(On if he will continue to coach the safeties this year)
"Yeah, nothing changing with that for me. I'm with my guys. They're not escaping me."
(On if at this point whether or not the coaches all know what positions they'll be working with)
"Yeah, I mean, you've got to kind of talk to everybody. We all have our own roles. I've got my hands full with my guys. All of these guys have other stuff to do. It's an individual specific place, so whatever you're best at, your strengths are utilized that way. We're all a little bit different. I'm just trying to focus on my stuff."
(On his memories of Rodney Harrison and whether or not he ever uses him as an example when coaching up his players)
"Yeah, I watched him with my rookies this morning. Rodney Harrison was my favorite football player. I looked up to him. I still look up to him. He had such a tremendous outlook on the game. He played so hard. When we signed him when I was in high school, I've idolized him ever since. I still talk to him to this day. Being a coach's kid when you're that young, people kind of treat you differently, but Rodney really humbled me and forced me to learn it the hard way, which I still appreciate to this day. I can't say enough good things about Rodney. He's my favorite football player."
(On if there have been any adjustments for him personally in coaching style from college to the pros)
"I'm sure. I'm sure, like last year, being in a room where Deatrich [Wise Jr.] and Trey [Flowers] were, guys that I had worked with as head coaches – so every year as a head coach, I had gone to a different NFL organization every year during OTAs. I had been here as a guest when I came to visit the Patriots, so then I had been a lot of different places. The thing I noticed right away was the difference between college level to the NFL, not rapport, but just the interaction, the expected level of play. I remember the first time I went through a drill here a year ago, I got done with the drill and I'm like, 'Wow, these guys are good.' I kind of laughed because I had a moment later on where I'm like, 'Well, yeah, they're NFL players.' In college, if you've got a group of 10, you've got four or five that are pretty good and then the next group may be a certain level. Here, every guy is really the cream of the crop, so that's a little different. The emphasis is on trying to give them a tool. I always try to express to our guys, 'Listen, I'm going to try and give you a tool for your toolbox. It's going to be in your box if you want to use it, you use it.' Everybody's tools are a little bit different. Somebody that has long levers or maybe plays more with their finesse than someone that maybe has shorter leverage, plays with strength and power. Everybody kind of plays to their own strengths. I think the part that's cool about the NFL is they usually make it into this building or into the NFL because of certain skills, and whatever those skills are they need to maximize those and try to minimize their weaknesses. But everybody is a little bit different in that regard so that's a key there, too, is trying to figure out what each guy does best and make him use that every day."
(On whether it's nice to be just focused on the football aspect 24 hours a day as opposed to recruiting and the other parts of college coaching)
"It is. It's awesome. There are definitely things I love about it, but there are things that I miss about college football. We concentrate on the day at hand and with the environment that Coach [Bill Belichick] brings in and the players that we have and the environment that you work in here is really truly enjoyable. It's different from the aspect of there's not much carryover from recruiting and all of that stuff. It's more about just dealing with the present and that's a lot of fun."
(On whether he noticed that this organization was different than others back when he used to visit as a college coach during OTAs, and what are those differences)
"Very quickly. It's more about from a coaching perspective, the efficiency with what they practice, the emphasis on fundamentals, so there is a lot of carryover probably from the college game. But there's definitely an atmosphere of just from the moment you walk in the building in this organization until the time you leave it's a little bit different. It's not really just one thing. It's a way, a mode of operation and an expected level of success that stands apart."
(On his role on the coaching staff)
"You've probably heard this from everyone on roles, titles, all that stuff, that doesn't really matter here in New England. I've been working with front-seven guys, I've been working with outside linebackers so that's really the focus and position I've been working with and really just trying to get each individual that I come in contact with to be better than they were the day they came here."
(On the 2019 season)
"Well each year is different. 2018 was 2018, 2019 will be 2019. We always look at each year as a new year, so whatever the responsibility and opportunity that I have, I'm going to take it and try to run with it and make the best of it. I would say that as a defensive staff, we're just trying to work together, put a good product out there on the field and then just try to get ready for the 2019 season."
(On different responsibilities this year)
"Just like last year, my title didn't define what my role was or my responsibility. Just like this year, my title won't define what my role is or what my responsibility will be for the team. What's important is the opportunity that I've got and me taking advantage of the opportunity. Just like we tell our players, whatever role you have, what role you're going to fill, is going to be determined by you. What you do is what you receive. You get what you earn."
(On building on Sony Michel's strong rookie season)
"He's got a lot of time now to learn about the things that he can do a hell of a lot better. You can always improve, everybody can improve. He's got to take that next step to build on what he started and that's what we expect of him. We expect him to learn, we expect him to grow as a player and as a teammate. Sony's going to work hard, no doubt about it. I'm excited about what we expect to see from him next year."
(On the impact he made and what that shows young players)
"He's definitely a guiding light when it comes to that situation. Everybody can see that you can play and you can produce as a rookie, but you've got to put the work in. You have to put the work in. It's not going to be given to you. You have to come in and you have to earn it. If they want to see an example of a guy who's done that, he's the guy."
(On what this time of year is like)
"This is a great time of the year. There's no pressure. You go out there and have some fun for goodness sake, you're playing football. You're working the game, you're working your individual techniques, you're getting in shape. We're not spending all day at this – you come in, you work a four-hour day. This is a perfect time of year for them and it's great for us too because you get to go home. You've got to love this, you've got to love what you do, you've got to have a passion for the sport. We start now. This is where you start building your championship team. So if they're not loving this right now, move on, get out of the way, because this is where it all starts. Day one, getting in shape, figuring out the offense. Everything starts now."
