PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
July 31, 2023
BB: Alright, good morning. We pushed things back a few minutes here this morning, just to make sure we're ready to go, so I apologize for the delay, but we should be on schedule from here on.
Q: How's business?
BB: Good, yeah, going to string these days together.
Q: Is this sort of the week where you start to try to create more of the stress on the team to…
BB: Yeah, well we haven't had a lot of chances to work on the running game, for obvious reasons, so that'll come into focus more, and power rushes, pass protection, jamming the receivers, things like that. So yeah, it's all next phase.
Q: Matthew Judon told us he wanted to be full speed once pads came on. Are we going to see a little bit more of him out there today?
BB: Yeah, we'll see him. I'm sure we'll roll everybody through that's able to practice.
Q: Bill, I saw you guys scheduled practice for six days in a row this week. What goes into the thinking when you schedule so many practices like that?
BB: Well, it was either, you've got to give them Saturday or Sunday off last week, so pick a day. We picked Saturday.
Q: How do you feel about your team's depth along the defensive line?
BB: Yeah, we'll see. We've got a long way to go here. Again, it's hard to evaluate the offensive and defensive linemen here until we get into pads and get into those kinds of competitive practices, so we'll see.
Q: You've talked in the past about how important it is for every team to forge its own identity every year and that it's a developing process. Can you get a read on where a team is headed in terms of its chemistry, discipline, the way its going to go about its business, to this juncture, or does it really start when the pads come on?
BB: No, I think it started in the offseason program. That's something you earn and do every day. I don't think it happens magically on August 9, or whatever. You earn confidence and trust every day.
Q: Is the situational and the discipline and things like that, situational football and things like that, that have always been such great tenants of what you're doing, that you always emphasize anyway, increasingly emphasized this year because there were junctures last year where it wasn't as good as you probably expect?
BB: Yeah, we're always looking to do the best we can in all situations, so don't see that changing.
Q: What have you seen from Trent Brown since he's shown up for camp?
BB: Yeah, Trent's in good shape. He's lighter than he's been, and he's been working at left tackle. Again, none of the linemen have been in pads. Nobody's been in pads, so you're working on the fundamentals, the footwork and the assignments that we can work on. Offensive and defensive line, that's what they've been doing.
Q: I had a question about the rookie numbers system that you've had for five or six years now, in the 50s and 60s. It feels like maybe an old school, earning your spot type of thing. I was wondering what you like about that, that numbering system you have going on?
BB: It just organizes it. I don't think that numbers are the most important thing we are doing right now. Trying to learn how to play football.
Q: Is today a big day for the rookies with the pads on?
BB: You know, I think every day is a big day for everybody. We only have so many of them, and you need to make them all count, so I don't think if they have one good day and 10 bad ones, is all that great, personally. That's not really what we're looking for. Trying to be consistent, string good days together day after day. No days are perfect; we all make mistakes every day. You try to correct, move on and get better the next day. That's what training camp is for.
Q: When you go from helmet and shells to full pads finally on, what do you watch for to stand out today?
BB: Fundamentals that we can do in pads that we can't do in shells.
Q: What do you think about how Mac Jones fared with the red zone emphasis over the last few days?
BB: Well, again, as a team, we're installing a lot, and so there's not as much individual. I mean, all of us can learn from what we do, and that's the idea of running the plays, getting used to them and all that. But, we're working with different people and we'll start the evaluation here as things go forward, and start to get into the second or third time around on a few things, and build a better idea on that.
Q: Is it a good opportunity for you to see how he and Bill O'Brien, or how the teaching and learning process is going?
BB: Well, that's been going on since when we started the offseason program. It's been going on since OTAs in May. So, yeah, I don't think that's a problem.
Q: What's it been like having Bill [O'Brien] back this offseason and what has he brought to your staff so far?
BB: Yeah, Bill's great. Bill's great to work with. A really experienced coach, has a good feel for all aspects of the game. He's been a head coach, and it's different than when it was the last time. He's had that experience handling all types of things besides just being an offensive coordinator. So, yeah, he brings a lot of experience, a lot of confidence. It's great to have Bill.
Q: Bill, because there's fewer of them, how valuable are these padded practices to you?
BB: Well, we have the same number as everybody else has. So, each day, there's a silent competition between every team where you're just trying to do more than your opponents are with the same opportunities. We won't know how that competition comes out for a quite a while, but that's what's going on daily. Other teams are developing how they're improving, and ultimately they'll compete against each other at some point.
Q: Obviously 1-on-1 pass rush is a competitive drill; guys want to win. Is there any room there for them to experiment with perhaps new moves, defensively, or is it just work on what you know at that point?
BB: Yeah, that's what practice is for. All 1-on-1 drills, yeah. Work on new moves, work on something that you're trying to develop, whether that's a route, a coverage, a rush, a protection, a throw. Yeah, that's what practice is for. It's to try to develop confidence and timing, and experiencing things that you haven't maybe done as much of. Yeah, absolutely.
Q: Coach, what have you seen from Conor McDermott after he's in his second consecutive year in the system?
BB: Yeah, Conor's had a good spring. Again, he's been out here every day. He's a smart guy, he's a solid guy. It's good to get him when we got him last year; I thought he really helped us, and he's been consistent for us every day.
Q: Bill, you cautioned us that there's periods that are evaluation, and then there's periods that are just install, etc. Is today basically the outset of evaluation for you?
BB: Well, it isn't like we haven't evaluated anything. So, it's part of a long process, yeah. Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle: you put one piece on the puzzle, not 90 of the 100. It's one of the hundred, or however many days there are, I don't know, going all the way back to the spring. They all matter. Otherwise, why do we do them?
Q: But, if somebody screws up now, it's a little less…We're in August now. Is that more of a …
BB: Again, we expect to do our best every day. We're out here to do our best every day, and that's what we're here for.
Q: Bill, obviously you knew Adrian Klemm before hiring him this offseason, but what have you learned about him as a coach since you've had him here in that capacity?
BB: Yeah, Adrian's good. He's a smart guy, good fundamental coach. He's coached a lot of NFL players in college, and obviously coached the Steelers for a couple years. So, he has a good level of playing and coaching experience, coaching a lot of good players in some different systems. He's just a well-rounded coach, good background with Dante [Scarnecchia], so, a lot of fundamentals that we believe in and that we've watched here for a long time.