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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/25

BB: This will be a little bit of a different week for us than we've had this year. The first game against Green Bay we really didn't have anything to go on this year. Last week we spent the week working against New Orleans, so that was great preparation for the game, but certainly not an opportunity that we'll have this week. This week will be kind of a chance for us to do some of the regular-season-type preparation things we would do in terms of film study, meetings, practicing against ourselves but preparing for another team and all the things that go along with that. It's I think an important week for us in terms of starting to develop a little bit of a routine, especially for players that haven't been in this program before for them to understand what the expectations are, what the routine is, where they should be at various points during the week leading up to the game. Once again, we'll be playing against a real good football team. Carolina does a lot of things well. We certainly saw how well they played defense last year in the Arizona playoff game. But [they're a] tough football team, well coached – Ron [Rivera] does a good job on the fundamentals. They're fundamentally sound. They do a lot of things well – defensively, strong running game, mobile quarterback, big-play passing game, solid in the kicking game, big-play returner with [Ted] Ginn. [Graham] Gano has led the league in touchbacks the last couple years. They're strong in every phase of the game – that's why they're a good team. And they have a solid record and they have a lot of good players, so this will be another good opportunity for our football team to compete against another quality team, quality quarterback on the road. This is a big week in our preparation for the start of the season, and hopefully we can get as much out of it as we did last week.

Q: The team announced in the last hour the signing of Reggie Wayne. What are your thoughts on the career he has put together to this point?

BB: Yeah, outstanding. I think all that is on record.

Q: How has it been getting to know him through this process and actually envision him becoming part of the team?

BB: I've coached him in Pro Bowls and those kinds of situations. This is obviously different, we'll see how it goes, but glad we have him, excited to have him on the team. I think he can help us, but we'll see.

Q: Had this signing been in the works for a while, or is it something that came together just recently?

BB: Any time you sign a player that's not with another team, it takes two sides there to come together. That's what happened in this case.

Q: When you bring in a player who has played in one system their whole career, like you said, you have to wait and see how they fit. But do you feel just from watching Reggie Wayne that he has certain skills that will translate to this system?

BB: I wouldn't say he's played in one system. He's played for one team. I think in the last three years, you've seen him doing a lot of different things. He was primarily on the left in the previous offense with Tom Moore and all that, but since then he's done different things. But it doesn't really matter. Just like any player, we'll see how things come together when we ask a new player to do what we ask him to do and how he does it and how that develops and so forth. I don't really know about any of all that. We'll see how it goes.

Q: How much of a role does Tom Brady have in getting Reggie Wayne up to speed?

BB: I don't know. I think every player has to worry about himself. I don't think any player is going to go do everyone else's job. It's just impossible. Every player is accountable for what he does and that's what he needs to do. That's what we all need to do.

Q: With the first round of cuts looming, is there an inclination to spend more time with the guys in the back end of the roster for evaluation purposes?

BB: We've been doing that since our roster was up to 90 [players] back in the spring, so that's a constant process. For us, I don't think that's really changed from mid-May until now. It's evolved, but I wouldn't say … Your focus is to try to get some players that you feel like are core members of your team ready but also evaluate players that you don't know as much about and see if there is an opportunity for them to be on the team or what their role would be if they are on the team. That's a constant process. There's a decision point that's now looming that there wasn't in May, or was so far in the distance, but now that decision is there, but I don't think the process has really changed.

Q: You mentioned this will be like a regular-season week in terms of preparation, but because there are so many guys on the roster, does it make the process more difficult or change it in any way?

BB: No, I don't think it changes. I think it's no different than teaching the playbook to everybody. We teach the scouting report and gameplan and preparation and so forth to everyone. We don't know for sure who's going to be on the team or some players may not be on it but then eventually be on it later – however it goes. Whatever they can learn and take in from this week, then that's just better for them. But we teach it to all of them. We wouldn't just teach it to some guys and not the others. Everybody will get the opportunity to learn it, to go through it, to experience it and apply it the best they can this week, but it will become more important as we go forward. We've got to start somewhere, so this is where we start. It's not perfect. I'm not saying it's great or anything, but it's a starting point and we'll build from it.

Q: How have you seen Josh Kline adjust to taking some more snaps at center?

