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Transcript: James White Conference Call 4/2

Read the full transcript from Patriots running back James White's conference call on Thursday, April 3, 2020.


April 2, 2020

Q: How are you adapting your training while sheltering in place?

JW: Well, obviously it's a little different time right now with a crisis going on, so just doing what I can. I'm fortunate enough to have a treadmill, a couple dumbbells, things of that nature and it's warm out here so I can run outside. I'm just trying to do what I can, make the most of the situation, trying to stay in shape for whenever things get back rolling.  

Q: Given Tom Brady's departure, how important will it be for you as a leader to not change the expectations and not lower the bar for the standards you expect for next year?

JW: Expectations don't change. As soon as you step into that building, you're expected to compete at a high level, be dependable, be a great teammate. For us, as leaders, as captains, it's to string the new guys along, the younger guys along, make sure they're competing, learning. Each year you have to kind of – you know, this is a, "What have you done for me lately?" league, so you have to come back in and restart over, refresh and show your teammates that you're reliable and that you can compete for 60 minutes, on the practice field, whatever it is, so we can build those relationships and build that reliability each and every time you go out there.

Q: How different will it be for you next year with Tom Brady gone?

JW: It will be a little different. I've played with Tom my whole career so I learned a lot from that guy. We appreciated him as a teammate, we all learned a lot from him. Guys come and go each and every year, so you have to be able to compete with new people. We're confident in [Jarrett] Stidham, we're confident in [Brian] Hoyer, whoever it happens to be. Whenever we can get back out there with things, we're going to work on building, being on the same page as an offense, defense, special teams. Coach [Bill] Belichick will have us prepared. Those practices are always tough, we're going to compete, get better and find ways to win football games.

Q: Have you seen the story about Robert Kraft sending the Patriots team plane over to China to get supplies? What are your thoughts on Mr. Kraft and what he's doing during this crisis?

JW: It's awesome. That's huge at this point in time. You have doctors, nurses, all those people on the front lines taking care of sick people each and every day. It's a crazy situation right now. People that have the influence to help others, I think it's an important time for us to try to help as many people as possible, especially those who are sick, there's some people getting laid off, don't know when a check is coming or if they're getting a check, or when their next meal is coming. It's a difficult time, I know some of us, we're able to spend time with our family and things are okay, we're able to get groceries, but there's some people who aren't able to get groceries and don't know when that next meal is coming. It's difficult for a lot of people.

Q: A lot of people are passing the time by watching old football games on TV, one game I've seen on is Super Bowl LI. Have you had a chance to go back and watch that with your family recently?

JW: It was my first time actually watching the full game a couple of days ago when it was on. It was pretty cool to see, it was a hard-fought game. We all expended a lot of energy out there, it took everybody to win that one. It was a great comeback, a great team victory. All that conditioning in the offseason and all those practices, that's made for those moments.

Q: Did your family chime in at all?

JW: No, my wife actually didn't watch it. I watched it with a couple friends a couple weeks ago and they left and I just watched the end of it, so my wife didn't really chime in on it at all.

Q: Seeing the story about Robert Kraft sending the plane to China and knowing everything the team does for the community, how important is that for this organization?

JW: It's very important. As soon as you step into the building, you see how much the Kraft family does helping out not only the Boston community but the community across the world and it makes you want to help others. Guys like Devin McCourty, Matt Slater, all those guys, they're constantly doing as much as they can to help people who are less fortunate than us and are in tougher situations. For younger guys like myself and rookies and things of that nature, everybody is doing what they can to do their part.

Q: What were your memories of working with Jarrett Stidham last year? What stuck out to you as a first-year player with him?

JW: He came in and competed right away, our offense can be pretty complex. He's willing to learn, willing to take the coaching and he keeps fighting no matter what the situation is. His second year, he'll come in ready to learn, we'll all compete, trying to make each other better football players, get on the same page on offense and help each other out.

Q: As a pass catcher and running back, do you feel like you enter this season with more pressure on the running back group as a whole to make up for Tom Brady leaving?

JW: No, there's no added pressure. We attack each offseason, each season the same way. We all want to be reliable options. It's not going to be just one group or one person that makes a team win, it's going to be everybody working together and getting things going. Whoever happens to be relied upon the most or – running back group, offensive line, tight ends, receivers, quarterbacks, it's all of us working together and trying to find ways to score points and win the game.

Q: Have you, as a captain, had any informal meetings with other captains to talk about moving forward with the rest of the team in the wake of Tom Brady leaving?

JW: As of right now, no, but I'm sure in the coming weeks we'll figure out ways to stay in touch with everybody once the actual period of when OTAs are supposed to start. I'm sure everybody will come together, talk with each other, find ways to communicate so that when we actually do get things going, it's a smooth-sailing process. As of right now, we haven't really had that conversation or anything like that.

Q: Can you tell us where you are and how your daily life has progressed in light of everything we're dealing with COVID-19?

