PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
BB: We are grinding through day two here. I thought yesterday was a productive day for us. We certainly learned a lot going through the film. Saw a lot of good match-ups, good opportunities for us to match up with a lot of different players. Schematically, we saw quite a few different things. The Lions gave us problems in a number of different areas that we can go to the film and correct, adjust and so forth. Really good, competitive practice. I think we’ll get the same thing today. Our emphasis is on situational work and the one-on-one match-ups, but that was really good work for us yesterday and we got better. Hopefully we can build on that and keep pushing in that direction.
Q: What has Chase Winovich shown you so far, and what does he need to work on?
BB: Well, he’s a rookie. He needs to work on everything. But, Chase is tough, he runs well, he’s got good size, good power. He had a very productive career at Michigan and we’re looking forward to seeing him out there in some game action, both on defense and in the kicking game. But, like every rookie, he’s got a long way to go and a lot of things to work on. It’s a different game, and the competition’s very high. He’ll battle it and see how it goes.
Q: Is there anything that you didn’t see from your team yesterday that you want to see today?
BB: We can improve in every area, so that’s what we’ll try to do. Coaching, playing, running, passing, kicking – you name it. There’s a lot of things that we can do better. That’s what this is for. The Lions are a good team. They’re well coached. They have a lot of good players. They present a lot of problems; some things we didn’t handle well and need to handle better, and some things were ok. I’m sure we’ll see other things today that we didn’t see yesterday, which will be good, so we can work on those.
Q: How beneficial are joint practices for situational work specifically?
BB: They’re great. Yeah, they’re great, and to be able to see a different team in those situations is valuable. So, we’ve worked against each other, but we do what we do, and after you’ve seen enough of that it kind of – there’s just other things that we need to cover that we don’t do on one side of the ball or the other. This is an opportunity to see some of those and see different players doing them and different techniques or different schemes situationally. That’s been good. We certainly had a lot of things come up yesterday, and some things come up on the coaching end that we didn’t cover, so the players didn’t have a good chance to handle properly. We’ll get those straightened out and continue with the process. It just hasn’t come up, but they’ve come up now. I mean, you deal with it, and so we will. That’s the kind of thing that these practices are really good for.
Q: Is one of those areas communication?
BB: Yeah, definitely. We’ll stress that today with more crowd noise. Yeah, again, a lot of times it’s easy for us to identify who’s who because we practice against them for all of spring and – whatever, eight practices – in training camp. So, when you’ve gone against the same group for 18 practices, it’s not that mysterious. Here, things happen faster and you’re less familiar with the team and what they do and so forth, so it’s more challenging. But, that’s real football, that’s what we have to deal with every week, so it’s good.
Q: Is reviewing practice tape similar to reviewing game tape?
BB: It is what it is. What we do out there – there’s some things that we can’t do because of the restrictions we’ve put on practice rules and live tackling and cut blocking and hitting the quarterback and things like that. So here’s some finish to the plays that aren’t available to see in practice. They’re different in the games, which is an important part of the game, is to see the finish of the play. A lot of times, that determines the whole outcome of the play. What we can do, we correct and work on. What we can’t do, we prepare to do, but that won’t happen until Thursday night or the other opportunities during the year.
Q: How would you say Sony Michel is developing in the passing game?
BB: I think everybody’s making progress. I think all of the players that are out there are working hard. They’re all making progress in whatever area that they’re in.
Q: Is having the summer to work on his game important?
BB: Any time is valuable time. Whatever time we have, we try to use, and the players use. Hopefully, it’s all valuable.
Q: How beneficial was it to have officials out at practice yesterday, given rule changes in the offseason?
BB: We haven’t really had a lot of new rules come up out there in practice, but it’s good for the players to have the officials view the play and determine whether it’s holding or illegal contact or whatever. Some of those are somewhat close calls, and how the coach would see it and maybe how the player sees it in practice is one thing, but it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is how the official sees it. If it’s illegal contact, we hit them too deep. If it’s holding, then we held them. If we DPI’ed [defensive pass interference] them or OPI’ed [offensive pass interference], then it was too much. I think it’s good for us to understand those little small variations – the what’s ok and isn’t ok. You know everybody’s trying to be aggressive and compete and all of that, but there’s a certain line there that you have to stay below, and this does a good job of identifying it for us. I thought they did a real good job out there yesterday of throwing the flags, of calling infractions, and we need to eliminate them and try to play penalty free. But, they identified them well and so that was very helpful.
Q: Was Shilique Calhoun a player you liked in 2016, but were now able to re-visit when he became available this off-season?
BB: Yeah. We definitely felt like he would have an opportunity to compete here, which he’s done a good job of. There’s some other things that we’ve had to work through with him, but I’m glad we have him, and he’s very competitive in his position, so we’ll see how it goes.
Q: How much progress have you seen from Jarrett Stidham through the first 10 days of camp?
BB: Well, the first 10 days of camp are hard for everybody because there’s new material being installed all the time, and then the other side of the ball’s installing new material all the time. So, exponentially, the multiples increase very dramatically. It’s not just one side of the ball putting in a few things. It’s that, times all the things that are in, plus all the new things the other side of the ball installs and so forth. So, things start to settle down a little bit now. It’s not everything against everything. It’s a smaller menu against the more specific things our opponent does, in this case that Detroit’s doing. I think the process actually narrows there. Competition picks up and the unfamiliarity of Detroit, relative to the familiarity that we have with our own team is more, so it’s emphasis in different areas. Yeah, the first part of camp is hard; it’s hard for coaches, it’s hard for players. You’re trying to make adjustments to everything that can happen. Not everything’s going to happen, but you have to cover it because eventually it will. On a week-to-week basis, you just don’t see the full spectrum of what you see over the course of the season, but when you install you kind of cover everything, so the volume’s high.
Q: Have you seen Stidham settle as that focus narrows?
BB: Well again, the challenge has changed, so yeah. I think he’s become more familiar with what we’re doing, but now we’re doing it against a new team, different match-ups, and they do things differently than our defense does them, than what he’s seen. There’s an adjustment period there, too. Hopefully, he’ll do better tomorrow and better Thursday and as he goes through the week. I mean, this is certainly a lot better to prepare for the game working against the Lions here in practice than it is trying to run plays off cards that simulate what they do, of us trying to simulate what they do. It’s a lot easier to just go out and see them do it and see the players who are doing it do it.
Q: How is the progression of the tight end group going, and what is the impact of losing a player like Rob Gronkowski on the offense?
BB: Well, the progression of all the positions are contained within that position. Again, we’re getting better every day. We have a lot of individual work out there against blocking and route running and so forth, and then we have group periods and we have team periods. So, there’s chances for players to improve their fundamentals, their overall execution of the plays in seven-on-seven and team situations. Again, I think everybody’s improving and everybody’s getting better. We’ve got a lot of guys out there. A lot of guys working hard, and we have good competition in a lot of spots, so we’ll see how it all plays out. I don’t know, we have a long way to go.
Q: How does the grade of the Lions hill compare to the one back in Foxborough?
BB: Well, it was warm out there yesterday. I think everybody felt it. So yeah, it’s good to get on a different hill. Not a lot of run-out on the back of it – right off the edge. Hopefully, we don’t have to worry about that part of it. Yeah, it’s good. It’s good.
Q: Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino seems to be dealing with an arm injury. When does the coach’s report come out for that?
BB: Yeah, he was day-to-day there for a while, but I think we’ll get him out there. Match him up against Matt [Patricia], injury-for-injury.