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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 05/03/03

Belichick: I think that these guys, like every group of rookies, have a lot of work to do and have a long way to go.



            **BB:**  [It was the] third practice out there and things are starting to move along little bit so that's encouraging.  Everybody is starting to get a little better feel for the terminology and what to do and how to do it.  So those are definitely encouraging signs.  I think that these guys, like every group of rookies, have a lot of work to do and have a long way to go.  But, I think if they work hard and apply themselves and take advantage of the opportunity that they have, they will probably have the opportunity to make something out of it.  That will just be up to each guy.  We've got to give them another day here of orientation and terminology and some techniques and so forth and then they will be on their own for a little while until we can come back for passing camps in the middle of the month.  That's pretty much the story.  

Q: What have you seen from Dan Klecko so far?

BB: I think Dan is probably about what we expected to see. He's a very good fundamental player. He's quick.

Q: Is he big enough to play nose at the NFL level?

BB: We'll find out.

Q: Have you seen a guy his size be successful, historically?

BB: Jim Burt was decent.

Q: Is he that size?

BB: Smaller.

Q: Really?

BB: Six feet, about 265.

Q: Is there a difference in era? Are guys different now?

BB: Well, sure. Everybody is getting a little bigger. Everybody is probably getting a little faster.

Q: What does he do to compensate?

BB: Dan has got good quickness and he's got good technique. He knows how to play with good leverage, he knows how to use his hands and he's quick. Really a lot of our linemen are undersized in terms of some of the NFL averages like Bobby Hamilton, [Anthony] Pleasant. I don't think either one of those would be put in the, in terms of weight, heavier category there. So quickness is important, hand placement, technique. All of those things are important. Effort.

Q: Is there anything you can do scheme wise to help him out?

BB: It's not about that right now. We're not changing our scheme for anybody right now. We're trying to get people to learn how to play in our scheme.

Q: How important overall is the nose tackle in a 3-4 [defense]? Is it one of the key positions in defenses?

BB: Sure. It sure is and offensively it's like center. It's a key position. That guy is involved in every play. The corner is not involved in every play. The outside linebacker is not involved in every play. There are some plays where those guys aren't really that big a factor. There's not any play where the center's block isn't an important block or the nose tackle's play isn't an important play. Consistency and discipline and being able to do it time after time the way it's supposed to be done and everybody is kind of dependent on that as well. The linebackers who are playing behind him, the defensive linemen who are playing beside him, the consistency at that position, it's a very important position.

Q: From a fan standpoint, it seems like a tough position to tell whether or not a player is good or not because it's hard to explain what he really does. What does a good effective nose tackle do on every play?

BB: Well, I think it depends a little bit from scheme-to-scheme what the player is being asked to do. Every defensive player's job is really the same. It's to get to the ball and make the tackle. That's what you do on defense, you tackle the guy with the ball.

Q: Is that his primary thing? To clog up the middle?

BB: Again, part of that depends on scheme and also what is going on offensively. Sometimes as a defensive player, you can do your job and take care of your responsibility and somebody else ends up making the tackle. So it's not all about who makes the tackle but when we line up defensively we don't know how all those things are going to turn out. So everybody's primary job is to beat their blocking responsibility and tackle the guy with the ball. If it's a pass, then rush the passer or keep your guy from catching it. In simple terms that's what it is. Sometimes on certain plays, guys can do a good job and still not make the tackle and they are still an effective player but I mean in the end, somebody has got to tackle the guy with the ball or it's not going to be a good play.

Q: But doesn't that happen more often with the nose? Where he is involved in the play in a very big way but doesn't make the tackle?

