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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 9/2/2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 2, 2012.


BB: The last couple days were as usual busy days relative to the roster, of course also trying to get our preparations for Tennessee tightened up and all that. I'll just say with all the roster decisions that there were obviously some decisions that took some time to figure out and work out and in the end everything that we did was what we thought was in the best interest of the football team. That really, I'd say is the best way to sum it up. It's not any one thing. We have to try to look at not just where the team is now but also to prepare for the entire 16-game regular season schedule. Of course, our players on the practice squad are to a degree inter-related to the players that are on the roster. Again, I'd just say there was a lot of combination of factors that went into our roster decisions and so forth: the trade, the practice squad, the releases and all that. We'll continue to try to manage the team on a weekly basis to do the best that we can do put the most competitive out there on the field and to win. That will be done week-to-week but for now we are where we are and we'll see how this looks.

Q: What drew you to want to trade for Greg Salas?

BB: We felt that he would be able to help our football team. He's got some versatility and we'll put him out there and see how it goes.

Q: In addition to his versatility, what are his strengths as a receiver?

BB: He's had a lot of production, catches the ball well. He's had a lot of production: college and even last year.

Q: How much was Josh McDaniels' background with him a factor in acquiring him?

BB: Sure, Josh had some firsthand experience with the player, no question. But we scouted him coming out of Hawaii and followed him last year. We had a good feel for him before Josh was here just based on our scouting department and working him out and getting ready for the draft and all that. Of course Josh spent some time with him so that was some additional input.

Q: How would you characterize the work Brian Hoyer did in his time here?

BB: Good.

Q: A lot of improvement?

BB: I think he came in and did a good job his rookie year.

Q: You talked about how guys adjust and how you have to make a decision based on when a guy is approaching his ceiling and when another guy might be below where the other player is but has a higher ceiling. I kind of theorize that might be one of the things that went into your backup quarterback decision. Ryan Mallett has not taken as many snaps in the NFL as Brian Hoyer has. Is that something that went into the decision?

BB: I personally wouldn't characterize it that way but that's all right.

Q: I would much rather hear how you would characterize it.

BB: I think I really already covered it. All the decisions we made were what we felt was best for our football team. That takes into consideration a lot of things: it takes into consideration some of the players that are involved, it also looks at other things on the team and where our other strengths and depth is or isn't. We could be here all day talking about. We did what we thought was best of our team. There are several players that aren't on our team that I think are good football players. That's nothing against them, but in the end, we did what we feel was best for the New England Patriots. That's not a negative commentary on anybody else; it's a positive commentary on the players who earned a position on the team.

Q: Would you consider veterans like Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney as players that could possibly return down the road?

BB: Right now I'm just trying to coach the players that are on this team and try to do the best job I can coaching them, getting ready to play Tennessee, getting ready to play the 16-game regular season schedule. The players that aren't here, I don't think there's much I can or should say about them. Right now, I'm trying to coach the guys we have.

Q: Is Brian Waters one of those guys? Has his status changed?

BB: Again, I'm just talking about the guys that are here.

Q: So he is not here.

BB: Right.

Q: How much, if at all, did Ryan Mallett's responsibility level change now that he is where he is as opposed to where he was before?

BB: He's in the on-deck circle. He's the next guy, which he wasn't really in that position before. He's earned that spot now. His position is the same, his responsibility is the same but he's going to get more opportunities in practice to prepare and he's closer to being in the game as the backup rather than as the third. I don't think his preparation is any different, I don't think the process is any different because where he was last year, you could be two plays away instead of one. Who knows what's going to happen? He should have prepared last year the way he prepared this year or the way Tom [Brady] prepares as the starter. Everybody prepares like they're going to be in the game, they're going to play it and we're going to count on them. Everybody should be doing the same thing as far as that goes. But his practice opportunities will go up as the second guy as opposed to the third guy, of course.

Q: Do you view that as a big positive – all the practice reps that he'll get as the pure number two as opposed to splitting as the backup?

BB: Well, sure. If we didn't think there was benefit in practice, then what are we doing going out there every day?

Q: For the starters.

BB: Everybody gets an opportunity to practice out there, whether they're running scout team plays or whether they're running our plays, whether they're running all of them or part of them or even if they're just mentally taking them. When our starters aren't in there every play, they still should be watching the play and repping the play mentally just as if they were in there. Even though they're not physically in there, there's still benefit to be gained if they go through that process. I've always coached that way. If we thought practice was a waste of time, why are we going out there?

Q: I think the point I am trying to make is when you have three quarterbacks, the physical rep is better than the mental rep.

BB: Agree, but there's still benefit to be gained for Tom [Brady] when somebody else takes the rep for him or for another player if somebody in front of them takes the rep but when they get an opportunity to do it, that's another opportunity and a quality opportunity for them, absolutely.

