Pats confident in Connolly, will look at replacements


Pats confident in Connolly, will look at replacements

By Danny Picard Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard

Patriots coaches didnt meet with the players on Tuesday,mainly because they didnt get back to Foxboro until 5 a.m. this morning. Butcoach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Bill OBrien, and director ofplayer personnel Nick Caserio addressed the media via conference call, andtalked about the loss of center Dan Koppen, who left Monday nights win with abroken ankle.

Offensive lineman Dan Connolly replaced Koppen at center inthe game, and the Patriots were so pleased with what they saw, that they madeno changes to their O-line strategy.

Thats not something thats an easy thing to adjust to, butI did think that Dan Connolly went in there last night and performed prettydamn well for the situation that he was put into, said OBrien. So Im veryconfident in Dan, and what hes going to be able to do for us.

With Dan, we didnt adjust our gameplan at all. We did thesame things wed been doing through the whole game.The whole line, I thought played a very solid footballgame, added OBrien. And that was definitely part of it.With Koppen reportedly out 8-10 weeks, Belichick said thatthe Patriots will evaluate the teams depth, just like they do all season long.Thatssomething we do every week, said Belichick. We evaluate our roster and allour options every week, especially early in the season, when there are moreoptions available.With each succeeding week, options start to diminish . . .Every week, were looking at the players on our practice squad. Were lookingat other players. Thats what our personnel department does.If you feel like theres a way that you can improve yourteam, then I think you consider it, added Belichick. Sometimes you make amove, sometimes you dont.Caserio added to that sentiment, saying that the teamspersonnel department wont change the way it does business, just because Koppenwent down.I would say today is no different than really any otherday, said Caserio. We do research all the way through the year, whether itsin the spring, through training camp, during the regular season. Our approachtoday is no different than it is in any other week. Were just going aboutbusiness as usual.Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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


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."