Celtics

Belichick weighs in on camp evolution

Belichick weighs in on camp evolution

By Tom E. Curran

FOXBORO - Better, worse; harder, easier - Bill Belichick hates getting into those questions, especially when they refer to things beyond his control.

So when I asked him if it's advantageous to have a 90-player pool to begin training camp or if he'd prefer the previous roster limit of 80, Belichick acted like he smelled something bad.

"I dont know," he huffed. "Look, whatever it is, it is. If its 80, its 80. If its 90, its 90. If its 100, its 100. Well do the best with whatever it is, try to make the most out of it. I dont see it as an advantage-disadvantage. I think you take whatever your opportunities are and you figure out how to make the most of them. If they change, then you take the new set of circumstances and make the best of them."

On one hand, the Patriots have the smallest coaching staff in the league so the "student-teacher" ratio with 90 guys in camp is probably pretty high. But on the other hand, Belichick knows end of the roster guys can, eventually, turn into top of the roster guys. Whether that's Steve Neal, Keenan McCardell, BenJarvus Green-Ellis or Mike Wright, it's not abnormal to see a scrub become valuable. So the more the merrier.

But while Belichick holds his opinion, he did share his experience with the way camp's changed.

"When I started coaching in the NFL, first of all, there really wasnt any offseason program or it was very limited," he explained. "You didnt have the organized OTAs that we have now. When you put in at the beginning of training camp, when you installed your plays, you installed them very thoroughly because it was, Id say, pretty much the first time they were hearing it. Veterans obviously had heard them before but for the benefit of the whole team, you did it in a very thorough way because it was really the first time.

"When we go out here the first day of practice (in 2012), weve already had 13 practices or however many practices we had, granted it was six weeks ago. Theres definitely a level of, from a month of practice, theres some learning and carryover. We might have a couple new guys on the team and all that but Im saying overall theres a lot more lead-in."

Belichick pointed out that the greater camp numbers back in the 70s and 80s was attributable to the fact the draft went on and on. Teams would bring upwards of 60 rookies to camp, Belichick explained. The rookies would have a separate camp for about two weeks, then a few would be retained to go to camp with the rest of the team.

Camp started earlier and ran longer, said Belichick.

"The preparation for the season really was at the beginning of the season, not in the spring and then kind of jumping to the different points. It was a lot different. Is it better or worse? I dont know," he added.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Kyrie Irving’s struggles, not having Gordon Hayward, and the Celtics losing for the 2nd time in as many nights.

6:31 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the message delivered by Hayward to the fans before the game, what was going on with Kyrie’s shot, and why they failed in stopping The Greek Freak.

10:33 - Albert Breer joins BST to preview the Falcons/Patriots Sunday night game and if Atlanta is in the middle of a Super Bowl hangover.

15:40 - In a new game called On The Clock, each person gets 40 seconds to rant on their selected subject including if Red Sox fans can root for the Yankees if the playoffs and how painful the Bruins season will be. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

BOSTON – When Kyrie Irving asked Cleveland to trade him this summer, he did so in part to be more of a navigator when it comes to charting out the rest of his basketball career.

But he knows for him to achieve the kind of individual and team success that he wants, he can’t do it alone.

And that maybe more than anything else, is why Irving has struggled in these first two games as far as shooting the ball.

In Boston’s first two games – both losses – Irving has averaged 19.5 points, 4.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Those are decent numbers but pale in comparison to what the 25-year-old has been able to do most of his NBA career.

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And while the team is committed to moving on and focus on winning the next game, there’s no getting around the emotional tug they all feel towards Hayward.

“You can throw as many emotions in there as you want, man,” Irving said. “We know how much G (Gordon Hayward) meant to this team and means to this team. Without him on the floor creating those opportunities we were going over in practice, and we saw in preseason and in the first game, that’s a big void to fill. When you think of it in that aspect, of course you want to be frustrated and disappointed. I’m pretty sure that’s not what G wants. So, for us, you just have to continue to exude confidence in the young guys and be ready to step up to the plate. It’s going to be even higher expectations on our guys in this locker room now to try and fill that hole that G (Hayward) left for us. As one of the leaders on this team, it’s my job to pick us up, as well as with Brad and the team with all the guys. We have to look each other in the eyes and know what to expect every single night.”

That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you consider how quickly things changed for the Celtics at least in the short term with Hayward’s energy.

“I just … as you can see its’ not an ideal situation,” Irving said. “So, as cliché as it is, everybody is probably going to say that’s life. But it is, man. [expletive] happens. Excuse my language. But it does, man. The individual that we have in Gordon, he’s very special. He’s going to fight like hell to get back on the floor. I know he’s already … there’s a fire burning inside of him. You see the amount of support he got. That should tell you the type of person he is. Not only to the Boston Celtics but to the rest of the league. We want him to get back healthy but we all understand that his health comes first. He’s going to do everything possible to get back on the floor and it’s our job to lift him up.”

Irving was asked whether the team would need to go back to Square One due to Hayward’s injury which will keep him out indefinite at this point.

“No. We don’t have time for square one,” Irving said. “I can tell you that right now. We don’t have time to go back to square one. It’s time to just figure it out, moment to moment, and we’ll be alright. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in some situations that test your character and this is one of those times.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE