HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
June 13, 2023
BB: Alright, good morning. Who brought in the rain this morning? It's a good chance for us to work on a wet field. Hopefully, we'll get a little moisture out there. We'll get some one way or another, if we have to create it ourselves. We had a good day on the field yesterday, and we'll just try to keep stringing them together here. It was a good learning experience; we worked on a lot of different situations. We had a good film session this morning and we'll be ready to roll again later this morning.
Q: It's been a little while since Mike Vrabel got named as the inductee to the team Hall of Fame. I know you put out a statement, but I was curious more if you had a story or something that stands out to you above all else with Vrabel?
BB: Yeah, I love Mike and what he did for us here. He was a big signing for us from Pittsburgh. He didn't play much up there but came here and became an immediate starter. He played in all of the kicking game, which he did in Pittsburgh as well. He gave us a lot of leadership with a lot of energy, toughness and football character. He was a great addition. I have a good relationship with Mike all the way back to when he was at Ohio State. Since, I've followed his coaching career, obviously from Ohio State, to Houston, to Tennessee. I had a great opportunity to work with Mike, and I look forward to working with him again this summer in Tennessee, and at his induction later in the fall. There are a lot of great Patriots from my era as a coach in the Hall of Fame. I'm proud to put another one in, especially on the defensive side of the ball there. We got a lot of them—[Richard] Seymour, [Tedy] Bruschi, Vince [Wilfork], I think there's a couple more we need to get in there, and obviously, Ty [Law].
Q: Bill, do you expect to have Trent Brown at practice today?
BB: We'll see. Hopefully.
Q: Do you have a sense of why he wasn't here yesterday?
BB: Yeah, I wouldn't be able to comment on that.
Q: Is he in the building right now?
BB: I mean, I don't have a monitor on him. I would assume so.
Q: What have you seen from Ty Montgomery [II] since he's been back from injury?
BB: Yeah, Ty looks healthy, really healthy. He was pretty much back shortly after the end of the season in terms of recovery. But, he gives us a lot of position versatility on offense and in the kicking game. He's a smart kid, has good size, explosive speed. It's good to have him out there; he can do a lot of different things. We look forward to having him.
Q: You talk a lot, Bill, about players in year two as opposed to rookie year, but what about year three as opposed to year two, specifically with Mac [Jones] entering year three? Is there more of a building education of where players are at entering that third year?
BB: Well, I think there's growth every year. Some of us have been around for a while, but I think you learn every year. So, incrementally, rookie year is the big learning year. Second year, big jump. Third year, you keep growing incrementally. But, I think those first two years, or especially year one to year two, after you have the understanding of what's going on, they're big years. But, yeah, Mac's worked hard. He's like all players that are in here every day, working hard. They get better, they improve, and he's certainly in that category.
Q: It's been about a year now since Bill Murray made the switch over to offensive line. What kind of progress have you seen from him in that spot?
BB: Good. Well, of course, he's much more comfortable. This time last year he was on defense, and actually didn't make the move until training camp, so we're not even a full year into it. But, definitely the offseason—well, all the time last year—but, then the offseason, this is really like rookie year to year two for him. So, it's a big jump. Terminology, footwork, technique, line calls—I mean, he's a smart kid, but just the experience of doing it, he's coming along. He's doing a good job. I think this is making good progress, and nobody works harder than Bill, so I know he'll do everything he can to make it happen, make it work. We'll see what happens, obviously, for all the linemen here the evaluation really starts when the pads come on and they actually are truly blocking people, or they're trying to not get blocked in pass rush and so forth. So, we'll see what that looks like. But, yeah, he's on track to, I think, have a good, competitive camp.
Q: Bill, yesterday, Mac, in sort of a lighthearted way, was talking about how Steve [Belichick] is drawing things up for the defense that the offense maybe hasn't seen before, and it feels like there's a good back and forth there. Are there limits on what either side of the ball is able to do in terms of play calls this time of year, or is it sort of whatever you feel?
BB: Sure, yeah. Well, we work together on that, so one side's not doing something the other side hasn't spent time on. That's just a waste of time. So, yeah, we do that in all areas of the game. So, there's a compatibility. We can work together on whatever it is we're working on. Punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, blitzes, blitz pickup, whatever it happens to be.
Q: With the defense, specifically with a lot of familiar faces back, are you able to sort of start at a different point in an offseason like this one? I know you lost Devin [McCourty], obviously, but a lot of the same guys are back.
