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Bill O'Brien Press Conference Transcript

Posted Aug 6, 2011

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

Q: Yesterday Tom Brady said that you guys are behind schedule of where you normally would be. How do you feel about where things are at right now?

BO: I think every year is different. I would say that the difference in this year from last would be the offseason: the players weren't here. But other than that, I would say that training camp is going about as it would go at a normal pace for the situation that we're in this year. I think at this point it's going well. We're trying to be fundamentally strong in what we do and we're progressing. It's training camp - it's a grind. Like Bill [Belichick] always says, ‘There's no light at the end of the tunnel.' Just keep grinding, put one foot in front of the other and go day-to-day and we'll see where we're at when the Miami game comes around.

Q: Given the limited practices compared to past years, do you envision a change in terms of the way you approach the actual preseason games?

BO: This is the truth now - we've just talked about today and today's practice to be honest with you. We haven't really talked about the preseason game, the Jacksonville game. We are working day-to-day. As it relates to the limited practices or different amount of practices that we've had in the past - I would say that the practices that we're having now are three hours long - so if you add the time up, it's really about the same length of what we've had in the past. Whether it's two practices or one, we're getting a lot of work done. I think that a lot of things are getting done in practice. Again, we're trying to be really fundamentally strong while we're here. We've got a lot of guys working, a bunch of guys on offense - you've got 90 guys out there on the field or whatever it is - so we're just trying to take it day-to-day.

Q: Every year you come back with something new, some sort of new offensive approach. Last there was much more tight end involvement. Are you able to make grand adjustments this year considering you didn't get to see the players for so long or are you coming back to camp with the same playbook as last year?

BO: Every year is different. There are things that we do in the offseason in the past with mini camps and things that of course make it a little bit different this year than it was, but again, training camp is what it is; it's a grind. It's something where we evaluate player everyday - new players, veteran players, rookies - and so by the time the first game comes around, you should have a good idea of what each player does best, and that's what we are; we're a game plan offense. We're going to do what our players do best and put them in different situations during training camp to find that out and that's what we're progressing towards right now. You're right, you can't put a name to our offense [because] we do a lot of different things, a lot of different personnel groupings and that's what we're working towards right now.

Q: Where is Chad Ochocinco in terms of his progression in learning the offense and how does it compare to what he was doing?

BO: Yeah, I don't know anything about what he was doing. We didn't talk too much about that. I know from him being here that he has been very professional. [He] works really hard in the meeting rooms and on the field. He's a competitive guy and he takes a lot of pride in it. I would say that about the whole group right now of receivers - I think there're 11 of them working right now. [They're] smart guys, competitive guys working hard and [Ochocinco's] fitting in. He's only been here I think [for] three or four days. This will be his third or fourth practice today, so I think he has progressed on a daily basis and just like everybody else, there're ups and downs at this time in training camp and he's just trying to be as consistent as he can be, just like everybody else out there.

Q: What's the difference this year as opposed to last year with Taylor Price?

BO: Again, it would be a similar answer to what I gave about Ochocinco and that whole group. I think at this point in training camp - I think this is 12 today, practice 12 - there have been ups and downs and there've been good things and things that need to get better. He is really trying to smooth things out, but he has been there every day, he's working really hard, he's a competitive guy. It's really important to him, [just] like that whole group. Like I said in the last [question], I believe that he will work to be consistent and we'll see how he does when the games roll around.

Q: Are you seeing a difference since Taylor Price has been in the program for a year now?

BO: I would say last year...again, his rookie year having the different graduation that he had at Ohio University - that was something that was not the greatest thing for him as it relates to getting ready to play pro football, but as it relates to right now, he has had a year in the program and again, he is working really hard out on the field. He's a competitive guy just working to be more consistent as is [Wes] Welker, as is Tom Brady. Everybody out there has their good plays and bad plays. You run upwards of 75 plays in a practice, so you are really just trying to think about the next play and trying to being as consistent as you can be and Taylor's in that category just like everybody else.

Q: Where did Tom Brady come back fundamentally and where is his specific focus in terms of mechanics?

BO: Again, to be a good quarterback for us like he has been, obviously, it's about decision-making; it's about accuracy. In the offseason [with] this past offseason that he has had where there were no defenses out there and things like that, obviously there is a little bit of an adjustment period to when you come back to a training camp and now you have defense, different coverages, different fronts and different blitzes that you're seeing from the defense, so there is a little bit of an adjustment period there. Just like everybody else out there, he is working to be consistent. The past two days have been really good practices for him and he'll continue to work hard on footwork and throwing mechanics as well as working with the groups that he's working with. He works with a lot of different players just trying to be good with his communication and things like that. That's what he's doing: trying to play as consistent as he can everyday out there.

Q: Because of this offseason and the way things have changed, do you put more emphasis in the classroom and on the guys learning the plays?

BO: Again, every year is different. I think this year because of the one practice - it's a long practice - it's a three-hour practice so we're able to install. We have different situations coming up now with the red area and yesterday we had goal line and today we're working some third downs, so we'll just keep progressing like we've been. I think it has been a good progression and we'll just keep doing it the way we have and go from there. When the preseason games roll around and we start talking about those - which I'm sure will be this weekend, by tomorrow probably - we will decide how we want to attack those. At this point, we are progressing right along with training camp.

Q: What do you think of the two quarterbacks working behind Tom Brady? What is the competition like between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett?

