NY Giants vs NE Patriots: Coach’s Edition

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Bill Belichick:

Q: Do you have any special emotions playing the Giants for the first time since the Super Bowl?
A: We are playing against a good football team that is 5-2 and that is where we are at. We know that we have to play well and it is going to take our best effort. Hopefully we will be able to do that on Sunday. That is where I am this week.

Q: Do you remember that game against the Giants?
A: That was a long time ago and our focus is this week. I don’t think that game will have too much bearing on this one.

Q: What kind of year is Wes Welker having for you?
A: Wes has done a good job and has been returning some punts for us. He is a smart player that has been productive. He has really done a good job of blocking as well as receiving. He had a couple big blocks for us in the Jets game when we were running out the clock. He had a big block on the sweep. He has done a good job all the way around and has been well prepared. He has caught the ball well, done a good job of getting open and run after the catch.

Q: If you were trying to cover Welker, how would you?
A: That is why we traded for him from Miami because we couldn’t cover him when he was down there.

Q: What is going on defensively for your team this year?
A: We are around the middle in points. We have given up more yards and points than we would like to. Hopefully we can work hard on that and try to improve it.

Q: What is the difference this year with your secondary?
A: Your matchups are different each week with who your opponents are, what plays they run and who they have. We just have to work hard each week and try to do a good job against our opponent that particular week. Certainly with the Giants and the quarterback, receivers, backs and tight ends they have, it will be a good challenge for us on Sunday. They have good matchups; they are well coached and have a good scheme. We will have to figure out the best thing we can do to matchup this week against the Giants.

Q: What is Devin McCourty struggling with this year?
A: I think Devin is a good solid player for us and I am glad he is on our team. I know he is working hard to do whatever he can to continue to improve. That is what we all are doing.

Q: How has Eli Manning changed since the Super Bowl?
A: I think he came into the league as a pretty good quarterback and he is still a pretty good quarterback. I am sure there are a lot of little things that he has worked on and improved on. Overall, he makes good decisions, he is accurate and he handles the team well. He did that before. I thought he was good last time we played him. We play them every year in the preseason, I know those games aren’t the same but we at least watch him on film. He always looked pretty solid to me.

Q: Do you see Eli Manning as a top 5 quarterback?
A: I don’t rank them. We just compete against the players we play each week. He is a good player and he does a lot of things well. We will do our best to try to defend him this week.

Q: What are your impressions of Tom Coughlin?
A: Tom and I go back since when we were with the Giants and I have a lot of respect for Tom. He does a great job and he really helped me a lot when I was with the Giants. He came in as the receivers coach and I was the defensive coordinator. I moved to the secondary when Al Grow came in. Al coached the linebackers. Tom and I had a good relationship there because we worked against each other every day in one-on-one, seven-on-seven and different passing drills. He talked a lot about how the receivers would attack different coverages with different techniques and we talked about different receivers. I learned a lot during those years with Tom, as the defensive backs coach. It definitely helped me from an offensive perspective that he was able to help me with. After the ‘90 season, I went off to Cleveland and came up here and he went to Jacksonville and New York. I will always have respect for Tom. He works hard and is a tough, hardworking guy who puts a lot of time in. I know his teams are well prepared, I know he is very thorough and demands a lot from his players and his team. I have a lot of respect for that. We try to do the same thing.

Q: What are things that you learned from him?
A: Tom and I talk from time to time at the owners meetings and stuff like that. We competed against him up in Jacksonville. We had to face him in the playoffs a couple times so it is harder to talk directly about your team or personnel things like that because they are the competition. It is a lot easier when we were together or when he was in college and I was in the NFL. Now we are in different conferences and that helps. I remember going to visit him when the World Cup games were here in 94. I always had a good relationship with Tom and his family. It all started in New York. We have gone our separate ways but we have stayed in touch. I always admired what Tom has done, whether it was at BC, Jacksonville or with the Giants. He is a good football coach, good person and good man. He treats people fairly, he is honest and he is tough. I respect all those things.

Q: Is he the type of coach you are ok with losing a Super Bowl to?
A: I think you coach the Super Bowl to win it.

Q: What kind of challenge does the Giants defensive line present?
A: A huge challenge. Most times a team may have one player that is the caliber of a rusher that you have to game plan for but the Giants have about five of them. They have so many guys and they are all very good. They have great speed and athleticism, great pass rush technique, they get off on the ball well, they are a hard group to block. Perry does a good job of scheming and putting them in different positions so you don’t know where Pierre-Paul is going to be or Tuck or Kiwanuka. Sometimes it is hard to find them and it is hard to block them so they present a huge challenge just in their depth, quality and speed. It is as good of a group as I have seen in a long time.

Q: Does Hakeem Nicks change what you do if he does or does not play?
A: We prepare for every guy on the active roster every week. We don’t have any control over who does or doesn’t play for our opponents so we prepare for all of them. Even if they are on the practice squad and we think they could potentially be brought up because of a late week situation. We prepare for all those situations and whichever player doesn’t play, then we concentrate on the ones that do play. It is no different for any player or any week. We all know that on the first play of the game, that situation could change anyway. One of the players could be playing and could not be playing for them or us. That is all a part of our weekly preparation every week.

Q: Does Hakeem Nicks deserve a lot of attention?
A: Of course he does, he is a great player. I am not saying that they are all the same but we prepare for all the receivers and all the guys that they have. If one of them doesn’t play, then we have to defend the ones that do. There is going to be someone out there and whoever it is is a good player or they wouldn’t be on the team and the Giants wouldn’t put them on the field. Whoever it happens to be, we have to be ready for them.

Q: Do you think you can coach until your 70?
A: I don’t know, long term for me is Sunday afternoon against the Giants. I haven’t thought too much past that and that is keeping me busy right now. I am just going to try to do the best I can to have our team ready on Sunday. We are playing a good football team that I know is well coached and well prepared. They are playing well and hot right now. They have won a bunch of games. We are going to have to do a good job and that is really the extent of my long term future.

Q: Do you still have the same energy that you had in the past?
A: Yes, I feel good. I enjoy all the different aspects of the season and getting young players in to work with them. The game planning, scouting, practices and film work. It beats working and it is great to be a part of this organization with Mr. Kraft and all the support people that we have here providing us the things we need to be competitive. I feel like I have the energy to do it this week and do a better job of it than I did last week.

The coaches definitely have a lot of respect for each other and faith in their respective teams. But what do their fans think? Let’s hear from you.


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