HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 8, 2022
BB: Afternoon. We're switching to the afternoon schedule here. So we have a couple of days here and then the day before the Giants game – we play the Giants on Thursday. Looking forward to that. Still trying to plug along on everything. Giants is one thing, continuing to progress the team through training camp and our installation and so forth is another thing. We've only been in pads four days, so padded practices, conditioning, et cetera, that's all part of it, too. We're trying to continue to string productive days together in camp. We'll see how things go against the Giants, and then we got a couple big weeks against Carolina, then Vegas. Kind of getting into an active schedule here coming up. One that we're looking forward to.
Q: Looking back at last year's practice schedule for the first few days of padded practice, it seems like they were more intense and more physical at that point than this year. Why the tweak and how are you approaching this early portion of camp?
BB: We're approaching our practices in the best way that we can. The ramp-up period is the ramp-up period. We've been in pads more days than we had last year at this time – I'd have to go back and double check it, but I think so. I'd say the big thing would be working with our strength and conditioning staff. I feel like our team's as healthy as it's ever been at this time of year. Part of that has to do with the offseason program, the way guys have worked, and maybe part of it has to do with the way we've practiced. But we really have very little in the way of players missing time – players on PUP, NFI, we've pretty much cleared that up today. Last year, we had six or seven guys in that category. Plus some other – a variety of things. We try to do what we think is best every year. To try to compare one year to another year is – I don't know how relevant that is. We look at things where they are and try to make the most of them.
Q: Is that something you look at over a period of five, ten years with your conditioning coaches, do you adjust that every year in terms of what you think is best physically for your team?
BB: We talk about it every year. I wouldn't necessarily say we adjust it or don't adjust it. We do what we think is best and try to take it from all parties. We look at what our schedule is. Last year, we played away in Philly. That was a big week for us. This year, it's at home on the second week, so, there's always things that are different year to year. Our installation schedule's a little bit different this year with the way we started camp. Last year we were more early downs, this year's in the red area. So sometimes, for whatever reason, we just feel like for that particular time that's the way we do it.
Q: Speaking of PUP, NFI, will James White be ready to practice today?
BB: We'll see about him. But [Chasen] Hines will come off today.
Q: I know it's fairly early in training camp, but are you comfortable with the progress that you're making so far in terms of instilling an offense and getting the players to learn what needs to be done here?
BB: Every day is a challenge. We just try to build on yesterday and do what we can do today to get better and build on it tomorrow. At different points in time we take stock of where we are and decide whether we add more in this area, or add more in that area, or whatever it happens to be. We try to do things we think are most important and most necessary that will help us win. That's just kind of what we do. You can get everything in and not execute it very well, or you can get in less and hopefully do it better. That's usually the way it works, or there's somewhere in between. I'd say usually, we fall somewhere in between: don't get in everything we want, but feel like the things that we can do, at least we're doing it at a competitive level. Not saying it's great, but at least we can go out there and do it. So, we'll see.
Q: What have you seen from Pierre Strong so far in camp?
BB: You know, he missed a little time at the start of camp and has come back lately, so he's a little bit behind. But he's working hard, catching up. I'm glad he's out there. I'm glad we're working with him.
Q: When it comes to how you envision your team's identity either offensively or defensively, how do you balance having patience with new things you're doing versus saying 'Ok, maybe we need to shift gears here?' Is there a point in camp where you would say this isn't looking the way we want and we might have to do something else?
BB: In camp, in preseason, during the season, mid-season. You see things that are going well, you try to figure out a way to exploit that more or do more of it. You see things that aren't going well, you either figure out a way to improve it or get rid of it and move onto something else that's more productive. You have a couple different options there. You just have to decide which one you feel is the right one. If you're spending time on something that's not productive, then maybe you need to change it or find something else. It's just not efficient.
Q: How difficult is it to make a change knowing you've spend a lot of time on something?
BB: That's part of it. Like everything, it's not going to work out perfectly, and again, we have a number of new players in certain positions, and we'll have to see how they adapt, and find out what things they're good at and what things we need to do less of and what things we need to do more of. I think we're finding that out, certainly with the rookies and younger players, but also with some other players we've added to the team. That's the process. Sometimes it takes a while, but ultimately you have to make that judgement, and sometimes you make it sooner rather than later. I'm not really worried too much about all that right now. We have a lot of balls in the air: we're trying to get ready for the Giants game, we're trying to evaluate players, we're trying to work against each other so we can get high-quality work rather than just run the plays from another team. So, there's a lot of things going on there that will all come together in some kind of jigsaw puzzle. It's not just one thing.
Q: What allowed Matthew Judon to come in and fit in so well last year and how enjoyable has it been to coach him?
BB: Great. Matt's got a lot of good energy, loves football, plays hard. Came in obviously as a very experienced player, like all the UFA's do, with at least four years in the system. Good system in Baltimore. Like I said, he has good energy, anxious to learn, gave us a lot of productive plays, able to work well with his teammates, like LG [Lawrence Guy] and [Davon] Godchaux. [Christian] Barmore was another young player last year, and then Dan [Ekuale] later in the year. Carl Davis, the other defensive ends and outside linebackers, some of whom are here, some of whom aren't here. But he works well with everybody and is a good communicator. Tough, physical football player.
Q: What have you seen from Shaun Wade?
BB: Because of a couple of guys that weren't able to participate at the beginning part of training camp, he's played some different positions. He played a little bit of safety, some inside on the nickel position, and outside. So he's gotten a good dose of everything. Smart kid. He's been productive, has good skills. He's just gained experience in the system. He's getting better every day out there. It'll be interesting to watch him and some other guys in that similar situation – kind of that second year but didn't really do a whole lot the first year – we'll see how they do as we get into the competitive practices with Carolina and Vegas and then the preseason games here starting on Thursday. So, it'll be interesting to see how that goes.