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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 8/22/2012

Posted Aug 22, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media in Tampa, Florida prior to the Patriots-Buccaneers joint practice on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

(on the visit to the Bucs’ headquarters)
“It’s great to be here in Tampa with Coach [Greg] Schiano and the Bucs. I think it will be a real productive couple days for us. We’re going to improve our football team and work on some things against a different opponent with good competition. It’s a quick turnaround but I know our guys are excited to be down here and I think we’re going to get a lot out of it. So I’m looking forward to it. I have a good relationship with this organization and I think it will be mutually beneficial.”

(on if he has ever held joint practices with two teams in the same year before)
“Yeah, we have.”

(on if there is a limited number of snaps in the preseason he would like to see Tom Brady play)
“We’d rather get everybody up to their full potential. Everybody’s got to re-establish himself this year – every player, every coach – and that’s what training camp and the preseason games are for, to work our performance back up as high as we can and build on into the season. We’ve all got a long way to go. I don’t think anybody’s even close to where we need to be, and that includes all of us – coaches calling plays; players doing their jobs, working with new teammates, getting new timing; new opponent; different look. We haven’t even started the season yet. We have a long way to go.”

(on if the joint practices were his idea or Greg Schiano’s idea)
“Mutual.”

(on his relationship with Schiano)
“I’ve known Coach for a long time, and gotten to know him better since he was at Rutgers. Of course, we would go down and scout their players and work them out, that type of thing. We both have a defensive background, so I think we have a lot in common there. He’s coached some of our players, going back to Vince [Wilfork] at Miami, guys like that. So we have a long relationship. My son went to Rutgers; I spent more time there watching him play lacrosse but also being around Coach. He’s come up to our practices and spoke to our team and observed us on the field, and vice versa. We’ve had a good relationship. I have a lot of respect for him and I think this is a great opportunity for him. I’m sure he’ll do well.”

(on the benefits of having a controlled practice environment as opposed to a game)
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of stopping and running it again. I think it’s just you run plays against your own team, and that’s great, but at the same time we’re going to see different looks besides the ones that we have. In all honesty, there are certain plays that we can recognize. Our offense can recognize certain blitzes that we run, our defense can recognize certain formations and motions. They start to anticipate and play the plays, and things like that. We kind of know who are go-to guys are. When you play against a different team, you don’t recognize those things as quickly. You have to learn who the go-to players are on the other team and that type of thing. It changes the whole dynamic of the game really, the matchups and the recognition, the anticipation, the communication. It just puts more stress on those areas. And that’s the way it is in game conditions. This is really good for us because we just played Monday night and we went through the film yesterday on our game with Philadelphia, so we don’t really have much of a scouting report. We haven’t watched any film on Tampa. We just know some of the basics and we’re going to have to figure it out as we go. But that’s good because that’s a realistic situation in games: How they’re using a particular player, what adjustments we have to make, what looks they gave us, how we would identify and handle those different looks the next time we go out there. This will be a real good learning experience for us on the field in practice, just like it is in a game. We’ll do some other stuff tomorrow, other situations, but all those things, they’re game experiences without all the game contact and all that. Mentally, technique-wise, communication, coaches having to coach – again, [that’s] something we haven’t had a lot of time to prepare for. That’s good for us, too. It sharpens our skills.”

(on the most important thing for a coach as he tries to change the direction of a team)
“Well, it’s a big process. I don’t think there’s any one thing. There’s no magic wand. It’s pretty much everything. I came into New England, and Cleveland for that matter, and the scouting department, the players, the personnel, the coaching staff, the support people, video, trainers, medical people, equipment, operation, the travel – it’s all inter-connected. There’s a program, the way you want to do things. Everybody has their own style and personal preferences but it’s all connected and it definitely takes awhile to change that. If you’re basically keeping it the same as what it was, then that… But still, there’s always changes and it all works together and everybody needs to be able to do their job as it relates and coordinates with the entire team operations. That’s a lot of work and there’s no one thing: ‘We’ve just got to do this.’ There’s a lot more to it than that. Certainly along the way I made my share of mistakes and you try to learn from them and try not to repeat those. But that’s part of the process. When you bring a lot of new people together and you change things in the organization, inevitably you’re going to have to … some people you’re going to bring in are going to work out, some people you’re going to bring in aren’t going to work out, some people are going to be better than what you had but maybe not ultimately where you want that position to be, personnel-wise. But you upgrade it as you can. It’s a process. It’s hard. There’s no one thing.”

(on how the Patriots have been able to be successful so consistently)
“We just try to take it one day at a time. Right now, all we’re worried about is today. We’re not talking about the opener, we’re not talking about some game in November. That’s all so far in the future it’s not even worth thinking about. Right now our goal is to go out there and have a good day today and be a better football team when we walk off the field than we are when we walk on it. I think we’ll do that, but we’ve got to improve our progress every day, and that’s the way football is. We don’t have very many games – we only play once a week. Well, we’re playing twice a week now but normally you’re playing once a week. It’s not like baseball when you can go out there and play every day and get better on the field every day in a game. You’ve got to go out there and improve on the practice field and in the meeting room and in the walk-through and in the film study and your preparation. That’s how you really improve and then you go out and execute it on game day and you learn from that, too. But we just don’t play enough games to just improve during the games. We’ve got to improve every single step of the way in a practice day, not just the practice but the walk-through, the preparation and the classroom, the film study and all those things. That’s our game. And we know the other 31 teams are improving. Our challenge is to improve faster than they do, and that’s really what we try to concentrate on.”

(on the release of Jonathan Fanene)
“It just didn’t work out. Nothing to add other than that. It just didn’t work out.”

