BB:** We have a busy week here in terms of coming back off the Tampa game, doing some things that we just need to do getting ready for the season, both the opener and the 16-game regular season, have some roster moves, obviously getting ready for the Giants, we leave tomorrow on that, kickoff dinner tonight so we have a lot of balls in the air. We really just want to try to focus on all the things we need to improve in for the Patriots and not worry too much about anybody else right now; just making sure that we're making progress in the direction that we need to go. We'll have some more announcements for you later on today but right now we're just trying to plug away and handle all the balls we have in the air, which is quite a few.
Q: In the two preseason games we have seen Tom Brady play, we have seen him get hit and lose the ball on a couple sacks. What's your level of concern with how much he has gotten hit this preseason?
BB: You never want to see your quarterback get hit but it's a function of a lot of things: not getting rid of the ball, protection, routes, so there's a lot of things come into play. [It] needs to be better all the way around. I mean, we haven't played very well offensively in any game, with anybody, for any length of time so we've got a lot of work to do.
Q: Specific to the offensive line and understanding it is more than just the line if there is a protection breakdown like you just said, do you feel like you are getting to a point where you want five guys to develop some cohesion or is that just not realistic at this point?
BB: I would say we're probably doing the best we can given the circumstances that we have.
Q: I did not know if you just get to a point where you say, 'I'd like to have these five,' and go with it.
BB: I don't think all of our offensive linemen have been available. We've had some guys on the roster that have been in different degrees of…have worked in different ranges or stages and they haven't been totally available for one reason or another. It is what it is.
Q: Do you have an update on Brian Waters?
BB: I don't have one. I'm happy to discuss the players that are here.
Q: How about Aaron Hernandez? What has he brought to your team?
BB: Aaron has improved a lot. He's worked hard, he's improved a lot in all phases of the game: passing game, running game, protection and his overall versatility. He's done a good job for us.
Q: As a big guy, the amount of separation he seems to get out of his breaks seems unique. Is that something that you guys seeing?
BB: Yeah, we've seen plenty of it. He's a hard guy to cover. We've had a lot of trouble covering him defensively.
Q: Has there ever been a player you have seen in your coaching career that has the versatility that he has? Have you seen anyone you could compare him to?
BB: I'd have to think about that but he's versatile. He can do a lot of different things.
Q: Wes Welker said to ask you about his status. What is his status?
Q: Is it an injury?
Q: The questions on Aaron Hernandez obviously are dancing around reports of an extension for him today. What are your thoughts on having him and Rob Gronkowski extended for the foreseeable future here?
BB: Any contract that we agree to is one that we're in support of. If we agree to a contract on a player, then we're in support of that player, the length of the contract, the amount that we're paying him, all the other things that go with the contract. We wouldn't do it if we weren't in support of it, as an organization, me personally, all of the above.
Q: How exciting is it to have those two guys locked up to work with through their prime years?
BB: Again, we wouldn't have done it if we weren't happy with it. I'm glad it worked out.
Q: How have you seen the running back competition unfold with the young guys? It seems like a few years ago, the group was all 30-somethings and they're all young guys.
BB: I think that all of our backs have worked hard. They have some different skills but they all have skills; they've all made plays with the ball in their hands, they've been productive. Each guy kind of brings a little bit of a different dimension to the position, although they all have the basic same requirements of the position, but they all do it a little differently because of their style or makeup or physical abilities or what have you. It's been interesting to watch that group work and they've all been productive. We'll continue to evaluate that and I'm sure that in some way they'll all be able to contribute for us depending on what we're doing, what offense we're in or what grouping we're in or what the situation is and so forth.
Q: Does it bring a different dynamic, maybe more for Ivan Fears than for you, but to have a younger group compared to the veteran groups in the past?
BB: Yeah, definitely because a lot of the plays, I don't want to say they're in their first time through, but they're in the earlier stages of the play where if you're coaching a back like Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris and guys like that, that have run plays for multiple years, it's a little bit different. Ivan has done a good job with those guys and I think that fundamentally they've improved. They've gotten a lot of work this camp in the passing game, as well as the running game as well as blitz pickup and in the kicking game. They all have had a lot on their plate in terms of learning and reps and responsibilities and they all seem to be holding up, hanging in there pretty well.
Q: Does Brandon Bolden have some characteristics that could make him useful as a fullback in certain situations?
BB: Possibly. We really haven't evaluated him too much at that position because we've tried to evaluate him as a running back, as the one back or the tailback if we have two backs in the backfield. He's got decent size, he's smart, he's got good toughness so I don't know, maybe.
Q: Is Tom Brady playing on Wednesday?
BB: We haven't made any decisions on our playing time or any of that yet. Like I said, we're just day-to-day. We're trying to go out there and get some things accomplished during practice then we'll meet after practice tonight and talk about how we want to use the players Wednesday night.
Q: What does tonight mean to you with the Kickoff Gala and the ties to Myra Kraft?
BB: It's something that we all participate in on behalf of the Patriots. All the different charitable events that we do during the year, individually and also the fundraisers like the Gala and some of the other events that we participate in or things that are part of that, auction items and things like that. It's great to be a part of that and be able to give back to the communities of New England that support us so well throughout the year not just during football season. We feel that support all year-round. It's great to be able to give back to those communities, as Myra did, as she inspired all of us to do. She was really a leader in all that; she was the first one to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Collectively as a team, we do a lot of things to support the Foundation. We all see the Foundation's work. It's a privilege to be a part of it. Certainly it was spearheaded by Myra, but on behalf of the whole Kraft family: Robert, Jonathan, Josh, Danny, David, they're all a big part of it. The whole family has been very generous and philanthropic to the community, as has our team. That's important, it's a team effort and there have been a lot of positive results. Tonight will be a fun night for all of us to take part in and kind of celebrate the year's work there.