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Bill Belichick Press Conference

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, August 7, 2009. BB: I thought we finished up a productive week, last night out there on the field and this morning we went through a walkthrough.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, August 7, 2009.

BB: I thought we finished up a productive week, last night out there on the field and this morning we went through a walkthrough. [We] covered some situational things and corrected some mistakes from last night and even previous practices. That was good, obviously we have a long way to go. We have a lot to work on, but I think the players have worked hard. I think generally the team's in pretty good condition. They've worked hard out there. We've been in pads a lot. We've had a lot of contact. We've had a lot of practices and I think they've done a good job of pushing through it and staying focused. At this time of year, playing a solid level of football as a team [is difficult] considering the number of moving parts and different people that we're working in there. Last night, we completed the Burgess trade. He's on his way. That's not finalized yet and actually there're some conditions on the trade that won't be finalized for probably a few weeks, so when that's done we'll give it to you. In the meantime, it's kind of a work in progress, but he's on his way here. [He's] a player that I coached in the Pro Bowl a couple of years ago. I certainly competed against him when he was at Philadelphia and also in Oakland. He primarily plays on the left side. [He's a] very athletic guy, competitive, tough, hard-working guy that I think has a good playing style. I look forward to having him join our team and compete with the rest of our guys defensively there to try to put the most competitive group on the field that we can. We're going to give the players a little break here and then come back. We have a short week here with Philadelphia coming up. So there are a lot of things to do, cram in there, get ready for the Eagles and still maintain our training camp pace and work on the fundamentals and the little things that we need, regardless of who we're playing. So we'll try to balance that going forward. It's also a time here, as a coaching staff, trying to recalibrate a little bit where we're at, where we need more work, where we feel like we're maybe OK and talk about all the fluid situations in camp: installation, game plans, personnel and a lot of different things like that. It's a long list, but those are a lot of the things we'll be working on in the next couple of days as well until the player's get back. We'll let them get some rest and recuperation. There you have it.

Q: Do you see Derrick Burgess playing linebacker or doing what he's done?

BB: Well, I'm sure he will do what he's done exactly. What his role will be, we'll determine after he gets here and start working with him and put him in our system. Some of the things we do are a little different than what Oakland or Philadelphia did. How exactly he'll perform and what that will turn out to be we'll just have to wait and see. I think he's a pretty talented player. I think he has some versatility, but exactly how that all works out and how it manifests itself, we'll just have to wait and see.

Q: What do you see in a pass-rusher that leads you to go out and get a guy?

BB: Well, he's [Derrick Burgess] had a lot of production. He's not just a pass-rusher. I think he's a strong player. He's not the biggest player, but he's a very strong player for his size. He plays with good power and I think he's a good player in the running game. I think he can rush the passer. He's had a lot of production. He's primarily rushed off the left side, where normally you see a lot of pass rush production off the right side or more on the right side, I should say, than the left side. But he has been able to produce quite a bit from the left side. So those are some of the things that are unique to him. I'm not saying that's exactly what's going to happen with us, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see how all that turns out.

Q: When Derrick Burgess is healthy, is he still at the performance level that he was when he was first at Oakland?

BB: Yeah, I think he's a good football player. That's why we got him. We think he's a good football player and he's been productive in this league. I expect that he will be productive in this league for us.

Q: Why did you now make this deal with Derrick Burgess?

BB: Yeah, this was something we talked about with ... I talked with Mr. [Al] Davis about this prior to the draft. We were able to reach an agreement. That didn't happen until this time. We've had a number of discussions, but this when it finally was consummated.

Q: I know Burgess is not just a pass-rusher, but why is that area so important for success?

BB: The less amount of time you have to cover, the better your coverage people are going to do. I think we all know that you can never have too many pass-rushers and you can never have too much pressure on the quarterback. That's an aspect of the game that's timing and execution and if you're able to disrupt that then it's hard to have an official passing game. Obviously, the combination between coverage and rush are both important. Good defensive players are hard to find. If you can get one, then they have value, or if you have one, they have value.

Q: You've been searching for that lead pass-rusher since you've been here. Is that one of those things that you keep on searching for because they are so hard to find?

BB: Since I've been here, we've tried to improve our team any way we can at any position we can. Wherever we can find good players; we're interested in acquiring them and trying to put them on our team. If it's the right fit and the right situation and we feel like they can do well in our system, it doesn't matter what position they play. Yes to all of the above.

