As we get deeper into Covid Camp 2020, one of the goals is - as it is every year - to become more fluent in Bill Belichickese as we are more immersed in it. After months of not hearing the language, you can be forgiven if you're going to Google Translator in the first few weeks. But as we go along, you've got to learn to decipher it in real time, in your head.
And so it was with this morning's virtual press conference, where he touched on a few topics of interest, deflected on some and expounded on others. Here are the bullet points in the orginal Belichickese and how we can best interpret them:
On his early impressions of Kyle Dugger:
"Well, I think all of our rookies have worked extremely hard. I mean, they’re in deep water and turbulent water and it’s going to get rougher, just in terms of the volume and the level of competition and becoming a professional athlete and the full day and the consecutive days that get strung together with very high demands, both physically, mentally and rest and recovery and all that. So, I think all the guys are adjusting to it. They’re all working hard at it. It’s a really hard-working group. They haven’t been any problem. They’re just trying to do the best they can, but they’re swimming. They’re in deep water, and their eyes get opened every day as we move up in the process. And we’re still a long way from anything close to real football, but we’re doing more now than we did before, so each day is an acclimation day and an adjustment day for them. I think they’re just trying to keep their head above water and try to swim or paddle in the right direction knowing that they’re not really able to keep up, but they’re doing the best they can and they’re way, way ahead of where they were a week ago, two weeks ago, a month ago, two months ago. So, a lot of progress there, but a long, long way to go. They’re really all in the same boat."
Translation: "I didn't beat the bejeebers out of this water metaphor for nothing. These guys are drowning so far. We should be getting ready for our first preseason game and instead we're still doing walk throughs and pre-snap stuff. Outside of Chase Winovich and the punter last year and Sony Michel in 2018, I've haven't had rookies really contribute in a long time, and I'm not expecting much this year unless they learn a shitload in a short time. And I'm not about to single Dugger or any of them out, that's for damned sure."
On Cam Newton so far:
"Yeah, well, again as I said, we’ve done a lot of meetings and a lot of walk-throughs, a lot of information has been transferred to all the players, and he’s worked very hard, I’d say, as all our players have. We have a hard-working group. Those guys are ready to go and we’ve put in some long days and they’ve been very attentive throughout the process. I’d say that certainly for all the quarterbacks at that position, those guys have been locked in, been focused, have worked extremely hard, all four of them, and when they all get in the huddle, everybody has a lot of confidence in what they’re able to do and the information they have to give to the team – play-calling, adjustments, audibles or protection adjustments, things like that. That’s all gone pretty well, but again, we haven’t played at anywhere near the speed that we’re going to be playing at, so we’ll see how it all comes together at that point. But, Cam is a hard-working kid. He really is."
Translation: "So far I've deflected every single question about Newton by immediately switching to talk about the quarterbacks as a group. But I can't do that for much longer. Cam is special. He's an MVP who's hungry and determined and working his balls off to prove everyone wrong. This is going to be one of the truly great moves of my career."
On Spygate 2 and losing a third round draft pick:
"Yeah, well, I think that obviously the league had a long investigation on that, but really we’re just looking ahead and we have a lot of things in front of us here, especially getting ready for the season and all that. We’ve moved on and we’ll deal with what we have to deal with in front of us here and just let everything go in the rear-view mirror and move ahead. "
Translation: "Oh, you mean the league boning us again over nothing? This is history in the making. The first time ever a football operation got punished for something it wasn't involved in and had no control over. I'd rather the league or Kraft Productions stuck a hot needle into the camera guy responsible. But I stopped expecting justice from the Commissioner a long time ago. But at the same time, he handed me yet another thing I use to my advantage to motivate my players and staff the world is out to get them. And the benefits will far outweigh the value of the stolen pick. Mark my words, millions will suffer for Goodell's insolence."
On how this offseason compares to the year of the lockout:
"We’ve had an opportunity to meet with and spend more time individually with the players than we did during the lockout. At that time, we weren’t even allowed to communicate with the players. At least now, we’ve had several months of that. I would say the big difference really has been the way that this season has ramped up. So, everybody was here but out of the building for a number of days, and then in the building but just training and not really doing football other than meetings and walk-throughs, which are important – I’m not minimizing that – and then to activity on the field, to now for a couple days of call it Phase Three or OTA-type activity. So, the ramp up is a lot different. In 2011, when training camp started, training camp started. We just went right into it. The first day of training camp was the first day of training camp. We’ve had almost three weeks of being in some phase of ramping up, and that’s again quite different from 2011."
Translation: "We went to the Super Bowl in 2011. And we were a Gronk ankle injury and a miracle catch by Mario Manningham away from winning it all. Fucked up offseasons play to our advantage. Let others panic because they are inferior. This is our time to demonstrate out superiority. Keep those Duckboats tuned up."
At least that's the way I heard him. Your results may vary.