If Bill Belichick had a translator standing next to him at his post-draft press conference, here's what you might have heard:
On Ellis Hobbs: Was that a chance to clear cap space or a chance to give Wheatley and Wilhite a chance?
"There are a lot of forces at work there. I would just say that it's a combination of a lot of things that we felt like, from a timing standpoint and moving forward, what's the best thing for our football team? That was just the right move at this time. Philadelphia was a partner on that and it just felt like when we talked to them that that was the best thing for our football team. It wasn’t any one thing. It wasn’t any one force, but it was just kind of a combination of all of those things coming together.
Salary cap? Depth chart? Sure, tell yourself that if you want to. But Ellis Hobbs allowed too many big plays last season, and I didn't think he was a good enough cornerback to keep on the roster. Best of luck to him -- and to Philadelphia.
On the available crop of linebackers
"The outside linebacker group was a little bit different this year. I mean, generally speaking, I think that there were more shorter players, maybe a little less speed than what we’ve seen, maybe a little more power with good production. There weren’t a lot of 4.6, 4.65 (40-yard-dash) guys. There weren’t a lot of 6-4, 6-5 guys. I’d say it was a much smaller pool of those types of players."
The pool of quality linebackers who fit in my system pretty much dried up after Brian Cushing came off the board, and even he was a questionable fit. Just wait until I unleash Shawn Crable on you.
On second-year players, specifically linebacker Shawn Crable
"The player at this point in time can do things to prepare for when he does go out on the field, and that’s physically, film study, meeting with the coaches, having a better understanding of the system. Certainly a rookie player, whether they played or not, that’s been in our program for a year knows a lot more and is a lot better prepared for all the things that he’ll be doing both on and off the field, in the classroom, in practices and all that than he was a year ago when he walked in cold.
"I think the whole mental and physical process is really accelerated in the second year relative to the first year because they know a lot more about what to expect, what they need to work on, what their weaknesses are, where they’re deficient, where they need help: coaches, technique, training, whatever it happens to be. I think any player that is open to that, works hard at it and tries to address it will make significant improvements. Hopefully, that’s what they’ve all done and we will see that when we get back on the field."
Seriously, just wait until I unleash Shawn Crable on you.
On where he sees the three new defensive tackles playing
"(Darryl) Richard and (Myron) Pryor are quick guys that run pretty well for their size. (Ron) Brace is a bigger player, very powerful and explosive, different playing style. (He’s) a little bit taller so I think there is some degree of flexibility between playing on the center, playing on the guard, and playing between the tackle and the guard, or on the tackle in varying degrees with all three players. How that actually manifests itself, we’ll see. But I think there is some degree of versatility with all those players in doing that as there is with some of the other players we have on our roster."
Except for Brace, who's going to look like Vince Wilfork's twin brother, I can play these guys pretty much anywhere I want. I'm actually thinking of lining them up at corner. They couldn't get burned worse than Hobbs, could they? Man, I'm glad to be rid of that guy.
On Tyrone McKenzie
"Of all the players that I’ve talked to and we’ve interviewed this year and even through the years, that Tyrone is amongst the most impressive. Maturity, intelligence, what he’s done with the opportunities that he’s had or that he’s had to overcome, how he’s approached them, how he’s dealt with them, how he’s made the most of them. It hasn’t been easy. Yet, he’s continued to excel, jump over hurdles and overcome obstacles that I think would have derailed a lot of other people and/or football players. I think he’s a very impressive, mature, humble young man."
You wanted me to draft a linebacker? Tyrone McKenzie -- that's a frigging linebacker.
On Brandon Tate's progress with his knee injury
"We’ll know more about that when he comes in here this weekend. But he’s rehabilitating it and I expect him to work hard to try to get back on the field as quickly as possible, whenever that is. So that’s a medical decision."
You do know who you're talking to, right? I know I'm wearing a suit and tie and not the hoodie and thigh-high cutoff shorts you see me wearing occasionally, but you still ought to know who you're talking to. I'm Bill Belichick. I don't talk about injuries. Brandon Tate is day-to-day. He's been day-to-day since he took a helmet to his knee last October against Notre Dame. Before that hit, as far as I'm concerned, he was day-to-day. He'll be day-to-day all season this season. He'll be day-to-day all next season. He's a Patriots. He'll be day-to-day until the day-to-day he dies.
On his general feelings after the draft
"We tried to use our picks productively, but at the same time look forward into the future and position ourselves to be in a good competitive situation in 2010. Hopefully, we will still be in business then. The draft’s a short-term project, but it’s a long-term project. It’s into the future, too. That’s the grassroots of your team is players that you draft this year, next year and in future years. All of that is important."
We tried to use our picks productively, but at the same time look forward into the future and position ourselves to be in a good competitive situation in 2010. Hopefully, we will still be in business then. The draft’s a short-term project, but it’s a long-term project. It’s into the future, too. That’s the grassroots of your team is players that you draft this year, next year and in future years. All of that is important.
Oh, and I'm still smarter than Mangini.