Even before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL’s stay Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick had moved on from possible OTAs and minicamps. In his mind, they have already been canceled.
“At one point, we had to prepare for the offseason program, and that’s not really a part of it now,” Belichick told Ian Rapaport of the Boston Herald recently. “We talked about some kind of minicamp or [organized team activities], but now, we just turn our attention to training camp and get our teaching and organization straight there.”
In some ways, this point should be obvious. But it’s almost jarring to hear from a head coach like Belichick. We haven’t heard anyone else say it. Belichick also recognizes that his teaching methods will have to change in training camp and the playbook will have to be reduced.
“Something’s going to have to go, I would think. The progression’s got to stay the same, but the breadth of that amount of installation could be subject to being trimmed back, maybe drastically,” Belichick said.
As Rapoport points out, the Patriots may only have two new starters this year. They have an elite quarterback and the second longest tenured coach in the league. If they have to drastically reduce their playbook, think about how screwed new coaching staffs will be.
While the lockout may actually help established staffs like New England’s, Belichick sounds as frustrated with litigation as any fan out there.
“It’s obviously a whole big legal thing and these lawyers, they know everything,” Belichick said sarcastically. “I’m sure they have a good reason for everything they do. None of us can figure it out, but I’m sure they can figure it out.”