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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue May 21 - 02:00 PM | Thu May 23 - 09:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Transcript - 1/14

Belichick:

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            **BB:** I think everyone has the injury report.  We just have Damien [Woody] as doubtful and we will just take it day-to-day.  That is his status for this week. Looking at the Colts, I don't think I have ever seen a team run through the playoffs like they have.  At this point, what more can you say?  You just go through all of the stats, they haven't punted, 40 points a game, rolling out big number offensively.  I thought they played a real strong game against Denver all the way around.  Their kicker hasn't missed.  You can just go right down the line.  A lot of fire power, well coached, I think it starts at the top with [Bill] Polian and Dom Anile is a guy that I have worked with and has done a great job of bringing some young players, Tony Dungy of course, I can't say enough about him and the fact that he has been in the playoffs here pretty regularly.  Outstanding players, a strong organization, won on the road, won at home, won pretty much everywhere and won pretty convincingly the last couple of weeks.  They are a real good football team. I thought last week, I said Tennessee would be the toughest game and I think it was to that point.  I would expect this one will be tougher.  We are going against a team that beat the Titans twice.  They are pretty good all the way around.  I have a lot of respect for them.  The game came down to one play on the one-yard line the last time.  We are expecting that same type of game right down to wire.  

**Q: Who will go in there for Damien?

BB:** Well, we finished the game with Russ [Hochstein] there last week. So we will probably start that way this week.

**Q: [On injuries and how it affects the game plan]

BB:** You game plan things up every week and this week will be no different. It is just like any other position. If somebody can't play then somebody else is going to have to step in and do the job.

**Q: How did Hochstein do in the game?

BB:** It was okay. It was a very challenging situation. We know Tennessee has an outstanding front four. Some plays were better than others, but overall it was okay.

**Q: [On the Peyton Manning and the offense]

BB:** Spectacular. It is almost like a 20-yard completion. He just makes play after play. There were a lot of third down plays, it just keeps the offense on the field with conversions one way or another. They are using all of their receivers. Everybody has been involved. The receivers, the tight end, the backs, the running game, it is a really well balanced offense. I think Tom Moore does a great job with the overall plan, the design of it. Obviously, [Peyton] Manning has a lot of flexibility at the line of scrimmage and uses it well. There isn't any one guy, there is not any one thing, it is just so diversified and so efficient that we are going to be challenged across the board.

**Q: Looking at the postseason game film, they have had a lot of production offensively. Is it something that defenses have been missing or it is their offense?

BB:** They have had tremendous production offensively all year. I think, again, it's a credit to their system, their players and their execution.

**Q: What makes [Tom] Brady so successful?

BB:** Tom is a solid quarterback that is smart and makes good decisions and is accurate. When a quarterback has those qualities, that is a good starting point.

**Q: Can you just talk a little bit about Richard Seymour?

BB:** This is our third year with Richard. This year he was elected one of the team captains. I think that is an indication of the respect that his teammates have for him and his status on the team to a certain degree. Richard is smart, he is versatile, and he plays a lot of different positions for us across the defensive line. He is a hard worker and has had a real productive year.

**Q: 40 degrees is the coldest game the Colts have ever played in at kickoff. How much of an advantage will the weather be?

BB:** I don't think it is any kind of advantage at all. I think it is the same situation for both teams. It will be about the team that makes the most plays. We had a couple of plays in last week's game, I don't think kicking a 46-yard field goal in whatever it was, zero degree temperatures, I don't think that is any kind of an advantage. I am sure if you ask Adam [Vinatieri], there are a lot of other situations he would have rather had kicked that ball in.

**Q: As you watch Peyton Manning on film, can you talk about his decision-making?

BB:** He is on a tremendous roll right now. He is pretty good. Just look at him. He has the all-time production records for just about everything given the time he has been in the league. You can throw [Marvin] Harrison and [Edgerrin] James right in there with him and between the three of them they have some all time numbers and they are on pace to break the ones that they haven't broken already. He is very efficient. He is making great decisions. He has great command of the offense. He is a terrific competitor. I don't think anybody could play much better than the way he is playing. 40 points per game in the playoffs, that is pretty good.

