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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 07/27/02

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BB: How's it going today? Good to be back at camp on the weekends? Just a couple of updates, Willie McGinest is still excused he'll probably be gone for a couple of days here, there's a situation he had to take care of. Donald Hayes, his leg tightened up a little bit on him yesterday but I wouldn't say that this is anything major, but we'll just take it day by day and see how it comes along. All the other guys that are out will be out at least through the weekend in that other group that we talked about yesterday, the injured group would be probably a week away form really any kind of evaluation as to when they can come back, you know will give them a week and take it day by day from there, [Matt] Light, [Richard] Seymour, Cam Cleeland, that group, [Leonard] Myers, those guys. Today, I think the first really good day, I felt like we got off the ground yesterday, we got going, we had a lot of things in, we had the running test in the morning, and the first day of camp's always a bit of a cram session where you got a lot of things going in a fairly short amount of time. Today, this is camp, we're in the regular camp schedule and it will be this way for a while and this will be our routine and I think we fell into that today, and it's camp, the dog days of camp that start. We had some good contact out there this morning, I thought the players tried to compete well, and we got a long way to go.

Q: Didn't you give the conditioning test to the other guys today?

BB: We won't run anybody again until we think they're ready to do it. And their not going to be ready to do it this weekend, I can tell you that right now.

Q: Are you disappointed about that?

BB: You'd like to have everybody out there, no doubt about it; you'd like to have everybody out there. Especially guys that have been here before and done it before, and you want everybody out there regardless, but you think the second or third time around it wouldn't be a problem.

Q: It seems [Damien] Woody's playing a lot of guard, is that something that's in the plans?

BB: Well, Woody played a lot of guard last year; [Mike] Compton played a lot of center last year, so they'll play both positions in training camp. Rich is playing at both guards, [Rich] Tylski, the tackles are going to swing so this is the point where you need to build some depth, not particularly on the offensive line as we know we can only take seven or eight lineman to a game, so someone's got to double up somewhere along the line, and even the way we played last year with both Mike and Damien playing both center and guard, that's an area we want to make sure we have the depth in. Just looking back on last year, Woody played a lot more center than he did guard, and Mike played a lot more guard than he did center, so we want to start camp so that we'd start to get them some good fundamental work at both positions, so we wanted to start them with one they've had a little less time at.

Q: Is the beginning of the season a primary focus?

BB: It's definitely a target for us. Absolutely.

Q: Is Woody improving with his snaps?

BB: Yeah, I think he is.

Q: Would you prefer it if you didn't have to play him at guard?

BB: Yea, again Nick it's not really what's best for Woody, it's what's best for the Patriots, and who the five lineman are and what the best mix is, and if that's Compton at guard, or Compton at center, or Woody guard, Woody center, Andruzzi at left guard or right guard, Tylski at right guard. I don't know. That's what we'll find out, and that's what we'll try to come up with. Whatever the best combination is. We can't do what's best for every single player and still put together our best team, we have to do what's best for the team, and for some players that may mean they have to shift their assignments or responsibilities a little bit, for others it may not, that's putting the whole mix together. Receivers playing X and Z, safety's playing right and left, it's linebackers playing Mike and Sam and Will and I mean that's just the way it is so the offensive line's definitely a part of that.

Q: Does Rich Tylski look like a good pickup for you?

BB: Yeah we hope so, but I think that the depth, or where the depth is or isn't, we'll just have to see as we go along. When we signed Rich, and guys like Rich Tylski and Victor Green, that have played in the league and started in the league the past six or seven years, you know whatever its been for those guys, they have a chance to do more than provide depth, they have a chance to gain playing time and that's the competition that we open up, and we'll see how that turns out in training camp and in the preseason games. So how much depth we will or wont have that remains to be seen, but we're looking for competition and I think we've got it at spots like that, safety's one, guard's another, tight end's another, and I mean there are some where we don't have quite as much competition as we do at some of those spots.

