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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/3

Read a transcript of Bill Belichick's day 7 training camp press conference on Thursday, August 3, 2017.

BB: BB: Alright, how are we doing today? Grinding through camp here. 

Q: Since you've put the pads on, we've some of the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive lineman. What can you learn from players in those one-on-one periods?

BB: Well, you know, all those one-on-one periods are good periods because they give the players an opportunity to just focus on the technique. There's no play, there's no down-and-distance, there' none of all the other things that come and there's no adjustments. It's just focus on individual fundamental techniques, and every play has a lot of those in them. So, various drills - long ball drills, one-on-one drills, so forth - it isolates just the technique - footwork, hand placement, leverage, so forth - and all the things that are involved without all the other components of a play that factor into a play where players don't have to think about that. You can just focus on his technique. We just coach his technique so it's part of the overall process of the good play. 

Q: Do you find that those drills simulate pretty well what a player sees once you get the whole team out in 11-on-11?

BB: Again, it's that fundamental. I mean, again, there are a lot of other things that could happen, and there are other players that are involved in a play that it's not just isolated. There are times when it's just isolated, but the majority of the time, it really isn't. But your fundamentals need to be good, and if they're good in the individual one-on-one part of it, then usually those fundamentals will transfer to stunts and combination routes and so forth and so on. Again, it's just the teaching progression. I mean, if fundamentals are wrong in a basic one-on-one situation, then it's just going to go downhill from there. It's not going to get any better. So, then when other things start happening, when you start getting games or combination routes or pick routes or whatever, whatever the next part of the sequence is, then it's just going to get worse. So, you try to start with a good fundamental. You try to start doing it right, and then, if you have to make adjustments during the play or as the play extends, then those are further coaching points, which we go from one-on-one to two-on-two, and pass rush and pass protection one-on-one to two-on-two, to eventually five-on-four, to team, sometimes half-line - not half-line, but just the interior line, like seven-on-six, six-on-six in pass protection - and then we go to full team. So that's just the logical progression to put it all together. 

Q: Have you found that one-on-one drills are helpful to the coaching staff to notice something about a player you might not know much about? Is it easier to see something in those drills, as opposed to the team periods?

BB: Some players are better players in one-on-one, isolated situations, and some players are better in team situations. They don't necessarily correlate directly. Some guys, when you put the other 21 guys out there, just have an instinct and a feel and better anticipate and maybe react quicker than what they would if it's just a one-on-one matchup. Some guys, in a one-on-one matchup, do better. And then when you put everybody else out there, certainly when you start to change the situations a little bit - change the formation, change the plays, change the down-and-distances - then it slows down and you don't see that same level of performance that you see in one-on-ones. Now, sometimes that changes as the player gets more experienced and gets more comfortable and can transfer his individual skills into team skills and apply - because, again, not every play is the same play- so applying certain skills in certain situations. Yeah, I mean, we definitely learn those things. It's not all equal. Each guy is different, but I think you try to take the positives and show a player, 'Look, here you are in one-on-one situations. You've got to be able to transfer that to team,' or, 'Here's how you can individually have more success by doing this technique better or that technique a little better because you're just isolated on that.' There's no I was reading this, or I got that call or something else happened. You can eliminate all of that. And the players learn from each other. You watch the other guys do it and you see another guy do something or you see him make a mistake and you understand why you can't do that or maybe you can do something that he can do. That also is a good time to experiment with a different pass rush technique or a different route technique or a different coverage technique or something that maybe you personally don't feel as confident about. Now, in a one-on-one situation, you might be more apt or we would tell the player, 'Look, here's a good time for you to use this so you can came some confidence in it,' so we would use it in a team or eventually in a game setting that he might not do if he didn't gain the confidence in a more isolated drill.

Q: How much does it complicate things when one specific position group gets pretty shallow with minor injuries in training camp?

BB: Yeah, that's part of training camp and part of just practice in general is managing your team, trying to keep everybody moving along. But sometimes, as you said, if a certain group is lower in numbers, that affects what either that side of the ball can do or maybe what the other side of the ball can do against it. Occasionally, we have to make some kind of modifications. Hopefully the train doesn't come to a complete halt and we're able to maybe do a little more of something else in order to manage the reps of a particular player or a particular group, like when Joe Cardona wasn't here at the beginning of training camp. We modified our teaching schedule a little bit there to work on a couple phases of the kicking game when he wasn't here and changed that to work on the ones where we needed a snapper. It's not an uncommon thing. We talk about that every night when we go through our practice schedule. We go through the overall where our team is, where our individual position groups are, where the individual players are and put it all together. Occasionally, we have to make a team adjustment, but usually it's more within the group of how we're going to rep the plays with the players that are there. Not an uncommon thing. 

Q: Fans seemed to enjoy watching you throw blocking pads at the quarterbacks in practice on Tuesday. Do you take any particular enjoyment in that drill?

BB: Yeah, that's good. I mean, look, if they can't handle it from us, they're in a lot of trouble. They're going to get a lot bigger, stronger, faster, more explosive guys than what we have on the coaching staff. You know, we hit the receivers with bags and try to knock the ball away from them and make them catch through contact and make the quarterbacks avoid a rush and stuff like that. Look, if they can't handle us, it's going to be a long year.

Q: Tom Brady said after the Super Bowl that he has all the answers to the test. So, for someone with that wealth of experience, how can you challenge him on a daily and weekly basis?

