Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the Q&A from today with Patriots coach Bill Belichick:
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the Q&A from today with Patriots coach Bill Belichick:
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete Q&A from Tom Brady’s session with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
FOXBOROUGH — The Tuesday afternoon session just wrapped up down here at Gillette Stadium, and here are a few quick notes worth passing along:
•A really nice afternoon. A little hot, but a lot more comfortable than it’s been the last few days. Practice was held in shorts and shells — it was the 22nd practice of training camp, seven of which have not been held in pads. Friend of Bill Belichick Jon Bon Jovi was standing on the sidelines for the duration of practice as part of his annual journey to Foxborough for training camp.
•The following players were NOT in attendance for the afternoon session: wide receiver Brandon Tate, cornerback Shawn Springs, linebacker Paris Lenon, long snapper Nathan Hodel, linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, linebacker Tedy Bruschi, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, offensive lineman George Bussey, wide receiver Wes Welker, tight end Benjamin Watson, defensive lineman Mike Wright.
•The highlight of practice came at the very end, when Belichick put it to the team — if rookie tackle Sebastian Vollmer could cleanly field a punt, the players would get the night off. After an anxious juggle, “Sea Bass” hauled in the punt, setting off a wild cheer among his teammates. (Vince Wilfork and Matt Light have handled similar duties in the past.)
•As was the case in the morning, much of the work throughout the afternoon session was spent on situational football, with Belichick calling out various scenarios and then having the players run the play. Much of the day was spent with the No. 1 offense working against the scout team defense, while the No. 1 defense did the same against the scout team offense.
•Cornerback Jamar Love had a difficult afternoon. The Arkansas product was charged with covering wide receiver Randy Moss for much of the session as the No. 1 offense worked seriously on situational football as part of their prep work for Thursday’s preseason opener against the Eagles, and Love was part of the scout team defense. Love was torched repeatedly, including a quick down and out play in red zone action, a sharp connection on a crossing pattern and an impressive deep ball that drew a big round of applause from the crowd.
•Quarterback Brian Hoyer connected on a nice pass to Ray Ventrone, beating a corner blitz. (Later on in the afternoon, Hoyer and tight end Tyson DeVree had a miscommunication on a route that left DeVree getting conked in the head or shoulder with the football.)
•Julian Edelman, Kevin Faulk and Pat Chung all saw work in the return game, working against what appeared to be a scout team version of the Philadelphia special teamers.
•In addition to the work he put in with Moss in tormenting Love, Brady had a nice connection with Greg Lewis late in practice.
•Cornerback Terrence Wheatley had a great interception late in practice, pulling the ball away from wide receiver Shun White in the end zone.
Tom Brady said today that he is ready and expects to play Thursday night against the Eagles in the Patriots’ preseason opener. Brady answered questions on a number of topics including how his knee feels, his recent appearence on the hit TV show Entourage, and the new “Tom Brady” rule. He also commented on whether he thought the Bernard Pollard hit was a dirty play or not. Click on the audio links below to listen to Brady’s comments from this morning. The Patriots travel to Philadelphia tomorrow and play the Eagles Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
FOXBOROUGH — Here are some quick notes about the Tuesday morning walkthrough that just wrapped up here at Gillette Stadium:
•Again, it was one of the hottest days of camp. Temps had to have reached the 90s — I think the hot weather may have deterred some fans, because there were plenty of spots to be had on the bleachers and the hillside.
•Quarterback Tom Brady addressed the media immediately following practice, and said again that he wanted to play in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Eagles in Philadelphia. We’ll have some highlights from that Q&A session — which went for a little less than 15 minutes — along shortly. (In addition, there were plenty of talk about “Entourage,” the left knee and the fact that he hasn’t missed a single practice thus far in camp.)
•UPDATE–here’s a quick look at some of those highlights…
Ready to go on Thursday night?
“Yeah, I’m ready. I think everybody is ready. We’ve had a good camp. Guys have really been working hard and trying to do what Coach Belichick has asked, so, it’ll be nice for us to get out there and play the Eagles. They really gave it to us last year, so hopefully, we perform better.”
Is Bill ready for you to play Thursday night?
“I hope so. We haven’t talked about it, but he told the guys everybody needs to be ready to play, so I’m expecting to play. There’s no reason I wouldn’t. I’ve been out here and doing everything and it’ll be nice to get out there and play some football.”
