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Bill Belichick Transcript 8/26: 'We do what's best for the football team'

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.


BB:** We'll announce the remaining roster moves to be in compliance with the league this afternoon. [We're] just trying to grind through it here as we wind down, right at the very final stages of camp. Just trying to grind through it with our group; the Giants obviously, and then some other things we need to just keep plugging away on. We've got a couple good days of heat here it looks like, that will be good for us. We'll just keep grinding away.

Q: When you make cuts today, how much of it is based on the decision to make sure you have enough players at each position to play on Thursday night?

BB: There's some of that, yeah. Some of that, [yes].

Q: Are there guys that can help their status for the final 53 by their performance on Thursday?

BB: I'm sure there are. There have been in the past. I don't know what's going to happen Thursday. We'll see.

Q: What was the thinking behind the decision to release Tommy Kelly and yesterday's roster moves?

BB: We do what's best for the football team, same as it always is. There's no negatives on Tommy; there are no negatives on any of those guys – Will [Smith], Tommy, James [Anderson]. They all came in here, did what we asked them to do, worked hard. There's nothing negative about those guys.

Q: As moves get made around the league, how do you gather information on some of the other players that may become available here over the next few days? For some of them, if they haven't played college football in a while, is it just using the preseason games to gather info?

BB: Preseason games are definitely a major source for us. Some guys have played more than others in the preseason. I'd say we've done work on virtually every player that came out in college so whatever they did up until, in college, we're up to date on that. Then whatever additional information we have, then we add that in to it. There are some guys, for example, that are on the wire that have played hardly at all in preseason so we're going off our college reports on them. There are other guys that we have seen some, or in some cases, I'd say even quite a bit of, in preseason. So, we can compare that to what we had in college and kind of readjust that if needed, one way or the other, up or down, however a guy… But certainly there's some guesstimating there, particularly guys you just don't see very much of. Guys that maybe only played a handful of plays in preseason in three games, then we don't have any more on them than we had back in May.

Q: How important is special teams when you're getting down to the wire, not only today but on Saturday, in terms of evaluating the overall quality or possible benefit of a particular player to your team knowing that he may not fit in on offense or defense but special teams might be his spot?

BB: Well, I mean, if he doesn't really have a role on defense or offense then you have to be an impact in the kicking game. If he had a role on offense [or] defense, then it would depend on the significance of that role and his special teams role relative to other players on the team. But, I mean, there are plenty of guys that really don't have any role in the kicking game, like a lot of linemen. I'd say it's virtually no factor. Then there are other players that it's a big factor. Then there are some that are in between.

Q: In this pre-cut period, is it rare for calls regarding trades or does that happen?

BB: There's plenty of personnel talk at this time of year. I'd say probably every team in the league has somewhat of a surplus somewhere and somewhat of a deficiency somewhere else, for whatever those reasons are, whether it's quality or numbers or injuries or whatever the circumstances are. You have a professional football team with all the different needs that need to be filled – offensively, defensively, in the kicking game, potential practice squad, so forth. I doubt that anybody is sitting there today feeling like, 'We've got it all just the way we want it.' So, there's always conversations.

Q: Is there much of a team saying, 'I want to get this shored up'?

BB: I think if you could match up with another team where, if you can match it up, for whatever reason, then you do it. We did that with Dallas; we did it with Green Bay. Other teams have done it. We've seen, there have been plenty of those transactions throughout training camp. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, then it doesn't.

Q: When you're evaluating young quarterbacks, what criteria do you use that gives you the information you need to set a depth chart?

BB: I think you evaluate all players based on the specifics of their position, their improvement and their performance. It's really all the same. Any young player is going to be behind any good veteran player, just based on experience. That's, when you're looking at a player that doesn't have experience, you look at his ability to handle what you're giving him, his ability to do it properly, his ability to improve and ultimately how he does it. That's all part of it.

Q: Did you see an uptick in Jimmy Garoppolo's performance starting after the Redskins game? It seemed like he was sharper and more confident after that.

