FLOWERY BRANCH – New England coach Bill Belichick spoke to the media before the teams took the field for this morning’s practice.
He had some effusive praise for quarterback Matt Ryan and thinks former Falcons Alge Crumpler has been a great addition to the Patriots.
Here are some excerpts from the media session.
STATEMENT: This is a great set up and Coach (Mike) Smith has been very accommodating. So, we look forward to seeing how this goes.
Q: Are you trying to get the same thing accomplished that you did last week with the Saints?
A: We are just trying to get better. Trying to get better in all phases of the game. We have some individual work, some group work, some team work and some special teams. Hopefully we can be a better football team when we leave here than when we arrived.
Q: When was the last time that you’ve been on the road in your coaching career for a joint practice?
A: Let’s see, we’ve done it with the Giants. We did it with Arizona. We did it with the Bears. So three or four times.
Q: Do you remember when was the last time?
A: When did it with the Bears every other year when I was up in Cleveland up in Wisconsin. Arizona in Arizona and then the Giants. When I was in Cleveland it was kind of a home and home thing. Those are the ones I remember. We’ve had other teams come in, but on the road those were all road visits.
Q: Is (Wes) Welker here?
A: Wes is here.
Q: What are the musical selections that you all picked for pre-practice?
A: We’ve got a little Bon Jovi. I think we’ve got a little Kenny Chesney. We are going to go home and home with Thomas (Dimitroff) there on the music.
Q: Are you at all curious to see another facility? You’ve been at (your facility) for 11 years. Does it all interest you?
A: Yeah, you go to a lot of colleges in the spring, but it’s not the same. Just being on the field with the Saints last week was interesting. Just watching their guys work. Their coaches. Their drills. Their operation. It was something that we haven’t done in a while. It’s interesting to see what another team does even just the simple things.
Q: How much did your familiarity with Thomas play in getting these practices set up?
A: That probably was the starting point. We talked about it in the past. Hey, if we ever get a chance to do it, that would be something to look into. When the preseason schedule came out, it fit. If we did not have to play them in preseason, I don’t think this would have happened. I think the fact that it’s one of the first two games . . . we talked about it. Coach Smith and myself thought it would be beneficial to do one day with the teams and so that’s what we are going to do.
Q: Coach Smith talked about five situations that you all wanted to practice. What are your objectives for these practices?
A: Everything we do, we are just trying to get better as a football team. Offense, defense and special teams. We have first, second and third down situations, red area and special teams. We are not doing everything. We are not doing goal line. We are not doing two-minute. Those are the situations that we are working on that I think will benefit us. With just one day, it’s hard to get everything in so we wanted to concentrate in certain areas and feel like we are making progress in those instead of doing one of everything. We will put a little bit more time into third down and red area stuff today.
Q: You spent three practices and a preseason game against Drew Brees and now you’ll see Matt Ryan here. Are the quarterbacks similar at all and what challenges does Matt Ryan bring to the table?
A: The similarity is that they are real good. . . We work against good quarterbacks in practice. We saw Brees last week and we’ll Ryan this week. I think that’s great. That’s about as tough as it’s going to get. They are as good as anybody in this league. That really presents a challenge for our defense. . . It’s great work for us.
Q: How is Alge Crumpler doing for you all in camp so far?
A: He’s doing great. He’s been a great addition to our team on and off the field with his leadership and experience. He adds a lot to our team. He adds a lot to that position. He’s been around pro football his whole life. He understands the game on and off the field. Very professional. Very prepared. He’s been a great addition. He’s really a model type of player.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Thursday, August 19 — Preseason Week 2 vs. New England 8 p.m.
Friday, August 20 — No Practice.
Saturday, August 21 — 9:30 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. (closed to the public); 3:45 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).
Sunday, August 22 — 9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (closed to the public)