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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 10/7/2011

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 7, 2011.

BB: [We] made one practice squad move there. We'll see how things go here with Eric [Kettani]. Hopefully we can get him worked out. Otherwise we're wrapping it up here and onto the Jets.  

Q: Was Eric Kettani eligible to go on the reserve military list again or did you have to release him due to the circumstances?  

BB: By releasing him, we have the option to bring him back if other things get worked out. Once he's on reserve, then he's out for the year. Injured reserve, reserve military - players, they're either active or they're on reserve. There's not a no-man's land. If the player is on some form of active list, which includes free agents and being released and all that, then those players are all active. Once they're on reserve retired, reserve injured, reserve whatever then they're on reserve; they're out.  

Q: He obviously has an impressive resume away from the field. What has he done on the field to impress you and keep him on the practice squad?  

BB: He had a real good college career and we had him for a little while two years ago in the spring and then he was going to active duty after that. He's working his way back into football.  

Q: Can you explain what the difference is between Wes Welker this year and previous years and how he has been able to expand that role and create even more yardage? Do teams ever try to double him?  

BB: Sure, yeah, I think teams have their different ways of trying to take certain players away. Whether that's double coverage or jamming him at the line or playing zone and kind of looking for him or whatever it is. I think Wes had a real good camp. He's certainly ahead of where he was physically last year at the beginning of the season, where he was whatever it was, nine months, away from the ACL [injury]. Wes has always been a good player. He's had a lot of production through the years, before coming here and since he's been here. It comes and goes in different games, so we'll see how it ends up. He's been really productive for us throughout the course of several of the past seasons, so it's not really a surprise that he's having production. Sometimes guys get more balls than others, it just works out that way - the pattern, the coverage, sometimes it just happens to go that way. I don't think it's anything that's been planned or I don't think he's running routes differently or eating more broccoli or anything. I think some of that, it just kind of happens.  

Q: How much of it has to do with the intelligence of Tom Brady and Wes Welker in finding ways to be even more efficient than they've ever been?  

BB: I think we have some other - Deion Branch, there's not a smarter receiver. He's amongst the smartest guys I've ever coached. Instinctive and smart, so I don't think it's all about that. Wes is experienced, Tom is experienced, they definitely know what they're doing, Deion. But there are a lot of guys that do that. Look, you're working hard, you're doing your job, you're running your routes, sometimes the patterns will work in your favor against certain coverages, sometimes they don't. That's just the way it goes.  

Q: Julian Edelman has missed a couple of practices this week. Who is the next returner if he isn't able to go?  

BB: We've worked several guys back there, which we did in preseason. If he's not able to go, then it will be one of them.  

Q: Is Wes Welker in that mix?  

BB: Yeah, sure he's returned for us, yeah.  

Q: Any update on Danny Woodhead and how he is progressing?  

BB: Doing better. He's doing better. I talked to him this morning and he's definitely doing better. We'll see how it goes, give it a try today and we'll see what he's able to do today.  

Q: What did you see from Albert Haynesworth in the first two games? Do you think he would have a major impact against the Jets if they try to run the ball?  

BB: I don't know how the game is going to go; we'll see what happens. I hope all of our players that play, play well. We'll see where we're at with Albert. I think he can definitely help us. He's a versatile guy - he can play the run, he can rush the passer, he's a physical guy, he's a good athlete. We just have to see how all that plays out and what he's able to do. He hasn't played for a couple of weeks here. He was able to get on the field yesterday. We'll see how that goes today. Maybe it's this week, maybe it's not. We'll just have to wait and see.  

Q: How has Dan Connolly done in his preparation against a defense that can be pretty complex?  

BB: Dan has played against these guys before. Whether you're center or guard, you still have to know all the moving parts, all the components of what we're doing and what they're doing. Again, a lot of our schemes are not set up where it's just one-on-one; it's us three against those three or us four have those four or however it is. You have to understand the whole concept of it. Dan is a sharp guy and he's experienced, he's played against these guys and a lot of other teams before. I don't think the mental part of the game is too much for him at all. I think he handles that very well.  

