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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/5

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference with the media on Thursday, August 5, 2021.


August 5, 2021

Q: Are we going to be outside today?

BB: Yep. Yeah.

Q: Yesterday with Coach Tim Corbin, I'm curious what you know about Vanderbilt baseball?

BB: They're pretty good. They do a great job. It's a great program, and I have a lot of respect for Coach Corbin and what he does.

Q: Have you had a chance to connect with him prior to yesterday?

BB: Yeah. I'm familiar with the Vanderbilt situation down there.

Q: I wanted to ask you just about things that are hard to sort of tell from when we're watching in the media tent like read progressions, throwing mechanics, protection identification for quarterbacks? Those type of things, what have you observed from Mac Jones in terms of his progress in those areas?

BB: I think all our players are making progress out there. They should be. We've been practicing basically everyday now, getting into week two here. Everybody's getting better day by day and we still have a lot of things to go over. We still don't have all of our plays in. That'll go a few more days here. We're certainly getting closer, but that's really what we're doing here. We've had two days. This will be the second day where we actually can go out there and play football, and the rest of it is kind of an extension of the spring. By the time we get done with this week, we'll have the majority of our stuff installed and we can spend a little more time evaluating how everything is coming together next week.

Q: Josh McDaniels joked yesterday that Mac Jones is good at getting yelled at. I'm curious what you've seen from him as how he's taken Mac Jones hard coaching, which seems like it's not the first time he's taken that?

BB: I don't know. You'd have to ask him about other coaches he's had and all that. I'm not really sure about that. Our job is to coach the players and try to help them improve and make the team better, so that's what I'm trying to do. I'm sure that's what Josh [McDaniels] is trying to do. That's what all the coaches are trying to do. 

Q: In the pre-draft process, a lot of Mac Jones's coaches were talking about how thorough he is off the field to get ready to play on the field. I know you've coached Tom Brady and now Cam Newton, extremely diligent quarterbacks, but to what degree have you observed Mac Jones's ability to get the homework done to go the extra mile and be prepared?

BB: I think all our quarterbacks are working hard. Mac [Jones] is working hard. They're all working hard. He [Mac Jones] has got a long way to go. He's making progress, but it's a lot to cover and a lot of things to understand, and we haven't really got into situational football yet, at least not very much of it. There's a lot of volume there. We're working our way through it. That's the process, and that's where we are at this time of year, so I don't really think there's any way to make two days become one or two practices become one. We just got to take it day by day and get the most out of every opportunity that we have. I feel like all of our players are trying to do that, but we just need a lot more of them, that's all.

Q: When I spoke to Herm Edwards a few years ago, he was sort of speaking to the patience that New England should have with N'Keal Harry in terms of him developing. Do you ever preach patience to N'Keal in terms of his development and his expectations for himself to have an impact on the team?

BB: My focus with each player is to try to help them get better, to improve, to help them be contributors to a high degree and as much as possible with the team. That's really how I approach every player. Each player is different. Each situation is different, but generally speaking that's really what it comes down to. Each player wants to maximize his performance to try to maximize his opportunities with the team, and our job as coaches is to help the players, each individual player do that and then ultimately how the competition unfolds, it unfolds. We can't control that, so that's up to the individuals that compete and perform. That's the way I look at it.

Q: There's been a lot of discourse on the quarterback competition, but I'm curious about the running back competition as well. At this point, is there a clear starter, or will the offense kind of operate by committee as usual, or how do you see that going?

BB: I don't know how it's going to go. It depends on how the players play and compete and how they perform. We've had one day of practice, so it's kind of hard to evaluate, especially at that running back position where so much of it involves the opportunity for players to make yards with the ball in our hands and how effective they are doing that. That's not something we've had a lot of opportunity to do, but it is what it is. I don't know how things are going to turn out. That's up to the people that are competing and how they perform.

Q: In padded practice, Josh Uche seemed to stand out quite a bit, especially in the one-on-one drills. Could you speak a bit to his development from year one to year two and as well as how his role on the defense might have evolved or changed at all?

BB: Again, I don't know what his role will be. That'll be up to him. One-on-one drills are a good time for each player to focus on those individual techniques and fundamentals that apply to that drill. Usually what you see is, especially after you do it the first time, that there's a level of improvement from the first time to the second time to the third time and so forth until players get comfortable. Some guys might start faster than others. Some guys might not have a good first day, and it's always good to take advantage of every opportunity you get. I'm not trying to minimize that, but at the same time we got a lot way to go. I don't think you can evaluate players based on one play or two one on one pass rushes or whatever. It's a lot more than that. We'll see how things go on day two, see how things go on day three, four pads and then preseason games and so forth and see what the volume looks like. I don't think we can make big evaluations on one or two plays. It's a lot more than that. Hopefully we'll get to that volume and be able to make good decisions, but I would say we're not anywhere close to that right now.

Q: Now that we're a week out from the first preseason game, and there's only three preseason games this year as opposed to four in years past, how does your approach change as you prepare two quarterbacks in Mac and Cam knowing that there's fewer preseason game reps to get them ready for the regular season?

