HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
July 31, 2021
BB: Just pushing through the week here. Feel like we've had a good opportunity to work in the red area here in training camp as kind of a continuation of our spring installation. So we'll kind of wind things up here today and then move into some other situations next week and have a couple padded practices next and into the following week prior to playing Washington. Hopefully we can just continue to make gains everyday, string good days together and keep improving. We all have a lot of work to do. We spent quite a bit of time on other situations so the time dedicated to the red area I think has been beneficial. There are still a lot of other things we have to work on and improve as well. So that'll really happen starting next week. Like I said, just trying to string some positive days together and build on what we did yesterday, move into some new things that are a little bit new, different, higher grade of difficulty. Correct those and just keep moving on.
Q: We heard from the quarterbacks yesterday and it seems like they are all kind of helping each other along. Mac said that Cam is helping him along as he gets used to NFL football. What have you seen from the comradery in the quarterback room so far?
BB: Yeah I think it's good. It's really been like that on the whole team. We have a lot of veteran players that are helping younger guys. We don't have very many rookies on the roster, but we have quite a few second-year players. I think the overall information flow and communication and cooperation has been good in position groups and also from one side of the ball to the other as they work against each other. I think everyone's trying to do a good job in that area.
Q: When it comes to the red zone passing game. Like you mentioned, looks like you guys have been working on that quite a bit through the first few practices. How beneficial can that specific situation be to the quarterback, pass catcher relationship just it being tighter down there and maybe trying to get a read on how a guy uses his body or where he likes the football or that kind of thing, especially early in camp, can that specific situation help those positions' gains as far as their relationship on the field?
BB: Yeah I'd say that's the overall idea in the consecutive days in the red areas for teammates to work together on whichever side of the ball it is. Everything happens in a lot shorter space. It happens faster and the decision-making has to be quicker and more precise as does the execution on both sides of the ball. We've had a lot of good situations where coaches and ultimately players and teammates have talked to each other. Things like you said about what I'm anticipating and what you're going to do, how we're going to handle this formation, where I am so you can overplay it a little more somewhere else because you know I'll be right here to help you in a certain location and so forth. There's been a lot of that and it's a good thing. We've run four days after today worth of plays and situations and all that where you can really see those things improving and also knowing it's going to continue to get harder. We're on both sides of the ball, I think we're preparing for the next level of degree of difficulty and adjustments and so forth. Coaches have done a good job with that. Making the players aware of those things and what could happen. What you see here, that's one thing, but there are a number of different things that could come off of this that we have to be ready for and the accumulation of multiple days I think has helped us. That versus doing a couple plays every day, I mean that has its benefits too but we've really been able to focus on particular areas and concepts. As you said, the player to player communication and anticipation has been good. It's been very beneficial.
Q: It's been a while in these parts since there's been an open competition at quarterback. I'm just curious what are the things you're looking for to help you make your decision?
BB: Yeah well we'll take a look at the whole situation. I don't think you want to evaluate players at any position off of one or two plays, or maybe a day, so from a consistency standpoint that's always important and obviously production, so hopefully those things will be good and I'm sure it'll be a hard decision. We'll see how it goes. Let them play and try to do what we feel like is best for the team based on their performance.
Q: Do you have an ideal time frame for naming a starter to help you get ready for the season?
BB: No. I mean Cam's our starting quarterback. I think I've said that, so.
Q: That seems a little different from the other day because you said the other day that everyone starts form scratch, so...
BB: Yeah that's right everyone does start from scratch. Again, we all have to reestablish ourselves and that goes for a lot of other players that you could name as well that I'm sure in your mind you think they are starters, and maybe they are starters and they probably will be starters, but they all have to reestablish their positions. That's across the board for the whole team. That doesn't just pertain to one person or position.
Q: You mentioned winding things up today at practice. What are some of the things we can expect to see in about an hour?
BB: Just continuing to put things together. Situations and more progressive football. First down, second down, third down, field position change and that type of thing. Do some of those for teaching purposes, we're in the low red area or high red area or third down or blitz periods and so forth, which are good teaching progressions to have those plays and be able to learn from them, but that's not football. You don't have eight third downs in a row in football, but from a teaching standpoint there's some benefit to doing it that way. Again, the further down the road you get, when the team is ready for it, then I think you have to start moving into progressive situations that change every play like a game does, so that's what we'll do.
Q: I know two and a half, three years is a long time, but besides from his position change from playing left tackle here in 2018 to now playing more right tackle, how have you seen Trent Brown change as a player but also remain the same guy who you had here in 2018?
BB: I think Trent's experience has given him a much higher level of leadership, communication. He's just able to do more both on and off the field. Has a lot more experience. Has more experience in our system which is a big factor. He didn't have that in 2018 and we haven't changed things a lot. I think he's comfortable with all the communications and techniques and adjustments and so forth. That wasn't the case that began in 2018 nor would you expect it to be for any player that's new to our program. He's way ahead of where he was, and that maturity and experience has manifested itself and positive leadership. I would say insight for other players, he's been with three organizations and again, he has some good perspective on a lot of things, especially the New England Patriots. He's becoming very experienced and well-respected, not just for his physical talent, but for all the other things that he does. Something he gained over the course of the 2018 season, but he's starting from a much higher point now.
Q: On Cam [Newton] again, outside of injury, he is your starting quarterback, correct?
BB: Yeah I just answered that question.
Q: How do you go about building out training camp? Is it consistent from year to year, or do you change your points of emphasis early on and throughout the course of the process based upon personnel, circumstances? How do you like to build it out?
BB: First of all, you have to look at the opportunities that you have and then try to maximize those. Training camp rules and opportunities and schedules and so forth are much different than they were last year. Last year they weren't like they were before, so some of that. There's a number of factors involved here: a new CBA, COVID pandemic, and just the overall makeup of your team. The spring change. The spring changes a little bit of training camp and how that goes and so forth. You map out what your opportunities are to practice and again, some of that's based on where you ended the spring. You just can't start at a point that you haven't climbed to in the spring. You have to, at some point, build off of where you finished the spring. You can't expect the players to cross a gap that you haven't taken time to bridge. Each year is a little bit different. Each situation is a little bit different. The calendars are different. The preseason schedule is different. Certainly a lot different than what we had last year. I don't think there's a cookie cutter way to do things. At the same time, there's a certain progression. You have to start somewhere, and you have to build forward. There are so many different areas of the game that doesn't always have to be in the exact same place. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Each year has some similarities to previous years, but each certainly has differences, and I would say significant differences, in the structure and installation, and a lot of time the actual practice schedule.
Q: How are you enjoying this cool, crisp, fall weather?
BB: Yeah you have no control over that. Just head out there and try to make the most out of our practice opportunities whatever it is.
Q: With Cam, how much, if at all, are you noticing a difference in his arm strength?
BB: I mean I don't think we've been outside the 30-yard line, so just in terms of long balls and all that. I mean we've thrown a few in individual route periods and a couple of offensive periods just to install some things. We'll see how everybody performs as we go forward. Again, judging guys off of one or two days or a handful of throws. There have been a couple of down field throws. Again, most of those were in offensive periods, so they were kind of set up that way. We'll see how everybody does when we get a chance to level up competition between the offense and the defense and they're playing real football. His arm looks fine. Everybody looks fine. All the quarterbacks can throw long, and I don't see any major problems.
Q: Is there anything you can share on Anfernee Jennings? Just in that I don't think he's been out on the field, but I don't think he's on any of the reserve lists?
BB: Yeah that's correct. He's not on any reserve list. He's been excused for personal reasons, and I'll leave it at that.