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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Thursdasy, August 25, 2011.

BB: So we're kind of winding it down here. This week has been a long week for us [with] a couple of extra days but we I think got some things done. We still have to keep working on situations and try to get our team more pulled together here toward the start of the season and also get ready for the whole 16-game regular season haul. It's good to see a few guys back out on the field. We're going to see how it goes today with some of them and then make some decisions relative to their availability this weekend or not. But that's good to see some of those guys back.  

Q: Do you have any connection to Micky Ward besides bringing him in for the movie last night?  

BB: Well, I'll just leave it that I think he's obviously a legendary sports figure and fighter around here that everybody kind of knows. He's a great guy - had a great career and I think it was something the team enjoyed last night. I'll just kind of leave it at that.  

Q: What message would you hope the team would take from that story?  

BB: I think I'll leave that to Micky's personal feelings and all that is kind of between him and the team so I'll just leave it here.  

Q: Is that something you've done before?  

BB: I've done a lot of different stuff from time-to-time, I don't know.  

Q: In general, what do coaches try to bring out from activities like going to the movies and bringing in people to speak?  

BB: I don't know, I think every situation is a little bit different. Look, we've been in camp for a long time, been watching a lot of film at night - practice film, opponent film and everything, so we decided to go to the movies to make it a little more enjoyable. Popcorn, candy out there, let them relax a little bit. Sometimes your teams work hard and they deserve a break from the normal routine. I think they enjoyed it, it was a good night.  

Q: Did you like the movie?  

BB: I thought it was great.  

Q: How does Albert Haynesworth look?  

BB: Obviously players that are just coming back have a long way to go. It's good to see all the players back out there this week that have come back - we had quite a few rejoin us so that's good. Every day they can get out there and practice and work on their skills, their techniques and start to work in their unit and start to develop that cohesiveness and that playing together, that's good for them, it's good for the unit, it's good for the team.  

Q: Albert Haynesworth missed 20 days of practice. Was that an injury issue or a conditioning issue?  

BB: He missed practice because he wasn't ready to practice.  

Q: Did he show up in shape?  

BB: That's as much as I can tell you. Players that are ready to practice, practice. The ones that aren't, don't practice. When they're ready, we put them out there.  

Q: The reason I ask is because conditioning was an issue with the Washington Redskins.  

BB: I can't really tell you what happened anywhere else. I'm sure you can get a lot of details on him from somewhere else. But I'll just tell you [that] here, when the players are ready to practice, they practice. When they're not ready to practice, they do what they need to get ready to practice. When they're ready to get on the field, we put them out there on the field. It is the same for everybody.  

Q: Is it a coincidence that Albert Haynesworth returned the day after his court case was settled?  

BB: When they're ready to practice, they practice. He was out there before that.  

Q: But he came back the day after the court case was settled? I'm wondering if that's coincidence or not?  

BB: I don't know.  

Q: It's something that was pending when you acquired him.  

BB: Sure, we knew about it, absolutely. We knew about it.  

Q: Was that something you looked into when you acquired him?  

BB: I think whenever you acquire a player you look into whatever information you can gather about the player - you do it. We did it.  

Q: You had to reach a comfort level with where it was and potentially it could be a distraction, right?  

BB: Obviously.  

Q: Running back is generally thought of as a position that has a quicker acclimation process than others. Has Shane Vereen been able to jump back in there and is that that general thought true of him?  

BB: That position is quicker than others?  

Q: Yes, it would seem that it's easier for a rookie running back than say a rookie offensive tackle.  

BB: I don't agree with that. I'm sure that there are other people that have other opinions, which is great. I'm sure I'm wrong about a lot of things but I wouldn't agree with that. Talk about blitz pickup, all the different fronts you can have, all the different blitz assignments, with various protections and all the combination blitzes that we see these days. I think running back is a very mentally challenging position to learn. All the different run reads, the fronts that teams run, the way they stem to them, the stunts when the ball is snapped, things that happen after the ball is snapped, reading coverages, recognizing man, zone, combination man and zones, guys that are blitzing, guys that are faking that they're blitzing but they're really in coverage, guys that start off in coverage and then turn around and blitz. I think the running back's job is very difficult. And that's not saying that everybody else on the field doesn't have a tough job too. But I think they're involved in every play to a high degree, just like linebackers are, just like safeties are, just like all the people in the middle of the field are. You can't hide that position, whatever play you call, they're pretty involved in. I think that there's a lot they have to do I think it's a very challenging position for any player, of any experience level, first, tenth, fifth [year].  

Q: Does the University of California system prepare Shane Vereen better than other colleges because they run a pro style system?  

BB: I don't know. I haven't been in the Cal system, so I'm not familiar with it. I mean, I've watched it, but I don't know the teachings of it and all that so I couldn't really answer that question.  

Q: With the way the year has played out so far with no offseason, where is the gray area with still evaluating players but still getting the players you know will be on the team ready for the season during these last two preseason games?  