Q: [On the progress the team has made the first week of camp]

BB: As I said, I think the players competed well. I think the team's in relatively good condition. We were able to hold up and maintain that pace and still work hard, get better on our fundamental techniques, start to bring things together in some group and teamwork and I think we're a lot further along than we were a week ago - which we should be. But we are and a lot of the things we did in training camp and padded practices and contact work were things we just couldn't do in the spring and there was no opportunity to do them. So we tried to work on things in the spring that were more conducive to not working with pads. Now, we have them on we want to try to reemphasize those things - the running game, some of the special teams contact work and tackling and blocking and all the things that we just couldn't do at this kind of a pace in the spring. We've put time and effort into those here in camp and an effort into establishing good fundamentals heading into the season. I think we've improved. We'll see exactly where we are once we start playing, but we certainly are a lot better than we were eight, nine days ago.

Q: The tunnel's not as dark?

BB: There's a glimmer of light. I hope it's not another train. It's a glimmer of light.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Pierre Woods?

BB: Sure. Pierre's a player that's improved steadily through the course of his career, from his rookie year and his development as a special teams player and also as a linebacker, pass-rusher and pass coverage. He's a guy that's very diligent. He works hard. He takes coaching well - really tries to do things the way you ask him to do them. I think as we've gone through training camp, practices and games game-by-game, year-by-year, he's improved in every area of his game. He's still a young player that's continuing to get better, but he's come a long way and it's through his hard work and determination. He has good ability, but he's worked very hard to get there in every area of the game: first, second, third and fourth down. He's probably one of the players on the team that probably has one of the most responsibilities of any player that we have, based on all the different roles that he's involved with, including the kicking game. He's got a lot to handle, but he's worked hard at it and he's improved at every single area.

Q: Is there a certain player who you would compare Pierre Woods with?

BB: Not right off the top of my head, no.

Q: Vince [Wilfork] is getting to the point where he could be holding out - and we see all of these draft picks holding out. How much does that make you appreciate the way he is putting the off-the-field issues aside?

BB: Well, I appreciate a lot of things about Vince [Wilfork], but he's a good player. I think we all know that and that's been said many times. And the things that Vince does on the field, he has a lot of strong, admirable qualities; he works hard, he's tough, he's a good technique player, he likes football and he likes to compete. So all the other stuff, the other things, these are things that really are not directly in [our] control once we come and step on the field and start playing. That's what players do. Football players play football, and he's done a very good job of that. I think he's having a good camp and he's been focused and looks like he's ready to play.

Q: When you come into camp and you have a player in that situation, as a coach, do you expect the player to be on the field?

BB: Well, I mean every player on the team has individual situations. We all have families and fathers and mothers and kids and friends and relatives, and there's a business side of it. So you know everybody has a personal situation. We all have to deal with something. When we come in here and put on the uniform and walk out there on the field, we're here to play football for the New England Patriots. That's what we're here to do. That's what I expect everybody to do, and everybody - in one way or another - has to balance all those things. So we're all in that same boat.

Q: How is Stephen Gostkowski looking?

BB: Stephen is having a good camp. He had a real good offseason and came to camp in good shape, ready to kick, and I think he's hit the ball well. It's always a matter of timing. You can spend time, even kicking with a snapper and holder in the spring or on your own, but it's a little bit different when there's a rush out there and when people are coming out there, when the conditions change, from wind and inclement weather and footing and so forth. So there are a lot moving parts out there that kickers all need to get accustomed to, to perform their skill at a high level. That's part of the process for our specialists. I think Steve has done well handling that and he's worked hard as he always does.

Q: Is there a certain deadline you've set for Vince's contract?

BB: There are no deadlines for anybody.

Q: Are you spending more time concentrating on the offense this year since you don't have Josh McDaniels?

BB: There's no set formula for me. I try to coach the entire team because that's what I'm responsible for. The assistant coaches do a great job in each of their areas, but part of my responsibility is to coordinate the whole thing: offense, defense, special teams, and any other elements of the team that come into it, the conditioning, training and preparation and so forth. That's really what my job is. It varies from day to day, year to year, situation to situation, where that time is spent. But whatever I do is where I feel I can be most efficient and help the team the most. Part of that is organizational, making sure that everybody is in a position where they can do their job and be productive in what they're being asked to do, that they have enough time to do it, that they have the resources to do it, whatever it happens to be. It's not 'do this' or 'do that', it's ultimately 'do everything' and let the coaches and other people on our staff do their job and handle their responsibilities and try to make sure that it all sort of fits together and we look like we halfway know what we're doing.

