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Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 7/26/03

Belichick: We’re starting to get back into the grind of camp. The players had good spirits out there and we had some good speed, quickness and hitting.


BB:** We're just plugging along. We're starting to get back into the grind of camp. We had a long practice yesterday afternoon and came back and did it again pretty good this morning. I thought the players had good spirits out there and we had some good speed and quickness in the drills and some good hitting. We are just plugging along. We'll be in the stadium tonight and try to get a little situational work done, and start to acclimate ourselves to the stadium conditions as well. We are just grinding through camp.

**Q: You've got some youth on the defensive line with [Ty] Warren, [Richard] Seymour and Jarvis Green. So where are the veterans going to play? Do they have more reps in a 4-3?

BB:** I think right now we are working, trying to get everybody working. And how exactly those roles get defined is something that will happen later on, at the end of training camp and as we get into some regular season games. I think that all of the players have a chance to contribute more, of course Bobby [Hamilton] and Anthony [Pleasant] have been two of our most productive players on the team the last couple years. So, I'm sure that in some way they will be productive for us. They will be in some package. How exactly that works out we'll just have to wait and see.

**Q: I would assume that it is still good to have guys like that on, because with youth, sometimes inexperience, and you might want veteran's leadership?

BB:** I think it has been a good compliment. And I think those players, Rick Lyle and Bobby and Anthony [Pleasant] have done a real nice job of, not only getting themselves ready in camp and trying to improve their game, but also helping the younger players understand the techniques and some of the things that happen up there on the line and how to handle them. They are trying to impart their experience and wisdom to the younger players. And I think the younger players have done a good job of listening, starting with Seymour two years ago, then Green, then Warren, the other young kids up there, Klecko and those guys, that they do a good job of listening to the older players and they're respectful. It seems like it is a real good working environment within that group.

**Q: I know you don't like us to read into the groupings, and the depth chart and all that…

BB:** Exactly.

**Q: Having said that, where does Tyrone Poole fit right now? He doesn't get as many reps.

BB:** I think the reps are getting pretty evenly spread in the secondary. With Ty [Law] and Otis [Smith] out, the corners get a few more reps and, in particular, in sub situations then everybody gets plenty of reps there. I think it has been pretty evenly spread, maybe not exactly. But I think everybody is getting their shots.

**Q: Coming in did you think, maybe, would you expect him to be getting the reps that maybe Eugene [Wilson] or Asante [Samuel] are getting? Are they surprising, or is he behind?

BB:** I would say that those two, Asante and Eugene, have gotten a lot of reps because they have been here for quite a long time, since the middle of May. They've gotten a lot of opportunities, and the opportunities they have gotten they have done well with and taken advantage of. There's no reason not to keep giving them the reps, but I think everybody else is taken their turns to, other than the ones that are injured.

**Q: Richard Seymour has taken steps, two big steps in the last two years. He played really well as a rookie and went to the Pro-Bowl last year. What's the next step, do you think, that he has to take in his progression?

BB:** Well, I think Richard can still become a more consistent football player, and he knows that. There are several techniques. Richard and I had some conversations in the offseason and watched some film of things we felt that he can improve on. I showed him ways, technique-wise and from a leverage standpoint and also from a consistency standpoint, where he can improve. And he's worked on them in the offseason. Now that we have come into training camp, that's been his focal point. There are some little things; there are some technique things at his position. But certainly he still can grow as a player. I know he wants to do that, and we expect him to do that as well.

**Q: Can he be the dominant defensive line guy that you see around the league?

BB:** That's all…in relative terms. I think in the two years that he's played, he's certainly has had his share of production, whatever adjectives go with that. I think there is still room for him to grow and develop as a player. If he keeps working hard and can take the understanding of the other things he can add to his game and perfect those, then that will just make him that much better of a player.

**Q: A couple years ago, [Tom] Brady set the standard for growth between, well a one year period, between his rookie year and his second year. Not to compare Rohan [Davey] to Tom, but what kind of development or jump have you seen from him, when he came in last year trying to walk to now?

BB:** I think Rohan has made a big jump. Any player at that position, at quarterback, from their first year to their second year, if they work hard, can't help but make a big jump. There is so much to gain in the offseason, when you are not under the pressure of the game plan and all that, that you can sit back and learn and go through March, April, May, June and really get a better understanding of our offense and for what the league does in terms of the different coverages and blitzes and disguises and all that. Rohan and Huf [John Hufnagel, Quarterbacks Coach] have met a lot in the offseason. He's got a way better understanding of a] what we're doing and b] what's going on on the other side of the ball. Not that he still doesn't have a long way to go, but that's been a big jump for him. But I think, again, that any player in that position from the first year to the second year, when you add in the offseason, where they are in their second training camp, from a confidence and an understanding and an execution level is…it should be significantly ahead. And I think it is with Rohan.

