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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Aug 23, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Tuesday, August 23, 2011.

BB: All right well, we've got a long week here. It's been good for us; we had a chance to have a couple days off, [the] coaching staff [got] kind of organized and hopefully get pointed in the right direction. We've got a lot of things to work on this week with the players, so with the extra time hopefully we can accelerate our preparations for the start of the regular season in terms of situations and, you know, working things as we get to the start of the season that we feel like we'll need early in the year — things that we need to tune up situationally. So, that's the plan for the week, hopefully we can string a few good days together here. This will be a big step for us this week if we can get some things accomplished.

Q: After two weeks do you have a feel for what the kickoffs are going to look like this year with two weeks of data in?

BB: I don't know. I'm sure that will depend on each game - the game situations.

Q: Obviously in the preseason games you can see where your team is at a little bit, but are you looking forward specifically to your offensive line and what they bring? Detroit's front is talented...

BB: Sure. Yeah, every game presents challenges and opportunities and gives our team a chance to go out there and perform against another team and evaluate. Each team is different, each matchup is different. So absolutely, it's a great opportunity to go out and face an explosive team like Detroit. Offensively they do a lot of things. Defensively they've got a good front - they've kind of revamped their linebacker group. Obviously they've got a very good defensive scheme and coach with Gunther [Cunningham] and Jim Schwartz, [so] absolutely; it will be a really good test for us in all three phases of the game.

Q: What type of camp have you seen Leigh Bodden have with coming back after missing all of last year?

BB: Leigh's had a good camp. He's played both inside and outside, and it looks like he's healthy. When he's had the chance to participate, he is taking a lot of snaps and it looks like he's done fine.

Q: It's nice to see Ras-I Dowling get out there. What type of challenges lie ahead for him now the next couple of weeks?

BB: Guys that have missed time have some catching up to do. It's good to see every player out there. It's good to see every player that has missed time come back and rejoin the team and be able to go out and practice and compete. So, it's good for the team, it's good for those individuals because I know they're working hard to get back out there. So, it's a positive step and the competition on the field — that will be decided amongst the players.

Q: What kind of challenges could a guy going from year-one to year-two face that he may not be ready for or may not anticipate?

BB: I think by year two the other teams - not that they don't do it through the course of your first year, but I think by the end of your first year other teams have a pretty good scouting report on each individual player. There's a pretty good body of work for the most part. Sometimes in your rookie year your skills or maybe some of the things that you do might sneak up on some people or they may not be as well prepared for you individually. It kind of works the other way around too. Rookies don't have the kind of preparation, but in some cases other teams don't know them quite as well and I'd say by the end of the first year or well into the first year depending how the playing time goes - once everybody gets a chance to get a good look at the player they can start scheming up and try to attack their weaknesses individually, or from a scheme standpoint. So, I'd say that's a big challenge for those guys as they get better known. Offensives and defenses do a better job of attacking them.

Q: Have you heard anything officially from the league if Albert Haynesworth will face any disciplinary actions?

BB: Whatever the league does, they'll announce.

Q: Vince Wilfork spoke yesterday about where he is technique wise and the challenges without having OTAs this spring, and how much more difficult this camp is to get up to speed. Shaun Ellis touched on it today - can you talk about how important it is to get a technique where do you think the guys are?

BB: Well, I think in the NFL you build your fundamentals and techniques in the offseason program and then in the spring and training camp. I think as you get into the regular season it's harder and harder to allocate the time to individual techniques because your preparations team-wide consume so much time with all the different schemes that you face weekly, and the smaller roster size and the limited amount of practice reps that you have relative to the number of things that can happen in the game. You spend more time in teamwork than you do in individual fundamental skills. So the time to build those is early in the season and you hope that you have a good base and that your overall playing - that you can keep those skills sharp, and I think that's pretty much the way it's been in the NFL. I think that's still the way it is. So the more time you... and the better those skills are going into the season usually - the longer you're going to sustain them.

