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Bill Belichick: 'We've got a long way to go'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  August 12, 2011 01:28 AM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't go overboard praising his team after a 47-12 romp over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason opener at Gillette Stadium, but he was glad to get the games underway.

"It’s good to get out there and get in the stadium and play and I thought there were some positive things tonight," Belichick said. "We really got off to a slow start, obviously, and there are plenty of things we need to work on. But I think we just keep working hard and going forward here.

"We looked at a lot of people here tonight, a lot of young players, and that was kind of the idea tonight – to get them in there and let them play – and we let them play against some better people there in the beginning of the game, so we’ll get a good evaluation of them."

Belichick wants to review the game film before he makes any detailed assessments on individual players.

"We’ll look at the film tomorrow and really see how everybody did, but overall it looked like the players competed pretty hard," Belichick said. "We were able to make some plays and Buddy [Farnham] stepped in there – we’ve got a receiver leading the team in interceptions. It will be a point of embarrassment for the defensive backs, but it’s alright; they deserve it. [We’ve got] a long way to go. One step at a time here. I’m sure we’ll face a lot of challenges next week down in Tampa, but it was good to get it underway."

More from Belichick's postgame press conference:

Q: What did you like best about your quarterback play and can you assess both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett?

Belichick: I think both guys did a good job. They moved the ball and we scored some points, so it was good. There were plenty of mistakes, a lot of things we’ve got to work on, but there were some positives.

Q: What about [running back] Stevan Ridley tonight?

Belichick: I thought he had some good runs and made a couple good catches. There were some other things in terms of the rounds, pass protection, a couple run-reads that didn’t look – we’ll see how it looks on film, but thought he ran hard.

Q: Looking at the rookies, are you encouraged by the way they seemed to have gotten things in front of the live competition?

Belichick: We’ll see how it goes. I think we’ve seen some of those things in practice over the last couple weeks – guys making some plays here and there, but not consistent. And that’s what we’ve got to work on; we’ve got to work on doing it more consistently, but there are some talented players there. They were able to step up and make some plays. We’ll take a closer look at the film and see what it all looks like tomorrow. I’m sure there were plenty of things we need to work on, but there were some positive things too.

Q: How would you assess Taylor Price tonight?

Belichick: Taylor had some good plays, made a couple good catches. I thought that was a tough catch he made in the end zone for a touchdown. He had a couple run after catch plays down the sideline there on the hitch pattern when he broke a tackle there by the corner. But again, he's done some of those things in practice the last couple weeks, but it was good to see it happen in the game. I think he’s been very competitive in practice in training camp this year. The year has made a big difference for him.

Q: Was it a fairly easy call to give Dane Fletcher the green dot, given what he's done in camp so far?

Belichick: Well, he was the most experienced linebacker we had on the field. We had some other guys that weren’t playing, but Dane has come a long way in terms of his understanding of the defense, calling signals, making adjustments and those kinds of things. And the signal calling is really a new responsibility for him, but we felt like it would be good to give that to him instead of Gary [Guyton]. Gary has done it before, so just to give Dane that experience tonight and see how he handled it. It seemed to go fairly smoothly. We still got fouled up there a couple times, but overall it was decent.

Q: What went into the decision to rest so many guys?

Belichick: We didn’t rest anybody. There were players that we wanted to see play, and we looked at them and we let them play. There are only so many guys you can play in a game like this. We felt like it would be good to let some guys play, let them get into the flow of the game and play enough plays where they really got a chance to have an opportunity to show what they can do and play as opposed to putting them in for a couple series and then taking them out so somebody else could get in there. So we basically played two groups on both sides of the ball and those guys got a lot of playing time.

Q: What attributes does Taylor Price bring to the receiver position?

Belichick: I think all the ones we saw when we drafted him. He's got good size, he's fast, he has good, strong hands, and he's good after the catch. I think he's got a good combination of skills.

Q: How much have you seen the camp competition with so many receivers raise his level of performance?

Belichick: I don’t know. I think Taylor competed well last year. He just has more experience. He played in the Miami game at the end of the season last year and I thought he played pretty well in that game. He improved all the way through the year and really, when he’s had a chance to play, which hasn’t been very often – and I’m not talking about last year in preseason – but as we went into the season last year and now in training camp, when he's had a chance to play, he’s showed up and made plays. We saw that in the Miami game.

Q: What are your initial impressions of Nate Solder this preseason?

Belichick: I think Nate did some good things. Again, I think we’ve really got to look at the film and take a close look at everybody. I think he was handled himself well in the practice opportunities that he’s had over the last week. It seemed like there were some things in the game that looked pretty good. There were a couple things that didn’t look so good, but that's the way it is with all rookies; you build on the positives and correct the mistakes and hope that we can eliminate or minimize those mistakes the next time around.

Q: How much does it help a young guy like him to have the veterans in front of him that he does?

Belichick: I think that’s pretty much the case for any player on our team. [For] any young player, whatever position they play, there are players at their positions that are veterans that are good players that do things the right way that are good examples for them. I think all our young players have that opportunity to learn from those veteran players. I think we have that at pretty much every position, except for maybe tight end. I mean, we’re pretty young there, but other than that we have a lot of veteran players at pretty much every position.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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