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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media from Gillette Stadium prior to the opening practice of Training Camp on Friday, July 26, 2013.

BB: It's always good to have everybody in at the start of training camp. We saw the guys that weren't here last week yesterday in the conditioning run and some of the testing that we did as well as all of our meetings to get the process started. Following up on a good spring that we had, I feel like we have a lot of players that work really hard that are obviously in real good condition that have worked hard in this last month to really be ready to go for training camp. We had a number of guys that were working through various injuries and situations in the spring and I think that Dr. [Thomas] Gill and Jim Whalen and their respective staffs have done an excellent job bringing those guys around. It looks like those players have made a lot of progress. I don't know that they'll all be out there but definitely get close so that's encouraging as well. We'll get out there today and start trying to string some practices together. In a little over two weeks, we're on the field against Philadelphia and [in] 10 days or so we'll start practicing against the Eagles. The treadmill is moving, we're going jump on, start running. It's going to be moving fast, we have a lot of ground to cover. I've already emphasized to the players how important it is that we keep up, not fall behind but keep up. We have a lot of work to do here; a short amount of time to get ready for our competitive practices and preseason games that are coming up. Of course the season is right behind it. I'm anxious to get started. We're on a little bit of a different schedule here with the concert at the stadium for the next couple days but after we get the Monday night practice, then we'll kind of fall back into our normal afternoon type of practice routine.

Q: Are you outside today?

BB: Yes.

Q: Any consideration of going inside?

BB: No. It's hard to work in that bubble with 90 people. It's not really, it can't handle a group that size. Sometimes it is what it is but it's not something we're looking to do.

Q: What are some of the overarching goals that you're looking for from this team in the first days of camp?

BB: Get off to a good start, build on what we did in the spring, add to it. The first two practices are similar to our minicamp practices. Sunday we'll get the pads on and work more on the running game and pass protection and things like that, things that involve more contact. But for these first two days, it will be a continuation of the spring with building onto that.

Q: Did you feel like you had to address the Aaron Hernandez situation before camp started?

BB: There are always a lot of things you have to do at the beginning of camp and this year is no different than any other year. It's bringing a lot of people together for a long process in camp. We have a lot of work to do. There are always a lot of things to talk about at the beginning of camp just to get organized.

Q: Is that one thing you felt you had to get out of the way on the first day?

BB: We talked about a lot of things.

Q: Aaron Hernandez filled a lot of roles on this team. Do you intend to fill what he did strictly with a tight end?

BB: We're starting training camp today so we'll go out there and start evaluating our team and our players and see how it all comes together.


Q:** Is your plan right now to use Tim Tebow exclusively at quarterback?

BB: I think that we'll use Tim wherever we feel like he's best for the team and I know that's what he's committed to doing as well, whatever that is.

Q: What have you noticed about the way Tim has approached the work?

BB: He's got a great work ethic, great.

Q: What kind of identity do you want this team to form this season?

BB: Right now our goal is really just today: go out there, take what we put in last night, what we talked about this morning, go out there, execute it. Start the base, start the process, start laying the foundation brick by brick, come back in this afternoon, make the corrections from what we did this morning and move on, start preparing for tomorrow. Our long-term goals right now are say, within the next 12 hours.

Q: What steps do you expect the second-year players like Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner to make this year? How hopeful are you they can reach the goals you have for them?

BB: All those players have worked hard. I think the second year is an opportunity for a player to take all of his experiences in the first year – on the field, off the field – having in our case, a second year in the same system and be able to build on that, know what to expect, know how different situations or things apply in various situations, what they're used for. Just having a better overall knowledge of overall what we do and specifically from play to play what things are involved. It's a great opportunity for them. That's where a lot of players, I'd say almost all players make a big jump – whether that is reflective in their status on the field, that's another question. But just from a development as a football player, that second year is a big year. It's a great opportunity for them to take that first-year knowledge that they don't have as a rookie and be able to apply it in their job now.

Q: Everyone is re-establishing themselves during camp, but there are guys out there now we didn't see in the spring. Do you have to focus closer on them because you're getting new information?

BB: I think it's really the same for everybody. I'd put myself in that category too. I think we all have to get ourselves ready for the 2013 football season, regardless of what anybody did or didn't do in the past. Guys that worked in the spring have a base to build on, but they have to re-establish that individually and collectively with their teammates. We put 11 guys out there on the field, we're all dependant on each other. It's not just about one guy, it's about how they interact and perform with the group, communicate and that's for all of us. Coaches have to get back to coaching, players have to get back to playing. We all have to get back to working together and it's a long process that starts today really. I wouldn't single anybody out as being any more or less special than anybody else. We're all in the same boat.

Q: Is training camp more of a continuation than ever before, from minicamp to getting ready for the season?

BB: That's the way it has been for awhile. We've had minicamps for a long time. I don't know.

Q: Do you have any timetable for when Rob Gronkowski will be back?

BB: Nope. I can't predict what is going to happen with rehabilitations or injuries of any sort. Players are day-to-day. As we know, sometimes that's a steady line, sometimes that's slow progress and then a big jump. Sometimes it's a jump and then it levels off. There's no way to predict what's exactly going to happen. We'll just take everybody day by day, see how they do and treat them the next day based on what their performance and how they feel from the day before. That will be the same with everybody. There's nobody in any different category than that – they're all the same.

Q: How much can your players, especially the young players, learn from the Aaron Hernandez ordeal?

BB: I think all our players and our team, going back to where I got here in 2000, we all learn something every day from the experiences of that day. I think that's just part of life. We all go through things, we experience them and we get an opportunity to learn from them. There are opportunities every day to try to make the best out of every single one that we have.

Q: When you have so much turnover of people who have caught passes from Tom Brady, what kind of challenge is it to replace those guys with guys who haven't played with Tom?

BB: There's turnover on every team, every year. That's just the way it is in the National Football League. I don't think there's any reason to act like it's any different. There's turnover every year. Whatever positions there are, whatever players there are, every team has it. We have it this year, so does every other team in the league. That's part of putting together a football team. Whatever the positions, whatever the circumstances are, all 32 teams are going through the same thing.

Q: Does it change the complexion of your offense in terms of run-pass?

BB: You go to training camp and you work on things that you feel like you have prioritized to work on. There are always adjustments to be made through the course of the season as things become clear or as situations change. That's what putting a football team together is. That process doesn't change from year to year. The specifics of it may but every team deals with a lot of changes on their team every single year. I always have and I look at every other team in the league, they're all in the same boat. Nobody is returning 22 starters at every position in this league. It just doesn't exist.


Q:** Is there also a jump from the second year to the third year like the first to second?

BB: Again, I think every situation is different. Each player is different. Not everybody moves at the same rate. There are various circumstances that some players experience that other players don't for a variety of reasons. I don't think there's any formula on that. The main thing is to keep improving. I look at players that have been in this system for a long time and I've coached for a long time, guys who get better every single year, guys like [Tom] Brady, [Vince] Wilfork, [Jerod] Mayo, [Logan] Mankins, guys like that going back to some of the great players who were here – Troy Brown, [Tedy] Bruschi – those guys got better at something every single year. They worked on it, they emphasized it and they made that part of their game a little better than it was prior – that's why they were great players. I think there are opportunities there for every player in every year. There are things that we can all improve on and do better. That's a challenge for all of us. I put every single player and coach for that matter, in that category. I wouldn't exclude anybody.

Q: What is Alfonzo Dennard's standing with the team right now?

BB: We have 90 players out there. Our roster is at 90 players, we're full. They're all active. They'll all be participating.

Q: So he'll be treated like normal?

BB: They'll all be participating.

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