Q: Would you consider someone like Albert Haynesworth behind in that area or does being a veteran help with that?

BB: Well, I think it helps every player to be out there in practice, of course. Otherwise, why would we practice?

Q: What's the progression of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski this training camp?

BB: The progression?

Q: Have you seen them improve?

Q: They've been out there every day. They've worked hard. They've gotten better. They've improved. I think they came into last year - they certainly know a lot more now, let's put it that way. They know a lot more about what we're doing. They know a lot more about what our opponents are doing. They just have a better understanding of how to play the game at this level, and their year of experience was for them was valuable for them. They started at a much higher level and they both worked hard and have had good camps.

Q: When guys come here for the first time do you want them to watch the film from last year to see how everything was, or when they come here is it just focusing on moving forward?

BB: Well anytime we install a play, put in a kickoff return, running play, blitz or something, we usually show examples of that so that the new players sort of understand how that works and that they have the general concept of the play. I think the best way to learn is to understand what all 11 people are doing. If you just try to memorize your assignment on every play then ultimately if you don't know what's going on around you, you end up making decisions that impact the players around you, and if you really had an understanding of what the whole concept was, it's probably less likely that that would happen. So, we try to teach the concept of the play. We show the play usually in multiple examples because of different things that can happen on the play, and it refreshes the veteran players who have done the play or maybe were even in the play when it was run before. But it also serves as a visual illustration to new players as opposed to X's and O's in a diagram - ‘Here's actually the play against whatever its being shown against, and this is how it works or this is one of the problems we'll have to adjust to with it and this is how we will handle it or whatever'. Those are what we call training tapes that are shown in conjunction with the installation of our plays - that's part of the teaching tools. You show it on paper, you show examples of it on film, you go out on the field and spatially walk through the plays in the relationships and so forth. You go out there and practice it in individual drills: one on one, seven on seven, nine on seven - whatever the drills are, and then ultimately you bring it together in a team drill, and that's kind of the teaching progression no matter how you're - whatever you're doing. So, that's part of it. Do we look at last year or some other year? I mean, we've shown films from ‘03, ‘04, 2000. There are plays, there are situations that came up then that maybe haven't come up since, but they're still good teaching plays.

Q: With the talent that you've brought in at the defensive line what does that allow you to do differently with the linebackers?

BB: I don't know. [We're] just trying to get everybody to understand their responsibilities and play up to their capabilities: learn the defense, understand the adjustments, start to understand different problems that the offense presents us and then we'll eventually try to put everything together in terms of our scheme - both players, how we call things, and the frequency that we call them and so forth. So, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see how it all turns out.

Q: How much more film work are you guys doing this preseason compared to in years past? Are you doing significantly more?

BB: In training camp?

Q: Yeah...

BB: I don't know. I would say there's a lot of 16, 17, 18-hour days in training camp. That's kind of the way they were my first year in '75 [and] it's kind of the way it's been every other year since then - it's the way it has been this year, so I'd say if we're watching more film we're having fewer meetings. If we're having more meetings we're watching less film. If we're on the practice field longer maybe we're having more meetings and watching more film. I don't know, but we're trying to - look everybody is here, there's nothing else to do but get our football team ready for the season [and] that's what everybody is doing. Whatever the jobs are, however the time's allocated, whatever the priorities are, then that's what we're working on. And that varies a little bit from day-to-day or week-to-week, but that's the process of getting your team ready for the regular season. So, I don't know. Are we watching film? Yeah, we're watching film. Are we having meetings? Yeah, we're having meetings. Are we meeting with the players? Yeah. Are we practicing? We're doing all those things. I don't really see it any differently than any other training camp other than some of the practice times that have been regulated, but otherwise it's a fine time to work on things during the day. If you're not working on one thing you're probably working on something else.

Q: I know you don't love off the field stuff but are you pleased to see Haynesworth get wrapped up yesterday?

BB: Yeah, I mean that's a personal matter so I don't really have any comment on it.

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