BB: He's done it in the past – he's played center and guard for us in the past. Maybe a few more game reps at center this year, but he's practiced in those spots. Josh is a smart kid. He can handle multiple positions and roles, so I don't think the learning part of it is that big of a thing for him. Obviously when you put the ball in a guy's hand, that's different for the center than for the other offensive linemen, so the technique and some of the mechanics and fundamentals of that position are different than the other four. But he adapts to that well.

Q: What kind of development have you seen from James White over the past year?

BB: James I think has really had a good camp and a good offseason. I think he's performed well in the opportunities that he's had. He's made yards on his own, made people miss in space, caught the ball well, his blitz pickup has been good. Like a lot of our second-year players, he's improved in a lot of ways from year one to year two – mentally, the overall understanding of our opponents and defenses and things like that. His offseason training improved and his fundamentals at his position have improved. I think he's having a good camp, he's doing well, and again, like a lot of our second-year players he's shown a great deal of improvement. And he works really hard, he's a smart kid, he works hard.

Q: Are there any similarities between him and Shane Vereen? I know Shane didn't really play much in his rookie year.

BB: Yeah, he didn't play hardly at all. Shane had a hard time getting on the field. But look, every player is different, every player's career is different, so who knows. That's something we'll look back on at some point and maybe there's a comparison to be made, maybe there isn't, but I think right now everybody is just trying to go out and establish their role and their level of play for this season. How that all turns out, it'll be interesting to see.

Q: Jordan Richards' passion for football is very obvious when talking to him. Did that jump out to you in the pre-draft process?

BB: Yeah, sure it did, yeah, absolutely. Jordan is a really sharp kid. He's I think very into football, has a really good understanding of the game. Even at the college level, I think he did some things that you don't normally see guys do – kind of level of sophistication and anticipation and awareness – so that was very impressive. But that definitely came across in speaking with him. Then of course once we have him and are able to spend time in the classroom, time on the field, back in the classroom, back on the field, you can really see how much he's able to absorb and turn that into production and functionality on the football field. It's not just a classroom thing. He's shown the ability to apply it both on defense and in the kicking game, in the running game and in the passing game. He has a lot of passion and he works hard, and those things are evident, but they're also showing up in his performance and his production so that's good.

Q: When you're deciding whether or not to draft somebody, how much stock are you putting in how they come across when they speak to you?

BB: I don't know. Everything is a part of it, so it all comes together. It's one picture that has a lot of components. I don't how much is what and how much is something else. But there is so much information and it comes from a lot of different sources and analyses. It's just a huge mosaic and it all comes together as one picture. And what's that picture look like and what value you put on it, that's really what it is. I couldn't percentage it.

Q: What kind of effort have you seen from James Morris? We saw that hustle play he had from behind on Saturday. Is that pretty indicative of what you've seen from him?

BB: Yeah, he plays hard, he gives you great effort out there on the field in all situations – defensively and in the kicking game – works hard in practice, prepares hard. He's rehabbed off his injury from last year, works hard in the weight room, the training room. He's a typical Iowa kid. He's tough, hard-working, blue collar, dependable, consistent.

Q: What have you seen from Jabaal Sheard since he got here?

BB: Jabaal played in a system that [had] some definite differences between what he's done and what we do. He's definitely learned and tried hard to do the things we've asked him to do and adapt to those. Some things are probably a little more comfortable than others, but he's worked hard at it. He's a quiet kid who doesn't say much, but he goes about his business, shows up every day ready to work, works hard on the field, practices hard, plays hard, is tough and tries to do everything you ask him to do. Again, there's just some degree of difference and newness [compared] to what he had the last four years in Cleveland and what we're asking him to do. But that's not uncommon for a player coming in to any new team, really. I like him; I like the way he goes about his job.

Q: You've had various players come in at the end of their careers and try to make it. How do you evaluate a guy who may have just one more season left?

BB: Again, it's similar to the question we just talked about. It's a composite of a lot of things. There's no one thing. You just put it all together and it has to work for whoever the other person is, whoever the player is that you're bringing in. So you're situation has to fit the player, the player has to fit your situation and so forth and so on. You evaluate everything, look at your options. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes when the player comes here it works out, sometimes it doesn't. We do what we think is best for the team. We do what we feel like will help our team. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Q: Do you go with instinct or do you go with what you see?

BB: It's a composite of so many things. I don't even know where to begin. We know what they all are, how they all factor in. I don't know.

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