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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 7/31/2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.


BB: After a couple days in pads and the players were off yesterday so we're back at it today. Hopefully we can make some corrections from those first two days there, Saturday and Sunday, and just keep moving forward here in training camp. We have a long way to go, a long way to go.

Q: What did you learn when they put pads on?

BB: Some good things. Obviously a lot of things we need to work on. We'll just keep plugging away. It's a long haul here. You don't build all your fundamentals and techniques in one practice. It takes a lot of repetitions to do that and each position, each player has a lot of things he has to master and be good at. We'll take some of them and try to improve those and address other ones as we go forward.

Q: Is it too early for anyone to get excited over the chemistry building between Tom Brady and Brandon Lloyd?

BB: Yeah, we have a long way to go. I think it's a little too early to get excited about anything. We have a lot of work to do – everybody – coaches, players, veterans, everybody.

Q: Are you expecting any of the guys on PUP to come back and practice today?

BB: I don't think we have any personnel moves.

Q: Is Nate Ebner eligible for PUP?

BB: No, he passed his physical. Once they pass their physical and they're on the field, then they can't be PUP'ed. It's just the initial physical.

Q: Is there any update on Brian Waters and whether he's returning or not?

BB: Nope.

Q: What are some things that drew you guys to Trevor Scott and how is he starting to acclimate?

BB: Trevor is a guy we did work on coming out in the draft four years ago. [He's a] Buffalo kid; Eastern-type kid. He played a couple different positions out at Oakland during his time there – some defensive end, some outside linebacker, some sub rush responsibilities. A lot of times he was on the line, sometimes in a three-point stance, sometimes in a two-point stance but he also did play off the line in linebacker roles. We saw him do a lot of different things, in addition to the kicking game. He has some versatility, he's young and he's worked hard. He had a real good offseason for us in terms of our offseason program; he was one of our award winners there. He's getting acclimated but again, a long way to go. There are certainly a lot of things that we do that either he needs to work on or that he hasn't done at Oakland or whatever it is. But he's a hard working kid and he's making progress.

Q: Can you comment on the group of offseason award winners?

BB: They stood out in their position or they were different categories – comeback player, newcomer, [that] type of thing.

Q: Is that new for you this year – to have the different categories?

BB: No, we've had some of those before.

Q: You've talked a little bit about how sub defenses are more prevalent in reacting to what the offenses are doing. It seems like for years your right defensive end was your pass rusher and your left defensive end was a bigger run player as teams ran right. Are those things changing too with the evolution of offenses?

BB: I would say it's still more that way than the other way. Teams are balanced and they do a good job of scouting themselves and making sure that they don't create any heavy tendencies or maybe if they do create them, it's because they want to create them. I would say that it's still tilted a little bit more that way than the other way, lets say. In other words, most weeks I would say the most athletic pass rusher that we face lines up on our left side. It's not set in stone, but generally that would be what we would see.

Q: It looks like Rob Ninkovich is getting some early reps at left defensive end. Do you think he's suited for that type of role – being a run player in the front?

BB: Essentially that's what Rob has done. Rob is pretty flexible – he's played both sides and played on his feet, played in a three-point stance. I think he's certainly strong enough to do that, physical enough, plays with good leverage, yeah.

Q: We see you guys on the field at 1:30 p.m. It seems like roughly you guys take until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. What time do guys have to get here in the morning to officially report?

BB: It depends – there are different times depending on what they need to do. Guys that aren't practicing that have to get treatment and that type of thing come earlier and they stay later to get those extra times. Guys in the middle of the day, there's some time in the middle of the day, depending on some things in the kicking game, special teams, treatments, conditioning. Some guys come in for extra time with their coaches or to do something else.

Q: Is film work usually before practice or after or both?

BB: I'd say generally speaking, what we try to do is in the morning talk about what we're going to put in for that day, this practice that's coming up. So this morning we talked about the things that are going in today, which would include showing film from mini-camp or maybe last season or whatever it is that applies to 'This is what we're doing.' Tonight we would watch the film and talk about what we did on the field – 'Here's how we did it, this is how we need to do it better, this is good, this wasn't so good, here's the problem, here's how we're going to handle it' – that type of thing. Then the next day we go to the next day of installation. When the day is over, hopefully we walk out of here at least understanding what we're trying to do, how we're trying to do it and even if we didn't do it properly, hopefully we have a better understanding of how to do it better the next time we do it, which might be the next day or the next time we get to that situation or drill.

