Belichick: We're Focused On Indianapolis

New England coach Bill Belichick participated in a conference call with the Indianapolis media this week. See what the Patriots' coach had to say about taking on the Colts again, how Matt Cassel is adjusting, what his team will have to watch out for from Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, what he thinks about the Colts' run defense, and more!

On playing so often it seeming like the two teams are still in the same division:

"It just about seems like it. It's every year, at least once."

On if it seems different this time without Tom Brady and the Colts offense struggling:

"No, not really. I think there's certainly a lot of familiar faces all the way around. There's changes, but that's true every year. There's always something a little bit different each year. Certainly the Colts look like the same explosive team that we always know they are. The first quarter against Baltimore, the fourth quarter, the last six minutes against Houston, the opening drive against Jacksonville. They can put a lot of points on the board in a hurry and turn the ball over a lot on defense, a very good pursuing team, ball-stripping, takeaway team. And they're out covering kicks well, creating a lot of good field position in the kicking game, too."

On DE-Richard Seymour being a complete player:

"He's a good one. He does a lot of things well. He's got good talent, a smart guy, works hard. He's powerful, but he's very athletic at the same time with a big frame. He can be hard to block."

On how much pride they take in being 5-2 despite all the injuries:

"Really right now we're just focused on Indianapolis. It doesn't really matter what anybody's record is. It's the next game. We want to do our best to prepare and be ready to come out there and be competitive against them. We know we have our work cut out for this week. It's a hard team to get ready for. We've had some great matchups with them in the past. All of our concentration and focus is on this game and we aren't really thinking too much about what has or hasn't happened in the past."

On how he would assess QB-Matt Cassel's progress:

"Well, Matt took a lot of snaps for us in preseason and training camp, and then in the first quarter of our opening game, he's taken all the snaps at quarterback since then. He's improved through the course of the year and through the course of his four years here, like you would expect any player to that works hard and is conscientious. Matt has some experience in our system and now he's gaining some playing experience. I think that he's been able to benefit from both of those and learn from his mistakes and build on the positive things and just try to keep getting a little better each week, and I think he's done that."

On allowing 29 sacks this season and if that's from transitioning to a new quarterback?:

"That's team offense. I think everything's a little bit of a part of it. I think everybody on offense has a certain accountability for it, receivers getting open, quarterback getting rid of the ball, linemen blocking, backs and tight ends, blitz pick-up. It hasn't been any one thing. We've had more than we'd like to have. We're trying to work hard to cut back on that and eliminate turnovers and get the ball downfield for positive yardage in the passing game."

On DEs-Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney:

"They are as good as we'll see. Everybody talks about their speed rushes—and they're dynamic speed rushers, both of them—but they have a great variety of moves, Freeney's inside spin and a speed to power, and Mathis can come inside. They're outstanding players, big-play guys, not just sacks, but strip-sacks and cause a lot of fumbles and tipped balls and all those other kind of disruptive plays, too. They're really outstanding players, and the Colts have a lot of other good players on defense to go with them, but those two guys play their position extremely well. They're tough."

On if he sees any improvement in the Colts run defense in the last month:

"I think the run defense has been good. I don't know how it can be much better. Teams are gaining, what, about three yards a carry, and good running teams, too — Tennessee, Green Bay, Baltimore. So they've done a good job. They're doing a great job all the way across the board. They're linebackers are fast and tackle well, disruptive up front. (Melvin) Bullitt or (Antoine) Bethea, dropping down into the front sometimes, corners are tackling well. (Marlin) Jackson's strong out there, or when he's in the slot in those sub-runs. He's done a good job on that. He hurt us on that last year, making some good tackles there in the running game in their nickel defense. They're a fast team, they're a good tackling team. It's just hard to get away from them. They pursue relentlessly and they tackle well."

On if he thinks Bob Sanders will play or if it matters:

"Sanders is a great player. I certainly don't want to take anything away from him. Like I said, they're giving up about three yards a carry to Baltimore, Green Bay and Tennessee. So if he was in there maybe it would have only been two, but he's an outstanding player. Certainly he deserves all the accolades he gets. He's fast, tough, instinctive, around the ball a lot. He's a guy you have to account for. But I think (Melvin) Bullitt's done a good job when he's had to play for him. I think Bullitt's done a real good job. He's come up with the ball a couple of times, made a lot of tackles, still shows up in the kicking game. It looks to me like all three of those guys (Sanders, Bullitt, Antoine Bethea), whichever one of them are in there, they've been productive."


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