Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, August 15, 2010.
BB: It's another big week for us here. We've got two practices the next couple days to try to continue on with our installation and work on situational football, correct mistakes from New Orleans, and have a little bit of preparation for Atlanta. [We're] looking forward to Tuesday down there with them and playing on the road against a team that's, again, a little different than ourselves, so it's good exposure for us to another system and other types of players and schemes. I think there is a lot that we can get done here. We need to get off to a good start the next couple days and as I said, get things accomplished at this end and hopefully have another good day down there with Atlanta like we did last week with New Orleans. I think it will be a good opportunity for us on a lot of levels and we're looking forward to that trip.
Q: Is there anything you can take from this experience with New Orleans that will help you get the most you can out of this week with Atlanta?
BB: No, not really. I think just the big thing for us is to work on what we're working on, but now it's against a team that we're going to play so the practice is really a preparation for the game. Really, it's just playing another game or getting more snaps. We can set up some situations on third down, in the red area or things like that [or] in kicking situations that we did with New Orleans that may or may not come up in the game. We had situations that came up in the game but not in practice and vice versa, so it kind of doubles the experience and the education of not only the players, but also of the coaches or, as I said, getting back into the mode of calling plays and thinking about situational football and using timeouts and all of those things. Not all of them were done necessarily in the practice or even in the game, but as we go through the film we talk about those and how we can react quicker, what we would do. Maybe we did one thing, but we also had another option. Maybe the next time we do the other options. So it's good experience for all of us, not just the players but also the coaches, the signal callers, the play callers, to mentally go through those situations when you don't know what the other team is going to do. You don't know their defenses. You don't know the calls. You don't know their strategy. When you've done that two-minute drill against yourself 10 times, you can get into a little bit of a rhythm with it. This is more realistic, so it's good.
Q: How do you feel Randy Moss has performed so far in camp? It looks to us like he's off to a great start.
BB: I would agree with that.
Q: He's gone through training camp 12 or 13 times now. Is there anything specific you look for with him and his overall development this time of year?
BB: No, I think with all the players that get into that part of their career, you look at it year-to-year, just like they do. Sometimes players can stay at a high level for a number of years, but then at some point it drops. That can be at 28. It could be 31. It could be 35. There's no real forecast on that. I think each year kind of, not just the way it starts, but also what kind of consistency there is. Young players and healthy players for the most part, when they start camp can maintain that pace. Sometimes other players can't. Sometimes you have to manage them and you just have to go through it. Again, I would say there is no real set formula, not just for him, but for any player. You just have to put your team through some stress, two-a-days, heat, tougher practices, contact, running, whatever it is, and see how they respond individually and as a team. That's good for everybody. It's good to evaluate your team, but it's good for each player to go through that and have the confidence themselves that 'I can be out there for a 12-play drive. I can have days of contact and my shoulders feel alright and my knees [feel alright]' or whatever it is. It helps build the confidence of the players heading into the season. That's why training camp is so important. It's tough. It's grueling. It's no vacation, but it's a necessary part of their preparation. It's good for all of us. We all need it.
Q: Are you satisfied with how quickly Gerard Warren and Damione Lewis are transitioning after playing in defenses different from this defense?
BB: I think both players have done a good job. I really do. I think they've done a good job, but we have a long way to go as a team and that goes for every individual and every coach. We're a long way from being where we need to be, but we're a lot further ahead than we were two weeks ago at this time, or one week ago at this time, so we've made a lot of progress. I think we're headed in the right direction and there's a long way to go.
Q: At that same position, will Ron Brace come off the reserve list and practice today?
BB: We'll see. If he's ready. Yeah, if he's ready he will.
Q: Do you sense he's close?
BB: Yeah, I think it's day-to-day.
Q: Do you feel like Derrick Burgess has a lot of catching up to do? Is he ready to hit the ground running?
BB: We'll see.
