Bill Belichick Q&A, 11/26
Posted on November 26, 2007
Filed Under Uncategorized
Thanks to the good people in the Patriots’ PR office, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q-and-A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
BB: Really I don’t think there’s a whole lot needed to add from last night, just follow up from a couple of things. I think, not to take anything away from anybody else, but Andy Reid and Jim Johnson I think do as a good a job of coaching in this league as anybody. They certainly did an excellent job last night of having their team ready to go and doing things on both sides of the ball that were very competitive and difficult at times for us. The Eagles are a good football team. They made a lot of plays. Fortunately, we made a couple more than they did and that was the difference in the game. I thought the players on both sides played hard. It was a physical game. Even though it was a lot of passing, it was a lot of physical play on the line of scrimmage and also the tackling and hitting downfield into the kicking game was very competitive. It was good to come out of that game with a win and be 11-0. We’re looking at another team kind of similar to the Eagles in Baltimore with a physical team, a team that has a lot of veteran players, that knows how to play, knows how to win, has been in a lot of tough situations. I think that showed up in last night’s game on both teams with veteran players, guys that have been in a lot of tough games, stepped up and I think that same kind of situation we’ll have this weekend in Baltimore down there. That’s kind of where we’re at today. We’ll take a look at this one, correct some mistakes and move on.
Q: How much of what makes Tom Brady what he is is related to toughness?
BB: Tom’s pretty tough. That’s one of his many assets. He’s pretty tough.
Q: What was your take on the way he was able to get up after Juqua Thomas’ sack? That was a pretty hard hit.
BB: Yeah, well, as I said, Tom’s a tough kid – mentally and physically very tough. He does a lot of things well, he has a lot of attributes and that’s certainly one of them.
Q: How were the Eagles able to get as much pressure on him as they did? Most other teams haven’t been able to.
BB: Like I said, they did a good job. They have good players, they have good coaches and they had a couple of schemes that we had trouble with. There were plenty of times when they didn’t and we threw the ball pretty effectively on them. They made some plays – we made a few more than they did, but they made some plays. They made plenty of them.
Q: As the season goes on, does it get tougher to forget about the big record looming over your heads every week and try to stay focused on the next game?
BB: You guys are the only ones who are talking about it.
Q: The whole country is talking about it.
BB: You guys are the ones that are talking about it. We focused on Philadelphia all week and this week we’ll focus on Baltimore. That’s what we do.
Q: With everyone talking about it, does that make it –
BB: We focus on Baltimore.
Q: Does a game like yesterday that was close in a season when you’ve had so many blowouts –
BB: Two of the last three have been like that.
Q: Are those good for the team in the sense that you have experience fighting –
BB: Look, every game in this league is tough. Every game in this league is tough. They all are different, they all have their own elements, have their own special plays and situations and we’ve been in plenty of games like this before. Some we’ve won, some we haven’t, but it comes down to key plays at the end of the game. [You] play for a long time and it comes down to just a few plays and being able to make them or not make them. That determines who wins and who loses.
Q: Does it amaze you the expectation level that seems to be attached to your team? People expect blowouts.
BB: We expect to win every week. I’m not saying we expect to win every game, but each week we prepare for the game, we expect to win that game. That’s the way we prepare for it. You don’t go into any game thinking we don’t win it. We’ll go into this game preparing for it and expecting to go down there and play well and beat Baltimore. That’s the way we go into every game.
Q: But the fact that a lot of people on the outside –
BB: I don’t care what everybody else thinks. I can tell you what this team thinks. Right now we’re thinking about getting ready for Baltimore. That’s how we approach the game. I can’t tell you what anybody else thinks. I don’t care what everybody else thinks. It doesn’t make any difference.
Q: As productive as Randy Moss has been, what does he allow in terms of your other targets even when he’s not the primary target?
BB: Well, the passing game is team production. All of the passes don’t go to one guy, so you run the patterns based on the coverage, the quarterback throws the ball to the receiver that has the lightest coverage or has the best leverage on his defender based on the route he’s running to be open. That’s how it works. Sometimes it’s [the] outside guy, sometimes it’s the inside guy, sometimes it’s a receiver, sometimes it’s a tight end, sometimes it’s a back. That’s just the way the passing game is. It’s not like the quarterback goes back there and says I’m going to throw it to so-and-so on this play. You go back there, you look at the coverage, you see what they’re playing and you take your options based on that. That’s what the passing game is. At least that’s what ours is, unless it’s a screen pass or something like that where you just really have one receiver. I’m not talking about those plays, I’m talking about a normal drop-back passing game or even play-action passes. It’s based on what the coverage is or what the match-ups are. That’s what Tom does. That’s the way our offense is designed.
