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Bill Belichick on The Big Show, 10/5

10.05.09 at 8:56 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared on The Big Show Monday afternoon to discuss the Patriots’ 27-21 victory over the Ravens.

The transcript of the interview follows. To hear the complete audio, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

Shaky red zone offense to start but after that it seemed very good.

Right, we didn’t get done what we wanted to get done on that first series. You know, we had some runs down there and that definitely helped us out, being able to run the ball down there in the red area.

It was not a good first series, but as the game progressed you had more of feeling for what the Ravens were doing.

Yeah, we spread them out on the first play thinking that they might come after us with a big blitz on the first play after that kind of field position and so, sometimes we can read those a little bit better when we are spread out, but that isn’t what they ended up doing. So, we ended up throwing an incomplete pass and then ran the ball on second down and didn’t get much. It obviously wasn’t a good series.

You put more pressure on the quarterback. How was that done?

It was a little bit more situational. There were certain things that they did that kind of triggered us to blitz and that is when we came after him. We called some other blitzes but sometimes they jumped into other formations that we had in our game plan to audible to pressure. So, it was a combination of things. We probably would have, you know, pressured anyway but we called a little more because of what they did.

Can you talk about the similarity of the Ravens defense this year to last?

We just played them last year in preseason but going back to 2007, definitely not as exotic as it was then. I think they have toned it down a bit.

What was the nature of the adjustment after the Ravens’ first drive when Derrick Mason had six catches?

We went to a little bit more of split-safety coverage after that first drive. We played a lot of single-high safety with [Brandon] Meriweather in the middle of the field and that kind of lightened us a little bit outside. Then we went to some two-deep coverage where we had a little bit more half-help over the top with Mason and [Mark] Clayton, whether they were on opposites sides or the same side. So, that helped us get a little bit better coverage on the outside.

You shut them down pretty effectively after the first series.

They have a lot of slot formations which they usually do. That’s a big thing for them. They had their share of gadget plays, the dive option out of the shotgun, the unbalanced line, some empty formations. I would say overall they threw the ball quicker than what they normally do and they have been running a lot of play-action passes trying to get the ball down the field, getting some big chunks of yardage against Cleveland and in their previous games. They really did not do as much of that against us as they had done the three previous weeks. Against San Diego they hit them down the field pretty good. They threw a lot of 6-, 8-, 10-yarders and they didn’t really hit those big chunks except for the third down play.

What percentage of the time did they run the ball?

They mixed it in. I think they only ran two or three runs on that first drive. A couple of penalties mixed in there but I think they threw the ball like 13 times.

What was [the run total]? Seventeen times total?

Their modus operandi is normally power football.

Not this year. This year it has been more to get the ball down the field. They have passed to set up the run more than they have run to set up the pass. Overall, the running game was not a big problem for us. We missed some tackles and could have done a better job on it, but it was the [Ray] Rice play, that was a big chunk of it right there. We just didn’t do a great job, we were in a great defense and didn’t play it real well. Missed a couple tackles and instead of it being 15 it was 50, so, there were a number of problems on that play that hit us.

Ty Warren and Mike Wright have been playing really well. Is it evident in how they grade out?

Absolutely. I thought Ty played well. He started off against [Michael] Oher and then when [Jared] Gaither got hurt they flipped Oher to the other side and brought in [Marshal] Yanda. Either way, Ty played very well and of course made a big play there at the end of the game in short yardage. Just generally in the running game I thought he did real well, was very stout. Jarvis [Green] did a good job starting off on Gaither and then when he went out I thought did a good job on Oher as well. Mike Wright as well was active on the inside both on the running game and in the passing game. I thought they did a good job.

How would you grade out the secondary from Week 1 to Week 4? They seemed to be very disruptive.

Well, we had our hands on more ball in this game than we have had in any other game and we finally got an interception so that broke the ice on that. I think the good thing about the pass defense this year is that we haven’t given up big plays. We haven’t given up those 50- and 60-yarders, you know, those big plays down the field that just break your back. We didn’t play as well on third down yesterday as we would have liked to but we had our moments on that the previous couple weeks that were good on third down against the Jets and against Atlanta. You know, we just have to do a better job on our consistency on third down in the red area and I think as long as we are competitive on those routes, close to them, swatting at the ball, getting the receivers if they get them. We have played against two real good quarterbacks in the last two weeks and they stuck some good throws in there, even though the coverage was good they still hit them. I think eventually that will soften up a little bit with a quarterback not as good as these two guys and if the weather helps us out later in the year in the passing game than that will make it a little tougher to throw some of those routes too. We still have to cover them but I think we are getting better.

The new guys in the secondary seem to be picking up the scheme very well.

They’re working hard, they are picking it up quickly. Brandon Meriweather has certainly been a big factor for us. You know, they have thrown the ball down the field and he made several plays down there last year early in the year, thinking back to the San Francisco game and some of the earlier games as well. But he was very active yesterday and a lot of deep balls don’t go to that part of the field because he is back there and it doesn’t look good to the quarterback so it goes somewhere else. So, that is part of him doing his job back there.

The secondary breaks on the ball really well and is really athletic.

