Bill Belichick on OMF discusses importance of preseason games, 90-man rosters


Many in the game of football don't like the preseason and even 90-man rosters, some even pushing to eliminate some preseason games.

Bill Belichick is not one of those people.

On Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Monday, the Patriots coach went in detail explaining the value of both things.

When it comes to the preseason games, Belichick noted how can players be fully evaluated without them, especially positions like quarterback when hitting isn't allowed in practice.

“I think when you look at a 90-man roster, there is a lot of discrepancy from let’s call it 1-90 on what those individual players need," Belichick said. "Take (Jarrett) Stidham for example, it would be a good example, when are you going to play him? If you don’t have any preseason games, then when are you going to play him? How do you evaluate players like that? You only have one quarterback, it’s not like the offensive linemen where you can play a tackle at guard, or a guard at center, of something like that. If you want to evaluate that position, which everyone thinks is an important position, if you don’t have games to do it, when do you do it? I think those are questions as a team you try to balance.

"What some players need is different than some other players. Some players need to play, some players may not need to play as much, but they need to practice, get conditioning, they need to have their bodies ready for the physical contact part of the game. But, there are other players who need that contact and frankly, I would say there are a lot of players who gain confidence from that — guys who are coming off an injury, guys who are maybe coming from a different level like college. After they have played in 2-3 preseason games find out, ‘OK, I feel confident about this.’ Sometimes there are others that don’t. That is part of the process, too.

"I don’t know how you do that without doing it. You can’t just talk about it and say we’re going to take a rookie quarterback and he’s going to be ready to go. Well, not in a red jersey when he doesn’t get touched in practice and doesn’t have to deal with the rush. That’s not really the way it is in the National Football League. How do you get those guys, those receivers that might look good because they are athletic, but they know they are not going to get hit when they catch the ball. They know they are not going to deal with contact over the middle. That is not the way it is in football. How do you get those guys ready? How do you evaluate them? At some point you have to play."

The same goes for 90-man rosters, as Belichick noted the Patriots have had a number of players taken from them off waivers by other teams.

“That is the reality. That is life in the NFL," he said. "All 31 other teams are scouting our game just like we are scouting the other 31 teams. We have a number of players, probably more than any other team in the league, on other rosters. Last year we had several players that were claimed by other teams and play for other teams that didn’t make our roster. I mean, Corey (Bojorquez) went to Buffalo, he barely played. A.J. Moore, he didn’t play much. He went to Houston last year. A couple of years ago Conor McDermott went to Buffalo. Whatever it is, it is.

"I think everybody understands if they want to play in the National Football League, getting out and playing in preseason games is an opportunity. It’s either for the team you’re playing for, or maybe somebody else will recognize and identify a strong performance. I think everybody is motivated to play well. I like the 90-man roster now because it does give some players an opportunity they wouldn’t have had back when the cuts were at 75. Those guys get to close out opportunities and I think we’ve seen a number of players in the least few years, certainly here, that have come on strong in the preseason and that has helped them make the roster.”

The Patriots will take on the Giants Thursday night in the final preseason game.