**Q: [Brandon] Stokley wasn't in there the first time you played them. How much of a wild card is that this time around?

BB:** All of their receivers have been productive. They have all been productive whether it has been [Troy] Walters, Stokley, when [Dallas] Clark and [Marcus] Pollard are in there, obviously Harrison, [Reggie] Wayne and the backs, you can go through those guys too, [Dominic] Rhodes, James, they are all productive. Manning does a great job of spreading around. Their receivers step up and make big plays when they opportunities to. Stokley is an outstanding player. There is no question about it. He has made some big plays for them.

**Q: How did Matt Light do against Dwight Freeney last game?

BB:** Freeney is one of the best pass rushers we see all year. I thought it was real competitive. Both guys made some plays. I think that is probably the way it is going to be with a lot of match ups this week. They are going to make some and we are going to make some. It is just the question of who can make a few more.

**Q: What problems does a good slot receiver like Stokley present?

BB:** Anytime you have a good receiver in the middle of the field you have a lot more options in terms of route running you can run across the field or back outside or down the field, you have the whole field to work with. It is unusual if you see a receiver line up on the outside of the field to catch the ball all the way across the field, I mean every once in a while but for the most part his routes take place in more of say one-third of the field, whereas the guy in the middle of the field can really hit pretty much anywhere. So, it just gives you a little more variety and depending on what they are trying to do with the guy and how it combines with the other receivers, the distribution, it is a hard guy to defend because he has so much space to work in.

**Q: In comparison of the quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the both seem to have this cerebral approach to the game. Is that a reason they play so well in the game?

BB:** I am sure it is. I think the quarterback's ability to manage a team, his ability to recognize things, handle the clock in all of those situations, there is a lot of moving parts, it all happens in a split second, guys like Manning and Brady do a great job of that and, again, there are a lot of different things that you have to take into consideration – what you are doing, what the defense is doing, the game time, field position, the score, all of those situations, time outs, and so forth can start to get into a lot of different factors and to take out the ones that are most important and do the right thing at the right time, it is definitely a thinking man's position.

**Q: In your four postseason games, special teams has helped to wing those games. How likely is it that this game will have the same aspect to it?

BB:** Well, I think there is a good possibility especially that special teams will have a big impact on the game. Field position is important and of course a lot of those plays are scoring plays too when you get into the field goal placement. Between field position and scoring plays, you can't understate what the importance of that is.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about Willie McGinest?

BB:** Willie has had a terrific year. He has done a good job all the way around, again, similar to Seymour who we were talking about earlier. Willie has had a lot of different responsibilities that he has had to fulfill both in the running game, the passing game, pass coverage, he has really been asked to do a lot of different things and he has done them all pretty well. He has made big plays for us in the running game, the passing game, pass coverage, he returned an interception for a touchdown, he has given great leadership to the defense and has done a nice job on the edge.

**Q: Can you talk about James' running style for a minute?

BB:** Well I think that James has all of the elements that you look for in a top running back. He has a lot of power, he is a tough back that can pick up a yard or two when you need one. He is also an outstanding open field runner that can make people miss. He can run over them, he can make them miss, he has good hands out of the backfield, and he is a good decision maker. I think he has good run vision, he sees holes and then when he sees it he can really pop through and accelerate through it. He runs with good pad level and, again, I think you will see him break as many tackles when guys really have a shot at him and he just runs over them or runs through them as you will see him stop and make a move and make a guy miss. I think when you see a back have the ability to do both of those things then you are talking about a really special guy.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about the two field goal kickers, Vinatieri and [Mike] Vanderjagt? It is seldom that you see two guys who are as high profile as they are in a game like this that may come down to kicking?