(on if he has to make allowances for players who played in the game on Monday)
“Look, it’s training camp. The coaches are tired, the players are tired, but we’re going to have a short week during the season. We’ve got a Sunday-Thursday game during the season. That’s what training camp is for, to suck it up. It’s to be mentally tough and whatever situations you have – you’re tired, you’re sore, you didn’t get enough sleep, you travel, whatever it is – you block that out and you focus on what you can control, which is your performance and your effort. You go out there and you work through it, as a team and individually. That’s the way it’s going to be during the season. There’s going to be plenty of weeks during the season that somebody’s going to be tired or somebody’s going to be sore or some positions going to be a little short on numbers or whatever it is. You build your toughness and your resiliency and those types of things through training camp and it serves you well during the season. Then you look back during the season and say, ‘You know what? Maybe this alright. We went through a lot tougher stretch than this in camp.’ You have the confidence you can do it. I’m not really worried about that. These guys came to camp in good condition, we’ve had a good camp, they’ve worked hard. We’re going to put a challenge in front of them and I expect them to meet it.”

(on his recommendation of Schiano and what he’s looking for to sign off on a person getting a coaching job)
“It’s not about signing off on it. All I can do is be honest. That’s all I can do. What somebody else is looking for, they have to decide what’s right for them. When I’m hiring somebody, I take a look at our situation, I have a job description, I look at the needs for that position that we’re hiring and I try to find somebody that fits what I’m looking for. Sometimes you interview a couple people, sometimes you interview a dozen. Whatever it is. But you try to find the person that fits what you need. That doesn’t mean that the other people aren’t qualified, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do a good job. It just means that the person that we hire is the person we think is best for us and what we need at that point. You ask me about somebody, then I’ll tell you about that person. If that’s what you’re looking for, then maybe that’s the person you’ll hire. If you’re looking for something else, then that doesn’t mean that that person isn’t good. It just might mean it’s not the right fit. But that’s your call as the employer, not mine. All I can do is just be honest. And I do, I think the world of Greg. I think he’s a good coach. He’s got a good personality, he treats his players well, he’s smart, he’s tough. He did a great job with the Rutgers program without some of the opportunities that some other programs that he was going against had. But he competed really well in that conference and against those teams. I’ve always been impressed with the way his teams performed. I have no problem saying that at all.”

(on the challenges for a coach moving from college to the NFL)
“I don’t know. I think he’s a very experienced guy. He’s won a lot of games, he’s coached a lot of players. He’s coached NFL players, they just were in college, that’s all. The Vince Wilforks, the Devin McCourtys, all the guys that he’s coached, they’re NFL players, they just weren’t in the NFL yet. And he’s coached in the NFL. So he knows what he’s doing. He’ll be fine.”

(on if the players are more stimulated during joint practices)
“It’s just a different type of challenge. Every practice is a challenge. It’s challenging for us to go against each other, but it’s challenging for us to go against somebody new, somebody that you don’t know as well. Like I said, you’ve kind of got to figure it out. When you work against the same guy every day, you know what he can do, you respect it, but you know it. Maybe you’re confident in certain things he can and can’t do. When you go against a new opponent, you don’t know how hard that jab is, how good his hook is, how quick he moves, what it’s like to go against him. It forces you to play your techniques better, to be as good as you can at your specific individual fundamental techniques. But then from a team standpoint, your recognition, your communication, really making sure that we’re all on the same page and we know exactly what we’re doing because we’re not as sure about what they’re doing as we are working against ourselves where we see it more frequently.”

(on if he recommended any other coaches to Schiano)
“You know, any conversations I have with any players or coaches or anything, they’re conversations between myself and that person. So I’ll respect the privacy of those personal conversations.”

(on where the team stands with Sebastian Vollmer and Daniel Fells coming off PUP)
“They’re off PUP and they’ll began practicing with us. Sebastian’s already begun practicing with the team and Daniel will begin practicing with the team. We’ll take it day by day.”

(on getting Vollmer and Fells back)
“They’ve both been making good progress and we’ve taken another small step. Each day is a small step but in the end all those steps end up covering a lot of ground, and those guys have done that. Taking them off [PUP], this is a small step. Working them into practice gradually is a small step, and if they continue to progress then we’ll continue to do more. If we need to back off a little bit, then we’ll back off a little bit until they’re ready to resume that progress. We’ll just take it day-to-day.”

(on if there’s a minimum amount of preseason games one needs to evaluate a roster)
“Well, right now I don’t really think my opinion matters too much. What I do is take whatever opportunities we have, work with the opportunities and make the most of them, whether it’s OTAs, number of days we can be in training camp, what we can do in training camp, preseason games, whatever it is. Whatever those opportunities are, we try to make the most of them and that’s it. We’ve had no OTAs; we’ve had a lot of OTAs’ we’ve had six preseason games; we’ve had four preseason games; we’ve had five preseason games, with the Hall of Fame Game; we’ve had varying practice schedules, what we can and can’t do, all that. Those decisions are all made by a lot of other people besides me. It doesn’t really matter what I think so I don’t really worry about it. I just take what we have and try to make the most of it. And that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

(on what he thinks of One Buccaneer Place and if he’s been there before)
“No, I was at the old facility many times. It’s the first time I’ve been here. It looks great. I’m certainly impressed with this room and the podium, the media room. They’re treating you guys pretty good. Spent a little time in the weight room this morning and the fields look good. It’s great. Good operations, good facility – they’ve got a good program and like I said we’re excited to be here and working with Tampa. It’s a great opportunity for our team and we’re going to try to make the most of it.”