Bill Belichick Talks Weight Of Training Camp Performances On Player Evaluation
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been around the NFL for a long time. He has seen thousands of potential players come through his systems. One thing that he has gained over time is the ability to judge players performances.
Judging a training camp performance can be tough. Many see great catches and plays and come away impressed. But for Coach Belichick there isn’t much stock in training camp performances.
In his press conference on Friday Belichick talked about the success of a training camp play is all circumstantial.
“Well, it would depend on the play. Sometimes those plays are maybe a result of, just in that particular example, I’m not saying any particular play, just in general, sometimes a good play defensively is a result of not a good play offensively or vice versa. A good play offensively wouldn’t really be good if it was better defended. I think you have to take those kinds of things into consideration. Like yesterday, we had a couple of plays out there that were just a great throw, great catch, good coverage.
So even though the ball is caught, the defender was in very good position and the offense made a great execution. Then there were other plays where maybe the defense wasn’t in that good of position and ended up making the play. It might not have been good enough if the play had been better executed on offense, but on that particular play it wasn’t. It looked like it was a defensive play but the next time I don’t know if it would’ve been. I think you have to look at those. Production is important, obviously, but sometimes it’s circumstantial, good or bad, so we just try to look at each situation carefully and try to figure that out.”
Putting too much stock in training camp performances is something a lot of fans and members of the media like to do. But for Coach Belichick, these players haven’t even put pads on yet. The pads come on Saturday morning when the real competition starts.
I think you can evaluate what you’re teaching them to do. Do they understand the plays? Do they understand their assignments? Are they using the proper technique in their assignment? Can you evaluate whether a guy can power rush, or whether you can stop a power rush, or whether you can stop the physical play or block physical players in there?
No, and we don’t want to evaluate that. That’s not what this is for. So yeah, I mean in terms of evaluation it’s definitely limited. What we do want is so that the players understand their assignments, their techniques, adjustments that they’re going to have to make so when we can evaluate it, they already know what to do and there’s not a lot of ‘Do I do this? Do I do that’ hesitation, which then nobody looks good doing that, and it’s hard to evaluate a player when he’s not confident or sure of what he’s doing.
If he knows what to do and he’s sure how to do it and he goes out there and does it the best that he can and the guy on the other side of the ball does the same thing, then you can see what you have. But we’re not really at that stage yet. We just aren’t. We’re doing what we can do, which is productive. We’re making progress and soon we’ll be able to get into a different type of evaluation practice
Once Belichick starts evaluating players he can start making decisions in terms of roster cuts which come as training camp develops.
Full pads start on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.