Bill Belichick Q&A, 12/30

Posted on December 30, 2007 
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Here’s the complete transcript of this morning’s conference call between Bill Belichick and the New England media:

BB: Morning. We’re coming off kind of short night here. We got back late. We’re trying to look at the film here and push through some corrections and grade the film and so forth after the Giants game and then we’ll get on to some of the other things we need to do later on this week.

Q: Any thoughts about the history that you guys did accomplish by being 16-0? Also, in your mind, as the season went along, did you have an inkling that this could be a special year for this team, for the regular season anyway?
BB: As I said all year, our focus was week to week and that’s the truth. Again, as far as last night’s game, we talked about it last night; it’s something that we can all be proud of in this organization. Everybody played a part in it. Everybody had a job to do. Certainly the players deserve the credit. They’re the ones that made the plays. But it’s something that we can all be proud of. But we have a lot of football left to play and the next time we step on the field we’ll be 0-0 in the second season. So we have still a lot to look forward to.

Q: You’ve played three of the AFC playoff teams and maybe a fourth if Cleveland gets in. How does that affect your preparation?
BB: Well, we’ll see what happens here. I think we’ll really take a good look at that whole situation after today’s games are in and we see how things shake out. We played San Diego a long time ago. The Colts game was in the middle of the season as well. So we know those two teams, and Pittsburgh was the most recent of [those] games. So we have some familiarity with those teams, but some of those games showed up quite a while back, so we’ll wait and see how things shake out today and what the seedings are and then take a look at what potentially could be our next game and we’ll go from there.

Q: What will your week be like? You and the coaches?
BB: Again, after we see how things come out today, then we’ll make our priorities and set our goals for what we want to try to get done this week with the potential opponents that we could have in the [divisional] round. And then of course we won’t know for sure until after next weekend’s games, but there are things that we can work on that we’re doing that could stand for some improvement and then we’ll also turn our attention to some of those potential opponents, but we’ll just wait and see how that comes out today before we really make any determination as to exactly how we want to start breaking all those films down and what priority we want to put them in.

Q: As much as people have talked about your dominance this year, there were several games where you were able to execute in the fourth quarter and come back and win games. What allows a team to be able to do that, to be able to execute at those times?
BB: I think it certainly starts with preparation and being able to do it on the practice field and in meetings and walkthroughs and identifying the situations and everybody knowing what to do so that, when it does come up, you can execute the play. But of course in the end it comes down to players making the plays and getting it right, and no matter how you practice it sometimes it’s a little bit different on the field the way it actually occurs. Sometimes there are some adjustments that need to be made there, but it starts with the preparation of everybody knowing what to do and aware of the different possibilities and how to adjust to it. You’ve got to block; you’ve got to tackle; you’ve got to throw; you’ve got to catch; you have to defend; you have to recover an onside kick. Whatever it is, you still have to make those fundamental parts of the plays. Or [sometimes] even if you’re in the right position it doesn’t matter. It still won’t work. So a lot of things are going on there. The main thing is the players stepping up and focusing and concentrating and executing at critical times in the game. They’re the ones who do it.

Q: Do you think this team’s ability to execute has been overlooked?
BB: I don’t know how everybody else looks at it, but I certainly appreciate it and recognize it. And, that said, it’s not perfect. There are things that we need to do better and we’ll work on those and address some of those this week and try to continue to improve as a football team as we move forward.

Q: Do you see yesterday’s game, now that it has been over for 12 hours, more as something to improve upon next time out or more as something to celebrate?
BB: I think we look at it like we look at every game. Any time we win, we’re excited to win. It’s hard to win in this league and it’s a good feeling when you come out of the game with more points than your opponent, and there is a lot of preparation and a lot of work that goes into that. With the success we’ve had this season, yesterday’s game [brings] a little bit more of a degree of satisfaction in that game because of the culmination of the regular season, but at the same time we have plenty of things that we need to work on. We’ll make those corrections and identify them and try to improve them, just like we do every week. So I don’t see that whole part of it being dramatically different from any other game. The only difference is we have a couple of extra days this week before we actually come back to practice and go to work and that is a little bit longer than we normally do. But it’s really still the same process.

Q: Do you feel at all as if your defense maybe took a step back last night?
BB: As I said, there are plenty of things in the game that we can improve on and we can do better. That’s in all three phases of the game, but certainly defensively. When you give up 35 points on defense and special teams, that’s not where you want to be. That’s not going to win every game for you in this league, that’s for sure.

Q: With Tom throwing 50 touchdown passes and with the 49 and 48 coming from a guy who plays indoors and another who played in Miami, can you put Tom’s performance into context given all of the factors involved?
BB: I think I’d just say what I said after the game: I’m happy for all of the players who achieved any of those awards or records. That’s great. I’m most proud of our team for the team accomplishments. I think those players have spoken about those things already. So I would leave that to them. I’m happy they got it. It’s kind of like the Pro Bowl recognition. I’m happy if they get selected or if they break a record. Great. But I’m most concerned about the success of the team. Tom has done a great job for us ever since he’s been here. He is a terrific quarterback. There is no quarterback I’d rather have and I have all of the respect in the world for Tom and what he has done. And I congratulate him on the things that he’s accomplished individually this year in terms of some records and so forth. I think he’d be the first one to tell you, and I’d second it, is the main thing is the [team’s] record and the team’s performance and that is what he is most concerned about. Whatever else happened along the way or didn’t happen, that is the way it is. But the most important reasons why we are out there is to win games and he is very good at that.

Q: When the players come back on Thursday, will you have to remind them that they are 0-0 and everybody has an equal chance among the playoff teams to go all the way?
BB: I think we all know that. We talked about it already after the game. Of course, we know what the situation is in the playoffs. We’ve been there before. Lose and go home, win and keep playing. It’s all one game seasons now. Everybody is aware of that. We’ll have to have a good week of preparation and prepare to play well against our next opponent, whoever that is. But we know that team is one of the best teams in the league. So it will be a huge challenge for us and that is what we will start getting ready for.

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