Belichick on Faulk: ‘What’s there not to like?’
|09.22.10 at 2:40 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Here is the transcript of Bill Belichick’s press briefing on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. Thanks to the hard-working staff of Patriots media relations.
BB: Another big division game for us here this week. Buffalo has got a little new look from when we played them in the past, but a lot of familiar faces. As usual, [they’re] a tough, physical team. They play hard. [They] had a couple tough losses here against Miami and Green Bay, but they played both teams very well and things kind of got away from them in the fourth quarter, end of the third quarter against Green Bay. As usual, [they’re] real good in the kicking game, good returners, good specialists, real good backs, big-play receivers – [Roscoe] Parrish, Lee Evans. Defensively, [they’re] physical. [They] play in a 3-4. I think they’re playing stouter up there, a little more physical style of play than they’ve had in the past. [They’re] very good in the secondary – [Jairus] Byrd, [Donte] Whitner are back there, two active safeties and big corners. They do a good job. [This is a] big division game. We always have a tough game with them. It’s always a physical game. We had a really hard time last year moving the ball, throwing the ball against them, so I hope we can have a little more production that we had last year and also play good defense and play well in the kicking game, because that’s what it’s going to take.
Q: With Kevin Faulk out for the season, what’s the top thing you will miss from him?
BB: I think it will just be a combination of things. He’s a really special guy, [who] did a lot of things for us on and off the field. We can go on and on about that; it’s a long list, but [he’s] a very dependable guy, professional, great teammate, great team player. Hopefully we’ll do what he would do, which is be positive, step up, take advantage of those opportunities, however they fall, and have a good week of preparation and be ready to go on Sunday.
Q: He said he feels like he’s really lucky that you came here and became his coach. What skill set did he have that made you think he would be a great third-down back?
BB: I think I’m pretty lucky that he was here when I got here, so I’ll take that one. Kevin is a good football player. He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s got good skills, good running skills, good catching skills. He’s a good decision maker. Most of all, I think he’s very coachable and really cares about the game, his teammates and his team. What’s there not to like about Kevin Faulk?
Q: You’ve been doing this for a while and you’ve coached some great third-down backs – Eric Metcalf. Where do you think Kevin falls on that list?
BB: Pretty high. Probably at the top. Above all the ones you mentioned. He’s had a lot of production, not just on third down either. He’s had a lot of production on first, second, third and fourth down.
Q: There are some special things that Kevin does. How hard is that now for you to replicate some of those things with the backs that you have left now?
BB: I don’t think you’re going to find any one player to be a duplicate of Kevin Faulk. When we lost Tom [Brady] in the beginning of the ’08 season, Matt [Cassel] came in and we won 11 games. We weren’t the same team, but we found a different way to win than the way we had won before or the following year. I don’t think we’re going to find one player to be carbon copy of Kevin Faulk. I don’t think that exists and I don’t think that’s really realistic. As a team, we just have to find ways to be efficient, be productive, move the ball, score points, even though he’s not in there. It will be a challenge, but that’s what we need to do.
Q: You also had to find ways to replace Ty Warren at the beginning of the year and you’ve been doing it with Ron Brace and Gerard Warren. How do you feel they are doing?
BB: I think our defensive line has, overall, done a good job. Gerard has been playing on both sides. I think he had a good preseason for us and he’s been solid for us in there. Ron started a little slow, but came out at the end of the preseason and has done a good job the last couple weeks. I think he’s doing better with each game that he plays and the more experience he gets out there. I think they’re doing well. Myron [Pryor], Mike Wright, of course Vince [Wilfork], those guys have all done a good job for us. They’ve been solid, consistent throughout the practices, the preseason games, two regular season games. In the opportunities they had, they’ve been pretty consistent.
Q: If you use Ron Brace as an every-down guy, does Mike Wright become better because he can move around a little bit?
BB: Hopefully every player that gets the opportunity to play can be productive in whatever role they’re in there for. That may change from week to week and game to game. I can’t say that there is any set formula on that.
Q: What’s the difference in your eyes between what C.J. Spiller and Marshawn Lynch can do?
BB: They’re both very good, explosive guys that can take the ball the distance. I’d say, Lynch really can play on all downs and all situations. I don’t really see anything he can’t do and do well – run inside, run outside. [He] runs around and through tacklers. [He] catches the ball well. I’d say Spiller is more of a space player. He’s better out in the open field. He’s real good out in the open field returning, screens, draws, loose plays and things like that. He’s very fast, very dangerous, very elusive. Lynch is a powerful guy. You see him breaking tackles by defensive lineman, running through them, not just DBs. He runs through a lot of tackles on everybody. Pound for pound he’s got to be one of the strongest players in the league with good balance.
Q: Taylor Price has been inactive the first two games of the season. Is he close to being ready to contribute on game day?
BB: He’s working hard. I think he’s a player that has a little bigger role ahead of him. He’s worked hard. He’s come a long way from where he started training camp [and] what his background was. He’s learning how to play receiver and do a lot of things in the passing game that he hasn’t had to do until this year. He’s picked them up well. He works hard. He’s a smart kid. He’s got good size. He catches the ball well. He’s making good progress.
Q: Are there any similarities between C.J. Spiller and Reggie Bush at all?
BB: They’re both running backs, yeah.
Q: Just the type of player they are and maybe the way their coaches employ them?
