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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 9/23/2011

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, September 23, 2011.

BB: Just to start off by saying, I feel bad that we had to place Dan [Koppen] and Myron [Pryor] on Injured Reserve. Dan has played a lot of really good football for us here and he's really been such a dependable guy in every sense of the word. You really take it for granted or almost take it for granted. When you don't have him you really realize how consistent and dependable he has been. Myron had a good preseason, I thought he really got off to a little bit of a late start but worked hard, was doing really well. I'm just disappointed for them. Obviously we have some other guys banged up this week. I'm not going to go into any kind of detail on any of the individual players. We'll see how they are today in practice and list them accordingly on the injury report after we get the information from today's practice. Other than that, just turn our attention to Buffalo, try to wrap up the week here, take care of a few situations and put the finishing touches on the game plan and our preparations. Like I said, they do a lot of things. They give you a lot of things to get ready for so hopefully we'll be able to get them all covered here in the next 48 hours or so and be ready to go Sunday at 1.  

Q: You talked on Wednesday about depth. The way you're configured, are you able to withstand some of these nagging or long-term injuries?  

BB: I mean that's football. Every team has guys on the injury list. Every team has guys on Injured Reserve. You play with what you've got.  

Q: With a player like Dan Koppen, could you technically cut him, give him an injury settlement and then bring him back if he was healthy later in the year?  

BB: The injury settlement on him would be eight weeks plus the amount of time he missed, so he'd be out for about 20 weeks so it wouldn't really make any sense. I mean you could, I don't think it would really apply in that case.  

Q: How does it work? What were the numbers there? It would be 20 weeks?  

BB: It depends on how long the injury is. If the injury is two weeks, then it's two plus, if its six weeks then it's six plus. It depends on how long the injury is, what the settlement is.  

Q: You also made the move to bring Jeff Tarpinian up from the practice squad. What does he add to the team on the 53-man roster?  

BB: We originally carried him on the 53 in the first place. Going to the Miami game, we made a roster move and put him down on the practice squad. We feel like he could help our team, defensively and in the kicking game.  

Q: The Bills seem to have some of the more underrated players. What do you see from Kyle Williams and why is he effective?  

BB: I don't think he's underrated at all. He was in the Pro Bowl last year so I think he's been recognized by whoever recognizes that. But yeah, a real good player - tough, good quickness, strong, plays hard, good technique, very instinctive, recognizes things well. He's been a good player there for a long time - solid guy.  

Q: Is he a true nose tackle?  

BB: They don't play a lot of just head up on the center. I mean occasionally. Most of the time, they're offset and it's some kind of shade, either on the guard or on one side of the center or the other.  

Q: Watching the Bills on offense, it stood out that it seemed like they're spread a lot of the game last week against the Raiders.  

BB: They're spread every game.  

Q: Percentage-wise, how much spread offense do you see from them?  

BB: That's the game. They did it against us last year. It's what they do against everybody. I mean, they have a few plays where they're not spread, but the majority of the game they're spread.  

Q: You talked a few weeks ago about trying to get your safeties to be able to play both spots. If Patrick Chung is out, do you feel like Sergio Brown and Josh Barrett know both spots?  

BB: You can't not know both spots.  

Q: So how will it work? Will one guy take the lead?  

BB: They do their responsibilities on the play based on what the defense that we're in is. Based on how the offense comes out, then they do their responsibilities. If the formation changes, which it does or if the personnel group changes, either they change with it or somebody else adjusts depending on what the call is. They have to handle their responsibilities, whether that's on their side of the field or in the middle of the field or in combination with the linebackers and the corner on their side of the field - it depends on what the defense is.  Both the safeties have to play in the middle of the field, they have to play in half of the field, have to play in man-coverage, have to play in elements of combination coverage, blitz coverage, things like that. If that's what the defense is, then that's what they have to do.  

Q: What have you seen in Ryan Fitzpatrick that has made him so effective and efficient so far this year?  

BB: We saw that in the first game last year. He's accurate, he gets rid of the ball quickly [and] he's smart. I think he recognizes the defensive alignments and is able to take advantage of them. They check a lot of plays. He gets them into the right play. He sees things quickly and gets the ball out quickly. He has a lot of good skill players; offensive line is playing well. It's all tying together. He's doing a good job and so are all the other 10 guys that are out there.  

Q: Getting back to the safeties, in terms of communication, when there's confusion is there one player who has the final say to get everybody on the same page?  

