Bill Belichick Q&A, 9/5

Posted on September 5, 2007 
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Here’s the complete transcript from Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media this morning at Gillette Stadium:

BB: We got a little bit of a jump on this week over the weekend. Now, we’re pretty much into a regular season routine here – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then our day before the game travel and the opener on Sunday. We’re trying to fall into kind of a normal pattern. It’s kind of good to get into the regular season routine. We have a lot to get ready for. That’s always the case on opening day. [There are] a lot of things that the other team has done, in this case the Jets, through the course of the year. A couple of things they’ve shown new in preseason. We have a lot to get ready for. They do a lot. They have a good scheme. They put a lot of pressure on you. We’ll just try to be as well prepared as we can to go down there and deal with it.

Q: What are some of the new things that they’re doing?
BB: They have a couple of new scheme things that kind of complement what they’re doing. Of course they have some new players and those guys have done some different things. I’m not sure exactly how all of that is going to turn out. I’m sure they have a variety of new things. I’m sure they utilize them in ways where they can create favorable matchups. Those are the kinds of things you have to be ready for, they can’t do all of it, but you need to prepare for it.

Q: Thomas Jones has been a little bit limited in the preseason. Do you go back and look at Bears film on him?
BB: Yes, we have. That’s really our best exposure to him. He’s only had a handful of carries here in preseason, but he carried the ball a lot for Chicago the last couple of years. He had 2,500 yards. There’s a lot of snaps of him as a runner, his running style, how to tackle him, what kind of moves he has, how he tries to run plays. I know the Jets have some different plays, but a lot of that is kind of fundamental – inside running, outside running, how it is in the passing game. We just have to kind of project those skills into their system because there’s not a lot of tape on him. But, yes, we definitely watched him.

Q: Do you go into the first weekend of the season with a little uncertainty about what a team is going to do and do you know there’s going to be some things you haven’t seen?
BB: Sure. Yes, absolutely. It’s the same thing we went through last year with Buffalo. They’ve had a lot of time to get ready for the game, so I’m sure both teams will have some wrinkles. They will still do a lot of what is in their basic system, there’s no doubt about that, as will we. We have some things that hopefully will give them some problems. I’m sure that they have some things that they feel will give us some problems. They’ve had plenty of time to work on them. We’ll have to just adjust to that during the game. I’m sure there will be plenty of that on both sides of the ball.

Q: How much does a running back’s game alter when he moves from one team to another?
BB: That’s the big question. When a player switches teams, how do they play in the new system? If you could answer that one, you’d be ahead of the game in a lot of personnel moves. I’m sure the Jets feel good about it. They made the move. I think anytime you bring a player onto your team, you feel like it’s going to be a positive move and that’s why you do it. But there’s an adjustment from one team in one system to another, some players do better in a new system. Some players don’t do as well.

Q: Have you seen examples where a runner has had to alter his style of running to his new system?
BB: I think every player’s style is pretty much within that certain framework. I don’t think they’re going to take a back who is a power back and then all of sudden make him into a nifty, jump-cut guy or vice versa. That’s how they play. That’s the way they play. The same thing with receiver or any other position. If you have a guy that has a good arm over pass rush move and a good counter to go with it, it probably doesn’t matter what color jersey you put him in, I’d imagine you’re going to get that same look from him. The plays are different. Some guys adjust better. Some not as well. Some schemes are more favorable to certain player’s skills, some aren’t. Sometimes it’s the player. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

Q: Is there a different dynamic here because the defensive schemes are so similar and both offenses have been practicing against what they’re going to see in this game?
BB: I don’t know. The playbook might be similar. If you look at the way the two teams played in the last game, I wouldn’t say there were too many similarities. I think what they played against us and what we played against them were about as different as you could get, really. Some of that has to do with what you’re facing on the other side of the ball, the offensive system. Certainly there’s some element of carryover, I’m not saying that. I wouldn’t call it an inter-squad scrimmage either.