(On what makes a good wide receivers coach)
"I think a good coach is a good coach. Number one, you have to be a good teacher. That's what players need more than anything. It allows them to do their job aggressively and effectively. So to me, whatever position you're coaching, you have to be a great teacher."
(On the Patriots having more big wide receivers this year)
"We look for the best available players. As far as the size, some guys might fit more into the specific role we're looking for. We've never sat and had the tape measure out to make sure a guy fits a certain profile. You can go through the history here, we've had guys that have been tall, short, burners with speed, maybe a little speed-deficient at times, too. We're going to work to use everyone's skill-set to help our team the best we can."
(On if anything changes in the offense with bigger wide receivers)
"No, I think Josh [McDaniels] will identify the strengths of our offense and he'll look to go ahead and build it around what we can do well. We're going to try to use everyone the best we can. I don't think by bringing in a bigger receiver or having maybe a traditional mid-size slot receiver, that doesn't truly affect exactly what you do. It all ties into the player's knowledge and ability to execute the offense. We're looking for smart, tough, dependable players and if you fit that category, five-nine or six-three isn't the biggest factor."
(On his impressions of N'Keal Harry)
"We're excited to have him here to become part of our team. He's working hard right now to learn and get on-page. I think one thing all these rookies to figure out right away is when they get here, there's a tremendous amount that they have to learn. They obviously have talent, they've obviously been very accomplished with what they've done, otherwise they wouldn't be at this level. But for any rookie in any building across the league, there are tremendous strides that they have to make forward to be able to contribute and add to your football team. The best thing he's done so far is show a very good work ethic and attitude to come on in and embrace what we're telling him right now. It's been a very short window at this point that we've been able to work with him and have him here, but I'm very excited to work with him as well as every other receiver that we have."
(On whether he envisioned returning to football in the coaching capacity at some point)
"I always had the itch to get back into it, get back into coaching, get back into teaching, and anytime you get an opportunity to learn from the greatest head coach of all time, you've got to kind of jump on that opportunity."
(On if he's had a motivational change since he retired, when he initially stated he wanted to follow more of the Robert Kraft executive role versus the Bill Belichick coaching role)
"I wouldn't say that. I'm always motivated. I feel good where I am. My family – they were very supportive of the decision to come back. That was the main thing. My kids – they're good with it. My wife's good with it. That was pretty much it for me."
(On what the biggest thing he can bring to the coaching ranks personally)
"I don't know yet. It's still early in my coaching career, so we'll see. A lot of time on the field, we just got down with the rookies so it's always good to see the young guys, the fresh guys come in, the blank canvas, and try to teach those guys the Patriot Way."
(On what he's seen from the rookie class so far)
"I see guys who are hungry; guys who are hungry to learn. We'll see when we get on the field."
(On how big the jump is for him from playing linebacker to coaching them on the field)
"It's a huge jump. Middle linebacker – you have to know where everyone is. Now it's like on the administrative side, also on the offensive side, what they're doing. It's a huge jump. I love football, love studying football, love being around the conversations."
(On what rookie mini-camp is like)
"It's fun for us. Most of the year we're coaching guys that kind of know the foundation or at least most of them know the foundation, so you're talking at a more advanced level. But this weekend really gives you an opportunity to go back to your roots and just teach them everything from the ground up. There's no small detail and so they're all sponges and you've got to assume that they don't really know much of anything that we're talking to them about. They've all played football, they've all been good football players, but they don't really know our system. We're trying to give them the foundation. A lot of teaching, we're trying to do it at a fast pace but again, that's really determined by the guys in each coach's room. They're the ones that are going to dictate how quickly you can go through the information and how quickly you can't. A lot of eager faces, cramming a lot into each day, makes the days go by fast."
(On his first impression of Jarrett Stidham)
"I met Jarrett when he came here on his pre-draft visit and it's basically the same. He's a very consistent guy, smart, good personality. He asks good questions, has a mind for football. He's a sponge right now, trying to soak up everything he can. He has a good demeanor and I'm looking forward to getting out there on the field and having an opportunity to work with him actually playing the position today."
(On Stidham's playing mistakes in college)
"I think the big thing you have to look at when you're looking at the body of work of a player coming out of the draft is there's a lot of factors that contribute to good quarterback play and there's a lot of factors that contribute to play that's a little bit less than that. So you take all the good and the bad and you try to understand why it was or wasn't something. If a guy misses a throw, sometimes that's his fault and sometimes it's not. There's protection that goes along with that, plays, design, all the rest of it. Every quarterback that we've ever evaluated here, we try to take and look at it in the big picture – what does he do well, what traits does he possess and then you try to factor those in to what we try to do here. They all come in and have so much to learn. It's really about traits and the opportunity to try to take a clean slate and then fill it with whatever you want to fill it with. I would say that applies to all our players but quarterbacks in particular, they come in with a specific background, they've been taught something, usually it doesn't mesh with what we do here because college football is so different now."
(On his thoughts on offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn as he heads into his second season)
"Yeah, well, he's rehabbing for his Achilles. He's done a great job. We are going to let the process go forward and as soon as he can get out there, we'll get him out there. We'll see."
(On if there are things he has shown since he got injured that are encouraging as a coach)
"No, what he's doing right now is all tied to his health. He's getting better and all of that. That's a process and it's going really well."
(On Yodny Cajuste)
"I saw him today and we like the person. He's a smart guy and he's a big guy and he's got skills. We'll see how it goes."