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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 16 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 21 - 11:55 AM

Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference

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Q: How is Antwoine Womack doing?

BB: I think he is coming along. You know he is only about two and a half months post-surgery. I think he had it at the end of January – February, March, middle of April, yeah I think it is about two and a half months. Realistically he is probably about a PUP guy. Hopefully we will be able to get him on the field in October. I really don't want to tell him that because I would like for him to keep working hard and if he is ready in August, he is ready in August, great, but realistically that is probably what we are looking at. We have kind of told him shooting for August, I don't know if that is really realistic. I don't want to lower his expectations, but being honest that is probably what it is. It is probably like an Arther Love situation.

Q: What did he have an ACL?

BB: Yeah.

Q: Is he that good that or was the rest of the draft bad that you picked someone who is not going to be able to play right away?

BB: I think at that point he was…he's pretty good. I think he's a third, fourth round type of guy if he is healthy, I guess, who knows. Really you are getting that pick next year. That's really what you are trading for. You are trading this year's seventh for next year's, wherever he would go next year, third, fourth, fifth, whatever it is. I don't know second, who knows. Wherever he would land. So we thought at that point it was a good value and we have got some young backs, but they will all be a year older and year closer to free agency and it gives us a chance to get a guy into the system that it may be great to have him, but we may not need him right now because we do have [Patrick] Pass, [J.R.] Redmond, [Kevin] Faulk and Antowain [Smith], Walter Williams, so we have got some other guys at that position, just thought it was a good value pick. You guys can rip us for that one just like you did for taking [Tom] Brady in the sixth round.

Q: Do you find it different at all coaching after winning the Super Bowl? Do you find that guys look at you differently, do you find there is a little more weight behind what you say because your method worked?

BB: It might be. I don't know if we are saying it any different, but they might be hearing it a little bit different. We have told them before, I go back through some of my notes from other mini camps, you know I have been coaching in the league for 25 years, it has been a successful program at all of the different organizations. I have been in some Super Bowls, won some championships, led the league in defense at several different organizations, we believe in the system, we are going to do it, it's up to you guys to learn it, but it probably carries a little more weight now that you are coming off a lot of success last year. That is probably the way it was in New York in '87 and at the Jets in '99 after being in the AFC Championship game, not that we went as far, but it wasn't like we were just another team that year, I mean that was a pretty good football team.

Q: Do you find that among the veterans too, they saw that it worked so…?

BB: I think the veterans that we have talked to have all expressed a certain degree of maybe admiration or appreciation for the way the team chemistry and the way the team performed last year. The coming out as a team, the being a team, playing as a team, all of those kind of things. The adversity that we had last year. I think that those players have mentioned, like I said, the appreciation or recognition of that aspect of it. So that's obviously been a positive especially for guys that want to be in that type of an environment. More of the unselfish type guys.

Q: Do you find that it is almost impossible to duplicate that because that is lightning in a bottle, you catch the right circumstance and things just fall into place, it can't be artificially done?

BB: Right and it won't be the same. I mean no matter what happens it won't be the same, but each year you develop your own chemistry and your own confidence and your own attitude on the team and this year won't be any different then last year or the year before. We will just have to re-establish it and create whatever it ends up being. I remember one of the things that we talked about at the end of the 2000 season and we talked about a little bit at the beginning of last year, I remember telling the team and the organization too, we need to forget about '96. This team is no where near the '96 team. Even the guys that were on it have different roles in it. It is not anywhere close to being the same. We just need to forget about '96 and develop our own style of play and develop this team and we are saying that now about next year. We are not the '01 team any more. This is a new team, there are different players on it.

Q: Can you sense early on how they are handling the success, like the attendance for the offseason program and how hard they are working, have you seen any drop-off?

BB: I think the offseason program has been good. I really do, I think it has been good. I think it is like last year where we have a small facility and more players than we had last year. Again, you can see by the number of rookies out there that our team is mainly veteran players and so we are trying to cram more guys into a smaller facility and we all know that will clear up in time. Other than the facilities and the logistics of some of the things that we are doing, I think the participation has been good. There are always a couple of things that could be better, but overall it has been pretty good. Some of the guys, particularly our younger players that were coming off injuries last year, guys like [Jabari] Holloway, Brock Williams, people like that are healthy and it looks like they should be ready to go.

Q: Is Brock ready to go? If there was a contact workout today would he be ready to go?

BB: I don't know about today, but he looks a lot better than he did last year at this time, let's put it that way. So assuming that nothing else happens he should be ready to go and compete so some of those things are resolving themselves and some are, as I talked about the age on defense, we have got some older players, but they, again, it looks like most of them are going to be going into the year relatively healthy, most if not all of them. The Ted Johnson's and Willie [McGinest] and guys like that. Like Willie who had the surgery last year in May is having a much better offseason. He seems to be progressing well and he is healthy and Ted is healthy, and guys like that. Lawyer [Milloy] was coming off shoulder surgery last year. Really it's too early to measure it, but I think the offseason program is going pretty well other than some logistical things. Guys seem to be working pretty hard.

Q: Is that the first stage you look for – how many guys show up and what their mindset is?

BB: Right, I think the amount of work and also the mindset as you mentioned and kind of the attitude and what are we talking about. Are we talking about last year or are we talking about this year and I think part of that direction needs to come from the staff and the coaches, but also part of it needs to come internally. We can say it all that we want, but they have got to believe it and they have to be thinking it too. We will say it plenty, but the comprehension needs to be there and that is just the way it is. We are the only team that has to deal with it this year and that is a good situation to be in, but we have to deal with it.