Q: It's a housekeeping issue, but would today be the deadline for any team to send a letter to a player notifying him of the team's right to put him on the roster exempt list?
BB: I'm not sure, but I don't think it affects any of our players, so I'm not sure of the exact date on that.
Q: So that would not affect Logan Mankins?
BB: He's not under contract.
Q: What have been your impressions of Alge Crumpler since you singed him?
BB: [He's] very professional, very professional. Obviously, he's very experienced and he has a good understand of professional football. Of course he grew up in a family of it with his father [Carlester Crumpler, Sr.] and so forth, but as a player, preparation, understanding the big picture, not just his position, not only what's going on on offense, but the whole team. He's a good situational player. He thinks ahead. He's into everything. He's one of those guys on the sideline in the [Saints] game that probably didn't play after the first quarter, but over there in the middle of the fourth quarter he's still thinking about the game just as if he could be in the next play, which is the way to do it. I think his whole attitude [is good]. [He's] very helpful with the younger players, with Rob Myers and Aaron [Hernandez], all of them. He's got a good work ethic. He finishes plays in practice. He catches a ball and runs 20 yards after he catches it, things like that. [He's got] good practice habits, good work habits. He's a smart guy. He catches the ball well. [He] blocks well. He's a smart, dependable player. I've been very impressed with him, he really handles himself like a pro and he's a great example for any younger player, or any of us, really. He's a great example of how to approach his job and do his job.
Q: Terrence Wheatley said last week that he feels more comfortable now in his third year. Do you feel that's accurate and can you talk about his progress from last year?
BB: I would definitely agree with that. I think he's playing with good confidence. He's made plays consistently on the practice field and in the work against New Orleans. That has been on a regular basis, not just one here and one there. He's showed up. The play he made on the goal line against New Orleans was a really good play. He actually had a play that wasn't the same, but had some similarities to that last year, that he didn't react nearly as quickly on or as well. But that's just one small example. Overall, he's playing with good confidence and has been a productive player for us through camp. I definitely think he's way ahead of where he was last year at this time. I'm not saying he's where he needs to be, but he's had a good camp and he's done well. Again, he's playing with a lot of confidence
Q: So no injury report that you have to put out until September 8th?
BB: Yeah, we've got a little ways. I'm looking forward to that one. It's kind of like Christmas. I just count the days down until that injury report comes and then we can do our first one.
Q: There is a report that Brady had his fingers tape and maybe he knocked it on someone's helmet. Is there any concern about that?
BB: I don't think it's life-threatening, no.
Q: But is it game-threatening?
BB: I can't wait for that first injury report to come out. That's the highlight of my week - one of them.
Q: Nick Saban has kind of limited and changed scouting access. Is that an issue or concern that your scouts won't have enough access?
BB: I'd say in general there is a lot less access to the colleges than what there was. That's been a progression over a period of years. I respect whatever the decisions that Nick or any other coaches make, so whatever they are, they are. We'll work with them and take whatever opportunities we have and try to make the most of them.
Q: Have you talked to him recently about that?
BB: No, I've been trying to coach a team here.
Q: Are the inside linebackers playing both strong side and weak side?
BB: Yeah, you really have to. The offense can get into formations where they can make the strong side the weak side and the weak side the strong side. Training camp is a good time for all those players that have to play strong and weak to play strong and weak because they can flip you, whether it's safeties, or outside linebackers, or inside linebackers, corners working on both sides, things like that. There's always - well, I wouldn't say always. In most every system, there is a way that the offense - and that's what they try to do. If you're the strong side guy, they make you play on the weak side and vice versa. It's a good time for us to do that and plus it just builds our depth through the season. There might be a situation where somebody that's on the strong side needs to play on the weak side or vice versa, so at least there is some kind of background with it. It can definitely come up. [With] two tight ends, for example, both sides are the strong side, or [in] an open formation, really both sides are the weak side. They can create those anyway, so it's good to at least have the player versed in the corresponding responsibilities.