Ask Bill Belichick a question that’s straight-up about football, and he just might open up a 1,000-word can of knowledge on your mere mortal brain. Ask him a question like "How’s the team feeling right now?" and you’re liable to get a one-word answer at best, and the infamous "PFFFFFFFFFFFT" if today is your un-lucky day.
So minicamp and OTAs are in the books, and the Patriots don’t hit the field again until training camp in July. Early vibes on the team’s progress are definitely looking good, according to basically anyone that was there.
Of course they are. Everyone's offseason is going great, right?
Just ask Rex Ryan, not only is Buffalo’s offseason going great, they won the offseason. Buffalo’s championship drought is over, baby! Tap that keg and let’s jump through some tables!
With that on the table, Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears made some quotes from last year’s OTAs and minicamp that’ll help everyone appreciate where the team is at right now – of course everyone looks good, he says, because that’s the point.
From ESPN Boston:
"They all can catch the ball. They’re all learning. They’re looking very good in the shorts and T-shirts. I’m not going to say anything more than that when the guy is wearing shorts and T-shirts and playing football," Fears said. "Wait until training camp and let’s see what the guys do when we get out there and the bullets start flying. Because that’s when it’s going to count. Right now, everyone looks good."
That’s already way more informative than the classic "It is what it is", but the 40-year coach, who’s been with New England for 19 years now, had way more to say about people getting stoked about guys in gym shorts catching footballs.
"Next thing, of course you should know, is we’re not a one-man team. We build a team. That’s what we’re in the process of doing. We’re building a team and they will decide if they’ll be on that team by what they do," Fears said, adding that evaluations in organized team activities are based on understanding concepts and the mental part of the game.
"There’s a lot going on [in OTAs]; it’s just not the total package there," he added. "You’re not going to put a stamp on it and say, ‘This guy is going to do it.’ Then we get out there in the first day of pads and he quickly gets run over and we’re saying, ‘What happened to that friggin’ genius that’s out there playing football? He ain’t worth a crap if he can’t block somebody.’
"So until we get to that point, all I’m going to say at this point is I really like what these guys are doing. They’re working hard, they’re all talented in their own way, and they will decide by what they do in training camp what we’re going to be. That’s part of building a team."
And then Fears got even more fired up when someone asked him about Tyler Gaffney:
"He's very capable. Let's have him tell you the story come August. That's where we're going to leave it. Hey, I ain't talking about anyone in shorts and T-shirts! Not in my game. Let's keep that straight. There's too much everybody wants to put on a guy running around in shorts and T-shirts. [Expletive], we all should look good. If they don't look good in shorts and T-shirts, we have a problem. We have a real problem. So let's wait until the [expletive] starts happening, let's see what happens later on when there is another guy on the other side doing something against him."
(You get 3 guesses what "expletive" means, and the first two don’t count)
In case you forgot about this little gem, here’s the kind of stuff that happens in training camp once the pads come out and, as Ivan put it "bullets start flying":
Legion of Boom moment here at Patriots camp as CB Brandon Browner de-cleats rookie RB James White as crowd roars.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 27, 2014
Just go ahead and set an iPhone countdown to training camp already.