Bill Belichick Q&A, 1/28

Posted on January 28, 2008 
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Here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media from earlier this evening in Arizona:

(opening comments) “We just got off the field a little while ago. It’s good to be out in the warm sunshine in Arizona. All of the facilities have been outstanding – the Westin, the people on the Super Bowl Committee that have escorted us around and set up things for us at the hotel, the Arizona State facility and all the places in between have been great. It’s obvious they have put a lot of work into this event and so far it seems to be going really smoothly for us. We appreciate everything everybody has done to accommodate this huge event. It was good to get out on the field and review some of the things we worked on in Foxboro last week and also ingest a couple new things in situations. We still have a lot of time left and a lot of work left to do. The Giants are a very hard team to prepare for and the process is underway. We get a media day event tomorrow and then get back on the field on Wednesday and pick it up from there.”

(on what beating the Giants would mean after his time spent with the organization) “I have a lot of fond memories of my twelve years with the Giants, but right now I am a Patriot. We are going to do everything we can to put our best performance out there Sunday. We know it’s going to take our best job – playing, coaching, everything we’ve got to do. The Giants are a great football team and we’ll have to play our best and that’s what we are preparing for.”

(on any special challenges from playing the Giants a few weeks ago) “It was a very competitive game. We knew when we played the Giants down there they had a very physical football team. We felt they were as good as any team we had played and they have gone on to play even better than that in the playoffs and I clearly feel now they are the best team we have played all year. That’s a huge challenge. There are some familiarities from that game, but at the same time, both teams have made a few changes over the last month. I am sure that we both will be ready to go and it will be a very competitive game on Sunday night.”

(on if he thought in terms of a window opening in 2001 and if he thought it would extend this long) “In 2001 we were just trying to keep building our football team. We didn’t have a very good year in 2000 and brought in a lot of free agents in ’01. We didn’t really have much flexibility in the salary cap. We made the moves we felt were best for our football team at that point in time. I’m sure that’s what every team in the League does. You go into the offseason and look at what your options are, what your opportunities are and try to make the most of them.”

(on the qualities he looks for when hiring coaches) “I think the qualities of coaches and players to some extent depend on what you want them to do. The most important thing is to identify what you are looking for. Once you have a good job description and what you are looking for, then you can look at people and try to figure out if that is what you want or if it isn’t, then you try to find what you are looking for. You can’t always do that. Sometimes you end up not filling the job description exactly and that goes along with the players’ situation as well. I think if you know what you want, you have a better chance of finding it rather than just taking a list of names and picking one out of there.”

(on talking about Tom Brady’s participation in practice Monday) “He was out there along with everybody else.”

(on the passing of Mike Holovak) “I’m obviously sorry to hear that. As an organization, we send out our respects to Mike’s family. I had known Mike for a long time, most recently when he was at Tennessee/Houston. Mike had a strong impact on the game both as a coach and as a general manager and as an executive in the League for a long time. He was well respected and well thought of and one of the guys I looked up to and admired as I was growing up.”

(on if he is familiar with John Wooden’s coaching principles and if he has ever borrowed from them or anyone else’s) “I’ve read basketball books and other sports books and I think there are certainly principles involved in coaching other sports than can be applied to coaching football teams. But most of my background, and I would say, obviously my work has been in coaching football. Although I do think there are some principles that do carry over along with some other motivational things as well, in the end football is its own unique setup so while maybe you can apply some of those things, maybe others are good that don’t apply as directly to our game and our situation. Have I read them? Yes, and I think they are certainly good in the format they are presented, but I don’t know how much they apply directly what we are doing. Some do.”

(on if the number of catches by Randy Moss in the playoffs was the result of how he was played or not capitalizing on opportunities) “What we try to do offensively is to move the football and score points, however we do that. It’s not somebody gets the ball so many times or somebody else touches it so many or that we run so many of these or we pass so many of those. We try to do what we feel is best for the situation and for that game. If we can move the ball and score points and not turn the ball over, then we fell like we have a chance. That’s how we do it.”

(on the importance of Asante Samuel to the pass defense and how important it is to retain him in the future) “Right now we are thinking about the New York Giants and he is a very important member of our football team. He has done a great job for us all year at corner. He has given us a very dependable and consistent level of play and come up with some big plays, both in pass defense and a lot of time when the ball doesn’t even get thrown to his man. Sometimes his good pass coverage enables the pass rush to have a little bit more time to get there when the quarterback has to hold the ball. Asante has had a good year for us, and we are counting on him having another good game on Sunday.”

(on if he would let teams who want to approach any assistants have permission after the game) “I think all those rules are in place League wide on how those situations would be handled and we’ll abide by the League rules.”

(on what Junior Seau has meant on and off the field as an emotional leader) “Junior Seau has been a great addition to our football team. He brings a wealth of experience and energy. He brings outstanding play. He is part of an outstanding group of linebackers and Adalius is another new one to come on to the team along with guys who have been there before like Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin and Tedy Bruschi. Junior has been great. He has given us a good level of play in both our regular and sub defense. He is a very experienced guy, I’m sure a Hall of Fame player, and it has been an honor to coach him. He is in a very outstanding group along with the rest of our linebacker corps and other members of the team. I think it’s a good situation. He is well respected and well liked on the team and has been a good addition for us.”

