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Belichick press conference 11/16

11.16.09 at 12:42 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a noontime appearance before the assembled media at Gillette Stadium to talk about Sunday night’s devastating loss to the Colts. He didn’t back down from defending his fourth-down call with 2:08 remaining, although he did offer a general acknowledgment that he was not perfect on the sideline last night.

Belichick’s opening statement:

Pretty much, just more of the same feelings that we had from last night. There was a lot of good things in the game. Obviously, the Colts are a good football team. I thought we played them well. We played them hard. We had some opportunities. We just … collectively weren’t able to do as much with them as they were. It was disappointing to come up short in a game like that. And I think we all feel it as we should. We put a lot into it. We all had things that we … There were a lot of plays in that game that you think about. Obviously, from a coaching standpoint, there’s always a lot of things that could have been done better by me, and the players and everybody else. You always feel that way after a tough loss like that. We’ve all got to do a better job, starting with me, and find a way to win those games.

Asked about seeing the replay of the fourth-down play:

I’m sure you got a better look at it than I did … It’s a close play, obviously.

Asked about the decision to go for it on fourth down:

The same thing I said after the game. I thought it was our best chance to win. I thought we needed to make that one play, then we could basically run out the clock. We weren’t able to make it.

Asked about the confusion before the play that led to a timeout:

We had a little miscommunication on that … as to whether we were going to go or punt it. Once some of the guys on the punt team started out, then the guys on offense, they started to come off. That wasn’t cleanly handled, Again, I’ll take responsibility for that.

Asked again about the fourth-down decision:

Because I thought if we got the first down there, we’d be able to run out most of the clock.

Asked if he would make the same call again:

You only get one chance.

Asked about the Colts offense having the ability to move the ball down the field quickly:

We knew that, it didn’t take those drives to figure that out. It’s an explosive offense. We’ve seen them do it on one play. They did it to us two years ago on a 73-yard checkdown to [Joseph] Addai, went the whole length of the field. we know how explosive they are. Any time they have the ball they’re capable of scoring. They’re capable of scoring touchdowns, they’re capable of scoring them in a hurry, they’re capable of scoring them on play. That’s playing the Colts. I don’t think that’s anything that was overly significant in this game. That’s the way it is in every game.

When asked about his team’s reaction to the fourth-down call:

I tell the team and I think they believe that I do what I feel like is best for our football team to win every game. I put the team first and I put those decisions first. And I would hope everybody understands that.

Asked about the upcoming week:

Every week is important. We’re playing the Jets here, and that’s a huge game, a division game. They beat us down there, so they’ve got a little bit of an edge on us in that part of the competition, in the tiebreakers and so forth and all that. So, yeah, of course it’s an important game. It’s a division game. It’s important to play well every week.

Asked about people second-guessing his fourth-down call:

There’s a lot of decisions in the game we all have to make — coaches, players. Each play is filled with decisions. You try to do the best you can on those. I think that’s what we all do.

Were there a lot of different plays to consider [on the fourth down]?

We felt good about that play. That’s why we called it. We felt good about it.

Did Kevin [Faulk] go far enough [on his route]?

Yeah, I think he had the first down when the ball hit his hands. Then where it was finally marked and all was a little bit short. He was across the 30-yard line when the ball touched him.

Did you agree with the spot?

Doesn’t really matter.

Asked about the timeout on the first-down play:

It’s a situation where obviously it’s a critical play. We’re heading into a series there, and we wanted to make sure everything was right. Because of what the Colts had done through the course of the game and the play we had called, Tom [Brady] and Dante [Scarnecchia] and Billy [O'Brien] and I, we wanted to make sure we had that exactly the way we wanted it. There was an option on the play. Rather than run the play, we took a timeout there to make sure we had it straight.

Asked about taking a timeout at the start of the third quarter:

Kind of the same thing. We had a formation that we weren’t lined up properly in. The ball was about to be snapped. Wes [Welker] saw that that there was something wrong, or he knew that something was wrong. He took the timeout for the play not to be potentially a bad play. I think that was a good decision on Wes’ part. I was getting ready to do the same thing.

When you called the third-down play, did you have in mind that if you didn’t get it, you were going to go for it, or did you make that decision made after the play?

We pretty much made that decision on third down.

Asked about the punt team starting out on the field:

I said it was a miscommunication on our part. A couple of guys started out, then the offense reacted to that, then the punt team kind of reacted to the offense. It just wasn’t cleanly handled on the substitution.

Asked about the criticism by former Patriot Rodney Harrison on NBC:

We got back at 5 this morning. I watched the film this morning. I don’t think I’m probably up on all the commentary.

Asked about the overall criticism of the call?

Whether they’re yours or their somebody else’s, you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sure you have one.

Asked about the strategy defending Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne:

Those two receivers are outstanding. I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne. That guy’s the best receiver we cover every year. It seems like he just keeps getting better. I thought the routes he ran and the catches he made were nothing short of spectacular — the go-route, the two touchdown catches, the third-down conversion on the corner route in front of our bench. He’s a tremendous receiver. And he had some production against us, but really I thought [Jonathan] Wilhite played well and covered him well. There were some great throws and great catches.

Clark, his two big catches were plays he was wide-open on. We just didn’t do a good enough job on that. Overall, [Brandon] McGowan was on him quite a bit. I thought that Brandon challenged him well and played him well. The plays he was open on, I guess both of them were play-action passes. We kind of got out of position on the play-action a little bit and the coverage that we had on them just wasn’t there. But I thought McGowan and Wilhite both on those matchups, covered those two guys very well.

Wayne had some stats. They were great routes, great catches, and a couple of great throws to go with it. It would be hard to say much to Wilhite other than he did about all he could do on a couple of those plays.

Asked about this week:

When the team comes in Wednesday, we’ll start to get ready for the Jets. That’s what we do every week. We turn the page and move on.

Asked about the play of offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer:

I thought we competed well against the Colts across the board. Sebastian competed hard. [Dwight] Freeney got a couple of plays on him, but Vollmer certainly held his own. And he blocked him a lot of times.

Freeney is the defensive equivalent to Reggie Wayne. You can do everything right and there’s still a few plays that those guys are going to make. But I thought Sebastian played hard, played well against him.

Asked about activating Isaiah Stanback:

We put Brandon Tate on injured reserve. We needed a receiver to fill his spot. [Julian] Edelman was a game-time decision. We really weren’t sure about that one until literally a couple hours before the game. Isaiah was the fourth receiver for the game. We felt like we needed that for our offense.

Do you accept the criticism?

Everybody is entitled to their opinion out there. I respect that.

Have you been able to get updates on the guys who were banged up in the game?

We had several guys leave the game early who didn’t come back. Like I said, we just got back early this morning. There’s not really a whole lot of new information. We’ll see where everybody is today, tomorrow and most importantly on Wednesday when we go out on the field and practice. We’ll have some idea then. If they can practice, that’s good. If they can’t, we’ll see how long it is before they can get out there and actually start participating. We probably won’t know a whole lot here for the next couple of days.

Asked about moving on:

It’s hard to move on? Yeah, every loss is hard.

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