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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/16

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.

BB: OK, we're obviously building here on the first day with the Bears. That was good exposure to a team that we really aren't very familiar with. The last time we played them was with a different head coach, a different scheme and all of that. It was good to start to get familiar with them. That will certainly help us evaluate our players Thursday night so that when we do play we'll have a little bit of an idea of what's going on and hopefully be able to execute it. As I said, really just building on yesterday. A lot of the same types of situations, a couple of drills that are a little bit different, and then tomorrow will be a little more of a situational day like it was for the Saints.

Q: Are the two teams in full pads today?

BB: Yeah. We'll be outside, too.

Q: Does Tom Brady need preseason games or does the fact that he won't be here the first four weeks of the season negate the need for him to get those reps?

BB: Again, I don't have anything to add to what I've already said. They're all important. We're trying to get them all ready. Jimmy [Garoppolo] is the priority but everybody's important.

Q: What have been your most important impressions of Markus Kuhn since he arrived here in New England?

BB: [He's a] really good kid, smart, works hard, in good condition, seems to be able to go without any problems at all in terms of his stamina or conditioning. He's in good shape. Technique wise, there are some things he needs to continue to work on but he is [working on them]. He works hard. I'm glad we have him.

Q: How valuable has it been for your defense to get reps against guys like Jay Cutler and Drew Brees recently?

BB: Yeah, it's been great. It's been great. It's really good for our pass defense to see the quality of the two passing games that we've seen here in practice; the quarterbacks, the receivers. New Orleans had very good receivers. A guy like [Brandin] Cooks who's a smaller, quick, fast guy is a different style than say a guy like [Alshon] Jeffrey or [Kevin] White that we're seeing this week. It's good for us to see all of those guys and the skill of the quarterbacks that we've seen the last couple of weeks. It's great work for us and the schemes are a little bit different, too. What New Orleans does and what Chicago does in the passing game is a little bit different than what we do. So, we got good work against that from a scheme standpoint, too, so that's been really good in that area.

Q: What kind of progression have you seen this year from David Andrews?

BB: Just his second year, a lot more experience, and confidence, and quicker reactions, and calls on the line of scrimmage than he did last year. Not that it was bad last year, it was good. It was really good for a rookie but it's even better this year. He just has more experience and I'd say more confidence. We do some things with the cadence and he does a real good job with that as well. There are a lot of things that he has added to his game, little things, but those add up. He's done a good job.

Q: After the skirmish yesterday in practice did you have to reiterate anything to your team going into today?

BB: No, we've moved on. I thought we handled it pretty quickly and we moved on yesterday. We've moved on today.

Q: So there are no repercussions or guys being held out of practice today?

BB: What?

Q: A couple of years ago you sat a player for getting into a fight in practice. Will you be doing that today?

BB: I think they'll all be out there today.

Q: What traits do you see from Justin Coleman that can help him at this level?

BB: He's athletic, he's fast, he's a productive player, he was productive in college. His opportunities last year were spotty because of his availability but he did everything he could, even with I'd say minimal reps over the course of the season relative to guys that were out there on a continuous basis. He still worked hard, continued to make improvement, which I think he has this spring, this training camp, so he's getting better. He works hard at it, [he's a] very competitive player.

Q: Is his physicality at the line of scrimmage something that showed up in college as well?

BB: Yeah, it did at times. I'd say they played a little bit more off - coverage. They mixed it but it's certainly shown up here as he's gotten comfortable doing it and refined his technique, and so forth. He does a pretty good job at the line of scrimmage.

Q: How much of a jumpy have you seen from Malcom Brown going into his second season?

BB: Malcom, he's working at it. Kind of like last year, the way we talked about David Andrews, played as a rookie, got some experience, is certainly ahead of where he was last year. Both of them, they still have a lot of room to go. They're second year players so there are a lot of things that Malcom can work on and do better but he's making progress. He's out there every day working at it. That's good.

Q: Can a player's intelligence overcome some of his physical deficiencies on the football field?

