Bill Belichick on being 1-2: ‘We don’t talk about records’
|09.26.12 at 8:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Leave it to Bill Belichick to put perspective on his team uncharacteristic 1-2 start.
Reporters descended on Gillette Stadium Wednesday to try and get a feel for a team that is under .500 for the first time since being 0-1 to start the 2003 season. Every week, Belichick has a message for his team. With his team losing two of its first three, Belichick was asked what his message was this week.
“I talked about getting ready to go against Buffalo,” Belichick said.
How would he describe being 1-2 to start the season, reminded that it’s obviously unfamiliar territory for his Patriots.
“We don’t talk about records,” Belichick answered.
But the Patriots coach DID talk about the Bills, a team that is 2-1 and could go two games up on the Patriots if they repeat last year’s win in Orchard Park this Sunday.
“We’ve been spending a couple days here on Buffalo,” Belichick said of the Bills, who have beaten the Chiefs and Browns in the last two weeks. “Real impressive the last two weeks, they had big wins over Kansas City and Cleveland. Just a real well balanced football team, Chan [Chan Gailey] and his staff have done a great job, as they usually do. They give you a lot of things to prepare for. They’re very solid defensively, good front. Good guys in the secondary, good cover players, very disruptive group up front.
“Kicking game has been explosive with [Leodis McKelvin] McKelvin. Offensively, of course they do a great job of getting the ball to everybody ‘ backs, tight ends, receivers. Quarterback is active. Offensive line is solid. They have a lot of good players, good scheme. I’m sure it will be a hostile environment for us Sunday, like it was last year up there, like it usually is on the road for us. That will be a challenge for us to deal with that. We have a lot of work to do here this week and start trying to string a couple days together here and get ready to go.”
There will be plenty of talk this week about the pass rush and defensive line of the Bills – and for good reason. In Mario Williams, former Patriot Mark Anderson, Alex Carrington, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, they present one of the most formidable hurdles the Patriots offensive line will see this season.
“Kyle Williams … he’s a very disruptive player,” Belichick began. “Carrington, Dareus, certainly Williams and Mark Anderson, the ends. They’re big, athletic, active. Kyle Williams is hard to block whether he’s long or not but they do have some length up there.”
Here is the rest of Bill Belichick Q and A from Wednesday:
Q: Do they put a lot of responsibility on their front four and leave the back seven guys to deal with other responsibilities?
BB: Yeah, I would say they don’t have a lot of secondary blitzes. They do some but not a lot. What they do is very similar to what they did at the end of the year last year. They kind of made a transition during the season and the way they finished the year is similar, scheme-wise, to the way they’ve played this year defensively.
Q: What do Mario Williams and Mark Anderson bring to the front four?
BB: We know Mark. Mark is very athletic; long guy, with good speed, good quickness. Mario is a big athlete, 300-pound kid that is strong and physical and is certainly a big element, is a power rusher when he wants to, although he’s athletic enough to run the edge and play in space too. [Chris] Kelsay has been out there, which we have a long history with him. He’s another good edge player that has a good repertoire of pass moves.
Q: It’s not sealed yet, but there seems to be progress between the officials and the league. Would that be welcome news?
BB: Just trying to concentrate on trying to get our team ready to play Buffalo, that’s all I’m doing.
Q: When it comes to closing out games, oftentimes a team has to change its mindset. A close-out drive could be just as important to you as a scoring drive. What are some of the things you’d like to see your team improve offensively in those situations?
BB: It’s not about scoring at that point, it’s about running out the clock and that’s making first downs. If that’s the situation in the game, then that’s what our goal is, that’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: Is it a difficult transition to go from the pushing it down the field in fast fashion trying to score points for 56 minutes and then trying to kill clock for the last four?
