No Huddle: Belichick talks QBs, OL, specialists

No Huddle: Belichick talks QBs, OL, specialists
August 21, 2012, 10:54 pm
Share This Post

Bill Belichick spoke with reporters on a conference call Tuesday evening. The Patriots coach was on his way out the door, headed to Tampa less than 24 hours removed from the team's 27-17 loss to Philadelphia. The short turnaround time -- New England plays the Buccaneers Thursday night -- meant most of the conversation was still centered on post-game analysis.
Here are a few highlights.
What did you see from your two active quarterbacks, Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer?
BB: "Some good things. Some other things we can learn from, need to improve on. I thought they both managed their situations well at times. And there were other times where I'm sure there were plays they wish they had back, but you can say that about everybody."
For the record, Mallett completed 10 of 20 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Hoyer was 5-17 for 55 yards.
What about the performances of starting tackles Nate solder and Marcus Cannon?
BB: "I thought those two I thought those guys handled their situations, overall, I thought they did a pretty good job. Philadelphia was rotating some good players out there and it's a very good front that the Eagles have. They have some depth in it, too; they rotate guys through. They have good depth up front. I thought those guys did a pretty good job. They weren't perfect, obviously. There are certainly things that they need to improve on, too -- there were a couple plays that they can learn from. But overall, I thought they did a pretty solid job."
A couple plays? The coach is being kind. But don't just take my word for it.
There's something of a rotating door going at center. The O-line in general keeps getting shuffled and reshuffled, in fact. What's your assessment?
BB: "Part of what we look for in the offensive line are some players who have position flexibility and also there's competition for that starting center position. We had four guys play it last year and they all did a pretty good job. We've also worked Donald Thomas in there a little bit to give him some flexibility from playing the two guard spots.
"So it's a combination of all those things -- it's a combination of competition for the position and also for flexibility for guys to play multiple positions os they increase their value to our overall team but also to, if they're not starting, to being active for the game as one of the backup offensive linemen."
Any update on Patrick Chung, who left the game early with a shoulder injury?
BB: "No, not too much. We've been really scrambling around here today trying to get caught up with the game and going to Tampa and all that. I'll check in with those guys a little bit later before we leave."
Chung looked more dazed than a dinged shoulder would allow. But we'll go with what the team gives for now.
Can you address the work of your specialists?
BB: "This year with all those players returning -- Danny Aiken, Zoltan Mesko, and Steve Gostkowski -- I think it's a good group that worked well together last year, even though we didn't get Danny until the end of preseason.
"I think the continuity between those specialists and the rapport that they have and the time that they work together and the quality of their work is good, and I think that it shows up in their performance. Our overall timing and consistency -- and I'd say overall execution on the punt snaps, and the holds on the field goals and all that -- has been good. Probably better than it was at this time last year."
Stephen Gostkowski did some impressive work Monday night. The kicker nailed field goals from 51 and 55 yards (he also hit from 35).
BB: "Stephen has had a good year, had a real good offseason and came to camp in great shape has kicked the ball throughout camp and has kicked well throughout camp."
And your punter?
BB: "Zoltan has built on his first two years and he's certainly become a more consistent punter; his technique is better, his handling of situations with his experience has improved. He really doesn't just go out there and kick the ball, but now he's much more aware of circumstances and situations in the game and is able to communicate those to his teammates like the personal protector, or the snapper, or the gunners or whatever it may be."