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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 10/14/2011

Read what New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had to say as he addressed the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, October 14, 2011.

BB: [We're] winding it down here on Dallas week. [I've] been saying that, the last couple days since we last spoke, that the more you watch them, the more appreciation I have for this football team. They do a lot of subtle things that sometimes you don't see the first or second time around. All three phases of the game, they're creative. You go back and re-watching some of the games from 2010, even in preseason, they're really well coached, players are very good. They have a lot of talent on that team. This will really be a big challenge for us on Sunday - we have a lot of things to worry about. They have lot of weapons. Hopefully we can pull it together today, have a good end of the week here, pull things together, tighten it up and be ready to go on Sunday. We still have a lot of work to do.  

Q: In terms of challenges, the Cowboys pressure packages, what challenge does that present?  

BB: They change it up a lot. You don't see the same ones every week. They have different ways of doing it and they do it differently against different teams - one team gets one blitz, another team gets another blitz. You have to prepare for what, six games, six weeks of blitzes. You're not going to get them all but you have to prepare for all of them. It's whichever ones they pick out for you - again, it's a lot to get ready for. They have a lot of variety in what they do and they disguise them well. They have good blitzers, they've got fast guys that get there in a hurry. If you don't have them picked up, you won't have much time to throw the ball.  

Q: In terms of this being more Rob Ryan's package, more than that we saw in -  

BB: Cleveland or Oakland, yeah I'd say that's probably right.  

Q: Is it fair to say his package would be defined by pressure?  

BB: They do a lot of different things. I don't think you can just say - they don't just do one thing. They mix it up. They do a good job of keeping the offense off-balance, changing their fronts, changing where they place their personnel, the type of calls they play: man, zone, combination man, pressure, zone pressure, man pressure, they keep you moving pretty good. I'd say that would be defined, that's how I would define it - variety as opposed to it's a lot of this or a little bit of that. It's a little bit of everything.  

Q: How much credit does Rob Ryan deserve for how the linebackers played here when he was here?  

BB: Rob did a good job. Rob is a good coach, smart guy, has a real good football background. Works hard, understands the game and did a real good job with the group that we had - Mike [Vrabel] and Tedy [Bruschi], Willie [McGinest], all those guys. [He] did a nice job.  

Q: I know you released a statement yesterday about Mike Wright but do you have any additional thoughts?  

BB: I just feel bad about it. I think Mike did everything he possibly could do. I think everybody did all they could do. Just felt like this is the right decision for this time. We'll just take it from here. I respect Mike and his work ethic and his commitment for the team. He always tried to do the best thing for the team. Always practiced hard, worked hard, did everything he could to come back from anything as quickly as possible. Always wanted to do the right thing whatever the technique or defense or special teams assignment he had. He's very team-oriented, very professional and a good teammate. I just feel badly for him. The way these last two seasons have gone, he just hasn't had an opportunity to do the things that he's worked so hard to do but at the same time, it's a medical decision. We have to do what's right for him and make the right decision for the player.  

Q: Given the nature of the injury, is this something where he could play again?  

BB: I don't know. That's a discussion for a later point in time.  

Q: You mentioned the weapons that the Cowboys have. We really haven't seen much of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin together because of injuries. How do those two guys complement each other?  

BB: They're both very good. They're different receivers but both big play receivers. They're both good after the catch. Obviously Dez had the punt returns last year and strong with the ball in his hands. Same thing with Miles - the reverses, the catch-and-run plays that he has. He's a very, very difficult guy to tackle. Good speed, they're both strong. It's just another weapon out there for the quarterback along with [Jason] Witten and the other receivers and the running backs and the multiple tight ends they have, fullbacks. They just have a lot of good players out there. They complement each other because there's so many of them.  

Q: Do you know the nature of BenJarvus Green-Ellis's toe injury and is it a long-term deal?  

BB: I don't know. We'll see how it is today and if he can practice today, he'll practice. Whatever his availability is for the game then we'll take our best estimate of that and list it that way in the injury report. We'll see how it is today, I don't know.  

Q: How is Shane Vereen coming along?  

BB: Good, good. Shane is a smart guy, works hard. He's been able to participate now for several weeks here. He's been able to make some improvement, string some practices and reps together, both on the scout team and running some plays on our offense. It's been good for him. He's getting better every week. Has a better understanding offensively and in the kicking game. He's able to, like I said, get some reps at it and execute it, gain some confidence and some timing. I think he's definitely headed in the right direction.  

Q: Have you ever played the Cowboys in the blue jerseys?  

BB: I don't know.  

Q: Will it be weird to play them in the blue jerseys?  

BB: I don't know. Red jerseys, blue jerseys, we had the silver ones. Whatever they put out there, that's what we wear.  

Q: The Patriots wore blue in 2007.  

BB: Yeah, one year I don't know. Didn't we play them in silver one year? I don't know. It doesn't matter.  

Q: I just didn't know whether you bought into whether the jerseys were cursed or not. You have a history with the Cowboys.  

