Bill Belichick didn't need practice in training camp to volley back questions.
The New England Patriots' coach was in midseason form paddling back persistent questions about last season, particularly regarding the benching of Malcolm Butlerin the Super Bowl loss.
Below is the back-and-forth between Belichick and the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy:
Reporter: I know you're focused on this year, but I know I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask about last year...
Belichick: "Last year is last year. I'm not focused on last year."
BB: "I don't want to talk about that; that's a couple of months ago."
R: Is there going to be anymore explanation about why he didn't play?
BB: "I'm focused on training camp."
R: Would you do it any differently?
BB: "Training camp? No, we're getting started, we're working on that right now. We'll do the best we can."
R: Do you care that the fans want to know more about this?
BB: "I'm focused on doing the best that I can for the 2018 New England Patriots. That's my job and that's what I've always done in the past. Every day that I've coached here I've done the best that I can for this football team and I'll continue to do that. Right now, my focus is on 2018 season, not 2017, not 2014, not 2007, not 2004, not 2001, not 2000. I'm not focused on any of those seasons; they're done."
R:* For this season's team, is it important to address the Malcolm Butler [situation] with your team? *
BB: "It's important for me to have a good season in 2018. I'm doing everything I can to do that. I'm doing the best that I can for our football team; that's my job, that's my responsibility and that's what I'm trying to do. Hopefully you can respect that; maybe not."
Belichick was his normal 'we're moving on,' 'it's a new year,' 'everything is forward not backward' self as the Patriots opened training camp Wednesday.
When asked about Julian Edelman's suspension to open the season, the Pats coach gave a typical non-answer response.
"Julian is a very hardworking player," he said. "We're all disappointed. It is what it is. He's moved on. We've moved on. Just take what we have now and do the best with it. He's been here the last couple days and he's got a good attitude, good worth ethic. And he'll make the most of the opportunities that he has, whatever those are."
Belichick similarly swiped away a question about Malcolm Mitchell being on the trade block, which NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported earlier this week.
"I'm not going to engage in media speculation ..." Belichick said. "I certainly haven't talked to any media person about Malcolm Mitchell, so you'll have to talk to whoever that is."