BB: When you have communication with somebody else, it's a two-way street. Safeties have to communicate with each other, they have to communicate with other players on the defense - the players to the outside of them and also have to coordinate things with the linebackers. It's a combination of all of those. Sometimes it's more on one guy than another depending on what the call is, what the formation is. Ultimately, the two safeties have to communicate. That communication extends to the perimeter. In some cases, the secondary has to coordinate their communication with the linebackers. In some cases they don't but in some cases they do. Then it all has to be coordinated. I'm not trying to give you a run-around answer but it depends on what the defense is - not every defense really involves the linebackers and the secondary. Some do, some don't. Some really involve the secondary and the linebackers are kind of, I don't want to say on their own, but their element of it is self-contained. It just depends. They communicate with the outside linebackers and the defensive ends in terms of run-force. And the corners depending on who's responsible for the end of the line run-force in the running game. Then you have coverage adjustments and assignments. Some of those are between the secondary, some of those are between the secondary and the linebackers [and] some of them are clearly separate.  

Q: At some point, it's better to be on the same page.  

BB: It's always better to be on the same page. It's always better. It's better for us all to be wrong together than for half to be right and half to be wrong. We're better off if we're all wrong. That's right. If that makes any sense. It appears that we should be playing in this set, but we're playing something else. At least if we're all playing the same thing, we have a better chance of executing it than half of the guys are in the right thing and half the guys are in the wrong thing. They usually don't tie together. That's not a good combination. That's true of everything too - it's offensively, special teams, we're all better off wrong together.  

Q: In light of the Dan Koppen situation, how big was the Brian Waters signing?  

BB: You always want to have as many good players as you can. That's part of team building. Brian has done a good job for us. Dan [Connolly] has done a good job for us. There are other players on our team that we have a lot of confidence in if they have to play. We'll be them in there and I'm sure they'll do their best. I think they'll play well or they wouldn't be here.  

Q: Today is the 10th anniversary of Mo Lewis' hit on Drew Bledsoe. Do you ever look back on how much that one play has changed things for the team and the NFL?  

BB: No, obviously I'm aware of it and all but no, I don't sit around and reflect on [it]. I don't have to write a column about it.  

Q: You talk a lot about getting players prepared for getting into the game on any situation. What do you remember about Tom Brady being able to come into the game and control the game under those circumstances?  

BB: It's no different than any other backup quarterback going into that game. He was the backup quarterback to start the season. He was the backup quarterback in that game. When you're the backup quarterback you can go in after the first play like [Matt] Cassel did in '08. You can go in on one of the last plays of the game like Tom did in '01, or somewhere in between. You never know as a backup quarterback. You have to be ready to go from the first play to the last one - in all situations. All the things that a backup quarterback does to prepare for that - that's what Tom did, that's what Matt did, that's what Doug Flutie did, that's what Vinny [Testaverde] did, that's what Brian Hoyer is doing right now.  

Q: How confident are you that Zoltan Mesko will be able to handle the full load of punting in this game?  

BB: We'll see. We'll see how things go today and we'll list him on the injury report based on what we see in practice today.  

Q: If he can't, what would be your thoughts on letting Stephen Gostowski handle it so you wouldn't have to burn a roster spot to bring in another punter or is that something you'd rather avoid because of the different skill sets involved?  

BB: It's a possibility. I don't know. Whatever we do, we'll do what we think is best for the team. Whether that's to bring in a punter or not bring in a punter. However we handle the situation, we'll look at our options and try to pick the best one. The best one would be Zoltan doing what he's here to do. But if he can't do it, then we'll have to figure something else out.  

Q: On a lighter note, can I get you to comment on your Halloween costume choice in 2009? Was the pirate a tough call? Did you have any other options in your playbook?  

BB: There probably were some other options but I was hoping nobody would recognize me in that one. It was a fun night. Randy [Moss] did a good job organizing that. I think everybody had a good time. It was a good teambuilding exercise.  

Q: Did you do that yourself? It looked like a pretty professional costume.  

BB: No. No, I just slapped it on there.  

Q: Did you ever get your clock set in your car?  

BB: That was one of the big challenges that year. No, I'm terrible at that stuff, it's bad. If I didn't have some younger people in my life that understood that, I'd be at a total loss. Really, why they can't just put a clock on the car? Why can't that just be part of the dashboard? Just dumb it down for some of us.  

Q: Is it fair to say you don't use GPS in your car?  

BB: No, I wouldn't say that. It would be nice if it worked. The frustrating thing is when they send you the address and say 'type this into your GPS' and then when you put it into your GPS and the thing comes up and says it's not listed. OK. All that stuff is great when it works. It's all great when it works. The more stuff there is, the more stuff there is that can go wrong. But when it works, it's great. Great line from Curly in the Three Stooges: he gets in the car and says, 'Hey what's wrong with this car? I don't know. it seems fine, the clock is working.' Back in those days, that really, I mean whose clock worked when I was growing up when you got in the car? Whose clock worked perfect?

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