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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jul 29, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, July 29, 2011.

BB: We are in the process of working through the trades with Albert [Haynesworth] and Chad [Ochocinco]. They still haven't been completed yet, so there isn't really anything I can comment on with them. We're working through the process and when it's complete - if it's complete - then we can talk about it then. It was good to get on the field yesterday. Good to see the team actually come out of the huddle, line up in a formation, run some plays and start getting underway. We obviously have a long, long, long way to go, but all things considered, I thought that the players had some recall. They tried to do what we asked them to do, we've just got a lot of work to do. That's all there is to it. We'll just take it one step at a time and try to get better each time we go onto the field, each time we come out of a meeting, every opportunity that we have, and we'll try to take advantage of all of them. It's day two here and we're one step further than we were yesterday, which isn't very far, but at least we think we're in the right direction.

Q: Can you see a difference day one this year versus day one in other years?

BB: Well, in other years we had all the spring practices, the OTAs, all the meetings, all the rookies coming in early and all of that. I mean, sure. We had done a lot more than we had done prior to yesterday's practice, so I'd say everybody was further along. But there's no point in talking about the way it was last year or 1975 or 1945 or 1985. That ship sailed. We don't really care about that anymore.

Q: Do you know what number Chad is going to wear?

BB: He's not officially on our team right now, so no.

Q: You've been pretty outspoken in the past about your respect for him as a player

BB: As it relates to Albert and Chad, any comments on them at this point would just be premature. We're in the process of it, no doubt about it. It's not official. They're not officially on our team and until they are, I just don't think it's appropriate to really talk about it as if they are because the fact is, they're not.

Q: At what point are they? Have they taken their physicals?

BB: We've done some things. We just haven't done everything. They're at different stages. One player has some things and another player has other things. And when they're completed, when everything is checked off, when all the terms have been agreed to, then the trade is consummated. Until that point, it's not. I don't know any other way to put it.

Q: Without talking about specific players, in general when you look at veteran players that are out there, how much do you consider things that happened in their background?

BB: As I said yesterday, when you bring a player onto your team, I think you consider your team, what role that player has and how you think that player will fit onto your team and all the things that come with it. Then you decide whether you want to make that addition or not, whether that's a draft choice, whether it's a free agency signing, whether it's a resigning, whether it's a trade. Any player that comes onto your team, you think about what the player's role on the team is, how he fits into the team and whether or not you want to do that. And there are a lot of factors - injuries and contracts and experience and so forth and so on. There're a million factors that go into that so you put it all together and then you make that decision. It's the same for every player. We don't sign anybody without going through that whole process - or draft anybody or trade for anybody.

Q: And there have been guys through the years that you haven't wanted anything to do with for one reason or another?

BB: I'd say that you can only have so many players on your team, so you have to pick which ones those are.

Q: Was there ever stuff that kept you from going after certain guys?

BB: I don't think I've ever said that. I can't remember ever saying that. You can only have so many players; you have to make choices. It's not an unlimited number. Just because there are players that aren't on our team, doesn't mean those players couldn't, in other circumstances, be on our team. They just aren't right now, for whatever the reasons are - one reason being that we can only have so many players.

Q: Do you look at a guy and think when he comes here, he's going to be one of our players and we can work with him, regardless of what happened in the past?

BB: I think I just said that when you bring the player onto your team, you want the player on your team. So whatever it is, whether it's an injury or a position change or a lack of experience, whatever it is, you feel like you can make that player work in your team or in your system. If you don't feel that way, then you shouldn't bring him on your team. That's not saying we're right on every player. We've made plenty of mistakes with players bringing them onto the team and so forth. Every team in the league does that. That's part of the process. You try to make as few of those as possible, but it's an inexact science.

Q: But you wouldn't want to bring in a guy that wouldn't fit here under any circumstances?

BB: Obviously. Why would you do anything with any player or anybody that you didn't want to do. I don't really understand that.

Q: Some guys have histories that would be a disincentive to bring them in.

BB: I think we can look at every player, every person in this room's past, and find something that was a mistake and is less than ideal - on any team, in any group of people. We've all made mistakes.

Q: Has it been more difficult to reach a comfort level with going out and getting veterans or trading for veterans?

BB: We've dealt with situations similar to this before, not the lockout, but sometimes you get players on more notice, less notice.

Q: In general, how much background information would you have with a veteran player to work off of?

BB: Every player is different. There are no two players that are the same. There are no two players' circumstances that are the same. There are no two of us that exist that are the same. Everything is different with each guy.

Q: I guess what I'm saying is how thick is the background file on a guy?

BB: Whatever information you have, that's what you have. You know more about some people than others. That's true in this business, too.

Q: Have you been in touch with Marcus Cannon to see where he is at in his cancer treatment?

