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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript 8/9

Read a transcript of Bill Belichick's training camp press conference on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

BB: We had another good day with Jacksonville yesterday. More situations, saw some crowd noise, we try to make it as much like the game situation as we can. We're going to do more of that today. It's kind of a mock game and work on substitutions and situations and so forth. [It's] been a very productive week. Looking forward to today's practice and finishing up the week tomorrow, but this has been good for our football team. I think we've gotten better each period, each day and that's what we need to do. We just need to grind it out day by day, period by period.

Q: In what ways, if any, are these practices a little bit more beneficial than the game for you guys?

BB: Well, I think the competitive level and the situations that we can create with certain players are different than what's going to come up in the game. So, it should be good.

Q: What are your initial impressions of the rookie class?

BB: I mean, they're getting better. They're gaining on it. We'll see. This has been a good week for them. We'll see what happens Thursday night. A long way to go, and making progress, but a long way to go. Staying power and consistency is a big part of it, and there's no way to evaluate that until we get a little more time under our belt. 

Q: Harvey Langi and Adam Butler seem to be getting a lot of snaps for undrafted players. What have you seen from those guys?

BB: They're trying and they're working hard. They're trying. They have a long way to go.

Q: Is Butler more of a pass rushing, interior player?

BB: I don't know. We'll see.

Q: With Kenny Moore II, we've seen him do some special teams work in practice. Is this a new thing for him or is it something he had experience with in college?

BB: You know, to be honest with you, most of the tape I saw on him was defense. But, look, it's a different game here in the punting game with guys able to go downfield early in college and not in here. The kickers are different. So, even if it's the same, it's different. We'll evaluate him, along with a lot of other players in that role, and just see how it goes. But, he's been competitive.

Q: How important is it for some of these guys that are trying to win roster spots to be able to adapt quickly to the special teams phase of the game, even if they're not familiar with it?

BB: It is important. Again, a lot of college players don't get a lot of experience on special teams. They maybe play their freshman year, and then a lot of coaches use their freshmen and sophomores to use those roles. And then as the players that we get, who are generally the better players, play less in some of those phases in their last two or three years in college. Sometimes it's no experience, or sometimes it's experience but three or four years ago. So, a lot of players improve there in the second, third, fourth year of college, so they're not really great comparisons of what a guy did his freshman year or redshirt freshman year or something like that. But, these guys have all adapted to it. They're trying to understand the speed of the game and the way the kicking game is executed at this level, but we'll see how it goes. Jacksonville - Joe [DeCamillis] does a great job and Coach [Doug] Marrone. They do a great job with their special teams units. They have good specialists, so we'll see how it goes. That's a hard - you can evaluate it in practice, but it's a little bit different in the game. So, we'll get a good look at it Thursday night and see what it looks like then. That will be a good evaluation and a good test for us.

Q: We've seen Rex Burkhead have some success on goal line, short yardage situations. Was that physicality something that was evident with him on tape?

BB: I think Rex has always been a good, hard running back at Nebraska and at the end of the season last year when he played for Cincinnati. So, he hasn't had a ton of carries in the regular season in these four years, but he had a lot up in Nebraska and he had some at the end of the year. But, I mean, he's a tough kid that can catch the ball, plays in the kicking game - good, versatile set of skills.

Q: Did you watch the video that Vince Wilfork used to announce his retirement and what was your assessment?

BB: Didn't see it.

Q: Do you have a thought on the passing of Dick MacPherson?

BB: Yeah, sad day. I knew Dick when he was the head coach at Syracuse, and of course a lot of the people on his staff we've had interconnections with in one way or another - Ivan [Fears], Mike Woicik, Scott [Pioli], Joel Collier, Randy [Edsall], Paul Pasqualoni, Norm [Gerber], George DeLeone, Matt Patricia. Of course, [Dante Scarnecchia] worked for him here. So, I knew Dick pretty well. And then, in '91 and '92 - those were my first two years in the league and I think they were his first two years in the league here, too - so we kind of connected as new coaches in the NFL, plus our prior relationship. Great guy, great person, really funny, funny guy, got along well with everybody, but he did a very good job with the Syracuse program. And, certainly, the coaching staff he had there was one that's pretty much all of them have gone on to the NFL or beyond and had very successful careers. When you went to see Dick at Syracuse, you had to bring in a couple dozen donuts or he wouldn't let you in. So, first stop was always donuts on the way to Syracuse. If you didn't have those donuts, then he sent you back out. You had to go get them. Dick is a great guy and our condolences to his family. He had a good impact on the game, a good impact on this organization, both when he was here and, as I said, many of the people who are here worked with him and learned under him. And I kind of put myself in that category, as well, because of my interactions with all those guys, all the coaches that I mentioned. Dick was a good man.

Q: What is it about Derek Rivers' physical ability that might allow him to move around?

BB: Right, well, we'll see how it goes. Derek's long, he runs well, he's athletic, he's got good quickness, good explosion. We've done that with a lot of players, especially younger players, putting them in multiple positions and see how they fit best in our scheme with different packages they might have value in or how we could use them in different roles, depending on what our needs are that particular week or in that particular grouping of people. So, definitely some trial and error on our end. But, Derek works hard. He's adapted well. He's tried to do everything we've asked him to do. He's making good progress, so we'll see how it goes.  

Q: You have had joint practices with several teams, with a good comfort level with the Saints, for example. How has it been with the Jaguars?

BB: It's going well. As I said, Doug is great to work with. His staff is great to work with. Their players compete hard. We haven't had any issues. It's all about trying to get better as a football team, individually and collectively as a team. It's helped us as coaches. We've picked up some things. We've tried to sharpen our coaching skills this week going against another team not knowing exactly what they do or how they do it, having to figure that out, having to coach on the run, having to break it down and look at it in staff meetings and so forth - I mean, all things that we'll do during the course of the year that, in all honesty, we haven't done in several months. So, it's good to sharpen us up. As I said, Doug's been great. We've been able to get done - I think, every minute out on the field, we've been able to work productively with each other, help each other get better. And that's what the goal is - to improve our football team - and I know we've done that. It's been good.

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