Friday, August 12, 2011
Belichick touches on 'encouraging' start
By Mike Reiss
Quick hits from Bill Belichick’s conference call with reporters Friday:
1. High praise for Logan Mankins. Asked his reaction to offensive lineman Logan Mankins signing a six-year deal with the team, Belichick happily obliged. "It's great. I think the world of Logan. He's done a great job for us here since he's come to the Patriots. I'm glad that he'll be here for many years in the future. He's one of our best players, one of our most consistent players. He's been durable, has a great work ethic, he's really smart. He plays hard. He plays tough. There are almost no negatives with Logan. He's an outstanding person. He's an outstanding player. He does things the way that we would like our team to do them, so he's a great example for all of us to look at, because he plays hard, he's unselfish, he's tough, he puts the team first. He's a winner. I'm glad we have him on our team."
2. "It’s a start." Belichick seemed generally pleased with the team’s performance in the 47-12 win over the Jaguars. "Definitely some encouraging things," Belichick said, before noting there were plenty of mistakes that also need to be corrected (both players and coaches). On the "things-they-did-well" front, Belichick said the fundamentals were generally sound for 80 plays on offense and about 50 on defense.
3. Those who didn’t play primed to return. Belichick hinted that we’ll be seeing some of the 30 players who didn’t play, likely as early as next week in Tampa Bay. "That will all start coming together a little more this week and in the succeeding preseason games," he said. At the same time, Belichick felt he learned a lot about the players who did suit up last night.
4. Developmental OTs have good night. Asked about offensive tackles Nate Solder and Steve Maneri, who shared the bulk of the action, Belichick gave an upbeat report by saying "there were a lot more positives than negatives." Maneri is a former practice squad player who looks like he’s rising up the ranks and will challenge for the fourth tackle spot on the roster.
5. Happy to have Mark Anderson. Veteran defensive end Mark Anderson showed up in a pass-rushing role Thursday night, creating some disruption on third down as the Patriots held the Jaguars to a 2-of-9 success rate in the first half. Belichick praised Anderson as a versatile hard worker and said, "He’s flashed some good pass-rushes in camp in one-on-ones and our teamwork, and again last night. … I’m glad we have him."
6. Dane Fletcher with a 'very good offseason'. Asked about linebacker Dane Fletcher, Belichick said, "It looks like Dane has had a very good offseason. He looks good physically. He's certainly a lot more confident and is reacting quicker and anticipating things better than he did definitely at this time last year, although he made a lot of gains over the course of the season and by the end of the year he was doing a real good job for us in that aspect."
7. Leigh Bodden in the slot. Veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden played in the slot in sub packages, with Belichick noting that he did so back in his Cleveland days (2003-2007). The Patriots have worked different players at the “star” spot, but Bodden is getting the bulk of the work right now.