BB: Every end of the game situation is unique, whether you’re, whatever it is, must onside kick or hands team or all-out punt rushes or four-minute offense or four-minute defense. The situation changes so you have to be ready to adapt to those situations at the end of the game. We talk about them every week. They’re usually all different, to a point. Even when they’re the same, there’s usually a different element to them. That’s football. That’s what makes football the great sport that it is. There are some many things that can happen at the end of the game, so many different situations. Those strategic situations have to be played a certain way, whatever your strategy happens to be. But there’s an element of strategy there that’s unique to this game and that’s what makes it great. Do we have to adjust? Yeah, sure. But that’s a weekly part of our preparation and adjustment. I don’t think it’s anything that’s foreign to us; we just have to do a better job.
Q: Would you be surprised if you were fined today?
BB: I’ve already commented on that the other day and I don’t have anything to add. Whatever the league decides to do, I’ll respect and just keep trying to do my job.
Q: Have you had any contact with the league about the situation?
BB: I don’t have any more to add to it. No more.
Q: What can you tell us about Terrell McClain?
BB: Came out a couple years ago; a defensive tackle, more of an inside player out of South Florida, athletic guy. We spent some time with him before the draft. We’ll see how it looks here.
Q: What are you seeing from the offensive backfield? I know they’ve had some injuries, how does that alter what they’re doing?
BB: I’d say whoever they give the ball to is making yards. They’ve all made yards, they’re all good backs. [C.J.] Spiller has obviously had a great start and has put up tremendous numbers, nine yards a carry or whatever it is [9.3 avg]. I don’t want to take anything away from [Fred] Jackson or [Tashard] Choice, they’re really good, too. They break tackles, they run hard and they’ve made yards. I think whoever they give it to, it looks like has been productive for them.
Q: Is that also a credit to their offensive line?
BB: Sure. They have a couple young guys up there ‘ [Eric] Wood, [Andy] Levitre, [Kraig] Urbik ‘ that group is starting to build up some time together and experience. [Cordy] Glenn is doing a good job for them, [Erik] Pears is back from last year. Yeah, they complement each other well, they run the ball well, they play-action well, they throw well, they keep you off balance, they spread the field a lot and do all those things from all those formations, except from empty. There’s not a lot of running game in empty. But other than that, they spread the field and they keep you off balance. They use all those elements, so you have to defend everything, you have to defend all the receivers, you have to defend the running game which they’ve been productive with play-action, bootlegs, things like that. They do a real good job and the running game certainly helps the passing game; the passing game helps the running game.
Q: Does Ryan Fitzpatrick look any different to you this year? Has he progressed any differently this year than past years?
BB: He looked pretty good last year. He’s looked good, period. I think he’s doing the same things. He spreads the ball around, gets the ball to the open receivers, kind of takes what the defense gives him. He’s not a guy that’s going to stand back there and hold the ball a long time. He’s going to get it, find somebody that’s open, give it to them and let them go. He’s athletic, he’s got good quickness in the pocket, he can avoid the rushers and also escape outside on bootlegs, roll-outs, scrambles, things like that. He has certainly an element of running with the ball, he becomes the sixth receiver in some of the third-and-medium situations [and] he can easily pick up the first down. He’s got that part of his game too. Overall, he manages the team well. He’s a smart guy, does a good job of recognizing defenses, taking advantage of weaknesses and getting the ball to players who can make plays, which they’ve got a lot of them.
Q: What makes Buffalo such a difficult place to play? You guys have had some really tough games up there?
BB: It’s difficult when they play well. They have a good team, they play well. It’s tough to play any good team, I don’t care where you play them. You play them at home, you play them on the road, you play them at neutral site ‘ good football teams are hard to play. Buffalo is a good team. We’ve always had very competitive games against them. We had two competitive games against them last year. I wouldn’t expect it to be any different. Of course, they’re playing at home, crowd gets energized and all that, but we see that pretty much every week on the road. Buffalo fans are behind their team like they should be. The team has given them a lot to be excited about, so I’m sure there will be a lot of energy there.
Q: Overall is Buffalo a bit of a stronger team this year as opposed to previous years?
BB: I think they’ve been good. They were good last year; they’re good this year. They’ve added some players; they’ve added some very good players. Those players are playing well and they’re productive for them. They certainly haven’t gotten any worse.