BB:** What more can you say about Vanderjagt? He has made every kick. You can't do much better than that. We have a lot of confidence in Adam. Any tough kicking situation I don't think there is anybody we would rather have out there than our kicker. You are talking about two of the better ones in the league.

**Q: What sticks in your mind most about the first match up with the Colts?

BB:** Just how competitive it was. It came down to the last play. One yard separated those two teams that day from one winning and one losing. That is how tight it was. You play 60 minutes and it comes down to one yard, that is about as close as it gets.

**Q: In what way if any are you a different coach now than your first head coaching job in Cleveland?

BB:** Well, I would like to think I learned a little bit over the last few years. Maybe just a little bit.

**Q: Any particular areas?

BB:** Well I think you gain experience in every situation you go through and I have been through a lot of them. I would say a couple of the main things would be delegating to the assistants and the coordinators and other members of your staff both on the football staff and in the scouting department and so forth. That would probably a big one.

**Q: Do you think you are doing things a little bit differently than in 2001?

BB:** I think you always do things a little bit differently. There are always different demands or different circumstances that you have to work within. I think the basic structure is the same but there are certainly little variations but I would certainly say we are still on the same hole.

**Q: The Colts run the no huddle offense, how much does that hamper you defensively in trying to get people on and off the field?

BB:** Well it is a big challenge. I think you have to be ready to play the game at their pace. They have control over it offensively in terms of the tempo of the game, how quickly the plays are called and their substitutions, so it is something that we will definitely have to deal with. We don't see that every week. You always get ready for the two-minute type of situation and we have seen the no-huddle from other teams from time-to-time but they use it pretty extensively and they are very good at it.

**Q: There is still a belief in Indianapolis that perhaps Willie McGinest got a convenient time out at the end of that first match up during the period of no huddle offense and maybe when the defense needed to get a substitution or a little breather. Is there any validity to that?

BB:** No, I definitely didn't see it that way.

**Q: Are you practicing inside today?

BB:** We will be inside today.

**Q: Is that throughout the week?

BB:** No, I am sure we will be out during the week.

**Q: Given the Colts explosiveness, does that put some onus on your running game?

BB:** Well, I think we are going to have to play a good football game in all three phases. Offensively, we are going to have to be able to do something when we have the ball and defensively we are going to have to be able to stop them. We are going to have to create some field position in the kicking game. I don't think any one unit is going to be able to go out there and play well enough to control the game. I think that all three units are going to have to play well collectively and that is where the challenge is. The Colts are pretty good across the board in every area and we will have to match up performance in all three facets of the game.

**Q: Antowain Smith is doing more. Is that game planning or is it better production?

BB:** Our backs have had production all through the year, different guys with different levels of production. It varies from situation to situation and also sometimes the game plans or the conditions in the game. Whichever guy is in there, I think they can all be productive and they have been productive and that is the way we would expect it to be. It is not orchestrated in any particular way. It has just worked out that way.

**Q: You are happy with what you have gotten from him this year?

BB:** Yeah, well, I think you could say with every player, there is always room for improvement and there are certainly things that can be better. But he has been pretty consistent. Antowain has run hard. He has done a good job on blitz pick up. That is his style of play. I think he is playing to it.

**Q: Do they try to dictate your personnel with the no huddle offense to get you stuck with, say, extra defensive backs?

BB:** I think if they like what they see out there then they have a tendency to try to keep the tempo up so that you can't sub. If they get a match up that they like, then they can try to keep it going and make it harder for you to substitute and force that group to stay out there. What they might try to get us into, might not be the same thing they tried to get Houston into or Denver or Kansas City. But I would just say, I think if they like what they see out there then they might want to try to keep it out there for you.

**Q: Bethel [Johnson] made a couple of big plays in the kicking game back in Indianapolis. Where is he as a receiver right now?

BB:** Well Bethel has made big plays for us on offense and on special teams. I think that is a little bit of his style of play. He is an explosive guy. He has good downfield speed and can run with the ball after he has it in his hands. I think you have seen some of those in both offense and in the kicking game.

