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Bill Belichick on Big Show: Respect between Randy Moss, Patriots is ‘mutual’

11.01.10 at 7:20 pm ET
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In his weekly appearance on The Big Show, Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered very little on the subject of the Vikings’ waiving of former Patriot Randy Moss, but did re-iterate that both Moss and the Patriots have plenty of respect for one another.

“I can’t comment on any other teams’ transactions or players,” Belichick said multiple times during the interview. Vikings coach Brad Childress told players on Monday morning that the team had decided to move on from the receiver, who used his post-game press conference after Sunday’s game to compliment the Patriots and Belichick.

The Patriots traded Moss, who had 50 touchdown receptions in his time in New England, to the Vikings four games into the season. Belichick said that there was no bad blood as two saw one another as opponents on Sunday.

“I talked to Randy after the game as well,” Belichick said. “Look, Randy and I had a long conversation a few weeks ago. I have a lot of respect for him and appreciate the things that he did for us. He said the same to me. The feeling’s mutual.”

Here is transcript. Click here to listen to the interview.
What are your thoughts on the Vikings deciding to waive Randy Moss?

I can’t comment on any other teams’ transactions or players

Would you consider bringing Moss back if the opportunity presented itself?

Glenn, you know I can’t [comment]. You can bait the hook with whatever you want to put on it. I can’t talk about another team’s transactions or their players or anything like that. I can’t do that.

If a player is put on waivers and claimed, the new team must pay his contract, correct?

The contract is with the player, yes. Whatever the terms are. They vary, but whatever the terms of that particular contract are.

And if nobody claims him?

If a player’s not claimed, he’s just like any other player that’s not in the league. He’s a free agent. He can do whatever he wants to do.

He can negotiate with any number of teams?

Absolutely.

And would the new money he gets from the new team be subtracted from what the first team is responsible for?

There are a lot of rules that govern contracts. Those rules are pertinent to the player — how many years he’s been in the league, and so forth. It’s not the same for every player. It would depend on the number of accrued seasons that he’s had in the league and so forth. Each situation is a little bit different depending on what category the player fell into.

Depending on what their status was at the beginning of the season, there’s a number of rules involved. Generally speaking, a player that’s been with a team that’s a vested player at a certain point of the year would earn his entire salary.

What point is that?

It depends. Four games or eight games.

So four if he’s been in the league 10 years?

I don’t know what his status is at the beginning of the year. There’s a number of rules involved. I’m not trying to give you the runaround. There’s a lot of rules involved.

So is it hard for a player to be paid two contracts at one time?

Well, depending on what the guarantees in the contract are, that’s right.

Without asking you to comment on another team’s player can I ask whether you were surprised to hear the news that he was waived?

Honestly, you’re telling me about it, I heard it a few minutes ago. I don’t even know if it’s true, so I don’t know.

Did you see his press conference?

I talked to Randy after the game as well. Look, Randy and I had a long conversation a few weeks ago. I have a lot of respect for him and appreciate the things that he did for us. He said the same to me. The feeling’s mutual.

There doesn’t seem to be any hard feelings following the trade. Is that safe to say?

I wouldn’t speak for anyone else, I’ll speak for myself. I told you how I feel.

Does Moss still command the same attention coverage-wise?

Again, I can’t comment on another team’s players.

Would you say the Patriots played him on Sunday the way many played him while he was with the Pats?

We tried to mix it up yesterday. I think most teams mix it up from time to time. Minnesota’s a hard team to defend. They have a lot of skilled players. They obviously have a very good running back and running game and a very big offensive line. You’re challenged by the running game, you’re challenged by the skill players at tight end, at wide receiver, of course at running back and at quarterback, for that matter.

I don’t think you want to necessarily play the same thing all day against that group. They have too many guys that can kill you. You can take one thing away, maybe, but then you have to deal with everything else. I don’t see any team playing just one way. They have too many weapons. They have too many things you have to worry about. I would put us in that category, too. We tried to change up a little bit and not always do the same thing.

But they can run and go finesse. Favre played a controlled game. Dealing with all that must be tough.

