Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Bill Belichick on minicamp and more
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a Tuesday morning news conference to kick off the team's three-day mandatory minicamp, and here were the notable takeaways:
1. Extension of organized team activities (OTAs). Belichick explained that while the next three days are the "official minicamp", it's "really just a continuation of what we've been doing for the last 10 practices over the past three weeks." The main difference is that the minicamp is mandatory. Because the news conference was held so early, Belichick didn't have an official attendance to relay. The expectation is that every player will be present.
2. Can't do much with running game. Belichick said it hasn't been a full installation of the playbook at this point, but a significant part of it has been taught. "Without pads on ... there are a lot of things we'll need to do when we get to pads, particularly in the running game," he said. "I'd say that installation has been held back a little bit because we can't do the work we need to do on it. But we've tried to introduce the players to a lot of things so at least they will have heard them once before. Sometimes the second time around makes a little more sense if you've heard it once."
"We'll keep working with him," Bill Belichick said of Darrelle Revis. "There is still a lot for him to learn in a new system and all that."
3. Anderson factors in kicking game as well. Veteran James Anderson, who was signed to a one-year deal earlier this month, has been labeled more of a coverage linebacker. Belichick pointed out this morning that he also has special-teams experience, which could be an area he'd be counted on should he make the final roster. "We'll see how it goes," Belichick said, noting Anderson's production over his nine-year career with Carolina (2006-12) and Chicago (2013).
4. Checking in on Revis integration. Asked what he's learned about cornerback Darrelle Revis from having a chance to work with him more closely, Belichick didn't seem to want to go too far down that road. "Revis is a good player and I'm glad we have him," he said. "We'll keep working with him. There is still a lot for him to learn in a new system and all that. But he's a very experienced and accomplished player and we'll just try to fit him in to the things we're doing, both individually and collectively and his other teammates in the secondary, especially once we get into multiple defensive back groups -- with five, six, however many are on the field at the same time, there is a lot of communication and adjustments and things like that involved too. He's worked hard and done fine."
5. One vote for an earlier draft. Count Belichick among the crowd that would prefer the NFL draft moving back to late April. "The sooner you have your players, the easier it is to start mentally getting them integrated into your team," he said.
6. Let's keep it in context. When asked if there were any rookies who have caught his eye, Belichick responded by saying, "With all due respect, we haven't really done anything on the field," he said. "We've taught a lot and hopefully we've learned a lot, but we haven't had the competition that we're going to have in training camp. It's just not the same."