Belichick: Rams defense is fast, athletic

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Belichick: Rams defense is fast, athletic

FOXBORO -- When asked about the St. Louis Rams defense,Bill Belichick pretty much ran down the list and just named off every player on the defensive roster.

All the players he named combine for a defensive unit that he feels has plenty of quickness.

"They've got a lot of team speed," said Belichick on Tuesday at Gillette Stadium about the Rams, whom the Pats play Sunday in London. "They make a lot of plays from behind, chasing down screen passes, outside runs, check downs, things like that.

"They're very athletic, but their corners are good, and they've got a lot of pass rushers. Those are the really strong points of their team."

Another strong point is their quarterback. Belichick praised Sam Bradford on Tuesday. And from what he's seen out of the third-year QB, the Patriots coach has been impressed.

"He's a very good passer," said Belichick. "We played against him here a couple years ago. Of course, I was talking to Josh McDaniels about him, because he had him last year. (McDaniels was the Rams' offensive coordinator in 2011.) He's just a very, very good quarterback. He's smart, he sees coverages well, he reads things well, and has a good understanding of the passing game. He's accurate throwing the ball, has good mechanics. He's a tough kid. I think he's got a lot going for him. He's a good quarterback."

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."