Belichick, Caserio and Pees Q&A’s, 9/15
|09.15.09 at 8:42 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are the transcripts with Tuesday’s Q&A’s between the media and Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and Dean Pees:
Bill Belichick: We have a quick turnaround here with this short week. We watched the film this morning from the Buffalo game and try to make the corrections on that and get some of those problems fixed as they go forward; more importantly, head on to the Jets. They are a tough team to prepare for, based on all the different schemes they run offensively and defensively and the players they have. They have an outstanding group of players [who] played very well on Sunday against Houston. So we know we got our work cut out for us. I know it’s only the second week of the season, but playing a division game on the road, at this point [with] both teams 1-0, it’s a big game. We’ve got a lot of work to do and one less day to do it so we’re really going to have to put our foot to the metal and catch up.
Q: Based on the information you have at this time with Jerod Mayo, can you rule out that his injury is a season-ending situation?
BB: Yeah, I don’t think that’s what it is.
Q: From a football perspective, when you bring Sebastian Vollmer onto the field and either Matt Light or Nick Kaczur becomes eligible, is that something that Vollmer does well that you want to get him on the field or is that a result of not having a third tight end that you felt comfortable with to put on the field?
BB: Well, we’ve had three tight ends, but then when we made the change last week and brought [Michael] Matthews onto the team. We only had a couple days to get that ready and Matt [Light] is a little bit more comfortable in our system with the time and all that he’s spent here so we’ve gone that way. But it’s basically a multiple tight end formation and Matt serves as one of the tight ends so he has to report. We bring a tackle in to replace him and that’s Vollmer, and then if we have another play — a consecutive play that’s isn’t the end of a quarter or timeout or something like that — then Matt has to come out for a play by rule, as you know. When that play’s over, then he goes back in. So that’s kind of the routine there.
Q: What were you trying to accomplish, obviously gain positive yardage, but was there anything strategy-wise?
BB: There are different situations for using it. It gives you more people there on the edge so you don’t have penetration coming off the outside, you can just kind of deal with the interior part of the defense. It changes up the personnel groupings, makes them defend something different. Bottom line is, as you know, we use a lot of different personnel groups week to week and that was one of them. Rather than put a third tight end in the game, Matt just has a little bit more experience with it at this point so we used him as that third tight end. Of course, he’s begging for us to throw him the ball all the time.
Q: Can he catch?
BB: He played tight end in high school. He thinks he can.
Q: I’m sure you’ve been seeing for the last four months these comments that Rex Ryan has been making. Is there a part of you, as a competitor, that likes this a little bit?
BB: Well, I think that’s all not really that relevant. The most important thing to us is we are playing a division game on the road. That pretty much says it all. Whatever you want to write — big game, or important game, or however you want to say that, put it in capital letters, or put it in italics — phrase it however you want to phrase it. I think division games are big games on our schedule and when we’re on the road, those are huge. So we know it’s a big matchup and I’m sure they do, too.
Q: Just from a factual standpoint, has anyone ever kissed your Super Bowl rings?
BB: I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
Q: Where are your Super Bowl rings?
BB: They’re in a box somewhere.
Q: Beyond saying that you didn’t think at this time that Jerod Mayo’s injury would be season-ending, is there any more information you could provide with us today?
BB: No, there isn’t. And tomorrow, when we have the practice report, I’m going to advise you with the details of that.
Q: When you look at plays, like the Adalius Thomas sack or the Vince Wilfork play, is there anything you can coach them to do in those situations or you pretty much have to live with the officials’ discretion on that?
BB: Well, we have to live with all their decisions. I’m sure there are going to be calls in every game that the team won’t see quite the same way as what was called in the game. I’m sure Buffalo feels that way about the pass interference call; probably the same way we feel about the roughing the passer calls. They’re tough calls. I don’t think there is anything differently I could tell Vince [Wilfork] in the situation he was in. It’s hard when you’re going after the quarterback because if you don’t get him on the ground — as we found out in the Super Bowl — and they throw it, you’ve got to defend it. So it’s tough, but what’s clear is you can’t hit them above the shoulders or below the knees. There’s no dispute on that. When it’s not there, then it’s some shade of grey. We just have to make sure that we know the rules and try to do everything we can not to do anything that would be construed as a penalty. We’ll have to work a little harder on that, but it’s tough. It’s a fine line there.
Q: Do you attribute some of the offensive problems early in the game as first-game jitters?
BB: I think, as a total team — offensively, defensively and on special teams — there are different things we could’ve executed better in the game. I think the player’s effort was good. I think we were well prepared. I think they put a lot of time into it, but it is. It’s opening day and there’s no way to simulate game speed on opening day on a practice field or in a preseason game for that matter. I do think that timing and execution, you’re affected a little bit by that, and it’s the same for both teams. So it’s not an advantage or disadvantage, but that’s just what it is. We’ve seen other games over this weekend and they’re all similar in nature. Hopefully, we’ll be able to improve on those things and I think to some extent we did it during the course of the game and improve on them on a weekly basis and be able to play better next week than we did this past week. I hope that’s the case. I hope we can do a better job of coaching it, too. I’m sure that was part of the problem on some of those plays. They didn’t match up particularly very well, or if we did a better job of coaching them, it might of worked a little better, too. Collectively, as a group, we just need to correct some problems and try to get a turnaround in a hurry and try to get ready for the Jets.
