By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bill Belichick spent 30 minutes Friday afternoon speaking with Patriots media via a video call. It’s the first time the coach has been available for questioning since April’s NFL Draft. Here are the biggest takeaways:
1. We’re not going to hear much about the ‘QB competition’
Belichick was asked directly what a ‘quarterback competition’ would look like between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham. The first words out of his mouth? “It’s really the same of all positions.”
Belichick then broke down how players are instructed in camp, but didn’t give any insight into how that will apply to his signal callers.
2. They did their due diligence on Cam Newton
The signing of Newton was described as “mutual interest” between the Patriots and Newton. Belichick said the team had “a number of different people” spend “quite a bit of time with him.” It wasn’t specified whether this was before or after the signing was official, but the idea that Newton enters 2020 as an unknown of some sort may not be as true as some are making it out to be.
3. Belichick strongly stands behind the Patriots who decided to opt out
“I totally respect and support it 100%,” were the words Belichick used to describe the players who chose to sit out the 2020 season due to COVID-19. “We all have to make decisions,” the coach continued, “They had to make the decision that was best for them.”
When asked if he expects any more members of the team to opt out, Belichick replied “My crystal ball is a little cloudy right now.”
4. Don’t expect Belichick to be giving medical updates
It’s not uncommon for coaches to be asked about and give updates on the conditions of injured players. However, Belichick was very matter of fact when asked if any members of his team have tested positive for COVID-19, saying he is legally unable to answer that question.
“If any player wants to talk about his individual medical situation going forward, that’s another thing,” Belichick added.
5. That doesn’t mean he’s not discussing COVID internally
Belichick told reporters the team has discussed “a number of scenarios” for how to handle a player testing positive. He mentioned wanting to have multiple paths of action ready for players impacted differently.
On top of that, Belichick mention the Kraft family has upgraded the Gillette Stadium facilities “well beyond the [NFL] requirements.” for the COVID landscape.
6. Troy Brown’s versatility carried over from playing to coaching
Bill Belichick’s use of Troy Brown as a coach is going to resemble his use of Troy Brown as a player. Asked about Brown moving from coaching wide receivers (his old position) to coaching running backs, Belichick said Brown will hold a number of roles in 2020.
Citing Brown’s ballcarrier ability from his playing days, Belichick said that he expects Brown to work with not just running backs, but also slot receivers and kick returners.
7. Training camp will be more competitive than usual
Asked how he’ll evaluate players with the lack of competitive reps usually gained from four preseason games, Bill Belichick invoked college football’s preseason program. (Of course this included a reference to 1871 Rutgers football.)
“We’ll have to take advantage of our practice opportunities,” Belichick said, expanding that the team will look to foster a more competitive, game-like environment this at times summer, as opposed to how things have been done in the past.
8. Keeping the team as a single unit is important
Per the training camp agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, teams were either allowed to keep a 90-man roster if they split into two separate groups, or cut down to 80 players and remain as a whole. When asked about making that decision, Belichick said he felt is was important to keep the group together.
9. Belichick loves sandwiches
Belichick’s Subway commercial was a national headline earlier this month. We learned more about that shoot today. Does he like sandwiches? “Everybody loves sandwiches.” What kind of sub was he eating? “It was one of their Super Dupers.”
Belichick also told the media his proceeds from shooting that commercial will go towards his charitable foundation.
10. He was wearing a mask around his neck
Belichick had a gaiter-style mask around his neck during the press availability. Let that be a reminder that Bill Belichick wears a mask, and so should you.