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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Tue Dec 07 | 01:30 AM - 08:55 AM

Bill Callahan Conf. Call - 11-13-2002

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Q: Obviously you must be relieved after Monday night. Can you talk about just how big of a victory that was going into this week?

BC: Well, it was a good team victory. We overcame a lot of obstacles, in Denver, playing on Monday night with Denver coming off a two-week bye. Obviously, with the situation we were in, we were compelled to win that game. We had to come out with a win and our players rose to the occasion. It showed a lot of character and showed the heart and spirit of the ballclub.

Q: The emotional level with which your team will probably approach this game at – because it's at home, because they have some momentum and because of the Patriots' playoff win over your team last year – do you have to monitor at all how their mindset is during the week and especially how all day Sunday they have to think about this game?

BC: We approach each week as a separate entity, so no matter who we play, we are very consistent in our approach. We concentrate on the task at hand in terms of all the schematics that we've got to get in. Last year's game up in New England really has no affect on this team. They're really focused on a new year and a new start and it's just another team that we've got to play.

Q: Charles Woodson evidently said to a reporter after the Denver game, when asked about this game, he said, 'We will win.' I don't know if you know of that or not.

BC: No, I don't.

Q: Is that something that you think is a good idea to do before a big game, or is it something that might be something that the 'damn media' will take out of context and make a big deal out of?

BC: Well, I'll just say that Charles is his own man and he speaks from his heart and I'm not going to question what he said. I really don't know the nature and the context of what was said. He's accountable and responsible like we all are.

Q: Did it take a while to get that playoff loss out of your system? I know that the team walked out on [Referee] Mike Carey in training camp when he came to give the rules talk. Was that sort of a cleansing thing, like, 'Okay, that's the last time we're going to address that'?

BC: Well, we're in a situation where it's so far behind us right now, it really doesn't matter. Because of the fact that we're into our 10th game right now and both teams are at 5-4 and vying for an opportunity to get the lead in their divisional race. Our focus is completely different right now. We're trying to get through this week in a very detailed manner like we always do and we're just trying to take this game no different than any other game.

Q: It amazed me when I was looking at your roster today the number of players who are in their 30s, who have over 10 years of experience. There are even four guys who have over 15 years of experience. What does it do for a team having so may players with double-digit years of experience?

BC: It gives us a lot of character and leadership to begin with. It also gives us invaluable experience. What that brings to the table is just invaluable because of the nature of these guys and the way that they prepare and the other intangibles that you don't see on the playing field, but you see in the meeting rooms, you see on the practice fields and in how they conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. It's very impressive.

Q: In addition, obviously this game is on ESPN and it's a highly-hyped game, but on the other hand, you have Jerry Rice, who has played in a number of Super Bowls and Bill Romanowski has played in Super Bowls. Does that help a guy like Charles Woodson, a talented, young player to have someone who can say, 'Look, we've done this before'?

BC: Well, I think the leadership on this team provides the right example in how they prepare, and in how they work. If you ever had an opportunity to watch Jerry Rice, prepare on a daily basis, it's a sight to behold. Here's a guy who has played all of these years, yet still comes out 30 minutes early for practice, stays late after practice, continually works in the weight room, continually works in the film room. Here's a guy who treats the game like he's 21 years old. It's amazing the type of passion that he has at his age for this game and coupled with his work ethic and all that he puts in to every week of preparation, it's unparalleled.

Q: What do you think about the Raiders' mystique? A lot of people talk about it. It seems like in some regard, the Raiders are a little more connected to their history than a lot of other teams, either because Al [Davis] is still there, the outlaw image, the organizational philosophy of plucking guys who other teams may think are at the end of their careers but you get a lot of production out of them?

BC: I think that this is a very prideful organization and we take great pride in what we manufacture and produce on the playing field. The most important thing is that the players continue to produce at a high level regardless of where they come from or who we, obviously pick up, there's a lot of teams across this league that picked up verteran players and added them to the roster. We just feel that we made some changes in this offseason that have helped us on defense to help strengthen ourselves up the middle like John Parrellla who is a quality player, a high quality guy from the San Diego Chargers. We picked him up in free agency. Then we acquired Bill Romanowski who has really given us a lot of leadership and a lot of positive play. Then of course, Rod Woodson. So we've made ourselves much stronger inside out on defense in that respect. Then offensively, you have a guy like Jerry Rice to join your squad with Tim Brown it just gives you a little bit more balance in the passing game.

Q: What is it that makes players exceptional at the end of games? I'm talking about, maybe, positions that handle the ball, whether it's running back, quarterback, or wide receiver. In your experience in the league, what is it that separates the very good players from the great ones in handling the ball at the end of games?

BC: I think poise first off. I think you've got to have an incredible amount of poise in those particular situations like crunch time and have a good feeling and understanding of what you have to get done and of course go ahead and execute it. The great players, I think over time, illustrate that just because of their calmness in the midst of a storm and their poise and their ability to execute and pull the trigger. I think that, in essence, is what we are talking about, a crunch time player and in the clutch it's key. The play that Brady made against Chicago was incredible. There was poise. There was understanding. He knew what he wanted to do and he threw it well. He threw it exact and precise. That's what you have to do. You have to do it at crunch time, under duress and in the midst of a lot of pressure. Those guys that have that ability are capable of seeing the game different than other people. In other words, I think that the game slows down for those types of people and they see the game a little bit more clearly than the other guys that are incapable of making those plays.

Q: Is Tom Brady already making a reputation as one of these escape artist?

BC: Oh, no question. I think Tom has done an excellent job. He has really grown and matured and just assessing his numbers, in comparison to last year, I'm very impressed. And his percentages are up and of course his decision-making is up and his touchdowns are up, all those little things add up to growth, experience, understanding and commanding the course. When you are in a winning situation like he was in last year, that just bolsters his confidence as well.

Q: How have you handled that one-two punch losing (Terry) Kirby and (Phillip) Buchanon on special teams?

BC: Well, we have really struggled in that respect. We've had some guys step up to the plate and unfortunately we're unable to generate the big time play. But we're fortunate enough to have Tim Brown that is very capable of going back there and handling the punt chores. The area that we've really struggled in was the kickoff return. We had a couple of guys back there that didn't fare us well and right now we have kind of locked in on Marcus Knight who is doing an excellent job. But those are situations that come up and they can really hurt you. And it stung bad because we lost both specialists on the same day against San Diego.

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