FOXBOROUGH – Bill Belichick may be widely considered to be a football genius, but he’s no techie.
“When it comes to technology, I’m really the worst,” he said. “The on/off switch, that’s challenging for me.”
Take, for instance, his ongoing battle with remote controls.
“Like when you have the three remotes — one to turn it on, one to change the whatever, another for something else just to get the right one to turn it on.”
So the Patriots coach looks at the NFL’s upgrade from analog to digital headsets for coaches on the sideline the same way he’d look at everything at Best Buy.
“Like most other things in technology, when it works, it’s great,” Belichick said. “When it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But when it works, it’s great.”
The new equipment is supposed to make communication crisper and clearer, and with less of a delay. The quarterback and one defensive player wear the special helmets on the field to receive the signals from the sideline.
The Patriots have already gone through emergency situations should the technology fail them at a crucial moment.
“It’s a challenging situation,” Belichick said. “You’ve got a lot of communication, a lot of things going on in every stadium both in-stadium and externally. If something breaks down for a few seconds, it’s important.
“It’s not like, ‘OK, we’ve got a while to get this fixed.’ They’re trying to go play. So a few seconds can be a big deal.’’
Belichick, for what it’s worth, seems to know his limitations when it comes to gadgets.
“We have people in our organization that are very good technologically,” he said. “Thankfully.”
Doctors know best
Earlier in the week, Logan Mankins alluded to the possibility that his ACL injury had been lingering long before the Super Bowl in February and he simply played through it. Belichick made it clear Wednesday that the guard’s pain threshold is like no one else’s on the team.
“I think we all know and think that Logan’s one of the tougher players on our team,” Belichick said. “We have a lot of tough guys, but he’s got a lot of physical and mental toughness, there’s no question about that.”
Asked why Mankins didn’t get an MRI when his knee was bothering him, Belichick explained the separation between the medical staff and coaching staff.
“That’s really between the player, the trainer, and the doctor,” he said. “I’m not a doctor, I don’t get involved in the medical treatment or cure or anything else. The patient and the medical staff, they deal with injuries.
“We have a deal: I don’t treat the patients. They don’t call the plays.”
Mankins was in pads for Wednesday’s practice, his first contact practice since returning Sunday after getting surgery in the offseason.
Asked about defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, who has been sidelined for a large chunk of camp, Belichick said he was “day-to-day.”
Notoriously coy about injuries, Belichick joked about the fact that teams aren’t required to report them until the regular season.
“Fortunately, we don’t have to give injury reports now,” he said.
Delay of game
A widely held belief among athletes who have had ACL surgery is that it takes a full season to start feeling like themselves again.
Wes Welker didn’t argue. He tore his ACL in January 2010, worked hard to return for the 2010 season, then exploded last year for the most receiving yards of his career (1,569).
“I went from 86 catches to 122, so I’d say there’s quite a difference in being able to have that year under your belt and really try and come back from it,” said Welker. “I definitely don’t wish that injury on my worst enemy. That’s a tough one.”
The Patriots are about to start a stretch of three exhibition games in 10 days, and even though it isn’t as daunting as it would be in the regular season, the goals are still to fine tune and stay healthy.
“It’s always a big task, but at the same time, it is preseason,” Welker said. “Obviously, we wouldn’t be doing anything like that during the regular season, but at the same time we’ve got to get good work and go out there and make sure we’re on top of it and going out and executing the way we need to and treat it like any other day.
“I think there’s always urgency. There’s always a need to get out there and get better, and I think that urgency always needs to be there no matter what the scenario is.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.