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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 08/20/02

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BB: Well, as I'm sure you heard on the announcement last night, we traded Grant Williams to St. Louis, and again, in that particular case we just felt like it was the best thing we could do for the team at this point in time, and you know, Grant's had two and a half years with us, but we just have a little depth on the offensive line. And St. Louis, we talked to them, and Scott [Pioli] got that worked out I guess late last night. So this is . . . Are you guys coming back tomorrow? You breaking camp today?

Q: We go where you go Bill.

BB:Well, we're here tomorrow morning, but as we're winding down here at camp we're trying to balance a few things in the air. One, our preparation for Carolina this week. Two, to relocate back to the [Gillette] stadium. Three, some of the coaches are starting to look through the preseason games and start to look at our regular season opponents as those games come in. Four, we've got our personnel and some other people working on the players in the other preseason games, scouting those, getting reports in from our scouts and so forth, the ones who have seen those games. Trying to work on the league personnel as well as divide our own personnel situation as we head into the next two weeks, and the next two weeks of cuts. So, a lot of moving pieces here, but that's the way it always is here at this point in training camp and that's where we're at.

Q: Do you feel like you have enough depth at tackle right now?

BB: Well, you never have enough but you know you can only carry so many guys, there's only so many spots, and you have to try to balance that whole situation, so given the opportunity we thought it was still the best thing to do.

Q: We hear that the third week is the "big one", how does that affect your week?

BB: Well, I think every week in preseason is an important week. You only have, really, about five weeks to prepare your team for the regular season. The four preseason games, and the first week of training camp where you don't have a game that weekend. So every week's important and this week is another big week for us. We've had two games, and this is the third one, and there's some things we want to accomplish in this game that we haven't accomplished in the first two, plays we want to run, combinations we want to look at, and so forth. So that's part of the process, and we've already started that this week, but it'll, as part of the development and the progression, it's just laying more bricks on the foundation, it's important for us.

Q: Is there anyone that might get a shot that hasn't gotten a lot of exposure in the first two games?

BB: Yea. Good question. I think that you're right on the money in terms of there's guys that we'd like to have seen more. Guys that came out of the game and we saw 15, 18 plays, and that's so we could get everybody else their plays. But we'd have loved to see them for 45 plays, we'd love to have seen them in four games instead of two, but that is what it is. So, I would just say to guys that haven't played, we'd like to see a little bit more of them, for example, the guys who hadn't played, were [Daniel] Graham, Ben Kelly, [Cam] Cleeland, guys like that who had come back, so it was good to see them play, hopefully we'll get a couple more of those guys this week that we'll be able to at least se in game conditions this year that haven't played. Some of the guys last week who played for the first time, we'll get to see them a second time, so I'd say those would be the main guys we'd like to see. You know the younger players that only got a handful of plays, you'd love to see them get more, but again, it's just trying to balance it out, trying to getting the guys you think are going to play in the regular season, getting them the bulk of the work that they need, taking a look at some of the new people that are coming back, and then trying to look at some of the younger guys, that maybe show you a few things, maybe they're not ready yet, but you just want to see how far you think they can come. That's tough, you'd like to have more time than we have, but . . .

Q: It's a common problem for everyone, you're coming off a Super Bowl win, you're going to have to fill less spots than other teams.

BB: Yea, well, we don't look at it that way. We look at it that we're starting the season, we're trying to establish our team this year, just like we did last year, and the year before that. We're not thinking of last years record any of that type of thing, we're just trying to establish this years team. Given the things that we have to work with and the personnel problems that we face, whether it's guys that have missed time, or it's guys that need more reps for whatever reason. Those things all have to be managed and we're just trying to do the best with it that we can, but it's not perfect.

Q: Is Tommy Knight any closer to returning?

BB: Yea, he is closer, he's made improvement and he's better this week than he was last week, I think he's in the day to day category.

Q: Could he be ready for opening day?

BB: Well, it's just a little under three weeks away, so sure, I'd say it's possible.

Q: Are you a little worried about the defensive backs?