I think it is a good group back there. We had competition in the preseason and into training camp and we have a good group of receivers, some bigger guys, smaller quicker guys, fast guys, good technique runners, so we have had to cover a lot of good receivers through the preseason and into training camp and I think that we have held up pretty competitively against different types of guys and passing games. I feel good about that, not that it couldn’t get better, but we are pretty competitive there.

Meriweather had a great play where he rushed across the field. Was [James] Sanders supposed to be there or did Meriweather just save the play?

We had a pressure on and he just broke on it and got there. It was a zone pressure and he just broke on it and go there. And then the deep one, second quarter, down by the goal line, he got there to tip the ball away. That was a very good break on the ball by Brandon, too. But Brandon is playing very well. He is seeing things perhaps a half a step quicker than he saw them last year and he has the confidence to pull the trigger.

On the fake field goal, [Chris] Baker was running off the field or was he just giving the impression of running of the field. What happened there?

Yeah, you know, he was split out and initially they didn’t go with him. We were trying to draw them out of their rush and initially they didn’t go with him and we said if they didn’t go with him that we were going to throw it out there to him. It was fourth-and-5, we didn’t need much for the first down there and when they didn’t shift out, we didn’t have good timing on the play. The ball was snapped before Chris got set, so they called that as a foul. If he had been off the line the motion would have been OK but we were trying to hold the wing there for field goal protection if we had to kick it. We just would have had to detach one player from the rush.

First down?

Yeah, it was a first down.  They came over [on the replay] and I think first they were talking about did he have it, but he had the ball at the end of the play, he had already taken three or four steps with it and reached the ball out past the marker for the first down. The ball was clearly past the marker. Then they pushed him out of bounds and the ball came out, I think they might have thought that the ball came out before it did. But Chris took three or four steps before it came out.

But the play was called fall and it was fourth-and-10 and we got the field goal.

The idea of the play was just to send him out and distort the rush a little bit. … We just wanted to slow them down a little bit but it just wasn’t executed real cleanly.

What was the intention of the three-and-out late in the game [5:09] remaining when you ran the ball twice then Brady over threw Welker? Did not take much time off the clock and did not get a first down.

Well, that is what we were trying to do [get a first down]. We ran the ball on first down, then on second down. We were kind of spread out on both downs and they spread out with us so we had a decent opportunity to run the ball and come up with third-and-4, third-and-5, whatever it was and then we went to Welker. It looked like he had a step on Carr, it just didn’t work out, so that was it. You know, if we had thrown and incomplete pass on first or second down we would have taken almost no time off the clock. Had they come out there and given us some all out blitz to try and get the ball back at that point then we probably would have checked to some pass as opposed to running it in there for no gain. I would have been disappointed had we been sitting there on third down and 10. We had a good chance there we just didn’t pick it up.

At what spot would you have kicked the field goal?

Well, I think that is a good question. What little wind there was was with us in the fourth quarter, down towards the closed end, away from the lighthouse. I think distance wouldn’t have been too much of a factor but you still have to get it through the uprights. So, I don’t know. We would like to kick it under 40 yards but we can certainly go longer than that. You know, it is fourth-and-1, fourth-and-2 and decide if you want to go for it and if you don’t make it, give them the ball there with good field possession on the 35, 40-yard line. As opposed to fourth-and-16, where you might as well kick it. It depends on how confident you are in your fourth down plays.

Pleased with the play of the offensive line?

They did a good job. Unfortunately they had a couple bad plays in there but overall I thought we were very competitive, had, for the most part, plenty of time to throw. A couple of their sacks were coverage sacks. They had us covered it is not that we didn’t block them long enough. Suggs got us once and you know I thought we had a chance in the running game. For the most part I thought we gave our backs a chance to run. We had a couple plays, like that one outside play, where we really got knocked back and lost four or five yards. But I thought they played the screen-passes really well, the slip-screens like the screen to Fred after the strip sack when they had a little momentum going. I don’t wan to say that play got us out of the hole, took it out from the 20 to the 35 and that kind of quieted things down a little bit with the Ravens. I thought they did a good job on some of those plays as well.

More coordination with Brady and receivers?

I think as a football team we are getting better every week. We should be with all the practice and meetings and everything we’re doing. I think it is coming along in everything, the pass game, the pass protection, the run defense, the coverage, the red area. All those things, we keep working on them. We didn’t hit all of them but we get a little bit better against a very good defensive football team as well, you have to take that into consideration. When you can run the ball in against the Ravens, hit some third downs, make some big plays, you know, the seam route and the blitz adjustment to Moss and Watson there a couple of times. Seam corner routes, seams to Aiken. That is good, they do not give up a lot of those.

Are the Ravens the best team you have played this year?

I think they have a good team, I really do. I think they are a good team, they are going to win a lot of games. I mean, they have already won three but they are going to win their fair share.

Anything more on the Galloway inactive spot?

