Patriots coach Bill Belichick landed in Tampa with his team on Tuesday evening. The next morning he met with reporters before joint practice with the Buccaneers.
Not surprisingly, there was a lot of talk about former Rutgers, current Bucaneers coach Greg Schiano. Belichick gave a positive endorsement of Schiano when the Glazer family was doing its search for a new HC.
Here are a few hits from the press conference.
Can you talk about your recommendation on the Bucs coaching hire?
BB: "All I can do is just be honest. And I do, I think the world of Greg. I think hes a good coach. Hes got a good personality, he treats his players well, hes smart, hes tough. He did a great job with the Rutgers program without some of the opportunities that some other programs that he was going against had. But he competed really well in that conference and against those teams. Ive always been impressed with the way his teams performed. I have no problem saying that at all.
Belichick's son Stephen played one year of Rutgers football under Schiano as a backup long snapper. The relationship between coaches is older than that, however; New England has added more than a few Scarlet Knights to its roster in recent years.
What are some of the challenges moving from coaching in the NCAA to the NFL?
BB: "I dont know. I think Schiano's a very experienced guy. Hes won a lot of games, hes coached a lot of players. Hes coached NFL players, they just were in college, thats all. The Vince Wilforks, the Devin McCourtys, all the guys that hes coached, theyre NFL players, they just werent in the NFL yet. And hes coached in the NFL. So he knows what hes doing. Hell be fine.
Schiano had a 68-67 record in 11 seasons at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights finished with just one season under .500 since 2005.
Is Tom Brady on, well, let's call it a "pitch count," during the preseason?
BB: "Everybodys got to re-establish himself this year every player, every coach and thats what training camp and the preseason games are for, to work our performance back up as high as we can and build on into the season. Weve all got a long way to go. I dont think anybodys even close to where we need to be, and that includes all of us coaches calling plays; players doing their jobs, working with new teammates, getting new timing; new opponent; different look. We havent even started the season yet. We have a long way to go."
Do you feel players are more stimulated during joint practices?
BB: "When you work against the same guy every day, you know what he can do, you respect it, but you know it. Maybe youre confident in certain things he can and cant do. When you go against a new opponent, you dont know how hard that jab is, how good his hook is, how quick he moves, what its like to go against him. It forces you to play your techniques better, to be as good as you can at your specific individual fundamental techniques. But then from a team standpoint, your recognition, your communication, really making sure that were all on the same page and we know exactly what were doing because were not as sure about what theyre doing as we are working against ourselves where we see it more frequently.
How good is to have Sebastian Vollmer and Daniel Fells back?
BB: Theyve both been making good progress and weve taken another small step. Each day is a small step but in the end all those steps end up covering a lot of ground, and those guys have done that. Taking them off PUP, this is a small step. Working them into practice gradually is a small step, and if they continue to progress then well continue to do more. If we need to back off a little bit, then well back off a little bit until theyre ready to resume that progress."
What do you think of One Bucaneer Place, the new Tampa Bay practice complex? Been here before?
BB: No, I was at the old facility many times. Its the first time Ive been here. It looks great. Im certainly impressed with this room and the podium, the media room. Theyre treating you guys pretty good. Spent a little time in the weight room this morning and the fields look good. Its great. Good operations, good facility theyve got a good program and like I said were excited to be here and working with Tampa. Its a great opportunity for our team and were going to try to make the most of it.