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Replay: Best of Patriots Radio Thu Jun 01 - 03:45 PM | Tue Jun 06 - 11:55 AM

Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams Conf. Call 12.4.02

Williams on A. Smith: He’s done a very good job in improving himself in the pass game and they’re doing a good job of utilizing him



Q: As Joe Gibbs once said, you have to get in position in November to be in contention in December. Is it more difficult coaching in December when you have a contender to keep things in line? It's a whirlwind month, I suppose.

GW: I don't think it's any more difficult. I think that's what everybody works so hard in the offseason and in training camp and in the months leading up to that, to be in that position. I think it becomes fun in that time. The way the AFC is right now, there just happens to be a jumble of a lot of people who are involved. The old adage of any given week someone can beat somebody, that's kind of the way the league is right now in the AFC.

Q: Of course, you want four good weeks.

GW: Sure you do. You want to be feeling good about yourself and playing and executing well as you go through that month and going on in to the postseason.

Q: Certainly last week you executed well. Statistically, offensively you've had a high performance rate all year. But, last week was a particular watershed because you had to shake off those three losses.

GW: Well, it was an important game for us, being a division game and being a home game and obviously to get out of the slump we were in and battle through the first quarter, spot them and then come out rolling from the second quarter on. Playing in a 35-7 ballgame, we were able to execute some plays and finish some plays that we hadn't been finishing the three weeks prior.

Q: Gregg, when you look at the last game, how much do you take from the first meeting you had with the Patriots? Over time, your team has changed and they have changed, but how much can you take out of that?

GW: From a youth standpoint, when you have young players playing in the ballgame that they get an understanding of matchups, and the big thing is that you take a look at it and you identify execution errors and you've got to make sure that you've identified the execution errors.

Q: How do the Patriots look to you now compared to what you saw in that game?

GW: They're always solid players, they're well-coached and they're playing solid in every aspect of the ballgame right now.

Q: Where's your team at? You're 6-6 and you've got a chance, but you'll have to run the table most likely, who knows. But, where are they mentally and where are they in terms of their performance abilities?

GW: Well, this team is real tight chemistry-wise. And again, we're healthy. The big part of it is that our confidence is up from this last ballgame and we've got to go out and execute.

Q: [Drew] Bledsoe has never shied away from taking responsibility in tight games. You've certainly had a lot of overtime games. His performance seems to be as good today as it was at the start of the season.

GW: He's playing very well and he's been a strong leader. He's done a great job behind the scenes and had a big game for us this past week.

Q: Last year when you guys played the Patriots, you probably gave [Tom] Brady his toughest games. This year when you played, it seemed like everything went his way. What was the difference in the way you defended him last year and this year?

GW: I think that the guys that he asked to make plays for him made plays. They played very well. They executed and we didn't.

Q: What specifically disappointed you in the way your defense played in that game?

GW: The whole thing was tackling. That's the mark of any defense. It doesn't make any difference; week in and week out, you have to make sure that a defense is going to tackle well. That's the mark of any good defense.

Q: Have you been tackling better since then?

GW: Yes. We have.

Q: Is your defense overall better now than it was?

GW: Well, it's a work in progress. Each week we get a little bit better and a little bit older. We get a little bit more experience on a young defense.

Q: Getting back to the point about December, every team in the division has had good streaks and bad streaks. I guess maybe that's the way it is in football today, in the NFL at any rate. You had your bad streak and you had your good streaks earlier, even though you had some bad luck. How do you see the whole division coming out the way things are now? Do you think it's going to come to the last game?

GW: I think it could very well come down to the last game. I think that the common opponents and the opponents that we have, we all have tough schedules finishing out. It's kind of the way the league has been, like you said, there has been 19 or 20 teams that have gone through three-game losing streaks and there's been 12 or 13 of them that have bounced out of it and put together winning streaks. The Patriots have done that, the Jets have done it, the Dolphins have done it and the Bills have got to do it.

Q: Defensively, they seem to do a lot of things that caused your offensive line trouble in the first game. What have you done to correct some of those problems in this game?

GW: The big thing is that our offensive line is playing pretty well right now. It was a spot that everybody was looking at going into the season. We just need to make sure that we continue to stay in the ballgame to let us be able to run the football and be able to mix in the pass and be as balanced as possible. Once the last game got out of balance, they were able to take advantage of it.

Q: In scouting the Patriots, in a lot of games this year, Antowain Smith has not been a big factor, yet every time he plays you guys, he's a major factor. How do you approach that?

GW: Obviously, he's a focal point and, as we want to be able to establish each week, that you have to make sure you're able to play the running game strong and he's done a very good job in improving himself in the pass game and they're doing a good job of utilizing him and we need to make sure we take the necessary steps to make sure that we can minimize the gains when he's in the ballgame.

Q: It seems like Miami missed a lot of tackles last week. How is Travis Henry developing as a back and is he becoming more of a power guy because he can break tackles, or is he able to break them just with his shiftiness?

GW: I think it's a combination of both. That was one of the things that he needed to work on, was to be able to make people miss in the open field. He can do that. But, he's always been a tackle-breaker from the time he started playing in the early stages of his football career. From high school to college and now in the National Football League, he's always been a tackle-breaker. He did a very good job of that this past week and our offensive line has done a very good job on getting him to the line of scrimmage.

Q: Generally speaking, do you try and feature Larry Centers and Henry when they're coming out of the backfield, trying to get them in matchups against linebackers, is that when you've been trying to do?

GW: I think any offense tries to work on that as much as possible. You try to get a linebacker matchup as opposed to a DB and when you force teams to have to cover your running backs with DBs, you know your running backs are good. In Larry's career, he's had a lot of defensive backs try to cover him, because linebackers have not fared very well on him. Then, that also becomes a strategical matchup when you're able to run the ball against smaller people in there too, so you're always striving to do that.

Q: If Tedy Bruschi is somehow limited, how does that change your approach with either Centers or Henry coming out of the backfield? Ted Johnson's been an excellent run-stopper, but do you see a dropoff with him in pass coverage, or do you think he's played well?

GW: I think they're a well-coached defense and they've done a very good job. I've always admired Ted Johnson's and Tedy Bruschi's play. They're always some of the top linebackers in the league, and I know they'll have a scheme.

Q: What's the difference between your perception of Drew Bledsoe as a quarterback before you coached him versus your experience now having coached him?

GW: You really don't know the person behind the scenes until you're with him every day. As a coach coaching against him, you always admired his athletic ability and his ability to play the quarterback position. Behind the scenes, you understand what a strong character person he is, and I think that's been the most refreshing thing and appreciative thing for me as a coach, to be able to be with somebody that solid.

Q: A month ago, your quarterback went out to dinner with some of his former teammates the night before the game. Is that something that you object to, or is it something that doesn't bother you?

GW: It doesn't bother me.

Q: It doesn't at all?

GW: No.

Q: Not even if they had a bad dinner?

GW: They wouldn't be friends if they had a bad dinner.

Q: Gregg, thank you very much.

GW: Okay, see you this weekend.

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