New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on July 26, 2008.
BB: Well it feels like training camp. We are right back to two-a-days. It was good. Like I said yesterday, we are just plugging along here. We have a long way to go. We need to string a bunch of practices together and just work through camp. It is hot and I am sure everybody is going to be tired and sore. That is just a process we all need to go through to get us ready for the season and get us ready for the competition we have to face through the course of the year. We have a lot of days in front of us and that is what we need.
Q: How good is it not to have a contract holdout or dispute during camp?
BB: It is always good to have all the players here and it would be good to have them on the field as soon as possible.
Q: What are your feelings on Gene Mruczkowski retiring today?
BB: He has been with us for several years. He went to Miami last year and then came back. Gene has worked hard and is a solid guy. He played with some other guys we had from Purdue like Matt [Light] and Brandon [Gorin]. Everybody has to make that decision at some point. We all respect the decision and we respect Gene.
Q: Is the offensive line the toughest position play through training camp? Is that why Gene may have made his decision now and because the position is sometimes considered a thankless job?
BB: We had a couple of guys like that in '01 and '02. Eventually everybody has to retire at every position.
Q: You are kind of thin at the offensive line position right now. How has that been during camp?
BB: Well we resigned Lav [Bauta] and have a couple of guys on the PUP [Physically Unable to Perform List] that will hopefully be back soon. That is the way it is every year. One or two positions have a couple less players. That is where we are with the offensive line. I am sure at some point that will reach equilibrium and then we will deal with it at another position.
Q: Can you talk about how Mike Richardson has been doing? How has it helped him going against guys like Tom Brady and Randy Moss in practice?
BB: Mike had a good camp last year. He played very well on special teams and got some playing time on defense. He did a good job in the preseason games. He got hurt in the third preseason game and that injury kept him out a couple of months so we didn't have much of a choice but to put him on injured reserve. Like any player, when you go through a year in the NFL you learn a lot even if you are on IR. He played against those guys in preseason and worked out with them this year in the off-season program and spring camp. I am sure he has a better idea of what to expect because he has gone against the competition more than the rookies and more than he did a year ago. Mike is a smart kid and works hard. He is tough and fast. He did a good job for us last year. It was a tough break that he wasn't able to finish the season and play on the active roster or practice squad. He did everything that he could do. We look forward to seeing him compete like the rest of those guys.
Q: Tank Williams has lined up at linebacker a lot so far in camp. How has he done at that position and will he be playing different positions much during the season?
BB: Tank is a versatile player. We haven't coached Tank before but I think there are a lot of things he can do. We will ask him to work some different spots there. How all that will go I don't know. He is a versatile player. He is fast and has some size. He can run, blitz and tackle. There is a place for that type of player on your team in different schemes. We will work him there and see how it turns out.
Q: You are familiar with Marcus Pollard from his time with the Colts. Has he been what you expected so far in camp?
BB: Yeah, I think pretty much. Marcus is a professional. He takes his job seriously. He stays on top of things and has a lot of experience. He has been in some different offensive systems not just Indianapolis. He has been at Detroit and was in Seattle last year. He is a pretty experienced player. He has really picked up the offense. He had a good spring. He really showed up in the passing game in the spring, which is what we mainly worked on. Now we are getting a chance to work on the running game and pass protection, which are the more physical parts at his position. I am glad we have him and I think he adds good experience and quality depth to the position. We will go along here and see how it all works together. I think he is a good competitive player at that spot.
Q: Does [Marcus] Pollard provide what you were looking for at the tight end position?
BB: Well I think he has enough skills to play. I don't think he is, like other players at that age, a player that you want out there every practice on every play taking every rep. I don't think that is what he needs. I think he needs to get in shape to run our system and execute the plays we run during training camp. I don't think that means he needs every play.
Q: It will be pretty noisy with New England Country Music Festival going on in the stadium during this afternoon's practice….
BB: Yeah, that wouldn't surprise me at all. We work during the year with speakers and loud noise. Trying to work on silent count. That is good for us on both sides of the ball. Defensively, when we are home and our crowd is yelling, we can't really hear anything and we have to use hand signals to communicate. When we are on the road we face that same situation on the offensive side of the ball along with the punt and field goal teams. Whatever we are doing today it has application to everybody if it is loud. There will be times in training camp when we need to turn up the volume and put the team in those kinds of situations. It will be like that when we are snapping the ball on the road and hopefully it will be like that when we are on defense at home.
Q: Do you like country music and Kenny Chesney?
BB: I got my boy Bon Jovi. But Jon has a little country. Yeah, Kenny Chesney is great.
Q: Are you excited about Jon's team, Philadelphia Soul, playing in the Arena Bowl tomorrow?
BB: Yeah, I wish Jon all the best. He has put together a great organization in a short time. They have gone from being an expansion team to playing in the championship game. I hope things go well for him down in New Orleans.
Q: How has Laurence Maroney improved so far and in what way?
BB: I think he improved from the end of his first year to his second year. Like any player should, I think his big improvement came between year one and year two. During the course of the year you start adding things to that. He improved some in the passing game and had some good production for us as a receiver with plays like screen passes, check downs and things like that. Trying to find the open spot during blitz pick-up. Just some of the little things that, until they show up in a big play, you take for granted. He has done a good job up to this point.
Q: In what ways can Laurence Maroney improve?
BB: I think he is like every other player. He can improve in anything just like all of us can. There are always things we can work on and improve at. I think at this point, the most important thing for every player is to establish the base of training camp - the fundamentals and getting their conditioning levels up to good levels that they can sustain during the season. They need to work on some of the finer points of the game that every player works on. That starts in the off-season and spring camp. There are many things such as reading blocks, pass protection, pass routes, spacing, setting up blocks and new plays we put in the offense. It is like that for everybody.
Q: What have you liked about Wesley Britt?
BB: Wes is like a number of offensive linemen we have had here. He started off on the practice squad and was inactive for some games but when he has had a chance to play he has played competitively. He is a smart kid. He works hard and has improved every year. He had a really good off-season this year. With the number of players who aren't able to participate right now he is getting an opportunity and playing well. Like a lot of guys that work hard he has improved.
Q: Is it tough for him [Wesley Britt] playing at his height [6-foot-8-inches]?
BB: I think each player has his own set of playing skills. Some of those are strengths and some of those are things that don't match up against other things. Every player has to work through that. Wes' height and length are advantages in some ways but disadvantages in other ways. The bottom line is you have to take whatever physical skills you have and find a way to get the job done at your position. Wes' technique, physical skills, strength and overall leverage have improved. He has had a couple of good off-seasons here. He continues to work hard and improve. We will see where that goes.