**Q: Keeping in mind it's still early with regard to Kliff Kingsbury, only mini camp and a couple touchdowns in practice, him coming from a pretty sophisticated offense from Texas Tech, has he kind of satisfied you or maybe surprised you with his progression so far? Has he been pretty good?

BB:** In college, Kliff had experience in some things that will be helpful to him here. There are other areas that he is going to be way behind in and we'll have to make that ground up. I think Kliff's coming along fine, I don't have any complaints with him. He's a very hard worker. He's a smart kid. He doesn't make many mistakes. As he sees things more frequently, he'll do a better job of recognizing them and make quicker decisions. He can throw the ball and has pretty good accuracy. I think all of those other things will come in time. Again at this point, he's working with three other guys, so he only gets so many opportunities. But to his credit, when he's had an opportunity, he's done fairly well with those. So that's good and he's definitely improving, but he's got a long way to go.

**Q: Obviously a lot of things can change between now and when you have to make roster decisions, but if you had to say so now would you have, do you see a scenario playing out, like a couple years ago, where you carried four quarterbacks?

BB:** I wouldn't rule that out, but I don't know that's the way that it would go either, but we'll see. We'll keep the players who we feel are the best players for the organization, the players who deserve the roster spots. We know we can't keep everybody, so there's competition there and we'll see how it all unfolds when everybody gets a chance to play, not just Kliff but all the other players who are in competition for those spots.

**Q: The reason why I am asking is because I am just kind of wondering if the team has perhaps set itself up pretty well, and obviously Rohan [Davey] hasn't played nor has Kliff, by Damon entering the last year of his contract and perhaps wanting to go somewhere where he might be able to compete for a starting job. You guys have set yourself up pretty well for his departure when and if it comes.

BB:** Well, I understand what your saying. We're not really looking at it that way. We're trying to get a good quarterback situation this year on the field. You never know when you are going to need depth at that position and when you do it's critical that you have it. That's really what we're trying to establish. We'll worry about next year, next year. Not that we don't understand what the situation is, but right now that's really not our primary focus.

**Q: Is there any significance at all in the status of the day-to-day players?

BB:** Ty [Law] did a little bit more out there today. He did some work in the individual drills. I think that he's going to work his way back in soon. I think that some of our other guys are getting real close. I think Ty would have been the most [significant] with that group. I think everybody else is coming along well. We haven't had any setbacks.

**Q: You haven't had any setbacks?

BB:** No. The guys that are out for a while, we have already talked about them.

**Q: You had Brenden Stai in for a visit. Has your view of your depth on the line changed?

BB:** Steve Neal, that situation came up a week and a half, two weeks ago, whatever it was. That is what it is. Nothing else has really happened since then. Stai is a player that currently isn't with another team. There are a couple of those players that are still out there that we always keep our eye on and talk to and maybe there is any opportunity there. Maybe there isn't. There's nothing settled on that yet but that is a possibility.

**Q: Do you expect to make a decision on that soon?

BB:** Anytime you get into one of those deals, it's not you making the decision. You are working with somebody else, when and if that comes together. Obviously if you do it, you want to do it. There is no need to postpone it, you want to get the player in there and get him going. But until it's done, it's not done.

**Q: How did the visit with Larry Centers go?

BB:** What visit was that?

**Q: Yesterday. Are you free to comment on that?

BB:** Yes, sure. I just wasn't sure which one you were referring to.

**Q: Okay.

BB:** Larry came in yesterday and we had a good conversation. We talked a little bit about his situation and we talked a little bit about our situation. He's on his way back to Texas, or maybe he is in Texas now. We'll just see how that progresses. There's nothing done there. We talked. I think there is some interest there and we will see how that goes.

**Q: Are you just trying to collect your players or are you trying to fit a specific need?

BB:** We wouldn't talk to anybody if there wasn't some role for him potentially, not that there is anything guaranteed. It would be hard to bring a guy in and say 'Look, we really don't see a spot on the team for you but we would like to sign you.' I just want to be honest with them, 'Look, here is what your situation would be if you were here, this would be what we expect you to do or who you would be competing against,' or whatever it is. Whatever the circumstances are with their situation, whether it be injury or contract, position, or whatever it is. You have to talk to them about that and they give you their feedback as to where they're at and what their situation is. You see if there is some kind of mutual ground that you can work from, the contract and those other things that would fall into place after that. It was more of a preliminary talk, just to get acquainted with each other, not that we don't know each other, but in terms of our situations.