Sure. We know they can go deep, which they did with Percy [Harvin] and they did with Randy. They can throw underneath, they have catch-and-run plays with their screens and their crossing patterns to Harvin. It’s not only the players, it’s also a variety of plays that they run. They go vertically down the field, they run crossing and over routes, they run short catch-an-run plays, and again, you have to defend the running game and all the plays that go with it. Not necessarily that they run them all in one game, but you don’t know that. You still have to defend the reverses, and so forth. Those plays are part of things you have to account for on defense. You don’t know they’re not going to run them.

Against that offense, and given that Favre was hobbled, is the idea to keep him in the pocket?

I think fundamentally, you want to keep just about every quarterback in the pocket. The worst thing is when quarterbacks extend the play, and you have a longer play. That’s where two of the big plays yesterday came from. ‘€¦ Those kind of plays where he has extra time to throw, can really see the field, separate, and fire it in there, those are dangerous plays. I don’t think you ever really want that to happen.

How do you draw up the play that resulted in Brandon Tate’s touchdown?

That was a heck of a play by Tom, and great adjustment by Brandon. Edwards kind of came through — we had pretty good protection to start with on the play — as the play went on and we had to haloed the ball a little bit, Edwards came through, and it looked like he either dove or tumbled right at the last minute, and Tom was able to escape him and scramble out a little bit to his left, spin around and do a pirouette, and fire it down there to Tate. Brandon made a nice catch and did a great job after he beat [Asher] Allen to cut back and run past Madieu Williams for the touchdown. That’s not the way we drew it up.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a great second half, and I noticed that Alge Crumpler had some huge blocks to open up holes for him. How much of that was by design?

We did motion Alge some. We tried to stay balanced, overload the formation, sometimes run to that overload, sometime come back in the middle, and then sometimes come back all the way to the back side of it. We were just trying to stay balanced enough so they wouldn’t know exactly where were going on that.

Alge was at the point of attack on a number of plays. He does a good job, as does the rest of the o-line. They have a good front, as we know. Henderson’s an excellent middle linebacker. He’s a very good tackler. ‘€¦ Even though it looks like they’re going forward, they don’t always go forward. Soemtimes they shoot the gap, and other times you think they’re going to shoot the gap and they shoot sideways, and you miss them. They’re a tough group.

The defense has made progress every week. Is there anything they’re doing now that they weren’t doing as well in the first few games?

I think we’re going a lot of things better and we still have a long way to go. We’re definitely better in the red area. That’s been more competitive, and on the goal line, even though we’ve had a couple of touchdowns scored against us like yesterday, it’s competitive. At least it’s close.

I think our third-down defense is improving. It’s definitely not where we want it to be yet, but it’s getting better. I think we’re having a better coordination between our rush and coverage and being on the receivers a little tighter. We’ve been fortunate to get some turnovers. We didn’t have a lot yesterday, but we’ve had pretty good success turning the ball over through the course of the season, so we really need to keep working on that. Really just more consistency all the way across the board, from the coaching staff to the players to the techniques where we can just keep doing things and get better at them and not change everything from week to week, where we’ve got to re-learn a bunch of new stuff. We can build on what we’ve done in the past to a point. You still have to defend what they’re dong, but we’re probably doing a little more of that.

Danny Woodhead was trusted in a key situation yesterday.

It was a play where Tom was under a lot of pressure. He found Woodhead sneaking through the line there, and Danny made a real good run. One of our emphasis points coming into the game was that our skill players needed to make some yards on their own. We can’t block everybody in order to have successful or big plays. The backs or the tight ends or the receivers or whoever had the ball has to break tackles or elude players or do something to gain some extra yards, and Woody did a great job on that play. ‘€¦ It was very good running on his part. The play didn’t really have the yardage that we needed, but he made it on his own with good running.

There were several of those. BenJarvus had several runs like that, and of course Tate on the long pass turned that play into a touchdown by getting past the safety. The skill players did a good job of that yesterday. They got a lot of yards on their own.

Green-Ellis hits the hole, and his running style of not dancing has helped the offense.