BB: I think it's a combination of both. It's a tough balancing act. There are not really enough plays, not really enough games to be where you'd optimally like to be but everybody has the same schedule. So it's how each team does it relative to their competition. Part of it is evaluating players, trying to figure out who you want on your team and how your team is going to be composed. Part of it is getting players ready that you know are going to play for your team and getting them working together in groups. You want to make sure it's the right group. You don't want to put them in one group and then a few weeks later find out you need to change it because you made a mistake in putting it together in the first place. That's not really the most productive way to go if you know that's the way it's going to turn out. You're better off trying to get it right in the first place. It's a tough balancing act. And it's a little bit different this year because we didn't have the lead-up time. In a lot of cases, you have a lot of information on where players are up to that point. We have had to acquire all that information since the start of camp. Some guys have improved a lot. Some guys started at a lot higher point than others. Some players have improved more. Some players have started out slowly and they have started to ascend more recently kind after they have gotten going a little bit. So you have to determine if that is that going to continue in that direction? Is it going to level off? Are the guys that started fast - are they kind of peaked out? Is that as good as it's going to be? What's the improvement rate? How much have guys improved? Not only where are they, but where you think they're going to be based on what we've seen in the last three weeks or so. It's not easy. I don't have any easy answer for you. We talk about it all the time and we're trying to figure out what's best for our team, with regard to all those things and how they all relate to each other. It's not just about each individual player. It is, but it's also about how those players interface with their teammates and other players at their position.  

Q: Did you feel that the players were in a hurry-up mode when they came in?  

BB: I think everybody has been in a little bit of a hurry-up mode, I'd agree with that. The coaches, the players, the teams - we're here, there hasn't been all the lead-up time. We know when the games are scheduled and we know when we have to be ready. I think there's been a certain amount of trying to accelerate and combine things that were done in one timeframe to accelerate that and combine them into a smaller timeframe. And some things have to be eliminated from a scheme standpoint. But I think there's a certain amount of that, definitely.  

Q: Have you been happy with how Matt Light's health situation is progressing? Is he going to be out there Saturday against the Detroit Lions?  

BB: If he's ready, I think he will be [playing on Saturday]. He's been out there, he's been able to do everything. I think his lead-up to the start of practice was good. Since he's been out on the field, he's been able to do everything we have asked him to do. So I think he's coming along. We'll see how it goes here today, see where we're at for the weekend. But I think he's close, I'll put it that way. If he doesn't play this week, I think he would be ready to play soon. Maybe he will be ready to play this week, I don't know.  

Q: What is your level of concern with Mike Wright after he missed the end of last year and missed a pretty good chunk this preseason?  

BB: I don't think anything that happened last year right now is related to anything that is going on this year. Look, you can ask the same question about any player that's not out there. Would we like to see them all out there? Absolutely. When will they be ready? As soon as they're ready. So we'll just have to see how that is with any of the players that you want to mention that aren't out there - it's the same for all of them.  

Q: What kind of guy do you think Albert Haynesworth is based on the three weeks you've been around him?  

BB: He's done what we've asked him to do.  

Q: So he's been a good soldier for you to this point?  

BB: He's done what we've asked him to do. Do you want me to rephrase that? That's all I can say.  

Q: When you have Jon Bon Jovi out at practice…  

BB: That eases the music play selection. We know what we're playing that day.  

Q: But you play Bruce Springsteen, do you feel like you owe him an explanation for that?  

BB: No. I think Jon and Bruce are [New] Jersey rock stars. I think they have a pretty good relationship and mutual respect for each other. It's different but it's still Jersey rock and roll. Of course, Jon -- pretty big day for us yesterday, to have a guy who has sold a 120 million records and Jerry York out there that's won, whatever it is, 800, 900, however many games, a lot more than I've won, I'll tell you that. So yeah, interesting day.  

Q: Do you ever feel like you're living on a prayer?  

BB: Sometimes.  

Q: Keeping with the lighter theme, what's your favorite kind of movie candy?  

BB: Well it's a good selection. That was a real highlight because we're so nutrition-conscious here. When we threw the candy out that was pretty popular. Put me down for the Junior Mints.  

Q: Rex Ryan called you the 'best coach in the league and it's not even close.' How much of a compliment is that coming from him?  

BB: It's a nice compliment. I'll take it. I don't think it really means anything, but it's nice. I think we all know, I have a lot of respect for him and their program down there too, so kind of right back at him with that one.  

Q: Is the approaching storm affecting any of your plans?  

BB: No, it sounds like we're going to be out before it comes in. Hopefully we'll be in before it comes in. But definitely we have to keep an eye on it and kind of batten down the hatches. At this point, it looks like we'll be in and out before it hits but we definitely have to keep an eye on it. It looks that's a potential issue. I might be more concerned about the crowd Friday getting out of here, moving the concert to Friday - we're going to hit a little traffic coming out of here on that one. But hopefully we can maneuver through it.

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