BB: I don’t know. That’s a tough question to answer. It’s only been two games, so I don’t know if you can actually define what Spiller’s role is. I think you need a little more time than that.
They are both guys that are very tough to handle with the ball in their hands. They catch well. They run well. They’re elusive.
Q: When Tom Brady got injured you decided it was probably better for him to take a step back. Is it a different situation with Kevin Faulk where maybe the team can benefit from having him around?
BB: I’m not agreeing with the first part of your statement. Not really sure where you’re going with that one.
Q: Tom said you thought it might be a distraction to the team to have him around and on the sidelines during games.
BB: Tom was rehabbing an injury during the season. That’s what the situation was. [With] Kevin, we’ll see how it is. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know. We’ll do what’s best for the player and do what’s best for the team. That’s what we do on everything.
Q: How strange is it going to be to face a Buffalo defense without Aaron Schobel?
BB: There are changes every year. He’s been a great player for them, but they look pretty good on defense right now. That’s part of the game. Every year you look at every team and there are guys [that used to be] on our team that aren’t there, and there are guys on their team [that used to play for them] that aren’t there. That’s just part of the game. I look at the players that aren’t there and I see a good defense. They’re big. They’re physical. They play hard and they’re tough to move the ball against. That’s what I see.
Q: With Danny Woodhead, do you see any problems with stadium security letting him in? He might not be of age…
BB: We’ll do a tight check on him. [He’s a] secret weapon.
Q: Do you anticipate him playing this weekend?
BB: We have 53 players. We’ll take the ones that we feel can help our team [and] have the biggest role, have the biggest impact in the game. Those 45 we’ll make active. Whichever ones they are, it will be the ones that we feel that way about. I can’t tell you who that’s going to be right now.
Q: How is Jarrad Page coming along in picking up the defense?
BB: Good. He’s really smart. He’s a smart guy. He has good experience. He’s played, so even things that you can learn in a book or learn on paper or learn on the board, those kinds of things, he’s actually done them. He’s played and done most of – really everything that we’ve done. It’s maybe called differently or it was put together a little differently, but he’s done all those things. He’s really been impressive in practice and in the opportunities that he’s had, he’s picked things up very well. I don’t think learning is really any kind of issue at all with him. He’s very experienced so he knows how to apply things. When you tell him something, he knows what situation it applies to and which one it doesn’t. I don’t think that’s any problem at all. He’s very good.
Q: So since he didn’t participate in training camp, is his conditioning maybe the biggest area for improvement?
BB: He’s worked hard on that. He’s been out [for] two weeks of practice, really, going into his third week. So I think that’s getting better. He’s worked hard at that too, doing extra running after practice and doing extra one-on-one drills and things on special teams and stuff like that. I really like the player. I think he’s come in, he’s learned a lot in a short amount of time, he’s showed up on the field in both kicking situations and little bit on defense and certainly on the practice field. He was a good football player at Kansas City and I think he’ll be a good football player here.
Q: So you think it could be sooner rather than later that he’s ready to contribute more?
BB: I didn’t say that. You asked me what I thought about him; I’ve been impressed with him. When he’s had a chance to play, he’s done a good job. What his opportunities will be going forward, we’ll just have to see what they are. I’ve been impressed with the guy. Really, everything about him has been good. He’s smart. He works hard. He understands what’s going on. He’s done whatever role we’ve asked him to do. He’s stepped in, learned it and done it well. I respect that.
Q: Are there moving pieces for you guys at all when an opponent changes quarterbacks right before you play, as far as scouting and looking at them?
BB: Yeah, but we have to do that every week. We prepare for every player. That could change in one play. It could go from one player to another, so all the players that are active, we prepare for all of them: the seventh and eighth offensive lineman, the backup quarterback, the fourth and fifth receivers, the sixth, seventh eighth defensive linemen, the fourth corner, whoever it is. We still need to know all of those players. Whichever ones they decide to play or whichever ones play due to circumstances, we still have to be prepared for those. We should know our matchups, know out personnel, know who the first tight end is, the second tight end, third tight end, right down the line. We need to know who all those guys are. That’s part of the preparation. We do that every week. I know it’s a big deal to change quarterbacks and everybody wants to make a big deal about it, but I’m just telling you that one play into the game that could change. So we can’t put all our eggs in one basket, we’ve got to prepare for the players that we think we’re going to see, but we also have to prepare for all the players because they could be in whether that’s the plan or not. It could happen that way.
Q: Do they look different with Ryan Fitzpatrick in there at quarterback?
BB: Yeah, he’s a little different player. He’s a little different player. [He’s] a strong-armed guy, [can] get the ball down the field. [He has] a little more experience. He’s been in a couple different systems. [He’s a] smart guy, handles himself well. He’s a good quarterback. We had a hard time with him last year there.
Q: You guys were able to get a little pressure on him in that game. Was that specific to him? Was that specific to the game situation?
BB: I don’t think it was specific to him. If guys come free up front, then they come free. I think he’s a relatively mobile, athletic guy. Hopefully we can get pressure on any quarterback. It doesn’t matter who it is back there, that’s what the defense tries to do – pressure the quarterback. The offense tries to keep that from happening. This week will be a new challenge. Whether we can do it or not, we’ll have to see how it goes. I don’t think that’s really an issue with him. He’s a tough guy. He’ll stand there in the pocket. Every quarterback gets hit sooner or later.
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