(on what went into their pursuit of Wes Welker and if he was surprised he was available) “When the second round tender was on him we were interested in that. In the end we ended up trading with Miami. Wes is an outstanding player. In playing against us, he killed us every time we played them. The only way we could handle him was to double cover him. He also hurt us in the return game. In fact in one game, he even kicked off and kicked field goals against us and killed us there, too when Olindo Mare got hurt in pregame warmups. I think that kind of speaks to Wes’ competitiveness, his versatility and his total skill set. He is a tough player. He is productive on offense catching the ball, running with the ball, and a productive returner and the fact that he went out there and kicked as well as he did in that game says something about him as an athlete and competitor. He has been all that for us. He and Adalius Thomas both won the offseason award at their positions which is very hard to do. There is a lot of competition from the guys on our team for those awards and that just speaks to how hard they work and what kind of achievements they had in the offseason. That led into the regular season and Wes has had an outstanding year for us. All the reasons that we were impressed by him and his competitiveness and what he did against us when he was with the Dolphins, we felt like we saw a lot of that this year when he played for the Patriots.”

(on if 19-0 would make this Super Bowl any different) “Right now we are just thinking about trying to win on Sunday. The Giants are undefeated in the playoffs. We are undefeated in the playoffs and only one team will be left standing on Sunday night and we hope it is us. That’s really all we are thinking about. The rest of it we are not really thinking about. Maybe we’ll think on that at some other point.”

(on the blocking of Wes Welker and the pride the receivers take in their blocking) “I think Wes has done a good job blocking. As a slot receiver, we have asked him to block some of those inside defenders in the running game throughout the season, whether it be the corner that’s lined up on him and sometimes he has to come and crack on the safties and we’ve even had games and plays where he’s come in and cracked on linebackers. He has done a good job on that. I’m not saying he is a road grader, but the most important thing is to effectively come in and block the guys who he is assigned to so that he doesn’t tackle the runner. I think Wes has done a good job of that. Our receivers have done a good job all year of blocking, probably the best that I have had since I have been with the Patriots and that includes Randy Moss, Jabar Gaffney, and Dante Stallworth and Kelley Washington when he has had an opportunity to do it. I think these guys have blocked well all year. It has certainly been an important part of the running game. You can’t have good runs unless the secondary people get blocked or screened off by the receivers or they just come up and make those tackles for four and five yard gains even if your offensive line is doing a good job. It’s been an important part of our running game. It’s been an important part of some of our big runs along with the running of Lawrence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris. We has done a good job on that. He really gets the majority of the blocking assignments when he is lined up in the slot, not that the outside guys don’t do it, but the inside guys probably do a little bit more.”

(on if there is an explanation for the longitivity of Junior Seau given the demands of the linebacker position) “He is a special athlete and a special person. Junior works extremely hard. He is one of those guys who is in the facility at six or six thirty in the morning, watching film, lifting weights. He trains hard. He has been pretty injury free over the course of his career. We have had other players like that such as Vinny Testaverde and Doug Flutie. We have had guys recently who have played a long time and certainly a lot longer than what most players have played at their position. If a guy can do it that long, he obviously has some special physical qualities and durability and certainly the right mentality, attitude and love for the game to keep doing it over an extended period of time. I think there are probably some players that physically may be able to play longer than they actually play, but mentally they are at the end of the road. Then there are other guys who mentally are ready to play longer, but are at the end of the road. Guys like Junior are able to keep it going because they are strong in both areas. He is a great physical specimen, trains hard, loves football and has a lot of energy, as much energy as any player we have on the field.

(on Ty Warren’s emergence as a player) “Ty Warren has improved tremendously as a player during the course of his career here. He came in as a first round draft choice and was a good player as a rookie. Nobody has worked harder than Ty to improve. He has trained hard, he has improved physically and he’s certainly improved his technique. He has worked hard on his pass rush techniques, especially the last couple years. He reads blocks better. He was elected team captain this year, and I think that really speaks to the leadership that he has on the football team and also to the respect that he has. Ty has done nothing but work hard to get better since the day he came to the New England Patriots. He’s an outstanding player to coach. He’s got a lot of talent. He plays the run well. He is a powerful guy and rushes the passer well. He hustles. You can depend on Ty in any situation, sixteen games a year, sixty minutes a game. He continues to improve in every area. I think that’s the thing I appreciate most about Ty – his work ethic, his attitude, and his consistency.”

(on how Antonio Pierce fits into the Giants defensive scheme) “I think he is the quarterback of the defense. Pierce is a very physical player. He’s aggressive and a good tackler. He makes a lot of plays on his instincts and his quickness. He anticipates plays very well. A lot of times he almost looks like he heard the play in the huddle. He is able to get a jump on it and beat the blocking scheme or beat the players that are responsible for him and make the play. He recognizes the routes very quickly. He is around the ball a lot. He is a very productive player, a smart, alert athletic player who you have to know where he is on every play. A lot of times he is one step ahead of the offense on where they are trying to go with the ball.”

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