HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
June 12, 2023
BB: Good morning. We had a full week last week with four days on the field, so it's a good opportunity to step in, pull some things together. This is really just kind of a continuation of OTAs here. Other than that we'll watch some of the practice film after practice, which we haven't done before. As far as the start of the day and all the way up through practice, we're basically on the same schedule as OTAs. Let's try to keep correcting some of the things that we need to correct and add and install, pushing forward in all three phases of the game. There's a good level of conditioning and a good level of work out there, so just keep stringing these days together.
Q: What's the reasoning behind reviewing today's practice film and not doing it previously?
BB: We didn't have time. We have more time in minicamp.
Q: Did everyone report to minicamp?
BB: I don't think everybody's here. We're working through a couple things.
Q: Do you have any excused absences at work there?
BB: We're working through a couple things.
Q: There's also a report that you guys are going to have DeAndre Hopkins in tomorrow. Is that accurate?
BB: I don't know about that. We talked to him, we're working through it. I'm not sure.
Q: In your quarterback room this year, you have two young guys in Bailey [Zappe] and Mac [Jones] who are both young and trying to prove themselves. What's that dynamic like for you guys?
BB: We're all trying to prove ourselves. It's the start of football season. We've all got a lot of work to do, things to learn, understand, improve on, work on. We're all doing the same thing. Going through the process, building blocks, building the foundation, working with our teammates and getting better day by day.
Q: What have you seen out of Bailey coming off of his rookie year where he got some game experience? What have you seen in year two?
BB: Bailey works hard like he always does. He puts in a lot of time. His conditioning is way better than it was last year. He's really done a good job on that. It's the same for all of the players at that position. There's a lot going on and a lot of moving parts. It's good to get out there and have these days to work with our teammates, our receivers, tight ends, running backs and work against our defense. It benefits everybody.
Q: Do you see Mac and Bailey, as two young guys, do you see them pushing each other as they work together?
BB: I think everybody's not really worried about everybody else, just trying to get better themselves. It's good to have Trace [McSorley] in there. He's a smart kid, has some experience. They're all young. They're all young, they're healthy, ready to go.
Q: We've seen a few different players playing in that kind of high safety role, including Marte Mapu. What are some of the qualities you look for in that role?
BB: Our players play a lot of different things in our system, so it would be hard to say just one thing. They have a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes they're high, sometimes they're low, half the field, middle of the field, man coverage, zone coverage, other combinations. It's a multitude of things.
Q: On that note, I know it's not a period for evaluation, but with such a heavy volume of installation, do you get a sense when players can't handle maybe extra responsibilities mentally in different positions as you work through these days? Are those evaluations held off until the summer?
BB: Learning is a part of it. But, I don't think the installation's been that heavy though. So, I don't think the rookies had a lot of problems with that. I mean, there's always things to correct on the practice field, but I wouldn't say there's been a lot of learning issues. All of these guys have done a good job.
Q: What have you observed from the offensive tackle group? Outside of Conor [McDermott], who came late last year, and Andrew [Stueber], who wasn't really able to practice, it almost seems like a completely new group there.
BB: I mean, I think all players are pretty much in the same situation. Guys that were here, it's a new year. Guys that weren't here, it's a new year and a new system for them. We've all got a lot of work to do.
Q: What constitutes a successful minicamp in your mind?
BB: I mean, I don't know. I think you look at a balance of the spring and trying to move ahead as a football team, which we have and we are. We're just taking it day by day. I don't really chop it up into an evaluation of what two or three days is.
Q: In the past you've cut minicamp short sometimes. Do you plan on practicing all three days this week?
BB: We'll see how it goes.
Q: Bill, LeGarrette Blount and Aaron Dobson have been there for a few days. What makes it special to have your ex-players be on the field with your current players during practice?
