Q: Does a player's injury history ever dictate when and how you will use him in a game?
BB: Well, if a player's cleared to play and he's healthy, then we would, for the most part, just operate normally like any other player. It might depend on the individual circumstance or situation, but I think if the player's healthy, then we treat him like he's healthy.
Q: How would you describe what it's been like to work with Brandin Cooks?
BB: Good, good. He works hard.
Q: In addition to his speed, what are some of the other positive characteristics he has?
BB: He's an experienced runner, route runner. He does a good job of going up and competing for the ball.
Q: What would you say have been some of the biggest challenges for Cooks as he has transitioned from New Orleans' scheme to yours?
BB: You'd have to ask him that. I'm not sure exactly what he was told to do that's different than what we do and so forth. That would be something that he would know better than I would.
Q: What have you seen from Kyle Van Noy in your time with him? What has he done to gain the confidence of the defensive coaching staff?
BB: Well, one thing, Kyle has good skills. He's athletic, runs well, tackles well, can rush the passer, play in pass coverage, does a good job playing the run. So, he has a good skillset, which is what you need to be out there in different situations.
Q: Beyond the physical skillset, does he have a good football IQ and ability to read different situations?
BB: Sure. Yeah, he's done a good job of that. He's a smart guy, understands concepts well, understands the defense, does a good job of it.
Q: What were your impressions of Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in their debut?
BB: I think those players are making good progress in our system. You know, we all have a long way to go. There are a lot of things that we all can improve on. They're part of it, but they certainly add some explosive play-making ability to the position. So, glad we have them. Glad we're working with them. Hopefully we can coach them better and make them more productive.
Q: How much more did you learn from a regular season game, as opposed to the time you spent with the team in the spring and summer? And how much might the extra days you had over this weekend benefit you to process what you learned?
BB: Well, the spring and training camp and all that is certainly beneficial. It's good for a lot of things. The regular season is different in terms of game planning, schemes and the way that an opponent will specifically play you, as opposed to just the generic fundamental and basic things. But, they're important, too. We learned a lot against Kansas City, certainly in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, we can improve on it and do a better job here the next time around. The extra time - I don't know. Every long week has a short week. Every short week has a long week. So, in the end, it all evens out. We just try to do the best we can with each day. But, I mean, obviously we have a lot of work to do.
Q: How much are you in a holding pattern in preparing for New Orleans since they play tonight? How are you adjusting what you do to account for that in the game plan?
BB: Well, we'll do what we can do. There's a lot of film on New Orleans from preseason, a lot of film on them from last season. They made some changes, and we'll look at those, but there are a lot of things that they do that they've had a lot of success with. I'm sure they won't change too many of those. I don't know why they would, especially offensively as productively as they've played over the years and again last year. So, we'll have to be ready for the things that they do and then when we get tonight's game, we'll factor that in and see what variations or additions that we want to make or incorporate into the scouting report based on anything we might have seen tonight. So, we'll just do the best we can with that. There's certainly enough to work with. They're a good team. They've got a lot of new players, especially on defense, so we've seen those guys play in the preseason. They've played well, so that gives us plenty to work off of.
Q: What have you noticed from Shaq Mason and his development in his third year?
BB: Sure, Shaq's gotten better every year. He's a smart guy, works hard, is out there every day, does a good job. He's very athletic and he's got good power, good leverage and knows how to use it. [He has] been able to have a lot of consistency and work with Marcus [Cannon], so that's been a positive, and David [Andrews], for that matter. So, yeah, he continues to get better each year, trains hard, works hard. Glad we have him.
Q: Were you surprised that the team voted David Andrews and Duron Harmon as captains this year?
BB: No, not really. Both those guys have done a good job, and it's good to have kind of a youthful layer of leadership in that group. Some of those players like Tom [Brady] and Matt [Slater], Devin [McCourty], have been captains for a long time. Rob [Gronkowski], High [Dont'a Hightower] both have a lot of experience. I think David and Duron add a good element to the group and an important one. We've had some young captains on the team in the past, like Devin and Jerod [Mayo], so I think it's good for those guys to be in there in the meetings and in that position with some of our other very, very good and experienced veteran leaders. You know, there's an element of transition and learning from experienced players there that, I think, is beneficial to everybody, not just the young players, but beneficial to the more experienced captains and myself.
Q: Chris Hogan primarily lined up in the slot on Thursday. Is that a new role for him and how do you think he played coming out of the slot position?
BB: Well, all of our receivers are pretty versatile and can play more than one spot and have played more than one spot. So, we've always worked those guys around a little bit, and I think that's a good way for them to get a good total understanding of the passing game. But, we all have a lot of work to do after the first game. So, I don't think any of us are where we want to be or need to be. That includes everybody, so we all have a lot to work on. But yeah, I would continue to expect - and knowing how the game sets up and individual game plans and matchups and so forth - but, at some point or another, that our receivers will have the versatility to play multiple spots.