Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday with Tom E. Curran in for Michael Holley to discuss where the team is at getting prepared for the regular season and also the reported signing of Reggie Wayne. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The biggest story of the offseason has carried over into training camp with Tom Brady appealing his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate. As it stands now, with the case in the hands of Judge Richard Berman, it’s unclear whether or not Brady will be starting Sept. 10 in the season-opener against the Steelers.
Belichick said he and the team will wait for more information to become available before adjusting things when it comes to practices or preseason games.
“Once we start our preparation for the Pittsburgh game, based on whatever information we have — injuries and whatever else then we’ll prepare the game the best we can in the most competitive way we can,” Belichick said. “We’ll just see what kind of information we have. That can be from a variety of sources, whether it’s Tom’s situation or players that are managing some type of physical condition then we’ll just have to see where we are when we get to that preparation and play it out during the week. It’s no different than a player who is going to maybe play in the game or maybe isn’t due to injury. We just have to as we get closer to the game see how that unfolds.”
The coach was then asked if since Jimmy Garoppolo was the lesser-experienced of the two, would he benefit more from more reps? Belichick said the goal is to get everyone ready for Week 1, but added that could change once more information becomes available.
“Our goal is to get everyone ready,” he said. “We can’t just focus on one player. We have to get the entire team ready and everybody is part of the team. That’s what we’ve been doing. That’s what we’ll continue to do. At some point that will change, but I don’t think we’re there yet.”
It’s been reported the team has signed Wayne, the long-time Colts receiver and a player Belichick has had a lot of respect for over the years.
“I think we’ve agreed [to a contract],” Belichick said. “Yeah, absolutely [I’ve had conversations with him.] I’ve had several. We’ll find out. We’ll see how it goes. We’ve never had him in our system before. I mean I’ve coached him in the Pro Bowl and all that. We just have to see how it goes. He’s had a great career and has done a lot of things for the Colts organization, primarily playing on the left and in more recent years being moved around to playing on the right and also some slot in situations.
“I think he has a lot of versatility, obviously he has a lot of experience so we’ll have to see how it goes.”
Here are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
On Devin McCourty playing cornerback against Saints: “Devin made a huge play on the double-move in the end zone that Coleman ran and knocked the ball out, saved us four points. I think our entire team, particularly guys who played in the first quarter, some of our so-called veteran experienced players, as a group we weren’t very competitive against the Saints. We also weren’t weren’t competitive against Green Bay the week before either. We all have a lot of work to do.”
On the team’s preparation for the third preseason game and how it differs from others: “I think a couple of points of emphasis for us this week will be: No. 1 to get into a more regular season preparation mode so our players and our coaches are watching a little bit more of Carolina and what they have done, who their players are, what the matchups are, things like that. That didn’t happen much in the first game. The second game we practiced against New Orleans. I don’t think it will happen in the fourth game against the Giants. This is kind of the team to do that for the guys that are new to the team, the rookies, some of the veterans from another team — just the way we do it. How the progression goes and it is important for players to get into a routine to kind of know where they are on Wednesday, where they should be on Thursday, where they should be on Friday, Saturday, leading into the game on Sunday in terms of preparation, their physical readiness for the game — what kind of practice we would have. What the demands would be and so forth. I think it’s a routine. One thing you don’t want to do, well sometimes you do, but for the most part you don’t want to surprise your team with a lot of stuff every day where they don’t know it’s coming, it’s had to prepare for it, it’s hard to get into a rhythm. Sometimes it’s good to change it up, I’m not saying that, but for the most part it’s getting into a routine. So this is a week we can start to establish that. It won’t be the same as the regular season, but it will be the closest week of the four that we will have.”
On if one player is more prepared than another based on experience: “We all have a lot of work to do whether a guy has been in the league one year, 15 years been to 10 Pro Bowl‘s or been to none. It doesn’t really matter. It’s where we are this year individually and collectively as a team. That has to do with timing and communication and execution with teammates — one guy could be in great shape and all that, but that is not the way the game is played. He has to be able to work with the other guys that are out there. That’s part of building a team. We’re all in that process.”