BB: Well, they're here as part of the Bill Walsh Fellowship. I'm glad to have them, it's great to have them here. They're here to learn, observe, and they're doing that. So, I'm happy to help them with their coaching careers. I'm sure there'll be others around, too. Pat [Chung] was here last week, so yeah, it's great to have those guys around.
Q: Had it been a while since you'd seen Dobson and LeGarrette Blount?
BB: It's been a while for Dobson, yeah. Blount, too, yeah. They grow up.
Q: Bill, when you mentioned some uncertainty about whether or not Hopkins might visit, is that because-
BB: They asked about the date. I'm not sure.
Q: Okay. But, is the plan for him to be here this week?
BB: We're working through it, so I don't really have anything to add to that.
Q: I didn't know if the uncertainty was on his end or on your end, whether or not you wanted to have him here.
BB: I think it relates more to logistics and things like that. So, I'm not really a travel agent here. I'm not going to say it's going to happen here, or not going to happen or whatever. There's a lot of other stuff going on that I'm not directly involved in, and so I'm not going to say anything and then you turn around and say I misled you in some way because that's not what I'm going to do.
Q: What would he bring to the table, should things work out?
BB: Yeah, I'm not going to talk about players that aren't on the team. You know that.
Q: I still ask.
BB: Yeah, just throw it out there, okay. Put that line in the water.
Q: Will JuJu [Smith Schuster] be able to practice today?
BB: Day to day. We'll see how it goes.
Q: How have you seen the receiver group work? We didn't see a lot of vets throughout OTAs, but with the rookies and some of those guys getting back into it now being mandatory minicamp, how have you seen the receiving group move along with Bill O'Brien?
BB: I think everybody that's been here has benefitted from being here, just learning drills, team situations, how it fits together, so it's good for everybody. Some guys have been able to do more than others, but everybody who's been here has benefitted from being here. So, it's about what it normally is at this time of year. Guys are in different stages of participation, and there are different priorities and needs with different players, and so we try to address those.
Q: As far as JuJu and new guys here missing some of OTAs, how do they sort of make up for that lost time, not being here for these early install periods?
BB: Well, I think everybody's doing what they can do. Again, some guys are in different stages of participation than others are. So, that's just probably the way it's going to be all year.
Q: We've seen Malik [Cunningham] practice at quarterback and a little bit more so at receiver. How unique is it, just to have a player like that, that can play two unique positions, and how has he sort of acclimated to this sort of spring process?
BB: I don't know. I mean, we've had some of that before. Again, we'll see how it goes, you know?
Q: Like Danny Etling, when you had him move to receiver?
BB: [Malcolm] Perry last year, [Lynn] Bowden.
Q: Bill, Matthew Judon's a guy we did not see through the optional portion of the workouts. Are you expecting to have him on the field today?
BB: We'll see how it goes.
Q: Definitely, oh.
BB: Definitely maybe. Again, for guys that haven't been here, the first thing you have to do is assess where they are and what they're able to do, and if there's any kind of physical issue. So, we'll see how it goes.
Q: It's reported, Bill, that D.J. Fluker is going to work out with you guys today; he's an Alabama guy. Is he somebody that you guys are interested in just taking a look at?
BB: Yeah, as you know Phil [Perry], we bring players in and work out players throughout the course of the year. I forget how many players worked out last year, but it was well over 100. We have worked out players, we will work out players. We're not going to talk about the players until they're on the team or if they're on the team, but that's part of what we do, procedurally, to evaluate them, whatever their situation is. Usually there's some physical component to it, and that's what we do in the pro personnel department. We work out a lot of guys.
Q: Will there be any urgency to getting guys in as soon as possible, just to kind of get them up to speed?
BB: It's a long way, still a long way before we start playing games. At this time of the year at one point in time, Rob Ninkovich wasn't on the team. He was a July signing. So, there's no real calendar for that. We look at when people are available or when they're ready. Some players aren't ready to participate at this time, but they'll be ready at training camp, or maybe some weren't ready earlier in the spring and they are ready now, or more ready now. So, it's an ongoing process.