Q: How did you like it out there? It looked like you guys got a lot of work in today.
TB: We did. There was a lot of tempo to the practice. They like their tempo and we have our own style. It’s always nice to work against some different people, some different coverages. Our team is playing a particular style. We’ve seen that for nine practices in a row and you kind of get used to that and think that everybody’s going to play that way. But we came out today and it’s very different than what our defense does, so it’s good to get the work in.
Q: Are you getting more comfortable with you new receivers, especially the younger guys?
TB: Everybody’s working at it. I would say we have a long way to go and we’re doing some good things and we’re doing some things that we need to eliminate. We were talking last night about how to eliminate mistakes before they happen because we just can’t afford to make them and say ‘Well, we’ll get it the next time.’ Those ‘next times’ are going to cost you wins and losses here shortly. The pace picks up there’s more installation that goes in. Like I said today, there’s more coverages, more things we’re seeing, so we’ve got to be able to incorporate what we’re doing in the meeting rooms and bring it out here on the field and execute, really going at a fast speed.
Q: Are you interested in seeing how it plays out for Chip Kelly in the NFL?
TB: Well, I’ve seen his teams play for a long time at Oregon and they’ve been exceptional, so I’m sure it will be no different. It’s good for us to come down and get to work. They have some very talented players, especially on defense. It’s going to be fun playing against them on Friday, but I really enjoyed today’s day of work and I know we’re practicing again tomorrow.
Q: Do the juices get flowing a little more in practices like this? I Know you like to see different guys and the competition seems to ramp up a little bit.
TB: Yeah, it’s very competitive. There’s definitely maybe a little different element just because there’s some new players and you want to go out and you want to do your best. They made some plays today. We made a few. Hopefully on Friday we make more than them.
Q: Where are you guys offensively now? Do you feel pretty good about the first few weeks?
TB: We’re making progress. I think it’s better than what it was when we started and I think that’s the important thing. We’ve got to keep building. We’re four weeks from our first game, so we’ve got to use very one of those days. We had extensive walkthroughs today at the hotel. All those places are opportunities for us to learn – all of us. And all of us get on the same page, and then we come out today and execute against a team that we really had no clue what they were going to do: the fronts, the blitzes, the coverages, the skill set of their players, so for us to come out and be able to execute was the more important thing.
Q: How helpful is that for you guys to play against a team with that feeling of uncertainty?
TB: It’s good. I mean, it lets you know where you’re at. You’re measured up against some other great competition. We run some plays against out own defense in practice, at this point 30 or 40 times, so it’s nice to see a fresh look at it and, ‘Ok, how’s it going to play out?’ Like I said, you get some different techniques with some different players. Aqib Talib, we’ve gone against him a lot and now there are some players with different skill sets and you have to see how you match up against them.
Q: How has Aaron Dobson looked so far?
TB: He’s done great. I’m proud of all of those young players for coming in – we’ve thrown a lot of stuff at them. I said the other day that it’s not like we’re backing off because that’s not the way our offense is; we’ve got to keep putting the pressure on everybody, whether it’s Aaron or Josh [Boyce] or KT [Kenbrell Thompkins] or Zach Sudfeld. Everyone’s who’s out there is expected to go in there and execute at a pretty high level.
Q: Because of all those news guys that you just named, do you anticipate that you might play more snaps in the preseason than you normally do?
TB: That’s up to coach. I know, I love playing out there, so if he tells me to stay out there, great. I think days like this are equally as important. I think that’s why he’s liked doing this really since the CBA was changed and there were limited amounts of practices. Coach has really decided to amp our practices up and get us more into game mode instead of just a bunch of, ‘Ok, now it’s first-down passing. Now it’s just nine-on-seven run.’ It’s like ‘OK, no, we’re playing a game’ like you saw at the end of practice. There’s 45 seconds left on the clock and it’s the second half. We’ve got one time out, what are we going to do? That’s a little different. You get sacked, you get a big gain, or you’re going to clock it and you call a time out. Did we get out of bounds? We’re going to go for a touchdown, are we going to kick a field goal? I mean, all of those things are going to come up her eon Friday and I think there’s just not as much time now to get all those things done, so we’re trying to really maximize it on the practice field.
Q: You’ve been doing this a long time. Are you stressing that to these young guys – a sense of urgency on every snap, every play, every practice?
TB: Yeah, it’s all important and I’m probably a pain in their butt at this point. I’m always harping on them about something. I don’t let off very often, so I’m sure it will be nice for everybody to get to the games and get competitive, but we have another big day of practice tomorrow and a situational practice Thursday and then we’re ready to go for Friday.
Q: Having so many new receivers, how tough of an adjustment is it to adjust and work everybody in?
TB: Well, anytime you have new players that you have to incorporate, like I said, their skill set into what we’re trying to do offensively – so everyone’s trying to create a role for themselves. It’s really up to the individual as to how they do that. Our offense has been our offense for a long time, ever since I got here and different players have come and we’ve always adapted to the guys that we have and what they’re able to do best. That’s what we’re going to continue to try to do and hopefully the guys can come in and all create a role for themselves and we can hopefully go out and score a lot of points, that’s our goal.
Q: What’s struck you about Danny Amendola so far?
TB: Danny’s done a great job. He’s fun to be out there with. He takes practice very seriously. He’s an extremely hard worker, wants to do the right thing on every single play and has very high expectations for himself. It’s been fun. We’re in constant communication. He loves football, so it’s a great teammate to have.
Q: It looked like on the touchdown you threw to him that he gave you a hand signal. Is that a sign that you are really getting on the same page?
TB: Yeah, we’re working at it. There’re adjustments at the line of scrimmage which are always important, especially in today’s game where the defenses are so multiple, you have to be able to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. When you get these situations that we had today, they can play out in a lot of different ways. For us to be on the same page is really important. The more we do it, the better we’re getting at it. We just have to stay with it.
Q: It seems like you have a lot of passion. Do you like this group? It seems like even though it’s a different group than in years past, do you like what you see in terms of talent level and possibilities here?
TB: Well, I’m always positive, so we’re going to see how it all plays out. We’ll see where we’re at on Friday in a real game where there’s real tackling. The mental and physical toughness of the team is so important, especially over the stretch of a long season. Things aren’t always going to go right. We’ve had some bad practices and then we had to move on. We’re going to have some games where we don’t play as well. We’re going to have to move on because we’re just going to keep getting better. That’s the important thing: making steady improvement. We can always make improvement and we’re going to have to.
Q: Did you ever notice when you were running the up-tempo offense that the officials with their new positioning slowed you down at all?
TB: I didn’t notice much today. I think they missed a few things in the substitutions.
Q: What about during the season last year?
TB: I didn’t notice anything last year.
Q: How much did Coach Belichick and Coach Kelly work together with you as a team today?
TB: Coach Belichick and Coach Kelly kind of handled everything.
Q: So you never had any direct interaction with him?