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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/15

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media from The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV ahead of the team's joint practice with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BB: Well, looking forward to getting started with the Texans today. [We] had a good meeting with Bill [O'Brien] and the coaching staff last night. I think we looked at some goals we'd both like to achieve, so hopefully we'll be able to get those done here in the next couple of days. It's always great to be back at the Greenbrier. This is a great facility and a nice spot.

Q: How important is it to be able to work against another team like this in joint practices? 

BB: Well, it's a good opportunity, so we'll try to take advantage of it.

Q: What are your thoughts on Mike Vrabel and the kind of defense he has over here with Houston? 

BB: Yeah, I have a ton of respect for Mike and this entire coaching staff. Obviously, I have a lot of connections with people on this staff. Mike was a tremendous player. He was a very smart player, astute, played all the positions – special teams, defense, used him on offense. He really works at the game. He's a grinder, tough, hard-nosed, good football coach, good football player, probably an underrated player, a great player. He's done a great job in his role at Ohio State and then down here. He's working with a lot of great people like Romeo [Crennel] and Billy [O'Brien]. 

Q: What are your thoughts on Romeo Crennel? 

BB: [He's] a great friend. We go all the way back to about 35 years with Romeo, several different organizations. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Romeo as a person, a coach, a leader. [He's] really a great friend, a great coach. He did a lot for my coaching career. I'm glad I had the opportunity to coach with him as much as I did. He helped me a lot. 

Q: How important will it be to work against a quality defense like the Texans have? 

BB: Yeah, today will be a great opportunity for us – today and tomorrow – to work against a good football team, a good program, well-coached. It gives us a chance to get better. 

Q: Tom Brady spoke this morning on the radio about feeling like the expectations around this time are almost too high. What have you seen over the years about whether or not expectations can positively or negatively affect a team? 

BB: Well, right now the only expectation I have is to go out and have a good practice today. I'm not really sure exactly what we're talking about here. I don't think that's unrealistic. 

Q: What are your general impressions of Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson? 

BB: Well, we'll get a good look at them here this week. I mean, they're both good quarterbacks. We'll get a good look at them. 

Q: How do you think Bill O'Brien has done here running Houston's program? 

BB: He's done a great job. [He] won the division the past two years, had a playoff win last year. The program has gotten stronger every year. I'm sure they're continuing to head up. We have a lot of respect for Bill and his coaching staff, this football team, the program he runs – a tremendous amount of respect. 

Q: How has Elandon Roberts been coming along for you? 

BB: Good, good. Elandon's going into his second year. He has a lot of experience and took a lot from last year's season, so he's done a good job with communication and being the signal caller on defense. That's been a big step for him. He's a solid guy, works hard, a really tough kid. 

Q: Rob Gronkowski talked about how he has added some new things to his workout regimen this season. How have you seen that manifest itself through this portion of training camp? 

BB: Well, we've got a long way to go. I mean, we'll see. We're two weeks into camp, so I think it's a little too early to come out with any early predictions. 

Q: Was Mike Vrabel the kind of guy you could have envisioned going into coaching after he retired? 

BB: Sure, yeah, absolutely. Again, Mike played a lot of positions on defense – played all the positons in the kicking game, played obviously tight end for us offensively and scout team. He played safety. He played every positon on defense, literally. He loved football, practiced and played hard, was a pleasure to coach, a great football mind. He's got a lot going for him. 

Q: Rob Gronkowski doesn't seem to have any limits placed on him thus far through camp. How has he responded to all of the work so far? 

BB: You know, it's like the rest of the team – everybody has got a long way to go. We're working through it. We've all got a lot of room to improve. Hopefully, we'll get to the point we all want to get to individually, collectively, but right now I don't think any of us is there. We're all just trying to make progress. 

Q: How much work, if at all, do you do draft-wise on a player like Deshaun Watson knowing that he likely won't be around when you make your first selection? 

BB: Yeah, not an extraordinary amount. 

Q: You were here against the Saints a couple of years ago? How do you go about choosing a practice participant? 

BB: It's a lot of things. In the end, you want to work with somebody that you want to work with. I think that's the most important thing – the relationship with the team, with the organization. We feel like we have a good one with the Texans and with Coach O'Brien and his staff, so that's why we're here. We felt that way with Sean [Payton] and the Saints, too. 

Q: Are you surprised at all that Wes Welker has given coaching a shot? 

BB: No, I think all of those guys – Wes, Larry [Izzo], Mike [Vrabel] – they're all players that I've had that were as hard of working players as I've coached that loved the game, that were grinders, that had that coaching mentality, which was be early, stay late, put in a lot of extra time, do your dirty work and they've all started at the bottom and worked their way up. I think Bill has got an outstanding staff and I know those guys personally and have a ton of respect for them. 

Q: What is the experience like for players and coaches here at the Greenbrier? 

BB: I mean, it's a great facility, gives us an opportunity to focus on what it is that we need to do, which is improve this week against the Texans. It's a great facility, meetings, meals, fields. It's a great environment. I love it here. 

Q: How did Bill O'Brien distinguish himself to you when he was coaching at the college level before joining your staff years ago? 

BB: Bill's a hard working guy, very detailed, smart, tough – mentally tough. [He] can deal with a lot, has great leadership qualities. We saw those outside the organization but we saw them – they showed much more vividly inside the organization on a day-to-day basis. Bill is a great leader, a great communicator and will just grind it out. He'll outwork anybody. 

Q: What have been your impressions of Jacob Hollister thus far? 

BB: You know, Jacob's had a good camp, a long way to go, is making improvements. There are a lot of things he needs to work on, but he's had some opportunities to make some plays and he's shown some toughness and ability to hang onto the ball in some critical situations. But he's got a long way to go. 

Q: Do you see LaAdrian Waddle as more of a swing tackle or has he settled in a bit more on the left side of the offensive line? 

BB: Well, when we get to the regular season, as you know Mike [Reiss], if we only take seven linemen, then somebody has got to swing. We can't have a backup for everybody. Either your third tackle is the swing tackle or your third tackle plays one spot and one of your other starter's swings or a guard swings or does something. Similar to the interior – if you carry seven linemen then you have two guys to back up five spots, so it's just simple math. You've got to just figure it out. But LA [LaAdrian Waddle] has had a good camp, had a good offseason. We'll see how it goes. This will be a great week for him to compete against these guys. There are some great pass rushers with the Texans and tough guys to block in the running game, too. This will be good work for our offensive line. It's a really good front. They have great players.

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