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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 7/31

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium on Friday, July 31, 2015.

BB:We're definitely underway after getting going yesterday with everybody out there. I think it was a first step, made some corrections yesterday and try to build on that this morning, build on what we did yesterday and just keep going here. We've got, as we talked about yesterday, we've got a long haul, long way to go, one step at a time, so we'll just keep trying to grind it out, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. I think these guys have got a good attitude, trying to get better, trying to do what we tell them to do, try to make the corrections. Hopefully we'll just be able to string some days together here that are good and keep getting our team ready.

Q: Jordan Richards had an interception yesterday. What did you see on that play and what do you like about him so far?

BB: Well we didn't see a whole lot of him in the spring. He didn't come in until late, missed part of the OTAs finishing up school. But he's a smart kid, picks things up quickly and he seems to be a pretty instinctive player. He has a good feel for the ball and awareness. He's a good communicator back there. We'll see how it goes.

Q:On that specific play, we asked Jimmy Garoppolo after practice what happened, and he talked about the importance of not letting that affect the rest of practice. What have you seen in that regard from him so far in training camp?

BB:I think we talked about that with the entire team. We're all going to make mistakes out there and we've got to move on to the next play. That's what football is, a new down, a new distance, a new field position, offense, defense, special teams, everything changes really on every play. Something changes usually unless you replay a down. It's a new situation, so it's always about moving on. We all make mistakes. We all have bad plays out there, bad calls, or something that we screw up, but it's all about moving ahead. Talked to the whole team about that – that's every position.

Q:Specifically, he mentioned mental toughness.

BB: Yeah, everybody's got to do it, and he's certainly included in that group, but I wouldn't exclude anybody because we all have [mistakes].

Q:Jerod Mayo has missed some time because of injury the past couple years, but what has he meant to the team off the field over that time?

BB: Jerod has always tried to do everything he can to help the team. He's always done that, on the field, off the field. He's got to get himself ready to go, like we all do. We all have a responsibility to do our job and he does a great job with that. He's always tried to do whatever we've asked him or whatever he feels like he can do to help the team and whatever area that is – on the field, off the field, in the weight room, offseason training – whatever it is.

Q: It seems like you're a master at pulling a team together in the face of adversity. Do you think this season could be special as you use that to push the guys forward?

BB: We're in day two of training camp. That's where we are.

Q: So you have no feeling about that?

BB: My feeling is to try to get the team out there to have a good day of practice today in the second day of training camp.

Q: We haven't heard from your quarterback in a while. Do you anticipate him saying anything during camp?

BB: I can't speak for 90 players and another dozen or so coaches. I can speak for myself. I'm here trying to do my job. Everybody is trying to do theirs. That's what training camp is for.

Q:Did you happen to notice the "Cheaters Look Up" banner yesterday and what was your reaction to it?

BB: I don't know what you're talking about.

Q:Have you heard about that plane?

BB: What plane?

Q: Focused, huh?

BB: Just trying to coach the football team.

Q:Are you looking for something different between veterans and rookies and second-year players when it comes to mental toughness?

BB: Well, yeah, I mean you look for growth from everybody. Obviously, the rookies always grow at a pretty fast rate because they're so far behind. I think the big thing for the second-year guys is that they know more what to expect. They've been through it. They've been through a camp. They've been through a season. If they've been in our system, they've been through the installation a second time instead of a first time and hopefully have a better idea of the big picture, not just their particular assignment. Hopefully you see growth in all those areas from that group. I think it's a big advantage for any of us. If you do something for us the first time, you experience it and have an aspect of kind of learning it as you do it. No matter how well prepared you are, after you've done it once, I think the second time you always have a little less anxiety about what's going to happen just because you've been through it before. I don't think it's any different than any of us doing a task for the first time then doing it a second time.

Q:A lot of kids end their college career and then begin preparation for the combine. Then they have less time in the pro team's conditioning program. How much of a difference does that make when you have them for a full year in your offseason program?

BB: I think that's a huge mistake that a lot of those players make, but I'm sure they have their reasons for doing it. We're training our players to play football, not to go through a bunch of those February drills. Yeah, our training is football intensive. We train them to get ready to play and ultimately that's what they're going to do. Maybe for some of those guys another activity in between or a pro day or whatever it is. But in the end, they're going to make their career playing football. We already know that with our guys and we don't have to deal with any of that other stuff. We just train them for football. I think it's huge. I think there are a lot of players and I think a lot of players learn from that, that they look at their rookie year and feel like, 'I wasn't really as physically as well prepared as maybe I was in college or what I will be in their succeeding years in the league,' and train more for football and train less for the broad jump and three-cone drill and stuff like that. I think a lot of those guys hopefully learn that lesson and intensify their physical football training after they've had that year of, in a lot of cases, I would say non-football training or very limited training for actually football.

Q: We know you want to stay focused on the day to day, but do you ever find yourself thinking on your drive home that you'd like to win every game by 50 points and stick it to the commissioner?

BB:Yeah, right now I'm really focused on what we're doing today. Not thinking about the past, not last week, not last year, not some other year. I'm not thinking about … we have to prepare our team for the opener and a 16-game regular season schedule. We really can't do much of that right now. It's not the time for it. So, I'm not going to worry about next month, next year, six years from now, six months from now or anything else. So, I know that's really important to everyone else, but it's not really not very important to me. I don't think it's very important to our football team. So, with all due respect, it's not something I think about or I care about, even though that seems to be really important to everybody else. It's just not on our radar.

Q: What has the transition from Scott O'Brien to Joe Judge been like?