BB: I don't know. There are good things and bad things every day out there in practice, with probably all players, including him. I'd say any evaluations we have on guys that have been regular participants are over an entire body of work. It's not one day, one play, one big spike or one big valley. I just don't think that's, personally, I don't think that's a good way to evaluate players. I think when you have a big body of work, which we have 15 practices in the spring and we've had 20, whatever it is, 21 practices and three preseason games, and really four of those practices are four quality practices are against another NFL team, that's quite a few snaps. I'd say it's based on the whole body of work. I wouldn't base it on one good or bad play one way or the other.

Q: Is it easier, does everybody have a role that they fit into between you and Josh McDaniels and Brian Daboll as you're putting the offense together? In general, what does Brian bring?

BB: Brian brings a lot, so do the other staff members. I think generally we see things pretty much in the same light but there's always going to be disagreements any time you have a group of people together. We talk through those. It doesn't really matter whose idea it is, it's trying to get the right thing, the best thing. I think that's good. The staff on offense, defense and special teams, I feel like they all work well in their separate groups but also together because we do a lot of things together against each other. So, you need cooperation between the offense and the defense and from a time management standpoint, between the special teams and the other two units. I think all members of the staff have worked well together. It's been a smooth flow and I think it's been productive. I commend all of them for the job that they've done so far this season.

Q: It's a big day for the Revolution as they introduce Jermaine Jones. Do the Patriots have a competitive relationship with the Revs or is everybody friends?

BB: We're all under the same roof. We're just trying to go out there and win football games. I don't know anything about soccer; I don't even know what the rules are. I'm just trying to coach the Patriots and win football games, that's all.

Q: How does the expansion of the practice squad change this week?

BB: Minimal. Some players are eligible that weren't eligible before, so we'll evaluate those. In the overall process, I'd say it's minimal.

Q: How does the evaluation for Jimmy Garoppolo change on Thursday when he's getting a chance to play more as opposed to a few series?

BB: I think the experience for Jimmy [Thursday] will be one that will just be good for him, going through the whole process. I'm sure he'll learn a lot. We'll talk about –we already have talked about it and we'll talk about it as it continues – how it goes and what he does learn. If, when, it happens again, I don't know. But I'm sure he'll be able to draw from something this week that will be beneficial for him in the future.

Q: Going back to the press conference at the end of last season, you talked about studying personnel and scheme and making adjustments. Does that continue right down to cut down day where maybe during training camp or preseason you wondered about some things and then you saw them take shape on the field and that affects personnel decisions? Or some guys might fit better as the scheme evolves than others.

BB: Yeah, absolutely. I think that is an ongoing process. It doesn't start or stop, it just continues to evolve. I'd say we have done that, really on a weekly basis through training camp so at the end of each week, whatever the line of demarcation was in that week, whether it was a players day off or after a preseason game or in some cases even before the preseason game so we have a little more time there, we evaluate the previous period of work, whatever that was, and discuss those very things: 'We wanted to this, we've done it, we're happy with it, we're not happy with it, we're happy with this part of it, we need to modify something else.' Players, same thing. 'How does this group look?' 'Good, alright, not so good.' 'What do we need to do? This is good, this needs to be fixed, this needs to be improved.' So, it's, I'd say, constantly evolving. The next week we go back and either we've continued to improve or we've declined or something new that we've looked at, we have to start a new evaluation on. That's an ongoing process, absolutely. Some of that happened in the spring. Some things got changed in the spring based on that. There are some things that we didn't feel like we got a good evaluation on in the spring, for example, not being in pads, not being able to look at some of those techniques and aspects of the game. As we've seen more of those in training camp, preseason games, competitive practices against the Redskins and the Eagles, we've either reinforced our ideas or maybe we've drifted away from them or maybe we've modified them. But absolutely, that's a big part of it. I'd say right now is kind of the tough, probably one of the toughest times of the year for the coaches because we're dealing with roster movement, we're dealing with trying to develop our scheme and get it ready for the season, not just the opener but the entire season. Trying to get ready for preseason games, in this case the Giants and also looking ahead to Miami. There's a lot of balls in the air, a lot of things going on that we just, you really can't just look at one thing and ignore the other ones. There are a lot of things in play there. It's a stressful time for players as we come into the final cuts and it's a stressful time for coaches in terms of just all the things I just mentioned. But that's training camp. It's that way every year. It's no surprise. But it's a challenging time for everybody on the football team. But that's where we are, last week of preseason.

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