Bill Belichick Q&A, 9/24

Posted on September 24, 2007 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media this morning at Gillette Stadium:

BB: Just following up on yesterday afternoon’s comments. It was a little bit of a different game in that a few things happened there in the first quarter that kind of changed a little bit of our plan for the way we thought the game would go. I thought the players did a good job making some adjustments both offensively and defensively, kind of in what the emphasis was. I thought they were heads-up on the sideline. They did some things in the game that we really hadn’t spent a lot of time going over in practice, because Buffalo kind of threw them at us and played us a little bit differently than what they’ve been doing, or maybe what we expected. That was good. We still have a lot of things we have to work on. Obviously we made enough plays to win. I thought we were good in some phases of the game. We could’ve been a little more consistent. We had a lot of negative runs in the running game and missed some scoring opportunities, gave up another touchdown in the red area, things like that that certainly could’ve been better. In the end, like I said, we made more plays than they did and that’s always the idea. We need to correct the mistakes on this one and then be ready to get on to Cincinnati and go out there and try to play an error-free game. That’s probably what it will take.

Q: Had you prepared for Trent Edwards at all and what kind of adjustments did you have to make for him?
BB: We talked about him. We of course didn’t expect him to play. There’s very few quarterbacks, a couple come to mind, but there aren’t a lot of quarterbacks that are more athletic than [JP] Losman. Some of the things that he does affected us on the pass rush. I think that Edwards obviously has a good arm. He made several good throws in the game. A poised kid. A guy we had a lot of respect for coming out. He’s a talented guy. I would say we were a little bit less concerned about him scrambling than JP. That would probably be the big thing in the pass rush. In terms of the throws he can make in the passing game and all of that, not much.

Q: Did it mean you could blitz more?
BB: No, I just think that the guys, particularly the outside rushers, if it’s a guy like Losman you really have to be concerned about him getting outside the pocket, throwing on the run, getting balls down the field. Last year, they snapped one over his head, he picked it up and still got outside and hit a 20-yarder. He had a couple of scrambles on us, just more concerned about his running ability and keeping him contained in the pocket than Edwards, but no I don’t think the passing game really affected it much.

Q: After looking at the tape, what will you say to Wes Welker, ‘Be careful, don’t do that anymore?’
BB: I think I covered it after the game. It wasn’t the best play I ever saw. It wasn’t the worse one. Just try to make good decisions out there with the ball, it doesn’t matter how you get it or where you get it, you just need to make good decisions with it.

Q: Did you think it was a good play? A bad play?
BB: It wasn’t the best play I saw. It wasn’t the worst play I’ve ever seen. It could’ve been a lot worse.

Q: Can you comment on Russ Hochstein filling in over there?
BB: I thought our offensive line overall did a pretty solid job. They gave us a few problems, like they always do, but I thought it was a pretty solid job. We ran the ball well. We pass protected fairly well for the most part. Russ is a dependable guy for us. He’s been able to step in there at both guard and center for us through the years. He’s a smart guy. He works hard. He’s tough. He’s been banged up a couple of times, but I think he’s always come back as quickly as anybody has come back from a couple of the things that he’s had. He’s a tough kid and he’s out there and he’s dependable and he works hard and he’s smart and he’s versatile. He stepped in there and did it again, kind of like Jarvis [Green] has done for us at times on the other side of the line. Russ is kind of like that too.

Q: This is three weeks in a row you’ve had different players in that spot. Do you take a step back and say you are pleased with you depth on the offensive line?
BB: Sure. Absolutely. Anytime a player steps in there and plays well for you, you feel good about your depth at that position. It’s always good. As much as you hate to see a player go out, it’s encouraging to see another player step in and do a good job. It gives you more confidence in him and your depth at that position and the overall consistency you can maintain as a team. Definitely. You never want to see anybody go out, but that presents an opportunity for somebody else and it’s good when they can go in there and capitalize on it.

Q: Are you pleased with your overall balance on offense and the run to pass ratio?
BB: I think we’ve had our moments. At times it’s been better than others. It’s competitive. I think people at least have to respect it. You have to respect our running game. You have to respect our passing game. There are some things that we can do better. We can execute them better. We can set up our system so that we can take advantage of things that the defense does, a couple of situations where we didn’t have great plays called that I think I could do a better job of just organizing it so that we have a better chance on those plays. I think there’s something to work with there. There’s a lot of things we can improve on.

Q: Can you talk about what goes into the process of throwing the challenge flag?
BB: First of all, I think it has to be what you would consider an important play in the game. Second, how good you feel about the call or what evidence you have to work with. I would say the more important the play, the less certain I would be about the evidence or view of the play. Sometimes you’re just kind of hoping that you get a good view of it. The more sure you are of the replay, the more sure you are of the evidence that will overturn the play, then I would say the less important the play would need to be. It could be an incomplete pass on first down or a catch that’s ruled incomplete, whatever it is. It could be a first down play or something like that. You really got a good look at it. You really think that it was called incorrectly then, okay, you throw it. If it’s a big play in the game, a scoring play, a play like [Tom] Brady’s play. The ball is down there on the one yard line, it turns over, it’s a seven-point play, even though we hadn’t gotten it in, you think you could score from the one down there, so it’s a seven point play. Did we have a great look at it? Was I convinced that it wasn’t a fumble? No, not really, but it was such an important play, and it was close that you take a shot at it. I think those things, for me, work in inverse proportions. If I get information from the coaches booth and they say, ‘Hey this guy definitely stepped out of bounds. There’s no question about it,’ then I’d probably be inclined to throw the flag even if the play wasn’t that critical. If it was 15, 20 yards, whatever it is. If it was a really critical play, like the one in the endzone, that’s another scoring play. Was he out? It was close. I think the play was probably called correctly, but it’s close and it’s a scoring play. It’s early in the game. I thought it could’ve been a big play, that’s why I threw it.