Q: I’m interested in the evolution of the 3-4. Can you elaborate a little bit on the difference now in today’s game verses the 70’s when you first came into the league?
BB: Well, there weren’t a lot of 3-4 [defenses] in the 70’s. Most of that was 4-3 and then it started a little bit with Miami with Coach [Don] Shula down there and the 53 defense with [Bob] Mathison and all of that. Then it became pretty popular though in the 80’s. You had a lot of teams running it, in fact to the point where I think even some of the Pro Bowls were – the squad was made up of a 3-4 front as opposed to a 4-3 front. So more teams were running it.
Q: The fact that more teams are running it now, how does that affect you and the way you run your defense, in terms of personnel and opponents being prepared for it. What do you have to adjust to with that?
BB: We run our defense based on what we think is best for the New England Patriots. I’m sure everybody else runs theirs based on what they think is best for Dallas or Cleveland or Pittsburgh or whoever else is running it. If teams are running it, sometimes you get a look at how the other teams is going to block it or maybe scheme it, as opposed to if you happened to catch three or four games where a team doesn’t see that type of front, then you might not have as good of an idea of how they’re going to handle those types of things. Not that they aren’t ready to handle them, you just don’t see the evidence on the film. To a certain extent, that gives you an opportunity to see how they do it and it gives them an opportunity to block that front and get their execution down, so it works both ways.
Q: Do you expect the teams you play in the future to take the Eagles’ playbook now?
BB: I don’t know, you’d have to talk to those teams. I don’t know what they’re going to do. All I know is what we’re going to try to do, and that’s prepare for Baltimore, study them, get to know them. It’s a team we haven’t played in a while. Learn their personnel, learn their schemes and be ready to play down there Monday night. What they’re going to do, you’d have to talk to them.
Q: In the past you’ve mentioned Jabar Gaffney is kind of a technician in the way he runs his routes. Was that the case last night?
BB: Yeah, Jabar is a good route-runner. He’s a versatile guy, plays a lot of different positions for us, plays inside, plays outside, is a good technique route-runner, both on man coverage, zone, finding open spots, running short routes, running vertical routes. He’s got a lot of good receiving skills and he can do a lot of different things. He’s a valuable guy for us.
Q: Have you reached a decision on Troy Brown?
Q: And that will be coming down…?
Q: Having watched the tape, were they any more physical with Moss on the line than other teams have been?
BB: They play how they play. They play how they play, so that’s how they play. I think you watch the Eagles play all of the teams they play and that’s the way they play in the secondary.
Q: Was that one of the most nit-picky calls on Moss in the end zone, the pass interference call?
BB: It’s a tough call.
Q: How often did they rotate help to his side?
BB: They did it. And they didn’t do it. They mixed it up.
Q: Were their safeties a little more disciplined than others you’ve faced in terms of not biting on some of the other guys and making sure they stayed at home with Randy?
BB: I don’t know. It’s hard to compare their defense to somebody’s else’s defense. They don’t run the same defense.
Q: Would you say they made sure their safeties paid more attention to Moss?
BB: I’ll give you the same answer I just gave you: they mixed it up. They did different things. They pressured, they didn’t pressure, they played high safeties, the played low safeties, they played press-corner, they played off-corner. I mean, you saw the game. They did different things. It wasn’t all the same thing. That’s what they do.
Q: In the first half there was only one designed run called. Was that part of the game plan or was it because it became kind of a shoot-out?
BB: We had the ball three times in the first half, we took it down the field and scored three touchdowns every time. One of them got called back. We were in a proactive mode, we were moving the ball [so we] stayed with it.
Q: Would you like to see more balance?
BB: Would I like to see us score touchdowns when we have the ball? Yeah. That’s what I’d like to see. That’s what the offense is out there for, is to score touchdowns, to score points. That’s the only reason they go on the field – to score points.
Q: Where was Laurence Maroney in the first half? He didn’t play.
BB: I just answered that question.
Q: Were you surprised everyone’s not making a bigger deal out of being division champions so early in the season? Is that a sign that there are bigger things looming?
