FOXBORO (CBS) — The Patriots are getting ready for Friday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers, and coach Bill Belichick spoke to the media today.
Belichick offered some thoughts on running back Jonas Gray and said he’s a hard working kid and he’s done everything the team has asked him to do.
When asked about Brandon LaFell, Belichick said he thinks the receiver has been very competitive and he’s big and tough. He has a different skill set than many of the receivers that the Pats already have. Belichick also said that LaFell’s size helps him in the special teams game.
Thoughts on what makes a good kick returner came up and Coach brought up speed and vision. Fast guys can get to the edge quickly and they also must be able to bring some power. During a run you may have to break a tackle. Belichick said that punt returns are harder than kick returns. There are not a lot of guys that do both.
When talking about the penalties, Belichick said he thought this was the most offensive and defensive hand to the face calls that he’s ever seen. The flags are going to get called and it’s up to the players and the coaches to coach the correct way.
Practice squad talk jumped out. The squad is going to go from eight players to 10 players. Belichick said he feels he will stay within the rules but as a coach, you also have to make sure you have enough players to practice. You need to have that balance of picking the right players to fit everything you need.
Inside the Patriots locker room today, the main conversation when talking to many of the defensive players involved the penalty calls around the NFL this preseason.
Darrelle Revis called it something to get used to.
“It’s tough. It’s tough, I think we’ve just got to work through it,” Revis said. “I think it’s a learning situation for everybody. It’s a new rule, the refs are trying to do the best they can, as players we’re trying to do the best we can by keeping our hands off receivers down the field, and it’s a learning process.”
It will be important for defensive backs to try to keep their hands off the receivers when they are down the field. Even the little stuff is being called and if that’s how they are going to call it in the regular season, Revis says, this could make for a long year.
Devin McCourty agreed, saying, “Hopefully we don’t see as many flags as we’ve been seeing this preseason. … Hopefully they just reduce the flags and we get to play a little bit.”
McCourty mentioned that as a defensive back, you are trained to not even look for the flags. He said he tuned in to the Monday Night Football game and at points, it was unwatchable. Every two or three plays, there was a stoppage. He went on to say if that continues into the regular season, there are going to be a lot of tired people waking up to go to work the next morning.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.