FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick took some time during Friday's press conference to remind reporters, and anyone else listening, that now isn't exactly the time for evaluations. Players are still in their shorts. Pads have yet to be introduced.
In essence, pump the brakes.
During his almost three-minute spiel, he made a few sarcastic quips about the talent "evaluators" in the media, and asked them to try to understand that what they are looking at for the first two days of training camp isn't REAL training camp.
After fielding a few questions about subjects like the pass-catching ability of his running backs, the skill set of Brandin Cooks, and the versatility of undrafted rookie defensive back Kenny Moore, here's how Belichick made his point.
"You know, you guys are asking a lot of questions about what we've seen from this guy, what we've seen from that guy," he started. "We've yet to put on pads. I understand that, you know, there's a pretty talented group of evaluators in this room but in all honesty our evaluations come more in training camp when we actually practice and we can fully execute the techniques and the plays that we're trying to do.
"The main thing we try to get done in the spring, and the main thing we're trying to get done in these two days is to teach the players what to do, to give them the most fundamental instruction that we can given the restraints that we have on practice. And then when padded practices, and I would say real training camp starts tomorrow, and will continue for quite a while after that including preseason games, is when the real evaluations start.
"I know everybody's all excited when a guy catches a pass, but when the defense doesn't jam him or they're not allowed to really because we don't want heavy contact out there, [they] aren't competing through contact at the end of the play, then it's not quite the same as when all that's going on. I'm not taking anything away from the receiverss. I'm not taking anything away from anybody. I'm just saying it is what it is. The competitive level out there's not what it's gonna be starting tomorrow.
"To evaluate players competitively when they're not on a competitive level, I have a hard time with. But I know a lot of the people are real good at that, and they can make a lot more out of it than I can so I can respect that. But due to my personal limitations, and my personal inability to make those evaluations, I don't make them. We can keep asking about how everybody does on this and how everybody does on that, and the main thing for me is to see if they're doing the right thing, doing it properly, how we can correct that, and then there will be a point in time where everybody will be able to go out and do it to the best of their ability against very competitive players on the other side of the ball, and we'll see what happens.
"That's when the evaluations really start, other than if a person can't take the intstricution and do whatever you've asked him to do or do it properly, you can evaluate that. But in some cases it's hard to evaluate how they do them competitively against somebody else when it's not a competitive situation."