Patriots Talk: Comparing 2000 Team To 2017
The Patriots first preseason game takes place on August 10th, but the Jacksonville Jaguars will be coming into town to do joint practices with New England. This is something that the Patriots coaching staff will be building the team towards this week.
“OK, well this is a big week for us here. We’ve got five practices before Jacksonville and we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot work to do with third down, down-and-distance, moving the field, situations, kicking game and so forth. So, we need to have a real productive week. I think we got some fundamentals started last week and feel like we’re ready to dig into this week here and get after it, but that’s what we need to do. Hopefully, we’ll get out there and get off to a good start today and start stringing them together.”
In the audience at Tuesday’s press conference to open the day was former Patriots long snapper, Lonie Paxton. Paxton was on the first Championship team and created a nice sentimental moment for Belichick.
Belichick was asked about how it feels to walk in and see Paxton at the press conference.
Always under the gun, huh, L.P.?
Paxton was at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday to officially retire as a member of the New England Patriots. His presence at Belichick’s presser sort of caught him off guard. But it gave the Patriots HC time to reflect on the 2000 camp.
Oh yeah, sure. Yep, yeah, that was a great camp, the 2000 camp – the start of building. It didn’t start off too well, but we eventually got it going. Always a good feeling knowing the ball’s secure going from the snapper to the holder to the punter to the goal post or wherever it needs to go.
2000 was his first year as the Head Coach in New England, when asked about the sentimental value of seeing a player from that year Coach Belichick was done getting hit with the hard questions, jokingly of course.
Yeah, absolutely. So, now we’re done with the hard-hitting questions.
Belichick was asked to compare the 2000 camp to this year’s camp. He talked about the differences and the changes of the group of guys in the locker room.
Well, I mean, I’d say, first of all, the biggest difference is in 2000, a quarter of the team couldn’t pass the conditioning run, so that wasn’t a very good start. We don’t really deal with that now or haven’t dealt with that in a while. Yeah, I don’t think there was a lot of commitment with that group. We obviously made a lot of changes from 2000 to 2001, and a lot of the guys that we stuck with from that team became pillars of the program, the organization in later years. That was a pretty slow start. I mean, it wasn’t a very good football team on a lot of levels. So, we’ve moved past that hopefully.
To end Tuesday’s presser, Coach Belichick was asked to talk about the areas that could use some work over the next week. He talked about the various challenges his team faces.
Well, I think wherever we are now is fractional to where we’re going to be in five days. So, it’s four days of training camp, the first two without pads. I mean, I wouldn’t say this is – I mean, it’s challenging, but it’s going to get a lot harder than this. We have five days this week and we’ve got four days against Jacksonville – three in practice, one in a game. We’re going to start stringing number of days together here, so when we get up into the high teens and we’ve strung a lot of practices together competitively against each other, against Jacksonville, against Houston, we’ll have a lot better indication of where we are in terms of mental toughness, consistency of fundamentals, conditioning – not just track conditioning but football conditioning – being able to push against other people, being able to handle contact, run through contact, deliver contact on the run, things like that.
We’ll have a lot better evaluation. That’s what training camp is for, instead of go out there and do it for a day or a practice or flash a couple plays here or there. I mean, that’s good and all, but that’s just I would say probably not very many players in the league that aren’t capable of that. I mean, if they’re in this league, they would have the ability to do that. The question is, who can do it over a sustained period of time versus who can just put one or two out there but a long time in between those flashes? I’d say we have a long way to go. I think the evaluation process is, to me, kind of underway here the last couple days, but it will really, truly come to light on how the sequential performances go day after day, competitive period after competitive period, going against other quality players with different playing styles, not only our players, but players from other teams that change the matchups a little bit and how we’re able to adjust and handle those subtle but different matchups. That’s what training camp’s for. That’s the evaluation part of it. I think we’re just getting starting on that.
There will be other content coming from Coach Belichick’s press conference along with an update from training camp.