- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA – With a familiar backdrop, but in unfamiliar surroundings at Philadelphia Eagles team headquarters, Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered questions from reporters before this afternoon’s joint practice between the teams.
Belichick stepped to the NovaCare Complex podium in the “media tent” shortly after 12 p.m. ET.
“It’s nice be here in Philadelphia,” he said in his opening remarks. “It’s a great opportunity for us to come down here and work with the Eagles. I have so much respect for Chip [Kelly] and what he’s done. We’ve been friends for a while, and I know he does a great job with his football team, and the program at Oregon, and what he’s doing here.
“I think it will be a good experience for our team to see some different people, some different schemes, some different matchups. It will be great for us from a coaching standpoint, because we’ll have to make some adjustments during practices as we go, relative to what they’re doing.
"Excited to be here and looking forward to working with the Eagles; this has been an outstanding organization through the years. I’m sure Chip will have them in a very competitive situation this year.”
That was a theme that Belichick mentioned twice during his news conference – how the joint practices are especially beneficial for the coaches because of the adjustments that must be made mid-practice.
With a heavy Philadelphia media contingent on hand, Belichick fielded several Eagles-related questions, such as switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense and more on Kelly.
ESPN and NFL Network are broadcasting live from practice, as these practices have drawn the attention of many national reporters and analysts, including Ron Jaworski and Mike Mayock, among others.
Also, officials are here to work the practice, led by referee John Parry.
A few more soundbites:
On his background with Chip Kelly. “Chip is a New England guy so we crossed paths from time to time in New England. We kept in touch over the past few years. … I’ve had several conversations with him since he’s taken over here in Philadelphia – owners meetings, combine, phone conversations and things like that. I just think he’s a really solid coach and a solid guy. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him.”
On the joint practices. “In all honesty, I think we have a real open mind about this. We’re here to get better, we’re here to compete against a good football team, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be a better football team when we leave here than we are today.”
On the progress of Patriots rookie receivers. “We’ll find out. I don’t know (chuckling). We’re getting better, they’re working hard. But it will be good to go against some new people and see how they do. I think it’s a hard-working group. They’re smart. They’re out there every day and they’re improving. But they have a long way to go.”