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Gregg Williams Conf. Call - 9/3/2003

**Q: Hello Gregg. How are you?

GW:** Good. How are you guys today?

**Q: Well we are ready for the season to start. How about you?

GW:** Well we are ready for the season to start too. That's right.

**Q: Obviously the most news worthy item was the jettison of Lawyer Milloy yesterday. That serves two purposes: it hurts this team to some degree, but it might help you. Where do you stand as far as acquiring him?

GW:** Well obviously we are always looking for better players and another player or two here and there. We are very interested in him and hopefully something like this could work out. It would be a big plus for us.

**Q: You have had a lot of changes in your defense, [Takeo] Spikes and others. What would he do to your defense? And you know him as well as anybody because you've played him.

GW:** The way that Bill [Belichick] plays the safety position down there defensively, he and Romeo [Crennel] are very similar to what we are doing here, so there wouldn't be a huge learning curve in that respect. There is a language curve anytime you travel in the league. But with the way the league has become a little more transient with the free agency the last several years, coaching staffs have become more universal even in that language, the terminology part of defenses. If it works out, fantastic. I don't know how long the transition will be. But in order for a player to be able to have an impact in a ball game, he needs to get to that place as soon as possible. I haven't heard where it's at right now, we've just been progressing on in our plan and progressing on with practice today.

**Q: Are you in a full-court press mode trying to get this thing done?

GW:** I have full confidence in Tom Donahoe and our people, Jim Overdorf. So they have basically been handling it. As a coaching staff, we've been out of it. They have been giving me some updates. Earlier this morning, I got an update that we were still in the hunt, but I haven't talked to them since then.

**Q: You know it's amazing Gregg to have the spice that this series will now be the new rivalry. It's always been a good rivalry, but you are the team on the rise, the Patriots have been there. And the [Drew] Bledsoe aspect of it is always part of that spice. But certainly your team is on the rise, where do you see it now? I know that you are the team du jour in the media, but how about in your mind? Where do you see it?

GW:** Well, the position was open a few years ago because I had to have some changes being made and we went through those difficult changes. Where the Patriots are dealing with a cap issue this week, we dealt with a bunch of those my first year. We had a bunch of really good football players that were no longer here, and all of them basically were on the defensive side of the ball. So I totally understand how the nature of the business with the salary cap era here affects your team and your organization. We've gone through those that first difficult year, made some progress last year and then were able to have maybe a little bit more of an impact this year. With three good drafts, with good young players and having the ability to bring in some quality free agents this past year, hopefully we'll be able to take another step along the road to where we all went to be. And that's winning a division championship and competing for a world championship. That's what we want to do and it's just a matter of time. And in this new salary cap era you've got to go through some of those things. I think that Tom [Donahoe] and his staff have done a great job on how we've gone through that time. From a football point of view we have done a pretty good job of transitioning and doing what is best for the players that are here. This year we made a significant impact on our defense and hopefully we can take another step there.

**Q: Is there a drop dead point during this week at which Lawyer Milloy probably wouldn't be able to suit up for you and play on Sunday? Or even if he agreed on Friday, would you probably have an opportunity to put him in the lineup?

GW:** You know what, it is really hard to speculate. I have been a fan of Lawyer Milloy for a long time from a distance, but until you sit down and actually be the one coaching and talking to him, really it is a matter of speculation right now. Probably if it happened on Sunday, it would be too late, but other than that I wouldn't want to put a time frame on any individual player because they are all different.

**Q: Are you monitoring negotiations with Tom or are you just going to let him handle it?

GW:** No, I go in and check it when I come in and out of the meetings and the player meetings. I went in and checked before I went into the meeting this morning. I checked as I came out before the press conference and there is still stuff going on here before this press conference. When I have time, I check in.

**Q: In terms of your quarterback situation, for instance this weekend on Sunday Clemens had a very emotional game against the Red Sox. One of the things Joe Torre said was, 'He sometimes has had problems pitching in Fenway because of the emotion involved, but on Sunday he did a great job of just tending to business.' Have you had, or would you have any kind of talk with [Drew] Bledsoe and say, 'Forget the revenge factor. You know what this defense does. Just play it like a regular game.' Is that a concern of yours that maybe gets a little too hyped to beat [Bill] Belichick and beat the Patriots?

GW:** We had that last year and we talked about it. This year, we've talked about those same things. Really as you play a team over and over and over again, it becomes routine. Players move around in this league and eventually you are going to play against an old team or several teams you've been on. New England will go through that same thing with some of their new acquisitions, with the Chargers and the Bears. Larry Centers has been on several teams too. Sometimes the quarterback position gets height out of it a little bit more because of it, but I would really anticipate it being pretty routine right now because this is in year two and this is Drew's team here.

