Patriots coach Bill Belichick was a guest on Sirius NFL Radio's "Movin' the Chains" program on Tuesday. Belichick spoke with hosts Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan.
A few nuggets from the interview:
1) Shawn Springs -- size and flexibility. When speaking on the addition of free-agent cornerback Shawn Springs, Belichick first mentioned his size (6-0, 207), which makes him the team's sturdiest corner. Belichick also said the team placed a value on Springs' versatility as he's played outside corner, slot corner, and safety. Belichick said Leigh Bodden, another free-agent signee at cornerback, has similar flexibility to play both outside corner and in the slot. "You can never have too many defensive backs," Belichick said. " It seems like every team's always got a handful of receivers, and you can never have enough guys to cover them."
2) Terrence Wheatley update. Belichick was asked about last year's second-round pick, cornerback Terrence Wheatley. He said that Wheatley has been participating in the team's offseason program "doing all the things that we would expect him to do at this time of year." Wheatley's 2008 season ended in early November with a wrist injury. Belichick said Wheatley was challenging for more playing time at the time of the injury.
3) Focus on outside linebackers. After trading Mike Vrabel, the Patriots have a void in the pass-rushing area. Belichick was asked about some of the players who could step in, and he said he feels that the Patriots have good competition at outside linebacker with "a couple of different types of players -- speed and power and size on the edge." He said it is hard to predict how big of a jump players like Vince Redd and Shawn Crable will make from their rookie seasons to year two. He noted that Pierre Woods and Tully Banta-Cain both made a nice jump from year one to year two.
4) Kevin O'Connell and his progress. Belichick was asked about backup quarterback Kevin O'Connell and he noted that O'Connell played in a pass-oriented offense at San Diego State, and last year in New England, he got more work directly under center in a pro-style offense. "He did a good job. He came along well," Belichick said, noting that he was helped by taking snaps as the No. 2 quarterback.
5) With 11 draft picks, trading some of them into 2010 is a good possibility. Belichick pointed out examples of how the Patriots have traded draft picks into the next year, and he seemed open to doing that again if the opportunity arises. Another possibility is packaging picks to move into position to select a specific player who might have fallen in the draft more than expected. Belichick also said it's probably not realistic to think that 11 rookies would make the final roster. "I think that would be asking a lot," he said. "If we could package those together, or move them into next year, I think that would certainly be something we would consider. But only if we had good value for those spots."
6) Recommending John Harbaugh to Ravens owner Steve Biscotti. Belichick spoke highly of John Harbaugh when Harbaugh was interviewing for the Ravens head coaching job last year, and he mentioned how he felt his own experience as a special teams coach was some of his best training to become a head coach. "That's one of the things I mentioned to Steve, because John had such an extensive special teams background [that] sometimes there's a little reluctance about hiring somebody like that as a head coach thinking it would be better to have a guy that's been longer as an offensive or defensive coordinator, but I don't think that's necessarily true, particularly in John's case," he said. "John's just an outstanding football coach."