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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 08/19/02

BB: On the quick injury update, I think that anything that we had in the game would fall into the day-to-day category so we'll just have to see how everyone is doing, nothing that's dramatic. Joe Andruzzi passed his conditioning test so he'll be out on the field today, so we continue to dwindle that list down a little bit, which is good. Today we just want to get a few things cleaned up, correct some mistakes from the game and that type of thing and then we'll be moving into the Carolina preparations on Tuesday heading up to that. We've got a short week this week, along with the preseason game we're breaking camp and transitioning back to the stadium so this is kind of a busy week for us and of course we've got another short week next week. In the last preseason game we travel to Washington. That's pretty much where we're at, just trying to get a few things logistically to fall in place and talk about some roster situations and prepare for the preseason games as well as keep an eye on the early season opponents now that everyone has had a couple of games so some of that information has started rolling too.

Q: Is there any one mistake or problem that comes out at you? Anyone showing up late to meetings?

BB: One thing, no. No. There are a lot of positives and lot of negatives, there are a lot of things that I think we're doing ok, maybe not consistent, but at least we see it done well at one point or another. It's lack of consistency. That really is something you always want to strive for, is better execution and more consistency and that's probably the way it's been in every training camp I've ever been in, both with individual players, within certain groups on the team and then on a team wide basis as well.

Q: Is that a losing battle because it is training camp?

BB: I think you always want to try to strive for it. I don't want to sit here, I don't think I'd feel good standing up there telling a team that we know we're not going to have this right, we're going to try to get this right, here's what everybody's supposed to do and then some parts of it will be right, some parts need to be corrected and straightened out.

Q: The problems seem more evident on offense. Is that the case?

BB: No. We have things that we need to work on all three areas of the game without a doubt.

Q: Preseason is about mistakes – does a panic button exist in the preseason?

BB: Well I think you deal with the things you can control. The things that you can control you try to look at your options and pick the best one or two and try to use that to improve your situation. I think that's probably what you do at anytime whether it's preseason, regular season, or any other time of year. Just analyze it and take a look at it, there's some things you can control and things can't control, there's no sense in losing a lot of sleep on those.

Q: Is any team "ready"? Don't teams continue to grow as the season progresses?

BB: Without a doubt, and I think you'll see every team improve in the first month to six weeks of the season. They have a saying about a team being in "mid-season form" and I think there's a difference between all the teams in the National Football League in the middle of October and the beginning of September and there's a change between the beginning of August and September so that's part of it. If your team doesn't improve in the first month – six weeks of the regular season, that's probably not a real good indication of how your season is going to go. Just like it needs to improve during training camp. There's a certain point in the season and maybe it's somewhere around mid-season where everything is pretty much in place, now that's a question of maintenance, execution, and all the specific things that come up at that point in the year, you're not putting in a lot of new plays, people have had a chance to work together, so on and so forth. It's certainly a process to get to somewhere around, once you get into the season play some games it's different from all the things that lead up to that point.

Q: Do you know at what point where that happened last year? Was it the Atlanta game?

BB: Somewhere around there in that ballpark. I don't know if there was any one instant where that happened, it was an accumulation of things we were a better team last year in October than we were in September there's no doubt about that.

Q: How far behind has [Daniel] Graham gone? How far does he have to come to contend for that position?

BB: He missed a week. I would say it would be relative to how the other players do. Whoever the best player is, that's who is going to play the most, how far he comes relative to how far everyone else comes, that's not saying that everyone else is going to stay the same necessarily either. Some may get better, some may get worse. I think the big thing for Daniel is that he got out on the field and played extensively in the second half, he got his feet wet, he's played in game conditions on offense and special teams, hopefully we can build on that and it'll be better next week. I thought he did some good things, like everybody else there's some things he needs to work on.

Q: It seemed like his [Daniel Graham] reputation was overall that he could catch everything around him, he just had to show he could block at the NFL level. Was that accurate? Did you feel comfortable with his ability to block when you drafted him?

BB: I felt that he had the ability to block when we drafted him.

Q: Did you see that the other night in the second half?

BB: Yeah, I think he's blocked pretty well in camp. When he's been out there.

Q: What about on the receiving end?

BB: He didn't get any chances last night, but I think that his blocking game has been, maybe to this point probably the best thing he has done. There's a lot more to it at tight end than just catching the ball, there's a lot of adjustments that tight ends need to make, there are a lot of things that can happen inside, there's a lot of different guys that can get to you, the inside linebacker the outside linebacker, the safety coming down, sometimes guys coming over from the weak side to pick in there on the coverage's. There's a lot of moving parts and that's as much a part of the passing game as just catching the ball. Understanding the coverages, understanding the routes, anticipating where the quarterbacks going to throw. Those are the kind of things that I think are going to maybe take him a little bit longer to adapt to.

Q: Has [Cam] Cleeland taken a large leap forward since he's been allowed to practice and play?

BB: Well, Cam's only been out there a week, so . . .now up to that point though, Cam had been working hard on his conditioning, working on individual stuff, and that kind of thing. But, he's only had a chance to really participate with the team for a week, so I think Cam had a good week, I think he's, like any other player, one week isn't enough. He needs more time and has some things to sharpen up. I think he showed us in a week that he has some skills. He had a decent week of practice last week for the first week, now hopefully he'll be able to build on that and to prove it this week.

Q: Was [Christian] Fauria injured at all?

BB: No, he's not injured.

Q: How's his [Christian Fauria] progress been?

