Here is a transcript from Bill Belichick’s press conference from today, courtesy of the Patriots PR department.
BB: Okay, well it would be nice to be able to sit around and put your feet up on the table and enjoy last night’s game for a little bit but we’re on to Detroit. So, short week here. [We have] a lot to do. We have to try to cram three days, six days into three. So I think the players came in with a good attitude today, really tried to get a lot done. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re going to try and keep grinding it out here. It’s a big start for us today and we have to try to find a way to get everything done here.
Q: Will the game plan be simpler? Will you install less because of the short week?
BB: I think you have to pick your spots. If you want to try and do something that is maybe a little bit different and specific for them, you might have to give it up somewhere else. I don’t think you can do it in all areas. I think you have to pick your spots. You can maybe do a couple things, couple plays, but it’s not an infinite number. You just can’t practice it.
Q: Have you been able to do as complete a breakdown of yesterday’s game as you normally would have?
BB: No, not really. We had the players in and definitely looked at the Dallas game. But [we] took the other games that we had and had to base some things off of that, then try to incorporate this game into it and see if there was anything that was really significantly different that would alter something we had looked at or put together from the other games. It’s the best we can do, but it’s not as thorough as it normally would be, no.
Q: Did you spend any time looking at the Colts game?
BB: No, not really. Pretty much skimmed over that one. [We] have to turn the page here.
Q: With the extra day or two that you will have before the Jets because of the long weekend, will you go back and look at both games?
BB: Sure, there will be some of that. [We will] really do a thorough job of evaluating the Colts game and grading it and all that. We just don’t have time now. We’ve got to move on.
Q: Why were you able to successfully limit pressure from Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney?
BB: Well, first of all, the players did a real good job. But any time you can have some balance between the running game and the passing game, that definitely helps. We were able to get some production out of our running game and that helped the play action. That helped the passing game.
Q: Is that the kind of thing that can be changed midgame?
BB: I think potentially you can do that, but I don’t really see that. Personally, I don’t really see that with a guy like [Dwight] Freeney. But, yeah, you can get into a game, particularly if it’s a matchup that you aren’t real familiar with, and see how it goes. If you feel like it’s going all right, maybe help that player a little less. If it’s not going so good, then maybe help him a little more. I think that’s something that, as an offense, we have to be ready to do. From game to game, there could be a match up that we don’t anticipate for one reason or another that’s not a good one that we would need to help out somewhere. So, we have that within our system to be able to adjust to it.
Q: Do the Lions have any advantage in this game because they are always in it?
BB: Oh absolutely. Sure. It’s great to be in this routine. You’re in it every year. Having been in Detroit for two years, it was a game that you knew every year was your game. You knew you were going to be playing at home. You knew you were going to be playing at noon, and whatever the weekly routine is, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, in getting ready for it, it was the same thing you did last year. It was something you were comfortable with and you actually looked forward to and [you] didn’t have to travel, all those kinds of things. I think it’s a great game for Detroit, the Lions, the city and for football. It’s a traditional game. I think it adds a lot to the holiday. But, from a preparation standpoint, it’s the same amount of time and all that, but it’s something that you are used to doing because you do it every year. And the players are used to it. It’s a big day there for them.
Q: You have a pretty extensive background with Jim Schwartz, what’s it going to be like going up against him?
BB: I have a lot of respect for Jim. Jim’s a real smart guy. He has a good background in personnel as well as different levels of coaching and, certainly, as a defensive coordinator and head coach. So, the guy has a real good grasp for the overall game – not just coaching, but personnel and making adjustments and matchups and those kinds of things. So, it will be a challenge. They do a good job. They give you a lot of things to get ready for. You can just see in their game plans and trying to match up against the Lions, whether it’s us doing it this week or watching other teams do it from week to week, that it’s hard. They’ve got good players. They’ve got good schemes and they get a lot out of their personnel. They put them in positions that make it tough for you, defensively, to defend or to block them the way you want to block them. They do a good job of that.
Q: What do you recall from your days with Schwartz in Cleveland and what attracted you to him?