Q: You said earlier that the Burgess deal isn't completely finalized and there were some issues that may take a few weeks. Is that correct?

BB: I shouldn't say issues, there are conditions in the trade that really won't be finalized for what could be several weeks.

Q: But none of those would prevent him from participating once he gets here?

BB: Yeah, assuming that he passes the normal conditions of the trade, then he'll be here. What the actual compensation is could vary depending on ... Those conditions are not totally defined yet and they won't be probably for several weeks.

Q: So he'll be able to practice right away, pending ...?

BB: Yeah, [pending] passing his physical and all of that. Right, yeah. Once he is here, he's here. It's just a question of what the compensation is going to be with the Raiders. We have an agreement with the Raiders on what that is and that's what it is. But it could possibly change depending on the conditions of the trade. It's not a big thing, but it's just still an outstanding element of the transaction.

Q: What made Greg Lewis so attractive to you guys and what are you hoping to get out of him this year?

BB: One thing is that Greg has always killed us. Every time we've played him, he's killed us. We haven't been able to cover him very well so that kind of catches your attention, catches your eye a little bit. We knew a lot about Greg coming out [of college]. He came out the same year as Eugene Wilson and there were a number of other receivers at [the University of] Illinois that year. So between the defensive backs and the receivers, we had spent a lot of time with that group. So I always kind of had an interest in him. That's kind of an annual conversation - maybe more than annual - that I had had with Andy Reid. We've discussed Greg Lewis and trade situations for I'd say probably at least the last three years, maybe longer. I can't remember. It might even have been his rookie year, I'm not sure, but it's gone back a long way. We joke about it, and now that we have him ... When we went through some of the Ellis Hobbs discussion, we talked about 'did he want him back,' but he's a guy that we've had a lot of interest in and I think he's a good fit in our system. He certainly has been a problem for us defensively when we've played against him, and [he is] a high-character guy, smart, hard working kid that has some flexibility playing inside, playing outside. He's had some good production and really is a smart guy that works hard and is versatile. So those are the kind of players every coach likes. I know it was hard for Andy to part with him and, again, that was a guy we had talked about for a number of years.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, August 7, 2009.

BB: I thought we finished up a productive week, last night out there on the field and this morning we went through a walkthrough. [We] covered some situational things and corrected some mistakes from last night and even previous practices. That was good, obviously we have a long way to go. We have a lot to work on, but I think the players have worked hard. I think generally the team's in pretty good condition. They've worked hard out there. We've been in pads a lot. We've had a lot of contact. We've had a lot of practices and I think they've done a good job of pushing through it and staying focused. At this time of year, playing a solid level of football as a team [is difficult] considering the number of moving parts and different people that we're working in there. Last night, we completed the Burgess trade. He's on his way. That's not finalized yet and actually there're some conditions on the trade that won't be finalized for probably a few weeks, so when that's done we'll give it to you. In the meantime, it's kind of a work in progress, but he's on his way here. [He's] a player that I coached in the Pro Bowl a couple of years ago. I certainly competed against him when he was at Philadelphia and also in Oakland. He primarily plays on the left side. [He's a] very athletic guy, competitive, tough, hard-working guy that I think has a good playing style. I look forward to having him join our team and compete with the rest of our guys defensively there to try to put the most competitive group on the field that we can. We're going to give the players a little break here and then come back. We have a short week here with Philadelphia coming up. So there are a lot of things to do, cram in there, get ready for the Eagles and still maintain our training camp pace and work on the fundamentals and the little things that we need, regardless of who we're playing. So we'll try to balance that going forward. It's also a time here, as a coaching staff, trying to recalibrate a little bit where we're at, where we need more work, where we feel like we're maybe OK and talk about all the fluid situations in camp: installation, game plans, personnel and a lot of different things like that. It's a long list, but those are a lot of the things we'll be working on in the next couple of days as well until the player's get back. We'll let them get some rest and recuperation. There you have it.

Q: Do you see Derrick Burgess playing linebacker or doing what he's done?

BB: Well, I'm sure he will do what he's done exactly. What his role will be, we'll determine after he gets here and start working with him and put him in our system. Some of the things we do are a little different than what Oakland or Philadelphia did. How exactly he'll perform and what that will turn out to be we'll just have to wait and see. I think he's a pretty talented player. I think he has some versatility, but exactly how that all works out and how it manifests itself, we'll just have to wait and see.

