Bill Belichick Q&A

Posted on August 18, 2007 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s conference call with the media this afternoon.

BB: As I said last night, there were a lot of positive things that we did. We scored a few more points on offense. I thought we played competitively at times in the first half on defense and hit the quarterback and played better on third downs. In the kicking game, we got a little bit of production out of our kickoff return game. At times, our coverage on the punts and kickoffs was good. At other times it could have been better and our punt return game obviously could’ve been better. We didn’t play very good run defense in the second half. We turned the ball over four times on offense. There are a lot of things we have to work on and there are some things that we can hopefully build on as we continue on the process of getting the whole team ready for the season. A number of situations came up that we could also learn from. We went into a couple of two-minute situations there offensively in the middle of the second quarter just so that we could work on our communication and just that whole process so that’s why we did that. We’ll probably continue to get into some kind of hurry-up offense in the game just so that we can work on that as we go through the preseason. That’s where we are today. The players are going to be off tomorrow and we’ll come back on Monday and see if we can get back on to the field and continue to build as we finish off the last couple weeks of the preseason. We need to continue to build the basis we’ve already established here in the first half of the camp.

Q: Was Artrell Hawkins a little bit of a tough cut because of what he’s done for the team over the last couple of years?
BB: Sure. Any time you release a veteran player it’s hard and Artrell is very professional guy, good player, a tough kid. He stepped into a tough situation two years ago with not being with the team early in the year and moved to safety and so forth. It really is hard. Really, all the cuts are hard, even some of the younger players. They’ve worked hard. They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. They’ve given it their best. But sometimes it doesn’t work out and we have to move on and do what’s best for the team. It’s not a day that I enjoy no matter who it is that we’re releasing, especially the guys we’ve been involved with for a period of time, veteran players and so forth. That makes it hard. The same thing was obviously true with Josh [Miller]. That’s not the fun part of this job.

Q: When you were asked about Rodney Harrison’s performance last night you said that you needed to see the tape. Now that you’ve looked over everything from the game, what do you think?
BB: I think Rodney had some good plays. There were some other plays he could’ve been a little bit better on and things like techniques. I think we’d say that about everybody who played defensively in the first half. There were some positive things, there were some other things that we want to improve on and do a little bit better or a little bit differently.

Q: Can you chalk up some of the turnovers and the inconsistency to the new guys adapting to the system?
BB: I’m sure there are a lot of factors involved. I think the bottom line is we’ve got to coach and play better. We can’t turn the ball over five times like we did last night and expect to win too many games. We were lucky on that fumble. It was really another one that call probably should have gone the other way. We’ve got to do a better job. Every team in the league has new players on their team including us.

Q: What kind of strides has Le Kevin Smith made in his play?
BB: I think Le Kevin’s made a jump from last year to this year: In his offseason training, his strength and conditioning and his quickness and explosion. I think his techniques are better. I don’t think last year we would’ve expected him to really play at a position that he hasn’t practiced much at and he hasn’t practiced much at left end. He has a much better understanding of the defense and was able to transition over there even though he played some at nose last night. He’s definitely improved. He’s still got a long way to go, but he’s improved quite a bit from last year. That’s a positive and that’s what you like to see from young players, especially those who didn’t get a lot of playing time during their rookie year that they’re really able to make a move from their first year to their second year from a technique and an understanding point of view, and sometimes physically, especially with linemen with their offseason training program.

Q: Stephen Gostkowski missed a kick last night and a couple of kicks during practice that he would typically make. Do you see anything technically on the film that might explain why he’d miss some of those types of kicks?
BB: Well, yeah. We talked about what happened last night on the films. We’ve just got to do a better job; everybody’s got to do a better job. Nobody played a perfect game out there last night or coached one. Again, it’s the second preseason game. There are things that we all have to work on, every single guy on the team. Certainly, Steve has them and so does everybody else. I’m sure that he’s not happy about the way that kick went any more than the kickoff that went out-of-bounds last week in Tampa. Those are things that we’ve all got to work on and he’s certainly in that group.

Q: Are you encouraged by the way Randall Gay has stepped in and played that left corner spot?
BB: Randall’s had a good camp. We talked about him several times in camp and this was the first year, really since his rookie year that he’s had a good offseason training and he hasn’t been rehabbing from an injury so he’s been strong and had a good spring and built off that. I think that he’s had a pretty good camp. Again, we’ve all got a long way to go, but he’s been out there on a consistent basis. He’s been out there on a daily basis. He’s done a solid job out there.

Q: Was it good to see Junior Seau as active as he was during last night’s game?
BB: Sure. It’s good to see all the players that are out there, especially those guys that have been limited in one way or another during the course of camp. And Junior fits into that category. He’s got good leadership and good energy. He’s a physical player so it was great to have him out there.

Q: Is it good, as a coach, to see the type of conditions that saw last night and see how the players are going to react in inclement situations?
BB: You know we’ve gotten that in both games. In Tampa, the heat and the humidity situation that was a good experience for us. Not that we haven’t had some of that here, but I think that was a little hotter than what it’s been in this climate. We had some moisture last night, had some rain during the game and played on a damp field. That definitely gave us an emphasis on the ball-handling, footing and so forth so I think we’ve gained a valuable experience from both of these games from a condition standpoint. Even the wind last night was a little bit of a factor. It didn’t really come up at the end of the first quarter because Tennessee threw an incomplete pass. But I think had the clock been running there, we probably would’ve taken a timeout to make them punt into the wind. I mean, we’ve played in a lot greater winds than what we saw last night, but it was a factor in the kicking game as far as the judgments of the ball and drops for the punters. It probably was enough last night that we would’ve used a timeout during that situation to make them play into it.

Q: Did you feel like you needed to see Danny Baugher in that situation?
BB: Sure. It was good for everybody. It was good for all the offensive skill players and the specialists. It was good for the defensive players too as I said to work on a wet field and cut and change directions. We had some slips out there and some of them hurt us. That’s really a technique thing. It’s a body position and function issue in terms of playing off the proper foot and playing with proper leverage so that you can play on your feet on a wet field. It was certainly something we can learn from. We made points on a number of those situations that came up today on the film and just some of the general conditions relevant to ball-handling and stuff like that so it was good.

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