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Bill Belichick Press Conf.

Coach Bill Belichick Press Conference from Training Camp



BB: Welcome to camp. We got things kicked off a little bit this morning. It's been a long time, or it seems like a long time anyway since we walked off the field those three times in Foxboro at the Miami game last December. A lot's happened since then. We've added a number of new players, of course the rookie class, we added some veteran players from around the league in terms of free agency and that type of thing and we've also had a long and extensive offseason program with the players that remained on our roster from last year. A lot of those players are young players – we had one of the youngest rosters in the league last year as you know so a lot of those guys are just going into their second year. And then there's obviously another group of veterans who have been around a lot longer than that. We had a lot of work in the offseason from a lot of different directions and it's all starting to come together this week at the start of training camp. I'm excited to get going; I'm looking forward to seeing how it all fits together and to see what kind of progress we've made. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the team is going to respond to the start of camp and the start of a new season and how they'll be, what their attitude and commitment will be toward the season. I think that a lot of positive things are building there. We still have a lot of work to do and it's all got to come together and this is the time it starts happening.

A couple of updates for you, first on the camp and then a little bit on the personnel. The people that are here this week are the only ones that we can require to report by the collective bargaining agreement and those are rookies or players who have no accrued seasons, quarterbacks and players who were either on injured reserve last year or who had significant offseason surgeries or offseason injuries since the end of the season. So that's who's here: either rookie players, quarterbacks, or players who were injured during the season last year or at the end. We're at our roster limit now with the signing of [Matt] Light yesterday and we've also signed Steve Neal. Steve is probably an interesting story, he's a championship wrestler, a college championship wrestler from California, and hasn't played football in a while. He played football when he was younger, he's a heavyweight wrestler obviously and we're going to work with him on the defensive line. This is obviously a project but one that we think we might be able to see some upside on. And we released Terrance Beadles last night. So that's where we're at. We have two draft choices who are unsigned, Brock Williams and Richard Seymour. I think that Seymour is pretty close, I hate to say that and you know then he probably won't be here until October. I've talked to that end of it and I've talked to people at our end and I think that that's in the process of getting done. I think it will be done today. As I've said before, these things can come and go quickly one way or the other so until it's done, that's where it is. So that's the current situation.

What we're going to try to do this week with these players and what I talked to the team about last night is that this is a chance really for our players to work on individual fundamental things, particularly things that involve pads. We did a lot of passing in the mini camp and things like this, this will be a chance for the offensive and defensive linemen and linebackers to go one-on-one. We can do a little bit of live tackling, we can do some fundamental things on the bags and those type of techniques that players really haven't had a chance to work on. They've worked on them without pads, but we all know that's not the same and there's just some things that are a little bit different there. So that will be our emphasis this week, what we want to do is try to get a good base so that the rookies and the guys who are coming off the injuries will get some contact so that they can ease into it a little bit and build up their confidence so when we start here at the end of the week, everybody should have a good base and we'll try to give everybody equal footing and as much of an equal opportunity as we can.

Q: What has Steve Neal been doing recently?

BB: He's been wrestling and I think he finished up a month ago or two months ago. So we brought him in, we worked him out, we looked at him, put him through some drills, put him through the conditioning and so forth. He's a raw guy. He's a big, strong, physical, raw guy. He's a championship wrestler.

Q: What made you think he might be a football player?

BB: He's pretty impressive athletically and he's an impressive wrestler. He's got some explosion and strength and quickness. He's a world championship wrestler, so…

Q: What does he weigh?

BB: 295

Q: Was he actively pursuing an NFL job?

BB: He's a guy who, we've known about him, but he's been wrestling. But his quest for the Olympics, he's kind of pulled off on that so he's decided to end his wrestling career and wants to pursue a pro football career so that's when we followed up on it. We've kind of talked about it before, but it really wasn't appropriate at that time because he was still involved in his wrestling career.

Q: So he has played football in the past?

BB: In high school, yeah.

Q: Was he sought after as a football player after high school?

BB: I'm really not that familiar with his 18-, 19-year old background. He didn't play football in college.

Q: Do you think there will be more of this going on?

Teams looking for players in different places?

BB: I'll tell you though, it's tough. I mean even with a kid like Steve, he's got so far to go. Fundamentally, from a technique standpoint, learning the terminology and the background, different schemes. No matter what position he would be playing, I don't know. We could go a week on this and say this is a waste of time, or we could go a week and say, gee, this really has some promise, I mean, I don't know. Obviously we saw enough things we liked to take a shot on this. We get a hundred letters like this every day, I mean guys who work out in the gym or whatever and say they can do this, they can do that. It's rare to come across a situation where you really feel like this guy has enough upside, where you would give it enough time that it's going to take to see where it's going to go. We'll know a lot more I think in a week or two.