BB: Not necessarily. Since I've been here, we've had defensive linemen who have been amongst the league leaders at both nose and defensive end, [they] have been some of the top tacklers in the league in terms of production. We don't ever tell the guy, 'Well you don't make the tackle, that is somebody else's job.' You can't play like that. Whoever is blocking you, you've got to beat that guy first in order to have a chance to make the tackle and then go to the ball and make the tackle. If somebody else gets there first, great. That's still his responsibility. That changes by the call and whether he slants or who he lines up on and so forth. I'm not saying that everything is all the same. In the big picture term, that's your job to beat the blocker, go to the guy with the ball and make the tackle.

Q: Between now and the June mini camp what are your expectations for the people who are in this camp? What are you expecting them to prepare themselves for the next step?

BB: The three big things they can work on are their physical conditioning, the techniques that they are going to be playing specific to our program and learn the written material that we've given them, primarily the terminology, the basic calls and basic communication. That type of thing. So when they come back and they hear terms and they hear a word, and they hear calls made, they'll have a better recall on that, they [should] use the techniques that we taught them which may or may not be the same techniques that they played in college and their overall physical conditioning which we'll spend quite a bit of this week instructing them on particularly how it applies to their position. The other thing, that of course practically all rookies are involved in, is the whole relocation procedure, moving from point 'A' to point 'B' and that could involve a lot of different things. In the organization, that is something that we want to try to help everybody make that transition as smoothly as possible so they can concentrate on their job and playing football. Nevertheless, that is a hurdle for any person to change geographic locations. Again, that could involve more than one person depending on their family situation.

Q: After the draft you said you wouldn't know until training camp started what you wanted to start Ty Warren at, the nose or the end or split his reps. I assume you aren't going to be able to see anything in these camps that will help decide?

BB: No, I don't think there is any need to make that decision until we get to training camp. As we talked about earlier, there's always two sides to the coin to that. One is if you put a player in one position and don't move him and if you ever have to move him, then you are starting from scratch. The other side of the coin is to try to split the reps so that a player has versatility in more than one position so wherever he ends up, he's at least got a head start and it builds a little depth. Because when you go into the game with 45 guys with 3 specialist and 3 quarterbacks, you are down pretty quickly to where somebody is going to have to double up anyway. Looking ahead, that depth ends up serving you well wherever you can get it. Those are the two sides. I think there are some factors as we go along, not this weekend necessarily, it will give us a little better idea of how flexible Ty will be in our system and also depending on how out final roster shapes up as we go to camp maybe where we see the best opportunity.

Q: Do you feel there is a learning curve for the defensive linemen in terms of 2-gapping? Is there a lot of 2-gapping in college?

BB: There is some. Some teams do it. I think it's like any defensive system. Some teams do it, some don't. Some teams do it at certain positions. Some teams do it at the end, some teams do it at the tackle [or] the inside spot.

Q: Do you feel that when guys come here they don't know how to do it?

BB: Again, some do, some don't. We had Jarvis [Green] in here last year and he had a pretty good background in it. They did that at LSU and he was pretty familiar with a lot of the techniques that we use. [Richard] Seymour didn't from the year before. They really didn't play that much at Georgia. That's a tough call and that's the way it is with all rookies. And even if a guy hasn't done it, some guys pick it up relatively quickly and other guys it takes longer for them to adjust to it whether it's gap technique, it could be a man-to-man technique, it could be pass-protection techniques that we use. It's really hard to say, 'Well here's the time frame for a rookie to develop.' You give it to him as long as he is improving, great. Once they level off and stop improving then you've got to wonder how much higher is this going to go.

Q: Speaking of undersized people, why is Rob Malanese here?

BB: He was a productive receiver at Penn. He's got good quickness. He's been a productive player.

Q: He can compete at this level? Is it more difficult for him because of his size?

BB: Every player here has strengths and weaknesses. For some, size is their strength. For other's it isn't. For some, quickness is their strength. For others it isn't. For some speed is their strength and the question is whether the strengths outweigh their weaknesses and we'll just have to see how that plays out. Rob is a good receiver. He quick and he catches the ball well and he's been very productive at the level he's played at. How it translates to this level, we'll just have to wait and see.

