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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

BB: Well, it's been a quick turnaround for us here. But Friday, we're coming down to finishing up some situations, preparations here on San Diego and it'll be ready to go on Sunday. The more you watch, the more impressed you are. It's a good football team. Norv [Turner] has really done a good job with this team. They've got a lot of good players, they're well coached, so they're pretty good.  

Q: How versatile has Rob Ninkovich become for you guys?  

BB: Rob has done a good job for us. He's done a lot different of things - kicking game, defensively, running game, passing game, pass rush, he's had some interceptions, had some quarterback pressures. He's a smart guy, works hard [and] has good versatility.  

Q: One of the coaches, maybe even you, mentioned that once a guy gets here, you forget where you drafted him or how he got here. Is Rob Ninkovich, who was barely hanging on in the NFL, the best example of that?  

BB: Yeah, I mean, I can't really speak to what happened somewhere else. When we got him here, it was right at the beginning of training camp. He wasn't in any of the offseason stuff, we had a little issue at linebacker, we were a little short there. He was not with a team, so we brought him up, he had a good camp, played [with] the team and just kept getting better.  

Q: What did you see defensively from the Chargers in the season opener, in terms of how they pressured?  

BB: They pretty much do what they do. They're going to give you some five-man pressure, a lot of four-man pressure. They have good players, they have good edge rushers, they have good interior rushers, they cover well, so there're usually not a lot of wide open receivers. The quarterback has to hold the ball a little bit to wait for somebody to get open, gives the rush a chance to get there. [Shaun] Phillips, [Travis] LaBoy, [Antwan] Barnes, they all do a good job outside, [Corey] Liuget, of course…  

Q: Antonio Garay.  

BB: Yeah and what's that other kid's name?  

Q: Vaughn Martin.  

BB: Yeah, Vaughn, he's really played well for them this year. They have good inside rushers. It's not a big secret where they're coming from. You just have to block them. It's hard. They do a good job - a combination of the coverage and the rush. It's not one or the other; it's a combination of both and it's hard - hard to get guys open and they're hard to block. You just run out of time one way or the other. You don't have enough time to get open or don't have enough time to get the ball off. They do a good job.  

Q: I saw a high school team is using 11-man blitzes and is having success with it. What is the most you've sent or you've seen in the NFL?  

BB: When I was with Detroit, in 1976, we did a lot of it. We called it the 'Sticky Sam Blitz.' Probably ran it, had to be 50 or 60 times. It was a lot.  

Q: Did it work?  

BB: Yeah it was good defensive team. Jimmy Carr was the defensive coordinator. Jerry Glanville, he blitzes a lot and blitzed a lot when he was a defensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL. A lot of maximum pressure there.  

Q: Does anyone do that today and what's the highest you've seen?  

BB: You see Rob [Ryan] and Rex [Ryan], they give you a decent amount of maximum pressure. I mean maximum being, when you bring more than six, then somebody has to have coverage too. So you can bring seven or eight, but somebody has to peel and take those receivers - the fifth receiver, fourth and fifth receiver, if they get out. In the end, you can only bring six and cover their five. If you bring more than that, really, somebody is going to have to come off the blitz, if they release. If they stay in, then you can add in the blitz and it can be as many as - if they keep them in, you can just keep adding one more. Six becomes seven, seven becomes eight, eight becomes nine. Again, right now, we're focused on getting ready for San Diego. I couldn't really give you a breakdown on defense. I don't know what everybody else in the league is doing. That's not really their [San Diego] thing. Their thing is they play a lot of man, man free coverage, free safety and cover up the receivers and rush four, rush five, make you block them.  

Q: How is Sebastian Vollmer doing? Is it looking like he'll be ready to play this week?  

BB: He's practicing. After practice today, we'll put out the injury report based on how things go today.  

Q: If Sebastian Vollmer does play, what do you do with Nate Solder? Have you worked in a guy at right and left tackle during a game? Would you be open to doing that?  

BB: Sure, yeah. I would expect that all three of those guys would play. [Matt] Light, Solder and Vollmer, yeah, I would think they would all play.  

Q: Considering the trouble that Mike Wright had last year with concussions and to see him on the injury report again with a concussion, is there any concern for him career-wise in terms of continuing to play?  

BB: That's all handled by our medical staff; they evaluate that. I'm sure they'll do what is in the player's best interest, like they always do. That's not really my field.  

Q: With Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer and Matt Light primarily being tackles, would you use a rotation?  

BB: Well, you can watch the game Sunday and see how they play. I don't think that's really something we want to talk about right now.  

Q: Did you watch "A Football Life" on NFL Network last night?  

BB: Mostly, I've been watching San Diego. It's been a lot of San Diego film this week.  

Q: What problems does Mike Tolbert present?  

BB: [He's a] strong runner, both he and [Ryan] Mathews are both really strong. It looks like, honestly, I don't think it really matters to them which guy is in the game. They both can run the same plays and do the same things - it doesn't look like its one play for this guy, one play for that guy kind of thing. Whoever is in there is in there. He had a great touchdown run last week against Minnesota. It looked like he couldn't even get back to the line of scrimmage and ends up going in standing up. Good balance, strong, tough kid, can block, good in blitz pickup, catches the ball well. But Mathews too - Mathews has good quickness, has good size, runs hard, strong runner, both those guys are big, strong guys.  