Q: Could you address Terry Glenn?

Do you expect him here Thursday?

BB: I expect him here Thursday, yes.

Q: Do you have a game plan with him at all?

Do you plan to meet with him?

BB: Sure, we'll meet with everybody, I'll talk to Terry. Our plan is for him to be here at training camp. I haven't heard anything any differently. I expect him here. I don't know really where he's at, or what he's been doing, but we expect him to be ready to go. If he's ready to go we'll put him out there. He's got a lot of catching up to do in terms of some of the adjustments and changes that we've made in our schemes and that type of thing and from a timing standpoint with the quarterbacks, but we'll put him out there and see what he's able to do and how quickly he's able to come along with it.

Q: Do you have to proceed with caution with Robert Edwards or is he beyond that point?

BB: Well Robert… We had a running test out there this morning, and there were two players that didn't complete the running test – Robert and Leonard Myers. So both of those players will be on the PUP list, which means that they won't practice until they can pass the test. The other players that are on that list are [Willie] McGinest, Brandon Mitchell, Arther Love and Jabari Holloway. So none of those six players will be practicing until they're ready to practice, whether it be an injury or conditioning or whatever the situation is. This is another step for Robert and when he is able to take it, then we'll move forward onto the one after that. He's come a long way, but there are still a number of steps for him to hit on the way back.

Q: What happened?

Was it a conditioning issue or did he pull up and tweak something?

BB: He's just not ready to go yet.

Q: Did he start it and then not finish it?

BB: He just wasn't able to pass it. He wasn't able to complete it satisfactorily. Once he's able to do that then we'll…

Q: Is this the sprinting test?

BB: [Acknowledges yes]

Q: So the rookies did that today and then when everyone reports on Thursday the ones who haven't done it will do it then?

BB: Yes, nobody goes on the field until they can do it. So the guys who are here now do it now and the guys who come later do it then.

Q: Was this the test that some of the guys had trouble with last year?

BB: This was the exact same test that we had last year, right. Yes, same one. I mean, overall we're a lot further along than we were last year. But we still have a number of guys coming through at the end of the week, so all of the results aren't in. There are just the early returns, you hate to do those predictions too early, there was a little problem with that last November.

Q: There was a lot of turnover from last year. How long will it take to build chemistry?

BB: It's hard to put a time on it. Today is just another day in the process. We've been doing it all through the spring and the offseason programs and through the passing camps and the mini camps. I think there's been a lot of team building up to this point. I think it intensifies in training camp, but again, I'm excited about the way things are going. I think that we've had a lot of positive events happen through the course of the spring and in the summer. The guys that we've brought onto the team I think have already had an impact, a positive impact in their work ethic or their commitment to the game or the way that they have interacted with other players, who were either here or are coming in and joining them coming in new. So yeah, there's a lot of work to be done, the process has long been underway and I think that we're on the right track. I feel good about the guys we've brought in here, I feel good about the guys that are here and I'm looking forward to seeing everybody out there working hard and seeing what kind of progress we're making.

Q: Are the changes you mentioned in the offense going to be normal changes or drastic changes?

BB: I think a lot of them are normal type changes. I think that some things that we did well last year and want to do more of, some things that we didn't do too well and we need to improve or get rid of. Utilization of the personnel that we evolved to during the course of the season that now we're starting fresh some of those things are more important now than they were a year ago, some of the things that we started with a year ago that didn't work out that well and maybe we're better in a different system or with different guys or whatever the case was, so that's just a normal adjustment you would make in the offseason. We try to take a look at the teams we're going to play and make sure we have the things ready for them as much as we can anticipate we think we're going to need. And some things we had last year that aren't as important this year that we can move on from.

Q: Are these significant changes that the players will need to get used to?

BB: They're subtle but I hope they will be significant. Our third down offense and defense, our red area production, our goal line production offensively, are all things that we targeted to improve on during the regular season and of course that starts in the offseason and in training camp. I don't know how significant you want to call those. To me they're significant, but it's not like putting in a whole new system like we did last year. It's not that dramatic, but I think the players have already seen some of the changes and they understand that there's going to be some things that are a little bit different. And I think that we can all see, both the players and the coaches, that they should help us. Here's the reason why we're doing it, this is the problem we had, and hopefully this will clear it up. Or help clear it up.