Q: Do you see anything in terms of his comfort level in these past few days?

BB: I think he's been competitive out there, sure, both as an inside slot receiver and out on the perimeter.

Q: Can you just tell me about Ty and some of the positives that you have seen?

BB: I think Ty has come in here with a good attitude. He's tried to accept the instructing and the coaching in a positive way. [In] each practice, [I've] see a little bit of improvement in terms of doing things a little bit better than he did the time before. Again, understanding [and] trying to pick up the terminology and the nomen clature and so forth that we give him. Those are all positives. There are certain things we've asked and it's just a rookie group but somebody has got to take charge. We always put the higher draft choices in charge of certain menial task that need to be done. I think he's been fine. I like his attitude and I like the way he's been working. There's a lot of work to do. That's the kind of approach that he'll need to take to his job and everybody else as well.

Q: [Scott] Farley and [Kliff] Kingsbury who are coach's sons, and as a son of a coach yourself, have you found that over the years those guys maybe they don't know the system as well but they at least have a better understanding of what coaches expect from them?

BB: I think that's probably true. I think that is probably true in these two cases for sure. That's probably the case. They certainly have an understanding of the overall process in terms of what a coach has to do and the decisions he has to make. Everybody can't start and everybody can't do certain things. There will have to be some decisions made and some of that gets spread out a little more, they just have an understanding of it. I think that everybody probably knows it, but they may be able to understand it a little bit better just because of growing up in that environment. Yes, I think that is definitely true.

Q: Eugene Wilson, what has he shown so far?

BB: I think it's pretty much what we expected to see, good ball skills, he's quick, closes well on the ball. He's a pretty good technique player. He's been in a good system there and has done some things that are similar to the way that we would ask him to do them. Obviously there are some differences and he's got a number of things he's got to work on. But, I think he brings a good level of confidence, pretty good technique and skills for the position. Hopefully he'll be competitive at that spot with the other guys that are going to be out there.

Q: What is it, in your opinion, that a guy Chas Gessner brings to the table?

BB: Well, Chas is probably bigger than any of the receiver that we have here currently on our roster. So he's got some size. He catches the ball well. He had a lot of production in college. So if he can translate those same skills into production at this level, that's what he brings. Given his size and his overall athletic ability and I think the toughness, he has a chance maybe more than some guys to be productive in the kicking game. I think those are some of the things he's got going for him. He played LaCrosse. (laughter)

Q: At some point a guy like Malenese and you look at his production in the Ivy League, at his size he can't possibly do it at the NFL level. Is that the thinking when you bring in free agents?

BB: With free agents, you try to sign the best free agents you can sign. I'm sure a lot of people said that about Troy Brown, now he wasn't a first round pick. He was a free agent. Realistically you aren't going to get free agents that are 6'3, 220 that run 4.3, they're not free agents.

Q: How does he run?

BB: Sure he's good speed and he's quick. He's got good quickness.

Q: Along those lines, you've been around a lot of these mini camps.

BB: Too many.

Q: How hard is it for you to see a receiver drop a lot of passes? Do you write them off in your had? Is that a difficult thing?

BB: No, because we are just talking about a couple of days of practice. Some of these guys really haven't played football, most of them, in four months. I've been to plenty of mini camps where guys look good and you say, 'Wow, this guy really catches your eye,' and it's not any good. Then you look at other guys in mini camps that don't look good and time goes along they get some reps at doing their techniques and they start getting into the groove a little bit. Some of them are in great shape and they will be pretty good football players. I don't think you want to make, in a camp like this, any real rash decisions unless you have to. If you are at the limit and you need to sign a guy or not sign him, then you have to make a decision on what you're going to do based on the information that you have. In terms of making any dramatic decisions in a camp on guys who haven't played football in four months that are working together for the first time, it's just more of a teaching camp than it is an evaluation camp. But there are certain spots where you have to make evaluations and if you've got to make them, then you just go with who you got and try to do the best you can. But it's far from a perfect situation.