**Q: [On the rookies and their development]

BB:** I think at this point in the year, you have to kind of look at the rookies like they are not rookies anymore. We have played 17 games and after 17 games, what point does a rookie not become a rookie? The 18th game? The 16th game? I think we are at that point now where a lot of these teams that we have played, we are playing twice, it is the second time around and we are at the end of the season. They have pretty much had all of the game plans and all of the situations and all of the calls and mostly everything that can be thrown at them has been thrown at them. Hopefully they have it by now.

**Q: How do these guys rate against the Rams of 2001?

BB:** I don't know about rating them, but I would say this: they are pretty good. They are pretty good. They are going out there and putting up a lot of points against quality teams, teams that are playoff teams, teams that have won a lot of games and teams that are pretty good defensive teams, teams that I have a lot of respect for. Where they rank I don't know, but they are pretty good. They rank up there pretty high somewhere.

**Q: It is similar because they have the running back, the quarterback, and the wide receiver?

BB:** Yeah I think that is what makes them so difficult to defend. They have a great quarterback, they have a good running game, they have a solid offensive line, they have good tight ends, they have good receivers. They can kill you in a lot of different ways, so you just can't load up on one guy or one phase of their offense because they just have too many other weapons that they can strike. The thing about them too is that they have a lot of big-play potential. You aren't going to sit there and say, 'they are going to take the ball 14 plays and grind it off.' 70 yards, they can cover that in two plays. Or one. It is not like they need four or five first downs to get the ball down the field. They have a lot of players that can make a lot of yards in a hurry.

**Q: Is Eugene Wilson a cornerback playing safety or is he just a safety now?

BB:** I think for this year he is a safety. He has had enough snaps and enough repetition where I think he is comfortable playing the position, as comfortable as you can be in the first year. If a guy played it ten years, he would be a lot more comfortable in the tenth year than in the first. I am not saying that, but again, at this point I think he has been through everything you can go through at that position at one point or another.

**Q: Is it remarkable that come the following January he is a starting free safety?

BB:** I don't think it is that remarkable. It is certainly a significant transition and he has done a good job, but you have guys like [Donald] Strickland playing for Indianapolis, it is the same thing. He played corner at Colorado, started at corner, had a couple of injuries, moved him into safety, and now he is playing safety and doing a pretty good job. I will tell you this: it is a lot easier to take a corner and move him into safety than it is to take a safety and move him out to corner. Unless you have a guy, and there are always a few guys that have ended up at safety for some reason in their college career, and then they are back out there as professional corners, but for the most part it goes the other direction. I don't think it is that uncommon.

**Q: Coach, when a guy like [Damien] Woody goes down, what do you lose in the overall package?

BB:** Damien has been a solid player for us. He has position versatility. He is strong. He has a lot of experience and can make all of our calls and adjustments and not have to think. Again, you have guys that have been playing all year out there that, again, maybe have not had every snap but they have practiced, they have gone through every game plan, they have played. They know the offense as well as anybody who has played this season, so they will step in there and take on those responsibilities.

**Q: You have a lot of versatility on your defense. Is that a benefit going against Indianapolis, knowing that they like to run the no-huddle offense?

BB:** I think the biggest part of it is just the execution and players knowing their responsibility and making plays. For a player to play and be versatile is great, but what is great is for him to be good at what he does and be able to execute what he is being asked to do on a consistent basis. I think that is really a key to it for me.

**Q: Your team has been in this position before. You have a lot of guys with playoff experience. Is that overrated, having been to the playoffs before?

BB:** Again, watching the Colts play the last couple of weeks, they look pretty good to me. I am sure if they go out and play the way they have been playing, they will be in pretty good shape and it will be hard to argue with that. They are playing pretty well.

