Belichick on ‘the guys who are here’

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When Patriots coach Bill Belichick took the lectern here in the Gillette Stadium press box, he passed on going into the Logan Mankins situation. Shalise has you covered on that rather surprising development.

And now, before heading to practice,we’ll go over what Bill said his focus was on — the players that are here.

At the tail end of the press conference, Bill was asked whether or not Tom Brady had any catching up to do, or time to make up, since he wasn’t here through the early portions of the offseason program. He didn’t seem particularly concerned.

“I think the time before we get into these spring camps is a time where players really focus on individual things that they’re doing,” Belichick said. “There’s not a lot of team work and group work involved. There’s a little bit, but it’s more focused on individual improvement and working in small groups. So the timing and all that, I don’t think you can establish that in April anyway.

“Really, those are the kinds of things you would establish in training camp. I’m not saying you can’t work on them now, and you can’t make some points, but you still have to go back and re-do all that when you get to camp at the end of July.

“So our focus right now is to get everybody taught, so they can understand what they’re doing and they have a good base to build on so as we can add things in training camp and change things, so they’ll still have the concepts and fundamentals that they learned in this period of time.”

He also took on, for the first time, the subject of Wes Welker’s swift return to the practice field from reconstructive knee surgery, saying, “I think he’s doing alright. It’s a long rehab – He’s done quite a bit, but he’s got a long way to go. I know he’s working really hard. I’m impressed with his work ethic, as you always are with Wes, that’s the way he is. I think he’s coming along.”

One more thing to note before I run … Belichick was asked directly about Ty Warren’s absence from the offseason program, given that he skipped out to get his degree. He emphasized that the camp was voluntary.

Pressed again, he was, again, brief. “It was a voluntary camp,” he said.

We’ll be back right here after practice.


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