Q: Is Terry Glenn's situation just a part of the NFL, like where a player doesn't fall into step?

BB: I think as a coach you have to look at each situation individually and deal with it for what it is. Each one is different and each player is different. I'm sure that if you talk to the 30 other head coaches each one of them would have things that you would ask them about in the offseason or during the season whether you want to call them problems or part of the job or whatever it is. I think that there are a number of things in this case that didn't need to happen the way they happened but that's the way they happened and both sides are going to have to deal with them.

Q: Did what Tony Simmons did in the spring and in NFL Europe do anything to change your view of him?

BB: I'm anxious to see Tony this year in training camp. I think what Tony needed was game experience, doing things under game conditions. Tony is one of the top testing athletes we have on our team in terms of size, speed, strength and all those things that we can measure and test from an offseason workout standpoint it would be hard for anybody to pass Tony or for anybody to even compete with Tony on that level. What I talked to Tony about after the season was the fact that I thought he needed more on the field, game experience, adjusting to coverages, running routes against different coverages, playing against different types of corners, you know all the things that come up in game type situations, which we really couldn't provide for him. This spring, I mean it's just been on a limited basis. So I thought that that's what he needed, I thought that that was when some of the other players needed who were in Europe and he got it and he did pretty well with it so how that transfers now that we've come back to training camp and start the 2001 season we'll have to see, but I think that Tony did what was most productive for him in the offseason. I feel good about that, I think he should feel good about it. I think his confidence is probably at a higher level than it was when he left here so that's good.

Q: Could you talk about those things that didn't really need to happen between you and Terry Glenn?

BB: I don't really want to go into a whole diary of last spring, but I think we all know a lot of the circumstances around the whole spring and look, as a coach, what I'm looking for is a commitment by our players to this football team. A lot of players have made a really strong commitment in my eyes. They've either done everything that we've asked them to do and in some cases a lot more or they've tried to do everything they could do but maybe they couldn't do everything we asked them to do due to some prior commitments, like with some of the guys that we signed as free agents but by the time we signed them they had already made some other commitments because they weren't sure of what their future plans were and so forth and that type of thing. But there are a lot of guys that have made very, very strong commitments to this team. And the team wants to make a strong commitment to any player who gives that much of himself as well. So, in Terry's case, his presence wasn't felt here and he hasn't been a part of hardly anything that we've done in the offseason. Communication levels have been low, so it's really hard to tell what he has done in terms of his approach and his preparation for the season. I've had people ask me about Ray Lewis and that type of situation. Ray Lewis was at the Baltimore facility every single day last year in the offseason. He made a real strong commitment to the team, and I think the team felt it and I think the team made a strong commitment back to him. I think that it's a two-way street, that's how it works with any player. I think that some things could have been done differently, but we are where we are. I don't think it's a problem that's in any way unsalvageable or unworkable. I'd like to have seen it work a little differently before, but we're where we're at now and we'll see what we can make of it.

Q: In general, how hard are you to get a hold of if you're a player?

BB: There are plenty of players that I've talked to in the offseason. I've probably talked to McGinest five times since he left at the end of mini camp.

Q: How can Terry Glenn's situation be best resolved for everyone?

BB: Once everybody gets here, once everybody gets to work, then we'll see what kinds of results we can produce.

Q: How important is it to have the rookies under contract before you get going as opposed to holding out?

BB: The sooner they're out there, the more chance they have to understand what they're doing and help us. All the rookies are faced a little bit with the same battle, learning a new system and in some cases gaining their confidence in the techniques that they have to do against the people they have to them against, and there's no substitute for gaining that confidence other than doing it. I think that J.R. [Redmond] was a good example last year, not so much as a holdout, but just the injury, that by the time he was able to come to camp and get going, it was really midseason before he was able to get out there and do what he could do and it would have been a lot better if that could have happened six weeks or a month or so earlier than it did, but that was an injury and it wasn't his fault, it wasn't anybody's fault, it just worked out that way. It was lost time and it hurt him and it hurt us.

Q: How is McGinest?

BB: Good. I think that things went well, I think that he feels good and I think that we have a reasonable chance of him being ready to go in a fairly short period of time.

Q: Are the rookie tight ends [Love and Holloway] day-to-day or week-to-week?

BB: Holloway has a hamstring, he's not ready to run yet so as soon as that's ready, that could be a day or a few days. Love will be longer than that. Love's situation is probably similar to what Redmond's was last year. It's not the same, but I would say similar, we're probably looking more at that type of time frame with Arther.

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