10 takeaways from Bill Belichick's Friday press conference

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY

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'

Aug 17, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) calls plays at the line during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) calls plays at the line during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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

Nov 24, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) and cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) react after a missed first down by the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Patriots defeated the Cowboys 13-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) and cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) react after a missed first down by the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Patriots defeated the Cowboys 13-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

"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

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to reporters in Foxboro, Mass. on Dec. 11, 2019. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to reporters in Foxboro, Mass. on Dec. 11, 2019. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

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

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 08: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft waves to passing cars at the "Soup-R Bowl" at Gillette Stadium on May 08, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots Foundation and Massachusetts Military Support Foundation worked in partnership to provide meals to 1000 military families suffering from food insecurity. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 08: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft waves to passing cars at the "Soup-R Bowl" at Gillette Stadium on May 08, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots Foundation and Massachusetts Military Support Foundation worked in partnership to provide meals to 1000 military families suffering from food insecurity. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots running backs Brandon Bolden, James White, and Rex Burkhead during mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

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

The New England Patriots practice during training camp on August 2, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)
The New England Patriots practice during training camp on August 2, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Matt Dolloff/WBZ-FM)

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

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tackle Dan Skipper (72) works out with other players during mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tackle Dan Skipper (72) works out with other players during mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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

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Absolute meme material (h/t @JPPierson) pic.twitter.com/xdhR8VOSLq

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

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Here's Bill Belichick, and yes he has a mask pic.twitter.com/qq71Xnj2yu

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.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].