'll just kind of build it, we don't want to go too fast, but we want to keep him moving too.

**

Q: What types of things did you see in Cam that let you know he would fit there?**

BB: As I said, I think that Cam's a real hard working guy, he's really attentive, he understands football, he's a smart player and he works hard. He's been very diligent in his rehab of his Achilles. He's been out there everyday even though he hasn't been able to run the patterns or runt the plays. We know he's right there and right on top of it, he's worked hard in the weight room to regain his physical conditioning, and he brings a good attitude, he's got some ability, and I think he's got good football intelligence to play the game, he's aware of situations, again in talking through him we still need to execute them and perform on the field, but he seems to be on top of his game.

**

Q: What are your impressions of Donald Hayes?**

BB: I think that Donald is a guy that is kind of getting better each day, some of the things that we saw the first week were, I don't want to say new, but you experience them one time, then you go through them the second time and sometimes something different comes up, and now after you've gone through them multiple items, the same things, and all the situations have already occurred and I think he's been able to get on the same page with the quarterbacks. You know, now that it's only new plays and new routes and all that, that he's becoming more comfortable with assignments and the quarterbacks and here more on the same page, and we're making progress, I don't think we're there yet, but we're certainly gaining on it there and we're heading in the right direction we just have a long way to go. Guys like Troy [Brown] and David Patten, even [Fred] Coleman, guys that were here last year just have a little bit of an understanding of the offense and the rapport with the quarterback in a buildup of reps that Donald and Deion [Branch] both need to . . . they both need to acquire that.

**

Q: The fact that he is taller works to his advantage, do you think that holds true for him?**

BB: Sure, you bet, and especially given the fact that he's the biggest of our receivers, along with T.C. Taylor, having Donald and T.C. give us two guys that, you know, we really didn't have that type of player here last year, at least not during the regular season, and when you're a quarterback standing back there, and you got a guy who's 6'3", 6'4", against a 5'10" defensive back, you can throw a little differently than when you're got a 5'9" guy out there. It gives you some mismatches, and I think offensively you're always looking to create mismatches in your favor when the opportunity presents itself, whether it's a size mismatch, or a speed mismatch, or quickness, or whatever it happens to be, and it just gives you a little bit more flexibility when you have different guys to choose from as opposed to having really no big receivers, you could never match up against small corners because you didn't have a big guy to put out there.

**

Q: Have you seen improvement this week in the running game? How do you see it matching up against Philadelphia?**

BB: Well I think it'll be a challenge, Philadelphia's got a really good defense, they're scheme and their system that's run by Jimmy Johnson is one of the best in the league, but they're very active up front and I think they have a little different style of play than the Giants, although, I'm not saying one's any better than the other, but they're a more active group, they're probably not as powerful, but they blitz more and they give you a lot of combination blitzes which will be challenging for us. Practice is just preparation for the game, how we'll do in the game, we'll just have to wait and see, but this is a good defense and it will be another good test for us offensively. It will be a good test for us all the way around because Philadelphia has a good defensive club, a good offensive club, and they were the best in the league on special team last year, so I think in all three areas we're up against a team that was in the NFC Championship game last year, and we'll see where we are in all the areas in the game.

**

Q: Is there anything else you are going to try to put an emphasis on this week against Philadelphia?**

BB: Well when I think when you look at your overall scheme each week it's a little bit different, we'll go into the first preseason game and say, 'well, okay we can't work on everything, we're going to work on these things.' Then the next week you pick out some other things and say, 'okay, we're going to work on these plays or these coverage.' Then the third week . . . and so you want to make sure that as much as you can at least you run things in preseason that you've been practicing in practice and that you think you would want to run during the season. Now you may hold some things back, but by and large, you've practiced them, you want to see them in game conditions, you want players to get comfortable in game conditions running them. So each week there's a little bit of a progression there, and that's . . . kickoff returns one week, maybe you're on right and left returns one week, the next week you're on middle returns, or vice a versa, that kind of thing.

**

Q: Is there anything different between this year and last year at this time?**

BB: Overall, I'd say it's similar, every year is different and you always have to make adjustments as you go, but basically you set up a schedule of how you want to work on things in camp, but you have to prioritize something, and once you set those priorities you kind of follow that script, but you always reach a point in camp, and we've certainly reached it already, where you have to make some adjustments, for one reason or another, for example, this year we've been a little short on corners, our numbers have been down at that position so we've had to adjust some things we do in practice. There's also, on our dime defense, our six defensive back defense, it's really been impractical to spend an inordinate amount of time on that because we just don't have the players to do it with, so we allocate that time to something else, or vice a versa. Last year, there were problems in different areas and that forced some adjustment, and also when sometimes you get into camp and you see certain things are going well, or not going as well, and then sometimes you're forced into making a decision, do you want to keep allocating time, and more time to something that isn't going well and try to get it fixed, or do you want to say, 'okay, we put a lot of time into it, it's not really where we want it to be should we just move onto something else that looks like it's going to be more productive.' That always goes on in every camp.