Q: What do you see in a pass-rusher that leads you to go out and get a guy?

BB: Well, he's [Derrick Burgess] had a lot of production. He's not just a pass-rusher. I think he's a strong player. He's not the biggest player, but he's a very strong player for his size. He plays with good power and I think he's a good player in the running game. I think he can rush the passer. He's had a lot of production. He's primarily rushed off the left side, where normally you see a lot of pass rush production off the right side or more on the right side, I should say, than the left side. But he has been able to produce quite a bit from the left side. So those are some of the things that are unique to him. I'm not saying that's exactly what's going to happen with us, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see how all that turns out.

Q: When Derrick Burgess is healthy, is he still at the performance level that he was when he was first at Oakland?

BB: Yeah, I think he's a good football player. That's why we got him. We think he's a good football player and he's been productive in this league. I expect that he will be productive in this league for us.

Q: Why did you now make this deal with Derrick Burgess?

BB: Yeah, this was something we talked about with ... I talked with Mr. [Al] Davis about this prior to the draft. We were able to reach an agreement. That didn't happen until this time. We've had a number of discussions, but this when it finally was consummated.

Q: I know Burgess is not just a pass-rusher, but why is that area so important for success?

BB: The less amount of time you have to cover, the better your coverage people are going to do. I think we all know that you can never have too many pass-rushers and you can never have too much pressure on the quarterback. That's an aspect of the game that's timing and execution and if you're able to disrupt that then it's hard to have an official passing game. Obviously, the combination between coverage and rush are both important. Good defensive players are hard to find. If you can get one, then they have value, or if you have one, they have value.

Q: You've been searching for that lead pass-rusher since you've been here. Is that one of those things that you keep on searching for because they are so hard to find?

BB: Since I've been here, we've tried to improve our team any way we can at any position we can. Wherever we can find good players; we're interested in acquiring them and trying to put them on our team. If it's the right fit and the right situation and we feel like they can do well in our system, it doesn't matter what position they play. Yes to all of the above.

Q: [On the progress the team has made the first week of camp]

BB: As I said, I think the players competed well. I think the team's in relatively good condition. We were able to hold up and maintain that pace and still work hard, get better on our fundamental techniques, start to bring things together in some group and teamwork and I think we're a lot further along than we were a week ago - which we should be. But we are and a lot of the things we did in training camp and padded practices and contact work were things we just couldn't do in the spring and there was no opportunity to do them. So we tried to work on things in the spring that were more conducive to not working with pads. Now, we have them on we want to try to reemphasize those things - the running game, some of the special teams contact work and tackling and blocking and all the things that we just couldn't do at this kind of a pace in the spring. We've put time and effort into those here in camp and an effort into establishing good fundamentals heading into the season. I think we've improved. We'll see exactly where we are once we start playing, but we certainly are a lot better than we were eight, nine days ago.

Q: The tunnel's not as dark?

BB: There's a glimmer of light. I hope it's not another train. It's a glimmer of light.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Pierre Woods?

BB: Sure. Pierre's a player that's improved steadily through the course of his career, from his rookie year and his development as a special teams player and also as a linebacker, pass-rusher and pass coverage. He's a guy that's very diligent. He works hard. He takes coaching well - really tries to do things the way you ask him to do them. I think as we've gone through training camp, practices and games game-by-game, year-by-year, he's improved in every area of his game. He's still a young player that's continuing to get better, but he's come a long way and it's through his hard work and determination. He has good ability, but he's worked very hard to get there in every area of the game: first, second, third and fourth down. He's probably one of the players on the team that probably has one of the most responsibilities of any player that we have, based on all the different roles that he's involved with, including the kicking game. He's got a lot to handle, but he's worked hard at it and he's improved at every single area.

Q: Is there a certain player who you would compare Pierre Woods with?

BB: Not right off the top of my head, no.

Q: Vince [Wilfork] is getting to the point where he could be holding out - and we see all of these draft picks holding out. How much does that make you appreciate the way he is putting the off-the-field issues aside?

BB: Well, I appreciate a lot of things about Vince [Wilfork], but he's a good player. I think we all know that and that's been said many times. And the things that Vince does on the field, he has a lot of strong, admirable qualities; he works hard, he's tough, he's a good technique player, he likes football and he likes to compete. So all the other stuff, the other things, these are things that really are not directly in [our] control once we come and step on the field and start playing. That's what players do. Football players play football, and he's done a very good job of that. I think he's having a good camp and he's been focused and looks like he's ready to play.