**Q: Is that one thing that is missing, pressure on Peyton Manning?

BB:** 'Pressure' is a relative term. I think what you are looking for defensively is to somehow be able to stem the tide. I think it is kind of unrealistic to think that you are going to go out there and they are not going to gain a yard and they are not going to complete a pass. They are going to make some first downs, they are going to move the ball and the question is how many points are they going to score and can you force the ball out and get a turnover and that kind of thing. That is really the challenge. They have seen a lot of different types of attack. Some teams go with max coverage, rush three guys. Some teams blitz a lot of people. They play man. They play zone. They play blitz zone. They double [Marvin] Harrison. They double [Brandon] Stokley. They double [Reggie] Wayne. They play two deep. They play three deep. They play single free safety. They have seen a lot of different looks and in all honesty they have done pretty well against all of them.

**Q: If [Damien] Woody couldn't go, and something happened to [Dan] Koppen at center, who would your backup center be?

BB:** Those are the situations we will work out here during the week. I don't think it would really be good to get into all of our personnel decisions. I hope you can respect that.

**Q: What was your mindset going into Tom [Brady]'s first start versus Indy. Was it 'let's not ask him to do much?'

BB:** I think we pretty much did what we would normally do at that point. We made up game plans and then went in there and ran them. There wasn't a situation where Charlie [Weis] and I went in there and said, 'well we don't want to run these 20 plays because Brady will screw them up.' That wasn't the conversation. 'What is our best attack, what can we do and let's set it up and do it.'

**Q: Peyton Manning has been with the same coordinator since he started in this league. Do you think that you have had some success against that coached offense and how would you explain that success?

BB:** I think that through the years that I have coached against Tom [Moore] and coached against Manning as a quarterback we have had some great battles. Some games have been better than others. They certainly have made a lot of plays and we have made a few. It doesn't really matter. It only really matters what happens this week. I will think what happened however many years ago, I don't really see what that has to do with it.

**Q: I know you have already touched upon Eugene Wilson, but can you talk a little bit about Wilson and Asante Samuel and how they have handled their jobs this year and their learning curves?

BB:** I think that playing in the secondary in the NFL is a big adjustment from playing in college. You see a whole different level of quarterback for the most part, and a whole different level of receiver. The ball comes out quicker. It is more accurate. The receivers are faster. They can run a lot more sophisticated routes. It is a big adjustment. I think both of them have taken some significant steps. They have worked hard. They have been able to stay on the field. For the most part they have been reasonably healthy and been able to get out there on a weekly basis and have worked hard to continue to improve. Some games have been better than others. Some plays are better than others, but I think that they certainly have shown that they can perform at a competitive level in this league and hopefully they will continue to work hard and get better.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about Tedy Bruschi and what he brings? Is he like the heart and soul of your defense?

BB:** Tedy is certainly competitive. He is a really energized and enthusiastic player. He is our defensive signal caller, so he is always at the start of the huddle in communication. Tedy is a tough, physical player who has a lot of range and he is in on a lot of plays. He is very instinctive. He has a nose for the ball. You try to coach that, but it is really one of those things that a lot of players have it a lot more than you can coach it.

**Q: How do you prepare for a quarterback like Peyton Manning because he does audible a lot?

BB:** A couple of things are important. You have to have an awareness of what the whole system is and what they are trying to do. Basically what they are trying to do is attack the weak points of the defense, so it is good for you to understand defensively what your stress points are and try to cover those up as best as you can. Ultimately he has the final say on that, not us, and it is no different than any other quarterback coming out and calling plays. Sometimes those plays are well matched against your defense and sometimes they are not, so disguising is important, but I think more important is being able to pull your responsibility and run the defense the way that you have it designed. If you don't, their execution is so good that they will pick it apart.

**Q: Last game did they come out and do something different after the third quarter?

BB:** I think that that game swung back and forth on some big plays. They did make a couple of good plays defensively and got some turnovers. They converted those turnovers into touchdowns and it is 31-31 with 10 minutes left in the game

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