Bill Belichick met with the media on Thursday prior to an open OTA session which will be everyone's first glimpse of the 2021 Patriots. After making their way through an elongated first phase of OTAs, following by a shortened second phase, the team has moved to on-field work.
"It's good to get all the players out there and to be working with a full team," said Belichick via Zoom. "We have a long way to go, we'll take it day by day... fundamentals, install some basic teaching, playbook material. As always, we build from the ground up, and we just try to stack fundamental days. Hopefully, at the end of the spring, we'll be as prepared as we can be heading into training camp in July."
Belichick was sure to mention that it's currently a voluntary portion of the offseason. While it's expected that most of the team will be on the field, some notable names most likely will not be present, but that doesn't change the coach's outlook.
"We'll take it as it comes, the guys that are here are working hard, they're getting better," said Belichick, adding about those that weren't currently in Foxboro would be welcomed when they do finally arrive. "With all the players that are on the roster and not here, my expectations are that they intend to play. But we know things change. That's part of life and part of football.
"Again, for all the players at this point, I don't think this is a big evaluation period, it's more of a teaching period...we'll see how it all comes together with everybody."
While many will be focusing on the quarterback competition, now running four players deep, Belichick pointed out all are working hard to get things down.
"Cam's been here all the way through and has been a consistent participant," said Belichick of 2020's returning starter. "He continues to give us the usual leadership and energy that he brings to the field, workouts and practice."
The coach also highlighted Brian Hoyer's experience, Jarrett Stidham's continued development and Mac Jones trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
"We're starting over process for everybody," said Belichick. "Some have been here, some haven't. Really we're starting everybody at the same point as we always do. Mac dove into the playbook and continues to do that, like everybody out there we all have a lot of things we have to work on. That's what he's doing, that's what everyone's doing.
"Making a lot of process daily, we've got a long way to go but we're chipping away at it."