FOXBOROUGH – In his morning press conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said preparations will begin for the Patriots' pre-season opener on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
However, the level of game planning is a lot more limited than for a regular-season game, and the overall focus at this point in camp remains on team improvement.
"Right now, we haven't really gotten into the Baltimore thing that much," said Belichick. "We'll start them tonight. We're really more focused on what we're doing and correcting the mistakes from last week, and moving on with some situational football, trying to get that taught to everybody and [make sure] everybody understands it, so we can go out there and execute."
Belichick also talked about the quarterback competition in camp, as Matt Cassel, Matt Gutierrez and rookie third-round pick Kevin O'Connell are all vying for the role of Tom Brady's understudy.
Belichick praised all three backup QBs, saying Cassel has had a good camp, Gutierrez is one of the team's hardest workers and O'Connell seems more confident under center than in spring camps.
"It will be interesting to seem him play," said Belichick of the rookie QB. "It will be interesting to see [Gutierrez] play with a year under his belt. When he played last year at this time he had very few snaps, very little experience and won a spot on the team. I'll be interested to see how those two guys do.
"I'm confident that Matt [Cassel] -- this is his fourth year -- he's got a pretty good understanding of what we're doing, and he's done a pretty good job when he's gotten an opportunity to play."
As for the incumbent QB, Tom Brady, who is celebrating his 31st birthday today. Belichick did not have an update on the franchise QB’s status after Brady tweaked his left leg during practice yesterday.
"I know as much as you do," said Belichick, when asked if Brady would participate in the team's 2:30 p.m. practice today.
Belichick showed his sense of humor when asked what he'd gotten his QB for his birthday.
"I missed that this year," said Belichick, dryly.