BB: Good. I think Christian's [Fauria] had a solid camp, he hasn't missed any time, he's been out there, and pretty much taken all of the reps and I think he's had a good solid camp being introduced to a new system, and there have been some thing that he wasn't asked to do in Seattle, maybe a little bit different for us, playing on the move a little bit more, doing some more motioning, that type of thing. So, I think it's been pretty even, not a lot of ups and downs, he's pretty consistent player.

Q: How important is that position with this offense – or is the system different?

BB: Is the system different from the Kansas City system? Is that what we're asking? Well, we're looking for production at that position, I don't know any other way to put it, we're looking for production. Production includes both the running game and the passing game, both are important, and we need it in both areas. We don't want to get into one of those areas where, we've seen in the past, we've seen other teams get into it, we're going to put this guy in for a running play, we're going to put that guy in for a passing play. I don't think that's really what you're looking for. Whoever's in there, whatever the combinations are, whoever the person is, if it's one guy, we're looking for someone who can provide a good level of production at that position. I'm not saying that means catch 80 passes and I'm not saying that means catch two. But it's producing on the plays that he's asked to produce on, and when his opportunity comes, to take advantage of it. Again, I usually don't know where the ball's going to go on a passing play, very seldom, unless it's a screen pass or something like that, that's obviously designed to go to one player. Those options come to the quarterback after the ball is snapped, but when those opportunities present themselves then you want the player to be productive and then take advantage of it.

Q: How much progress has Drew Izner made from last training camp to this year – are his chances a little better this year?

BB: Drew's way ahead of where he was last year. One thing that Drew has helped himself with is being able to also work at center. He's got some position flexibility to play both guard and center. He's a lot stronger than he was last year, he's had a good offseason, so he's well ahead of where he was last year. Yea, no doubt about it, he's a better football player, and he's been in our system, he understands that better, so he's making some better football decisions on the field just because of his familiarity and experience in the system, but he still has to, like any other player, has to go out there and establish a role for himself and has to establish a level of play that gets the best players against the best players in the preseason games. That'll be compared relative to what the other players in those positions do.

Q: How important is it that the first unit find the end zone this week?

BB: We want to find the end zone every week. That's always something that, you know is a goal for us offensively is to put points on the board and defensively to keep them off. So it won't be any different fro us this week than it's been any other week.

Q: Will [Damon] Huard get any time with them [the first unit]?

BB: I think Damon's had two good games. There's nothing planned.

Q: You pretty much know what he [Damon Huard] can do?

BB: Well, he's got a chance to do more this year than he did last year. He's taken more snaps both in practice and in the preseason games and I think he's handled himself pretty well. I think there's a good level of confidence in Damon, so if he works with hat group, he could or he could not, I don't think it's major . . .at this point I wouldn't see it as a major decision to make. If it works out that way it does, if it doesn't it doesn't.

Q: On the areas you want to clean-up is there a certain concentration on an area?

BB: No it's really a case of there's certain things that come up that don't come up in preseason games that we need to keep working on. For example, on the goal line, we've had very few pays on offense and defense in a goal line situation inside the five yard line. If we don't do more plays than what we've had in those situations there's going to be a point when we get down to the goal line and we won't execute it very well. So, things that didn't come up in preseason games, we try to take a little bit of time the day after the game to address those. Last week as an example, because our first offensive unit wasn't on the field at the end of the second quarter there was really no two minute opportunity for them, there's no way they could have been in a two-minute opportunity in a situation like that, and they weren't. So last Monday after the game, or whenever the game was, we spent time with the two-minute drill with the offense, again just to keep them doing it because they hadn't done it in the game. So it's things like that, defensively there are certain types of plays Philadelphia ran Saturday night that will get good teaching from the film and we'll make sure everyone understands where the proper responsibilities are. There are other things that didn't come up, for example, Philadelphia didn't run any reverses in the game, so we'll probably need to run some reverses to make sure our team's got the responsibilities right on those kind of plays and that kind of thing. I think if you work on something for a couple weeks in training camp and then you don't work on it again for another two or three weeks, somehow it slips through he crack, then when that comes up again, there's probably a pretty good chance that you come up a little bit short. So, we'll try to keep up with everything, but again, that's part of preseason, that's part of camp, you got a lot of guys, a lot of different situations, trying to keep everybody up with everything, and then you get into games, and then you don't perform as well as you'd like to perform.

Q: Is it difficult to keep the players focused?

BB: Sure, absolutely. But I think that they have to understand, just like we have to understand, that when that comes up, the importance of it, and they only come up once or twice, whatever it is. It's just like Saturday night, the onside kick. Had we recovered the onside kick, the game would have been over, we could have kneeled on the ball. That fact that they got it kept the game alive, and in the end could have cost us the game. So, when's the onside kick going to come up, I don't know, but when it does, basically if we get it, the whole game could hinge on that one play, so the importance on it at that point, then the importance get heightened to the maximum, up until it comes up, it's like your income taxes, until they audit them, everyone's fine, once they audit them we find out who's got a problem. And it's that way about a lot of things with situational football, just like the goal line. You go down there and stop somebody on the goal line, or get stopped on the goal line, that's a huge play in the game. If we're never on the goal line we never know if the offense is any good or the defense is any good, and the same thing with theirs. That's situational football, and those are kind of things we're talking about today, and there are more than we could cover today, we had to pick out the ones that we thing should be prioritized and do it that way.

Q: Is [Joe] Andruzzi ready for contact yet?

BB: Well, I think we'll start him off at a pace and build him into it. But, yes, he'll be in pads, and he'll have contact.

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