BB: Well, we were short on corners for the better part of camp, but then the situation improved last week with [Ben] Kelly and [Jimmy] Hitchcock coming back and practicing last week and playing, but sure, you'd always like to have more depth. I'd like to see all those guys out there, I'd like to see [Tommy] Knight, and Brock Williams and Leonard Myers out there, but unfortunately they're not out there right now.

Q: Is there one area where you said, 'this got done in the weeks that we were at camp?'

BB: Well, I don't know if I could say that it's done and we're satisfied, but I think the progress has been made on the offensive line. I think progress has been made at quarterback in terms of getting Damon [Huard] a lot of work, and he really didn't get a lot of work last year as primarily the third quarterback, although there was weeks when he was the second, but primarily the third. And [Rohan] Davey is coming along; he's obviously got a long way to go. I think our defensive line situation has, most of those guys have been out on the field on a pretty regular basis. I think we're starting to get a feel for those guys, but by no means would I say we're there yet, but if you want to pick out a couple things, I guess you could pick those out

Q: The run stopping defense took a jump after the Miami game last year. Were you happy with that improvement from last season?

BB: I think that was better. I think our red area defense was okay. Our third down defense was okay. We really tried to stop the run in the Miami game too, we tried to stop it leading up to that game, but we just didn't do real good job in that particular game. That's always were it starts on defense, if you can't stop the run, it just makes it a lot easier for the offense to do every thing else they want to do, go play-action pass, run reverses, throw drop back passes, take shots down the field. It forces the secondary players really to play like linebackers is eventually what you get to. The, the tighter you get up there then softer you are on the backs, but that where it always starts and ends to tell you the truth, and that's something you have to establish every single year, and really every game, because every game in the first, second quarter, there's going to be. . . you know we can all sit there and watch every game and see how that part of it's going until you start getting into turnovers and big plays, and big plays in the kicking game, and things like that, that could skew that. Generally, the way that that part of the game's going is going, to a degree, dictate the way the rest of the game goes, so that's always a starting point.

Q: Marc Edwards – How valuable is he to what you want to accomplish?

BB: A big part and he's been real solid. When you come right down to it, Marc's had about as solid a camp as any player on our team. He's been out there everyday, he's been consistent and that's probably why we haven't talked about him because it's just good, solid, consistent football and that happens in practices, it happens in games, he's been very dependable and has looked good like he did last year in training camp. You're right in our personnel meetings, when we talk as a staff and all, his name really doesn't come up very much. We know what it is, its consistent there isn't much debate or talk about it, and everybody sees it pretty much the same way because it is very consistent. He's had a real good camp, a good solid quiet camp and hasn't been the spectacular camp that maybe somebody else has had and it certainly hasn't been filled with many errors or mistakes, but it's just been good, solid consistent football.

Q: Of all the people that you've signed over the last couple of years, is it fair to say that you've gotten a pretty good return on your investment in him [Marc Edwards]?

BB: Yeah I think he's played really consistently for us, again it's just been one year, but I think it's been consistent from the first day of training camp pretty much until the end of the season and has started with that same type of play again this year. I think you can put guys like Anthony Pleasant in that category too, on the defensive side of the ball, again relatively quiet, not a lot of banner and all of that, at the end of the day when you look at the production and the guy's performance it may be quiet but its steady and its consistent and a lot of times there isn't really much more that that person could have done in that particular role. If you carry the ball 3 or 4 times, you know you're not going to gain 150 yards, that's not his role. When he's asked to carry it, he does a good job. When he's asked to catch it, when he's asked to block, when he's asked to play on special teams, Marc's been a real consistent player for us.

Q: Does he [Marc Edwards] bring a different element to the team, the fact that he's been in playoff situations before, did that help the other players who had never been in that situation?

BB: I'm sure it did help. Absolutely. Anybody's who's been in that type of situation before, can certainly bring a little bit of experience to somebody who hasn't been in it before, again Marc does it in a quiet way, he's not the kind of guy who's going to make a lot of team speeches and all that but I think he's well respected and in his own way he can offer some leadership and guidance and direction really pretty much to anybody whether it be younger players or veteran players, he is well respected.

