Belichick: Evaluation system 'won't change'

Belichick: Evaluation system 'won't change'
July 24, 2013, 6:30 pm
Share This Post

FOXBORO -- It stands to reason that a team's player evaluation system is flawed if a one-time draft pick gets arrested on murder charges. Wednesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked his opinion of that idea. With former tight end Aaron Hernandez sitting in jail, it is easy to imagine change is coming to New England.

Or is it?

"I think the process is the same as what it's been for the last 14 years," Belichick said Wednesday. "I think that we'll continue to try to look at ourselves in the mirror and see where we can do a better job, where we can improve the process, but  I think the fundamentals of the process will remain the same."

Surely, something's got to give. Hernandez, a top-tier talent at Florida, dropped to the draft's fourth round because of drug problems and character issues. Every so often a team gets lucky in those high risk-high reward scenarios. Needless to say, the Patriots did not.

Belichick was asked if this specific case will inspire the team to approach college players differently.

"We've talked about what we want to do on that subject going forward, but I don't think we're quite there yet," Belichick said. "The draft is nine months off, or whatever it is. Again, we have a process in place. Can it be improved? Can it be modified? It possibly can. We'll certainly look at it."

The coach stressed players are considered on a case-by-case basis.

"When you get that information you evaluate it and do the best you can with it. There's no set formula, I don't think it works that way," he said. "Of the hundreds of players we've had through this program in the last 14 years, there's been a lot of good ones, a lot of real good ones. We try to do a good job and bring good people into this organization. And we'll try to learn from the mistakes we've made a long the way, which there have been -- plenty."

At least there is an option of retooling the process for future Patriots. What about the players already signed? It's possible Belichick and his staff truly had no idea what kind of man Hernandez truly is. So, how well do they know the rest of the team? A player who pleaded guilty to gun charges in 2010 was signed just Tuesday. Today, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard appeared in court on suspicion of DUI -- his second arrest in less than two years.

Belichick turned concerns toward the fact that such problems are anomalies in New England. Despite the recent breakdowns, he stood fast by the system.   

"As far as our current players go, we continue to evaluate our players on a regular basis, seasonally, at different points in the season and offseason. At the beginning of the season, [training] camp is always one of those points." Belichick said. "So we would address that as we normally do. We'll talk to people who we think can help our situation, whoever they may be. We've already done some of that. We have some other things scheduled where we'll maybe get some other ideas or other thoughts on how we can improve our overall process.

"That process won't change. It could be modified or tweaked a little bit with what we do, but I don't see the process changing."