Q: Do you have to make a quick decision on invitees?

BB: Well, I would probably say we could probably do whatever we want on that. If we want to sign them know we could. If we don't, we could wait on them and bring them back. No, I don't think there is anything that is pressing. We have options open on those players.

Q: Is your roster full now?

BB: In terms of…? Do we have 80 players under contract? Is that the question?

Q: Yes.

BB: No.

Q: What do you have?

BB: I don't know. We have draft choices who aren't under contract. Eventually I would assume most of those guys are going to sign, so we have to plan for that group. But they are not currently under contract, no.

Q: What was it that made you decide to spend a draft pick on [Spencer] Nead?

BB: You know Spencer was a productive player in the BYU system last year, his junior year. He started a number of games along with Doug Jolley and then this year he was a full-time starter for them. He's been productive out there in a pro offense that [Gary] Crowton runs which we're all familiar with him from the [Chicago] Bears. He's a good-sized kid. Obviously you can see that. He catches the ball pretty well. He's been experienced and productive in a pro-type system and has competed with other players such as Jolley who is currently in the NFL. I think that in relative terms, he's got some things going for him there. We're always looking to create competition on our roster at every position. It doesn't matter what it is. If we think we can have a good competitive situation, then we'll try to create it. Just let the players play and let them decide it on the field.

Q: I realized that over the years BYU has had some good players like Jolley.

BB: Yeah, you're right. Overall they've had a lot of good offensive players, fullbacks, tight ends, some offensive linemen and some quarterbacks. I mean there haven't been a lot of defensive players come out of there. They've had a few, not a whole lot, not near as many on the offensive side of the ball. That's true. Based on watching practice out there this year, I'd say there will be another round of them.

Q: When a school seems to have a knack for developing good players, do you look more closely at their assembly line?

BB: If they are comparable, sure. There is nothing wrong with that if they are comparable. When players have a different set of skills, like at Miami [with] Santana Moss and Andre Johnson. They are players that are [a] totally different style of player even though they played the same position and they went to the same school. There are a lot of differences and the similarities being the school and the position. So, in some cases it's a lot easier to compare guys like that than it is to others. If you look at the defensive linemen at Georgia, you can look at [Marcus] Stroud, you can look at [Richard] Seymour, [Johnathan] Sullivan, you can look at players like that who have played the same position, find some similarities and make those comparisons. Some are easier than others. You just have to, each one, look at them individually.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Scott Farley? What has he shown you so far?

BB: Well, Scott was a very versatile player in college. He did a lot of different things. He's a good athlete, a smart kid. Williams [College], the rivalry there, but in spite of that, a smart kid and has got some experience and very productive at his level. He's a good all around athlete. Just the projection becomes that level to this level and how we all really find out is to put him in a competitive situation and see what that looks like. I think that he has handled himself well in these three practices. He's done a good solid job out there.

Q: Regardless of the rivalry, I know Dick [Farley] brings his staff to watch practice during training camp.

BB: Well, just on that, our practices are open to all the schools. We have a lot of coaches come through here and a lot of local coaches, a lot of the NESCAC schools, some of the Ivy schools, a lot of the New England schools come to our workout at one point or another during training camp.

Q: Does your relationship with him have anything to do with bringing Scott in at all?

BB: I don't think it was that much of a factor. I feel like we have a good relationship with the school and of course Jonathan [Kraft] went there, so there is history there. Dick has come to a workout and certainly I know him. I think he's done a great job. He's got a great record there. I would love to have his record, are you kidding me? But again this is more about what is best for the Patriots and trying to be fair to everybody. So I think that Scott has done well productively on his own in that program and in that system. I've enjoyed working with him here for the last couple of days, and Coach [Eric] Mangini and Coach [Brad] Seely. So we'll just evaluate him and everybody else and see how it turns out.

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