Bill Belichick Q&A, 11/1

Posted on November 1, 2007 
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Here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:

BB: All right. [You’re] working on a lot of big stories today. [You’ve] got a lot to write about this week. Or talk about, I guess. I don’t want to exclude the video media back there. No?

Q: Are you going to practice inside today?
BB: Yeah, I think we are. It’s blowing pretty good out there. I don’t think we’ll get that much in the dome.

Q: Is that something you would have done anyway or is it specific to going to play in a dome?
BB: I think we always like to get outside, just fresh air, grass, but as it affects the execution of the game, then [we] might as well try to get it as close to game conditions as we can. You look nice today. Really trying to put the pressure on me, huh? Maybe I’ll do that one of these days – come in here in a suit for you.

Q: How much more can you expect out of Richard Seymour after playing limited snaps last week and then facing the toughest competition –
BB: Hopefully it will increase a little bit each week. We try to simulate game conditions in practice. It’s, of course, not the same as a game, but it’s [to] build up the stamina and the reps and the reactions and all of those things. He’s further ahead this week than he was last week. I would expect that he’d be further ahead next week than this week – that type of thing, and that will probably progress for awhile. He missed all of training camp and the first six weeks of the regular season, so that’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of practices and, whatever, 10 games, potential games. But I would think it would increase a little bit each week.

Q: How close is he to where you’d like to see him facing this competition this week?
BB: Well, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s the schedule. It’s the progression that we’re on. And like I said, I think each day is a little bit better, each week should be a little bit better. We’ll just move forward on a day-by-day basis. Right now, the only day I’m worried about is today. I’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Q: Getting [Ben] Watson back out on the practice field, is that a good sign?
BB: It’s good everybody that we have out there. It’s good at have as many as we can have. It’s always good to see him come back.

Q: Obviously a team always gets nicked up over the course of the season, but here at eight games, how would you say right now this team is holding up as compared to maybe some of the past teams you’ve had? Are they staying in pretty good shape for you?
BB: I think everybody is working hard. Some guys are limited and some guys aren’t. This is probably – I’m not sure – this is probably the deepest we’ve gone into a season with a bye, isn’t it? We usually have them before this, so we’ve been going here for, what, this will be 13 straight games, to some degree. Nine, anyway, and plus the preseason ones, but these guys are working those days, those weeks. [This is] probably the longest we’ve gone on that, but it’s not something, really that you…I’m not saying you don’t worry about it, because you have to manage your roster, manage your team, but you really can’t do anything about it other than whatever your options are, so that’s what we’ll do. The guys that are out are out. The guys that are close, we’ll evaluate them at game time. And the guys that are going to be there but need [you to] manage a little bit, we’ll manage them. And that’s really about all we can do.

Q: In your quest for perfection, what area or areas have concerned you about the Colts and how they might target you?
BB: What do I worry about them game-planning us with? I don’t think we want to talk about that.

Q: In your quest for perfection, what do you want to see different?
BB: Every game is different, so it doesn’t really make any difference what happened last week. We’re going up against a team this week that has it’s own style of play and a very good performance level. They have their physical players that are hard to game-plan for, they have their schemes, they have their way of doing things and they’re very successful doing it. So that’s really what we have to get ready for. It doesn’t make any difference if we did something well the last two or three weeks or not. Trying to do it well against this team, the way they play, it’s a whole new challenge. How well we do it on Sunday – that’s what’s really important, not whether we did it good last week or two weeks ago. I mean, really, it doesn’t matter.

Q: I think this is the last week you can start the clock on Troy Brown. Do you anticipate doing that?
BB: I think it’s next week, isn’t it? Well, whatever it is, we’ll check on it. We’ll do, as I said, what’s best for the player and what’s best for the team, a combination of those two things. We’re getting close on that. Whenever we have to make a final decision, we’ll make one, but right now there hasn’t been any change.

Q: Rodney Harrison has four games under his belt now. Has he closed the gap and been able to catch up on the other guys?
BB: It’s sort of what we talked about with Richard earlier, that with each week of practice and each game that he’s been able to do more and move along on that. He had the benefit of however many practices it was – 40-some practices in preseason or whatever, so that’s pretty significant. I think with each week that he’s been able to move a little further along and react a little bit quicker and build on the previous week. I don’t know that he’s where everybody else is. I’m not sure about that, but he’s certainly a lot further along than he was four weeks ago, let’s put it that way.

Q: The last three games you’ve played against the Colts he’s played sparingly because he’s been hurt. What kind of a difference does it make – not against the Colts, just in general – when you have Rodney in the lineup?
BB: It’s good to have him, let’s put it that way. I don’t know, I couldn’t put a percentage on it, but it’s good to have him. We were talking about that the other day, that it’s good that he’ll be playing against the Colts. He hasn’t done – I mean, I know he anticipated playing a lot in the first game last year, in the November game, but as it turned out, let’s hope this one doesn’t go that way.

Q: How happy have you been with Stephen’s [Gostkowski]’s kickoffs?
BB: Other than the ones that go out of bounds, [they’re] pretty good. We’ve tried to situational kick a couple of times where we haven’t kicked it deep. We’ve kind of popped it into a short area, we got a fair catch, what was it, against Miami, I think. Teams that have played just the single safety back there and put kind of the big guys in the wedge and we’ve done that a couple of times. But no, I think he’s kicked the ball off well, other than the ones that have gone out of bounds.