On the arm feeling compared to the start of camp…
“It’s feeling good. It’s feeling good. You know, we’ve been out here practicing every day, so I’m sure there’s some soreness from everybody at different parts of their bodies. But I’m feeling really good, positive about where our offense is at. We had some good situational work this morning. But it takes a lot for offensive football to be successful, and it needs 11 guys really to be on the same page. That’s what we’re going to try to accomplish.”
Are you curious to see how you’re going to react to your first hit?
“Well, I’m really not. You know, I’m more excited than anything. I don’t think there’s anything to be nervous about for me. I’m just excited. I’m excited to see how our team performs. That’s what I’m most excited about — to see what the 2009 version of the Patriots is going to be like. We’ve had quite a bit of changes with guys coming off injuries, guys who are new to the team and it’s really our first test to see what this team is going to be about.”
On the most important thing about the first preseason game being game speed…
“No, I think the important thing is to go out and play hard and execute the game plan, and whatever the coach calls, you have to be ready to do it. You mix and match quite a bit in the preseason, so you want to see what different types of formations you put in or personnel groupings and see how it works. It’s our dress rehearsal, and you have to go out there … we have four of them, and each of them are important. The first one is probably the most exciting for the players because we’re all out there for the first time in a long time. So like I said, hopefully it’s better than what we put out there last year. Coach showed us the tape — as he always finds ways to motivate us — the first half of last season’s game where we were down 31-3 at halftime. That was enough for all of us.”
How much do you want to play?
“As much as the coach asks me to play. It’s a game and everyone loves playing in a game. I’d love to play as much as the guys … as long as they want to keep me in there, I’ll be ready to go.”
How many — one set of downs, two sets of downs?
“I don’t know. It’s been a different training camp this year. I don’t know what he has in store. From his tone and from the message he’s been sending to the team, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be the first preseason game for us. He wants to see what we’re all about. I don’t think it’s like a guest appearance or anything like that. We’re going out there to play.”
Like your “Entourage” episode? A guest appearance?
“No, that was a starring role. [laughter] What are you talking about? I was on the whole show.”
Can Gisele really cook?
“Can she cook? Of course she cooks.”
On the Details photo shoot leaving him open for a ribbing from his teammates…
“I’ve been doing that for a long time. Ten years, I’ve been putting myself [into the] open. I’ve heard just about everything. Those guys are the biggest beneficiaries of everything, too. They get their SmartWater delivered to their house, and their cologne, and their watches, and the cars. If something goes well for me, it goes well for them, too.”
You say this has been a “different kind of training camp” this year — how so?
“Well, just the amount of practices we’ve had. It’s really been an uptempo camp. There’s been no downtime. We meet three times a day, we practice twice a day. We have night meetings. We’ve had one day off in about 2½ weeks. Before, the schedule has been different, and you’ve had a chance to catch your breath a little bit. Not this year. We just keep getting after it. There’s been padded practices almost every day. And I think the guys have responded to the challenge and we’ve come out and we’ve played well and I think Coach Belichick is happy with where we’re at. He doesn’t get on us too bad right now, which I guess means we’re doing something right.”
•The Pats held a walkthrough in shorts and t-shirts — of the 21 practice sessions they have had, six of them have not been in pads. In a walkthrough, because they are wearing t-shirts and shorts and not their numbers, it’s tough to take attendance. But many of those players who were not present earlier in camp were there for this morning’s walkthrough.
•Much of the time was spent on situational football. Coach Belichick would call out a scenario, have the ball placed at a certain spot on the field, and the offense would go to work. It was a low-intensity workout, but there were a couple of nice connections, including one pass from Brady to Welker that drew a cheer from the crowd. There was also time spent on various special teams scenarios. (You sometimes forget after being away from camp, but the Patriots really do prepare for every scenario.)
•NFL Films was in the house working on a special.
•On the second practice field, it looked like the Patriots’ scout team was running through a series of plays, giving the defense a look at some of the things Philadelphia might do.
FOXBOROUGH — Back at Gillette Stadium, ready to blog my way through another day of double sessions before the team takes off for the first preseason game of the year Thursday night in Philadelphia. The Patriots have two practices scheduled for today, one that runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and a second from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. In between, we will hear from both head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. We should have a blog entry up some time around noon.