BB: Yeah. I mean, look, there's a lot of us around here that have a lot of experience, but I don't really think that matters too much in terms of this year. We're in a new year. It's a new team, new opponents, new challenges, and we'll have to find a way to get over those hurdles, and they'll be there every day. They'll be there every week. Yeah, we've probably seen some element of it before somewhere, but not with this team we haven't. None of us have. I haven't coached this team before. None of the players on this team have played with some of the other players on the team, so we'll have to work all that out. 

Q: Does it ever surprise you how long Brady has been able to play and at this level?

BB: I mean, yeah. I mean, he's had a great career, he works hard, comes to work every day. It's been like that for a long time. So, I mean, I don't want to say you take it for granted, but I mean, I wouldn't say it's like a big shock that he's going to walk in here today and be prepared and go out and perform and give us his best. That's what he's been doing, so we all expect that. He expects that out of himself. I'm sure he expects it out of me. You know, we all expect it out of each other. But, the level of consistency and the longevity of it is obviously very, very impressive.

Q: Are you guys doing anything as a team for Brady's birthday during or after practice?

BB: Like the parade? Yeah. 

Q: With regards to Jimmy Garoppolo, you had to prepare him to play during training camp last year.

BB: Right, it was different. 

Q: How do you go about this preparation process with him this year, and how do you think he's gone about his business as he deals with the uncertainty of it now?

BB: Well, I don't think there's uncertainty about the situation. I mean, look, it is what it is. I think he's talked about it. It's different than it was last year. Last year was last year. This year is this year. Again, that's a good example of each year's a little bit different for all of us in one way or another, no matter how much experience we have. I think he's trying to make the most of his opportunities, trying to prepare and do the best that he can in the opportunities that he has, like every other player is. It's different, but at that position, we all know that could change in five minutes. That's like 2008. It can all change in a hurry. Actually, that's true at every position, not just that position. It's true at every position. When Lonie [Paxton] tore his ACL, that changed that in one play. That's what having a good team is is everybody being ready to go and having depth and being able to handle whatever we have to handle. 

Q: Do you feel like Garoppolo has been consistent enough for you in training camp thus far?

BB: Well, I mean, it's training camp. Look, I don't think any of us are where we need to be. I mean, we've been basically at this for a week, so there are things we all can do better. We all need to do better, starting with me, the coaching staff, every player - experienced, inexperienced, whatever position they play. I mean, we've all got a long way to go. We've got a lot of work to do. I don't think anybody's even close to where they need to be. 

Q: When it comes to the quarterback position, how do you balance encouraging a guy to take a chance he might not take in a game situation versus wanting to be as clean as possible in practice?

BB: Well, I mean, practice is the time to do it, and that's the only way - again, if you don't execute it in practice, it's hard to execute it in the game. I'm not saying never, but not very often. Yeah, you need to find that out in practice at quarterback - I mean, at other positions, as well, but specifically at quarterback - what windows you can get it into, what windows you can't, whether you can make this throw to that player or as you could do to another player. I mean, is it different? Can you do it the same? And that's finding that out, gaining confidence or understanding, 'No, I'm not comfortable doing that. I don't want to do that in a game situation.' It's a lot better to find that out in practice than it is in the game. Of course, we don't want to go out there and make a lot of mistakes, but there's definitely an element of aggressively executing a play in practice to find out what limit you can take it to in a more competitive situation. So that's what this is for. I wouldn't say all bad plays that happen are bad plays. A lot of times those plays become good plays or good learning plays for situations going forward. The bad plays really come in the games. Look, nobody wants to go out there and - the same thing with a receiver. I mean, you might run a route to try to experiment or try something a little bit different. Not a good route, didn't work - alright, we're not going to do that again the next time, or if we do it, we're going to do it differently to do it right. Yeah, I mean, there's definitely an element of that. That's not, again, to say we want to go out there and make 22 mistakes on every play because we're just winging it around and trying to experiment and find out and all that. I mean, that's not really what we're trying to do, but there is an element of that, especially at this time of year. But, you know, sometimes that happens in the regular season, too. You put in a play and, 'Alright, here's the play,' and you throw it in practice and, 'Can I get this in there? Yeah, you can,' or maybe, 'No, I can't. OK, if I get this look in the game, then I've got to go to my secondary receiver.' That kind of thing.

Q: Do you find that there's more of that aggressiveness when there are more new players involved, specifically receivers or pass-catching options?

BB: Well, again, there's always an element of that. I thought he was going to go behind, he thought he was going to go in front, and sometimes that's - I mean, we have rules on that. We coach things a certain way, but I mean, look, it's a fluid game. Once a player gets out there and he's in the play, he's going to make the best decision he can in that particular situation. Sometimes the guidelines are just guidelines and the player's going to do what he thinks is best in that situation. It's not always maybe the same as what his teammate thought it was going to be, whether it was a quarterback throwing to a receiver, whether it's two offensive lineman passing off a pass-rush game, whether it's a couple of defenders on a certain blocking scheme. 'I thought this was the way you were going to play it. I was going to play it this way. No, you're going to play it that way. Alright, then I'll make the adjustment.' I mean, there's a lot of that. There's a lot of that in our meetings when we go through the practice film of each other understanding - I mean, there's that silent communication - but each of us understanding what our teammates are going to do. So, eventually, we get to the point where we're not thinking about it. It's not an, 'I wasn't sure. I was waiting to see,' type of thing. We can just go out there and play aggressively because I know where you're going to be, you know where I'm going to be and we've done it enough times that we're confident in it. Yeah, that comes up a lot every night.

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