Coach Belichick’s First Camp Comments

Thanks to the Patriots PR staff for the transcription…

Anyway, it’s good to be out on the field and start training camp. We had the guys in yesterday and did some preliminary work; physicals, running tests and got some of that out of the way. Today is the first day we are really out on the field in pads going through drills, having contact work and starting a long road of building the base to get ready for the opener against Kansas City and the 16 game regular season schedule. As usual the emphasis on training camp will be on fundamentals and a lot of individual techniques. We spent a large amount of time in the spring going over game stuff, a lot of group things and a lot of non-contact work that we felt we could get done. [Work] that we thought would be very beneficial to the team and it was. I think the team has responded to that well. Now what we need to do is go through a lot of the individual stuff. The contact work, the hand placement, the feet, the leverage and a lot of one on one things like that so we can improve on those techniques and get those fundamentals down. Hopefully, those will carry us through the season. This is our time to work on them so that is where the real emphasis will be. We are in the training camp mode here. We have two practices today and we will just keep rolling here for a while and try to concentrate on one day at a time, one meeting a time. Put one foot in front of the other and just try to keep getting better on an individual technique fundamental basis. Then gradually blend things together from a team standpoint to get to the point where we can go out there and compete with some kind of efficiency in a couple weeks when we open up against Baltimore [Ravens]. That is where we are at. We have a long way to go. One step at a time and that’s the mode we are in right now.

Q: What goals have you set for yourself this year and for the team?

BB: The goal right now is to correct the mistakes we made this morning, talk about the stuff we are going to install this afternoon and go out there and work on that. We are going to try to have another good practice and string them together. Our focus right now is very short term.

Q: What does Dom Capers bring to this team?

BB: Dom brings a wealth of experience and on the defensive side of the ball. Also, as a head coach he has worked with a lot of young players through the course of his career and especially in the two expansion franchises he was with at the beginning of their operations. He has been in several different [3-4] schemes, Pittsburgh scheme, Miami scheme with Nick [Saban] and of course what he ran at Houston the past few years. Dom is very experienced in secondary and all around on defense. He has certainly made a lot of the head coaching and coordinator type decisions. He is a big asset from all those standpoints. I don’t know how everything will work going forward but certainly he has a lot of knowledge and experience to draw from. We have done that already and I’m sure we will continue to do that as we go forward through the course of the year.

Q: What did you see in Victor Hobson in how he would fit here?

BB: I think Victor is a good football player. We have played against him a lot when he has played with the [N.Y.] Jets. He has been an 80 percent playtime player the last couple of years although he played outside in that system. In Herman [Edwards] system before that he played in the [4-3] but he played more of an off the line type of position. That is more where he will play for us as an inside linebacker – more off the line of scrimmage than on it, where he played for the last couple of years. He is a smart kid, he’s fast, he’s tough and has been a very productive player. I feel like he can compete with some of the other players we have at that position and we will see out it all works out.

Q: You’re a student to the game…What have you learned about teams that have not been successful after a year in the Super Bowl and how will you apply what you’ve learned?

We have spent more time trying to look at ourselves like we do every year. What we did last year and how we can improve on that. Whether it be coaching, strategy, player acquisitions, scheme, whatever happens today. That is what we have done all the other years and that’s what we’ve done this year. We will try to build on some of the things we did last year, try to improve on some of the things we didn’t do as well and make adjustments from one season to the next, both from a scheme standpoint and from a personnel standpoint.

Q: Have you seen pitfalls in other teams who have been in your position coming off from a year like last year?

BB: I really haven’t focused on too much of that. I really don’t know what the specifics were for each one of those teams, what the dynamics were, what they were dealing with and so forth. After the ’96 season we weren’t here. We were in New York in ’97 so I can’t comment on that. Right now it’s really not about last year, it’s about this year and that is what we are going to concentrate on.

Q: What’s Ben Watson’s status?

BB: Watson’s status? There were several players that weren’t out there today. He is not on PUP. So what does that make him? Normal, I don’t know.

Q: How committed are you to the run game and making it a more balanced attack for this year?

BB: We’re are committed to scoring and trying to win games and whatever we can do to do that, that is what I am all for. I’m sure our offensive game plans will reflect that based on the teams we are playing and how we match up against them and what we feel like is best for that particular game plan. It is important to have balance in your offense with both running and passing, inside and outside, long and deep and to be able to attack the defense on a lot of different fronts. Sometimes it is better to do one thing or another depending on the match-ups you have against that team. That is all game-to-game, week-to-week decisions. As far as training camp goes, we work on everything. We want to be prepared to use all of our weapons and assets on offense. How we use them and when we use them that will be determined by game planning and game time decisions.

Q: What are you most excited about this season?

BB: As usual we put a lot of work into the off-season. We studied last year; we have made a lot of personnel adjustments, being in the draft, free agency – as you always do. Now it’s time to put it together, go to camp, put on the pads and start running plays. We will see how they look, make some adjustments, see if we can get them better and try to be competitive.