JW: I'm down at my house in Florida with my wife and my son, just enjoying the extra family time that I would have typically anyway at this point, but having more time since OTAs probably won't start at the proper time. I'm making the most of that situation, if you can hear my wife in the background she's cleaning up the house. Just making the most of the situation because some people are in a difficult situation at this point, they don't know when their next meal is coming or when the check is coming, things of that nature. There's a lot of sick people, there's people dying each and every day, so I hope everybody is taking the situation seriously because it's affecting a lot of people and the more aware people are, the faster things will get a little better.

Q: Has there been a point that you've made phone calls to your teammates just to see how everybody is doing?

JW: Yeah, everybody tries to stay in contact with others on the team. Some people talk to more guys, more than others, just trying to – for me, it's the running back group. We always talk, we have a group chat, just checking up on each other to make sure everybody is good, making sure everybody's working out. In the coming weeks I'm sure we'll try and find a way for everybody to communicate, be on the same page since OTAs probably won't start when they're supposed to start. Try and get a little football talk going on so whenever things get back rolling everybody's – it's smooth sailing.

Q: When you saw this morning what the Patriots and the Kraft family had done to bring stuff over to help people on the front lines, how proud did you feel to be part of this organization?

JW: I'm extremely proud. He does stuff like that all the time. It starts from the top, as soon as you step in the building you see how much community work the Kraft family does and it's very infectious. Each and every person who steps in the building tries to do as much as they can to help others out. It's really cool to see and I hope all of us can do whatever we can to help others in this trying time.

Q: With the potential of a truncated offseason, is it nice to know that you have a guy like Bill Belichick leading you who is always amenable to adjustments and changing things as needed?

JW: Yeah, Coach Belichick will do a great job of preparing us no matter what the situation may be. Things may be a little bit faster pace because we'll be missing some of the OTAs, things of that nature. Completely confident in what he'll have prepared for us. Myself and all of the other leaders do a good job of making sure everybody's trying to stay in shape, staying up fresh on the offense, defense special teams so whenever we can get back going it's not everybody slowing into everything, we'll kind of hit a fast pace.

Q: With a new quarterback under center this year, will that pose a challenge for an offense trying to get in as much scheme as you can for week one if your offseason isn't as long?

JW: I think it's going to be a challenge for everybody across the league. It's less practicing, less time of everybody being on the same page. Whenever we can get back out there, it's going to be going out there and making sure we can get on the same page very quickly as an offense, defense special teams, just making sure – getting the offense, getting those extra repetitions, maybe staying after practice a little bit more, doing stuff before practice, competing with each other. Whatever it takes so you can go out there and have your best performances when you go out there.

Q: As a leader in the locker room, are you at all concerned about guys losing their way a little bit during this period because they don't have access to the team facilities?

JW: It's not easy for everybody, not everybody has access to weights or is able to run, it's cold in some places, things of that nature. It will be interesting to see how guys find ways to stay in shape but I hope everybody has some sort of access to do something because we're in a business where you need to be in shape once you get back out there. I hope everybody is doing something. 

Q: Bill Belichick always talks about the jump between year one and year two, how much do you think you improved in year two? Based on the circumstances, it might be a little bit different for rookies entering their second year.

JW: For me, year two was huge. I didn't really play my first year. There are some guys on our team who didn't play their first year or didn't play that much, so when it comes to that second year, the expectations are going to be a little bit higher. You know the offense, you know the defense, you know the special teams now, when it's time to go out there, you go out there and execute everything. You want to compete, make your teammates better, show them you're going to be reliable on first, second, third down, whatever it is. You can't keep making the same mistakes because there's going to be competition down there.

Q: How much will your familiarity with either Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham help the process going forward knowing that you might not have as much time as usual in the offseason?

JW: It will help a little bit but it's going to be less practices and things of that nature so it's going to be everybody putting in a little extra work whenever we can get things back going. Doing extra work on the side before or after practice because we're going to have a limited amount of time. We usually have a bunch of practices to work on things, so it's going to be everybody putting in extra work once everything gets back going so we can go out and have a smooth flowing offense.

Q: Matthew Slater mentioned a couple of days ago that his kids have made good workout partners. Are your kids doing the same to help you?

JW: Well mine isn't really moving around too much, he's just sitting in place screaming and all that good stuff. He's a happy baby and he's keeping me busy. It's just cool to be able to see him grow, being at the house 24 hours of the day just enjoying his company. It's pretty cool to see his growth and development.

Q: What are some of the creative ways that you've used to stay in shape? What's a creative way that you've used to pass the time?

JW: I'm on the treadmill, using dumbbells, doing abs, trying to do some yoga, jump rope. I'll probably run outside tomorrow a little bit since it's pretty hot down here. I'm just staying entertained with my son. He's growing each and every day, yelling and screaming at me, fighting me when I'm feeding him. It's been interesting. My wife and I are trying to watch new TV shows, whatever it is, pass the time by. Watching old sports games, doing whatever you can to try to make the time flow by a little bit.

Q: Any TV shows stand out?

JW: We started watching Ozark, it's been pretty good so far.

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