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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 10/25

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.


Q: What do you see from LeGarrette Blount throughout the practice week that may allow him to get stronger as the game goes on?

BB: Well, I don't know. LeGarrette [Blount] does everything that we ask him to do. He's been a very durable player for us other than the end of last year, but he's out there on a regular basis, takes his reps, is in good condition, so I don't think it's any - I can't think of anything really to add to that other than that's what it is. He's always been able to do that. I mean you go back to the Buffalo game a couple of years ago when he was carrying the whole team on his back and returning kickoffs. He's just a runner with good size, good athletic ability and good ball security. I'm glad we have him, glad we are able to give the ball to him with some volume and he's been productive really since he's been here.

Q: With someone with the size of LeGarrette Blount do you expect them to be able to wear a defense down more as the game progresses?

BB: Well, I mean I think it all starts up front. I mean it's hard for any back to make yardage when there's no hole and there's no place to run. My experience has been if you can get a good back started then they'll make yards for you, and if you can't get them started then it's hard for any back to make yards. We've just got to do a good job of getting those guys, whoever they are, getting those guys started and giving them an opportunity to run over tackles or break tackles or get into some space to avoid guys, whether it be [James] White or [LeGarrette] Blount or whoever our backs are. I think it all starts there and it's not taking anything away from the job that they do, but until you can get a back some space to work in it's hard.

Q: What have you seen from this rookie class thus far and is there anything unique about them? Secondly, is it almost like a bonus contribution when you're able to get as much playing time and production out of a rookie that you may not have counted on?

BB: Well, I think you know the first part of your question as far as the rookie class - I think this is a good group. They've worked hard. They've done a lot of extra things that we've asked them to do in terms of meetings and preparation and just making the transition to the National Football League from wherever they've come from; really no issues at all with that. They've been very - put in a lot of extra effort and have really tried to take the things that we've asked them to do and they've tried to apply them. So I think that's served them well. Is it a bonus? I don't know. I think when you draft a player, you bring him on to your team [and] you hope that he'll be able to contribute for you. That's the whole reason why you brought him there. Now the timeframe on that - that's always an unknown and not everybody works out as well as you hope that they will and so obviously that's part of it, too. But as far as the timeframe goes, some guys contribute sooner than others or they contribute in different areas, whether it be a different position or whether it be in the kicking game or what have you. Again, I don't know that there's any - I don't really try to have a big expectation on that or a big formula for how it's going to go or how it's not going to go. It's just more of when it happens it happens. You just keep working with them and try to get everybody to get them to improve and get them to understand what they need to do better or what their weaknesses are, whether it's technique, training, understanding, instincts, whatever it happens to be. Give them an opportunity to do it, see if they can learn it, make the adjustments and improve on it and if they do then they're on the right track and you see where that takes them. I try not to have a big expectation especially in terms of timeframe because every player's different and every situation is different. 

Q: How do you think Eric Rowe has done with his expanded opportunities the past few weeks?

BB: I think he's done some good things the last couple of weeks. Still there is some obvious newness for him which is to be expected, and each week is a different week in terms of matching up against our new opponent. But in terms of working with his teammates, communication, making adjustments, things like that - it gets a little better each week which is a good thing. I think we have a way to go but he has certainly had a positive impact in the opportunities that he's gotten over the last couple of weeks so we'll just see how it goes.

Q: Is there any thought on when you could activate any of your PUP players?

BB: We'll have to talk with our medical and conditioning staff and kind of get a sense of where everybody is and then figure that out from when practice starts on Wednesday, tomorrow, so we'll take a look at that information and see where we are and then make a decision on it prior to Wednesday's practice.

Q: Often as reporters we are quick to point out when a player may seem to be underperforming and likewise be reactionary when he does stand out positively. How has Marcus Cannon been performing, and to my earlier point, is it a matter of sometimes needing to just wait and ride it out a bit to judge a player's true performance over a period of time?

BB: Well, I mean I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while. I mean he's stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us. We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he's doing and so forth and he's continued to I'd say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him. Like everybody else, like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better. I think our offensive line's certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we have; than we did last year. But there's always room for improvement and the continuity that we've had there since Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks - we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season - but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we've had more continuity there so that helps everybody. But I think Marcus has done a good job for us. Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he's doing. It's probably a good thing when you guys don't talk about him. Then that probably means they're not doing something too noticeably wrong, right? 

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