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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 07/29/02

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            **BB:** We have one roster move update, Rich Tylski. Rich came in, I talked to Rich last night and he's decided to retire and it was a real tough decision for him. He's been a starter for the last six years and he's been on some real good football teams. I just think that he felt that this was the right thing to do and I really respect Rich a lot, he's a guy that's come up the hard way as a free agent on the practice squad and really earned his stripes in this league and I know it was a tough position for him and it's something that every player has to go through. So that's that, we picked up the pace a bit today from yesterday morning, a lot of contact, we really worked on the running game, we need to make some strides there, and you know grind it out, there's just no other way to do it rather than to run the ball, and stop it. So this afternoon is going to be another pretty intense afternoon. Last night I told the team this was a big day for us, a little bit of a hump day in camp in terms of that fourth day when all that installation starts to fall in. Guys are starting to feel the effects of double sessions and coincidentally the heat picked up a bit today, we turned that on so, you know, overall, this is the grind and if we're going to make progress, these are the days we've got to work through come out and accomplish something. I think we did this morning but we're going to have to string it together to really be where we want to be here at the end of the first week at camp.  

Bill, is there an update on Willie McGinest?

BB: Willie will be on the field tomorrow.

With Tylski, it's like what happened with Joe Panos last year.

BB: Yeah, there's some similarities. I don't want to say it's the same, but there are some similarities, yeah.

Is that something you kind of expect when looking at a player, especially a veteran?

BB: I don't think that's the way Rich said it though; I think it was a different situation than that. I think Rich just feel like he wasn't playing at a level he thought he should be playing at and that's a little different from him feeling that he didn't want to play football. Look, every player's career ends, nobody plays forever, even the hall of famers, the Lawrence Taylors, and those guys, it ends at some point, so what the circumstances are, there's only so many ways it can happen, so that's something you have to deal with, but it's something that happens to everybody. Sometimes that time is training camp, not usually, but occasionally it is and that's what it was, but you know, I respect Rich and I respect his decision, and it's a tough one, it'd be tough for any of us to end our careers and what we're doing and say we're just not doing the job well enough anymore and that we just want to move on. When you just don't feel like doing it anymore, that's a tough decision for every person who has a job, especially one like pro football, but those guys have been playing for 10, 12, 15 years, whatever it is, since they were teenagers, it's a big part of their lives.

Did you detect anything at the beginning of camp that told you he wasn't at the level you expected him to be at?

BB: Yeah, you know, I though he got off to a little bit of a slow start, but we've only been at a camp a few days, and sometimes that works itself out and sometimes it doesn't.

Bill, do you need another body there?

BB: Yeah, we'll probably need to do something one way or the other. Whether it comes form here, or from somewhere else, we'll probably need to do something, we still got a lot of practices in camp, and right now, I'd say we're a little thin at guard, in anticipation of what's ahead of us, we've got to get somebody some work in there.

Coach, how important will special teams be to you this year?

BB: Special teams are always important. It's a little bit of a coaching cliché it's a third of a game, offense, defense, and special teams, but it really is. It's field position, it's big plays, and there are a lot of big plays in the kicking game, whether they're scoring plays or whether they're turnovers, and field position can change a lot on one kick, or one miss played ball, then your dealing with points with field goals. Those are all critical element s to the game, and they certain can't be understated. I certainly had the opportunity to coach special teams, to work with special teams for a number of years in my career at Detroit, at Denver, of course at the Giants, and you know been involved with them as a head coach. Nobody has to tell me how important they are and what they mean to the football team.

Do you put more emphasis on everybody passing the physical now that you're defending super bowl champions?

BB: What that conditioning test is for is to see whether we think the players are physically ready to go out and play on the field. We're at the start of the year, and I can't put a player on the field who's physically not ready to go. Put him out there with 78, 79, 80 other guys who are just at a different level, and I have too much respect for the player's health and his physical well-being to put him in a situation that I don't think he's ready to handle, so until I can see that he's ready, and it's not just the conditioning test, it's the strength test, other measurements do that we can see if a guy's strong and he's ready and able to go out there and compete with other guys at his level.

And the guys that failed yesterday, passed today?

BB: Those are your words not mine.

What's the guy's status who did not pass the conditioning test?

BB: Ok, we ran the conditioning test on Friday, and before anybody can go onto the field and practice they have to pass the conditioning test, so whenever they pass it, which, you know we have procedure that we follow on that when we think they're ready to re-take the test, and when they pass it, then we put them out there.

Could you express what your expectations are for the tight end position.

