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Patriots Replay Wed May 27 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/28

BB: Alright, another busy week. Big week for us in training camp here with the Giants. Trying to pull together as much as we can this week to be ready for the regular season and put ourselves in the most competitive position possible. So, we're trying to get the most out of every day preparation-wise, practice, planning and so forth. Busy time in camp for us but hopefully a productive one. 

Q: How has it been managing only have one roster cut down?

BB: It's fine. 

Q: Several of your players are from the Houston area. Have you had a chance to touch base with any of those guys and their families?

BB: Well, I've talked to some of the people in Houston that I know. Some people at the Texans, talked to them, so it sounds like a pretty challenging situation. Definitely our thoughts go out to them, and we've expressed those. We'll see what we can do.

Q: Is it harder to get the team ready for the last preseason game with 90 players on the roster instead of 75?

BB: No. I mean, in some respects, it's easier.

Q: Why is it easier?

BB: Because you still get a chance to look at those people that you want to look at. Some of them are maybe competing for roster spots, but a lot of them are competing for practice squad spots or eventual practice squad spots. I mean, the roster is going to change here over the course of the season, so it just gives those guys another opportunity.

Q: What was it like having Matthew Slater back out at practice today?

BB: It's always good to have players back out there. We had a number of guys that came back.

Q: What does Slater add to the team when he's out there?

BB: I think we've all talked about that.

Q: How do you balance getting guys ready who will play a lot against the Giants but also, at the same time, preparing for the Chiefs? Is that a tough balancing act for the staff and the players?

BB: Yeah, again, we have a lot going on now. It's the same as every other team in the league. We just do the best we can to cover all of our bases. 

Q: Could Thursday's game serve as a tiebreaker for some of the guys battling for final roster spots?

BB: Sure. 

Q: So, could this game benefit some guys who might have been cut at this time in prior years when you narrowed from 90 to 75?

BB: Well, it's another opportunity. It's another opportunity. It's a finite number. It's not unlimited. 

Q: How has Austin Carr progressed since he has gotten here?

BB: You know, Austin's done a good job for us. He's been durable. He's been out there every day. He's worked hard to get better - still a lot of things he can improve on, like a lot of other guys on the team, but making progress. Clock's ticking. It will come down to the wire. But, you know, he's battled, he's competed, he's been out there every day. 

Q: When you get down to the final few roster decisions, how much, if at all, do the first few weeks of the schedule have an impact on who makes the team?

BB: Well, realistically, I'd say probably not too much. The teams in this league, we're all going to keep a 53-man roster. We're going to activate 46 players on game day, so seven players will be inactive. I mean, I can't imagine that there are too many players at 51, 52 and 53 that are a key part of the game plan. Not saying they're not important, not saying they don't have a role, but I mean, realistically, I don't think the decision between the 53rd and 55th spots are going to impact too many teams' game plans this week when you can only have 46 players active. A lot of those players are developmental players that are younger players that you know are going to be inactive for a while, depending on the health of your team, but just on their development, how quickly they can develop and either earn a spot on the active roster or be needed on the active roster due to injury, or possibly game plan or scheme if there was something that they were that integral for. I think that's what a lot of those players are is just where you want to keep your depth and where you want to try to develop players, like James White three years ago or [Tom] Brady in 2000 or whoever it is - guys that aren't going to play that may eventually, hopefully, have a much bigger role on your team. I think there are a lot of players that fall into that category at the spots you're talking about. 

Q: Brandin Cooks said he has been feeling great throughout training camp. Have you noticed that youthful exuberance in his approach?

BB: Brandin's in good condition, been out there every day, works hard, runs hard, so he looks good.

Q: How unusual is it to have a player with three years of experience at Brandin's age? Is that more of an outlier or something you see regularly?

BB: I think it's becoming more common those days. Guys going to college and then after three years - you know, [Rob] Gronkowski was like that. I mean, there have been other examples, but I'd say it's more frequent now - not, certainly, the norm, but it just happens more often. They don't redshirt. Well, even if they do redshirt their freshman year, it doesn't make any difference. Once they've been three years, if they want to come out, they can come out. I know in our scouting, there's a lot of players that we're scouting that this is their third year - you know, Peppers. I mean, there's another kid, I don't think he played his freshman year, didn't play much, whatever it was. So, [there are] a lot of guys like that that come out after three years. You've got to be ready for them from the scouting standpoint and bring them onto your team. It just kind of widens the gap between the youth of them and the age of your veterans, whatever that is. I mean, we're all dealing with it. Every team in the league's got them.

Q: There were three new players at practice today. Did you feel like you needed some better reinforcements at their positions?

