HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
JULY 26, 2022
BB: Morning everyone. It's always good to see everybody roll in here for camp. Today is really the first day on that but we've had people here for a week in various capacities. But it will be good to have everybody here today. We'll get some of the preliminary things out of the way at the start of camp and by this afternoon. Then tomorrow when we get to the field, we'll be able to kind of pick up where we left off at the end of the spring. It will be a very similar structure to that where we were with that veteran minicamp in terms of practice opportunity, meeting time and so forth. But that's all part of the buildup for training camp which padded practices will begin the following week. Good to get it going, good to get started like I said build on the spring. Long way to go, we'll take it one step at a time and just try to continue to improve every opportunity we get and certainly every day.
Q: What have the rookies accomplished since reporting back on July 19?
BB: Hopefully all the players who have been here have been able to get into a routine to work on some fundamentals and again most importantly establish a training routine, go back over terminology and some of the things that they're less familiar with. Just try to get them as ready as we can for when we start.
Q: Marcus Jones I think in the spring he might've still been working back from something from college. Is he ready to full go at this point?
BB: Yeah, he's active.
Q: You mentioned an extension of minicamp here, and you've discussed in the past the purpose of that more installation as opposed to evaluation, is that going to be true these first four practices before you get the pads on, focus more on repping and installing versus evaluating?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. That's exactly what it will be. We will continue to install things that we didn't get to in the spring and try to have everyone ready to go when we are able to start padded practices, preseason games, working against other teams and so forth as we build on training camp. This is really four days, five days however you want to look at it, of kind of a ramp up period. It will be a lot of teaching and iron out some wrinkles, working out a few kinks and then get ready to compete and practice and play as we move into that next stage. But, we are definitely not there yet this week.
Q: Know you mentioned in the past building the offense around the quarterback and tailoring it to his strengths, whomever the quarterback is, to that end as you install a streamlined offense how much input does Mac Jones have in what this new offense will look like as you build it around him?
BB: Certainly, he'll have input.
Q: Building upon Andrew's question there, obviously you referenced that these first four days are about installation and teaching but even from within that, what are you looking at? What are you looking for in players in this particular environment where you are installing things in terms of their attentiveness, and do you evaluate guys based upon the type of questions they ask and how they go about their business in this stage?
BB: Well, there's always an element of all of us working together. Players, coaches working with each other and working together in cross overs and getting the entire organization, all the support staff in coordination and they've done a great job. But, still we're starting a new stage here from moving into offseason to in season so there's just differences. We need to all build into that. We all have a job to do. We all have things we need to accomplish during the season and prepare to accomplish during the season and this is part of it for all of us. It's coming together with x's and o's, players, routine, communication internally on getting things done and so forth as we have changes which we have on a daily basis and have a lot of them. Players, again it's refamiliarization with terminology, techniques, communication adjustments things we talk about in the spring and some things we didn't talk about in the spring. I wouldn't expect everybody to remember every single thing that we did two months ago or a month and a half ago, whatever it was. We all need a refresher. We all need to work ourselves into the position that we need to be in to compete and to perform well in the National Football League, and certainly none of us are there yet. No coaches, no players, nobody. We all have a lot of work to do. That's what training camp is for.
Q: With Joe Judge and Matt Patricia how do you feel they did this spring in their perspective new roles? What point this summer would you want to make it clear who is calling the plays for your offense?
BB: I think I've said many times, I think Matt and Joe are two outstanding coaches in every sense of the word whatever those duties entail. They're very good, exceptional at the entire gamut. I'm glad we have both of them. They do a good job.
Q: Is there a point this summer, you want to make it clear to the players who is calling the plays?
BB: Look, I'm the head coach, ultimately, I'm responsible for everything. So, let's leave it at that, that's what it is.
Q: Talking about the progression from year one to year two for any player but especially Mac Jones what have you seen through him through the offseason and how important has that first offseason been for him to maybe change things around and how he gets ready for the season because he knows what to expect come this season?
BB: I think Mac's done a great job. He's worked extremely hard. He's got a tremendous work ethic in all areas. I think there's a dramatic improvement. His physical work and conditioning, working on his mechanics, working on his footwork, working on his understanding of our offense, of opponents defense, of situations all those things. We talk about all those things in various degrees some more emphasis than others and the emphasis on maybe some other things that will come later on. We can't do it all at once, but he's worked hard. He's made tremendous strides. He did a great job last year but he's starting it from a much much higher point this year than where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant. I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he is than he was a year ago.
Q: Similar question but in terms of Tre Nixon what have you seen from him from year one to year two here? He made a couple of plays in the spring.
BB: Tre's worked very hard too. He's one of the hardest working kids we have on our team. He had a good spring, had a productive spring. It's the same things I've said about Mac, he's way ahead of where he was last year in terms of his physical strength, speed, quickness, route technique, understanding of the offense, defense, so forth. Hopefully, he'll continue to make progress as we transfer that into competitive on-field situations. He has certainly prepared himself as well as he can to do that. He'll be in a good, competitive situation.