Q: Is Cam Cleeland in the strength program, are there any restrictions on him?

BB: He is not there yet, but he's getting there. I think he will be all right. He is coming along. He's coming along well and I think that everybody expects him to be ready to go, including camp.

Q: [Christian] Fauria is in the same position?

BB: Oh he is fine, yeah. He hasn't missed anything. I think he could go out there and play today. He looks fine.

Q: What is the basic path do you want players to take from now until they come back, obviously they will still be working out on their own, but…

BB: Are you talking about the rookies?

Q: Them, but the veterans also, do you establish weight goals or anything like that for some players?

BB: The answer to that is yes, but each player's situation probably is a little bit different. For the players that were here that we know it is a lot easier for us to say this is exactly what we want you to do. Some guys, like the weight for example, some guys that are low body fat guys if they can gain more weight and more strength and keep their body fat the same or lower then we could increase their weight. There may be guys in that category, say a guy like [Richard] Seymour. He is a young kid who has got a good frame who may be able to carry a little more weight than he did last year, but we are not looking for fat, but carry more solid weight. That wouldn't be a problem. Whereas there are other guys that we know weight is a problem and we want to try to make conditioning more of a priority for them. The players that are new coming in, guys that we haven't worked with before, part of their weight and conditioning is based on what we see them do in here in the offseason and we may want to adjust that a little bit by how they are moving, how they are running. We may feel like, 'We don't mind if you carry a few more pounds or we would like you to carry a few less and work more on your quickness', or that kind of thing. The first month of the program was more running and conditioning, now we are starting to get into more speed and explosive work. Some position specifics where you can actually see the players do drills similar to what they would be doing on the field and starting to make our evaluations that way. So we will kind of fine-tune that as we go into camp. I think every player would know weight-wise about where he would be. I don't think a guy that's at 320 is going to surprisingly find out that he needs to be at 300. I think he may be at 320 now, but he knows he's headed for 300, that kind of situation. I think we have talked to everybody about generally where they should be, but it might be fine-tuned a little bit. Positionally, as much as we can, we have guys working at certain positions and in some cases we have told them, 'Look we want you to learn two positions. You have to learn Mike and Will or we want you to learn left guard and left tackle or right tackle and left tackle', whatever it is and we will have to fine-tune that a little bit too as you finalize your roster and head into training camp. As much direction as we can give them we try to give them, particularly the ones that we know. The guys that are coming in new, if we know specifically what their role is going to be then we have told them that. For example we have a lot of tight ends on the roster, if we were to play two tight ends in the game at the same time then one player would play Y and the other player would either play X or F depending on the formation. For right now everybody is learning all of that. Obviously at some point we would have to sort that out, but at this point because of the newness of the position or even the guys that we have here like Jermaine [Wiggins, Arther and Jabari, depends on how it fits with whoever the other guys are that they are in there with. Anyway, to make a long story short, they are learning multiple positions and then we will sort it out as we get into the passing camps and mini camps.

Q: Having gone through the initial free agency and the draft, can you handicap the AFC East the way you see it now?

BB: No. I think all three teams are going to be good. Miami and the Jets were both in the playoffs and Buffalo was a good young team last year, they have added some more young players and made a couple of free agent veteran acquisitions as well so I think that is a real strong team in the division. I think all of them are going to be tough and I think we will have to be at our best to be competitive with them, the same as last year. I know the Jets have had some changes, but it looks like they have kind of traded off. I mean [Aaron] Glenn is gone, but [Donnie] Abraham is in. I mean you can see who is going to be playing there and they have brought in some significant players and they have drafted a couple of young ones and they have got young guys like [Santana] Moss as an example that didn't play much last year that could be more of a factor this year. They signed [Sam] Cowart. Buffalo has got some good, young players that I am sure will be better. They added some veteran players. Miami led the division pretty much all year until the last couple of weeks so they are a playoff team, add Ricky Williams. I think everybody is better.

Q: Now that there are only three divisional opponents does that increase your workload since you will be playing more teams that you haven't played before?

BB: Right and that is one of the things that we have started doing and are really headed for more of that in May, is looking at the teams that we are only going to play once and because we have really ten teams that are one time teams. There's more of a priority to know those teams better as opposed to just having eight of them. The four NFC teams and of course some of the AFC teams we know like Pittsburgh as an example. They haven't played a game since they played us so there isn't a whole lot of new work to do on them, but other teams like Kansas City and a team like San Diego that has had a lot of changes and again those NFC teams like Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit are teams that we know a little bit about, but since we played them a couple of years ago a lot of things have changed. Detroit is a good example. There's a team that is going to be a team that we play on a short week, there is not going to be much preparation time in those four days before the game. We need to try to get a little bit of a head start on them even though that game is a long way off.

Q: Do you have any second thoughts to trading Drew to a team within your division?

BB: No that decision has been made and we're moving on. I mean we knew who we were trading him to when we did it. We did it and we felt like that was the best decision for the team.

Q: If you had received an equal team from a team outside of your division would you have taken it?

BB: If the sun orbited the earth instead of the earth orbiting the sun, what would happen, I don't really know. I don't know what affect that would have on the weather. It might affect it and it might not

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