Q: Is this a difficult team to prepare for defensively just because they play matchup ball just like you guys do?
BB: I think the Jets’ system, offensively and defensively, is pretty broad. Over the course of a number of games, they do a lot of things. What you’re going to get in any one given game is just a percentage of their overall system. What percentage you get of that is sort of hard to tell. You can get a lot of this or a lot of that or a little bit of everything. I think you just kind of have to anticipate how they’re going to play you, but at the same time be aware of the different things that they’ve done in case that’s not quite…you work on everything, but you have to commit more time to something and less time to something else. Those are the decisions you make in your preparation. Again, it’s opening day. Every team in the league is going through that. It’s opening day. There’s a lot more variables and once you see a team play two or three or four games, then they’re going to settle into something, whatever that is, and it’s probably a lot less than what you’ve prepared for on opening day.

Q: With those variables, from your experience, how much can it help to bring in a player from the opposing team, even just for a visit, to say, ‘Hey what are they doing over there?’
BB: I don’t know. I think in a game like this, as I said the other day, we played them in the second game of the year last year. We played them in the middle of the season and then we played them in their last and our next to last game last year. I think everybody has seen everything that they’re going to see. I don’t know how much more there is than what’s been out there in the last 25 games, however many it’s been when you include the two preseason slates and the playoff game. That’s a lot of snaps. I’m sure they’ve broken down every play of ours, just like we’ve broken down every play of theirs because of the spacing of the games. I wouldn’t think that there’s a whole lot that the two teams aren’t aware of about each other. Again, it’s just kind of more of how you’re going to get it and then more importantly what adjustments you make during the game. I think that’s really a big key in this game, is once we see what it is they’re doing how well we’re able to handle it or adjust to it.

Q: Do you see them use Leon Washington a little like they way you use Kevin Faulk?
BB: I’d say the skill sets are similar. They’re both quick, elusive guys. Run hard. Catch the ball well. Return kicks. Versatile players. You see both guys out of the backfield. You see them in the backfield. They can both do a lot of different things. I think there are some similarities there. Their system is a little bit different than ours, but I think the skill sets, there’s definitely a comparison.

Q: What is your assessment of the line? They lost [Pete] Kendall and are now using [Jacob] Bender.
BB: Well they’ve used both Bender and [Adrien] Clarke in there, but the other four guys are the same as last year. They played together the whole year. [Anthony] Clement. [Brandon] Moore on their right side, our left side. [Nick] Mangold at center, who is really a good player. [D'Brickashaw] Ferguson on our right and their left. Those four guys are constant. The other guys weren’t with them last year. The other tackle Adrian Jones was there. Really, their offensive line is pretty much in tact with Wade Smith being the other backup, other than that one spot.

Q: Is that one spot a weakness?
BB: I think that both of those players have played well for them. Clarke has played a little bit more on our left side and Bender has played a little bit more on our right, but they’ve both played that spot. I don’t know exactly what it is they’ll do there, but I would think it would be one of those two players. Again, Wade Smith has some versatility for them too. We have to be ready for all of them. That’s what we’ll do.

Q: With Richard Seymour being out, do you feel fortunate to have a guy like Jarvis Green able to step in for him?
BB: Jarvis has done a good job for us since he’s been here. He’s been a productive player. We have a lot of confidence in him. He works hard. He prepares well. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.

Q: Does the dynamic change especially because the game is in the division? Obviously you want to start the season off strong, but is it even more so because it’s in the division?
BB: I don’t know what team doesn’t want to get off to a good start on opening day. We opened with Buffalo last year. You have to play everybody. You have to play them some time. Whether you open with them or play them the third week or the eighth week or whatever it is. We don’t have any control over that. We just take them as they come and try to do the best we can on a week-to-week basis. Of course we want to get off to a good start. Who doesn’t? We want to be ready to go opening day, but it’s also a long season and nothing is going to be decided after this weekend, so nobody is going to clinch anything. It’s a big game obviously, but it’s one of 16. There’s 15 after that. Some of them are in the division. Some of them are out of the division. Right now, we’ll just take them one at a time. The Jets, that’s plenty on our plate.

Q: How difficult of a decision was it to release Reche Caldwell?
BB: We did what we felt was best for the football team.

Q: Did that make it any harder just because of the strides he was able to make last year?
BB: It’s always hard to release players. That’s the hardest part of this job. You can only keep so many. It’s always hard to release the ones who you’re not able to keep.

Q: How much of that was tied to Randy [Moss’] health?
BB: We did what was in the best interest of the football team. That’s the way all of the decisions are made, what is best for the football team.

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