New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his post-practice interview on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at Gillette Stadium.
BB: We are wrapping up this week at camp and we will start back up on Monday with our full team. These three days we've had players that haven't played as much - rookies, guys coming from other teams and guys that didn't play that much last year. [Also] players like Mike Richardson that were on IR. We are just giving guys reps that haven't had too much with this team. So it's good. We have had some good opportunities with the wind and throwing in different conditions. It's been good for the guys to get used to handling the ball and so forth. We have gotten a lot of exposure and we are trying to get a lot of teaching done and we will resume that on Monday when we get everyone back in. From a team standpoint, we have a lot of work to do. We are just plugging along but we are getting there.
Q: How's Victor Hobson working at that position? It is a little different than what he was doing with the Jets.
BB: Good. He is playing inside linebacker for us. He had played a lot of outside linebacker the last two years down there. I think he is a smart guy, runs well, he's got some experience in the system and certainly playing inside. I think he has a good combination of experience, toughness and athleticism to the position.
Q: What do you look for in this offseason in regards to him playing a different position than he is used to? Do you look for signs like 'this could work'?
BB: It is pretty much the same for everybody. We teach them what to do, different plays, how to cover routes, how to defend and cover different running plays and what their reads. Then we give everyone a chance to do it. All the players that play that position are all getting the same amount of reps, so then when the get the chance to execute in training camp we will evaluate them based on how they do then. It is really more of a teaching opportunity and an opportunity for those guys to get reps that haven't had as many. That's all.
Q: How had Jerod [Mayo] been doing on defense?
BB: Good. He has done fine. He has a long way to go but we are plugging along.
Q: How valuable is it to have this one on one time with rookies, newcomers to the team and have this time on the field with the assistant coaches and yourself?
BB: It's good. It's what everyone has. Actually, we probably do fewer days than what most teams do. We try to give everyone a good base so we can make the competition as even as possible for when we get to training camp. We have a lot of guys on this team that have run our defense and offensive system for a number of years. We have guys who have taken a lot of snaps and guys who haven't. We are just trying to level the playing field a little bit so everyone has a chance to compete in training camp.
Q: Looks like [Kevin] O'Connell has been focusing on some different mechanics. Is that fair to say?
BB: I think everyone is working on new techniques and trying to improve on what they have done in the past so we will put everyone in that category.
Q: Back in the owners meetings in late March you mentioned Junior Seau, at that time it probably wasn't the best time to say which way that would go, but as we get deeper here in the off-season is that situation anywhere reaching a point where we will know either he will be back or won't be back?
BB: I think it is closer to reaching that point. I don't think it is any closer to having any kind of commitment one way or another. We are just not there yet. But we are closer to being there. We just don't know where that is.
Q: Have you gotten your crystal ball out to tell when that is?
BB: I'd say it will probably closer to training camp than mini camp.
Q: Just to clarify, I know the veterans aren't out here but are you doing meetings with these guys this week?
BB: Not in meetings, no, but there are a lot of guys who are still working out in the off-season program. In the Spring, guys have different schedules and different commitments so it is kind of a make up week that some guys are making up and other guys aren't.
Q: Have you enjoyed following the Celtics in their playoff run?
BB: I sure did. I enjoyed it last night. What an awesome performance. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, [Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins played great and Paul Pierce. It was an exciting game to watch. So was the first one. I feel like the team mascot.
Q: You scored some pretty good seats too.
BB: The seats are awesome. There is a lot of contact down there. It looks like a lot of tight ends playing and bigger.
Q: I know you have a friendship with Terry Francona, do you have a good rapport with Doc Rivers or anyone else on the Celtics.
BB: Yeah. Doc and I have talked several times over the last few years. He has been really supportive of us and I really appreciate that. The Celtics take great care of not only me, but you also see a lot of our players at the games. I know all the guys love to get over there and watch those great athletes perform. The Celtics have been great. They have been very supportive of us and they have taken great care of us and we appreciate it. We are pulling for them. Hopefully, they won't have to come back from Detroit and play them Sunday. Hopefully, they can wrap it up in Detroit - we are pulling for that.
Q: With the punters, you have the two veterans and the rookie. Do you envision it to be similar to evaluating over a long stretch of time to see the consistency or is that harder to do this year that you have some roster restrictions?
BB: I'd say it is going to be harder this year given the roster restrictions. Right now without contracts being signed we can carry a little bit over the 80, but once those guys sign contracts it is a hard 80 number. We will have to make some decisions there. I'm not sure that we will be able to take everyone we want to, to camp. The numbers have been lower than they have been in previous years with the Europe guys with those type of exemptions.
Q: Is this camp about teaching or evaluating?
BB: Teaching. We don't have pads on. Some of these guys are doing things for the first time. It is hard to evaluate anybody when they do something once. You teach it to them, if they don't do it well than you come back and teach it to them the next time and the next time. Once everyone comes back and they have a little bit of confidence and they have done something previously, than they have a fair chance to go out there and do it to somebody else. Then we will go out there and evaluate when everyone has a better understanding of what to do.