Bill Belichick: Rookies are in deep, turbulent water as they adjust to life in NFL

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During Friday's video conference with the media, Bill Belichick was asked a question on rookie Kyle Dugger's progress.

Belichick typically doesn't like to speak on individual players, especially rookies, so he spoke on the group as a whole and how far behind they are. The answer was very detailed on how far behind the group is, but more will be known in 7-10 days once real football starts to be played.

Full padded practices are set to begin Monday.

“I think all of our rookies have worked extremely hard," Belichick said. "They are in deep water, and turbulent water, and it’s going to get rougher just in terms of volume and the level of competition, becoming a professional athlete and the full day and the consecutive days that get strung together with very high demands both physically, mentally and rest and recovery and all that. I think all the guys are adjusting to it. They are all working hard at it. It is a really hard working group. There haven’t been any problems. They are just trying to do the best they can, but they are swimming. They are in deep water.

"Their eyes get opened every day as we move up in the process and we’re still a long way from anything close to real football, but we’re doing more now than we did before. Each day is an acclimation day and an adjustment day for them. I think they are trying to keep their head above water and try to swim or paddle in the right direction knowing they are not really able to keep up, but they are doing the best they can and they are way, way ahead of where they were a week ago, two weeks ago, a month ago, two months ago. A lot of progress there, but a long, long way to go. They really are all in the same boat.

"It’s a hard-working, conscientious, diligent group that they have a lot they are going to have to absorb. We’ll get a much better evaluation of where they are in the next week to 10 days when things start happening on the football field and we start playing some football."

Rookies have a tough adjustment process to begin with and it has been even harder with all the COVID-19 restrictions this offseason.

The Patriots will be counting on several rookies to make big impacts this season, including tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene and then Dugger, Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche on defense.