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Bill Belichick thinks the Patriots have a ‘long, long, long way to go’ on the eve of training camp

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Earlier today, New England’s head coach addressed the media for the first time since mandatory minicamp.

New England Patriots Minicamp Practice
I’ve got your caption right here, Jordan River Guy.
Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After the first group of players already arrived at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, the rest of the New England Patriots’ roster reports to the team’s 2019 training camp today. And with all players in town and the opening practice of the summer not even twenty-four hours away, now is also the time for head coach Bill Belichick to step in front of the media and talk about the challenges that lie ahead for him and his team.

“Always good to get going this time of the year,” the six-time Super Bowl winning head coach said during his opening statement. “It’s been a lot of hard work and preparation put into the 2019 season — going all the way back to where we were before it. Various aspects of team building, training, offseason program, OTAs, minicamp, so forth and so on. Now is a chance where we can really start to see it all come together.”

Belichick went on to acknowledge that the Patriots have a lot of different players on their team entering camp, with varying levels of experience in the organizations or on other NFL teams. He also pointed out his excitement to work with all of them, though: “Excited to see how it all comes together. We’ll just take it one step at a time, one day at a time. We obviously have a long, long, long way to go, but we’re going to make progress every day and just continue to move the ball forward.”

Moving the ball forward starts today, with the remaining roster going through physical examination and the conditioning test. The next chance to improve will then come tomorrow with the first practice of training camp. Of course, as Belichick pointed out, the sessions on Thursday and Friday will not yet be filled with the usual intensity and physicality and instead be more in the mold of the team’s spring sessions.

“We’re going to be in the same basic practice format that we were in in minicamp for two days and then things change on Saturday,” Belichick said when discussing the Patriots’ approach to the start of camp. “For these two days it’s kind of a continuation of where we were in the spring. We don’t have pads on; we don’t have contact; we’re not going to be able to evaluate the running game, interior line play, and so forth and so on.”

“But we’ll get to that, and we’ll get to it against two other teams. And we have four preseason games, same as every other team in the league other than the Hall of Fame teams,” the veteran coach continued. For now, however, Belichick and his team are doing what they seemingly always do — not just around training camp but all year long: focus on the task at hand and take it one after the other.

Yep, football season is back in New England.