Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots held meetings today, as well as their one on-field practice of the week. Here’s some of what Belichick said during his press conference:
We’re on the field here today, it’s our one chance this week to work on some things that we feel like we can improve on. I’d say that’s really the theme for us this week as a staff and as a team, is to identify and then have a plan for how to work on things we feel like we can improve on, whether that’s situations, plays, techniques, maybe changing a scheme, whatever it happens to be. Obviously we’re not going to get it all done today, we can do some things today but also have a plan going forward and we have practice next week and in the coming weeks things that we feel like if we improve on can help our football team and there are certainly a number of those, as well as turning our attention to Buffalo. Hopefully this will be a productive week for us; I think we can use it.
Areas where he’s seen improvement
I think we’ve improved in every area; I think we just need to improve the rate of improvement. We’re doing a lot of things better than we were doing then, so are our opponents. They’ve improved too. That’s why we practice every day. But techniques, schemes, timing, all those things, there are good things and there’s room for improvement. And our opponents are getting better, so that’s really the challenge is to improve faster than they do.
On how rookie players are dealing with things 12 games (four preseason plus eight regular-season games) into the year:
Absolutely. I think that’s a big adjustment for a first-year player coming into this league is the length of the season, the intensity of the season. Certainly they’re playing against good players every day in practice, every week on the field, whereas in college they were probably the best player on their team, one of the best players on their team, the other teams might have had some good players but it wasn’t this level of competition on a daily or weekly basis, and there’s lot more of it. I think those challenges – and certainly mentally it’s a big challenge in terms of the amount scheme and the plays and adjustments at this level, so I think all those things combined, that’s all part of the challenge for those first-year guys.
Dealing with these days off from planning for a specific opponent:
I think it’s important for all of us to use whatever time we have efficiently, whether that’s a regular week or a bye week, whatever it is, we have so many hours in the day, so many days in the week leading up to the game, and those are all opportunities — each day, each hour — they’re all opportunities to do the right thing, whether it be preparation or physical rehab or rest or nutrition, so we try to make the most out of all of those opportunities, all of us: players, coaches, rookies, veterans, long weeks, short weeks, off-days, work days, whatever they are we try to make the most out of each day.
Scouting the Patriots coaches:
Well, first of all I think it’s an ongoing process: I don’t think you do nothing until you get a bye week and then all of a sudden here comes a big self-analysis. We do that on a weekly basis — we look a the plays we’ve run, look at the production we’re having, not having, and things that stand out one way or the other that are especially good or the results aren’t when we want, then we try to find a reason for that and correct it, whatever that happens to be, they’re all individual analyses. At the same time if we’re doing a lot of one particular thing, then the evaluation of the production on that — if we’re doing a lot of it, are we getting a lot out of it or should we be doing a lot of something else and a little less of whatever this happens to be, and that involves a lot of things — it’s plays, it’s techniques, schemes, maybe a style of play if you will, personnel groups, all those kind of things, so we try to stay on top of all that. But I think what you really look for is once you have enough opportunities to evaluate it, it’s hard to evaluate a play whether it’s good or bad if you only run it one time … but after you’ve had a number of opportunities to observe it, you’ve run it a number of times, then I think that’s a fair evaluation.