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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/19

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at the New Orleans Saints practice facility at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

BB: It's great to be down here. This is a really good opportunity for our football team, as I talked about last week. It's a beautiful facility, we came down yesterday and met with Sean [Payton] and the Saints staff and they showed us around. I think this is just a great layout. The fields are beautiful, all the facilities are great. The Saints couldn't be more hospitable and accommodating, and the Greenbrier setup is pretty unique, but really it's been great. I look forward to the week here, I look forward to work on the field, and I think this is a good opportunity for each of us individually to improve and for our football team to improve working against a quality organization and quality football team. I have all the respect in the world for the Saints, their entire organization, Sean [Payton] and the way they do things. It should be a good three days for us, looking forward to it.

Q: Sean Payton said that the reason you guys are working together for the third time is that you don't have to worry about fights and it's more productive. Can you comment on that?

BB: Yeah, I think we've had a great working relationship with the Saints and with Sean and his staff. From a coaching standpoint, we both feel like we can get done things that are beneficial to our teams. Players work hard, but they do it in the right way and in the same kind of tempo that we do separately when we're with each other. So, that all kind of falls into place.

Q: You guys acquired Asante Cleveland from San Francisco yesterday. What made you interested in working with him?

BB: This gives us a little more depth at that position, and we'll see how it goes. We did a lot of work on him coming out of Miami, out of college from Miami. He's been kind of on the practice squad for San Francisco, a couple games on the roster. We didn't really want to give up [Jordan] Devey, but you've got to give up something to get something. I think hopefully both guys will be able to help both teams in positions of need.

Q: Would you say he's more of a move tight end, or is he a bit of a combination guy who does stuff at the end of the line as well?

BB: Well, we'll see. He's a tight end, so he's done pretty much everything.

Q: Sean said that there's a lot about your organization that he tries to model his after. Is there anything Sean does that you in turn try to take and use?

BB: Yeah sure, we look at a lot of things that they do and a lot of other great organizations in this league and try to see if we can find things that can help us or [if] we feel like they have a good idea or a good way of doing things, we certainly investigate it. Sometimes it works for us, sometimes it doesn't, but I think certainly we always look at what Sean does.

Q: Can you comment on how rare it is for two defenses to be able to face future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the preseason?

BB: Our preseason schedule has a lot of good quarterbacks on it. Drew [Brees] is certainly one of them. We've practiced against him in the past, coached against him in games, coached against him in the Pro Bowl. He's obviously a great player, but they have a lot of other good players on this team that will be good for all of us to see those matchups. It will do nothing but make us better.

Q: Do you see any similarities between you and Sean?

BB: I don't know. We've never worked together, but we have a good friendship and a good working relationship apart from each other. That's the way I'd characterize it.

Q: What is the best-case scenario for what you hope to accomplish over the next two days here?

BB: To get better, improve our football team.

Q: Sean Payton was asked if you've ever made him laugh, and he said that you make him laugh when he watches you talk to the media. What is your reaction to that?

BB: I feel the same way.

Q: How good is this for reps? A lot of the guys have said that joint practices offer a lot of high quality reps that preseason games don't provide.

BB: Yeah, that's true. A lot of times certain players aren't on the field and different situations that come up in the game, but we can control that here, so that's good. We're kind of only getting half the reps we'd normally get because we only have one team on the field instead of two, but on the other hand, it gives us a chance to get organized, prepare for those situations, kind of have a pace for play a series, out a series, play a series, out a series – kind of like a game is. So it's a little more of a game-like situation, game-like conditions in terms of that. There are just so many benefits to working against them. There's a give and take, but there are so many benefits that we think it's worthwhile.

Q: Sean said that this is a great opportunity for younger players because they can start to understand that they can compete at this level. Do you agree with that?

BB: Yeah, sure, absolutely. Yeah, no question.

Q: Is there a value in going against the same team for the third time or do you prefer to switch it up?

BB: Anytime you do this you're somewhat constrained by what your preseason schedule is. The Saints have been on our preseason schedule, whatever it is – 3 of the last 5 years – we've been able to have good working relationships with them on all those. I'm sure if they were on our preseason schedule again it's something we'd consider. If they're not, I don't know, it would probably be a little bit harder to do logistically, but I wouldn't rule it out. It would just be a little more challenging.

Q: How much has missing practice affected Tom [Brady's] rhythm when he is out on the field?

BB:  Yeah, I don't know.

Q: What kind of restrictions do you have on players while they're here?

BB: Well, we're here for one reason and that's to improve our football team, individually and collectively. It's training camp, players come out and compete hard on the field, but an important part of any training camp is meetings, preparation, rest and recovery. All those things are important, so we don't want those to take a back seat to anything else. This is what we're here for, this is our job, this is our living, and we're a very competitive team so we want to do what we can to get the most out of it.

Q: Is it a big day for Eastern Illinois to have Sean Payton and Jimmy Garoppolo here?

BB: It sure is.

Q: Have you been paying attention to Hard Knocks and in particular your old coaches?

BB: I missed that.

Q: What do you tell your team about fighting [in regards to the scene in Hard Knocks last night]?

BB: We're not really worried about any other team in the league – we're just worried about what we're doing and obviously the team that we're competing against. Last week, it was Green Bay, this week it's New Orleans, next week it's Carolina, so that's where our focus is. We have plenty to do to take care of our own business and a lot of things that we can work on. We're not really here to comment on what's going on everywhere else in the league. That's not our job.

Q: Does being at a remote location take you back to earlier training camps and bring about a team bonding value?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. It's great for the team to pretty much be by itself without a lot of distractions – minimal family, friends or anybody else like we do when we go on the road – so it's a good opportunity for us to just concentrate on what we're doing and get the most out of it. We spend a lot of time around each other at the facility, but now it kind of gives all of us a chance to spend a little more time with each other in addition to that, which I think is a good thing. You know, again we've practiced against each other a lot. We've gone a lot of Patriots against Patriots. Now it's good to have another team on the other side of the ball where we can kind of rally as one team and compete against that team in a good way – not in the wrong way but in a good way. But that's what competition is – teamwork and working together and supporting each other and having the offense, defense, and special teams play complementary football and win as a team. This is certainly part of that process and the team building itself together.

Q: Does it show you how much things have changed in the game being at a luxury resort during a training camp?

BB: I think a lot of training camps have changed from what they were, but football is football. Once you get out there inside of those white lines I don't care where you do it – it's football; it's competition on the football field. You can take all the rest of it out of it, doesn't really matter. Once you cross those white lines, then you're a football team playing against another football team. It's all the same then.

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