BB: I think whatever team plays well, I think that team has a big advantage. I wish that's all there was to it - wear striped shoelaces or wear white ones or wear black ones. There's a lot more to it than that.  

Q: Next week is the trade deadline. It's not like baseball where there are a lot of deals but do you expect a lot of activity?  

BB: Yeah, I don't know. I'd say right now we're really focused on Dallas. That's what we're trying to do, is get ready for the Cowboys.  

Q: You compared DeMarcus Ware to Lawrence Taylor the other day with the Dallas media. Can you expand on that, the similarities you see between the two guys?  

BB: Well, both are really good players. I spent every day with Lawrence for whatever it was - 10 years, literally every day. Coached him as his linebackers coach and then as the defensive coordinator for most of those years, couple of years I worked with the secondary, but I was still the coordinator. DeMarcus Ware, how many times have we played against him - three? Whatever it is, I don't know. It's a lot different being around a guy every day and seeing him playing against him three or four times in your career. He's obviously a good player. On film, he's outstanding. He can run, he's strong, he's a powerful guy, explosive, strong at the point of attack, makes a lot of plays off the backside, rushes the passer with speed, with power, with quickness. He's an instinctive player, does a good job dropping into pass coverage, they move him around, he does a lot of different things for them so I'm sure he's a smart guy, guy that they can use for different… they do use for different assignments, things like that. Beyond that, I know one guy real well; I just don't have a lot of experience with Ware.  

Q: With a great player like that who moves around so much, is there a risk of the offensive line putting too much emphasis on knowing where one guy is and losing track of other guys?  

BB: There are 11 guys out there - I think you have to know where they all are. Whoever the key impact players are on any team, I don't think you're doing a good job if you don't know who their playmakers are and where they're located - in anything, whether its special teams play, offensive play, defensive play. How can you play defense and not know who their playmakers are? How can you play offense and not know who the guys that are most disruptive on their defense are? I don't know how you could really - they're not all the same. There's a difference from 11 guys. I think a good football player, a good football team knows where those guys are. Obviously you have 10 other guys to deal with. too. I don't think you can be a good football team and not know where their best players are or where they're located or what they do. I wouldn't be able to do that.  

Q: Can you talk about the approach in pressuring Tony Romo? You hear two things: you want to pressure and force him into a mistake but he also gets out of the pocket and makes plays.  

BB: Well Romo does a lot of things well. Again, he's a hard guy to defend. He gets the ball out quick, he doesn't hold the ball. He's not a guy who is going to take a lot of sacks - he's never done that. When he is pressured, he's very athletic and he can escape the pressure with his feet. He's got good quickness, he's got good speed and he keeps his eyes downfield. He throws a lot of balls when he's scrambling on the run - he's not just looking to run, he's looking to take whatever's there. He'll throw or he'll run. He's a smart quarterback. He reads coverages well - you definitely see that on film that he's making a lot of good decisions where to go with the ball. Teams do try disguise him and give him different looks and all that and he usually gets that right so I don't think there's - of course you want to pressure every quarterback, that's obvious, but there's different ways to do that. The most important thing is that you coordinate the pressure with the coverage. That you have coverage on the receivers as the pressure is getting to the quarterback so that he doesn't have a good outlet to throw the ball to. That's a lot easier said than done but that's what we're trying to do.  

Q: How is Marcus Cannon in terms of a health update?  

BB: He's progressing. He's coming along.  

Q: Is he progressing enough to be an option to activate? I know you have the two decisions there, the medical as well as the football.  

BB: Of course, it starts as a medical decision. It's no different than any other player, once a player is cleared medically to play then it becomes a football decision as to whether to play him or not or whether to activate him on PUP or whatever. Those are the steps. Once a player is cleared medically, then it becomes a football decision. Until then, there's no decision to make.  

Q: Is it just a football decision with him now or is there still that other hurdle?  

BB: We really haven't come to that point yet. He's ineligible to do anything until the PUP date starts next week. We'll evaluate where he is at that point and he'll either be medically cleared or medically not cleared. That decision will be made next week.  

Q: Is that the same with Kevin Faulk?  

BB: Yeah, it's the same with all those players.  

Q: How is he coming along? How good has it been to have Kevin Faulk around?  

BB: Oh yeah, great. Nobody is better than Kevin. He's outstanding - always on top of things, really helpful person to everybody, not just the other running backs but other guys on the team. Professionally, team preparation, individual techniques, and personally he's a great friend to a lot of guys on the team. Involved with their families and things like that. He does things outside of here with his teammates and so forth. I think everybody loves Kevin and has a lot of respect for him as a person and certainly as a player. The way he plays the game, how unselfishly he plays it and how prepared he is and how dependable he's been for us through the years. It's great to have him and we'll see how that role develops going forward. I'm glad he's here and he's definitely contributed this year even though he hasn't been active on the field. Just in terms of the locker room and his presence has been a very positive thing for us.

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