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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript - 8/20/2015

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media prior to Patriots-Saints joint practice in West Virginia on Thursday, August 20, 2015.

BB: I felt like yesterday was a really great day for us. We learned a lot; it's great work against the Saints. Sean and his staff have really accommodated us in terms of on the field, the football part of it. We got a lot of good work in, a lot of good teaching. We have a tremendous amount of film with all the one-on-ones and the group drills, in addition to the team drills. That's been great for us. I can't say enough about the Greenbrier facility. We haven't really had a chance to enjoy the many amenities that they have here. Personally, I'm looking forward to coming back at a different time when I can do that. This place is beautiful, it's awesome and they've been very accommodating. We look forward to building on yesterday with today, some more situational work, changing up a couple drills and doing some of the same things we did yesterday, trying to improve on them and get our team as much situational work as we can. Then we'll kind of move into tomorrow and be ready to play on Saturday. There's no better scouting report for the team that we're playing than to be out on the practice field with them. That part of it will be good, too, so we'll be able to get the experience of transferring preparation and practice reps to game opportunities and game execution. All in all this week, we expected it to be good and it has been. We want to take advantage of today. Today is another good opportunity for our football team. 

Q: Is everything pre-planned at practice? Do you talk to the Saints after practice yesterday to see what you want to do moving forward?

BB: A couple little things. Yeah, a couple little things. But for the most part, Sean and I had kind of laid out the format for the week, but we did talk about a couple things from yesterday relative to today and made a couple minor modifications – nothing significant. 

Q: Would you ever consider making the Saints a more permanent practice partner, even if they are not on your preseason schedule?

BB: No, I wouldn't rule it out at all, but logistically it's a little bit tougher. It's not like we're a couple hour bus ride away from each other either. But that's for down the road. Right now, we're just focused on this week and we'll deal with next year or some other year when it comes. 

Q: What sort of camp has Devin McCourty had?

BB: Devin's been out here every day. He's worked hard. He gives us a lot of leadership and a lot of versatility on our defense. He's done a good job. We'll try to give a lot of players, work them in different roles, so when we get to those, which we eventually will during the season, that they will at least have some background in it. 

Q: Given Tom Brady's uncertain status, are you happy with Jimmy Garoppolo's preparedness, and might you need to ramp it up going forward?

BB: We're all in the same boat. We're in the third week of preseason and we all have a lot of work to do, so that includes all of us – everybody. 

Q: How do you think some of the younger defensive backs handled going up against Drew Brees yesterday? Did Malcolm Butler get crossed up on those passes, or were those just good plays?

BB: Again, it's been another real good week of work. We've faced good quarterbacks in practice, and we faced a good quarterback last week for 30-some plays. I mean, [there are] good quarterbacks in Green Bay, but particularly [Aaron] Rodgers. We've seen good players and we're going to continue to see good players in the National Football League – that's what this league is. So every time we go against quality players it's an opportunity for us to improve and work against quality competition. We're not going to back away from it, and those are the guys that we're going to have to play against.

Q: Do these practices carry more weight in the evaluation process than a typical practice?

BB: You know, it's a compilation of a lot of things. The evaluation process really is a mosaic of a lot of different components, so I wouldn't characterize one as one thing and another as something else. They're all important, they're all part of the big picture, and we put it all together and try to make the best decision we can for the team.

Q: What similarities stand out between you and Sean Payton?

BB: Again, I've never worked directly with Sean, just in situations like this, where we've worked jointly on practices and things like that, and that's always gone real smoothly. Of course, we both spent a significant amount of time with Coach [Bill] Parcells, but specifically I don't know because we really haven't been in that situation where we're on the same staff and working together and exchanging ideas for the same goal. As good as our relationship is now, we're on different teams and we have goals for our individual teams, and that's who we represent – not the same one, so it's just a little bit different. 

Q: Drew Brees said yesterday that it becomes more of a mental grind to get through the season with each passing year. You've been doing this a long time – is it still just as exciting for you to come out here every day or is it more of a mental grind?

BB: I enjoy the process. I enjoy all the parts of the process – the team building, bringing in young guys, going to training camp, getting ready for the season, the week-to-week preparation, the games. There are some Mondays that aren't the most fun days I've ever had in my life, but I enjoy the whole process. This is part of it, and I enjoy this. 

Q: Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the corner of the end zone yesterday. What did you see in that play that made it work? It looked like it was dropped in the tightest of windows.

BB: Like a lot of plays out here, there are things that happen [that are] good, [but] still there are things that need to be corrected on the play, and then there are some bad plays, but within that play there are some good things on the play. So, I'd put that play in the same category probably as 100 other ones. There's some good, there's some bad. The throw and the catch were good. The protection and some other parts of the play could have been better. 

Q: Drew Brees and Tom Brady are around the same age and have had so much success in their careers. How rare is it in this day and age to have two guys go on a run like this?

BB: They're great players. I think there are several other great players in that category in the league now that have had similar-type careers with similar longevity. I think if you go back through your history, you'll probably find a handful of players that fall under that category at different periods in time. Again, all that is great, you can write a great story about it. My focus is on our team and our development and where we are as a football team. With all due respect to all those players, that's not really my deal now. 

Q: Sean Payton said that when they review tape, the coach would watch their player and the scout would watch the opposing player. When you watch in this setting, are you watching strictly with a coaching perspective, and how does watching with a scout affect the evaluation of a player?

BB: I think that's the value of a practice like this is there are two components to it. One is the evaluation of your individual players, and the other is an evaluation of your scheme against a different scheme other than the one that you've been working against yourself for a number of practices. From a coaching standpoint, you're trying to coach your players, make them better, make your scheme player [and] make the play work better. From a personnel standpoint, you're trying to evaluate your players and how they're performing. You're also evaluating some other players, but more importantly I think you're evaluating your players against other types of players. You've seen them against your guys, now we see them against the Saints players, and they're a very talented group, so it just gives you another evaluation against a different player. So, it's a combination of both of those. We watch a lot of film in training camp – our scouts, our coaches. We see every player, every play. It doesn't matter whether it's a scout team rep, an individual period, a team period – we evaluate all of it and again try to compose a mosaic picture of that player in the entire camp, not just one play or one individual thing. Each play is important, but it's the composite of all of them really that we're trying to get. 

Q: Benjamin Watson was on the Patriots from 2004-09. He's still playing and playing at a high level. What have you seen from him and how he's been able to extend his career?

BB: He's been with three different organizations, and he's a good player. He's a very talented guy – first-round draft pick. He's big, he can run, he catches the ball well, he runs good routes, so he's improved throughout the course of his career. He looks good out here.

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