BB: We have been in touch. Yes, since we were permitted to talk to Marcus, we have been in touch with Marcus. I don't have any update on his physical condition, but we have been in contact with him. When we have something definitive to say, we'll say it, but yes, we have talked to him.

Q: We haven't seen Alge Crumpler around yet.

BB: Yeah, there are a number of players that were on our team last year that aren't here right now for one reason or another. When rosters have to be officially at - and I think it's today - at 90 - I'm pretty sure that's what it is. When the rosters have to officially be at a number, then they will be and we'll make those announcements then, whatever they happen to be, as that relates to any and all players actually.

Q: Can you clarify the 4:00 today and on August 4 rule and who can and can't practice before those dates?

BB: Well, rookies are rookies. Any player who is not a rookie, if they sign a contract this year, so any veteran player - any player who is not a rookie - who signs a contract can come to the team as of tonight at 6:00, but cannot participate physically until whatever the day is, August 3 [or] 4. I don't even know the date.

Q: And does that include tenders, franchise tenders?

BB: It includes any new contract that is signed. So a player that signed a tender would be under those, yes, would be under those rules, like [Logan] Mankins for example.

Q: Would that include a trade if you did something to a contract?

BB: Yes, if a contract was restructured, that would constitute a new contract and that would put that player into that category. Absolutely.

Q: How challenging has it been to wade through all of that the last few days?

BB: We just do it. Take the information and then try to apply it as best we can. If we have questions, we ask them.

Q: You had some juggling on your coaching staff. I know you guys had some time to prepare for that, but how has that been going the first few days?

BB: I mean, we only have really - George Godsey is a new coach on the staff and Moses Cabrera is new on the staff as Harold [Nash's] assistant in the strength program, but everybody else has been here, even though responsibilities have changed a little bit on the coaching staff, which is not uncommon at some point. That is a fairly normal - there are changes, but there is some kind of normal transition on that. Moses and George are new and they're new and I think they've adjusted fine, but you're right - we haven't practiced. That's the start of actually working with the players, just the last few days - two, three days, whatever it's been.

Q: When you have a compressed schedule like this, how valuable is it to have an experienced guy like Tom Brady in that position?

BB: Well, everybody's got to start from scratch this year. It doesn't matter who it is - every coach, every player, rookie, veteran, none of us have worked with our teammates and that's something that we have to do to have a good team, so that's true for Tom and for everybody else that is on the football team. Everybody needs to come in, they need to be in condition, they need to get themselves ready to play, they need to play with their teammates in units and be able to go out and execute what their assignments are collectively together. That's incumbent on all of us - guys with more experience have more experience, but they still have to go out there and be able to perform those things. Sometimes experience is a bit of an advantage, but you still have to go out there and perform your job. We all saw rookies last year that contributed a lot to this team. We had veterans who contributed a lot to the team. We had some rookies and some veterans last year that didn't contribute all that much to the team, so how all of that is going to work out, I don't know. I think it's up to each individual and we'll evaluate it as we go.

Q: So these players that can't practice until August 4, can they be out on the field?

BB: Yes, they can. They can't physically participate. They can watch practice starting tonight at whatever time it is - 6:00.

Q: Jerod Mayo has talked about how much he learned from Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi when he first came here and now it seems that now he's grown into that leader role. Can you talk about his leadership on defense and in part about him leading player workouts during the lockout?

BB: Well, I can't talk about the offseason player workouts. I have no idea. I wasn't a part of those, so I really couldn't comment one way or another. I have no idea what went on in those workouts or didn't go on. But Jerod established himself as a starter and a very productive player for us his rookie year and by his second year he was elected captain by his teammates, so I think that gives you an idea of the amount of respect that the players as well as the coaches and the organization have for Jerod and the job that he did. He moved into that role quickly. It wasn't one that he campaigned for or necessarily sought out. But just by the way he performed and the way he carried himself and the respect that his teammates had for him, those were things that were earned and I think very deserving. He has all the respect in the world from me, the coaching staff, and I'm sure all the players, just because of what he does and the way he does it.

Q: Is he kind of a lead by example kind of guy?

BB: I think Jerod does really everything well. I mean, he certainly sets a good example. He's a hard worker. He comes in early. He stays late. He's dependable. He pays attention to all the little details and works very hard to get them right. I think he has a very good report with his teammates. As I said, he's well-respected, obviously, and he's got a very good rapport with his teammates. I think that his communication with them, because of the respect he has, that players listen to him. Coaches listen to him and they respect his point of view and his opinion. But at the same time, I don't think he's overly - I don't think he tries to push a lot on people. I think if you ask him a question he'll tell you and he'll try to help you, but he's not trying to run everybody's life. It's not that type of a thing at all. I think he has great leadership qualities and a tremendous amount of respect throughout the entire organization, absolutely. And it's been that way from day one. And his role has changed a little bit as you mentioned, but I'd say the way he has performed and the way he's carried himself has been very consistent going on four years now.

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