Q: When you come into camp and you have a player in that situation, as a coach, do you expect the player to be on the field?

BB: Well, I mean every player on the team has individual situations. We all have families and fathers and mothers and kids and friends and relatives, and there's a business side of it. So you know everybody has a personal situation. We all have to deal with something. When we come in here and put on the uniform and walk out there on the field, we're here to play football for the New England Patriots. That's what we're here to do. That's what I expect everybody to do, and everybody - in one way or another - has to balance all those things. So we're all in that same boat.

Q: How is Stephen Gostkowski looking?

BB: Stephen is having a good camp. He had a real good offseason and came to camp in good shape, ready to kick, and I think he's hit the ball well. It's always a matter of timing. You can spend time, even kicking with a snapper and holder in the spring or on your own, but it's a little bit different when there's a rush out there and when people are coming out there, when the conditions change, from wind and inclement weather and footing and so forth. So there are a lot moving parts out there that kickers all need to get accustomed to, to perform their skill at a high level. That's part of the process for our specialists. I think Steve has done well handling that and he's worked hard as he always does.

Q: Is there a certain deadline you've set for Vince's contract?

BB: There are no deadlines for anybody.

Q: Are you spending more time concentrating on the offense this year since you don't have Josh McDaniels?

BB: There's no set formula for me. I try to coach the entire team because that's what I'm responsible for. The assistant coaches do a great job in each of their areas, but part of my responsibility is to coordinate the whole thing: offense, defense, special teams, and any other elements of the team that come into it, the conditioning, training and preparation and so forth. That's really what my job is. It varies from day to day, year to year, situation to situation, where that time is spent. But whatever I do is where I feel I can be most efficient and help the team the most. Part of that is organizational, making sure that everybody is in a position where they can do their job and be productive in what they're being asked to do, that they have enough time to do it, that they have the resources to do it, whatever it happens to be. It's not 'do this' or 'do that', it's ultimately 'do everything' and let the coaches and other people on our staff do their job and handle their responsibilities and try to make sure that it all sort of fits together and we look like we halfway know what we're doing.

Q: You said earlier that the Burgess deal isn't completely finalized and there were some issues that may take a few weeks. Is that correct?

BB: I shouldn't say issues, there are conditions in the trade that really won't be finalized for what could be several weeks.

Q: But none of those would prevent him from participating once he gets here?

BB: Yeah, assuming that he passes the normal conditions of the trade, then he'll be here. What the actual compensation is could vary depending on ... Those conditions are not totally defined yet and they won't be probably for several weeks.

Q: So he'll be able to practice right away, pending ...?

BB: Yeah, [pending] passing his physical and all of that. Right, yeah. Once he is here, he's here. It's just a question of what the compensation is going to be with the Raiders. We have an agreement with the Raiders on what that is and that's what it is. But it could possibly change depending on the conditions of the trade. It's not a big thing, but it's just still an outstanding element of the transaction.

Q: What made Greg Lewis so attractive to you guys and what are you hoping to get out of him this year?

BB: One thing is that Greg has always killed us. Every time we've played him, he's killed us. We haven't been able to cover him very well so that kind of catches your attention, catches your eye a little bit. We knew a lot about Greg coming out [of college]. He came out the same year as Eugene Wilson and there were a number of other receivers at [the University of] Illinois that year. So between the defensive backs and the receivers, we had spent a lot of time with that group. So I always kind of had an interest in him. That's kind of an annual conversation - maybe more than annual - that I had had with Andy Reid. We've discussed Greg Lewis and trade situations for I'd say probably at least the last three years, maybe longer. I can't remember. It might even have been his rookie year, I'm not sure, but it's gone back a long way. We joke about it, and now that we have him ... When we went through some of the Ellis Hobbs discussion, we talked about 'did he want him back,' but he's a guy that we've had a lot of interest in and I think he's a good fit in our system. He certainly has been a problem for us defensively when we've played against him, and [he is] a high-character guy, smart, hard working kid that has some flexibility playing inside, playing outside. He's had some good production and really is a smart guy that works hard and is versatile. So those are the kind of players every coach likes. I know it was hard for Andy to part with him and, again, that was a guy we had talked about for a number of years.

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