No, I don’t think so. Well, you just can’t take everybody to the game. We took three tight ends, we took four backs. It is probably what the norm is. Seven offensive linemen, you can’t cut there and the rest it is on the defensive side of the ball and the kicking game. Sam Aiken, he is definitely going to be there, he is one of our best special teams players. And Moss is going to go and Welker is going to go and you know, Welker has not played a lot in the last couple weeks so a guy in the slot along with Wes in Julian [Edelman]. Julian is another guy. If we could have brought another guy, well. Certainly we would like to take all the guys that we have that are healthy. We would have like to have BenJarvus [Green-Ellis], we would have liked to have Ron Brace, we would have liked Joey. All those guys were inactive but you just have to pick the guys to go.

How much of it is based on the team you are playing and what a certain guy can do?

I think that has a lot to do with it. Sometimes, with the offensive linemen, you bring seven to the game and it is what it is.  But with your skill players, your tight ends, your receivers, your running backs, same things defensively. With your linebackers, your defensive backs. It depends on what groupings you are going to be in or what sub-groupings you are going they are going to be in and then the kicking game. Defensively if you are playing a team that does a lot of four receivers then you are probably going to want all of your corners. If you are playing a team that doesn’t then you are not going to want all of your corners and try to get another guy in the kicking game or at linebacker or maybe another skill player, if that is what you wan to do. Those are the decisions you make every week and it certainly has a lot to do with your game plan and the team that you are playing and how you expect it to go.

Rumors of Junior Seau:

We might get [the bull that ran him over]. [The bull] is asking for a lot on his contract, though. We are going to go back and look at the video [of the bull] and see how Junior looked.

Well, we will look at all those players who are out there. Junior has long history with us and we respect for Junior. We haven’t done anything yet, lets put it that way.

On playing only six games — how much would he be used anyway?

I haven’t talked to Junior about that. I don’t really know about the four-game, six-game, 10-game thing.

Did he have a physical here?

He did have a physical. We haven’t done anything yet. It is a possibility? Yes.

Mike Nolan, the defensive coach for Denver, what is he doing?

They are running a 3-4. Basically the same defense he ran in San Francisco. They are playing very well. They have a very experienced secondary with [Brian] Dawkins and Champ Bailey, [Andre'] Goodman who they picked up from the Dolphins along with Renaldo Hill. They are very good back there, they have got some interceptions, they’re kind of a ball stripping team. They come into the pile and go for the ball. They have caused a lot of fumbles and turn the ball over. Played good in the red area, play good on third down. Do a good job of putting teams in holes, third-and-longs. Holding penalties. That helps them in their third down.

They are active and they are fast.

But they do bend, though. Did Dallas yesterday abandon the running game?

I think they tried to stay with it they just couldn’t get enough out of it. They had some good plays and they had some bad ones.  Then they get to third-and-11 and that is the end of the drive. They had a couple negative runs where they stunted in there or brought Dawkins down or something happened and they didn’t gain anything and they ended up in long yardage.

How do you stay away from Champ Bailey, who is so good, when he is on your best receiver?

Well, Champ is a good corner. But, and we saw this last year, without a good pass rush I don’t know if any corner can cover for ever in this league. It is just too hard. The receivers are so good, the quarterbacks are just too good.

In those last couple of plays [against Dallas] there were some people open on the other side and Champ was on the side where he wanted to throw it where it was just one-on-one. Champ is very good. He has good ball skills, he’s fast and he’s a little bit of a guesser, like any good corner. If he guesses right then you are in trouble and if he guesses wrong then he has the ability to make up for it and recover. But, their other players are good too. They have a good pass rush and there is nothing that helps a corner more than a good pass rush.

Is Kyle Orton better than just a game-managing quarterback?

I think he is a little bit better than that. I think he does a good job not turning the ball over, makes good decisions and they trust him with a lot. He has a good arm and good receivers. Of course we know about [Jabar] Gaffney and [Eddie] Royal, [Brandon] Marshall, [Brandon] Stokely and so he has some guys to throw to. They have a pretty talented group there and he does a good job getting the ball to them. So, you got to beat them. They are not going to make mistakes turning the ball over or on the kicking game. They are going to play sound, play hard and you have to execute and go in there and beat them.

Who has the advantage, teacher or student? You or [Josh] McDaniels?

It is I think that’s a little bit overrated. It’s like when we play teams in our division. We know them, they know us. We know Denver, they know us. We played them last year. We play them every year. I think in the end what it comes down to will be what happens Sunday afternoon. Who blocks, who catches, who gets open, who covers, who runs, who tackles.

Are they doing anything different in the blocking scheme from recent years?

Well, they are running the offense that we’ve seen here in the past couple years. Sure, they are running our offense. It is very multiple, they change it up. Of course they have a good blocking tight end in Dan Graham.  They run it through him.

I think when we watch the game people will recognize, we run that play, we run that play.

They doing anything different from what they did last year with McDaniels at the helm?

Yeah, it is all different. That was [Mike] Shanahan’s offense with all the zone play and the boots. Josh runs what we run. The multiple receivers, some two tight ends. The running plays, some of the screens. Defensively there is really no comparison. They are much better, more sound. They don’t give up a lot of big plays, which they did. They are a good tackling team.

I would say it is all different. They have some of the same players and look at the matchups. I think as far as they plays they run it is all different.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Patriots, Ravens, The Big Show
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