Q: Did you think about bringing in an extra kicker? Any concerns about Adam Vinatieri?

BB: We do, and we're trying to manage that, we're just kicking him in the morning. I know he kicked yesterday afternoon, but that's because we only had one practice, but he'll be doing the majority of his kicking in the morning, and that's definitely a concern. The problem you get into when you start bringing in a lot of people like that, you bring in extra kickers, extra punters, extra quarterbacks, and pretty soon you're really down to 75, it cuts down where your depth is on the offensive line or defensive line or receiver, or one of those positions. If you know who your kicker is going to be, you either bring in somebody for competition or somebody to save his legs similar to a fourth quarterback or a ninth receiver, or that kind of thing, and its just hard to get depth in all of those positions, you just have to pick your spots. In our position this year we've talked about that and one of the things we're dealing with right now is several guys are a about a week or probably more than that before they can get back out there, guys like Seymour, Light, so when you take them out of there, and you start tacking on extra kickers, extra punters, extra snappers, which we have an extra snapper here, pretty soon you can easily lop off nine or 10 spots on your roster and you really have a 70 man camp instead of an 80 man camp, and that creates some other problems. That's the balance you go for, and to do that we decided not to bring in another kicker, but to try to manage what we're going to do with Adam so we don't overdo it.

Q: How many guys potentially compete for a kickoff return spot? Is Troy [Brown] a candidate? Is this one of the toughest things to find?

BB: That's a good question. I think until we clearly have one that is established we may be looking at a large number of possible returners, five or six guys. The backs, receivers, you could get a defensive back out of there too, Brock Williams or somebody like that, I wouldn't say that a couple of those people aren't at the top of that list at this point, until somebody really sticks out, and shows that they can claim that spot like Troy does on punt returns, I don't know if you would want to eliminate anybody. Just keep working everybody until you feel confident that you've got a good one. I think Troy can do it, and we used him last year in emergency situations, its just that Troy does so many other things for us, and I think some of the other things he does better than he returns kickoffs, not that he cant do them, and not that he wouldn't do a good job, but I think he's better returning punts. I think we could go out and get a good kick returner, but he might not be able to do anything else and then it's a question of how many of those guys can you afford on you team. For example we have a long snapper, and that's all he does. Some teams have a long snapper that doubles up, ours doesn't. Sometimes you have a good kick returner who doubles up, or a punt returner, which we do have who, obviously plays a lot of plays for us on offense. As many of those players as you can find, the ones that can return kicks or return punts and kickoffs, play on special teams, or snap and play tight end, it saves your roster spots, but those guys are hard to find, and that's the dilemma. We have a snapper, we have a full complement of specialists, its tough to really allocate a spot to a returner, especially when we have a couple people on the defensive side of the ball who are really good special teamers but don't play a lot of defense. The Larry Izzos, Je'rod Cherrys, guys like that that primarily are special teams players, and play some defense, as opposed to a guy like Matt Stevens who played defense and special teams, those players are a little more on the special teams side of the ball.

Q: How's Adrian Klemm done this offseason?

BB: Yeah, he's kind of running out of time, and its been two years, and he's been on the field in two years for relatively little. He missed a big part of his rookie year until the end of the season, and last year he got hurt in camp came back, hurt his calf again, went on injured reserve, so he's probably only played only 10 –11 weeks of football in two years. Its hard to improve if you're not out there practicing, so he needs to be out there, and I think if he's out there he will improve, but he's certainly had some trouble staying on the field the past couple of years. Hasn't had any issues in the offseason, he's had a pretty productive offseason, and hopefully that will continue through camp. Any player who comes into his third year and hasn't really played much, you're running out of time.

Q: Has Charlie [Weis] seen the tape of yesterday's practice, and is there a routine of getting him things?

BB: Yes he has. At the end of the day, he lives right over here, about 15 minutes away so we take him the tape at the end of the day so he can keep up with what we're doing, and we can keep up with what he's doing

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