Right. He’s done a good job of that all year, I think since he’s been here, really. All three years he’s done a good job of that. He moves forward, he’s got a lot of power, and he doesn’t take a lot of losses. If we lose yardage, it’s usually because somebody hits him in the backfield and he doesn’t have a chance to get going. If he gets to the line of scrimmage, he can get some momentum, and he makes good decisions, he’s got good vision, and he can find some space, find an opening, and can make positive yards. Overall he does a real good job of that.

Were you surprised that the call wasn’t overturned on the Peterson touchdown?

I was a little bit, because when I saw the replays at the game and after the game, you don’t really get a good look at the ball, which is the problem. I think that’s the reason why they didn’t overturn it, is because he couldn’t see the ball, but it doesn’t look like there’s very much that crosses the plane. I though the play was well defended. ‘€¦ There were a lot of good elements of the play.

McCourty’s ability to strip the ball as a rookie is impressive. How instinctive is he to stick with that play after the catch was seemingly made?

It was a huge play in the game, no question about it. Devin’s very good at that. He has great awareness on the ball. If you remember back to the first preseason game against New Orleans, they were down on the two or three yard line, and they ran the ball and he stripped it out. He did a great job of causing the fumble right there on the goal line as New Orleans was about to score. He has a knack for that and certainly was well-coached at Rutgers, and I know that’s something they work on a lot. It’s one thing to do it in drills, but it’s another thing to have the presence to do it in game situations. Devin does an excellent job of that and he does a lot of practice too. He knocks a lot of balls out of receivers and running backs’ hands in practices. ‘€¦ He does a nice job of that.

Has Cleveland surprised you this season?

They’€™ve played seven games this year and they lost to Pittsburgh and the dominated New Orleans. All the rest have been one possession games But they’€™ve played a lot of good teams, teams that are winning: Atlanta, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, they’€™ve played a really good schedule. Lot of good teams and really every game has come down to the last possession, other than them dominating the Saints. That was an impressive game and then you know we saw New Orleans last night look pretty good against Pittsburgh, so it’€™s kind of scary. The Browns are a good football team, they play everyone tough. They’€™re getting a lot of weapons, very potent team: offense, defense, special teams. Big challenge ahead of us, as you said they have had extra time to prepare. They are way ahead in their preparations; we’€™re kind of just getting started and they’€™ve had however many days they’€™ve put into it. We’€™ve got a lot of catching up to do.

On Colt McCoy:

He’€™s making good decisions. Mobile, active, accurate, he manages the game well, he won a lot of games in college and I don’€™t think the game’€™s too big for him; I think he’€™s got good poise and a good presence on the field. They seem to have a lot of confidence in him, it looks like they have confidence in all their quarterbacks though with Seneca Wallace and [Jake] Delhomme. They play confidently with whomever is in there. There’€™s a little depth deposition for them.

On Joshua Cribbs:

Well not only on special teams but also offensively as well, they use him as a wildcat player and all that. Cribbs is a special player, he’€™s big, he’€™s a big, strong player. That makes him harder to tackle then some of the smaller return guys that we’€™ve faced, so he can run through tackles and can break a lot of tackles but he’€™s instinctive, he’€™s got very good run skills and good speed. He’€™s not super fast but he’€™s fast enough and he’€™s got very good strength, quickness and can make a lot of yards on his own. A lot of times it will look like somebody has him but they just can’€™t get him down.

Will Ben Watson be motivated against his old club?

We have players and coaches that have been in other organizations and when you play that team I think it is a little something extra there. But it’€™s pretty common, we have guys that have been with a lot of different teams and it seems like we play somebody every week that we had or there’€™s some connection to, one way or the other.

What a lot of people don’€™t understand is, in practice when we work against each other, in training camp and all the spring practices, we’€™re out there going against each other every day. If our offense makes the same call and our defense makes the same call, after a period of time our offense knows our defensive calls better than our defense, as soon as they hear a certain word then they do this. So you have to have dummy calls or you have to have two terms that mean the same thing or a term that you use, but where one time it means something and sometimes it doesn’€™t. That’€™s just to work against yourself in practice, otherwise the other side of the ball would know what you were doing ever play. So you’€™re kind of forced to do that anyway. I really don’€™t think it’€™s that big of a deal anyway because we have a much hard time with pur offense vs. our defense, rather than our our offense vs. some other defense that doesn’€™t see us every day.

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