INDIANAPOLIS – Friday brings the final media sessions of the week for the Colts and Patriots.
Along with some quotes from Julian Edelman, below has Bill Belichick meeting the media on Friday morning.
Here are Belichick and Edelman talking Colts:
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICKQ: What have you seen from Anthony Castonzo in his fifth year?
BB: Yeah, he's done a good job for them.
Q: Is there anything in particular you've noticed from him?
BB: Anybody that plays left tackle in this league has got a lot of challenges every week.
Q: How much extra works typically comes from preparing for an opponent that doesn't know or is choosing not to say who is going to play quarterback?
BB: We prepare for all guys on the active roster. We just don't prepare for one guy. It wouldn't make any difference. Last week, [Tony] Romo was out, so we didn't have to prepare for Romo, but it was [Brandon] Weeden, it was [Matt] Cassel, [Kellen] Moore – we don't know what they're going to do. And after the first play of the game, anything can happen. Whoever you think is in there could be somebody else anyways. It's the same thing with [Blake] Bortles or [Ben] Roethlisberger or any of those guys. Roethlisberger is there to start a game, can't finish the game and he's not there the next week. That's the NFL. It's like that at every positon. We know who the players are, we know who the backups are we think based on what we know, what we've seen, what we anticipate to happen. Who would be the next perimeter corner, who would be the next inside corner, who would be the next safety, who would be the next dime guy? Maybe they wouldn't use dime; maybe they'd use nickel. Who would be the next nickel guy? Whatever it is, we have to be ready for that. It's one play away from happening. We always prepare for all the players that are on the active roster. Then we come to the game and before the game we cross off the seven guys who are inactive. So, OK, this week they only have two tight ends active or they only have, whatever, five linebackers. Or here are the guys who are inactive – whether they're injured or whether they're inactive for other reasons, whatever it happens to be – then before the game, that hour, well the meeting we have before the game after the inactive list has come out and we can cross some guys off, and maybe that gives us an indication, a little bit more information of maybe what type of game it might be. If a team has got maybe it looks like extra DBs active for our game and maybe less defensive linemen, maybe that's an indication it's going to be more of a nickel game. Or vice versa, a team keeps extra tight ends and running backs and fewer receivers, maybe it's an indication they're going to try to play bigger, that type of thing. But until that point, we work with everybody. With all due respect, I know a lot of people live and die on the injury report, but I don't really care what's on the injury report. Look, I don't know how these guys are going to be, either. We can put down whatever we want. But they're humans – some get better, some stay the same, some don't get better. There is no way to know for sure, and there are a lot of times it comes down to game-time decisions. I'm saying that about our team, and I'm with them and I'm talking to our doctors and trainers every day, but other teams, they're going through the same thing, too. Just because a guy is on the injury report, and whatever he's listed as, that doesn't really mean anything. Guys that aren't well can make quick recoveries. Guys that are well can not turn the corner. So, we're ready for those guys, too. Honestly, I don't even care what's on the injury report. I really don't even look at it. Unless the guy is definitely out, then OK. If he's not, then to me, we've got to be ready for him.
Q: How often do you alter your game plan after the inactives are announced?
BB: I guess it would depend on what's on that list, but I'd say probably not too much. Look, you know a lot more after two series into the game than you will after looking at that inactive list. Obviously if there was a player that was a critical player for you in your game plan that wasn't going to play, then maybe that would alter something a little bit. You're going to double a receiver, and the receiver is inactive for the game, then OK, we're not going to double him. That knocks that call out. Do you replace that with a different call or do you go the next guy, or do you just say, OK were not going to double anybody. Here's what we're going to do. But I'd say those situations are not that frequent. If you had that situation going into the game, like OK this guy has got a bad hamstring, not sure whether he'd be ready to go or not, then we're going to sit there and say, alright if the guy plays then here's what we're going to do. If he doesn't play or maybe he doesn't play all the time because we know he's dealing with something, maybe he's in on some plays and out on some plays, then we wouldn't game plan him when he's not on the field. There really aren't too many of those situations where out of the blue somebody that you think is going to play that's a very significant part of the game plan totally catches you by surprise. But if that were to happen – say a guy got suspended or he had a family member die or whatever, came down with some bug or something the day before the game – it's no different than if he got hurt on the second play of the game. You make that added adjustment.
PATRIOTS WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMANQ: What differences do you notice about the Colts' defense this year as opposed to last year?
JE: They're playing very aggressive right now. They're playing confident. They're coming off some wins, and they're a well-coached team. So it's what you expect of an Indianapolis team with Coach [Chuck] Pagano – well-coached and doing the scheme the way they're coached to do* *and doing it well. So we definitely have to bring our A-game.
Q: Why do you think the Patriots are so good at reinventing themselves year after year?
JE: That's a question for Coach [Bill] Belichick and the upper division. I don't get paid to make those decisions. I just go out and take coaching and try to improve each day, so you'll have to ask Coach on that one.
Q: What do you have to do to get beyond the loss of Nate Solder? What do you lose in losing a guy like him?
JE: It's a tough loss. Nate is a big part of our team, great locker room guy, a guy who's just a true professional. All that means is that other guys are going to have to come in and step up and be prepared to do their job, so it starts with our preparation in practice. The better we go out and execute in practice, the better we'll be able to execute in games. So that's what it's going to start with.
Q: To what do you attribute Tom Brady's sustained success? Does it surprise you?
JE: It doesn't surprise me at all. If you see how he prepares weekly, how he prepares in the offseason, it doesn't surprise you. The man lives for football and his family, and that's what he does. So everything that he's done, he's earned. He's one of the hardest, the hardest working guy I've ever been around, and I'm glad to have him as my quarterback – wouldn't want any other one.