HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 4, 2022
BB: Morning. Kind of more of the same here: starting to build into some more team situations today, down and distance, moving the field, things like that that involve sideline substitutions and matching defensively, matching personnel groups, matching calls with the right group and so forth. That type of thing. Going to continue to build on some live work, try to get the players ready for some contact. We've added a little bit each day that we've had on pads. Get through the week here. Tomorrow night will give us an opportunity to work on our gameday routine and get guys into the mindset of playing a game versus just coming out to practice and what that entails, and the preparation prior to the game. Pregame warm-up, and just generally getting ready to go, what that looks like. Especially for guys that haven't been on this team, which is basically half our team. Last time they played a game it was with somebody else in college or some other NFL team. Process is always a little bit different from team to team. We'll tune some things up here next week and get ready for the Giants. That's kind of where we're tracking here. We're definitely making progress. We have miles to go, but we're inching along.
Q: What sort of team bonding activities go on off the field?
BB: We do a number of things, a lot of just getting to know your teammates and doing things like that. Making sure that we know our teammates, players, coaches. So, learning about your teammates, whether it's sitting with them at dinner, whether it's doing trivia questions. Sometimes they're counting on each other, like one-die-all-die: one guy makes a mistake then everybody pays the consequences – that brings everybody together. Doesn't really matter if you know it, but if somebody doesn't know it, then everybody loses. Or, sometimes, if one person knows it, everybody wins, and then that person gets a lot of appreciation from his teammates. Different things like that.
Q: It's Kendrick Bourne's birthday today – are you planning on celebrating with the team?
BB: Of course. We had Henry Anderson yesterday, KB today. Yeah, we've had a bunch of birthdays. We try to recognize those. Sometimes they slip by – some guys want to be recognized, some players don't. Some of the older coaches don't necessarily need that. But yeah, sure. Thank you.
Q: Do you think that fantasy football is good or bad for the NFL?
BB: Honestly, I don't really have any opinion on that, because fantasy football doesn't mean anything to me. We're just trying to win games out here, so I don't know who's hot, who's not, who wins, who doesn't. I don't really care about that. I just care about whether we win.
Q: We've been impressed with the performance of Christian Barmore so far in this camp. Can you share your thoughts on how you think he's done so far through seven days?
BB: Yeah, well again, it's not really seven days for us. It's just really a continuation of spring all the way back to the offseason program in mid-April. Christian's done a good job. He's way ahead of where he was last year. First of all, he's in much better condition. Second of all, he has a much better understanding of what we do, what our opponents do, and the daily routine or the weekly routine of how the progression's going to go, because he's been through it. There were times, with all rookies, where they don't expect it to be as much as it is, or they expect it to be more than what it is. Maybe fatigue they can't get through, can't pace themselves, just because they don't know. Now they know and they're much better at that. He's been more consistent, like all second-year players – this isn't really unique to him – but he's been more consistent. He has a better understanding of our scheme, the opponent's scheme, what can happen, what's a problem, how to handle those problems when they come up. And his physical development, his techniques, his skills: overall strength, speed, stamina, have improved. They were good anyway, but they've gotten better through training. He's making progress.
Q: What did you see from Bill Murray to flip him from defense to offense?
BB: Thought he'd be a good fit over there. He has a lot of good traits we look for in an offensive lineman. We've talked about it before at other points in time during his career, and just felt like this is a good opportunity for him. We'd be able to give him reps, we felt like we'd given him enough of a look on defense to know where he is, but also to know if we had to move him back, that he would be able to do that. We'd have enough time to do it. So, if that's in a couple weeks, I think we could get him ready to play on defense. He's smart, he knows what we're doing. He'd have to sharpen up his skills and so forth, but I think we could get to that point if we had to. And maybe somewhere along the line there's some type of combination, but right now he's an offensive lineman and we've worked him there exclusively. Those are the plans going forward. Could they change? Possibly, but right now that's what it is.
Q: Is today's weather at all a factor in anything you do?
BB: We can't control it. Obviously we keep an eye on guys, we monitor their hydration, their workloads, anyway – we do that on a daily basis. It's hot, it's cold, it's windy, it rains, it snows, whatever it is. We can't control it. We just deal with it. I'm sure it'll be hot in Miami. It'll be hot in Vegas.
Q: How do you feel about the competition at wide receiver?
BB: I think we have good competition at that position, and that will be determined by how players perform. I can't control that, so we'll see how it goes. Again, we're really getting into the competition evaluation phase here now and for the next two, three weeks. We're kind of past the teaching stages and into more of a production stage here. So, we'll see what we can do. Looks like all three of our quarterbacks are pretty accurate in the passing game, can get them the balls. Not saying they're all the same, but they can all throw the ball. So that's been good for the receivers, because there's been a lot of opportunities from those skilled quarterbacks. It's been good.
Q: Is Coach [Nick] Caley back today?
Q: Do you expect him back tomorrow?
BB: When he's ready, he'll come back. I can't control that.
Q: What's your sense in regards to what you have in terms of speed and athleticism at the linebacker position?
BB: It is what it is, I don't think it's going to change dramatically over the next few days. It's really about production and performance and how each guy does with his skillset and how he performs. I don't think they're going to get faster, or stronger, or grow bigger in the next coming weeks. Their skillsets are their skillsets. How they perform with them, we'll see.
Q: Yesterday, you mentioned the Army-Navy game here next year. Do you have a connection for tickets?
BB: Do I think I can get a ticket to the game? I do. I think I could get a ticket to the game. Look, the Naval Academy has been nothing but exceptional and great to our family. I moved there when I was four, and regardless of what my age or position was – whether I was in school, an assistant coach, a coordinator, a head coach, whatever it was – whatever I've asked for from the Naval Academy, and specifically the people that are there now – Admiral Buck, Chet Gladchuck, Coach Ken [Niumatalolo] – if I've asked them for anything, they have delivered it on a silver platter. Done as much as they possibly could, whether that was for my mom, my dad, my kids, anybody. They've taken care of our family to the absolute very best that they possibly could, and I sincerely appreciate that, from the bottom of my heart. So, I think if I asked them for something, they would probably try to do it for me, because that's what they've done for almost 70 years. I have nothing but great things to say about the Naval Academy: institution, football program, athletic program, Admiral Buck – it all starts with him and goes down. Couldn't feel any stronger about an organization than that one.
Q: You mentioned the quarterbacks earlier – what kind of progress have you seen from Bailey Zappe?
BB: He's making progress every day. Every day is a learning day for him. Every day's a good day, does some things better, we put some new things in. Sometimes that's the process, depending on what it is, and how familiar he is with it or how comfortable he is with it. He's gotten better every day. Hopefully that will continue. Sometimes it levels off, sometimes it drops off, sometimes it climbs higher. So, we'll just have to see. But he's been good to work with, and he works hard, and he's smart and has a good skillset, and I would say good anticipation in the passing game. We'll see what happens when we start playing, and he gets hit a couple times, and all of that. There are things we just can't see out here that will be a factor. But, he's going in the right direction.