Q: Did losing Jerod Mayo force you to do anything different scheme-wise then what was already in the game plan?
BB: We go into every game with the entire team understanding that we have to have somebody to replace somebody else at every position. It’s 66 different positions in the kicking game and it’s probably 15, 16, 17 on offense — by the time you get in all the different personnel groups. That’s the way it is every game. I can’t imagine in any one of those hundred possibilities, when you roll all three of those units together when if one thing happened, that you would have to change everything for all the other players. It’s just not really possible.
Q: In the second half I know you were down, but you went away from the running game. Was that dictated by the score, something they did, or something you saw in you guys executing running plays?
BB: Well, let me just say, overall, we had more production throwing the ball than running it. So we probably favored a little bit more what was going better, what we were more productive doing.
Q: [On Derrick Burgess’s adjustment to the defense and on his play last night]
BB: Yeah, I think Derrick’s done a good job of adjusting to what we’re doing. I think he’s gotten a good amount of playing time in preseason and also on the practice field. I think he’s comfortable with what we’re doing. There are always a couple of little nuances here and there, but for the most part I think he’s done a good job of adjusting to what we’ve asked him to do and understanding the scheme and the concepts. I think he’s done a nice job for us. I’m glad we have him.
Q: There was a report that ran a couple days ago in The Boston Globe that Jerod Mayo played last year, three quarters of the season, with a shoulder injury. I’m curious what extent the rest of the team was aware of that injury?
BB: I think I got the general gist [of the question], but let me just say Jerod was Rookie of the Year last year and we’ll have an injury report and practice report tomorrow at practice.
Q: With Jerod Mayo going down last night, obviously you guys had to do some shifting at linebacker. Are you comfortable with where you are personnel-wise, or are you looking around a little?
NC: Yeah, I think this time of the year – and there are some other clubs that are probably going through the same scenario right now, but I’ll just speak with our situation — this time of the year, these things happen. You try to address them on an as-needed basis and we’ll evaluate what the alternatives might be, whether it be internally or externally, but if we feel that there is an opportunity for us to add a player that we feel can help our club, then we’ll go ahead and do that. As far as it relates to Jerod [Mayo], I’m sure that Bill [Belichick] or Stacey [James] can speak on that as it relates to any injury information. But we finished the game last night; we ended up getting a victory. I think that’s the most important thing. So now we’re moving on to the Jets. And as we go through this week we’ll just figure out what the best way for us is to proceed in the game and what gives us the best chance to win and we’ll see how that unfolds on Sunday.
Q: How do you see Joey Galloway in his entry into this offense? We hear a lot about how complex this offense is so it’s probably hard as an evaluator to project how a player will work in it. How do you feel he’s doing?
NC: You know, Joey’s obviously an experienced player. He’s been in the league for quite some time. He’s played in a number of systems, so I’m sure there aren’t too many things he hasn’t seen. I think Joey is a smart player. I think he works hard. I think he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do to this point, in terms of understanding the offense, and he’s a skilled player. He’s been productive in this league. You know, we’re expecting that he has a role in this offense. How that unfolds week to week, I think it’s just … Obviously, last night he didn’t have any catches. But I’ll speak to this, that from an assignment standpoint, he did everything right. He was open; the ball just went other areas. That happens every week. The quarterback drops back, he reads the coverage and he finds the open receiver. That’s how we do it. I can speak personally a little bit to Joey, having worked with him on a day-to-day basis. We feel very comfortable with where Joey is at this stage.
Q: At the end of the game last night you guys were in the two-minute offense a lot. Kevin Faulk was on the field I think for maybe almost all of it. Was that mostly from a pass-protection standpoint or what is he like during a two-minute offense?
NC: I think all of our backs – they’re versatile players. The two-minute situation entails a lot of different things. There are a number of components: there’s pass protection, there’s running the football, there’s running routes, the pass catching component. So Kevin is a skilled player. He’s a versatile player. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s been productive in those situations in the past and he was productive again last night. He’s made those plays. We go multiple receivers – sometimes it’s Kevin, sometimes it’s Sammy [Morris], sometimes it’s Laurence [Maroney]. But you know, Kevin does a lot of things well and in that situation, the versatility and being able to do a number of different things certainly comes into play.
Q: As director of player personnel, what’s your comfort level with keeping two quarterbacks? Do you envision adding a third quarterback to the active roster?
NC: Right. Yeah, we talked a little bit about this last week about this time as well. With this position, or any position, we evaluate the alternatives. We evaluate what’s out there. We’ll look at those players. Brian [Hoyer] has been here since training camp — or actually since the rookie minicamp — and he’s proven that he has an understanding and a grasp of what we’re doing, offensively. So where we are right now, that’s where we are with the club. We have the two quarterbacks and we have Isaiah [Stanback], who last week [that] was really his first introduction to some of the things that we’re doing, offensively. So we’ll continue moving forward with that group. If the occasion arises that we feel we have to make a move, then we’ll go ahead and do that.