BO: I think it is a really good situation. I think we've got three really good quarterbacks. Obviously, you have Tom who is a proven guy and with Brian and Ryan, you have two guys there who obviously can throw the ball. Again, they're working for consistency and working to learn the offense. [They're] at different points in their careers now. Brian is going into his third year now and with Ryan being a rookie, they're at a little bit of different points there, but [they're] trying to play as consistently as they can, but both of them have [been impressive] in how they can throw the football. You've got three guys there that can really throw the football, so that's been good. With Brian and Ryan, just again, just working to be accurate and consistent [making] good decisions, getting us in the right plan for the running game, making good decisions in the passing game and really trying to level that out and not be up and down, and try to play as consistent as possible.

Q: With so much experience on the offensive line and obviously Tom Brady, does that give you more time to focus on the skill players, some of the wide receivers and rookie backs?

BO: Again, I think each position is focused on. I don't think there's one position that is focused on over the other. I think that we focus on the unit and then in practice we focus on the different drills that we run and whatever the theme of that drill is - whether it's goal line, red area, third down - that's how we focus as a unit on the task at hand on that different drill. Really we just focus on the whole until, the personnel that's in there on that play, the personnel that's in there for that drill and that's what we're focused on at that time. So, we don't focus on one position verses the other.

Q: Rob Gronkowski says he feels much more comfortable having a year behind him. Can you talk about the tight end players?

BO: [It's a] good group. They've been working really hard. Rob has had a good camp as have those other guys in different ways. Again, I've used this a lot so far, but you're 12 practices in - there's always been some ups and downs early in training camp. Every year is the same as far as that goes - ups and downs. That group is really trying to be more consistent in what they do. It's a good group of guys. It's a younger group of guys with [Gronkowski] and [Aaron] Hernandez being in their second year and then [Will] Yeatman, Lee Smith being in their [first] year now and you can put Carson Butler into that group. You've got five guys that are working at it. [They're] talented guys working hard every day, [have] been there every day and just need to really play as consistently as they can and that's what they're working to do.

Q: It looks like George Godsey has spent a lot of time working with Ryan Mallett. What is it that he has brought to the staff?

BO: When I was at Georgia Tech, George was our quarterback. He played, he followed Joe Hamilton - I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but Joe Hamilton was our quarterback there and was really good. [George] was the next quarterback after that, so he was a two-year starter for us and after college he had a cup of coffee in the Arena League and then he went to work for George O'Leary at Central Florida. Obviously he and I stayed in touch for a long time. He had been a coach at Central Florida for eight years and then I introduced him to Bill [Belichick] and Bill brought him up here. He's working with the quarterbacks, he's helping me, he does quality control work; he's doing a little bit of everything. That's what that position does at this place, whether it's defense, offense or special teams. You're making copies, but you also are involved with some of the coaching, so that's what he's doing right now. He's working hard with Ryan and the other quarterbacks. He does things with everybody so it's good to have him on the staff.

Q: There are two new running backs who both have injury problems. Are they falling behind?

BO: I think anytime that you're not out on the field, that's a tough adjustment. You have to keep up on your own with meetings and playbook things. Not being out there you're obviously not getting the reps, so they're working hard to come back as fast as they can and they will. As soon as they're healthy they will be back out there. It's a talented group, it's a hard-working group, it's a group that, again, is trying to play as consistently as they can. For those guys that are injured - that goes for everybody - they're working hard to get back out there.

Q: Does the tight end group miss anything with not have a veteran presence like Alge Crumpler? Do you think Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski will miss anything?

BO: Alge brought a lot to us. He was a very experienced player. He was a guy that was named captain soon after he came here, so obviously, that's a guy that meant a lot to that [locker] room and hopefully they learned from those things. Again, you can see signs of what they learned from him in these 12 practices that we've had - a lot of hard work, competition, getting better every day. With Aaron and Rob, I think you are looking at two really football smart guys, so they have come a long way with knowing their offense. Hopefully they can carry some of their work ethic that Alge taught them. It's a good group of tight ends. All five of those guys have different types of abilities and skill sets. They're all working at it and we're happy with that group.

Q: How do you characterize your relationship with Tom Brady and how has it grown?

BO: I'm going into my fifth year here - it's a good relationship, it's a professional relationship. It's a relationship where there's a lot of communication. It's all about football. We talk all the time. I think there's a lot of trust. Again, you're talking about a guy that works really hard. It's really important to him - [he's] a prideful guy - and so there's just a bunch if trust there and good communications. Think it's been a good relationship.

Q: There has to be a time when you have to manage his pitch count a little. How many throws in camp does Tom Brady make in a day? Is there a limitation?

BO: We communicate on that a lot, especially with Bill [Belichick]. Bill would probably be better to ask about that. We communicate a lot with Bill on that and we will see how it goes, but at this point right now, he's feeling good and his arm feels good. As with the other quarterbacks, they all throw a lot of balls, they all do with each different drills and things like that. I think you've got three guys there that can throw the football and have strong arms and that are feeling good right now.

Q: Has the new title added any responsibility or changes to your daily routine or schedule?

BO: No. We have a really strong staff as a whole, obviously lead by Bill [Belichick]. We have a really strong offensive staff that works very well together. We're all in it together. We each have different roles. I'm basically the guy that just collects the paper and puts it all in the right stack and gets us organized. It's a collaborative effort. We all work together and try to put together a good practice plan, a good drill, a good game plan and that's what we do. That's what it has been about since I've been here. Everybody has a role and we all work together pretty well.

Q: Has the use of the headset during practice been helpful for you so far?

BO: Yeah, we are pretty used to now using a headset over the last couple of years, but for us it's really important to get the communication and to try to be as game-like as we can as quickly as we can. There are certain things in practice when you don't want to do that, when you want to be out there teaching and coaching. As far as team drills and things like that, you want to communicate like you are going to in a game as much as you can, so that's why we're doing that and I believe that it's been good.

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