BB: Again, I can’t really worry about what everybody else is thinking or saying or what their agenda is. I just know what our goals are, what we’re about. And right now we’re going to take the Philadelphia game, we’re going to look at it, we’re going to talk about the things we did well, we’re going to talk about the things that we need to do better, both from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint. [There are] certainly plenty of things that we can improve in both areas on. We’ll try to correct those mistakes and then we’ll go on and start getting ready for Baltimore and go down and play Baltimore Monday night. That’s the same thing we do every week, and so that’s what we’re going to do this week.
Q: But you won the division so quickly. That’s a big deal.
BB: We play Baltimore this week. That’s the next game and we want to play well. We want to prepare well and we want to play well, so whether we had won or hadn’t won it, we’re going down there with the same objective. We’re going to take the same type of preparation this week.
Q: You act like it’s nothing, winning the division championship.
BB: We’re happy to win. I said that last night. That’s one of our goals, we won it and we’re happy that we won it. You’d certainly rather win it than not win it, you know? But right now that’s done. It’s over with, so we’re going to go play Baltimore. That’s the next step. That’s what we do next, so we’ll get ready for that and we’ll go do it.
Q: Baltimore has lost five straight games. Do you ever look at how a team’s record has been instead of how they’ve played?
BB: Records don’t mean anything. Records don’t mean anything. The only thing that matters on Monday night it how well they play and how well we play. That’ll determine who wins that game. Not who won last week’s game or the week before or what anybody’s records were. You want to go back to the Miami game from ’04? We’re 12-1, they’re 2-11. The records don’t mean anything. The only thing that matters is how you play. And coach.
Q: Any news on Roosevelt Colvin? Have you seen him today?
BB: We have no news.
Q: Last night I believe after the game you mentioned that without those two plays by Asante Samuel you probably don’t win that game -
BB: Well, again, there’s a lot of plays in the game, but certainly they were two big ones. The interception for a score in a three-point game is obviously big and the interception in the end zone when they’re in field goal range, that was obviously a big play, too. So I think those were certainly big plays in the game. When you look at a three-point game, two plays like that, they had a lot to do with it.
Q: They say really good players come up with big plays. Is he that type of player?
BB: He’s made a lot of big plays for us. Asante’s got good hands, he’s got – Again, I think that’s one of the best things about Asante or any defensive back that turns the ball over or intercepts it, is having good hands and good ball skills. A lot of guys can knock them down and that’s great. That’s great, but to be able to intercept those passes and make the plays on them, those are kind of game-changing plays. Turnovers, or in this case [a] turnover and a return for a touchdown, those are huge plays in a game. It’s hard to measure how important they are, but statistically, they mean a lot. He’s very good at that. He’s got good instincts, he’s got good quickness, he’s got good coverage skills and he’s got good hands, and if the quarterback makes a mistake around him than he usually makes them pay for it. That’s what impact, turnover players do on defense. They make the offenses pay for mistakes, whether it’s a pass-rusher that causes strip-sacks or a defensive back that intercepts passes or guys that rake balls out and cause fumbles, scoop them up and those kinds of things. Those plays are a little bit more important and a little bit bigger plays than just a normal tackle on defense. Not that those aren’t important, I’m not saying that, but those are key plays, they’re turnovers. They’re possession plays.
Q: As a point of clarification, with Colvin was it a foot or an arm? It was announced as a foot but it looked like they were working on his arm.
BB: It was announced as a foot? Then we’ll leave it with that announcement.
Q: I didn’t know if something got lost in translation there.
BB: Was that what [we] announced? If that’s what [we] announced, then we’ll stand by that announcement.
Q: Do you think Asante Samuel came this season with a little bit to prove? Last night when he was told that Rodney Harrison called him the best corner in football he said, “I believe I am.”
BB: I think Asante had a lot of confidence coming into the year, absolutely. I think he’s had a lot of confidence as he’s been here. I think he had a lot of confidence as a rookie. I think he plays with confidence. Really, that’s the way most corners are, but he has it, I think it’s legitimate. He works hard. He doesn’t walk around and talk about it. I think he’s confident in his ability to cover and make plays and play the defense, and he should be.
Q: Do you consider him an elite corner?
Q: Do you ever have to feed him extra humble pie?
BB: I think everybody on the team needs to…I think that’s what part of my job is, is to prepare them for what we have to face. So that includes everybody. It includes all 53 players on the active roster and all of the other players involved in the program, including guys on the practice squad and injured reserve. I think it’s important to coach all of the players and not – I wouldn’t exclude anybody from that group, in terms of being coached, whatever you want to call that.