**

Q: Is winning important in the preseason for you?**

BB: Our approach is whoever is in the game we expect them to play the situations and play the game to win. Does that mean we are going to play the starters for 4 quarters, no. Does it mean we are going to run every play in the playbook that we have, no. But whatever we call, whatever we run, whoever is in there we expect them to play the situation just like they would in any game, as competitively as possible and to try to win that particular game, play or situation. So that's our approach.

**

Q: Is one of your major focuses working on defending scrambling quarterbacks since you face a few this season like (Rich) Gannon, (Doug) Flutie, (Kordell) Stewart?**

BB: Right well we have to defend (Donovan) McNabb this week and I'm sure there will be application into some of the things we do this week as you said into other scrambling quarterbacks. But we want to understand that when McNabb is in there he's really like a 6th receiver he's a guy that we're going to have to account for in terms of his legs, his feet and that will be part of our defensive awareness for this game no question about it. I'm sure that will have application down the line when we see other quarterback's similar to him. Although I don't really know if there is anyone like McNabb, I mean he's so strong, you see guys bouncing off of him, he runs over tackler's and he's fast and he outruns people. He really presents a lot of problems when he has the ball in his hands

**

Q: In 1998, Ty Law seemed to arrive at cornerback. Over the next two years he seemed to have his production tail-off a little and then came back last year. Why do cornerback's and secondary players reach a certain level and then slide back?**

BB: Well I think first of all there's kind of an old saying in football that says that everyday you either get better or you get worse, you never stay the same. I don't know that anybody stays the same from year to year, some years are better than others, you're always looking for that consistency but even in the most consistent player there's going to be some fluctuation, and that's just a general statement, not applicable to any player in particular probably everyone's covered in that one. I wasn't here for some of the years you're referring to with Ty, so I really couldn't comment on what did or didn't happen specifically in those years but again I would say in general that the cornerback position is sometimes similar to the quarterback position, things happen and it's kind of one that's in the spotlight, I think it's one that is fairly easy for the fans to evaluate because it's just the one guy out there, it's not the big jumbled mess that you have in the interior line but there are a lot of things that go into that and even though a play might look like one way, when you actually know what happened it might not be exactly that way, you know just try to balance that. What I can really say about Ty, I think that in the 3 years that I've been here, he was in much better condition in camp last season than he was in 2000 season, I think he's in good condition this year, I think that the first year we did a lot of thing defensively that for the entire team that they struggled with at times and I think in the second year and now heading into the third year that as a team, as a group that we have a better understanding and can execute some of those things a lot better than we could the first year. I think that goes for probably pretty much everybody that was involved in the defense. How much that affected any individual's play, I can't give you a percentage, but I think it was probably a factor in a lot of our defensive players from the 2000-2001 season.

**

Q: When a guy reaches star status, and you want change the way he does things, is it sometimes difficult to get a guy to buy in?**

BB: Yeah, sure, sure. I think it's hard to change a lot of players when they've have success doing things a certain way, when you try to adjust it a little bit. Again, the way I try to look at it is we have a certain framework that has to be adhered to within the defense, now within that framework there's some latitude for individual style of play not everybody does it the same way, Donald Hayes isn't going to run routes the same way that Troy Brown run them, but if a guy's got to run an in-cut, he's got to run an in-cut, he can't run a corner route because that's what he like to run. There's a certain framework, but there's different technique's within a certain style of play and sometimes with a player and a system you have to find that medium. One of my best experiences with that was when I was with the Giants and we had Everson Walls in 1990. Now Everson had been in the league I don't know 12 –13 years, had almost 60 interceptions or whatever it was, I mean he had a tremendous career at Dallas but a very unorthodox player. If you were saying ok, this is how we want you to play corner, I don't think that anybody would coach it the way that Everson did it, nevertheless he was one of the top corner's in the game throughout his career even in the 1990 season with us at the end. What I had to do was to find a way to use Everson's skill, that was the way he did it, within the frame of our defense, which frankly wasn't the way we were coaching it. As I said, I would never tell another player watch over here and do it the way Everson's doing it because I just don't think you could do it that way. I've never seen anyone play the way that he played as successfully as he played nevertheless he was one of the top corners that ever played. I think that there's a medium between, I think if Everson had tried to play exactly the way we were teaching everybody else to, I don't think it would have worked for him. On the other hand, I think that we were able to blend together and he had a real productive year that season. Maybe that's an extreme example but I would say that's kind of the philosophy I would take on that.

**

Q: What does Ty (Law) think about his style?**

BB: I'd say a couple things about Ty. He's a big physical corner and he can play that way, but he doesn't always play that way, he changes up his style of play because he is a good athlete, and Ty's very competitive and he's very aggressive, so he'll take some chances and make some plays, and just like anyone who plays real aggressively, at times that will cost him. If you're going to play that way to make plays, then eventually it's going to hurt you on the other end at some point, you just have to make sure that you're making a lot more than you're giving up. I think that's been the case for Ty, but other corners, they play differently, first of all, they don't have the physical skills that he has, second of all, sometimes they play a more conservative game and try to play it the other way, don't try to give up any big plays, make the plays you can make, but instead of trying to make many big plays, try not to give them up and try to be a little bit more conservative in style. And again, some of that is a factor in the defensive call, or the defensive situation at that time too. I think that's really where the give and take is, there's times to be aggressive, there's times to be conservative, there's times when you read a key and you want to try to overplay it, and there's other times when the key is not as strong, and if you overplay it, chances are you're going to get beat on some complementary play.

