Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, August 24, 2010.
BB: We're kind of finishing up our preparations here for St. Louis today and then we'll have a walkthrough tomorrow. We had a couple roster moves. I think everybody has those. So we're just trying to push ahead here and take advantage of this week's opportunity against the Rams. They provide some - again, kind of like Atlanta - different looks [and] things we don't really do. They have a little different style of play, so that will be good for us in all three phases of the game. I think our team will benefit from playing a different type of team than what we are or what we saw more from New Orleans. So that's where we're at.
Q: What challenges does Sam Bradford present and did you do any work on him in preparation for the draft?
BB: No, we didn't think he would be in there when we picked. He had a good junior year [and] a tough senior year with the injury and all, but [he's] a very talented player. Like all rookies, I'm sure he's learning a lot, like we all do our first year in the league. [He's] a talented guy, [they have] a really good running back, a couple of interesting tight ends, good returners, good receivers, so I'm sure we'll see a lot of people in there like we'll have ourselves.
Q: Coach Steve Spagnuolo obviously caused your offense some problems in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Is there any element of seeing his defense again that you want to see how those matchups are going to turn out and how he employs it against you?
BB: I think it's similar to what we've seen from Philadelphia and the Giants, so this is kind of another version of that. It's like the West Coast Offense going from one team to another. [There are] different players, different individuals, with a similar scheme.
Q: Do the blitz looks possibly create some challenges for you offensively, so you might get to see some things against them that you might not see from some other teams?
BB: Yeah, they've got their own stuff. Again, it's similar to Philadelphia and the Giants. I mean, it's the same stuff with different people doing it.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw in Quinn Ojinnaka and was there something specific that impressed you about him?
BB: He's a player...I mean, we follow all the players in the league. Quinn's got some versatility. He's played tackle. He's played guard. He's started a number of games in this league. He's played on both sides of the line and played both guard and tackle, so he's got some position flexibility and has some experience in the league. [We] felt like he could fit into our system.
Q: Did his suspension make you do any more background work on him than you would another player?
BB: We do it on every player.
Q: Was not having him for the first game due to the suspension part of the evaluation?
BB: Yeah, everything is a part of it.
Q: Usually in the third preseason game, the starters get more work than they have in the previous two games. What do you expect playing time wise from the starters?
BB: We'll see how it goes. I think the thing that is a little bit different this week than the last two weeks is we haven't had those practice reps against the preseason opponent, so here we only have a certain number of plays to work with during the game. The last couple of weeks we've had these plays plus a lot of other ones. We'll have to divide that up and that may vary from player to player, but we'll try to do what's best for the player and also the team and for our evaluations. So we'll try to balance all of those things.
Q: What's the value of having a team go through the half, go into the locker room at halftime, come out and play a series? Is that just to get a feel for a break and then coming back?
BB: Yeah. If they do that, it would be the first time they would do that all year, so that would be the advantage to it - to go through that whole process of cooling down and getting re-warmed up, coming back, like it is during the regular season, [to] go through the halftime. We make adjustments all through the game, not just at halftime, but there is a little bit more time at halftime to work through some things. But they've gone through that anyway. Even though some guys haven't played in the second half, we still want all of our players to go through the whole 60-minute process regardless of which end of it they're on - the front end or the back end or somewhere in between - to be ready to play for 60 minutes like we have to do every week in the regular season. We've tried to simulate that in the other two games. We'll do that again this week.
Q: After Vince Wilfork signed his contract he talked with the media a lot about wanting to become a leader and be the leader of the defense. Have you seen him really embrace that this year?
BB: I've seen Vince work hard and do his job well. That's what I've seen.
Q: Has he been more talkative that you've seen or more of a teacher?
BB: I really don't have a big evaluation on that. I see him doing his job and I see him being well prepared and playing well. All of the rest of that, I think that's something...How each individual feels about their teammates and leadership and all of that, I think that's up to each individual. Everybody has their own decision and feeling on that. I couldn't speak for the rest of the team or anybody else, for that matter.
Q: What kind of camp has Laurence Maroney had to this point?
BB: He's been out there every day. I think he's worked hard. He's in good condition. I think he's improved daily because he's been out there and he's been able to get to work.
Q: When he left last year, what were some of the things you asked him to focus on? This spring, he referred to the fumbling as 'mental laziness'. Is that something you said to him and told him he had to do a better job of protecting the football?
BB: I think everybody on the team that touches the ball knows how important it is for them to take care of it. I don't think there's any doubt about that. All players carry that responsibility when they handle the ball: snappers, runners, throwers, catchers, returners, kickers, everybody. They're all in that boat. We talk to each player about things they need to work on in the offseason. Those are things they can do more on their own in the offseason program and then we start our spring camps and training camp and we kind of revise that list because now there are things they can work on in team settings or group settings that are a little harder to work on when they don't have that opportunity to have those groups available. We kind of add to that list and we get into the team setting. We do that for each individual player. Every guy has always got something he can work on and do better. I think Laurence has worked hard. He's been out there every day and he's taking his reps. I think he's ready to go.
Q: You had some starters come back to practice yesterday like Gary Guyton. In general, do you have a philosophy on starters missing time? Do you give them the benefit of the doubt and they come back as starters? Or do they have to start again and re-prove themselves to get back in the starting lineup?
BB: My philosophy is always to do what's best for the football team. So whatever that is, that's what I'll do.
Q: Does that mean a guy starts over?
BB: It means I do whatever I think is best for the football team. There's no rulebook for anything on that. You take your team, you look at your opponent, you look at your situation and you do what's best for your football team. That's what I try to do. Whatever that is, that's what it will be. I can't tell you what decisions those will or won't be, but whatever it is, it will be what's in the best interest of the football team. And that includes everything - [Not just] the team we're playing on the field, but I mean all the circumstances and everything that go into the whole process of performing.
Q: Now that you've had a couple games and a dozen practices, how have you felt about the coaching staff since you had some changes since last year?
BB: I think the coaching staff is just like the players. I think we're all in the same boat on that. It's a long time before we'll have the number of games under our belt for our season that we'll have in October, November, December. We're still getting re-acclimated to game situations, game planning, game decisions and all of that. Not that we haven't done it before, but each year is a new year and you have to rebuild that and also be on top of that, but your team changes a little bit every year. How you handle those decisions one year might be a little different than the way you handle them in a different year. I think that's something that we, as a staff, have talked about, worked on, continue to work on and that's part of our job of getting better on a daily and weekly basis and all those types of things, our overall teaching, installation of things to the team, coaching, preparing them for different situations, installing the game plan and so forth. That's something that I think you work on every year. It's always different.