- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Biggest takeaways from Bill Belichick’s appearance today on Sirius XM NFL Radio, which is broadcasting live from Gillette Stadium:
Likes backup quarterback competition with Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. “I think it’s very competitive. Both guys have had good springs. Ryan, again, had less time last year to prepare. This year, he is much further ahead in terms of understanding the offense, adjustments, and knowing the league, and getting matchups and so forth. He’s made great strides. I’m looking forward to the competition between those two players in training camp and preseason games. They’ll both get a good look and we’ll see how it comes out. They’ve both done well, and Tom has done well. We’ve gotten good play out of our quarterbacks all spring.”
What he hopes to get out of joint practices with Saints/Buccaneers. “One of the things you like to get out of those practices is situational things – red area, two-minute, third down, blitzes. You get into preseason games and a lot of times you don’t see that, it’s more of a vanilla look. For the starters, the guys who will play a lot, they’re usually not in there at the end [of preseason games], and of course, in the NFL, so many games are decided at the end. Your fourth-quarter, two-minute end-of-game type of situations, you practice them against each other. In a preseason game, if you get those situations, it’s usually not with the guys that will be doing it in the regular season, except for the field-goal kicker. It gives you an opportunity to set up those situational things. Talking to Joe [Vitt] and Greg Schiano, those are some of the things we want to try to accomplish, as well as trying to evaluate players against different competition.”
So much further along than last year. “Better this year than last year. I feel like we got a good head start in the spring, installation-wise we’re a little bit further along. We were just putting it together at this point last year.” … The progress is important because the team has just nine practices before playing the preseason opener. “There really isn’t a lot of time there.”
Replacing 20-sack production from Andre Carter and Mark Anderson at DE. “We have a lot of football in front of us and we’ll see how it all plays out. We have good competition at some of those outside rush positions, with some young players, and also some of our veteran players, guys like Ninkovich, and Jermaine Cunningham, and Trevor Scott, who a couple years ago had a real productive season for Oakland. He’s been used in some different roles out there, but we see him as a little bit more of an edge rusher. We’ll see how it all plays out. We were sitting here at this time last year and nobody was talking about Mark Anderson or Andre Carter. So guys will get opportunities and somebody will emerge.”
EXTRA POINTS: Belichick feels like receiver Brandon Lloyd has had a good spring and he “obviously has a good handle on the offense.” … Belichick called the rookies “a decent crop”, noting they have been competitive. … He felt players arrived in good condition.