Q: Who is the most entertaining trash talking player?  

BB: Yeah, I don't know. Like I said, right now our focus is more on San Diego.  

Q: Do they have any good trash talkers?  

BB: They have a lot of good football players. Every time we play them, it's a lot of the same guys. We've faced these guys for four, five, six years now. Quarterbacks, tight ends, offensive linemen, defensive backs - there's a lot of carryover from games in '10, '08, even '06, '07 playoff game. There are a lot of the same guys. Some new faces obviously, but it's a lot of the same good players.  

Q: You faced some of it last week with Brandon Marshall, but the size of the San Diego wide receivers…  

BB: Yeah like tight ends, they're big.  

Q: And Antonio Gates obviously.  

BB: No, I'm saying the receivers look like tight ends. They're big. They're physical, they can really go up for the ball down the field and [Philip] Rivers is a very good deep ball thrower. Philip can lay it up there and those guys have great size, both weight-wise and height-wise. [They] go up and get the ball, just rebound it. I mean, you've got them covered and they just go up and take it away from you. It's definitely a challenge for our defensive backs, competing for the ball down the field and matching up to the size at receiver and also, they put [Antonio] Gates out and you have another 260-pound guy running through the defense, going up and making catches that - that's a lot different than covering a 185-pound receiver. Those guys are big, they're physical and have very good ball skills. Yeah, they're tough.  

Q: Do they use Antonio Gates primarily to catch the ball or more as a blocker?  

BB: He's primarily a pass catcher. I mean, again, he's a big guy and so when he's blocking defensive backs, he can cover them up. They're 200 [pounds] and he's 260; He just engulfs them. A lot of yards come in the secondary when their receivers, not just Gates but [Vincent] Jackson and [Malcolm] Floyd, too - If they get through the line of scrimmage and then those guys get on the defensive backs and the defensive backs are dealing with a guy that's a few inches bigger, longer, heavier, by the time they get around them, the back is past them. They do a good job in their blocking in their running game, too. Their receivers are effective on that. They'll bring them in close, tight, closer to the formation and crack block and block the DBs so they can't come up and support the run. So I mean it's a problem. It's a problem.  

Q: What are Eric Weddle's strengths and have you seen Bob Sanders change anything they do in the back end?  

BB: Weddle is a real instinctive player. He has good quickness, but he's really got a good nose for the ball. He's got a lot of savvy, does a nice job disguising coverages, reading the quarterback, he's around the ball a lot, very productive player, lot of tackles, lot of pass break ups, interceptions, gets his hands on a lot of balls, that kind of thing. And Sanders is - it's the player we saw at Indianapolis. He's got a lot of straight-line speed. You can see him run and track down guys. He's very aggressive in the running game - comes up, throws his body around. He's always looking for the big hit.  He's very physical in there. He's very instinctive too, kind of like a [Troy] Polamalu type of guy with a lot of big hits in the game, lot of speed, gets to a lot of plays and brings the wood when he gets there.  

Q: You mentioned playing the Chargers a lot these past couple of years. Is there any difference in your game week preparation when you play a team you're pretty familiar with?  

BB: No, I think you just, you have more information to work with. It's like playing a division team - you play them twice a year every year. After a couple of years, you have a couple thousand plays, really, you're working with. I mean, literally. They can only run 60, 70 on each side of the ball, so you have way more information than you really need. You try to condense it all down, but you've seen some things and part of your preparation is just knowing the team. I'd say that's the way it is with San Diego. We've played them a lot. Not only our games, but then we've also seen them and studied them play other games over that same time so you have a lot of information on them and it can really be too much, so you have to whittle it down and get to the important stuff. At the same time, by having that much information on them, you know them pretty well, you know their strengths, you know what you can't let happen. So you try to make sure that you don't get beat on the things that you know are going to be a problem. If they do something they haven't done before, then you just have to react to that. I don't know if it's any different, it's just more. You're going from here to here. It's interesting though - like when I was with the Giants - I think we've gotten to the point here with some of the teams we play - but with the Giants, we played the Eagles every year with Buddy [Ryan], we played the Redskins every year with Joe Gibbs and for awhile there we were playing Dallas every year with [Tom] Landry before Jimmy Johnson came in there. We got to the point where we didn't really watch the other games; we just watched the last four or five games that they played against us, put all those cutups together: here's all the runs they ran against us, here's all the play action passes they ran against us, here's all the goal-line and short-yardage plays and whatever it was. And almost - I don't want to say ignored, but [we spent] ten percent of the time on every other game and 90 percent of the time on our games, just because you play them so frequently, you see the same matchups and why they attacked another guy on another team in another situation, okay, but here's what they did against us. It was kind of - those days are different now. You didn't have free agency. When we played the Redskins it was the same, there was Donny Warren at tight end, it was Gary Clark, it was [Art] Monk, it was [Ricky] Sanders, it was the same guys every [year] - the same offensive line, [Mark] May, [Joe] Jacoby and [Russ] Grimm and so it was literally our team lining up against their team, year after year after year after year with basically the same players. You don't see that as much anymore, but these kind of games, the San Diegos and the Pittsburghs and the Indianapolises in addition to our division teams, it feels like they're on the schedule every year.

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