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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/22

BB: Alright, how is it going today? Not really much on this end. [We're] obviously transitioning into somewhat of a game week. We're still in training camp but starting to make that transition. We'll just take it day-by-day here and eventually move into what will be a full game week in a couple of weeks, but we'll start to take some steps for that this week. Obviously, [we're] not working against another team. It's pretty clear that we need to prepare ourselves for the team and not use the other team to prepare ourselves, so it is what it is.

Q: Can you confirm the reports that Tom Brady has been excused from practice today for non-injury related reasons?

BB: No, I don't comment on any personal situations.

Q: Does the talent level of the Panthers front seven give you a better chance to evaluate the performance of your own offensive line?

BB: Yeah, I think this is – really across the board – this is a real good team that we are playing on the road, so that will be a little bit different. I think this is a good opportunity for us to compete against arguably as good as any team in the league. [With] all that being said, we're not talking about a regular season game here. We're not talking about game planning and all of those kind of things, which I can't imagine would happen in this game, but they're going to happen in a couple of weeks so it's a whole different ball game. I don't think you can compare this game to a regular season game even though I've heard people try to do that. I'm not sure what game they're looking at. In terms of evaluations, and just kind of straight up evaluations, it's a great opportunity for us. These guys can run the ball, they have a great defense, they have a couple of explosive players on offense, in the kicking game, so again, they're playing at home so it's a lot of things that are a great test for our team and we need those, so it'll be a good opportunity for us. But it's just not from a game plan standpoint. We're in a whole different ball game there.

Q: Marcus Cannon seems to be a guy that has some positional versatility. What have you seen from him and how has he been progressing this year?

BB: Yeah, he's had a good camp. He has played other positions, can play other positions, but I think this [right tackle] is his best position. All of those other moves are really part of another – wasn't the idea of like 'We need to move Marcus'. There were other circumstances and because of his athleticism, his intelligence, his versatility, a lot of times he was the guy making the move. But I think we've got him in a good spot now.

Q: In regards to Marcus Cannon's intelligence level, Nate Solder mentioned how much goes into playing offensive line from an intelligence standpoint. How do you evaluate players from an intelligence perspective as opposed to their physical attributes at the position?

BB: Well, I mean they're both important. If you go out there and miss a couple of assignments then those are the kind of plays that will get you beat, too. Look, it's all important. Everything is important. In the end you have to make your judgement based on the whole composite of the player. I think the play he [Marcus Cannon] had in the Bears game where they blitzed the corner, or it was the slot defender, the nickel defender, and he came all the way extended out and got him – those are the kind of plays I'm sure Nate was talking about that happen. They don't happen on every play but when they happen you've got to get him if that's your assignment. Look, he's a smart guy. I don't think learning has ever really been an issue for him; experience maybe a little bit.

Q: I believe he played both in college but what has made Marcus Cannon better on the right side of the offensive line here as opposed to the left?

BB: And he has played both for us. I think he could play both. I think he's probably a little more in the right tackle mold, but he can play left tackle. He would play it a little differently than [Matt] Light played it or maybe [Nate] Solder plays it. I'd say he's a true swing-tackle but with right tackle probably being his better positon, but I think he can play left tackle. He has played left tackle. I know he can play left tackle.

Q: It seems like James White took a nice jump from year one to year two. What have you seen from him in his third year and what will you need out of him during the season?

BB: Yeah, more of the same. [He is] very dependable, very consistent. I think he has worked on his role in the running game carrying the ball, which he did a lot of in college. He hasn't done a lot of it here. He was mainly a passing game player last year and didn't play two years ago in his rookie year. [He was] mainly a passing game player last year but he has taken a more active role in the running game this year, so I think he continues to develop. He had a good run on the two-point play against New Orleans.

Q: Is it a matter of him just getting more repetitions in order to gain more experience running between the tackles?

BB: Yeah, I think so. Well, I mean he did a lot of it at Wisconsin. He ran between the tackles a lot. Their offense, they run outside but they run a lot between the tackles and they run a lot, period. I think the thing that jumped out with him was how proficient he was in the passing game based on what we saw in college, and I think his run skills were good. I think they are good. I think they need some refinement. It's a little bit different in this league. I think he can run the ball in there and he has taken more reps at doing that and I think that has helped him.

Q: James White seems pretty elusive when he is out in space but is it harder to display that kind of elusiveness when you are running between the tackles?

BB: Well, if that's the type of runner you are then it is the same skill. It's just that you have less space, generally. But yeah, it's still reading blocks, setting blocks up, and then being able to accelerate either with speed or some combination of speed and or power to break arm tackles and get through the line of scrimmage. Sometimes it's clean but usually it's not and there is some element of either really having the quickness to find the space or having the strength to, like I said, break through an arm tackle or a body that's a little bit in the way.

Q: What is your reaction to some of the changes that have been implemented to the injury report procedures this season?

BB: I haven't read them yet but whatever they are we'll follow them, whatever that happens to be.

Q: Does Tom Brady need to take some snaps in preseason games or is it a matter of him not needing the experience due to how long he has been in the league and his familiarity with the offense?

BB: We'll just take it day-to-day; week-to-week.

Q: The general consensus seems to be that left tackle is more important than right due to the fact that it covers the quarterbacks blindside. Is that line of thinking outdated now that players move along the defensive line as much as they do?

BB: Well, obviously, they're both important. I think generally you see a little more of an athletic rusher over on the left side, not always, but generally speaking and usually a little more of an athletic tackle on the left side, generally speaking, to matchup with the defensive players, and also I'd say there are a lot of left tackles that maybe the strength of their game isn't run blocking, whereas most right tackles that's usually part of their strength. So again, I'd say it's more of a matchup thing really. Every offense is different. Every team has a little bit different system and different personnel, so I think it's a very generalized type of standpoint. What one team is looking for in a left tackle and what another team is looking for in a left tackle I wouldn't say necessarily is the same thing.

Q: Are teams still more run-heavy on the right side of the line scrimmage or has that changed over the past 20 years?

BB: Probably not as much as they were then. It has probably balanced out a little bit more, but I'd say still more right than left.

Q: How has Ted Karras handled both the physical and mental challenge of playing various positions along the offensive line?

BB: Good. Yeah, I don't think that's an issue. He is a smart kid. He has done that before. He has played both spots [guard and center]. He has really been doing it since day one, since he has been here all throughout OTA's and mini-camp and training camp. He has gotten a lot of reps at guard and center. I think that relatively those are interchangeable. He has some position flexibility there. [He] obviously [has] a lot to learn and a long way to go, but to this point I'd say he has been able to handle the combination of those positions well, both physically and from a learning standpoint. I don't think it has been a problem.

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