New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answered some questions about the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI game against the New York Giants during his Thursday press conference. Courtesy of Patriots.com.
"It was good to get out on the practice field yesterday. After being off on Tuesday, I thought we had a real good effort from the players. They had a lot of energy. There are still a lot of things to work on. It is starting to come together, so we will polish a few situations up today. We are closing in on it. It's been a good week, and I think the players are really focused and excited to play. It's been a good week of preparation down here."
(on what he thought didn't go well in Wednesday's practice session)
"I probably have used the term 'clean up' a number of times through the year - plays we need a little bit tighter, a step here, a little bit deeper route, a little bit quicker match defensively on a pattern and a little bit better fit. We kind of have the right idea on it. We are doing the right thing, and we understand the concept of it. It just needs to be a little bit better. We run it at practice, and we don't quite have the timing of it how we need. We watch it on film, and we come back the next day and, hopefully, get it right."
(on not having TE
"I think that is something you deal with all year. There are a lot of times when not every player is out there for every practice or can't participate in every practice. You do what you can do, and we will just see how it goes. We'll take it day to day. Of course, we'd love to have everybody out there for every practice all of the time, but it's not the way it is all of the time."
(on facing the Giants' offense and if they need to score a lot of points to win)
"We have to score more points than they do - that's really what it comes down to. However many points that is, we'll just have to see how the game goes. It's really hard when you start going into the game saying it's going to be 51-50, 3-2 or 7-3. I don't think you can coach the game that way or play it that way. You have to go out there and play the game, and as it unfolds and develops, you play it accordingly, like in our first game with the Giants. We go out there and it's 0-0 at half, and there was 45 points, or whatever it was, scored in the second half. It could be the reverse, with 45 points in the first half and nothing in the second half. You just don't know how it is going to go. Every time we go out there offensively, we send the offense out there to score. When we are out there defensively, we go out there and try to stop them. It doesn't make any difference what the score is. That's our goal every time we walk out on the field. I don't know how you can do it any other way."
(on when he gets the sense of team cohesiveness)
"It's a tough question. On a football team you've got a lot of people - a lot of players and coaches. It's a big number relative to other sports. There are a lot of different dynamics and relationships within that team. Overall, this team works hard and prepares well. They care about their performance, they care about their teammates' performances, and they try to be helpful in different ways, whether it's their teammates on their side of the ball or the other side of the ball that you are trying to put a look out for on the field. Again, when you've had a good season like we've had and won a lot of games, it builds the overall feeling and attitude in the locker room. I'd say it's good. I think it's good that the players get along with each another and spend time with each other off the field - that is a positive thing. In the end, it still comes back to the way you perform on the field. Some of that is a little overrated."
(on if he ever considered putting T
"The two things that kept me from doing it were, number one, how good of a player he is and how much he would help our team if he's available, and secondly, his injuries didn't warrant it. Had he not had a chance to return to play, that would have been one thing. That simply wasn't the case, and he has the opportunity to come back through both situations. Hopefully, he will be ready this Sunday."
(on if he is more relaxed at this Super Bowl)
"That's different than it normally is? I don't know. I'll leave that to you and to the experts. Look, I'm just down here trying to coach a team in the biggest game of the year. It is a big challenge for us, but we've earned the right to be here. I'm proud of that, and I think the team is proud of that. Now, we have a big challenge ahead of us. We are going to put everything we have into it, and we will be ready to go out there Sunday. Whatever attitude that is, then that's what it is."
(on his reaction to those who believe that his Super Bowl championships are tarnished in any way by the Patriots' videotaping violation)
"We moved on from everything in the past. We are focused on this game. That's it."
(on what team-building tenets he's lived by during his time with the Patriots)
"Amongst the things is that each year is its own year, that's for sure. I don't think you can really accomplish something this year based on something from some previous year. I think you have to rebuild the foundation every season at the beginning, whether it's in the offseason, or in training camp. You have to rebuild your timing or execution, your awareness and all of those things that go into it. There are a lot of different ways to motivate a team, and there is probably an application to all of them - sometimes it's individual players, and sometimes it's units. Sometimes, it's the entire team. There are a number of different ways to do that. Probably keeping it moving and not saying the same message. Even if you say the same message, say it in a different way. It's probably an effective way for the players to hear it from other people. I've had other people talk to our team. I've shown other examples from other sports of players, coaches and teams performing at a high level, and I try to relate some of the things they do to what we are trying to do. I wouldn't say there is one specific straight-line answer I could give you, but it's a combination of things. It's definitely starting over every year."
(on what tight ends coach Brian Ferentz brings to the Patriots, and on Brian being the son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, who was an assistant under Belichick in Cleveland)
"Brian is very mature for his age, and he has a lot of football experience. He only has a few years of coaching experience and a number of years of playing experience at Iowa and in the NFL with the Falcons. I think that the whole life experience of growing up in a coaching family, growing up with a coach and having football in your blood almost from the day you were born, you pick up some things by osmosis and being around it. I know that is the case with him, as it was with me and many others who have lived the life in a football family. Kirk (Ferentz)
is a great friend of mine and a tremendous coach. I have so much respect for Kirk for what he did for me in Cleveland in his coaching career, and Brian has learned from probably the best. I don't think that anyone does it any better than Kirk does, and Brian brings that overall awareness, instinctiveness and that aptitude for the game. I think the game comes easy to him in terms of techniques, Xs and Os and schemes because of his experience with it. He's done a great job in all of the responsibilities that he has, particularly in the development of our young tight ends. Even though he is young in age, he's much more experienced in terms of overall football knowledge."
(on common traits of four Rutgers players on Patriots roster - DB
"I think all four players are very team-oriented, and they come from a great program. I think that program has, under Coach (Greg) Schiano, prepared their players well for the NFL. I think if you look around the NFL, you see a lot of players from Rutgers in the league, not necessarily all of them are high draft choices like (Devin)McCourty, also including other players who were not drafted or lower draft choices. They've made teams, and I think that speaks to the preparation of that program in terms of getting players ready to play in the NFL - how to prepare, how to work, how to train, how to compete, how to play football similar to the way it is played in the NFL. Those four players have done a good job for us. In terms of the program, you can see those types of players on a lot of teams. When they get to the NFL, most of those players end up making it, at least for a while."
(on if it is smarter to keep TE Rob Gronkowski off the practice field until Sunday)
"If that is what the medical people recommend that we do, that is what it will be."
(on what LB
"Jerod is another very good player who came out early, and who had a very productive career at Tennessee. I think that he does a lot of things well on the football field that you could see when we evaluated him in college. He is active, he makes a lot of tackles, has good range, is fast and quick and diagnoses and recognizes plays quickly. We saw that in college, and we see that in the NFL. I think what we didn't see much of in college, that has been extraordinary, has been his leadership, dedication and work ethic. He really is one of our best leaders on the team, and that would start the first day of our offseason program and end on the last day of the season. He sets the pace. He will be the first one there and the last one to leave. He will know the most about all of our calls and adjustments on defense as Tom (Brady) does on offense. The game runs through him. (Safeties coach) Matt Patricia makes the calls into Jerod, and Jerod calls the signals and makes the adjustments and checks we need to make. We value his ability to stay calm under pressure, make good decisions, communicate well, be totally prepared and be physically be able to really do everything that a linebacker needs to do in terms of run, tackle, play the run, the pass, man coverage, zone coverage and the kicking game. He is versatile and very valuable with a lot of intelligence, leadership and work ethic. He's got a great unselfishness about him. It's never about him, it's about what's best for the team. What makes him so well-respected in the locker room and on our football team is how committed he is to the entire team."