**Q: What I meant to ask was, do you have a hole in your pass-receiving fullback role that you are trying to fill?

BB:** First of all, Larry Centers, in his career, has set a standard for pass-receiving fullbacks. There are not many players that have ever been as accomplished in the passing game as he has. From a career standpoint, he's pretty much at a different level than almost anybody else you could name. He has had different roles throughout his career and, again, that's part of what we talked about, how he would fit into our offense. In terms of Fred [McCrary], I think he has a lot of similarities to Marc Edwards in his game and frankly was a guy that has the opportunity to replace Marc in some of the roles that he performed for us last year. If Larry were here, whether he would be in competition with those roles or some slightly different, that's a whole different story.

**Q: Can you talk a little bit about Rosevelt Colvin?

BB:** I think Rosie has had a real good offseason. He was here probably as much as any player on our team. He worked very hard in the offseason and is in good condition. He has gotten off to a good start both in the passing and mini-camps in the Spring and now in training camp. He has got an upbeat personality. I think he comes across as a guy who likes to play football and is having fun out there playing football on the field and that is a little bit contagious defensively. I think he has been a real good addition. He does have a little bounce in his step and has a little spark when he is on the field and I think that is good for him but it's good for the other players that are out there with him too. We have other guys that are like that. Guys like [Tedy] Bruschi and Mike Vrabel, Lawyer [Milloy] and guys like that. I think it's been a pretty good fit.

**Q: You have two high-profile safeties in Lawyer and Rodney. How does Chris Akins fit into that mix for you?

BB:** Chris was a real productive special teams player for the Browns and prior to that for the Packers. I think that the number one thing for Chris is his role in the kicking game. Beyond that, you always need depth in your secondary at that position and between Aric Morris and Chris Akins and Je'Rod Cherry, all three of those players are, I don't want to say in competition because it's sort of competition but it's all in the process of developing a role for themselves on the team both defensively and in the kicking game. I think Chris, based on what he did previously, has the skills and the ability to help us on special teams. We're trying to see where he would fit and what would be the best thing for him to do and where he would play for us defensively in terms of creating depth at the safety position behind Lawyer and Rodney.

**Q: As far as running the ball, are you trying to tweak the running game and get back the form you had in 2001?

BB:** Well, sure. We are definitely trying to improve the running game. Both sides of the ball, the running game could stand some improvement and, again, some of those changes are schematic changes. Some of them are technique things that we are maybe doing a little bit differently to try to improve it. We had a couple of personnel changes too in terms of overall depth at the tight end position and things like that. With what we have, we're trying to maximize it and certainly trying to improve our production in that aspect of the game.

**Q: What are you expecting from Don Davis? Is he still kind of fresh for a guy being eight years in the league?

BB:** Yes, Don runs well. He is a good athlete and he was that way coming out of Kansas. Don is a smart player. He is a very experienced player both on defense and in the kicking game. He has given us good depth and a good player at that position. Having guys in a 3-4 defense, you need to have enough depth at linebacker so you are not one injury away from being knocked out of the front. How his role ends up on this team, we are just going to have to wait and see. But he certainly brings some skills to the table in terms of his intelligence, his athleticism, and his experience.

**Q: Did you see anything out of him in the films that you studied from the Rams? Did anything impress you?

BB:** Yes, all of those things. He is a productive player. He is fast. He is athletic and he is a smart player. That is what it is. He has a good combination of skills.

**Q: Christian Fauria was really productive in the red zone last year. Is it hard to get that same sort of production two years in a row from a player at that stage? If it is, does that put more pressure on the player?

BB:** That's a good question. Sometimes in the red area, and you see it through the league from time to time, some guys have fewer catches and more touchdowns. Other guys have a lot of catches and fewer touchdowns. Sometimes it's just kind of coincidental or maybe circumstantial the way it turns out. I think overall, he had a solid year for us as a receiver in all situations. He was exceptionally productive in the red zone. Whether that production gets matched or not, I don't know. I really don't care as long as we get the ball in the end zone. I am happy when he scores but I am happy when anybody else scores too. The year before, Antowain [Smith] was a productive goal line and red area player. If you get down on the one yard line, probably your running back is going to score more touchdowns on the five or six yard line, maybe those balls go to somebody else. The bottom line for us is the team is getting the ball in the end zone. Christian did a real good job with the opportunities that he had. He made some nice catches and made some big plays, the Miami game for an example. Hopefully if he gets those opportunities he will make them again.

**Q: Do you see [Daniel] Graham as being that type of player?

BB:** I think Graham could be productive in the red area. Sure. You bet.

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