FOXBOROUGH – Bill Belichick held his daily briefing with media members today (11:15 a.m.) and here were some of the highlights:
QB Matt Gutierrez working his way back from bruise. Belichick said quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who has been held out of practice Monday and Tuesday, sustained a bruise in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Ravens. “I’m sure he’ll be back out there soon. I don’t think it will be too long, but I don’t know whether it will be today or not,” Belichick said.
Adalius Thomas and leadership in Year 2. When it was pointed out to Belichick that one of the big storylines at this time last year was “How will Adalius Thomas fit into the defense”, the coach joked that it was indeed a top storyline, right there next to Randy Moss not practicing at this time last year. Belichick then got a bit technical, noting the different roles Thomas can play – such as on the line as an outside linebacker, or off the line as an inside linebacker. “He has a lot of experience now from doing different things,” Belichick said. “I think he’s really become one of the leaders on the defense. Not that he wasn’t last year, but more so just going into his second year …”
Tipped passes at the line. Belichick was asked about the numerous tipped passes at the line of scrimmage that have taken place in training camp. He then proceeded to give a tutorial of sorts on the skills/technique required to bat down passes. Asked if there was one player who stands out over his coaching career for batting down passes at the line, Belichick pointed to Richard Seymour.
Penalty laps in focus. A day after all members of the defense took a “penalty lap” during yesterday’s practice, Belichick was asked about his history with the penalty lap – which is taken when a player makes a mistake. He said he first saw it in his time with the Giants (1979-90). Part of the idea of the penalty lap is that players think about their mistakes as they make their way around the field, and when the entire team takes a lap as a result of an individual mistake, it can be especially tough for the one player who might have made a mistake. “Maybe the guy who made the mistake gets some advice from some of the guys who are running – but don’t feel like running,” Belichick said, which yielded some laughter from media members.
Heat in Tampa will be a good test for conditioning. Belichick made the point that the heat in Tampa will be a barometer of the team’s conditioning. He used that as another example – in addition to the scheme that the Buccaneers play – as to why the preseason matchup is a good one for the team.
Jeff Hostetler follow-up. Former Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler was at Patriots training camp on Tuesday, visiting his nephew (rookie tight end Jonathan Stupar), and Belichick pointed out that the players could learn a lot from Hostetler’s career. “He had to persevere and go through a lot – there was six-and-a-half years really before he played quarterback,” Belichick said. “He played wide receiver. He played on special teams. He did a lot of scout team work and stuff like that before he got to play. I think it’s a good lesson for all of us – players, coaches alike – that you don’t know when those opportunities are going to come and you need to take advantage of them when they do arrive.”