Soundbites from Bill Belichick

March, 21, 2011
3/21/11
1:33
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS – Soundbites from Bill Belichick’s meeting with reporters today at the NFL’s annual meeting:

Opening statement. “We’ll make this pretty short. There’s not a whole lot of updates here. I obviously don’t have anything to say about the CBA or anything like that. Just kind of plugging away here on the draft process. Still have a long way to go on that, but we’re making progress. Everything else, we’ll just kind of take it as it comes. Whatever happens, we’ll just adjust to that as it goes along.”

On if he’s had a chance to talk to Brandon Meriweather. “We’re aware of the situation, but I don’t have anything to add on it.”

If he has an idea where Patriots players are training wise. “We haven’t talked to them.”

On a message he left players with before the lockout. “Our last meeting with them was at the end of the season.”

This labor issue vs. past labor issues. “I guess they’re all different. The other two were during the season. Maybe this will be too, I don’t know. They’re all different, but right now I don’t have any control over that. We’re just working on what we can work on, which is our draft [preparation].”

Is he more involved in draft preparation than years past? “In the past, we would have an offseason program going on right about now – on the 21st of March. Whatever this week is, it would start this week or next week. We’d be preparing for it or we’d be in the beginning stages of it. So we’re not.”

How would you characterize this draft? “I got a long way to go on that.”

The importance of draft picks as a commodity compared to other years when there was free agency before the draft. “I think they’re an important part of your team-building process, but they always are. I don’t think that changes.”

Do those picks increase in value? “I don’t know. I think they are important.”

On the team’s No. 28 overall draft pick being available in a trade. “I don’t know. We’ve traded them before. We haven’t traded them.”

His philosophy on trading draft picks. “My philosophy is to try to do what’s best for the football team. Plain and simple.”

On being reluctant to trade up. “We’ve traded up before.”

Why this was the right time to give Bill O’Brien the offensive coordinator title. “I just felt it was the right time.”

What went into the decision-making with Matt Patricia moving to safeties coach? “I just tried to set up things that we feel like is the best way for our staff to operate efficiently.”

On Patrick Graham, the team’s linebackers coach. “A smart guy. A [Yale] Bulldog. He’s been in a good program, worked with [Charlie Weis at Notre Dame]. He’s pretty familiar with our system and has done a great job for us for two years. I think he’s really a good young coach. I’m glad he’s on our staff. He’s done a terrific job for us.”

Did Graham come with a recommendation from Weis. “Of course.”

Harold Nash promoted to head strength coach. “Harold, the same thing, he’s been here six years and done a great job. Works hard. I think he has the respect of everyone in the organization – coaches, players. He works hard. He’s good to work with."

Is he confident in players to be self-motivated in workouts that aren’t supervised? “All 32 teams are in the same boat. We’ll see when we get back.”

Does he view the Patriots as being in good shape to handle the lockout? “I don’t really know about the other 31 teams. I just try to coach our team and whatever we can do we’ll do the best we can with.”

Does he agree that a team not installing a new offensive or defensive system have an advantage? “I don’t know.”

The favorite part of his offseason. “So far, I’d say the owners’ meetings here in New Orleans.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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