Q: Placing Jeff Demps on Injured Reserve – with the potential new rule, is he out for the year?

BB: Yes. Any player that is on Injured Reserve prior to this coming Tuesday is out for the year. If a player is on the active roster and they go on Injured Reserve any time after that Tuesday, they could be designated as whatever the designation thing is.

Q: I do not know if this year they were giving teams a flexibility.

BB: You're right. What they did was, say Dane Fletcher, we could have carried Dane on the 53-man roster and then if we had placed him on Injured Reserve, let's say September 10, then he would have been eligible to come back. That would have been a scenario that this new modification of the rule was for. But you would have had to carry that player on the 53-man roster. You couldn't put him on Injured Reserve, not counted him and then designate him to come back if he had never been on the 53. In Jeff's [Demps] case, he was never really on the 53-man roster. He was placed on IR as part of the cut-down.

Q: Where are you guys at in your preparation for Tennessee? When did you start preparing for them?

BB: Back in the offseason, back in the spring, but after the Giants game. We practiced on Friday and we're practicing today as part of that, working on some situational things, working on some specific points of emphasis and then Monday we'll get into the regular week if you will; one day ahead.

Q: When you are looking at Tennessee, is last season's tape more important than the preseason tape?

BB: They're all important. I think you look at both. Certainly they have some players that are there this year like Steve Hutchinson or Kendall Wright or whoever it is – guys that are here this year that weren't there last year are players you have to take into consideration. There are plenty of players that were there last year that are there this year. The quarterback position, you always have to get ready for all the quarterbacks but [Matt] Hasselbeck played more than [Jake] Locker did last year. Locker is playing more than he is this year but one play can change all that so we have to be ready for all of them. We'll definitely watch what they did in preseason and look at their new players and how they're using them and what their skills and possible role might be and also go back and look at last year where they really were playing their most competitive football in regular season games and see what their strategy and game plans and how they utilized their personnel, what plays they might have run in the regular season last year that they haven't run in preseason this year that they may have held back. It's a combination of last year and this year, especially with the same coaching staff, same coordinators and many of the same players.

Q: Is it hard for you to say goodbye to players that have played for you and had success for you like Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney? Is it hard for you to cut them loose?

BB: It's the hardest part of the job. It's the hardest part of the job to take players that have played for you, won for you and players that have been with us since the spring, the whole offseason, done everything we asked them to do, worked hard, sweated, been banged up, kept going out there, kept playing, kept trying to do everything they could to make the team, to do what we asked them to do, to do it in a team-first attitude and fashion and to tell those players that they can't be a part of the team is very difficult. On the other hand, we all know when we get into this business that that's the way it's going to be. Jerry Glanville: 'Not For Long.' A lot of coaches, including myself, have been through that. A lot of players have been through that. It's a production business. There's not too many of us who have been in this game for very long that haven't experienced that in some form or fashion. It's part of the business. It's not a great, real happy day as a head coach when you have to give that news to any players really, certainly it's those guys, but it's any players. You could exchange the names but you're still affecting somebody's life and somebody's career and basically somebody who has worked hard and given all that they can to try to earn a spot on your team. It's disappointing for them and it's not fun to deliver that news. But we all knew a long time ago that was… we all knew when cut down day was a long time ago so it's not anything unexpected but it still makes it hard.

Q: Do you put any value in a defense playing with swagger? It seems like this year in camp, we saw the defense playing with a lot of confidence, talking, yelling, whooping it up. Do you put a lot of value into that?

BB: Well I think the important things are all the other things you mentioned: confidence, playing well, making plays, being excited [and] enthusiastic about making those plays and doing those things. We go out there and work hard and go through a lot of drills and practice and preparation and then to go out there and execute it and have it work well in practice and to make a play – catch a pass, score a touchdown, have a long run, sack the quarterback, intercept a pass – we should be excited about those plays because we worked hard at them to make them become reality, especially when it happens in games. I think you like to see all of those things. You like to see the confidence, the aggressiveness, the production and the enthusiasm and excitement that's genuine with that production – those are all things we emphasize and embrace. I don't think you win any games talking about them, I think you win games by performing and we try to emphasize that.

Q: What did Marcus Forston show you through camp and the preseason to earn a spot?

BB: Just the daily consistent performance. Again, it's no one thing or one play or one day but guys that can earn a spot on the roster do it with consistent performance relative to the competition. He did enough to do that. A lot of young players, again it's always hard sometimes to judge, some of them start fast and fizzle out. Some of them start slow and pick up speed and really accelerate their rate of improvement. Some guys are kind of slow and steady. The less information, less evaluation, you try to make your best decisions that you can based on the information that you have but to a certain degree it's somewhat limited and we'll see how all those things play out over time.

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