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Some of the highlights from Bill Belichick’s Friday afternoon Q&A

08.10.12 at 7:20 pm ET
By

Bill Belichick (AP)

Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are some of the highlights of Bill Belichick’s Friday afternoon conference call with the media:

Opening statement: “After going through the tape here, I think that there were definitely some encouraging things last night and also a number of things we need to work on, both individually and from the team or overall scheme standpoint. I thought overall the players competed well. We were trying to, obviously our first time out there, trying to get our game day operation running without too many bumps in the road. I thought that was a step in the right direction. The big thing for us this week is we just have to, really the only chance we really have in the whole preseason to actually string some practice days together, so it’s important for us to get the most out of them and try to improve our team because once we play again, we’ll be playing three games right in a row. There won’t be really much time to do anything but very quickly prepare for the next game. That’s kind of where we’re at for today. On the injury front – the news on Dane [Fletcher] doesn’t look very good, so he’ll probably be out for a while, which is unfortunate because he’s worked hard, specifically this offseason and training camp. We’ve had good competition at the position so it we’ll have to look for somebody else to step in but it’s unfortunate for Dane. That’s where we’re at for today.”

You mentioned some encouraging things, outside of the way the team competed which you mentioned last night, what were some of the encouraging things you saw after reviewing the tape? “I thought individually there were good plays from a lot of players. We were inconsistent in certain areas or guys had good plays and the other plays weren’t so good. Some of the things that we worked on in practice showed up out there on the field from the fundamental or technique standpoint and that’s been a big emphasis, as it always is in training camp, is to play with good fundamentals, blocking, tackling, things like that. We had some production running the ball. Defensively we didn’t give up a lot of points. I thought we played competitively against both the running and passing game. Overall the kicking game was pretty competitive. Again, as I said there’s a lot of, I wouldn’t say that we’re three in any of those areas.”

Specifically in the run game, in this game it seemed like this was a little bit of I-formation. How much of that did you guys do last year without the pure fullback on the roster? “Not a whole lot.”

What was your thought on the way those plays looked with Eric Kettani back there and at one time, Aaron Hernandez back there? What was your thought on the production on those plays? “Again, some of the production was good; some of it was not so good. Again, even on the plays that were not good plays, there were some good blocks and some good things done on the play; we just didn’t execute it well enough to gain a lot of yardage. Even on some of the plays that we gained good yardage, there were still things that we could have done better. It’s all part of improving and getting better process. We’ve been running those plays all through training camp – you’ve seen them out there. We tried to work on things in games that we’ve been practicing the last couple weeks.”

With Dane Fletcher being out for a while now as you said, do you have plan for how you will shuffle that linebacker corps? Will we see Bobby Carpenter more and will we see more of Dont’a Hightower in the middle on a more regular basis? “We’ll just have to see how that goes. Again, those players have played multiple positions through training camp and even last night. It’s one of the things we’ll probably talk about tomorrow as a staff or later tonight and tomorrow as a staff, as we always do after a game and as we head into the next week, talk about what personnel we have available, which guys we think might have a chance to practice this week, which guys we think for sure are going to practice and then which guys will have a chance to practice and what we think how we want to practice those players and possibly play them in the upcoming game against Philadelphia. Those are things that we’ll talk about tonight and tomorrow and try to put into place next week when start practicing the best that we can.”

What are some of the things that you and the coaching staff hope to accomplish in the next 36 hours or so without practice? “We’ll take a look at what we’ve done over the last two weeks, both on the practice fields and against the Saints, in practice and in the game.  We’ll try to take a look at where we are, where we feel like we definitely need work, where we feel like we need to stay on it but overall our execution is at a fairly competitive level. New things that we need to put in, eventually later on in the week, things that we know we need to do because of what Philadelphia does that we’ll have to prepare for or adjustments that we know we’ll have to make for them and continue in general to build on what we’ve done the last two weeks with our team in terms of fundamentals, techniques, conditioning, situational football and just continuing to progress to be as ready as we can on opening day for all the different things that we’re going to have to face.”

There were a couple of plays made by Jerod Mayo, the primary one where he tracked down Darren Sproles on third down. Is he a guy who is able to use different strengths depending on how he’s being deployed? Like in the middle he plays it one way and on the weak side he can play it another and he can be very adaptable. “Sure, I think Jerod has a lot of strengths and he does a lot of things well – that’s why he’s such a good player. He can run, he can tackle, he can take on blockers, he can chase down plays. He can play good zone pass defense, he can cover guys man-to-man, he has the ability to blitz. He’s smart, he calls our defenses, he makes adjustments. He’s a versatile player, but he’s also a player that if you just put in one spot that can do a lot of things well and help your defense in a lot of ways, so absolutely. He gives you good flexibility on your team all the way around just because he does so many things well. And he has a very good understanding of not only what we’re trying to do, but what the opponents are trying to do and what things we would or wouldn’t want to do against certain looks or certain problems that they try to give us. He does a nice job of getting the defense to something that we would want to be in or something that we would want to play in that situation.”

In 2010, you called the Saints practices some of the most productive practices you’ve ever been part of. Would you say the same about these three days with them this year? “It was great to be with them. The good thing in 2010 was that was a time when we had two practices in the one day and we were able to kind of split things up, but it is what it is and I think we got a lot out of it, obviously. They’re a good football team and they’re good to work with. Joe Vitt and his staff and Sean’s [Payton] staff do a great job. We certainly learned a lot and had a lot of good teaching situations come up in practice and in the game from working against the Saints. I’m glad we did it and we definitely got a lot out of it.”

Read More: 2012 Training Camp, Bill Belichick,
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