FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There was a clip of Bill Belichick in one of the entertaining DVDs about the New England Patriots' 2016 Super Bowl championship season in which he stands at the top of the conditioning hill in training camp and reminds players as they run by to "put it in the bank." It was, in many ways, a reflection of how building conditioning over the course of the year helped the team overcome a 28-3 third-quarter deficit in Super Bowl LI. Players had to go to the bank for reserves.
That clip from "3 Games To Glory" came to mind Friday morning as Belichick answered a question about the Patriots' offensive line, and if the group seems leaner in 2017.
Belichick said he didn't think there was a major difference between 2016 and 2017, before explaining how standing at the top of the conditioning hill provides him a true feel for players' physical condition.
"We do a decent amount of running and we run after practice. I stand right there when they run and I can feel them run by. I mean, I'm not timing them, but I can feel when they're running fast. I can feel when they're not running fast. I can feel when they're breathing heavy. I can feel when they recover quickly," he said.
"I think that group, the entire group, not just whether it's Camn [Fleming], or LA [LaAdrian Waddle], or Ted [Karras], whoever -- not just the guys that play but all of them -- it's a well-conditioned group. I would say they run well. They run well as a group. That's, I think, one of our strongest groups considering their size. They run fast. They run hard. They recover quickly and then they run fast again and run hard again. You don't see that group look like they're struggling to keep up. They more than keep up. I think they've worked hard all year and they're in good shape."
Translation: The bank account isn't depleted.