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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Aug 29, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, August 29, 2011.

BB: Good afternoon everybody. We went through the film with the players this afternoon. Obviously not a lot of good things from [Saturday's] game. Hopefully we can get them corrected and move forward. We had a roster reduction here to start to get in compliance with the 80-man limit that will be required on Tuesday - tomorrow. Tough release there with James Sanders. James has been a good guy to have on this team. A hard-working kid. He really has developed from the time he came to us as a draft choice from Fresno [State] and he's been a really solid team player for us but we just, part of the move, needed to release people. But he was a tough one. So we'll have a couple other moves to make here before we reach the limit, but we're pretty close to it right now. Quick turnaround here with the Giants -- not as quick as theirs, but still pretty quick. We've got to get the film from Detroit out of the way and get ready for the Giants and be ready to go Thursday night. So hopefully we'll be able to get the people that were out there practicing last week and maybe add a few more to that and increase our numbers of participants on the roster. So we'll see how that goes tomorrow and hopefully that will be the case. That's about it. We weathered the storm and we should get back hopefully into a normal flow of things here tomorrow.  

Q: With James Sanders, was it an injury situation or was he just not fitting in in the best way possible at this point?  

BB: Well, we just did what we felt was best for the football team at this time. That's the best way I can answer it. Not a lot of negatives with James, but we have to select the players that we feel like are best for our team.  

Q: Where did you guys end up weathering the storm with the power outage at Gillette?  

BB: We shuffled down a little bit here. We're working outside of the stadium today, but we should be back there in a little while and it sounds like we'll be back to normal.  

Q: Does that set you back much? When you can't be at your own place?  

BB: We've been on the road before - been away for weeks, a week at a time, whether it was the west coast trips a couple of years ago, the London trip, or whatever it happened to be, so we're managing. We're okay.  

Q: What have you seen from Will Yeatman thus far in preseason and camp?  

BB: Will's worked hard. He hasn't played much football recently. Didn't have spring ball this past year. He played in the fall and of course missed a season in the switch from Notre Dame to Maryland and not playing football until last fall [inaudible]. He's worked hard. He's a smart kid. In good condition. He's been able to take a lot of snaps. I think he's benefited from those extra reps and so forth. I think he's making progress. He's certainly got a long way to go, but he's gone a long way as well. He's made a lot of strides since the beginning of training camp.  

Q: You said we'd see some more players out there Thursday night. Are you talking about guys who haven't played in preseason thus far?  

BB: I don't think I said Thursday night. I said out on the field this week. So we'll see how that goes tomorrow. We had some guys that practiced last week that didn't participate in the game. Maybe we'll have some more guys go out this week. I hope so. It's been a few more days since we last took the field. I know those guys have been rehabbing and getting extra treatment and all that, so hopefully they're closer to getting out there. Maybe we'll see them this week, but we won't know that until we hit the field tomorrow.   

Q: How important is it for you to see guys in preseason games when it comes time to evaluate? Do you have to see a guy in a preseason game before you know you want to keep him on the roster?  

BB: The more information the better. We're certainly working with less this year than we normally do without the workouts in the spring. But, again, everybody is dealing with the same thing there. It's nothing unique to our team. That's just the way it is. Yeah you'd like to have as many looks as possible, but in the end you have to do the best you can with the information that you have. That's what we'll try to do.  

Q: What is the book on Tiquan Underwood, the signing, the receiver who played with the Jaguars?  

BB: He's a later draft choice. A player that I think is improving. Obviously he didn't make their roster, but we felt like we might have a chance -- well we do have a chance now to take a look at him. And so we'll see what that looks like. Good sized receiver. Played with [Kenny] Britt at Rutgers. He hasn't had a lot of playing time and production in the NFL, but he's had some.  

Q: Jonathan Wilhite is one of the guys who was on that cut list. Can you talk about that decision with him?  

BB: Well Jonathan has been with us three years, going on four years. He primarily played in the slot. He played very capably. We just feel like there are other players ahead of him. If we could keep more, we would, but unfortunately we have to reduce the rosters so not everybody can be here.  

Q: Deion Branch has yet to catch a pass in the preseason? Can you comment on that?  

BB: Well I think Deion has had a good training camp. I think he's running well, good routes. He's catching the ball well in practice. I'm sure his opportunities and production will come, but I think he's had a good training camp.  

Q: How important is this preseason game Thursday?  

BB: As I've said many times, I think every game is an opportunity for all of us to sharpen our preparation and our decision making and our skills as we prepare for the regular season. All the players aren't going to play all the plays in each game in any of the four of them; we all know that. But we can still mentally go through the process of each play and the call and what to do and the situations that come up within the game. Just get into the thought process and the mental quick reaction time that we all need in this game to be successful and use those games as an opportunity to sharpen that. Whether players are in the game or not in the game, I think that there's still good learning opportunities for all of them to work on the fundamentals and get into the football mindset where things change very quickly: down and distance situations, field position, going from offense to defense to special teams, back to offense or defense, substitutions, the matchups the opponents give us with their personnel groups. So it's a lot of reaction and recognition and quick thinking that is hard to simulate - you simulate it in practice, but it's still not quite the same - it's hard to simulate the game speed except in game conditions. So that's an opportunity for all of us on Thursday to work on that regardless of what our roles actually are in the game. All the players on the roster have the same opportunity to sharpen those things up. Hopefully we'll be able to take advantage of it.  

Q: With the snapper Matt Katula being among the releases today, does this mean a change for Rob Ninkovich in terms of more work as snapper? Or do you anticipate a move there for a guy who is more of a specialized snapper?  

BB: I think we'll have a snapper on our roster at some point in time here fairly soon. Rob's snapped in the game and has snapped regularly in practice. So if that's what it comes to, I think we're confident in that, but we expect to have a snapper on the roster by Thursday - another snapper.  

Q: Any updates on Wes Welker and Dan Connolly, who both left the game on Saturday?  

BB: No I don't have any updates on them.