FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered questions from reporters to begin the second day of training camp (9 a.m.).
Here were a few of the newsy items:
Derrick Burgess decision seemed to catch him by surprise. Belichick confirmed that veteran outside linebacker Derrick Burgess did not report for camp. He was still gathering all the information about Burgess’ decision not to show up (ESPN.com reported that Burgess is leaning toward retirement). “We expected him to be here, he’s not here,” Belichick said. “This type of situation certainly isn’t unprecedented. We’ll just deal with it going forward. I’m not sure I know exactly all the information that I need to know.”
Why the pictures inside Gillette Stadium came down. Belichick was asked to explain why the pictures inside the team’s facility all came down this offseason. “The walls needed to get painted,” he said.
Second-year receiver Brandon Tate making strides. The 2009 third-round draft choice, who missed all but two games last season with two different knee injuries (one from college, one from the NFL), has a significant opportunity to emerge. In Thursday’s practices, he was lining up across from Randy Moss regularly. Belichick said Tate’s preparation for this season is naturally “way, way ahead of where it was last year.” Belichick added that Tate “has had a good offseason” from a learning and technique standpoint, but now he needs to put it all together on the field in training camp.
Why he thinks Nick Kaczur could be effective at guard. With starting left guard Logan Mankins not reporting with his teammates in a contract dispute, tackle Nick Kaczur has kicked inside to that spot. Kaczur has never played guard in a game, but Belichick cited his “good combination of skills” as a reason he could make the move. Belichick called Kaczur “big and physical as an inside player would be, but he’s athletic enough to play outside in space.”
Putting the team under stress. Belichick talked about his desire to get the team into a good flow in training camp. “That’s a big part of camp, going through it day by day and putting your team under stress and seeing how they react to those situations – judge their conditioning and staying power, mental and physical toughness, and durability,” he said. “I think that’s an important part of getting your team ready for the 16-game regular-season schedule that we have to face.”