Q: I know you don’t want him to kick them out of bounds, but is that ever an intentional thing where you wanted him to do something different and it just didn’t go right?
BB: Well, yeah, we’re definitely not trying to hit them out of bounds. It’s like when you drive one into the woods. Sometimes you’re trying to hit it over here or hit it over there, but when it goes into the woods, it goes in the woods.

Q: Is the goal always for the touchback?
BB: No, not necessarily. Sometimes in the conditions we have here, the wind conditions, it’s unrealistic to think you’d be able to have a touchback on certain kicks, so you decide what you want to do: kick it as far as you can into the wind or try to place it one way or another. A lot of times we have – we normally have cross-wind conditions in our stadium, and so a lot of times the other team, the receiving team, will anticipate that the ball is going to go to a certain area and design their return accordingly. Sometimes you might want to change up on that. Sometimes you don’t. You just want to make the best kick you can make and cover it the best that you can. It’s not the same as kicking with the wind, but it’s the best you can do against it. But so, whatever it is, we like to try to either have a great kick or a good kick. [We] certainly don’t want one that goes out of bounds, but it varies on why those happen, just like it varies on why my shots and your shots go in the woods. It’s not always the same thing, but when they end up there we’re not happy.

Q: Obviously it’s preferable that you don’t have to kick a last-minute field goal, but does it concern you at all that Stephen hasn’t had to kick one of those “pressure kicks” this year?
BB: Well, I mean, our team hasn’t really been in that type of situation all year, so you could say that about the whole team. We haven’t had a game that’s really come down to the final possession or the final play or that type of thing. We work on that every week. You never know when that situation is going to come up and there’s no way of knowing what’s going to be the deciding play in the game. Is it going to be your offense in the red area? Is it going to be your defense in the red area? Is it going to be a two-minute drive? Are you going to have to run out the clock? Is it going to be a last kick? Is it going to be an on-side – We had an on-side kick situation last week, which could be potentially a game-winning play, even though it wasn’t, but it was a rep on that kind of a play. It’s hard to know and you prepare every week for those game-deciding situations because you never know what they’re going to be, but I think that goes for everybody on the team. Nobody’s been in that situation.

Q: Usually in football, teams will run to set up the pass. Are the Colts a team that passes to set up the run?
BB: I think that the Colts are a well-balanced offense and I think that wherever the defense is heavier, that’s probably not where they’re going to be. They’re going to be where they’re lighter, and so teams that drop back and put a lot of guys in coverage and play deep, they’re happy to run against. Teams that come up and challenge them on the line of scrimmage, they’re happy to throw deep against. They play-action, they drop back, they run inside, they run outside, they throw on screen – they pretty much do everything well. They’re usually trying to take advantage of where the defense is weakest. Like I said, they usually hit there and it usually hits pretty hard. I think they can play any style of game. They’ve shown that this year, they’ve shown that through the years. They convert 3rd-and-shorts, they convert 3rd-and-longs. They run it, they throw it. I don’t want to say they take what the defense gives [them], because they’re an aggressive team and they attack you and they make you defend certain things. I don’t think you can just say, “ Well, we’ll take the run away by playing…” They’ll still run. Or you can say, “ We’ll drop back and take the pass away.” They’ll still throw. I think they have much more of a tendency to hit you in the soft spots. They throw a lot of body-punches and they’ll knock you out.

Q: This is the last year for the RCA Dome. I don’t expect you to get too sentimental over the place -
BB: No.

Q: But has it been a tough place to play, especially as the Colts have gotten to be a better team? Is there anything about it – the noise or whatever – that might –
BB: No, I don’t think so. I mean, the Colts are tough to play here at Gillette. I think they’d be tough to play anywhere. They’re a good team at home, they’re a good team on the road. But no, I won’t shed any tears when [it closes]. I doubt we’ll be looking forward to playing in wherever the new place is going to be. Right around the corner, right?

Q: For Rodney Harrison, with the four weeks that he missed, obviously he’s a well-conditioned athlete and he would have ideally liked to have played those games, but given the wear-and-tear he has on his body, could those four weeks benefit him down the season by preserving him a little bit? Is there anything to that?
BB: I don’t know. I guess you could make a case for it if you want to. But, again, on all of those things, when there’s no options, when the situation is dictated on, “this is what it is,” then you deal with that and go forward with it. The hypotheticals of what could have been if something else…if we had played two other teams this year instead of two of the ones we played – I don’t know. That’s the way it was, so we just dealt with it.

Q: What factored into your decision at the end of last year to acquire so many offensive players in the off-season?
BB: It just worked out that way. We talked to a lot of players, like we always do [and went] through or normal end-of-year evaluations. When you go into an off-season, you don’t know you’re going to make a trade. The trade for [Randy] Moss was 2:30 in the morning on Saturday night of the draft. You just don’t know that’s going to happen. Same thing with [Wes] Welker. We didn’t know that trade was going to be consummated at the end of the off-season. It just worked out that way.

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