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Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Q: Dion Lewis and Tyler Gaffney haven't been on the field in quite a while, so what have you seen from them this spring?

BB: Tyler was here last year, so he's got a pretty good head start on what we're doing. Dion has done a good job. It's good to have them. I think they'll be competitive in the group. We'll see how it goes.

Q: Was Dion Lewis a player you liked coming out of Pittsburgh? Have you followed his career?

BB: I mean yeah, but he's missed some time lately, so we'll see where he's at, but he's had a good spring.

Q:How has Jabaal Sheard acclimated so far?

BB: Good. He's done a good job in a little different system than what he's been in, but he's played on his feet here here, played down, both sides, so he's getting a lot of exposure to different things, but he's been good.

Q: What are some of the signs you notice when a player is starting to catch on here?

BB: When they don't make mistakes. When they can play aggressively, start communicating the calls and don't have mistakes. We go fast out there. We've got a lot of noise. We've got pressure on assignments and different adjustments against our offense. If they can get that right then they can probably get right what we'll play against with somebody else. It's hard out there. They do a good job.

Q: How much versatility has Robert McClain shown both from the past and what he's been able to do out here this spring?

BB: Good. We've used him at a lot of different spots – inside, outside, the nickel spot, special teams. He's a smart kid, works really hard – one of our hardest workers. He needs to be versatile and he is.

Q: How good is it to have someone like Devin McCourty, who has played safety and cornerback, especially when there has been so much roster turnover in the secondary?

BB: It's always good to have… We play against a lot of different offenses, a lot of different matchups, so it's always good to have versatile players back there.

Q: Speaking of versatility, Brandon Bolden contributes at running back and on special teams. What does his versatility mean to the team?

BB: He plays on all four downs. He's a good early-down back, he's a good third-down back and he's a good fourth-down back. [He's] one of our best special teams players, certainly one of our best offensive special teams players along with [Matthew] Slater. So, yeah, he's a very valuable guy, fills a lot of roles, smart, doesn't need a lot of reps, and he's got a lot of experience.

Q: How is Bradley Fletcher coming along?

BB: Good. He's got a lot of experience. He's played a lot of football, just not for us. He's getting there.

Q: How is Bradley Fletcher's versatility compared to Robert McClain? Can he play different positions in the secondary or is he more of a corner?

BB: Yeah, he's played more on the perimeter, and he's played a lot more than Robert has in terms of his playing time, snaps. But yeah, I'd say McClain's probably played more different positions. They don't really play the same position. They do, but they don't.

Q: It seemed like competition really picked up today, with some players jostling out there.

BB: Yeah, we don't really need that. We're just trying to teach things. The competition will start in training camp. There will be plenty of it there. If these guys want to get after it and hit somebody, there will be plenty of chances in training camp – more than they want.

Q: What do you take away from the way the practices have gone the past two days compared to the three weeks of OTAs?

BB: I think it just gives us a little better evaluation of how the players are handling things mentally, their assignments, there's more things they have to worry about and the communication, their communication as a team from the signal callers on out to each of the different groups of players. It's not an evaluation of the physical part, but it's an evaluation of the mental part and their ability to think quickly, process information, handle different situations and communicate individually and as a group.

Q: How quickly has Jordan Richards been able to pick things up? He seems pretty active out there at both free and strong safety.

BB: Good. He's really smart. We gave him some information to work on while he was away. He's obviously studied it and worked hard at it. For a guy who wasn't here, he had a pretty good idea of what we were doing. He kept up on the installation, and he's done a good job out on the field. He's smart, he communicates well. He had a lot of playing experience in college, of course, but that seems to be transferring pretty quickly out here.

Q: What have you seen from Jake Bequette in his transition from defense to offense?

BB: Jake works hard. I think he's really into it. He wanted to do it, wants to do it and he's worked really hard at it. The techniques are different, but he played on the end of the line on defense, so he has some familiarity with that kind of spacing over there if you will and what it looks like on the other side of the ball. [He's] athletic in the passing game, he's got good size and playing strength. We'll see how it goes in training camp. He's made a lot of progress and I think he'll be ready to compete at that position as well as on defense. Obviously, we know he can play defense. He's spent a lot of time over there. We'll see how it all goes as we get into pads and get into competition and contact. But I think he's in good position to compete.

Q: To a layperson, with no numbers on, he doesn't look like a defensive end playing tight end. Had you seen that ability from him prior to putting him over there?

BB: Yeah, well we had some depth issues in training camp really the last couple years, so on the scout team in practice when our defense was practicing and he was on the practice squad this year and he wasn't going to be active for the game, then he would take reps at tight end. So, that kind of caught our eye. He runs well, [when] the quarterbacks threw to him he caught it, did a competitive job blocking. We just felt like he's had enough time on defense, and he's a smart kid – it's not like learning is an issue for him. We felt like he spent enough time on defense, so we put a lot of time in on offense and see where he can get to there and then evaluate it.

Q: Where do things stand with Joe Cardona's availability?

BB: You know, we'll see.

Q:Nothing concrete at this time that you'll know you'll definitely …

BB: He's been here for pretty much everything that we've done. Ultimately, that's not really our decision. But the Navy has been very cooperative in terms of his responsibilities. But he's in the Navy; he's on duty. It's not like he's getting out of anything. He's active. We've been able to work the schedules out, so we'll see how it goes.

Q: Do you feel like you've accomplished what you wanted to over the course of OTAs and mini-camp thus far, or is there always more you can do?

BB: Well you can see, we've got a lot of stuff in. We've done a lot of things. We've gotten into more situational football each day. We'll just keep building on that. It's good to expose it to them once and then the next time around hopefully it will come a little bit quicker. We're not going to conquer the world this week, but we can just keep pushing forward on all the basic situations and then as many of those extra ones as we can get to just puts us that much further ahead down the road.

Q: You get a very small window as a football coach as far as getting a break in the schedule. Are you personally looking forward to having some time off between mini-camp and training camp? Does having some time away help you be at your best when you come back?

BB:Yeah, sure I think it does. We've had a good, a busy offseason. It's never really stopped since being in Arizona. We've got a lot done. We've got a long way to go, but yeah, it'll be good to just be able to get caught up on some personal stuff and obviously relax a little bit. Hopefully that's what it'll be.

Q:We heard that your boat was repainted and renamed.

BB:Yeah, we'll see how it goes. We'll see how that works.

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