Q: I've heard you say before that you 'don't really know what you have until you're four games in.' What do you think you have now that you're four games in?  

BB: I think it's still a work in progress. You've seen the same games we have. Some things have gone better than others. Some things have been up and down. We'll see how consistently we can do some things, whether we can improve on some things that haven't gone as well, whether we can continue to be productive in some of the areas that we've been productive in. I think it's somewhat of a barometer; I don't think it's the final results. We know some things we need to work on. Again, there are other things that we've been productive with that hopefully we can maintain that production. But maybe not, maybe teams will start taking away some of the things that we're perceived as doing well and try to make us do something else. That's kind of the game we're [in].  

Q: How did Aaron Hernandez respond to being out on the field yesterday?  

BB: It was good to see him out there. We had a couple of guys out there that haven't been out there for a little while. We'll see how it is today. [He] did a few things yesterday and we'll see how it feels today - whether he's able to do the same or whether it needs to be less or maybe it can be a little more, I don't know.  

Q: As you think about availability for Sunday, does that look like it could be a game-time decision or is it still too early to tell?  

BB: I think we'll know more after today. I think the first day back is always - of course it's good to see him back out there the first day. Then the question really is the second day - was that too much? Do they need to back off a little bit? Was that something that they could easily handle? Then we're able to escalate the workload and the stress, whatever the injury is. If that second day goes good, that's probably a good indication that the player is ready to move up. If it doesn't, if it levels off or if it starts to stress whatever the injury is, then the medical people will back him off a little bit until we're able to raise through that and get up to a higher level.  A number of opportunities and a little bit of time to evaluate the situation is what you need. It's hard to do that based on one look. You don't know how the player is going to respond to that type of workload, which is more than what he's been doing in his rehab.  

Q: You've had just one tight end on the game day roster the last few weeks. Is that a position where you'd like to see more numbers, as far as -  

BB: Sure, I'd love to see Aaron [Hernandez] out there, of course.  

Q: Not just him, but any other moves on that position?  

BB: Well, if we felt like there was a player that would be able to help out team at any position, we would make that move. Pick any position you want. If there's a player we felt like could help, we would look at that.  

Q: In terms of running style, how would you characterize Stevan Ridley?  

BB: I think he's got a lot of good elements to his style. He's got some quickness, he's got good vision, he's got some strength, can run through tackles. He's got a combination of skills. [He] showed a burst there last week against Oakland when he got through the line of scrimmage. I think he can do a number of different things - break tackles, cut back, make guys miss, find the hole, he ran outside, ran inside, caught the ball. I don't think it's really a question of overall ability; it's a question of consistency. A lot of things can go on in a play and just being able to do all those things right and make the right decisions, that type of thing. I think he has running skill.  

Q: When you look at the pass defense and the way they've played this season, what has been your biggest area of concern? Is it the big plays?  

BB: No question, you never want to give up big plays. You never want to give up big plays. You want to try to keep those plays down to minimal gains and make the offense run a lot of plays and not just run a couple and gain that same yardage. Of course. But again, that's all team defense related: there's pass rush, pass coverage, underneath zone coverage, our deep secondary coverage. Some of the calls weren't, looking back on it, weren't great defenses to be in against the particular play that they happened to run. Some of that didn't match up very well. So it's a combination of several different things, hopefully all of which we can do a little better: man coverage, zone coverage, playing the ball, coaching, play-calling, I mean, all of the above. There's plenty of work for all of us to do to improve that.  

Q: Now that you're a month into it, how would you assess how the new kickoff return rules have played out on both sides of the ball?  

BB: It's pretty obvious - not as many kickoff return opportunities.  

Q: Do you think that will change as the weather changes?  

BB: It might. We'll see.

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