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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 9/30/2011

BB: We're wrapping up the week here on the Raiders. [We will] jump on the plane this afternoon. [We will] get a few last minute situations in and go back over the things we've worked on here the last couple of days and hopefully be ready to go out there on Sunday. The more you watch the Raiders, I think they've really been impressive this year, doing a lot of things well. [They are a] good football team, this will be a big challenge for us out there on the road, but one that we're looking forward to.  

Q: What's the plan for you guys since you're traveling out there today?  

BB: It will be a regular Saturday for us tomorrow. Try to get back on a normal routine, you know. Do the traveling Friday night and then Saturday will just be what we normally do on Saturday, minus the travel. It will be like a home day Saturday schedule if you will, home game Saturday schedule.  

Q: That's just sort of to ease the acclimation of flying out to California?  

BB: Just get on a regular Saturday and regular Sunday, one o'clock game. Just try to get on two days of a 'normal' routine. Whatever's normal, if there's such a thing as that word in the regular NFL football season.  

Q: Sebastian Vollmer has been out for a bit, played in Week 2, any idea what his situation is?  

BB: He's getting better, yeah. I talk to him every day. He's definitely doing better. We'll just take it day-by-day. Each day has been encouraging since the couple days whenever it was, Tuesday, after the San Diego game.  

Q: Would you see the same for Albert Haynesworth – that he's getting better?  

BB: Yeah, I see him every day, yeah. He's in here early, staying late, doing everything he can.  

Q: How difficult a challenge is it to play out there with the 'Black Hole' and all that? Can that be a factor if you allow it to?  

BB: Well, it will be a hostile environment I'm sure. We don't get [a] very good reception out there but that's the way it is just about every place we play. That's what playing on the road is – you have to be able to handle those elements: the hostile environment, the crowd noise offensively, just the fact that it's really all you have are the people standing there on your sideline. That's the way it is just about every away game. We just have to block out all the support that our opponents are getting at home and focus on what our job is and make sure that our communication, our substitutions and our execution during the game is the best that it can be. Just control what we can control – there's nothing we can do about the rest of that stuff. We know it will be what it is – you've all seen that before.  

Q: Do you have any memories that stand out from Raiders fans? Brian Waters was sharing some the other day.  

BB: Yeah, he's had a lot more trips out there than I have. But yeah, they're intense, to put it mildly.  

Q: You interviewed out there, didn't you?  

BB: Yeah, I did.  

Q: What do you remember from that meeting with Al Davis? What did you take away from that?  

BB: I thought it was good. It was good. It was good experience for me. I went out there after the '98 season. We had a good couple days of conversation. I told him when I got out there – it really seemed like a waste of time because I felt pretty certain that he wouldn't hire a defensive coach, because he hasn't since Eddie Erdelatz in [1960]. It's a parade of offensive coaches out there. He's really a defensive coordinator and has been. You know, it was good because we talked a lot about football and he's very, very knowledgeable about the game, personnel, schemes, adjustments and so forth. He was asking a lot of questions about what we did defensively. You kind of don't want to give too much information there because you know, he's running the defense. He wasn't really too interested in talking about offensive football – a little bit. He's a great mind. It was unlike any other interview I've ever had with an owner because he was so in-depth, his interview was so in-depth really about football, about 'Xs' and 'Os' and strategy and use of personnel and acquisition of – all the things really that a coach would talk about, that's really what he talked about. That made it pretty unique. But he hired a good coach, [Jon] Gruden. Which is again, in all honesty, the way that I expected it to go because that's been all the Oakland coaches from Art Shell to Mike White, Joe Bugel, [Mike] Shanahan, you know right down the line, Lane Kiffin, they're all offensive coaches. They have their own way of doing things which is interesting but certainly well thought-out and well planned. I'm not saying that in a negative way at all, they just have their own of doing it – they've had a lot of success. It was a great experience for me to have those couple days of conversations with him and also some other members of his organization relative, again, to the overall way of doing things.  

Q: You're obviously someone who has taken things from other great coaches and coordinators in the past. What mark did Al Davis leave on you defensively when you look back at his Raiders teams from the '60s and '70s?  

BB: Well, you look at the same thing today, there's not a lot of difference. Like I said, he's really run the defense and to a large extent the kicking game out there for the '60s, '70s, 80's, 90's – 40 years, maybe more than that, I don't know. But he's, again they have their style of play, they have their way of doing things. As much as you can say this is a copycat league and things like that, you can't really say that about them because they've done the same thing now for decades defensively and to a certain extent, offensively. Through the course of my career, I've had the opportunity, just as luck would have it really, that some people that I was very close to in coaching were in that organization. In talking football, I feel like I know a lot about what they do, how they do it, again through third parties now, not directly, but through third parties. It makes a lot of sense. They definitely have a plan. I think I understand basically what they're trying to do and how they're trying to do it. I think it's consistent and I've taken a lot from that. The personnel side of it, the way they look at certain things in the game and what their priorities are. I definitely have tried to look at those and incorporate some of them into what we do. We do things a little bit differently than they do, but that's okay. You just want it to be consistent and you want it to finish at the end game – where you want to be. That's what everybody is trying to do. It's well thought-out. I don't think it's a trial-and-error system. It's a proven system, they believe in it and they're going to follow it.  

Q: In some non-football news, Terry Francona is out as Red Sox manager. I know you got to know him over the years.  

BB: Was that made official today?  

Q: Yes.  

BB: Well, yeah Terry and I are good friends. I didn't realize that that had happened. But great manager, I'm sure that there are a lot of people in baseball that would like to have his record, including the championships. I'll certainly miss his presence in this area. I'm sure we'll be friends and still talk and see each other and so forth. That's disappointing, you know, on a personal level because I like Terry. As I said, he's certainly had a great record as the manager of the Red Sox. Whatever it was, a hundred and some years without any championships and then they win two of them. That speaks for itself right there.  

Q: Will you reach out to him and say something?  

BB: Yeah, I talk to Terry.  

Q: Have you talked to him since the season ended?  

BB: Any conversations I have, those are private conversations. They're not public.  

Q: Will you talk to him later today?  

BB: Any of those conversations are private conversations.  

Q: You mentioned the Raiders way of doing things. Hue Jackson seems to have really taken on the Raiders persona and he's talked about wanting to instill that Raiders and 'Black Hole' culture into the team. Have you noticed them transitioning back to the way things were when they were in the height of their organization?  

BB: Again, I don't know that that's ever totally left. I definitely think he's done a good job of building on the Raider pride and their historical success. Again, they played well last year, won every game in their division, which as we know is hard to do and [they] are off to a good start this year. He's done a good job with the team – the team is playing well. They were a good football team last year and they've been a good football team. I'm not saying their record has always reflected that. We've never played the Raiders or prepared to play the Raiders and not recognized the strengths that they had and what they're capable of doing. I can't speak to all the other games and so forth, but just watching them, they do a lot of things. They have a good team, they have a good program in place and its showing up in the win column so far this year and it did last year in their division. You have to recognize that.

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