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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/29

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

PRESS CONFERENCE
August 29, 2023

BB: Good afternoon, we're working through some preparation here for the week today, tomorrow, Thursday and then take a break over the weekend, obviously, and then start getting ready for Philly [Philadelphia]. So, still got a few balls in the air here, obviously this is a big day for some roster continuations, roster decisions, roster moves and there will be well over 1,000 of them over the course of the league, including the ones that have already happened. Multiples balls in the air here for the next couple of days, but that's the way it is this time of the year. We all knew that it was coming, so we're here.

Q: Bill, I know you were asked about Calvin Anderson yesterday, just wondering if there has been any change on that, if he's been cleared to practice with you guys?

BB: We're working through a lot of things. We'll let you know if and when anything happens. We've got a few balls in the air.

Q: Are guys going to practice today if you don't anticipate them making the team still? Are you going to tell them [the players] before practice? How's that going to work?

BB: There are multiple players in multiple different situations and combinations.

Q: Bill, I know you were asked about the kicker competition over the weekend, and you said it's very competitive between those two guys, Chad [Ryland] and Nick [Folk]. Do you trust Chad to be your field goal kicker to start the season here?

BB: Everybody that is on our team I trust. Otherwise, they wouldn't be on our team.

Q: I guess I was just specifying kickoffs vs. field goals. You would be comfortable with him doing either one?

BB: Well, again, whatever the role is, if the player is on our team, it's because we're comfortable with him doing it. If we aren't, we should find somebody else.

Q: After releasing [Trace] McSorley yesterday, do you feel good about just going into the season with two quarterbacks or are you looking to add there?

BB: We talk about this every year. What the roster is today, what it is tomorrow and what it is the next day. There's going to be changes on our roster and every other roster in the league. Every single team will have roster transactions over the next multiple days. Including some up until the day before the opener. It's a process. We'll work through it. Some guys will come back, some guys won't. We acquired players from another team, two players from other teams. There's multiple things going on. So, I'm not going to comment about where we are or aren't today, because the process is far from being over. We're right in the middle of it. Not all the players that you would ask about who aren't here aren't necessarily not going to be back here. So, we'll see how it goes.

Q: What did you see from Tyrone Wheatley and Vederian Lowe that make them good fits in your system?

BB: We acquired both young players. I think they have upside and want to work with them. So, put them out there and see how it goes.

Q: On those two guys, how much does your scouting report on them coming out of college influence your decision versus what you've seen from them in the NFL, which probably isn't that much, right? I mean, they haven't played that much.

BB: Right. Well, with Wheatley, he played tight end in college, so less on him. I mean Lowe, he played for five years at Illinois, so more on him in college. Lowe's had two years in the league and played every snap against Tennessee at left tackle. Wheatley played in the preseason, so it's a combination of things. We had Wheatley in for a workout, last year I think it was. So, information comes from various sources: college film, college interviews, pro film, workouts, other information we've gathered along the way. That's what the scouting department does. They do a good job of it, so …

Q: What did Bryce Baringer kind of reaffirm with your evaluation of him when you drafted him and did he open your eyes by anything in terms of his adjustment to the NFL level over the course of the last few weeks?

BB: Look, I think any young player, obviously a big adjustment coming into the National Football League. Long way to go, they've experienced some things. They'll all experience a lot more, how they'll do, and other challenges, and more challenges at any position, but especially that position, in New England over the course of the year is going to be something he'll have to deal with. We'll see. Certainly, Michigan State had their share of balmy days, as we will, but, other ones as well. But, I mean it's a whole different – everything's different. The rush is better, the returns are better, it's harder to pin them inside the 15. Everything's harder, and that's true for all rookies. We'll see how it goes.

Q: We've seen a couple of times Cole Strange arrive late in practice, not participate, obviously. Do you expect him to practice today?

BB: Yeah, day-to-day. We'll see how he is today, see how it goes.

Q: I know in in previous years we've talked about how difficult a day this can be for players who are not going to be making this team. I was wondering if you might share a little bit about how that process goes for you and for your staff just in terms of communicating that with the players, one-on-one conversations and anything you might be able to share about how challenging a day this is?

BB: Well yeah, it's a tough day for everyone. We have relationships with players, some over an extended period of time, some less. But, we talked about it the other day, it's difficult for everyone. It's difficult on relationships. But, we all knew this day was coming, and this is part of the process. It's a very competitive league. There's a lot of very talented players, and they compete, and not everybody can have a spot. So, that's difficult. Again, like I always do, I would caution you against thinking things are over when they're not necessarily over on a lot of levels. They might not be over here. They might not be over somewhere else. Players have certainly left here and gone and had careers, and players have been released by other teams and come here. The Rob Ninkovich's of the world or whatever, tough day for him and it's the end of his line – and it definitely wasn't. So, the stories aren't over here. It's just one step in the process for us and the players, for some it will be and for others it won't be. Some players that we release will come back and play for us, be on the practice squad, and some won't. Again, we all knew those numbers and the math when we started. We don't know exactly what they'll be, but we have a general idea, so that's the way it is every year. But yeah, it's always difficult to even have to tell a player that he's not going to be on the roster, he's going to be on the practice squad, or he's not going to be here at all, or whatever it is. But like I said, unfortunately, that's part of the process. It's what we all signed up for. That's what it is. This is one of the days that it happens.

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