BB: Well, since basically they're all new, we're hoping for more production from the position and we'll just have to see how the completion unfolds. How it resolves itself, Christian [Fauria] has the most experience and has been a solid player in the league with Seattle, but he is new to our system and we'll have to integrate him into our system, and fit him in just like we would any other new player. Jabari Holloway and Arther Love were here last year, but really participated very little and of course, Graham and Cleeland are new, Cleeland having some experience at New Orleans, but you know coming of an injury, but he's another guy that has to re-establish himself both his physical level and like Christian, work himself into the new system on offense. How all those things will unfold, I don't know. Scott Dragos is another guy who's a combination, has played in the back field, has played full back, has played tight end, has also played special teams, is a long snapper, and you know, he has versatility, and it kind of brings a little bit of a different package, but never the less, one with a good deal of versatility into that competition as well. So that's what's there, and how that group will develop and how they'll fit together, you know, maybe one guy would play well in combination with another, or you know, we'll just have to see how it goes. I'm not really sure how it's going to work out, I think we have more talent to work with, but how that will unfold, and what their exact roles, and how things will work in the offense, we'll just have to wait and see on that.

What have you noticed about Daniel [Graham]?

BB: As a rookie he's got the furthest to go.

Do you apply the hidden yards philosophy, and how it applies to a certain number of points?

BB: Yeah, well I think that a lot those, what I would call hidden yardage comes from penalties, comes from return yardage. Whether it be fumble returns, interception returns, and that kind of thing. Field position swings, and that punting differential, and penalty yards. That hidden yardage is very important, and statistically about 100 yards of hidden yardage is worth seven points, on some of the studies that have been done. Therefore, 50 yards is basically a field goal, so statistically that's the way it is. Each game those plays and that yardage sometimes tells a little bit different story, but over the long haul, if you're penalized 100 yards more than your opponent, or 50 yards more than your opponent and won the game some where along the line there are going to be some plays that are costly, and that you're going to pay for, and whether we can cover that or not is dependent on other variables.

What did you see in Mike Compton before you brought him in?

BB: Well number one, Mike has a lot of versatility. He's played center, guard, and long snapper. He played some tackle at Detroit. In addition to his experience he's very durable. Last year was the first time that he missed significant time, and because of his versatility and his experience we felt like he would be a real good addition to our line. Plus he's a tough guy, he likes football, he's a hard working guy, he's got some leadership, and so he had a lot of positive characteristics.

Does he have a natural position?

BB: Well he's played center more than any other position, but again he has played, and he has played a little bit of tackle. He played center and West Virginia in college. Again he has played across the line at Detroit, with the majority of his time at center, next most would be guard, and tackle would be the least.

How important is it to have a guy who has played in over 92 games in the NFL?

BB: There is an old saying that durability in NFL is more important that ability, and I think there is a lot of truth to that saying. Being there every week and every day, number one it allows you to get better. Its hard not get better when you're out there practicing and working hard and working at your job. Number two, for the continuity of the team it certainly is good for the guy who plays next to him on either side of him to have that consistency in terms of recognition and making mind calls. If they're out there working and they have a good attitude then its almost impossible for them not to get better, and therefore for your team to get better.

The three players that failed conditioning, how quickly do you expect them to get back, or do you just throw them in?

BB: Well each player's situation is a little bit different. We try to look at each player's individual situation and take it from there. Basically what we do in training camp we plan out a schedule on how we want to proceed in camp, and for the most part if a player misses any time in that we really can't hold up the rest of the team for one player, and its inevitable that some players are going to miss some time. I don't think I've ever been at a camp where somebody hasn't missed something, You just have to move along. The players that do miss a little bit, that fall behind; you have to catch them up in the right way to catch them up. If they cant take as many plays because of an injury or whatever the condition is.

Does the same go for Willie [McGinest]?

BB: I think every situation is a little bit different. You just have to evaluate each position as it is. Sometimes it involves the experience of the player, how long he's played, or how long he's been doing it. The injury, the time he's missed, or what the condition is, each one is a little different. What you try to rely on are the position coaches, and the strength coach and the trainer to really keep an eye on the player and know how far he can go to keep progressing and then when you hit the point of diminishing returns. At the same time you don't want to overload him mentally where he has so many things to think about that its hard to get anything right. That's where a good position coach comes in. That's what the coaches do. There is always going to be a fluctuation of some guys coming back, and other guys dropping out and they will come back later on. That's the nature of training camp.

Have Pass, Robinson-Randall, and Smith been given the chance to take the conditioning test again?

BB: Everybody that we ran on Friday is now out on the field as of this afternoon.

How is [Donald] Hayes doing?

BB: Well Donald has missed the last two days. His leg tightened up on him a bit, so he's missed a couple days. I don't think it will be too long with him. He got off to a pretty good start, he's just missed a couple days here, but he should be back. Our depth at receiver looks like its better than it was last year; we'll see how that comes along. We've got a long way to go. We're looking forward to working with Donald. He's been a productive player his first four years in the league in Carolina, and he's really our biggest receiver so I think that there are some things I think we can utilize him on that hopefully he'll be productive with.

Are you doing pads this afternoon?

BB: We'll be in shoulder pads. Shoulder pads and shorts, no pants

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