PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Q: Can you talk about the London trip? Would you deem it a success in all - with the win there?
BB: Well, sure. That's the biggest part of it. That's why we went over there - to be 5-2. It's good to come back and get that one under our belt and move forward. We've got three division games in the next five coming up. We've got a couple undefeated teams sandwiched in there, so we've got a big challenge ahead of us, but right now we start to turn our sights toward Miami.
Q: I heard you say you got to spend some time going to see some of the war bunkers while you were in London. I know you're a big historian, so can you talk about what you saw?
BB: It was pretty interesting. Underneath parliament they built a little bunker during the bombing of London and all of that in 1940, and that's where Churchill kind of ran the war from with his staff. It's pretty interesting and pretty sparse quarters. And when the war was over, they just got up and left, so everything is just the way it was on the last day - on the VE Day.
Q: You preach to your team about starting fast and setting the tone early in games. You guys have been able to do that, especially against Tennessee and Tampa Bay. Is that a good feeling with your team?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. It's great to be able to play from ahead and we've been able to balance off our offensive game - the running game, play action and those things. And defensively we were in a lot of sub defense; we rushed the passer, ran some blitzes, got some pressure on the quarterback and kind of took them out of their running game. And they have very good backs, but when you're down by 28-7, 35-7, it's hard to run the ball in those situations, so that probably negated one of the best parts of their game.
Q: We're sitting here at the bye week. Is this the perfect time for your team to have a bye - right in the midseason? I remember you guys had it the third week one year and the 16th or 17th week one year. Talk about those weeks, and is this perfect time for a bye, getting guys healthy, too?
BB: Well, I think any time you have it, it's a good time. Everybody can use the extra time to prepare, to heal up, to get some treatment, to get caught up on where we've been and where we're going. So we're at the midpoint of the season here almost, and it gives us a good chance to reflect on the first seven games, a good chance to prepare for the next nine and give some guys a couple extra days to rest up and heal up.
Q: Is that basically what you do - self scout and throw out what's not working and get some guys up to speed, especially some of your young guys and guys coming of P.U.P.?
BB: That's right. We have some young players that have gotten a little bit of playing time, but we will continue to give them more reps in the bye week. And [it] also gives us a little more time to prepare for Miami. They've played seven games, so we'll get a pretty look at them and that will take some work there for what they do and the problems they present. It always comes at a good time, but I think it's a good feeling to come back from London. I'm glad we weren't facing a regular week this week after the trip back across the ocean.
Q: So will you concentrate a lot on the Wildcat?
BB: No question. Yes, we'll have to work on that. That's one of the unique things that they do and we'll be able to get a little bit of a head start on that.
Q: A lot of the fans and the media realize how much the players work, but a lot of people don't realize that you and your staff have been working day in and day out since July. Is it good to get away from the game a little bit [during the bye week]? Do you tell your guys, 'Hey, when you're away, be smart and take care of yourself, but enjoy the time off because it's not coming again after this'?
BB: Exactly. We're into pretty much the back stretch now and we'll be sprinting here the last nine games to try to finish up our season on a strong note, so this is our last chance to do it. It will be good to get away from football for a couple days and I do encourage the players and the staff to forget about it for a couple days and kind of clear their minds, take care of personal stuff, and then be ready to come back. There won't be many breaks after this.
Q: Defensively is it hard to coach these guys now since most of the rules cater to the offensive side of the football?
BB: Well there's no question that it's a scoring league and I think the league is built for teams to score points. They don't want to see a lot of 6-3 games. There have been some rules that have helped the defense lately. The most recent one this year is the being able to push the receiver out of bounds - if he doesn't come down with two feet, then it's an incomplete pass. That has actually helped the defense in the red zone and on the sideline plays where you don't have that force out rule anymore. They actually changed that last year. But as the head coach of the team, whatever is good for our offense is good for their offense, and whatever is good for our defense is good for their defense, so it all evens out.