Bill Belichick Q&A, 12/1

Posted on December 1, 2008 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the Q&A of Bill Belichick’s press conference this morning at Gillette Stadium:

BB: We had a chance to look over the film this morning. It’s really the same thing I said yesterday, I feel like we missed a lot of opportunities out there. Looking at the film, there were a couple more that I didn’t see during the game. Going forward, we need to do a better job — all of us. Collectively, [we] have to find a way to play better on offense, defense and special teams. We have to do a better job in all three areas. It is as simple as that. We are going to do what we usually do which is make the corrections, get ready for Seattle and try to find a better way in every area to perform better. That is what we have to do this week.

Q: Over the years, you have developed a good culture here of being able to dismiss the extremes of highs and lows and more forward. Do you have the personnel in that locker room to do that?
BB: Yes, I am confident in the team.

Q: What gives you that confidence right now?
BB: Based on the way the team has reacted all year and the way it has been this whole season, preseason, off-season programs, training camp, during the regular season. Just like you said, we have had our highs and lows and we bounce back from those. We try to work hard and continue to work hard and get better every week whether we have won or lost, played well or haven’t played well, practiced well or haven’t practiced well. There has been a good effort and good attentiveness to try to correct things, improve and get them right. I don’t see any reason why that would change.

Q: Over the next few weeks the scenarios could go any number of ways. It looks like winning out is your best option right now. Do you sense any frustration from the players that they can’t take a greater hand other than just taking care of what they have to do?
BB: The best thing we can do is go out there and win. Right now, that is what we are working on for Seattle. We are not worried about anybody else but Seattle. I know there are other games on our schedule but there is nothing we can do about any of those games. We are not going to concern ourselves with them just like we normally wouldn’t. We will focus on this game, one game at a time and get ready for Seattle.

Q: We all know that one play doesn’t affect the outcome of the game, but sometimes a player that makes a mistake feels like his play was the result of that. I think Matthew Slater took his fumble hard after the game yesterday. When you sense that a player is feeling that do you do or say anything differently to snap him out of it?
BB: We all make mistakes. We all make mistakes in every game. You have to learn from them and move on. That is football and that is life. That goes for everybody. Everybody had mistakes in that game – players, coaches, everybody who played in it. There are things we could have all done better. We are all going to have to correct those, learn from them and move on.

Q: When you look at the film the third-down numbers weren’t what you have liked, were you competitive on those plays and just didn’t make them or did you have no chance on them?
BB: The first thing I said was that I thought we missed a lot of opportunities yesterday. I still feel that way.

Q: Specifically on third down as well?
BB: Every down. I would include third down there, absolutely. Every down: first, second, third and fourth.

Q: The third-down defense was obviously a problem. Was it a matter of execution?
BB: We need to do a better job. It is a combination of a lot of things. It wasn’t the same player and the same situation every time. That is very important on defense. [It] is being able to make those stops on third down and get off the field and conversely picking them up on offense and being able to stay on the field. They go hand in hand. We didn’t really do a good job in either area yesterday. We have been working on it. We are going to keep working on it. We are going to work harder on it. We need to do better. There’s no question.

Q: Is playing quarterback in the rain an acquired skill?
BB: Our team has practiced in all of those elements many times throughout the years.

Q: Is that enough?
BB: That is what you do. You practice in the conditions that you play in and we have been outside practicing in those conditions most of the time. I think the elements affected both teams. There were some dropped balls on both sides and there were some plays that we not as sharp as what they would have been on a perfect day. But, that is football in New England at the end of November and December. That is something that we all have to factor in.

Q: Pittsburgh was more effective running the ball in the second half. Was there an adjustment they made?
BB: No. It was basically the same plays they ran in the first half.

Q: Was there a breakdown defensively?
BB: Obviously, there was. The play they started the half with was the play they ran the first series of the game. They flipped sides on them sometimes. Some of them we played well; some of them we didn’t play as well. There were definitely breakdowns. There were plays that we need to play better. Most of them were plays that we stopped at some point in the game. We just didn’t do it consistently.

Q: Was the sequence before halftime deflating?
BB: That was an opportunity that we didn’t take advantage of. That is a good example of what I am talking about. There were opportunities to come out of there with points on the board and we ended up without any. That is not the way you want to play. I think there were plenty of opportunities there and we just weren’t able to capitalize on them.

Q: (On weather conditions affecting field goals)
BB: There was very little wind in the game. I think it’s just a question of getting the ball, getting it snapped and getting it down. For the most part, I didn’t think that was a problem in the game, neither in the pregame, our kicks or their kicks. All of those operations were pretty clean.

Q: Right after the game you were asked about the hit to Wes Welker. After watching the film do you have any thoughts on that play?
BB: The officials called a penalty on the play.

Q: That is the second straight week he has taken a big hit. Do you ever get concerned with the effect of those shots?
BB: It is not something you want to happen but football is a contact sport. Hits that are illegal; that jurisdiction comes under somebody else. Let the league handle that. Whatever they are going to do with it, that is the officials’ call and that’s the league’s call.

Q: A guy that makes his living over the middle like Wes Welker does, is there ever a concern that there might be trepidation to fully extend for a ball?
BB: I think Wes is a very good receiver. I think he does a great job of getting open and catching the ball and he has for a long time. He has been hit before. He has been tackled. I think he does a great job in there.

Q: I certainly don’t mean to question his toughness…
BB: I would never question his toughness. I certainly wouldn’t question his toughness.

Q: They seemed to target Deltha O’Neal yesterday. Is there anything you can do to make sure his confidence doesn’t suffer?
BB: I think it is the same question that was asked about another player. Everybody makes mistakes in the game. Everybody has to learn from them, move on, correct them and be ready to go the next time when their number is called — players, coaches, all the positions. Everybody is in the same boat on that. There were mistakes out there that we all need to correct and do a better job on. It is not limited to any one player, position or anything else. There is room for improvement all the way across the board. I think we are going to take the same approach on that.

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