BB:Smooth. Scott was a great coach, as good a coach as anybody I've ever been with and around, did a tremendous job. I learned a ton from Scott. I know Joe did, too, or has. But Joe is a great coach in his own right. Each of us have our own style. Joe has his own style, but very well prepared, very thorough, has great experience in the kicking game and all of the situations and techniques, both with the specialists and all the other positions on the field. Joe and I spend a lot of time together. I think he's a great young coach.

Q: How would you characterize his style?

BB: It's his personality. His personality comes out in his coaching style. He's a great communicator, well prepared, aggressive, competitive. All of us have different personalities. His personality is different, but it's good. It's very positive. He was with Scott for so long and so many meetings and so much time spent together that I think he can adapt to the differences, understand what the differences are that he's coaching players and how those need to be explained, but also carry through on the things that are the same or very close to the same as what they've been in the past. He's great at developing relationships with new players, specialists or other players. A lot of the guys that have come in over the years, the last couple of years that came in maybe late, midseason or late in training camp or weren't with us all the way through, a lot of times he would spend extra time with those players to get them caught up while Scott was working on other aspects of the preparation. I think he's good at all those things.

Q:What have you seen from AJ Derby out here after not having him for most of the spring?

BB:Well, I think he's behind from having missed that, but he's a smart kid, working hard, trying to catch up.

Q:Is it a tough spot for him, given his position is so stacked already?

BB: It's a competitive league, everyone is in a competitive situation, so all we can do is put him out there, let him play, let him compete and see how it turns out. I don't know.

Q: From what you saw from Jimmy Garoppolo yesterday, what makes you think he'll be ready to start the season if need be?

BB: I'm not going to evaluate the players minute to minute and day to day. We've got a lot of training camp practices ahead of us. There will be a lot of players that will improve as the camp goes along. There will be other players that probably flat line it, and there will be other players that will probably decline as the camp grinds on, that will maybe run out of steam or stamina or whatever. We'll just evaluate everybody after we get some information in and try to make those decisions in terms of comprising the roster of the team, but right now we correct mistakes, try to improve, install new stuff, try to go out there and run at a competitive level on the field and take it day by day. We're not going to evaluate every player minute to minute. That's a ridiculous way to try to put a team together.

Q:Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason have been getting a lot of reps in the spring. What have you seen from them so far?

BB: They've been getting a lot of reps, they're going to get a lot of reps. Guys are young players that have an opportunity and we'll see what they do with it. As long as they perform well, they'll keep getting reps. If they don't perform as well as somebody else, somebody else will get more reps than they do. That will be determined based on performance. I don't really have any control over that. We'll just look at it and see how it goes. They come from two very different backgrounds from a football standpoint. They both made a lot of progress. They work harder out on the field, like you said, every day basically, getting a lot of reps, working hard, trying to improve, understand our system, which is, in Shaq's case, couldn't be more different than the system he was in last year. In Tre's case, [it's] not as much, but a lot. He and [Bryan] Stork played together, so there's a little bit of a relationship there, both on and off the field in terms of communication and calls and that type of thing. But the offensive system is different. Obviously, Tre has got a long way to go – they both do – but they're working hard and making progress. We'll see.

Q:What do you like about Robert McClain? Did you see him play at Connecticut?

BB:Yeah, I saw him at Connecticut and saw him in Atlanta. He's a smart kid, very disciplined, works hard, very hard working guy, has a good understanding of football, the different positions on defense, the different positions in the kicking game. He's a versatile player with some experience, so he's been in a lot of NFL games. We'll let him compete with the other players at his position and see how it goes. But we think he's a guy who is established in the league, so we'll see how he does in our situation and the things we ask him to do. But he's a great kid to have around – really alert, bright, good learner, good teammate. I just think he fits in well with this team. I'm glad we have him.

Q:What have you seen from Danny Amendola and how he's building off last season?

BB:Danny had a really good offseason, works hard, has got a good skillset. We've seen him on offense and as a returner with the ball in his hands. He's made a lot big plays for us, made some huge plays last year. But again, just like everybody else, we're all starting at the bottom working our way up. Danny's worked hard. He's in good condition. I'm sure he'll go out there and compete hard on a daily basis and continue to improve. We'll see how it works out.

Q:Dave DeGuglielmo was saying yesterday that Bryan Stork is a perfectionist, but at times he can be too hard on himself. Is that a key part of coaching – deciding when to push and when to prop someone up?

BB: Yeah, I think that's probably a key component to any relationship. As a coach, each player is different, each guy has his own individual characteristics – whatever those are, from learning styles to playing styles to personalities and so forth. But yeah, Bryan is really competitive. He really takes football very, very seriously, works extremely hard at it. It's very important to him; I mean that's obvious. That's a good thing. That's a real good thing. But there's always a balance. In football, there are a lot of plays out there, so there's always a next play. So whatever happened the play before – like we talked about earlier in the follow up to [a previous] question – we all have mistakes, we all have bad plays out there. We've got to put them behind us. We've got to move on and not let a bad play lead to a bad day. Just focus on the next situation. I understand what [DeGuglielmo] said and I don't disagree with it, but at the same time, I think that's a good quality that Stork has – how important it is to him, how he wants to do everything right and do everything he can to be the best that he can be. I totally respect that and love that about him.

Q: For Aaron Dobson, what would you like to see this year that you haven't seen in his first couple of seasons?

BB: Again, everybody is starting in the same place, so we'll see how it goes. I think Aaron has got good talent. He's dealt with some physical setbacks over the first couple years, so those have been … he came into the spring in great shape, worked hard, got a lot of reps in the spring. I think that's put him much further ahead than probably where he's been at this time in either of the past two years. But again, it's just going to be about going forward and how all that works out and translates in competitive situations out on the field. We'll just have to see how it goes. But he's put himself in good position. He's in good shape, he's worked hard, he's gotten a lot of reps in the spring. So, we'll see how it turns out.

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