Q: Does there have to be a consensus there in the booth? Is there one person assigned to that?
BB: We have it organized so that the information flows smoothly. I’d say I get good information from the booth. I have no problem with that. Like I said, sometimes it’s the magnitude of the play more so than somebody saying, ‘This is absolutely the way it is.’ If they look at it and say, ‘Hey, it’s close. We can’t get a good look at. It’s hard to tell.’ The team is coming out of the huddle. They’re getting ready to run the next play. You have to make a decision. Like I said, the more important the play is, the more likely I probably would be to throw it regardless of how convincing the evidence was.

Q: With the three wins that you’ve had this season, your team has won by a pretty dominant score. Do you look back and say you’ve been pretty dominant?
BB: I look at the things that I feel like we need to improve on and do better moving forward. I think that’s what you do every week, win, lose or draw. I think that’s what we need to do. I think every team in this league is improving. It’s early in the year. Every team is getting better and that’s what we need to do. I’m not too worried about last weekend. I’m more worried about next week. I think a lot of times early in the season, people get skewed and they get a misinterpretation or a poor impression of the way things really are based on very little evidence. A lot of times it’s just a matchup or it’s a certain situation that’s, I would say, sometimes not ordinary so everybody jumps to a conclusion that this is the way it is or that’s the way it is. I personally don’t think that’s necessarily correct. I think it just happened to hit that way early in the season. Then everybody throws a lot more weight onto it than what’s really deserved. I think we can all see examples of that even in the last couple of weeks. Look at what Cleveland did offensively two weeks ago and this week against Oakland. You look at what Cincinnati gave up defensively two weeks ago and then what they did last week, and they played well against Seattle defensively. Again, it’s early in the year. One game, that doesn’t mean this is what a team is or isn’t, good or bad. It means that is what happened in the game, but that can be skewed by circumstances, by matchups, earlier in the season and I think that has a way of leveling itself out when you have more games and more evidence through the course of the year. I don’t think right now is really a good time to evaluate where any team is. I think right now every team, at least the way I feel about our team, we need to improve, we need to get better at the things that we’re not doing as well on. If we don’t, I think it will hurt us in the long run. So, that’s where we are.

Q: What are your impressions of the punting game?
BB: I like what we’re seeing from Chris [Hanson]. Chris did what we asked him to do yesterday. Could his punts have gone a little bit further? Maybe they could have, but he did what we asked him to do. Therefore, I’m happy with that. Could it be better? It could be better.

Q: On the fourth-and-7 from the 29 [play], you didn’t go for the field goal. Was that something you saw in pregame warm-ups?
BB: I think the wind was a little bit of a factor. It was a long field goal. It was early in the game. It was a lot of field position to give them. I think it would’ve been a tough kick into that wind. I think you saw that on the kickoffs. I think that Steve [Gostkowski] hit the ball well yesterday. I thought he hit it extremely well. I don’t know how you could kickoff with the opportunities he had, I don’t know how he could kick them any better than he kicked it. A long field goal into the wind at that point in time, I just didn’t think that was the best play for our team. We almost picked it up. That extra yardage on the field goal and the opportunity to gain yards, even though we didn’t covert it, there was a field position swing there. Where did they end up with the ball?

Q: On the 23.
BB: 23. We gave our defense 77 yards.

Q: Can you just comment on the play you’re getting there at the inside linebacker spot?
BB: We’re trying to use all three of those guys. They’ve all done a good job. They all can play in any situation. We’ve broken it up differently from time-to-time, but we have confidence in all three guys. They can all play the run, play the pass, rush, they’re all instinctive, they communicate well, they can run the defense. I think that Tedy [Bruschi] AD [Adalius Thomas] and Junior [Seau] have given us good play in there, physical play. It could be better. It could be coached better by me. It could be played better by them. I think we’re doing some things well. There are other things that we need to do better.

Q: Going back to the punting for a second, you wanted Chris to hit punts that were not returnable?
BB: I thought that was pretty obvious in that particular situation. Yes.

Q: So stay away from [Roscoe] Parrish?
BB: [Nods yes] If we could kick them out of bounds to [Terrence] McGee, we would’ve been kicking them out of bounds to McGee too. I’m not saying that every situation is the same. I’m just saying that a lot of punting is situational play. I think that Chris has done a good job. He’s done a real good job for us. That’s not just in the regular season games, but the preseason games, the practice situations. I think he’s done a good job and I’m glad that we have him.

Q: You mentioned the touchdowns allowed in the red area by your defense. Your opponents are five for five down there.
BB: We haven’t stopped anybody all year.

Q: Obviously that’s going to be an area of focus.
BB: It’s been a focus. It’s been a focus. We have to do a better job down there. We have to coach it better. We have to play it better. We have to do a better job. We’re going to have to stop somebody sometime. We haven’t stopped anybody yet. It starts with me; coach them a little better then maybe we’ll play better. If we play better, maybe we’ll stop somebody. We need to do that. You can’t let them in the end zone every time they cross the 20-yard line. It’s ridiculous. Like I said, it’s a combination of bad coaching and bad playing. Hopefully we can do a better job going forward. It wouldn’t take much.

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