Q: Does his [Marc Edwards] role change with the tight end's you brought in?

BB: Well we'll have to see. Certainly that's part of the mix, the tight end's, full back's, sometimes when you get into the third receivers that can affect the full back role a little bit. We'll just have to see how all that plays out. Last year at the end of the year, we ended up really using a fair amount of 2 tight ends and 2 backs, which expanded his role. Sometimes you would think, you bring in another tight end in that would diminish the full back's role, it actually probably expanded it last year. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to work out, we're looking at some different possibilities and it may vary a little bit from week to week. In any case, I think one of Marc's greatest assets is his versatility as well as his dependability.

Q: Will this game be the one where you try to substitute real game situations?

BB: We've been trying to coach in both the other games too, we probably fooled you. I think this game is another game in the process. Will some of the starting players play a little more than they did last week, probably will. But we're still going to go into the game with our same, they're not the same as they were last week, but there'll be a certain agenda of things that we want to see, things we want to do that won't be the same as last week because some of those things we accomplished last week and the one's that we didn't we'll try to address either this week or next week in terms of trying to prepare our team for the season. We've been substituting, we've been trying to coach the players, we've tried to make adjustments during the game, because again we don't want to get away from the agenda that we've already set for the game, we don't go into the game saying ok, we're going to run these 3 plays and then get into the game and say you know what fellas we really don't want to run those 3 plays against this defense, we're going to try to switch over and run something else. We're going to run those plays whether they are the greatest plays in the world against that defense or not just because we need to run them. Even if we're blocking it against a tough look or defensively we're trying to play something that is tough against this defense, in a way that makes you better prepared because you're working against a harder defense rather than an easier one. That's just our approach and that's how we're going to do it. There's some things that we're going to do in this game that I think are going to be more advanced than in games 1 and 2, but it's a plan, it's agenda, it's a schedule that we're trying to stay on to try to prepare the team for the 16 game regular season. The thing we don't want to do, and it's going to happen anyway but you want to try to minimize it, is get into the regular season in that 1st, 2nd, or 3rd game and say to the team, ok fellas here's what we're going to do this week and you've never done it before. Then you get into the game and sometimes it happens a little differently than you practiced it or the way you say well this is what we're going to do. My experience has been to try to at least get them some exposure to those things in preseason, if you're going to run check with me play, we're going to run 38 or 39 to do that in preseason so when you get in there during the game, the players have to listen for the call, the receivers have to know what it is and the back has got to know what it is. It could be either one or the other rather than just doing it for the first time in the 1st or 2nd regular season game and messing it up and saying well you know this is the first time we've done it, of course it's not going to be perfect.

Q: Do you expect to be back here at Bryant College next year?

BB: That's a good question. I don't know. I think from a logistical standpoint, camp went well this year, of all the years I've been at Bryant this is by far the least construction that the campus has been under, so that's moved some things out. We have a new facility in Foxborough that we haven't had before, so logistically whether that's an option next year for training camp or how much of an option that is we'll just have to look at that at a later point in time. Overall, I think that certainly compared to the last two years this training camp has been a smooth one here than we've had in the past.

Q: Do you like staying at home? Some coaches like getting away.

BB: I think you can look at every situation and see pluses and minuses to any situation. If you can have everything perfect the way you want it in one spot then that's probably the spot to be in. Whether that's in your normal location or whether its in a different location or whether its some intermediate one like teams that would go, that trained up in Wisconsin up in the cheese league or whatever it is up there, that kind of thing. I think anything can work, you just have to set your priorities and decide what's the most important thing to you and can you get what you want where that is. Those things are pretty obvious, you need a place for the players to eat and sleep, you need meeting rooms, you need practice fields, you need to have some kind of good working environment and sometimes that's weather related and sometimes it isn't. Those are some things that you really need. Now there's a lot of other amenities that can or cannot be brought into the picture for example, if you have a brand of facility like we do in Foxborough, it would be hard to duplicate that training room anywhere. There's no college that probably is available for training camp that would have that type of facility. Are you going to be upgrading that facility by moving, no. But there may be some other facilities that might be better, then there's the trade off. So you make that decision.

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