Q: Today actually marks the 20**th** anniversary of you guys last reporting to Bryant, July 26 of '02 – I'm curious if there's anything that you miss in particular about those style of camps and how much easier was it back then to get a read on your team's mental toughness coming out of such difficult camps compared to now?
BB: We could talk about that for hours, there are differences now from 20 years ago in football just like there is in everything else. Not really focused on that, whatever it is, it is. The other 31 teams are doing the same thing so, like we always do, we'll try to take advantage of the time and the opportunities that we have, make the most of them, and get the team ready to go – that's what the other 31 teams are doing so, that's what it is. Whatever it was, it was in the past and all that. There's certainly a lot of differences, I'm not going to say that it's the same, but nothing is the same as it was 20 years ago so, we all move on and adjust.
Q: Danny Amendola announced his retirement last night. Do you have any thoughts on his time in New England? What he meant to the team?
BB: Thank you, I didn't see that, but I love Danny. He was a very good player for us, had a lot of skill, mostly played inside, but could play outside. Could return, very smart, tough, dependable, great hands and concentration. He was a good football player. Glad we had him here, and he certainly was a big contributor for us while he was here for the most part - I mean he missed a little time but, he was out there every chance he could be. He was tough and he was - he's a good football player.
Q: He always had a knack of coming up with a big play in crunch time for you guys
BB: Very dependable. He was tough, he'd block, we've been very fortunate to have some good players at that position. Troy [Brown] - as good as it could be. Hard to match Troy, and it is hard to match Troy, it's really impossible, but, Wes [Welker] did a great job for us, Danny came in, Julian [Edelman], Jakobi [Meyers], guys that have played in that spot have been different, but they've all been productive and they've all brought some of the same common characteristics to the inside receiver position. It's been a very productive spot for us through the years, through a lot of different types of plays, quarterbacks, play calls, defenses, we've been very fortunate with the players that we've had here, but Danny certainly is ranked high in that group.
Q: You referred to the strides Mac Jones has made since coming in last year as a rookie – what sort of differences are there as a team getting ready for installation and preparing the offense when you have a clear picture of 'Mac's going to be the guy' as opposed to last year when there was a lot of uncertainty around Cam vs. Mac?
BB: We're just a lot further ahead in the conversation. I mean the plays that we talk about, or concepts that we talk about, Mac's already done before, and it's easy for him to say 'well, are we going to do this on that or are we going to do this on something else? what do you think about splitting them a little bit wider, splitting them a little bit tighter?" You know, suggestions like that, that type of thing comes up all the time. Now it comes up with the background of the experience of doing it. He might've had some of the same questions last year, but without really having the full knowledge that he has this year and so he's just a lot further along in the conversation. And we have a much better feel of what he can do and what his strengths are and how to try to play into those. He's self-aware too, he knows what he does well and we want to try to feature those. But there also things we can work on to improve. We all can make improvements in areas, so we've identified some of those, he's worked very hard at them, hopefully those will be better and I'm sure they will because he's put the time and work into it. It's not really different, it's just much further advanced, that's all. And I'm not saying we're there yet, we're nowhere close to being where we want to be or where we need to be, but we're definitely making progress.
Q: So your coaching staff was made official earlier this month, and you have no offense coordinator or defensive coordinator listed, I'm just wondering, what are the benefits of taking that approach with your staff?
BB: We're not really big on titles and all that, so I think it's important that we all work together and create a good final product, so that's what we're going to try to do. That's what we've always done.
Q: For a guy like Jonnu Smith, what is the feedback you've given him after year one in hopes of how he improves in year two?
BB: All the players that were with us a year ago, or in any previous year, it's really all the same. It's the same for all of us. You know, you look back at what you did, emphasize the positive things, look at what the weaknesses are, work on those. We all have things we can work on and there's some things that we all did well, so you try to do the things that you did well, work on the areas that you want to improve on, take some kind of action to address those, and then see positive results. So for any player, those could come in a number of areas. They could be physical development, they could be technique, they could be understanding or a better understanding of the concepts or how plays fit together and why they're done a certain way – that's all part of it, so any player that we've worked with, we always talk to them about what was good and what can be better and how to make it better. Players that are new to the team, we don't have as much experience with them, we try to do the same thing, we just don't have as much information to work with. We tell them the same things, 'here's the things you did well in college or with some other NFL team or whatever it is. This is the kind of the role that we see you generally working in,' knowing that there's always room to modify that, 'here's the things that maybe you haven't done that we're going to ask you to do, that you need to work on,' or maybe he has done them before we just haven't seen them – maybe it was on some other team or in some other place that he did those and he's like 'yeah, I haven't done that the last couple of years but I did it before.' We talk about that, or maybe he says 'I have never done that before, what do I need to do to work on it?' It's the same general conversation for every single player, the specifics of it are all different because it really depends on the player and what we're asking him to do and what he needs to do to perform well at his position. We don't want him working on stuff that isn't going to matter, we want to try to identify what players should do, and if they do it, I'm sure we'll see improvement from them which will in turn improve the team.