**

Q: To what extent are roster spots won or lost on Saturday vs. Philly?**

BB: I don't think we're going to make a decision on one play, or two plays, or maybe even one quarter of the game. No question that'll have an affect, but in the end, for players that have been out there, we're almost at 30 practices, this is one preseason game, there will be some other ones, we've already had one, we'll try to composite the whole thing rather than just look at one individual, one snap shot, try to take a look at the whole album and see what the players performance looks like over a longer haul. With that being said there are some guys that will be on the incline and there are some players that will be on the decline. Some guys start off camp faster, and have a tendency to fade a little bit, and some players start off slower and then have a tendency to climb, so gain, it depends on where you look at that picture. The first preseason game, it could be here, by the fourth preseason game, could it change, and it could have been a consistent change going in that same direction. It's a shot, it's certainly an important game, and important opportunity for the players, is it necessarily the final one, it would depend on what had transpired before I would say.

**

Q: Could you talk about the characteristics that go into a good scout team player?**

BB: Well, first of all, on the scout teams, everybody's involved in that, not just one group of guys, everybody participates so we don't have a situation where anybody is . . . 'well, I'm not a scout team player, I don't run scout team.' Everybody runs it. The way we approach it, every time you take a play, or every time the ball is snapped it's an opportunity for you to work on an individual aspect of your game, we might not run this particular defense that they're running, but if it's man to man coverage, then you work on man to man coverage as if we were going to play man to man coverage. Now most of the time there's some carry over in those type of techniques, it's not many times where we run a defense and it's something that's just totally different from what we're doing, and they guy can't relate it to one of our defenses. That's really where a player can get better is to work his techniques on those plays so that he can prove himself as an individual player and then when he gets an opportunity to play in our teamwork then he can apply that. I think it also teaches the players, in some respect the scout team players, are always working against the best players. So if the guys who are taking the majority of the scout team plays, and again, everybody's involved, but the second and third team guys take more scout team plays than the first team guys, but those third team, or second team guys are working against the first team defense the majority of the time. So they're competitive level is a little bit higher than say our first team offense that may be working against some of our defensive player show may be a little bit further down the depth chart. So that's a good opportunity for them to, for a receiver to go one on one against Ty [Law] everyday, or for an offensive lineman to go one on one against [Richard] Seymour everyday. That competition can raise their level of play, so a good scout team player in one that goes out there and works at his job, tries to get better individually every time the ball is snapped, at the same time understands what his purpose is, which is to give the other side a good look at what they're going to see in the game, but he can raise his level of play by doing that over in repetitive practices.

**

Q: You've had a lot of veterans, does that help your preparation in dealing with another team?**

BB: Oh sure, and some of those guys have played the defenses, or have played the calls, and they'll help each other out. For example, last year we were running against a team where we had a player who had been with that team. Whether it be Kole [Ayi] with St. Louis, or who else do we have . . . well anyway, the point is those guys will help each other out, [Mike] Vrabel when we were playing Pittsburgh, here's how they're going to do that, this guy's going to take him, and here's the way they are going to run that game, this guy, when he goes first is going to go two steps up, and then penetrate it, and that kind of thing. Give them a look, here's the way they're going to do it, so things like that are helpful to help prepare them so they can use their experience. And of course just playing in the league longer they understand this is the way a team plays, certain coverage's, or run certain plays. Veteran players know that, 'okay on this play, yea okay I've seen him run that pattern enough to know that he's going to delay a couple counts and then go out.' Where you get somebody that hasn't run it before and they give the team a bad look.

**

Q: Coach, is there anything new on Joe Andruzzi?**

BB: Well, I think Joe's making progress, he's not ready to begin practicing yet, but he is making practice and we'll take that day to day, and hopefully we'll get him back as soon as possible. Otherwise, we haven't made any change son the offensive line in two weeks, whatever it's been, and that's the way it'll continue to be, those guys will continue to get the reps. when Joe's ready to start practicing, we'll start him slow and plug him in there and see how it goes and build from there.

**

Q: Do you think that Pittsburgh has become one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL?**

BB: I don't know, I mean it's certainly an important game, and it's a good rivalry. I think that there are some other good rivalries with teams that play each other every year, sometimes twice a year, not that the Pittsburgh, New England games are not intense, I'm not saying that, because they are, but when you're playing a team twice a year, for the division race, I think that you get a pretty good rivalry there and a more familiar one. If you look back all the way to the '96, even before that, you know, this is one that, not every year, but there have been some big games between these two organizations, and they've been some good games. No doubt about it, there have been a lot of important games between the Steelers and the Patriots

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