HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 31, 2021
BB: Working through a few things here today. That's obviously the same thing every other team is doing, so it's part of the process here. They'll be a lot of transactions, and like I said, we'll just work our way through them. Obviously looking forward to the kickoff dinner tonight. It's always a great event to honor and recognize the things that the team's done in terms of community service and the Ron Burton Award winner and so forth. That's always a great day for our team to see. Not that they don't see, but continue to see what we do off the field as well on the field, such as the Haiti trip and so forth. Just plugging away here, and the big thing today and honestly, through the week, I'm sure they'll be a lot of transactions throughout the league, and so we'll just see how all that plays out.
Q: Is this about the busiest day of the calendar?
BB: Well in terms of player transactions, yeah. We've already had about 300 or whatever it is. 320. Well, like 350. Whatever it's been, and it's another thousand, so it's about 1,300 players over the course of the last whatever 14 days. There will be things all through the week. There will be a lot of players today, and then there'll be others through the course of the week. Obviously practice squad. Start that tomorrow and so forth. See how it all goes, but yeah. It's busy. It's a lot busier for our personnel department. I'm trying to keep track of all those guys and talking to other teams and figuring out if there's any conversations to be had and so forth, and that's what this really, not just today, but this whole week is. What it's been, too. It started back on Thursday, Friday with teams started releasing guys after they played that final preseason game.
Q: I know you talk about the draft about just how coordinated, combined effort it is between Dave Ziegler, Eliot Wolf, Matt Patricia being hands-on with the draft. With this day, how would you describe just the collaboration?
BB: I'd say more similar to free agency just because it's all pro players. Certainly, there's some relevance to college because some of these guys have only played two or three preseason games, and so there's a lot of college information on them as well, but yeah. It's more like free agency with some of the same people that you mentioned plus people in the pro department with Steve Cargile and his staff. Certainly Eliot [Wolf] Dave [Ziegler], Matt [Groh] play a key role in that.
Q: Prior to N'Keal Harry getting injured, had you seen the type of progress that you perhaps were hoping to see in this year for him?
BB: Well, I think N'Keal had a good camp. Again, last year was a lot different for all of us, so it's hard to compare last year to anything. Really just looking at this year. I thought N'Keal had a good camp, and I'm glad we have him. I think he'll make a big contribution to our team. We'll see how it all goes, and from a time standpoint of when he'll be able to get back on the field, but I know he's working hard and is making progress with his rehab. So we'll just keep monitoring that and see how it goes.
Q: Yesterday in talking about Nick Folk and Quinn Nordin, just noting how very competitive that situation was. Is there any more clarity as to where that stands this morning?
BB: We'll announce all our transactions after we've made them.
Q: Along the same lines. Any more clarity on the quarterback?
BB: Same answer.
Q: There was a clip of Cam Newton and Mac Jones from Sunday's preseason game of Cam wanting a high five from Mac who just missed it. Did you see that clip?
BB: No. I missed it.
Q: How have you seen their relationship develop since the beginning of preseason?
BB: I think our players have good relationships all the way across the board. Veteran players been great with the younger players in terms of helping them. Young players have been great about asking questions and actively working on suggestions and comments from veteran players. I wouldn't say that's always the case, but I think on this team it's been noticeable in a very positive direction and certainly between those two players, including Brian Hoyer and Mac, Cam and [Jarrett] Stidham when he's been here. That seems all positive to me. You'd have to ask them about that specifically. I can't talk somebody else's relationship. That's really something for them to talk about, but there's been a lot of good interaction on our team at all positions.
Q: Earlier in the summer, I think it was N'Keal's agent, requested a trade. I know you just said you think he'll make a contribution to this team. Did him and his agent essentially re-send the trade request? How did that go down?
BB: How did what go down? Whatever conversations are between agents, players, myself, like those are all private conversations.
Q: Safe to say you guys are certainly on the same page?
BB: I never talked to [Harry's] agent. All right. You'd have to ask his agent. Whatever he did or didn't say. I don't even know. I'm a coach. N'Keal's a player. I think we have a good player-coach relationship. We've talked, so whatever somebody else said or did or whatever, you should talk to them about that.
Q: What has stood out to you about J.J. Taylor this summer?
BB: J.J. has continued to work hard and improve. He's made a lot of progress in the return game. Handling the ball and decision-making. Things like that. As well as offensively, carrying the ball in the running game. Patience, run reads, and in the passing game, route running, blitz pick up. I mean, he still has work to do like all young players do, but he's definitely made a lot of progress and had a lot of opportunities in the preseason that obviously weren't there last year, but he had an opportunity to do that, and I think that certainly helped him. He has a running style that's difficult for some defenders to tackle. He's made some yards on his own, and those are the kind of things that are hard to see in a practice setting but show up in the games. It's important for that position, just like it's important for the guys that are tackling for them to show their ability to tackle in game situations. So, there's some things that show up in games that we just either can't evaluate or have much less of an evaluation on in practice. We do a tackling drill. That's not quite the same as game tackling. It's been good to see that, and I think he's done well with it. He's improved quite a bit.
Q: What have you seen from Gunner Olszewski's development as a wide receiver?
BB: Gunner's made improvements, too. Same thing. He's been able to play multiple spots for us and has improved his route running technique and overall receiver skills. Similar to J.J. Still has a way to go. I don't think he's a finished product yet, but certainly a lot better than what it was. He works hard. He's made a lot of improvements. Continues to. He's smart. He's able to play multiple positions. He's come a long way, and I think there's still some areas in front of him that he can get better.
Q: Final question. How would you characterize the preseason training camp that Cam Newton has had?
BB: Again, last year was totally different. I feel like everybody's way ahead of where they were last year. Certainly, he started at a much higher point than what he did last year, so definitely moving in the right direction.