BB: Jim’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with. He’s a guy who, to say multitask, wouldn’t even be fair. He’s the kind of person who if you gave him 20 things to do, he would be on top of all 20 of them and know exactly where he was on all of them and say to you, ‘Oh, by the way, while I’m doing this, do you think I should do that? Or, I’ve been looking at this, I don’t think it’s what you really want. I think you really want to look at it maybe a different way. Now that I’m half way through, do you want me to change it or do you want me to keep doing it the way you told me to do it?’ This guy can handle a lot. He thinks very quickly. He sees concepts extremely well. A lot of times you take a ton of information and you have to try and sort it out and he really, as quickly as anybody I’ve ever been around, can just get to bottom of things in a hurry.
Q: Did you see the end of the Dallas game yesterday?
BB: I saw the tape of it.
Q: Schwartz seemed to be very upset at the end of the game.
BB: No, I didn’t see any of that.
Q: He was rather ‘fiery’ at the time.
BB: Well, Jim’s got a good upbeat personality. He’s got a lot of energy. He can be very serious. I think Jim’s got a wide array of skills: personally, professionally, intellectually, he can do a lot of different things. I don’t see a lot of limitations with him. He’s really special. I’ve had a lot of people work for me and he’s right up there at the top of the list in terms of things that he can do and what a positive impression he made at a relatively young age or young point in his career.
Q: In terms of handling the short week, you did it in 2000 and 2002, what did you do then in terms of a walk through, travel and practice and what will you do this week?
BB: Yeah, I’d say similar. Similar.
Q: And what is that? Do you walk through today?
BB: Yeah. Just try to get started today. It’s the day after the game, so, physically, it’s a pretty low-impact day. Tomorrow, we have to go out there and try to get into some situations that we didn’t get into today: third-down, red area, special situations, things like that. Get the phases of the kicking game covered. Then Wednesday is kind of like Saturday. You just have to try and pull everything together, wrap it up, walk through, walk through some situational plays and the hands team, those kinds of things that you know you have to have ready. Then we go, go play.
Q: Is the way that the Lions are using their two tight ends similar to what you are doing?
BB: Well they really have three tight ends with [Tony] Scheffler, between Scheffler and [Brandon] Pettigrew and the big kid, 89, [Will] Heller. The way they use those three players, they have different packages and different ways they use them, different combinations. Sometime it’s Pettigrew and Heller. Sometimes it’s Pettigrew and Scheffler. Sometimes it’s one of the three, so, they mix it up.
Q: And when they go with the two pass catchers, is it Pettigrew and Scheffler?
BB: Well, a lot of times Scheffler is split out. Not always, but a lot of times he’s split out. So sometimes he’s in more of a traditional tight end form location and sometimes he’s in more of a wide receiver location, whether it be the perimeter or the slot receiver. And sometimes, he even actually lines up in the back field. So finding him is a problem. He’s a very good receiver. He’s a tough guy to match up on. Pettigrew is a big kid. Good hands, but a big, physically, imposing kind of receiver – kind of like an Alge Crumpler type-of-guy – hard to match up on with his size and his overall catching skills. And then Heller is a very good blocker. He’s definitely a good force on the end of the line in terms of the running game.
Q: Have you been impressed with Ndamukong Suh?
BB: Oh very much. Yeah, very much. He’s the real thing: strong, explosive guy. [He] has great playing strength and leverage. He looks like a man in there.
Q: Has he done some things on film where you are surprised at how he can do it?
BB: I mean, for his size and his power, he’s very athletic. You see his speed, his quickness, his ability to change directions, play with power, play with quickness. He’s got a great skill set. He plays hard. He’s good. He’s a good player.
Q: Are there any similarities between what Jim Schwartz has him doing there and what Tennessee would have had Haynesworth doing?
BB: Sure. They’re in the same defense.
Q: We saw you playing lacrosse with Paul Rabil, playing long toss.
BB: Ha, well, Paul was throwing them long, I wasn’t. That was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun to get out there and toss around with Paul. I’ve really gotten to know Paul since his playing days at [Johns] Hopkins and of course up here with the [Boston] Cannons. So he came over here to the game yesterday, so I had to go out there and toss it around a little bit. But, he’s the best lacrosse player in the world. His senior year, the game against Syracuse, is probably as good of an individual performance as I’ve ever seen in any sport, in a losing effort. It was a tremendous performance. I think Paul’s done a lot for the game and he’s been a great guy to watch. I really appreciate everything that he does as an athlete and as a lacrosse player: his competitiveness, and his toughness, and his skills. His work ethic is pretty impressive. I thought about making him a strong safety, but it’s hard to take the best lacrosse player in the world out of that sport.