The Patriots began their mandatory minicamp today, and head coach Bill Belichick spoke with the media before the session. Thanks again to the Patriots Media Relations team for providing the transcript.
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
June 5, 2018
BB: So we’re headed into our third week here – first two weeks of OTAs, this week of minicamp. So it’s a good process. I think we’re making progress. We obviously have a long way to go. We’ll start getting into some situational football and keep moving things ahead, but I feel like we’ve got a decent couple weeks. Hopefully, we can just keep stringing some good days together this week and get ready by the end of the process, put ourselves in the best position we can to get to training camp. That’s really what this is about. Just try to keep stringing them together.
Q: Is it good to have your quarterback here?
BB: It’s good to have all the players here. It’s always good to work with all the players.
Q: Did everyone report?
BB: Yeah, everybody’s here.
Q: Did the absence of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski slow down your progress at all? How did that affect what you’ve been trying to do?
BB: The OTA system is voluntary.
Q: Did it affect the progress of what you’re trying to do at all? Did it have any effect at all?
BB: It’s a voluntary program.
Q: That’s not what I asked.
BB: Well that’s the answer.
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Q: Do you have to catch up the players who weren’t here during the past several week at all?
BB: Yeah, we have players that are in various stages of participation and so everybody does what they can, the best they can to get ready to go. Whatever they can do. We have guys that are in a lot of different situations.
Q: What kind of adjustment period do you expect to occur here with two important players from your offense coming back?
BB: Look, everybody is out here just, again, we’re all – myself, all the coaches, all the players – we’re all doing the same thing. We’re trying to get ready for the season and take every day, every opportunity we can to put ourselves in the best position to have a good training camp and have a good season. We’re all doing the same thing.
Q: Do you feel like you and Tom Brady are kind of in a good place right now and a good understanding where each other sits?
BB: I’ve always had a good relationship with Tom [Brady].
Q: Does it concern you at all that he chose to stay away from OTAs this year?
BB: He’s done that before.
Q: The whole time?
BB: Yeah, if you go back a few years. There were times when he wasn’t – I mean look, again, it’s a voluntary program. So that’s what it is. You’ll have to ask him about it.
Q: Any reaction at all to the Eagles being snubbed of –
BB: We’re focused on what we’re doing. Yeah, we’re focused on what we’re doing today. We want to try to have a good day.
Q: Will any of the Patriots players be fined or punished if they kneel during the national anthem during the coming season?
BB: I don’t think we’re doing that today. We’re in OTAs.
Q: Just wondering if they will be fined –
BB: Yeah, we’re focused on today. We’re focused on having a good practice today. That’s what we’re out here for. That’s what we’re going to concentrate on.
Q: Eric Reid, one of the high-profile free agents, remains unsigned in this league. You’re a talent evaluator. Strictly from that perspective of talent evaluation, is he a player that is good enough to still play in this league here or elsewhere?
BB: Yeah, right now I’m focused on evaluating the players on our team and having a good practice today. That’s what I’m doing.
Q: Does having Tom Brady back now allow you to do more in practice?
BB: Our practices are structured in such a way that we just move forward from the first day of OTAs to the last day, which I include the minicamp and the OTAs as part of the same schedule.
Q: What areas do you feel like you need to work on based on some of the past practices and camps?
BB: We need to work on everything. We’ve only been on the field for five days. Coaching, playing, communication, execution – we need to work on everything.
Q: I just want to clarify something you just mentioned in terms of OTAs versus minicamp. Because this is the first part that is mandatory, do you view this as a re-start at all or is it just a continuation of what you’ve already been at the last few weeks here?
BB: We’ve already had five days, yeah.
Q: Did Tom Brady’s absence help Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling in their progress just because they got more reps?
BB: Again, I don’t think it’s really about who is or isn’t anywhere. It’s about each of us individually trying to make the most out of our opportunities every day to get ready for the season. That’s what we’re all doing. You’d have to ask those guys. I’m not sure.
Q: What about seeing Rob Gronkowski this morning? Was it good to have him back here as well?
BB: It’s good to have all the players here.
Q: Do you feel like you’re in a good space with him as well? He stayed away and seems to be grumbling about a few things as well.
BB: Yeah, you’d have to talk to Rob [Gronkowski] about that.
Q: As well as you know Devin McCourty, have you noticed any different dynamic with having his twin brother here with him?
BB: It’s hard to tell them apart. Got to take a second look. Yeah, they’ve been great. Devin has been great. Jason [McCourty] has been great. They’re both great workers, have a great understanding of football. They’re very instinctive. Good team concepts. Good teammates. Enjoy having both of them around. Just have to look a little closer to make sure I’m talking to the right one if they’re not in uniform. But we have two sets of twins so it’s doubly challenging.
Q: With Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, are you confident that they are dedicated to the team and will be all-in this fall?
BB: Yeah, you’d have to ask them that question. They’ve always been that way ever since they’ve been on our team.
Q: Do you have an all-or-nothing OTA policy? Is it OK for a player to come for half of the OTA practices?
BB: Those policies are all covered by the league.
Q: How does Ivan Fears’ vocal presence and enthusiasm at practice help the younger players adjust and the older players receive feedback?
BB: Yeah, well, I think each coach has their own style out there. And, as you said, Ivan has a very vocal style. He has a lot of energy and he’s fun to be around for the players, the coaching staff, and he adds a lot to our program – a lot of experience, a lot of energy, a lot of passion for the game, so that’s good for all of us.
Q: What have White House visits meant to you in the past? Do you feel any level of disappointment that it has become a point of contention between the NFL and the White House?
BB: Yeah, we’re focused on what we’re doing today. I’m not really worried about what everybody else is doing. We’re trying to have a good practice and take advantage of the opportunity we have to improve as a football team today.
Q: Have you enjoyed the visits in the past?
BB: Today we’re out here in the practice for OTAs.
Q: What are the biggest things you are hoping to accomplish right now? What’s a successful minicamp to you?
BB: Each of us individually has an opportunity today to improve and help prepare ourselves for the 2018 season. That’s what we’re all out here for. So, each day we get a chance to do that. It’s an opportunity that we’ll all try to take advantage of.
Q: Have you and Rob Gronkowski engaged in any contract talks to renegotiate his current deal?
BB: I wouldn’t discuss that publicly.
Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media