Q: Do you see the increase to 90 players on the roster for camp as an advantage or disadvantage as you try to evaluate?

BB: It's an advantage to those 10 players that wouldn't otherwise be in camp.

Q: Is it an advantage or disadvantage to you trying to get plenty of reps for everyone in the early stages?

BB: We have the same number of people everybody else has. I don't think one of the 32 teams has an advantage over any of the other ones because it's all the same.

Q: Is it good for you as a coaching staff – they always talk about teacher-student ratios. The smaller the class size in relation to the number of teachers, the better it is. Is it better for you if the group is smaller?

BB: I don't know. Look, whatever it is, it is. If it's 80, it's 80. If it's 90, it's 90. If it's 100, it's 100. We'll do the best with whatever it is, try to make the most out of it. I don't see it as an advantage-disadvantage. I think you take whatever your opportunities are and you figure out how to make the most of them. If they change, then you take the new set of circumstances and make the best of them.

Q: You started coaching back when there were over 100 players out there but you also had a much longer training camp to weed people out. This is a more compressed type of thing now. Is more players better? I know you also have guys who aren't out there too so at least you have full practices you can run a couple more players available to you. Is it a significant change?

BB: I'd say it's definitely a significant change. When I started coaching in the NFL, first of all, there really wasn't any offseason program or it was very limited. You didn't have the organized OTAs that we have now. When you put in at the beginning of training camp, when you installed your plays, you installed them very thoroughly because it was, I'd say, pretty much the first time they were hearing it. Veterans obviously had heard them before but for the benefit of the whole team, you did it in a very thorough way because it was really the first time. When we go out here the first day of practice, we've already had 13 practices or however many practices we had, granted it was six weeks ago. There's definitely a level of, from a month of practice, there's some learning and carryover. We might have a couple new guys on the team and all that but I'm saying overall there's a lot more lead-in. The numbers really came from the rookies. That's when teams would bring 50-60 rookies to camp and have a training camp of rookies for a week, 10 days, two weeks, depending on the team and what their philosophy was. [Minnesota Vikings Head Coach] Bud Grant was probably only like two hours. With Dallas and Oakland and some of those teams, they did it for like two, two and a half weeks. Out of those 60, 70 players, whatever it was, they kept 15 or 20 guys or however many they kept to then go to practice when everybody came in and they got rid of the guys who were just kind of tryout guys. That's where the Everson Walls of the world and guys like that came from. They were just part of a big number and then they made the first cut and got into training camp and in his case, ended up having a great career. That was different. Of course, he had six preseason games plus a couple scrimmages. You had the rookie scrimmage, so you had like 50-60 rookies and then you scrimmage yourself or go scrimmage somebody else a couple times to see how they looked against competition to help whittle that down. So you had the rookie scrimmage and then you had a veteran scrimmage or two maybe and then you had six preseason games. The preparation for the season really was at the beginning of the season, not in the spring and then kind of jumping to the different points. It was a lot different. Is it better or worse? I don't know. The season didn't start until the end of September, like September 21 or somewhere in that range was opening day. Of course, the season ended a lot earlier too, we weren't playing into baseball season.

Q: Is Brandon Spikes limited physically in what he can do right now?

BB: Whatever he can do is what he can do right now. With any player, that can change from day to day.

Q: What strengths does Brandon Bolden have as a player?

BB: I think he seems like he's done a decent job in the areas that we've asked him to work in; special teams. He can catch the ball, has some skill in the passing game and he had some production in the running game in college. We've only seen that in drills, we haven't seen that really in live competition yet. But based on college, it looked like he can run the ball. Pretty smart guy, can catch [and] can play in the kicking game.

Q: It doesn't seem too big to him so far, making this jump?

BB: Like all the rookies, he's made plenty of mistakes. But he's made progress, he's worked at it. Like I said, he's a smart kid, he's picked things up fairly well. We're really starting to pile on here, when we get into, by the end of this week when we kind of have everything in then it will be piled pretty high. We'll see how everybody is holding up this week and then the next week. Once we get in closer to the Saints week, then our installation will be close to the top. In the next few days, it will just keep piling up. Some guys may be able to handle that; other guys may get a little congested. We'll see how it goes.

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