HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 29, 2022
Q: Still fun?
BB: Love it, love it. Training camp. Another week of camp here. Good opportunity for us to continue to get better. Obviously, no game this week but a lot of things for us to work on. Then we'll start our preparations for Miami next week. We can get a head start on a few things there but there's just some things that we need to cover this week, situationally, and clean up some things that through the course of the preseason we haven't got to yet. But looking forward to it.
Q: When you see him [Chris Berman] do you think rumbling, stumbling, bumbling?
BB: Absolutely, yeah. I think of "The Nattily-Clad" Bill Belichick, coined that phrase for me.
Q: Do you like having the two week period here to get yourself set from Week One and then go to Week Two?
BB: The schedule is what it is. We don't have any control over it. So we just try to make the best out of the time that we have available, and the most out of the practices, and meetings times and so forth. So I feel like we have a good schedule to work with here for the time that we have and try to make the most of it.
Q: Obviously you've seen more football than anybody in this room except maybe Chris [Berman], in that time in developing for the game what does your analysis tell you in terms of where your offense, in terms of being comfortable, sits 13 days before the regular season?
BB: I don't think you really know where your team is until you get to about midseason, mid-October. Play five, six, seven games, match up against some different teams, see for real what your strengths and weaknesses are, and your opponents as well. What it looks like on paper, and what it is in preseason and what it is in regular season. I don't think they're all the same. People start attacking you, you start attacking other people, you get a much better feel for what your problems are maybe what your strengths are, how good they actually are. So, that's it.
Q: What are the next 24 hours like for you, your staff, front office and also the players who are trying to make a roster?
BB: I think it's a lot of anxiety with the players of the team, as you would expect. We have to make 27 roster moves, so it's a pretty good chunk of players. It's always a difficult time for them. For the coaching staff it's a combination of things: roster movement, Miami preparation, just general team preparations from the end of preseason heading into the start of the regular season, and a lot of situational football, things like that that we haven't really had or have only had minimal practice time on it -- we know is going to be very important to the results of a lot of games this year. Just settling into a regular season type of routine versus a training camp routine. That's a transition for us this week. So I think it's important for all us to get on a good, productive routine during the season and this is a week for us to start to develop that. So different than our training camp routine. So a lot of things going on there on the coaching end. Again, I think certainly some anxious moments for players, their families, their friends and all that, as you would expect.
Q: How have the changes in roster flexibility in terms of practice squad and IR changed the approach to roster cut deadlines?
BB: Our rules haven't changed that dramatically. Players will be placed on injured reserve for the season prior to the 53 cut, like Ronnie Perkins for example, Malcolm Butler. Players like that are either out for the season or they're out until you do an injury settlement with them then that's a process, which that's been about the same. The practice squad is the practice squad. It's a way to keep some additional players around to help you practice and possibly develop. I would say you're talking about the, well it's 60th to the 70th players, I don't know how many of those players have a dramatic impact on any team in the league year in and year out. Do they provide some depth? Yes. Do they develop into big players? I'm not sure how many would fall into that category. My guess is not very many. But there are probably a couple here or there. So I think a lot of those, the end of it isn't overly significant. But it's part of your roster, and management, and practicing and fundamentally working through your team. But locker room's more crowded, training room's more crowded, more players on the practice field, more players in the meeting room, more people to manage with the hope that they'll be able to give you some depth. It is what it is.
Q: Matt Groh mentioned there's a lot of process in gathering information as far as guys you might be able to keep on the roster, cut return. Is part of that gathering outside of the league in terms of your evaluation of guys you might be able to sneak through and return after tomorrow?
BB: Outside the league?
Q: In terms of when you gather information, is that intel that you might try to determine your decision 'hey we might be we able to sneak this guy through and return him," or is it based strictly on your own evaluation of that player?
BB: No, I think there's an element of league perception, what other teams might do. Maybe there's some, quote on quote, inside information you might be able to acquire somehow or maybe if a team has inquired about a player you know they're interested, things like that. There's a little bit of that. But I'd say generally speaking, you try to do what's best for your team, and whatever the conversations are about player movement take them for what they are. I would say probably 90 percent of those conversations don't materialize into anything. But we've had a few from time to time that do. There's a lot more talk than there is action. But there's a lot of talk. It's kind of pre-draft talk.
