PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
July 28, 2023
BB: Good morning, ready for another nice day of training camp. Just trying to string them together. We are in a good place after a couple days, just keep trying to stack them on top of each other.
Q: I know you spoke yesterday about integrating some of the things that JuJu [Smith-Schuster] has done well in the past into the offense. Has that been true with [Mike] Gesicki as well?
BB: Yeah, of course.
Q: What can he bring as a player that maybe has a little bit of a different skill set than what you typically have at the position?
BB: Yeah, well we'll see, we are working on that. But, yeah for sure.
Q: That wind was cutting through pretty good yesterday. When you went back to watch Chad [Ryland] kick at the end of practice, what did you see?
BB: Yeah, well we saw a lot of that in the spring. We can't control that, whatever it is, it is. It is a learning experience for these guys. We'll kick in the stadium when we can. Obviously, those conditions have changed a little bit, so we'll see how that goes. It's a work in progress.
Q: Have you got a good sense of how it has changed in there, or is that sort of a …
BB: We were in there in the spring a little bit.
Q: Pretty significant changes?
BB: Yeah, there were some changes.
Q: Matthew Judon, not on the PUP list but didn't seem to be doing the full practice …
BB: Yeah, we have different players that are at different stages of participation.
Q: Is he hurt?
BB: We have different players that are in different stages of participation. Those injury reports aren't coming out for a while.
Q: I'm eager, I'm itching.
BB: When they are required, you'll get them, count on that.
Q: Given his ability to contribute in all three phases of the game. Is there ever a challenge when it comes to deciding how to utilize Marcus Jones?
BB: We have talked about it, yeah. We've talked about it. He's been great. He's up on everything, everything we've asked him to do. He's worked extremely hard at both mentally and sharpening his skills in those areas, so we'll see how it goes.
Q: We've seen Christian Gonzalez out there and Jon Jones and some of the top guys on defense already. What has he done that allowed him to elevate to that spot already?
BB: Yeah, again, we are working a lot of different people in different rotations, different sides, different combinations, so we'll see how all that plays out. Nobody has really done enough of anything yet. We'll have to reestablish everything this year.
Q: Bill, obviously you draft a guy like Gonzalez, when you get your hands on him, what kind of things have you seen from him that you didn't know about him draft wise and everything else?
BB: Yeah, anytime you work daily with a person, you get to see a lot of things that you don't see in a short interview or even a one-day visit. Their daily preparation, attitude, responsiveness, ability to retain, ask questions, move ahead, all those things. He's been great to work with, very diligent, he has done everything we've asked him to do, has improved every day. He's still got a long way to go like every rookie does, but he's been great to work with. The rookie class in general has been good. They're really very attentive, good work ethic, they have been a pleasure to work with.
Q: What are some of the differences you've seen from Cole Strange, this point compared to where he was this time last year?
BB: He had a great offseason, had an opportunity to train this offseason. He really took advantage of that physically. Obviously, mentally he is light years ahead of where he was, like all rookies are. Knowing what they expect, knowing the offense, knowing defenses and can anticipate things better. His communication is way better on the offensive line, experience. Yeah, he had a really good offseason, and it has been evident all through the spring, even a few days out here.
Q: What has Will Lawing brought to the tight end room?
BB: Will has got a lot of experience with Bill [O'Brien], they worked together at Penn State, Houston and Alabama. They work well together, there is a lot of familiarity there with previous things they've done, how they do them, organization, practice organization, things like that.
Q: Very generally speaking, usually a player Marcus Jones' height, you'd see him in the slot. What do you like about Marcus Jones on the outside?
BB: Yeah, we play our players in multiple positions, so it depends on what the matchup would be that week, who the other players are and so forth. The more they can do, the more value they have, the more flexibility it gives us. Certainly, if you're going to match up with receivers and the guy you're matched up with lines up inside, you have to go inside to cover him or change the matchup.
Q: How have you seen Bailey [Zappe] develop year one to year two? Has he kind of made that jump?
BB: Yeah, similar to what we just said about Cole. Much better idea of what to expect, knows the offense, knows defenses much better than he did last year, has a much better idea of just the pace of installation, camp, what to expect, all those things. He's had a really good spring, too.
Q: Season number nine for David Andrews. What has he meant on the field, in the locker room, particularly to bring young guys along? You've got a young group inside this year, a lot of younger guys.
BB: Yeah, there are several other players like that. Jon Jones would be another, guys who were undrafted and came in here, established a role for themselves, a significant role, and have moved on to become not only some of our best and most reliable players, but also as you said, an example for younger players both on and off the field. Studying, training, preparation, attitude, consistency, David does it every day. Jon does it every day, and those guys are so consistent, dependable and it's easy for younger players to look at them and see why they've been successful and hopefully try to get them to emulate their work habits and routine.
Q: You hear a lot that football is important to him when describing a lot of the players that come in. Is that an apt description for David, like is he that kind of guy?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. Again, he trains hard, he works hard, he prepares well. He's all in on whatever we need him to do, whatever we ask him to do. You can always count on him to be prepared, to be at his best and give you everything he's got, and that's really all you can ask for.
Q: What have you seen from Demario Douglas? It seems like he's been pretty involved.
BB: I think all of the rookies have shown up positively from time to time. They all have a lot to learn, a lot of experience to gain, but I think really the whole class has done things that kind of caught your eye, and said, 'hey, this guy has got a chance to help us here, or help us there in that role. We'll see how much of a role he can develop.' Demario's working at returns and offensively inside and outside, so it's a big jump for him from a competition level in college, but he seems to be transitioning pretty well. He's a smart kid. He picks things up well, learns quickly, so all things that work in his favor, but we'll see how it goes when things get more competitive next week.
Q: How confident are you in Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong [Jr.] that they can handle whatever you throw at them in their second years here?
BB: Well, again, they're two other guys that have taken a big jump in year two. Good offseasons, way ahead of where they were last year. Both showed flashes of good things last year. I think the experience and confidence with them is much greater than it was last year. Obviously, the biggest challenge for all backs is pass protection and blitz pickup in the passing game. All of those guys are more comfortable carrying the ball than some of those other things that come with the position, but they've worked hard at that, so we'll see how it goes.
Q: Ty Montgomery [II] went down yesterday. Do you have a sense of his availability?
Q: Obviously the CBA dictates certain limits on the ramp-up part at the start of training camp here, but how much over the years, as you've spoken to changes and evaluations, has your performance staff informed those decisions and the changes you've made to training camp?
BB: Well, we work within whatever parameters we have to work within and try to make the most out of them and try to maximize them. Johann [Bilsborough], Moses [Cabrera], Jim [Whalen], their respective staffs, give input, talk to the staff, talk to the coaches about what we need to do, where they feel like we're at, etc., and we make the best decisions we can to be as productive as we can on the field. Individual players, those are other conversations that are individual, separate and related specifically to that person – what they can do, how much they can do, and so forth. Yeah, put it all together and try to do the best we can with it.
Q: What kind of energy does Matthew Judon bring out onto the field when he's out here?
BB: Yeah, always good. Wears the red, brightens things up.
Q: Does JuJu [Smith-Schuster] bring that energy too? He seems to get the crowd pretty excited.
BB: Yeah. Well, I don't know about all that, but just to the team, yeah. JuJu plays at a high energy level. He's a good player, has got a lot of confidence, a lot of experience. It's good to have him out there. He's been great.