Highlights of Bill Belichick on “The Big Show”
|11.23.09 at 6:01 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick made his weekly appearance with “The Big Show” Monday afternoon. (The complete audio of the interview can be found here.) Here are some of the highlights of his Q&A:
On how he knew the team was past the loss to the Colts and how the fact the Jets were on the schedule may have gotten their attention…
I don’t think it hurt. We have a real competitive group of guys, and I think that they respond to challenges pretty good. Any time a team beats you the first time, you want to even that up. That being said, I think we have a pretty professional group of guys that come in and work hard every week, not just the Jets weeks. But they were ready to go. We had good meetings. We had good practices. We had a good practice on Wednesday — that got us off to a good start. And I think we had a good week of preparation. I think that showed up in the way we started the game and how quickly we were able to make some adjustments, how alert the players were to the unbalanced line and the shifting and the blitzing and all those things that were happening early in the game, so I think the players were ready to go, and that’s a credit to them.
On Rex Ryan being surprised by the amount of spread offense the Patriots ran…
We felt like we were trying to mix it up — I don’t know exactly what we was expecting. But we just tried to mix it up. We had some two tight ends and three wide receivers, and just a couple snaps of four wide receivers — not too many. And then a couple of three tight end groups with Mark LeVoir in there and Ben and Chris or one and the other and LeVoir. So we just tried to mix it up and keep them off balance and I think it limited their substitutions a little bit. They didn’t run guys on and off as much with our groups — they just kind of waited until third down to send in their dime group. I think that kind of settled them down a little bit for us.
Do you know on Wednesday that you guys had a good week of practice, or is that in retrospect? Did you know Wednesday while practice was going on that these guys were focused?
I talked about it with some of the coaches and we talked about it as a staff Wednesday night, when we watched the practice film, that it was … that we felt like we got a lot done that day. You know how it is. Some Wednesdays are better than others. But they’re not all great, they’re not all bad. Hopefully. This just felt like it was a good one, and it seemed like the players were, like you said, very attentive and we worked hard in practice, so whatever frustrations we had from the game seemed to be at least directed toward the next opponent rather than…
Were you worried about some of the younger guys, how they would rebound?
I don’t know if worried is the right word. I would just say that each week, each week you kind of want to see where your team is in terms of preparing for a game, and you see that by the attentiveness in meetings and sometimes the questions that they ask and the walkthroughs and the actual execution in practice. Again, it’s a combination of things. It’s not just them. It’s also the coaching staff and the game plan and what we’re asking the players to do and how quickly and how effectively they do it or don’t do it. And then, you kind of evaluate that going through the week. I would just say I thought we got off to a good start. I think it was one of our better weeks of practice, and I think that showed in the first half, overall, of our play.
Some of the “experts” thought you might lose the defense because of what you did on fourth and 2 against the Colts. Did you ever think that would be a concern at all?
No, I was just concerned about getting our team ready to play against the Jets, and I felt like our players would prepare well, and they did. So, like I said, it was a big game, a division game, and we’d lost to them earlier in the year. I don’t think anyone was happy about that. I think we all felt like we should beat them, and we all needed to work hard and do our part to make that happen, and it didn’t happen the first time, so that was something that we all wanted to atone for.
On Sanchez making mistakes and forced throws. Is that part of his lack of development?
That’s a really good question. I just think he’s an aggressive player, and I don’t know … of course, no quarterback wants to throw an interception and nobody is trying to throw them, but some quarterbacks are aggressive, and they’re trying to make plays and sometimes they make good plays and sometimes, they get burnt by it. It just seems like Sanchez, watching him at USC and then watching him in the 10 games this year and in the preseason, he’s aggressive. He likes to throw the ball. He doesn’t like to take sacks. He doesn’t like to get hit behind the line of scrimmage, and he’ll scramble around and he’ll find guys down the field and he’ll whip it in there. And sometimes he hits them and sometimes he doesn’t. But he seems like he has that kind of a playing style. Now whether that will changed and whether that will get temepered or not remains to be seen. But I think he’s played like that all year, and at times, it’s worked out. Other times, it hasn’t.
On dominant starts and slow finishes — can you put your finger on why that’s been the case this year? It almost seems to be different things each time.
That’s our goal every week, to go out and play 60 minutes of football. Nothing’s changed. That’s what the emphasis is. That’s what we’ve always tried to do, that’s what we’ll continue to try to do.
Is something happening in the differences between the two halves?
I think you can pull out a bunch of statistics and all that if that’s what you want to do, but I think that the team … I don’t see any difference in what we try to do or the way the team approaches it or anything like that.
The approach would be to take what they give you…
Whatever our approach is based on the first half and halftime and going into the second half of the game, whatever it is, it’s what we feel like is best. Does it always work out perfectly? No. Does it sometimes work out well? Yeah. There’s no change of approach.
When do you decide in a game if running the ball and taking time off the clock is more important than advancing the ball downfield as quickly as you may have had earlier?
I think as long as the game … as long as there is time to play in the game, there’s no real thought of that. The only reason we put the offense out there is to try and move the ball and score points. Until it becomes, to me, a game where there are very few possessions left depending on the score — how many possessions they have versus how many scores they need, then that changes your strategy a little bit. But until that point … I have a lot of confidence in our offense. We don’t turn the ball over a lot. We don’t give up the ball a lot. So whatever we need to do to move it, then that’s what we’ll try to do, whether that’s run it, pass it, play-action. Whatever that happens to be.
Can you get complacent after dominating in the first half?
I don’t think it’s … I don’t really think that’s the case. I think we are aggressive and we want to try and score every time we have the ball. I think that defensively, teams see things that we’ve had success with, and then, they want to try and do something to take those away and force us to do something else, and it’s a question of offensively, in a situation like that, do you continue to do what you’ve been doing and think that they’re not going to make any adjustments, or do you go away from that until they’ve shown you they can stop it. Sometimes, you have to be stopped on something before you can really feel like it’s necessary to get away from it. And so … and again, some of that is just kind of how things match up, really. I thought the worst part of the game, more than the third quarter, was the end of the second quarter. We had a holding penalty and we had to give them the ball back and we had a punt blocked and that we missed the field goal. That was a bad series of plays right there. I thought that was a lot lower, honestly, than the second half. Maybe you guys saw it differently. [crosstalk] There was no reason why we even should have had to punt there at the end of the first half. But that’s what happens.
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