- It Is What It Is - http://itiswhatitis.weei.com -

Bill Belichick: Bills game gave us a lot to work on

Patriots coach Bill Belichick [1] said Monday that despite the win over the Bills, they still have plenty of things to work on as they start preparation for Sunday’s game against the Colts at Gillette Stadium [2].

“I think we missed a number of opportunities in every area of the game,” Belichick said on a conference call with reporters when asked about Sunday’s win over the Bills. “We couldn’€™t get the ball in on the goal line, gave up yardage in the running game and the passing game, had a couple tipped balls that we got away with that were pretty dangerous plays, didn’€™t do well on third down defensively. You can go through the game and pick them out. There were a number of things that we can certainly work harder at to get better.”

At one point in Monday’s conference call, Belichick acknowledged the fact that the Patriots were “lucky that [Sunday], we were not really at our best but still able to win and make enough plays to win,” while alluding to Devin McCourty [3]‘s fourth-quarter interception that sealed the victory.

But he added that sometimes, that goes both ways, noting that New England’s three losses came in a combined four points.

“We’€™ve also been in a couple games kind of like that that we didn’€™t win,” he said. “You hate to leave it to come down to one play like that, have a little more control of the game than that. That’€™s the National Football League [4] too. There are an awful lot of games that come down to that one possession, one play, whatever it is. The fact that we made it against the Jets or made it against Buffalo or didn’€™t make it against Arizona, that’€™s kind of the nature of the NFL a little bit too.”

Belichick also talked about this week’s arrival of cornerback Aqib Talib [5], saying that they were looking forward to getting him on the field for the first practice of the week on Wednesday. (For more on Belichick’s thoughts on Talib, click HERE [6].)

Here’s the rest of the highlights of Belichick’s Q&A:

Is the Jeff Tarpinian release a corresponding move to be able to activate Aqib Talib?

“We don’€™t have anything to announce on that right now. We’€™ll give you something as soon as we have a definite roster move to make.”

Can you describe what Danny Woodhead [7] has done here that has raised your expectation level of him?

“Danny has been consistent for us, has been productive for us for three years now. He’€™s done a good job of taking advantage of his opportunities. He only had one carry yesterday, but it was a big one. Buffalo was in some man-to-man coverage and he was able to uncover on the linebackers, get free there for a touchdown catch. He also made a couple other plays in the passing game. He’€™s a guy that knows his role and is prepared and when you need him. I think we’€™ve been able to count on him to step up and make the plays that he has given the opportunity that is presented. He’€™s gained all of our confidence in doing that a number of times; he did it again yesterday. It’€™s always great to see that.”

What happened in the opening toss in the game? When you guys won the toss did you think the Bills had chosen to defend a side instead of taking the ball?

“No, that’€™s what it looked like to me too. We won the toss, we elected to defer and then I thought they elected to defend the end away from the lighthouse. That’€™s what [Referee Bill] Leavy signaled and then we had our kickoff return team out there. We were down at the other end, at the lighthouse end and at first I thought that they had won the toss and elected to defer. But I thought that I heard him say ‘€“ but it’€™s hard to hear in the stadium, when the loudspeaker announces it, it’€™s hard to hear what they’€™re saying with the crowd noise and everything. I thought it was exactly what you’€™re saying it was and then we had our kickoff return team getting ready to go out there and I just wanted to make sure of that. I couldn’€™t get to Leavy, but I talked to one of the other officials on our sideline and said, ‘€˜Then it would still be our choice in the second half right, because we deferred?’€™ So then he went over to check with it and Leavy came running over to me. I saw him talking to Chan [Gailey] over there and then he came over and said to myself and the other official that I was questioning, he said that he had given the wrong signal and that Buffalo had chosen to take the ball after we deferred. Then he wanted to confirm that we were going to defend that same goal and kick toward the lighthouse. That’€™s when I had the conversation with him, like ‘€˜What happened here?’€™ and he said that Buffalo had made the choice to take the ball, but he had mis-communicated it or mis-signaled it or whatever but here’€™s what it is and it’€™s not as you described it or as I thought it was, but this is what it’€™s going to be: you guys won the toss, you deferred, they chose to take the ball and you’€™re choosing to take this end and that’€™s the way it is. So, we took our kickoff team and dropped them and moved over to the other end and started to go over our kickoff coverage. So it was kind of confusing.”

The quick snap has been fairly successful for you guys. On Stevan Ridley’€™s touchdown run it looked like Tom Brady [8] snapped the ball quickly. But at the end of the game how do you balance it? You want to catch the defense off guard with the quick snap, but you’€™re also managing clock.

“Right, yeah. If it doesn’€™t work, if you don’€™t get it in, then you certainly would be better not doing it and taking more time off the clock. If we had gotten it in and made it a two-score game, I don’€™t want to say that would have sealed it, but it certainly would have made it a two-possession game for Buffalo instead of the one-possession game that it ended up being. That’€™s the dilemma there: if you try to manage the clock and you don’€™t complete the execution of the situation, then that’€™s not really successful and if you don’€™t complete the situation, then it’€™s not successful and if you don’€™t manage the clock, then that’€™s not successful. When you try to sometimes do too much managing of the clock, then the criticism is you should just do what you’€™re doing to be successful and why change at that point? Right, that’€™s the balance you’€™re trying to strike. Bottom line is you have to execute the situation. If you do that, then that’€™s good and if you don’€™t, then there will be plenty of ‘€˜what if?’€™”