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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium on Monday, September 2, 2013.


BB:** We're full speed ahead on Buffalo. As always, challenging to go on the road to open, especially in the division. They always do a good job. Coach [Doug] Marrone is a coach I have a lot of respect for. He's had a lot of experience in the league, some in this division. Of course, did a great job with the Syracuse program. [Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach] Nathaniel Hackett, his coordinator, is from Syracuse so I'm sure there will be an element of what they did there and what we'll see. Of course, [Defensive Coordinator] Mike [Pettine] coming from the Jets and that background, Baltimore and the Jets, we're pretty familiar with that style of defense. Of course Danny [Crossman], the special teams coach, we've worked against him before as well. It's a pretty experienced staff. They have a lot of explosive players. Obviously [Leodis] McKelvin in their kicking game is a big guy for us. Offensively, [C.J.] Spiller, [Steve] Johnson, guys that can hit the home run ball. Real good front four, disruptive, added [Alan] Branch to that group, so they've got a good group up there, a tough group to block as well as some good players in the secondary. Guys like [Jairus] Byrd, you always have to know where he is. Roster-wise, [we're] still working our way through it. Obviously, there has been a lot of movement the last few days, I'm sure there will be some more as we go forward, just to finish things off with our practice squad and other various personnel transactions. This part of the season, it's pretty common. I'm sure there will be more of those. We'll just take them as they come. Right now, we're just trying to get into Buffalo, focus on them. As I said, it's always hard to open with anybody because of the amount of information that you have to try to sort through. They'll never be able to do all of it, nor would we with all the background we have. But you have to prepare for a lot of things and be ready for what you get on Sunday. That's what we'll try to do, get into regular season mode here, our practice routine and our meetings and preparation. That's another little adjustment for us at this point but we're just working our way through all those things.

Q: Would you ask Chandler Jones to familiarize yourself with Syracuse stuff or is there already enough out there?

BB: I think most of the Syracuse stuff looks to me like it's coming on the offensive side of the ball.

Q: He's obviously practiced against those guys.

BB: Again, there are a lot of elements of even what they've done, there's elements of what Doug [Marrone] did when he was the offensive coordinator at New Orleans and even back to the Jets. I don't think that's a major part of the game plan.

Q: What about looking at the preseason?

BB: I'm sure that's what they're going to do. I'm sure they have some wrinkles and things they haven't shown but I can't imagine they'd go through four preseason games and show up at the first game with some completely different offense. I can't imagine.

Q: How has Duron Harmon looked and how much do you expect him to play?

BB: Good. He's had a good preseason. All the rookies that made our roster, obviously we feel good enough to have them on there. Duron has done a good job.

Q: You have 14 rookies. What's it like coaching such a young team? Was getting younger something you wanted to do this year?

BB: No, we want to win. That's what we're here for. We kept the players that we feel give us the best chance to be competitive this year. That's what our job is.

Q: How fair would it be to say that Rob Gronkowski has taken a step forward?

BB: This is his first opportunity to be in pads so, yes he's definitely moving forward.

Q: What have you seen?

BB: He's day-to-day.

Q: Does he have a shot to play on Sunday?

BB: He's day-to-day.

Q: What do you need to see from him before you're willing to put him on a game field?

BB: We take it day to day. Evaluate tomorrow based on how today goes, see how it goes. See how tomorrow goes and deal with whatever that day is, Wednesday or Thursday or whatever the day is. We'll take it day to day. It's the same way we do with everybody.

Q: Do you feel the last two days were a significant step for him?

BB: No, just the next step.

Q: Is there a different sense about the opener – new season with a new team?

BB: This is what we've worked for. This everything we've done – all the preparations in the spring, our OTAs, our offseason training program, training camp – to get to the regular season and the regular season is here. Yeah, we're excited; we're ready to go. I think it's like that every year. Each year is a new year with a new team, new circumstances, new challenges, new everything. That's the great part about football. You don't pick up where you left off, good or bad, you start all over again. We're getting ready to start the regular season. It's a big challenge for us but we'll see where it takes us.

Q: What have you seen so far from Rob Gronkowski in practice?

BB: We evaluate any player coming back day to day. That's what we do with every player.

Q: In terms of what you saw yesterday, what did you see during that span yesterday?

BB: We evaluate each player day to day and then we look at his situation the next day. If he's improved and able to move ahead, then we move him ahead. If not, then we keep him where he is or sometimes we have to step back a little bit and then move ahead. It just depends on each individual player, his situation and what his progress is. There's no straight line formula for that. We take it day to day, I don't know any other way to do it. We don't know how he's going to be feeling in two days, or any other player. It's not about him. It's about any player that's coming back from an injury. That's how we do it. Nobody has a crystal ball.

Q: Is it a concern that the player may not be 100 percent truthful on how they're feeling because they want to get back out on the field?

BB: I'm not concerned about that.

Q: Why was it best for the team this year to go with two quarterbacks?

BB: Because we thought it was the best decision to make for the team. There are a million things that go into every decision, personnel decision. There are a lot of things that play off one another. In the end, we did what we thought was best for the team, at every position, every one.

Q: What it would be fair to say that the door wouldn't be closed for Tim Tebow to come back if things changed over the course of the year?

BB: I don't know what's going to happen during the year. Certainly we've had a lot of players that have left here and come back here. I don't think that would be anything – that's already happened multiple times this year.

Q: How has LeGarrette Blount handled returns? Correct me if I'm wrong, he doesn't have a lot of experience there.

BB: Right. He's got a lot of experience carrying the ball and he has good vision, he has good running skills. He's seemed to pick it up well.

Q: Who is the biggest kickoff returner you've ever seen?

BB: Most return guys aren't that kind of size. I'd say that definitely puts him in the above average category, no doubt about that, yes.

Q: How much have you trimmed down or tweaked things to accommodate for the changes that you've had at receiver and tight end and some of the new faces?

BB: I think we've installed the 2013 offense, which is different from 2012, which is different from '11. It changes and evolves every year. I think whatever we choose to do on a game-by-game basis will be determined by that game, those matchups, our personnel, their personnel, their schemes and so forth. I can't really tell you how that's going to go. I think that we have the ability to draw or work in the same areas generally that we've worked in in the past but there are some specific things that we're probably better at now and not as good at relative to other years. I'm sure that's true. We'll just take it game by game and see how the game plans unfold. I don't think there are too many things that if we want to do and we haven't practiced them, we wouldn't know how to do them. Which ones we select to do will be dependent on that individual game.

Q: How important was it to add the depth on the offensive line the past two days?

BB: We thought that there were players that would be able to help our team. We don't have any experience with them so we'll have to see how it goes. We're glad to be working with them. We'll just try to get a quick evaluation of them and see whether they'll be ready, what their future is here. I don't really know. We liked them enough to claim them, but how that's going to turn out, I think we'll have to see.

Q: Any roster moves today?

BB: There are probably going to be roster moves over the next few days. I don't even know what they are but it's just that time of year. Between the practice squad and the roster, there's a lot of transition. I don't know, there could be.

Q: Anything today?

BB: We'll give them to you if we have them.

Q: Any update on Will Svitek?

BB: I'm sure the much anticipated injury report will come out on Wednesday and we'll fill you in on everything then.

Q: Want to try a practice run with us today?

BB: I don't want to lose the anticipation that you guys have for that Wednesday report coming out by putting anything in there that you already have early. It's like Christmas morning. You can unwrap all the gifts at once.

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