**Q: You've got the whole thing, which I don't buy into, and I'm sure you don't or Drew, but the whole 'Bill-gets-in-Drew's- head' thing. He certainly hears that…

GW:** In all honesty, just from my impact and dealing with Drew every day, I don't see that at all. I think it's an easy story, but just in normal conversations Drew doesn't perceive it to be that way and neither does our team.

**Q: What isn't an easy story is protecting a quarterback and last year Drew got sacked 54 times. I assume that you've done a lot to try to elevate that problem and Sam Gash certainly is part of that I assume?

GW:** Sam is very a part of that. And then also, an offensive line that is going to be together now for the first time into a second season. Four out of those five guys last year, played their position in the NFL for the first time. So we would hope that this offensive line has had a chance to gel for a season and had a pretty productive offseason. We have done a pretty good job of reducing those numbers through the preseason although they're just preseason games. But I've liked what I've seen the last couple of preseason games out of that unit. That's been an emphasis that we have talked about, reducing negative plays from an offensive standpoint. But really from a total team standpoint, the negative plays that happen in a ball game and sacks are one of them.

**Q: You are going against almost an entirely revamped secondary: new corners except for Ty Law, two new safeties. Is there a learning curve to what these guys do? Or do you just say well there is likely a drop off and you attack them the way you are going to attack them?

GW:** For the most part, those guys have been there throughout the whole offseason, the training camp, and they've been getting their training camp and preseason reps. So you take a look…or we do, we'll take a look at match ups and technique. But we are going to execute our plan that we've been talking about on where we think we have to go in to this ball game since the schedule came out. And things we have worked on in min camp and training camp, preseason games. We'll go about trying to do the plan that we've talked about from Day One.

**Q: On the other side of the ball, you had a decision at least similar to what the Patriots just went through with Milloy, in Price's case who obviously his play you would have loved to hang on to. But the money just didn't make sense for you. Could you talk about how that decision finally evolved, we're not going to pay that price? And how you feel about his replacement?

GW:** Well, you are exactly right. And I think every team goes through some part of that every single year. The fact that we got it done back in March and I think it was an outstanding decision on how Tom [Donahoe] was able to six weeks prior to the draft we were sitting here without a Number One draft choice because we gave it up for Drew Bledsoe the year before. And here was a cap situation presented to us that we were able to get a Number One draft choice, a Willis McGahee this year, and Drew Bledsoe last year. Even it worked out that the person we were discussing for our first draft choice was between Willis and Chris Kelsey. So we ended up getting three pretty players with how you manage that cap decision. Our guys did a great job with coming out the back end with that. To be quite honest, to fact that it happened that far, you adjust as a team. We went through a period of remorse, or whatever, whenever you lose a good player, because there are a lot of Peerless Price fans, maybe even one of them here. But we have to do what's best for the team at the time and we did a pretty good job with coming out of that deal with some better acquisitions or a number of acquisitions that were pretty positive for us in terms of improving the team.

**Q: Eric Moulds is going to make a lot of guys look pretty good.

GW:** He does a pretty good job, you're right. He helps out a lot the guys that play opposite him because the attention is on him. He is one of those few players that go out on the field that has a chance to be one of the best players on the field that day. You have an awful big match up there. He and Ty Law have had some big battles and Ty has done a very god job in that match up. So we have got to try to exploit the things that we think can help out the entire team not just Eric Moulds.

**Q: Having worked with Drew now for a year and more. Probably character-wise he is a pretty special guy…

GW:** He might be one of the best I've ever been around in that respect. From a leadership character standpoint, he and I have a real quick bond in the fact that he is a real, strong family man and was raised with a real strong family culture, family attitude. And I make no apologies that my family is the most important thing in the world to me. Drew is the same way, so there is a quick bond there. And that he has quickly taken the Buffalo Bills as his second family and it is easy to see with the rest of his teammates on how he feels about that by the way he acts around his teammates. And it's an easy leadership thing for him because he treats those guys as kind of a secondary family.

**Q: I would think that out of all years, this is a particularly impressive start to play a team you are going to have to compete with probably right to the last game of the season back here. How important is it to get off to a good start in this division, especially the way every team is dangerous.

GW:** This division is a tough division. I think that the team that wins this division is going to be battled-tested and deserves to be in the playoffs, because it is such a tough division, very well coached division. Getting off to a quick start is all 32 teams' goal. The fact that it is a division game, has double implications that way. So we like the fact that it happens to be at home. We like the fact that hopefully we can get a little bit of a home-field advantage with that, with the crowd behind us. It will be an emotional ball game, not only because of the division but because it is the regular-season opener.

**Q: It may be emotional if Milloy ends up there?

GW:** Yeah, it could be. It could all of a sudden, again Sam Gash has been over there too and Larry Centers being here. But again that's just kind of the way the league is right now. Players will eventually play against some other teams they have been on in some point and time in the season.

**Q: Well Gregg, thank you very much and we wish you well for the season. We'll see you this weekend.

GW:** Okay, see you later fellas. Bye.

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