Belichick: Gaffney day-to-day, how team impacted by odd preseason schedule, and kickoffs needing work

Bill Belichick has wrapped his press conference for the day. Here are some highlights from the chat:

On scaling down preparations for a preseason game vs. preparation for a regular season game:
It’s a third maybe? It’s a lot less. They’re going to be playing a lot of people like we are. It’s really more about having a basic understanding of what they do, more of us going out and seeing if we can do what we’ve been practicing.

On the Pats playing their final three preseason games so close together and how it will affect the team:
The unusual thing about this situation is just our ability to install anything, to actually put in plays or cover things, so this week is pretty much it. I think we’ll have good practices next week against Tampa like we did last week against New Orleans, and the preseason game will be beneficial to us,. But in terms of actually being able to go out there and talk about something in the morning, walk through it, practice it in the afternoon, watch the film at night, correct it, go through some of the little things that didn’t come up or that did come up that we need to go back over again or fine-tune, that’s what we lose. So after this, this is it. We’re out on the practice field against Tampa, turn around and play the Giants, and so there’s no real time to install or work on anything,. It’s just try to get ready for a game in a couple of days.


Is there a danger it hurts player evaluation?
Well this certainly isn’t the ideal way to set it up, but we’ll do the best we can with the opportunities we have.

On former Florida running back Jeff Demps, who earned a silved medal with the U.S. 4×100 relay team in London and is expected to sign with an NFL team shortly:
We scout all of the players that come out in the draft. He wasn’t at the Combine, he didn’t have a spring workout, so we didn’t have that interaction with him. Other than that, not a lot of scouting except for watch practice, but we can’t have the same kind of interaction when they’re in-season that you can once they’ve declared for the draft.

What’s your scouting report on him?
I think that’s pretty well documented. (In the NFL?) I don’t know…he’s a running back that’s returned kicks, is fast…

On WR Jabar Gaffney, who appeared to injure his right quadriceps yesterday:
He’s day to day…we’ll see how it goes today. I don’t think this is life-threatening.

On whether there were fewer kickoff returns league-wide last year with the spot moved up, and how Belichick views the Pats’ kickoff returns:
The number of returns was down, and there was a high percentage of those early in the year, and then later in the year when the weather wasn’t as warm and conditions weren’t quite as favorable, then percentage-wise there were more balls returned but still less than in the past. We didn’t return very well in any conditions, at any time, and still haven’t based on the New Orleans game. So that’s obviously an area that we can improve in, have worked hard in, but based on the results still need to do a lot more work on. It’s an important area of the game, it’s a big momentum play, it’s a way to answer to the opponents’ score or start the half, whatever the situation is there. It’s a big part of the game, an important part, we put a lot of stock in that.

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