Q: How do you feel about the tackle depth on the team right now, knowing it's a difficult decision usually to try to find guys?
BB: Not bad. Two players that are pretty established starters. A few young players that have, I would say are continuing to get better that have had some playing time -- Justin [Herron] more than Yodny [Cajuste] and Yasir [Durant]. But they've all played.
Q: You mentioned something earlier about how you don't really know what your team is going to look like until about half way through the season. Do you ever remind players of that? Or how important is it to have players on the team that understand that, like a Devin McCourty or Matthew Slater, to kind of send that message to the rest of the guys? Is that an important message for them to get?
BB: Well that's not a message for today. We'll deal with that later. But I think a lot of veteran players are aware of it, and I've heard a lot of people comment on it. September is an extension of the preseason, building your team, developing your team. I think there's some truth to that. But games start now, so it's important to be competitive early. I think we saw some of that last year. But we see it every year, but certainly saw it last year.
Q: Do you have any update on Ty Montgomery? His status?
BB: No. Can't wait for those injury reports to come out though. Then we can update you on a regular basis. When do they start? They start next week? I can't wait for those. So we'll give you the updates on those. But since we're not doing that now, it's not really a priority. Sorry
Q: Does the cut down process start today? Or are you going to give players another practice and do that tomorrow?
BB: It varies. We'll see how it goes here. But certainly it will be all the way done tomorrow, as it has to be. Although there may be some things that happen sooner than others. Or maybe not. We'll see. I'll talk to Matt [Groh] about that later this afternoon. We'll see where we're at.
Q: Several undrafted free agents types who have had good camps. What does that say to you about the process that you guys have here and the scouting that goes into identifying and bringing those players in?
BB: We've had some very competitive players in that category this year. It seems like we usually do, but this year for sure maybe a little more than most. I think through the years we've had about as many guys as most teams have, or as some teams have and they're really pretty competitive with our late round draft choices in terms of making the roster, contributions, and things like that. Again, once they get here players are players. So it's not really about how they got here, or where they came from or what they did before that. It's about what they can do for the team and what they can do for the team this year. So that's a new evaluation from 2022 to 2021. I think we have some very competitive guys in that category. I think that's quite a bit about that around the league. I've heard other teams talk about that too, a couple of undrafted guys that have really made a strong run at roster spots that obviously if team's thought they were going to do that, they probably would've drafted them. But it's a very competitive situation and some of those guys take that and make the most of it. We've had plenty of that in this camp.
Q: Considering it's less than 28 hours away or something to that effect, how much deliberation is left internally about what your best 53 is for this roster?
BB: I think we have a pretty good idea of the players, and their skills and all that. It's really just the question of management and trying to figure out what the best thing to do to keep the most players and keep most of them available as you can. There's going to be players on the roster that are inactive and there's going to be players on the practice squad that are inactive. So sometimes it's a judgement as to where that inactive player sits. Again, we'll see how things play out through the rest of the league here. Talk to Matt [Groh] to see where things are with other teams that have inquired about some players and some conversation going on, like there usually is at this time of the year. We'll see if that amounts to anything. It may have an effect. I don't know.
Q: What position group do you feel most confident about for any roster changes today in late August? Safeties?
BB: I would say the safety group is a pretty impressive group. It's good to see Jabrill [Peppers] out on the field. Devin [McCourty], AP [Adrian Phillips], [Kyle] Dugger, played a lot of football for us last year. You add Jabrill to that mix and Myles [Bryant] has also played safety for us out of the corner group. So between those five guys it's a pretty deep position. But we've shown packages, and used packages last year with all three safeties on the field. Jabrill wasn't here obviously. [Joshuah] Bledsoe has had a good camp as well. So I think that's a pretty competitive position, not just for roster spots, but also for playing time and how that gets distributed. So I would say that's probably my number one. Thanks.