BB: I think I talked about this yesterday. I think you have got to rebuild your foundation every year, regardless of how many years you've done it. I go all the way back to my time with the Giants, a decade playing the same defense, literally the same defense, same calls, a lot the of same guys with no free agency at that point. You literally start at the same place every year and you rebuild fundamentals every year. I don't think there's a shortcut to that. I don't think you can pick up where you left off after six months of football in January. You start all over again. We have new people and we all need to reestablish our fundamentals and our performance.
Q: Regarding blitz pickup, as far as you can tell at this stage, the second year running backs: Pierre [Strong Jr.], Kevin [Harris], what is the sense of improvement that they've made and is that an area where running backs normally take a big step forward between year one and year two?
BB: So, to answer your second question first, yes, that generally is a big area. Of course, it depends on the individual player and what kind of background he has in that area, but a lot of college players don't have the kind of background there that they would need here, so that is a big level of potential improvement for those guys. Kevin and Pierre have done a good job there. Again, we'll see what happens when the pads come on. I mean, there's knowing who to block and there's blocking them. It's Part A and Part B; you can't do one without the other, but they both have a good willingness to do that. They showed that last year. I think from a technique, understanding, anticipation standpoint, a lot of times you have a pretty good idea who can come, or will be coming, based on configuration of the secondary. Or, even the front when they align in certain spots, it's a pretty good indication that that's a blitzing location versus not a blitzing location, little things like that. But, yeah, they've both come along well. I'd put Ty [Montgomery] in that category, too, because Ty didn't really get a full year of it. You know, he had the spring and training camp, but it's been good for him as well. It's always an important area, especially at that position. Things change quickly. Linebackers move, the quarterback makes a call change and they have to adjust, secondary pressures, and another set of encyclopedias. So, yeah, it can get kind of complex back there.
Q: As this portion of the offseason closes and you go to a semi-break, at least for the players, what do you as a coaching staff and personnel group kind of do over the next period of time between June 16 to July 15?
BB: We evaluate where we are and we make plans for moving forward.
Q: How do you feel about this checkpoint so far as to where you wanted to be when the offseason began and where you are here on June 13?
BB: I don't know, I'm not big on the "where you want to be." I think you go at the pace you go at and go from there.
Q: With the two placekickers, Nick [Folk] and Chad [Ryland], what are going to be the factors that you look for as that unfolds to make a decision?
BB: Their performance. We'll see how it goes, field goals, kickoffs, consistency. It's very competitive. We know what Nick can do. Chad's got a good level of talent, too. It's competitive like a lot of other spots on our roster. It looks pretty competitive, we'll see how it goes.
Q: Would you ever keep two guys at that position?
BB: We did last year. We had two active or brought one up, so yeah, it's possible.
Q: Have you seen any particular growth from Jabrill [Peppers] now in his second year with the team?
BB: Yeah. Oh my god, yeah. He's a much different player now than he was last year at this time or even in training camp. A full year after the injury, a lot of confidence in the communication, the system, his assignments. He's playing fast, aggressive, helping out his teammates. Last year he was trying to learn things, now he's helping out his teammates, anticipating, making calls or adjustments that maybe help him or possibly help his teammate be in a better position to defend a certain play or type of play. Yeah, he's been great. He's way ahead of where he was last year.
Q: I know he started to move last year, but Scotty Washington is another guy who has switched positions in the last year or so. How have you seen him continue to grow as a tight end?
BB: Well, yeah, Scotty's like some other players we have on our roster. He plays where he plays. I'm not really sure what position that is, but when he's on the field, there's certain things that he can do. It's good to see him out there. You know, he's been limited in his participation in the spring, and the last week or 10 days, I'm not sure exactly what the breaking point is, but he's been able to go and participate more with the team, walkthroughs and individual periods, 7-on-7, teams, so it's been a little bit of a curve progression. It's good to have him out there and we'll give him an opportunity this year. He came in, as you know, later during the year, we were already through training camp, early part of the season. That's always a tough transition for a young player, so having him here all through the spring, the offseason program, plus what he learned last year, he has a much better level of expectation having been here last year to know what he needs to do. I look forward to seeing him out there. I'm glad he's had a few opportunities this spring, so at least when he goes to training camp, that won't be the first time. At least he can build on some of the positive opportunities that he's had so far and in training camp, feel confident that he's physically ready to go. I look forward to working with him.
Q: Lawrence Guy, we didn't see him yesterday. It was reported that a contract issue is keeping him out. Is that your understanding of the situation?
BB: You'd have to talk to him about that.
Q: Is he somebody you'd like to have with the team this year?
BB: Yeah, whatever the issue is, you can talk to him about that. I'm not going to talk about contracts or personal situations, injuries.