BB: Maybe the way I see it is if a player understands what you're telling him and he works hard to try to improve on it then he gets better. If he doesn't understand or doesn't want to understand what you're telling him then how does he get better? Even if he works hard he's probably not going in the right direction. Being able to understand what we're doing, how to do it, and then being able to understand how to do it better, how to improve, wherever that is, whether it's in training, in the weight room, technique, preparation, any of those areas, if a player understands what he can do and he works at it then he's going to improve. But I think that's the most important thing to me, not what he can do outside of football on some other occupation. I care about that but I don't really care about that. I care about whether he can do it in a football context.

Q: What have you seen from Cre'von LeBlanc since he has been here?

BB: He's been really competitive. I think he's played well. Obviously, the play he had against the Saints was a pretty special play but day in and day out he's been pretty consistent for us going all the way back to the spring. I'd say his instinctiveness, his ability to be around the ball, his anticipation and ability to recognize routes maybe offset some of the testing numbers that aren't elite. They're good but I wouldn't say they're elite, but all of it kind of together and knowing how to play, he has got some of that. He finds the ball or the ball finds him, however you want to look at it.

Q: How competitive has that young group of cornerbacks been?

BB: Well, we're getting tested. We got tested last week. We're getting tested this week. We win some, we lose some, but they're battling. They're out there every day battling so that's a big part of it. That group has been very consistent in terms of having those guys out there every day, keep working to get better so that they have improved. They are getting better and they've gone against some really good players.

Q: Are there any positives you can take from the pushing and shoving at yesterday's practice?

BB: We're just out there trying to get better.

Q: What indicators do you see in Jimmy Garoppolo that gives you confidence he can sustain the pressure of being a starting quarterback?

BB: The way he handles himself on a daily basis. I've been around the kid every day for going on three years, so it's pretty consistent.

Q: What have you learned about Cre'von LeBlanc since you've had him here that maybe you didn't know about him before he went undrafted?

BB: Well, when we we're down there [at Florida Atlantic University] we had a chance to visit with him. I got to know him personally a little bit. It was what it was. I think it was positive. He's a good kid, you can tell he likes football, and he pays attention and understands football. I'd say probably his measurables coming out are the reason he didn't get drafted. He played at a good level of competition against some good teams, not all top teams, but they played Miami and Florida and a couple of teams like that, teams that were good. The guys on the other side of the ball were fast now, it's not like they were playing opponents that had players that can't run. I think what you saw in film and what you saw in workout numbers, I don't know that it quite matches up. Sort of like Malcom [Butler], it's a little bit of the same thing with Malcom. His testing numbers, I'm sure that's part of the reason why he didn't get drafted either.

Q: Bill, you have two Long brothers [Chris and Jake] out there practicing against each other.

BB: Yeah, one big one and one not so big one, right?

Q: What are your recollections of Howie Long as a player, and do you see any of his characteristics or qualities in his son Chris Long, either on the field or off?

BB: Chris has great personal characteristics; elite, smart, really works hard, team oriented, tough, great motor, it's all positive with him. Howie was unblockable. I never coached Howie personally, but playing against him he was pretty much unblockable. [He was] explosive, very strong, quick, had a real good feel for pressure of blocks, which ones to push through, which ones he could slip around. He had great quickness. He had a really good playing style, that same kind of high effort, always going all out. [He was] a smart player. You watch him run up the field and you'd think you could trap him but you couldn't. He would recognize plays that you would use to counter what he was doing and he was good at beating those, too. Kyle [Long], he's a different kind of athlete. That kid's big. He's athletic, he's long, I don't know, 325/330 [pounds], whatever he is. He's well put together with a lot of strength and a lot of athleticism. That kid is a really good player. Again, that's given us another – we talked about matchups – another really good player to work against along with their front seven. They've got some good pass rushers, they have a lot of depth there, so there are a lot of things in working against the Bears and the Saints that between the two teams we've seen a lot of quality players at pretty much every position. Watching [Thomas] Morstead last week, you're not going to see it any better than that if you put the ball in the jugs machine. It's a clinic. It's all been good. It's all been good.

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