BB: We feel like we'd be able to give them an opportunity to play in the game and take a look at them, see how it goes.

Q: Do you anticipate having them available on Thursday night?

BB: Well, we'll see. We'll see where they are. I mean, if they're not ready, no. If they're ready, then possibly, yep.

Q: You talked about James White and Brady and how you knew they'd have an eventual impact on the team.

BB: Well, I didn't say that. I said they didn't have an impact their rookie year. They were on the active roster. They were hardly ever active. We hoped that they would develop.

Q: What did you see out of them that led you to believe that they would develop into the kind of players they are now?

BB: Well, I thought that they would be able to improve in the areas they were deficient in. Obviously, they were deficient or they would have played more in that year. So, they improved in the areas that they need to improve in, and the next year, for both of them when they got an opportunity, they performed better at a more competitive level and earned the opportunity to play in the second year and succeeding years. [It's] not uncommon. I mean, hell, a lot of guys - Vince Wilfork, [Richard] Seymour, I mean, you could go right down the line - we have a lot of great players that were here as rookies - Matt Light or Nate Solder - that either played out of position or played some of the time before they became regular players or some form of productive players. Gronkowski, put him in there, too. I mean, put most all of them in there, really, other than a handful of guys like [Jason] McCourty, [Jerod] Mayo. There's a few but not many, so that's more common than it is not common. 

Q: Jordan Richards played a little closer to the line of scrimmage, almost like a linebacker, against Detroit. Is that a reflection of the lack of depth because of injuries, or is that a spot that you want to see if Jordan can play?

BB: Well, I think you've seen us play a lot of players in different positions over the course through the years and even last year. It depends on the scheme we're in, team we're playing. It could be related to our depth, it could be related to our game plan, it could be related to what our opponents do, what their strengths are and how we want to match up with them. So, it could be any or all of those. And the more versatile a player is, then the more options we'll have going forward. Doing some of that in preseason gives you an idea of how comfortable the player is or isn't with having those multiple types of responsibilities. Again, I would caution, as I usually do, about the comments that usually get made at this time of year about moving players from one position to another. That's not really, in my opinion, what's happening. We take 46 players to the game. You have to have some depth. Players have to be able to play more than one position. So, if you have seven offensive linemen, you can't have a backup for every spot. So, what gets characterized as moving players to a new position in fact, to me, is establishing and creating the depth that you need on your roster for the NFL. That's what it is. It's not moving players to new positions. It's creating the depth that you need in this league, and that really is pretty much at every position there is - skill positions, big positions, you name it. So, that's the way I look at it. I know that people see it differently. I certainly respect that. That's just not the way I see it. 

Q: With Richards, what about his skill set makes him effective playing closer to the line?

BB: You know, we don't really have - we have safeties, so they play wherever they play. We've all see all those guys. We've seen Devin [McCourty] on the line, we've seen [Patrick] Chung on the line, we've seen Jordan on the line, we've seen Nate [Ebner] on the line, we've seen Duron [Harmon] on the line. So, if that's where they need to play on that call or that adjustment or that formation, then that's where they are.

Q: When you lose a guy like Julian Edelman, what is the coaching collaboration like with Josh [McDaniels] to regroup and come up with new formulas or adjustments on plays?

BB: Well, Josh and I talk all the time, every day about our offensive system and kind of what we're installing, where we're going, certainly from week to week, depending on the team that we're playing, what we're going to do. So, I mean, we don't really have plays that go to one guy. I don't think you can throw the ball like that - just drop back and throw it to one guy. You run a pass pattern, and depending on what the coverage is and what the defense does, then hopefully the ball goes to the right player. Now, some players have different skill sets, all players have different skill sets, so what one player does well and what another player does well aren't always the same thing. Each player is unique, each player has his own set of skills, so depending on who the players are in there, that affects sometimes what we do with them. But, in terms of saying we're going to go back and throw the ball to this guy on that play and throw the ball to somebody else on another play, I mean, unless it's a screen, I'd say that rarely happens. So, that's not really a conversation. The conversation is what plays do you run, who runs them, who's where, who does what based on how well they execute those plays, and then hopefully the quarterback will read the defense, run the play and get the ball to the guy that we should be throwing to, whoever that is. I don't know who that is. It depends on what the defense does. But, whoever plays a certain position, we might run more or less of a certain type of route because of that player's skills. So, I mean, we definitely do that or might design patterns that a player does particularly well in order for him to do that, [but that] doesn't mean the ball's going to him, doesn't mean the balls not going to somebody else. It depends on what the defense does. But, the skill set of the players is reflected in the position they're put in for the route that they're going to run on that play. 

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