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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/14

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, August 14, 2016.

BB: OK, well we've got another big week ahead of us here. Today will be a good day for us to get caught up on a few things and then we'll have four straight days against the Bears. It's a good opportunity to evaluate our team against some things we haven't seen; schemes and players. As I said, today is really a big day for us in terms of installation, getting some things caught up on the install that we haven't put in that we need. We need to grind it out here and have another good week.

Q: Is it purely coincidental that the Patriots and the Bears have made a few transactions in recent years or is there a growing respect and relationship amongst your two departments?

BB: You can't trade with somebody that's not willing to trade. Yeah, we've been able to work it out with them. I think we have a good relationship with their personnel people, their coaching staff. Obviously, they're in the other conference so that always makes it a little bit easier to talk and exchange personnel.

Q: Do you have any sort of prior relationship with their general manager Ryan Pace?

BB: Nothing special, but kind of like the Saints they're not afraid to make a trade or talk personnel.

Q: Is there any reason behind switching to an afternoon practice schedule for this week?

BB: No, probably more to get on the Bears schedule.

Q: Is Nate Ebner back with the team?

BB: He will be.

Q: How do you feel overall about allowing him the opportunity to pursue a dream of his away from the team?

BB: Good, good. He's got a long way to go, but nobody will work harder at it than he will.

Q: Is there any update on any of the players that are currently on the PUP list?

BB: They're day-to-day. We'll take it one day at a time and when they're ready we'll do something.

Q: With a guy like Shea McClellin is it an ongoing process through the whole summer to try and figure out where he is best utilized?

BB: We use training camp to try and build our depth on our roster and have players do different things, have them do different jobs, build their versatility, so that's part of pretty much everybody's role. Not everybody but most everybody, so I don't think it's really that much different for him than it is a lot of other players.

Q: How does the depth along the defensive line compare to years past?

BB: I don't know. We've only been practicing two weeks. We'll see. They've got a long way to go.

Q: How has Kamu Grugier-Hill done in his role that we saw in the preseason opener of calling the defensive signals?

BB: OK. It's pretty basic when he's out there doing that. Again, it's building our depth. It's another guy that we'll see how he handles it, see what he can do. Maybe in passing situations he might end up doing that. I don't know.

Q: Does he have experience doing that in college?

BB: Not a lot, and certainly not in the ways of what we would ask him to do it anyway.

Q: Has there been any discussion about bringing in a third quarterback for the first month of the season?

BB: We've talked about it but we're where we're at. We are where we're at right now.

Q: Is it necessary to have that third quarterback for an emergency situation?

BB: Well, I think it's a question of who it is. I don't know that there are a lot of Hall of Fame players just sitting out there not on any team right now.

Q: What about a Doug Flutie or Vinny Testaverde type of player that you've used in the past?

BB: Those guys retired a decade ago.

Q: What impressed you about the way Nate Ebner trained for rugby and how unique is it that he was able to transition seamlessly to a different sport?

BB: Well, I really don't know a whole lot about rugby. The fact that he made the team and all, that's pretty impressive. I really don't know a whole lot about the sport.

Q: What would you say are some of the things that he has to adjust to when he rejoins the team?

BB: Football. Not training, football. He hasn't played football. You can go out there and run around a track all you want, but you put 21 other guys out there and it's a whole different ball game. You can't train for that. You have to have him out there. It's not his fault, it's not anybody's fault, it just is what it is. He just hasn't played football coming up on nine months, eight-plus months, whatever it is.

Q: Did you get a chance to see the big hit delivered in one of his matches?

BB: We saw a decent amount of it. I saw about four different games. I don't know how many he played. I didn't see every play but I saw about four games.

Q: It looked like a classic special teams hit.

BB: He's a good tackler, he's a tough kid. I don't think there's any question about that.

Q: How much can special teams contributions factor in and push a player on to the roster from the lower end of the depth chart?

BB: 90 percent. I don't know? It could be 100 percent if it's good enough. It's just a question of how good it is relative to what the role is on offense and defense. There's some balance in there, but the more a player can do, the better he can do it, the more value he has. So, if he can only do one thing that's good is that enough? I don't know, it might be, it might not be. You can't have a whole roster of guys that can do just one thing. Somewhere along the line somebody has to be a role player in offense or defense and play in the kicking game. We just don't have enough roster spots to have all offense, all defense, all special teams. It's not like college where you dress 80 or 90 guys.

