PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
BB: Well, tonight's an opportunity for us to get out into the stadium and just kind of take advantage of that setting. This will be the only time we'll do that before the Washington game. We've got new lights. We've got really our only time on the field. This will be kind of an opportunity for us to clean up a few things here from the last couple of days that we feel like we need to get to. The players will be off tomorrow, so it'll be a good chance for us to recover and get ready to finish off and have a good week here the rest of this week. Then we'll be into some element of preparing for the first preseason game after we get through next weekend. That's kind of where we are for today. We'll take care of a few loose ends and get a good experience in the stadium.
Q: Is tonight maybe more important for specialists to be able to get a sense of wind direction or familiarity with the elements that come into play on the game field?
BB: Right. Yeah, this will be similar to our preseason games where we go from day to night, starting today, and end up under the lights. I don't know if we'll get full darkness tonight, but certainly a good opportunity for our returners to handle the ball and also get used to seeing the ball against a different backdrop than what we've seen out there on the practice field. It'll be a good opportunity for them. Same thing for the kickers, just to re-familiarize themselves with, as you said, some of the wind patterns and just overall - get familiar with the stadium; 40-second clock, game clock, just a chance for us to do that.
Q: Is there a different environment or energy out at training camp given that there aren't any joint practices with your opponents? Do you see a benefit in that?
BB: We take advantage of every day we have, so whatever those bring we try to take advantage of them. We've practiced against teams, we've not practiced against teams. I don't think it's that big of a deal.
Q: Given his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction this weekend, could you elaborate on what memories you have of coaching Randy Moss here for three-plus years?
BB: Yeah, I've talked a lot about Randy. All good - great receiver, great player, great person. I learned a lot from him. [He was] a great, great, great deep-ball receiver. Very smart, has a really good understanding of the passing game and how to attack defenses from his point of view, which is, certainly, as a player, one that I'm not familiar with. [He's] fast and can get over the top of the defenses and understand how teams look at an explosive weapon like him. He made me a better coach. He made us a much better team and he was a great person to have on the team. He was a lot of fun to be around, but he worked hard and was very committed to winning.
Q: I think at one point you said he was the smartest player you ever coached.
BB: Receiver, I said.
Q: Does that still hold true?
BB: Yeah, he's very smart. No question.
Q: What has Chad O'Shea brought to your staff as the wide receivers coach since his arrival in 2009?
BB: Yeah, that's a tough positon to play here. Chad does a very good job with all of those guys. He coaches multiple positions, outside to inside. Our guys are very involved in blocking and we do a lot of game planning and formationing and so forth. Chad's an excellent teacher, a very good fundamental coach. Has a good relationship with his players, has a good relationship with all of the staff members, easy to work with. He comes from a football background. Of course, his dad, Mike O'Shea, is one of the great trainers in his profession of all time. He has a great history with the game and with the sport. Chad's done a really good job for us.
Q: What type of development have you seen from Shaq Mason heading into his fourth season?
BB: Well, Shaq made a big jump in Year One, coming from the system he was in, learning pass protection. He's played well for us for three years, going on four years. He's very athletic, tough, smart, physical, good playing strength, a good football player.
Q: How much has Jacob Hollister improved from last year, and does he have a chance to have an increased role?
BB: Yeah, well each player's role will depend on how they perform and what they do. I can't control that. But yeah, Jacob improved a lot last year and he's gotten off to a good start this year from the offseason program to our spring workouts to the start of training camp. He's still got a long way to go. He has a lot of football in front of him. He didn't have a lot of experience - had some - but has gained a lot and will gain a lot more. I think he's got a great future. He works hard, he's a tough kid, he plays hard, practices hard and has become much better at his fundamentals and techniques at his position.
Q: Is that particularly important given that he's a little bit on the smaller side?
BB: Well, each player has their own strengths and weaknesses. Each player has their own physical makeup. He has some things that he does very well. He has other things that maybe he has some limitations on, so it's finding a balance of how to make the things - his speed, his quickness, his athleticism - compensate for maybe a little bit lack of size. Other guys, bigger guys, it works in reverse and vice versa.
Q: What have you seen from Cordarrelle Patterson and Danny Shelton so far?
BB: Yeah, both of those players have adjusted well and have worked hard. [They] had a good spring, got off to a good start here in training camp. We'll see how it goes with both of them. I'm glad we have them. Hopefully, they'll be able to contribute and help our team.
Q: Did Danny Shelton play on third down early in his career?
BB: Some. We'll see how it goes. It doesn't really matter. We'll see how he does with us in our packages. We haven't really gotten to that yet this training camp. We did some in the spring, but we haven't really gotten to a lot of third down work yet. That'll be coming later this week and we'll give the players an opportunity, see how it goes and build it from there.
Q: What does a defensive tackle have to do to stay on the field on third down?
BB: Be productive.
Q: Is conditioning a factor at all?
BB: Of course.
Q: Has Malcolm Mitchell progressed at all to the point where he could return soon?
BB: He's day-to-day.
Q: How would you assess Trent Brown's adjustment here?
BB: Yeah, similar to what we just said about Cordarrelle and Danny. He was a little bit limited in the spring but he still got a lot of work done. He's gotten off to a good start here in camp. He's got a long way to go. Our system is different than what he's been in, what CP [Cordarrelle Patterson] has been in, what Danny has been in. Those guys are working hard to pick up and do what we are asking them to do, what we're trying to do. I'm glad we have him and we'll see how it goes.
Q: When you look at a competitive practice session, like goal-line work, how do you assess which side came out positively or negatively? If the defense stops the offense, is that considered a win for them, or is there something to be taken from the other side as well? How do you assess that balance?
BB: Well, on most plays there are good things and bad things on every play. When you see a good play, it's not all good. When you see a bad play, it's not all bad. There may be some good things within the play on a bad play, there may be some bad things within a good play. You correct the things that need to be corrected, compliment the things that were done well. So we want to continue to do the things well that we did well, and the things that we need to improve on or correct we need to try to correct those the next time we do it. I'd say even the plays that you might look at that it looks like one side did better than the other side, that may be true on that play. Still, within that play there are things that probably need to be talked about.
Q: Have you ever coached anyone as big as Trent Brown?
Q: Is his athleticism unique for his size?
BB: Yeah, I'll say. Yeah, he's very athletic. He can run, he can bend, he can change directions, he's long, and he's strong and he plays with good knee bend. As big as he is, he doesn't play necessarily high. He can bend and get leverage on guys that aren't as long as he is.
Q: After 19 years, is your relationship with Tom Brady to the point where you'll get him a birthday gift this Friday?
BB: I still have a couple of days to work on that. We'll come up with something.
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