Q: Talk about the importance of getting Jerod Mayo on the field.

BB: We would like to have all the players on the field working as soon as possible. Whenever that is, then we will work with them.

Q: I saw Tank Williams filling in his [Mayo] position [line backer]. Is it because you are short players?

BB: We work with our players in a lot of different roles and different positions. That builds their depth and depth for our team. It builds depth for the player, versatility for each player and value to the team. We will do that with a lot of different guys. Certainly, Tank is a very versatile player. He has played in the secondary, he has played close to the line of scrimmage, he’s been productive in the kicking game, he can blitz and he can cover. How that will all work out, we will just have to see, but he can do a number of different things and we will work with him in those different roles.

Q: Richard Seymour said he’s been playing with one arm and one leg year to year. What does it mean for your defense to have him at 100 percent?

BB: Well, it is good to have all of our players and it is good to have them all 100 percent healthy.
That is the goal of every player, every coach and every team. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. There are usually some issues that you are working around one way or another or an individual has to work around. That is part of the game too. We hope everyone is out there 100 percent ready to go without any restrictions or hindrances at all. We hope that for every player and I know that’s what every player hopes for too. That’s the point we are all trying to get to. As many as we can have in that situation the better off we will be.

Q: You have been pretty consistent about putting last year behind you. Is there anything at all…

BB: I don’t know. I am not really worried about last year anymore. We are just trying to have a good practice this morning, make the corrections this afternoon, put in some new stuff and go out and practice it tonight. So that is where we are.

Q: Who did you learn that philosophy from? To take things day to day and not look ahead at the big picture as a whole?

BB: What else would you do?

Q: Well, some people worry about what is going to happen 3 months down the road.

BB: What, are we going to sit here and talk about November? We don’t even know who is going to be playing in November. For us or them, whoever it is. I am just saying, I don’t know. Our deal is what is in front of us and what is behind us we can’t do anything about. What is in front of us, we will get to it eventually but right now we have a lot of other stuff we need to tackle and deal with. I guess if I learned that from anybody it would probably be my Dad.

Q: Nick Kaczur wasn’t out there today. Are you happy with the result of the legal matter?

BB: Well, it is a legal matter that we don’t have any control over. Whatever it is, that is a matter between a player and whatever part of the legal procedure that player is involved with at that time. Sometimes it changes. If it affects us than we will deal with it and if it doesn’t than the player deals with it. If there is any discipline than all that is handles internally between the player and the club like it always is.

Q: Is that why he was not out there today?

BB: No. I didn’t say that. I’m just telling you that is the procedure that we have. Any discipline between a player and a club is handled internally between the player and the club regardless of what player it is. That is the way we do it.

Q: Personally is this a special day to you?

Actually, yesterday was the first day of camp. It was the first day everyone came in but it’s good to get out on the field. We had our practices in the spring and it was good to see the team start to formulate, come together and work together. I understand for you it is the first day of the football season. For us the first day of the season was probably the Monday after the Super Bowl when you start making personnel decisions, then head into free agency, start getting ready for the draft and then start getting ready for Spring camps. For me the 2008 season started back in February and it’s an on going process. Training camp is an important part of the process but there has been a lot of work done leading up to yesterday and today by myself, by the staff, by the players, by strength and conditioning, trainers, rehab and so forth. We are pretty well into the year. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but it’s not like we rolled out the ball today and were like okay let’s start-playing football. We have been at it for a while and this is just another step in the process. An important one but another one.

Q: It didn’t seem like Tom [Brady] threw the ball all that much. Is there a reason for that or is it just the way it worked out?

BB: We have a long training camp and we will have players doing different things on different days. They will work on different positions and have different workloads. Some of that is managed as you go and some of that is the way you start camp. Each player is in their own individual situation, whatever that happens to be. Some guys do more than others, some guys do less, some guys are practicing some guys aren’t, some guys are practicing at different positions and so forth and so on. The composite of it is trying to get the team ready for the pre-season games, evaluate certain things in pre-season and try to get the team ready for the season opener against Kansas City and our 16 game regular season schedule. It is all part of a mosaic. What is best for the team, what is best for the player and all the situations are handled pretty independently.

Q: Is Tom [Brady] at a point in his career where he doesn’t need to be here?

BB: I think it is important for every player to do everything they can to be ready for the season. I think Tom did everything he can to be ready for the season. I’d like to think that everyone else did that as well. There is probably some that could have done a little bit more than they did but that is always the case. I think Tom is well prepared for the season. I think he will be ready to go but he still has a long way to go too just like everyone else.

Q: Can you clarify the situation with Nick [Kaczur]?

BB: He is on PUP. I don’t know how it could be any clearer than that. We can all read the PUP rules and all that. Basically, ready to practice is ready to practice and that encompasses a lot of different things. When they are ready to practice they are out there and when they are not ready to practice then at the beginning of camp they are on PUP and if they are not on PUP then they are not ready to practice and they are doing something else than the rest of the team practice. There is some reason why those players on that list [PUP] are not participating, some physical reason why they are not participating.

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