Q: Does the performance of the punt coverage unit the other night concern you at all?

BB: It wasn't good at all. It wasn't good at all.

Q: Do you plan on spending more time on that in practice this week?

BB: We've spent a lot of time on it. I hope we can do it better. We've just got to do a better job of it. I don't think it's a big mystery about what we need to do. We've practiced it. We just didn't do it very well. We've obviously got to coach it better, got to execute it better. Hopefully we'll be able to do that.

Q: When deciding on whether or not to bring in another quarterback how much does the fact that there aren't enough reps to go around weigh in on the decision?

BB: Reps are definitely an issue, but again, who are you giving them to? I think just to put a player on a roster just to fill out a depth chart, put a card up there, I don't know how much value there really is in that. There are times when you need players for practice, need players for training camp. I don't think that's the case right now.

Q: On James White's successful two point conversion, was that a good check at the line of scrimmage by the quarterback or are you not really doing things like that right now?

BB: I don't want to get into the specifics of each play. We could be here all day talking about that. Again, any time that you run the ball basically you just want to have I'd say a fair fight. You want enough blockers for the defenders and you've got to block them. Any time you can outnumber them then that's a big advantage. It doesn't happen very often. Any time they outnumber you, unless you're only looking for a couple of inches, it's hard to count on making yards against unblocked players in this league. There's a point where you don't want to run a bad play, but not every play is just going to be [a situation] that you have a great advantage on. You're going to have to block them and then they're going to be sitting there and they have to defeat blocks. I'd say in that situation you feel OK about running the ball.

Q: Was Kyler Kerbyson released today to activate Nate Ebner?

BB: [Yes].

Q: How has James Develin look so far through camp?

BB: Good. He's done everything since the beginning of the offseason program in April, so he hasn't been limited in any way.

Q: Is it valuable to your offense to have a guy like him with a unique skillset?

BB: Yeah, I think James is great to have on the team. He's a great teammate. He has a lot of great attributes; his toughness, he catches the ball, very smart, so those things are good. Like any role or situation, how many of them can you have and which ones are the most important to you? I think he's effective in his role it's just a question of eventually when you put together your team and your offense, how big are various roles relative to other roles? What's the overall value or contribution of the player in all facets of the team – offense, defense, special teams, situational football? But situations like goal line and short-yardage are pretty important situations so they might carry a little more weight than other situations. In the end we'll just have to see how it all plays out. He's certainly very competitive in what he does, no question about that.

Q: Overall is there less value in his position due to the passing nature of the league?

BB: Some of it depends on what kind of scheme you use and some of it depends on how good the player is. If the player is good enough we see a lot of value in it. If you have other players with other skills or more versatile skills then maybe there is a tradeoff. But if you're committed to a scheme that doesn't include a particular player – a slot receiver, a fullback, whatever it is – then the scheme eliminates him. I'd say there are not too many offenses that don't have a role for a fullback, have some role for a fullback. How big it is might depend on the scheme, might depend on how good the player is.

Q: How many plays out of the playbook do you lose when a guy like James Develin goes down with an injury?

BB: I don't know. I think he's been [on the field] somewhere between 10 to 25 percent offensively, so a hundred to a couple of hundred plays. It's somewhere in that ballpark. Again, some of those are situational plays – goal line, short-yardage, four minute at the end of the game – things like that, which we've been in a decent amount of those situations relative to say like two minute, 11 personnel at the end of the game, so some of it is situational. So, it's somewhere in that ballpark.

Q: Is it difficult to take a guy like say Michael Williams last year and put him into that role?

BB: Well, I think Mike Williams was a comparable player for us last year. He was a line of scrimmage blocking player. James is more of an off-the-line blocker. I don't know how many of those players you can have on the field at the same time. Mike played a lot of plays for us, probably 400 or somewhere in that neighborhood, so he played a lot of plays primarily as a blocking tight end. It's a different position but it's the same role and I don't think there are a lot of situations where you want to have two or three of those type of players out there at the same time unless its short yardage.

Q: What have you seen from Malcolm Mitchell in camp so far before he went down with an injury?

BB: Malcolm's had a solid camp [and] spring. He's picked up some good techniques in terms of route running. He had some of that at Georgia last year when Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer was there, so it was a little more of a pro offense. Last year you could see his development in that area and I'd say he's continued that since he's been here. So, he's making progress there. We'll just take his situation here day-by-day and see how it goes.

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