Q: According to some of the players, Tom Brady seemed pretty confident in the huddle at the end of the game, even down 11 with five minutes to go. As a staff, were you guys as confident as Tom was?
NC: I think our offense … I’ll just speak to the offense in particular as a group. I think one of the things that we do in practice – and it’s come up during a number of conversations – is the amount of time that we spend on situation football. I think when you practice that collectively, as a group, and there are a number of repetitions and you do it over and over and over. I think collectively as a group, you feel confident with that particular situation. So when you actually have to go out there in a game situation, there’s some carry over. Tom’s confident. I think the rest of our players are confident, whether it’s the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers, because they understand the situation; they understand what we’re trying to accomplish and in the end they go out there and execute. So I think collectively as a group, it speaks to those guys and their work ethic, and their competitiveness, and their toughness, and just understanding of situations, and being able to execute that when the game is on the line.
Q: When Jerod Mayo went down last night, how did you guys specifically adjust and how did your guys handle it?
DP: Well, kind of the way we always handle it. We always have a contingency plan. There are always players that back up other players at different positions. It may not be your No. 1 position, but everybody kind of learns a couple different spots. We’ve always had kind of a contingency plan — a ‘What if?’ plan. If somebody goes down, you put the backup in, or either move somebody over, or move somebody else up and kind of go with it. We certainly could’ve done better things on the field. It’s always hard when they haven’t practiced it during the week. We may not practice a whole lot of plays that way. But some plays, when guys go in, they certainly have an idea as of what to do. The guys from the sidelines handle it real well. We certainly could’ve handled some things better, but it is hard when a guy hasn’t practiced that position all week. But for the most part they understand what to do; it’s just a matter of recognition. But, hey, that’s part of football.
Q: Adalius Thomas has played some middle linebacker in the past and some in the preseason. Is there something you have considered or will consider?
DP: We consider a lot of things. I would never say any one thing; we consider everything. Like I said, we have had guys that are defensive ends play linebacker, and linebackers play D-End. Guys play outside and inside, both. We always look at whatever personnel is the best for what we need to try to do to win the game against that team and try to get the best players on the field in the best possible positions we can get them in. I’m not necessarily trying to avoid your question, it’s just that we look at all the alternatives. Nothing is out of the realm of what we would try to do. Then again, it’s whatever’s best for the defense that week.
Q: Question surrounding missing players on the defense: How would you assess the group’s performance overall?
DP: We made some good plays and we made some not so good plays. Uh, we have to do some things better. There’s certainly some plays out there last night that — no matter what the call is, no matter who’s in the game — we certainly could play them better. Then again, there are some guys playing in some positions that they hadn’t played in that I thought — at certain times — they did play well. It’s hard to always have to assess the game. It’s never as bad as you think when you come in and watch the film the next day, and sometimes at night, you’re thinking it’s terrible and then you look and there are some good things. Then, there are some games you thought you played well, you think we really played well. Then you come in and watch the film and you think you didn’t play as well as you thought. You just have to weigh some things. Overall, we won the game. That was the bottom line. We did what we needed to do at the end of the game and make some plays. That was the difference in the game. Overall, we’ve got to move forward and do better than we did last night.
Q: What made their screen pass so effective against you last night?
DP: Well, they did a good job of … It was a good play against us. I gave them credit for calling a few of them. You’re right, we were doing some things to take away their wide outs, but at the same time it was a total defensive thing. I would say it’s a combination. We just could’ve played those plays better. We have to recognize them better and plan better, and I really think, too, in some situations, I put a little bit on me. I could’ve made some calls in a situation or two. I could have helped our defense a little more than I did.
Q: Obviously, it’s early, but what do you think of Mark Sanchez and how do you think he’s looked so far?
DP: Obviously, I think they’re very productive on offense, especially at quarterback, the guy who’s pulling the trigger. They have a lot of weapons: [Thomas] Jones, [Leon] Washington, [Dustin] Keller, [Jerricho] Cotchery. I mean, there are an awful lot of weapons out there they’ve got. They’re a good offensive line. Those guys are all back and they’ve played well together. So it’s a lot of things. I think they’re doing a good job with [Sanchez] asking him to do what he can do. He’s seems to be very poised for his first start. So I thought they certainly put a lot of production out, that’s for sure.
Q: It is Sanchez’s second start. Are there some things you can do with a young quarterback, as opposed to facing a veteran quarterback?
DP: Well, I think you have to look at the whole offense. I don’t think you want to put all your eggs in one basket and say, ‘We’re going to take care of this guy and do this and this and leave some other guys alone.’ It’s just the total scheme of what we need to do to their offense to be able to slow them down or stop them, not necessarily to [Mark] Sanchez; it’s a lot of guys.
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