BB: We'll worry about the preseason games this weekend, and the Washington game, start worrying about that then. The other preseason games are going to involve some sort of joint practice. Each situation is a little bit different, but I'd say we'll take it as it comes. Right now, we're really focused on finishing up this week, training camp really, our first full week and after the startup period from last week and then we'll see where we are over the weekend. Set a course for the next three days in preparation for Washington on Thursday. Kind of have to look at this in pretty short windows as far as talking about second and third preseason game and all that. That's way too far away. Biggest thing we need to do is go out and have a good day today. Accomplish the things that we want to accomplish today and then reset our goals for tomorrow, and go out there and do it tomorrow, and just sustain it day after day. We'll have to see how those things develop when we get more information, and see how the team and individuals are progressing, what type of availability we have from each player. All that stuff is way too far out to plan right now.

Q: As you look across the entire team, do guys have to be a little more prepared going into the first week knowing that there are only three preseason games so do they sort of have to expedite the process with everybody as you get on the field in game situations?

BB: Well, I will always approach each, every opportunity we have as exactly that, an opportunity. Improve and get better both individually within the unit that we all belong to and ultimately with the team. Whatever that opportunity is, whether it's practice, a joint practice session, a preseason game, whatever it is. Those are opportunities, and we want to take advantage of them and make the most out of them, and if we don't, then we're missing that opportunity, and we're not going to get it back because we're going to go onto something else the next day. I would hope that every player or every coach that all of us will do that. Whatever opportunity that we get to play or coach or participate on the field in whatever the activity is, that we'd be prepared for it, we'd go out there and do our best and learn from it and whatever level that is, build it up higher and improve the next time. That's what I hope everybody would do. That's why we're doing it. However many opportunities it is, it is.

Q: Obviously you guys are no strangers to working in this kind of weather. What are some of the benefits to working in the conditions like the ones you'll see today and might they impact the kinds of things that you can work on in practice?

BB: Well, whatever it is, it is. I can't control that. Looks like the field will be wet. If it rains, it rains. If it doesn't, it doesn't. If it's hot, it's hot. If it's not, then that's what it is. Nothing's changed. It's just good fundamentals, good ball security, being aware of the conditions that we're in can be significant, a little more focus on looking the ball in and so forth. Ultimately the game is played against a competitor, so we're not out there playing the weather. The offense is competing against the defense, and the defense is competing against the offense. All we do is worry about keeping our hands dry then it's probably not going to be a lot of good results. If that's what it is, then however that applies to an individual's particular fundamental and technique, if there has to be a little bit of a combination made there then hopefully they'll learn how to make that relatively minor adjustment. The most important thing for us is to execute the assignments and then the proper techniques and fundamentals that go with those assignments. That's really what we need to improve on as a football team, and hopefully that's what we get out of today's practice.

Q: I wanted to ask you a question related to something we saw for practice I think on Monday when Nancy Meier was on the field for a photo with the members of your personnel department. Season No. 47 for her. We've seen women coaching in the Super Bowl. Women's Football Forum has grown a lot. I know you spoke to it virtually this year at the combine. How do you describe Nancy's place and importance overall in the game of football, professional football and obviously with the Patriots after so many seasons of service?

BB: Nancy's one of those unique individuals that kind of makes everything work. She interacts with virtually everybody - scouts, coaches, players and other support staff. She puts a lot of things together, and her job description of what she actually does is probably 50 pages long, and there are so many little things that wouldn't even make that list, but they would come up from day to day, or maybe not even day to day, it might be once a year that she handles because of her experience and thoroughness and preparation. It really would be impossible for me to go through with her a whole list of things, and that changes from the regular season to the draft to the offseason program to if we're on an extended away trip and things like that, so it's a very lengthy and comprehensive set of things that she handles and that includes not only the players and staff and so forth, but also families and things that are related to those individuals as well, and that would also extend into some logistics and travel and so forth. She's great to work with. She's got a great attitude, a great temperament. She deals with all the people and all the personalities, thousands of them, coaches, players and other people through the course of her career. I think everyone probably has kind of the same feeling for her, which is pretty remarkable that she could have that type of positive relationship with so many people on so many different levels. I extend all that to multiple family members and so forth that are involved in game day things and travel and tickets and relocation and so forth and so on. She never forgets a name. Doesn't forget a face. Knows how everybody's connected to everybody else. It's very remarkable. She's very unique, and like I said, a very comprehensive group of things she does, but then on the real football side of it, a lot of transactions and things that go on with the league, which on the player personnel end can be complex, have to be timely, have to done at certain times or by certain times or all those kind of things. She doesn't make the final decisions obviously. She has to manage all the transactions, league communication, player communication, the medical, like all the things that have to happen in the acquisition or release of a player, especially at the nature of cut down dates and things like that, or post draft when free agent signing days and those type of things, the wheel can get spinning pretty fast, but amazingly she can stay on it or slow it down however you want to look at it, so yeah. Thanks for the question, that's great. She's a very important person to any organization.

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