Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick On Ray Rice: He’s A Tough Guy To Handle

BB: We’re coming into the home stretch here today. I feel like the players have worked hard this week. As I said earlier, the Ravens are a real challenging team to get ready for, they do a lot of things well, they have a lot of good players, they’re well coached. We’ve had to work hard on the preparation to get ready for these guys, but I think it is coming together. We’ll go out there and polish some things up for these guys, get a little review on some situations and hopefully we’ll be ready to go Sunday afternoon.

Q: What has Lardarius Webb been doing that has allowed him to have such great production this year?

BB: He’s played both inside and outside for them. They’ve bumped him inside into the nickel position when they brought Jimmy Smith into the game. They’ve been doing that more recently. Webb is a real good athlete – he’s fast, he’s quick, he’s a tough kid, not the biggest guy but he’s strong and he tackles well. He definitely will throw his body around in there and be physical which you don’t see from every corner. He’s got good ball skills; punt return guy, obviously has good hands and has real good ball skills. He’s made some real good plays on the ball down the field. He’s got real good quickness and can run.

Q: In light of what happened with Joe Flacco this week, is that something that you would prefer your players didn’t talk publicly about each other?

BB: I’m not really too worried about what’s going on in their locker room. I’m just trying to get our team ready to go here. I don’t really care about that. Hopefully we’re ready to play a good football game Sunday – that’s what I’m concerned about.

Q: Can you talk about the challenges of defending Ray Rice?

BB: Ray has done it all for them too – good inside runner, he’s got good balance, he’s strong, you see him push the pile and run through tackles by defensive linemen and linebackers he’s obviously got the speed to get outside, speed to go the distance. He reads blocks well; he’s got good vision, excellent receiver. They use him on short passes like screens and check downs and things like that. Of course again, he’s tough on those but they also use him down the field, on some vertical routes, wheel routes coming out of the backfield, that kind of thing. He’s thrown the halfback pass so you have to be careful on that. He’s a good all-around player – their leading receiver, leading rusher. He runs inside, runs outside, catches the ball near the line of scrimmage and down the field. He makes you defend the whole field. He’s a tough guy to handle.

Q: Do you even look back at film from the 2009 game?

BB: Of course, we’ve seen the last three games we played against them in the previous two years, ’09 and ’10. Definitely we’ve seen those. There are some things that we can see from that. There are also a lot of changes from where they are now; where we are now relative to the 2010 game and the two games in ’09. But yeah, definitely we’ve seen those, sure.

Q: Is there a point at the end of the week where you personally can sit down and relax or are you in go-mode all week long?

BB: Yeah, I think you get to a certain point here at the end of the week where you’re going at a fast pace early in the week, trying to get the scouting report, trying to get the information on the team that you’re playing, regardless of whether you’ve played them or not, doesn’t matter. Then you get into the process of the game plan and you try to pull everything together as you go through the week with the game plan Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there are always things that come up that you need to kind of rethink or now that you’ve really had a chance to see this against multiple things, maybe you’re thinking of it in one particular situation but what if it’s something else? You have problems, things that happen during the week that you have to work your way through and then you see how your team handles all that. Sometimes you come out of there on Thursday, like last night, sometimes you come out of there after a Thursday practice and you say ‘I think we can add this, we can add that, this would be good in this situation.’ And do that. There are other Thursdays where you are saying, ‘We can’t handle what we’ve got here, we have to get rid of this, this and that.’ And, ‘We don’t want to add anything more; we just have to go with what we’ve got. Let’s get rid of this stuff, let’s don’t make the players worry about these calls, we’re not going to call that. We’ll call this instead.’ But you just don’t know that on Monday, you don’t know it on Tuesday, sometimes you don’t know it until Thursday. Occasionally, you even do a little bit of that on Friday after practice after you’ve gone through it one more time. You say, ‘You know, I just, I don’t think we’ve really got this, let’s go with something else.’ Or, ‘I do feel like we have it, it hasn’t been perfect in practice but I think we’ll be able to get it in the game.’ So you’re still making those kind of decisions. I think once you get to that point, you kind of relax a little bit. Then you come back into your real game preparations where you think about decisions and situations in games and how you want to start the game. Let’s face it, nothing is going to change between now and game time as far as tendencies or film breakdown or anything else. It is what it is and you have to decide, do you want to start the game with this play or do you want to start the game with that play? You want to run this play next, you want to run that play next. We have a whole bunch of plays, you have to start with something.
Whatever that is, then you prepare for those and make your adjustments off of that. I think there is a little bit of a lull and then it comes back up again.

Q: Bill Walsh used to practice on Saturday nights and then just shut down football.

BB: I can see that, sure.

Q: Do you ever turn off football or are you always thinking about it?

BB: I think a little bit of it just depends on the situation. There are games, Saturday night where I can remember staying up and wanting to go through something one more time. Then there are other Saturday nights where you watch a college game on TV or you just go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep and start in the morning. I think it’s just how you feel at that point in time. Sometimes you go through the Saturday night meetings with the players and something comes up. If you’re not sure then they’re probably not sure. Maybe you need to go back and do it one more time. I’m not going to be able to get to sleep until I really, like I have to get this straight in my head before I can get it to them. A lot of times you come out of a meeting feeling like, ‘We’ve got it, we just have to go play.’ Each week is different, for me anyway, every week is different. Preparation is different, the practices are different. What you need to do at the end of the week, whether that’s talking to an individual guy, whether that’s the way you want to handle the whole team, whatever you want to try to emphasize leading right up to the game in the final meetings or hours, I think that sometimes is a reaction to where you are at that particular point. You don’t know that at the beginning of the week, at least I don’t.

Q: When the no-huddle offense is working at full speed, how would you describe the effect it has on a defense?

BB: You’d have to ask the defenses about that. I just think offensively you try to operate as efficiently as you can. Certainly there are lot of advantages to huddling everybody up and getting everybody together and calling whatever you want to call. There are advantages to going quickly and getting on the line of scrimmage and going at a faster pace. I think when you do one, you give up the other. You just have to understand what the strengths and weaknesses are and what you want to do. If you want to go fast, then you get up there and go fast, then you leave behind some other things. You want to huddle up, you can get everybody together, call whatever you want to call but you’re not going fast. I don’t think there is a right or wrong or it’s this or it’s that. It’s whatever your preference is for whatever your game plan reasons are.

Q: What does this week feel like? Does it feel like the hay is in the barn?

BB: We still have another practice here. Let’s see how things go today. I think we’ve made some progress this week. Obviously, we’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve gotten some things right in practice. There are some things that we need to go back and clean up. We’ll do some of that today. We’ll review everything in the kicking game and some situational things. We’ll see how that turns out.