Lockout likely to prompt smaller Pats playbook, Belichick says

Bill Belichick sees the offseason progressing in a way he cannot control, frustrating for a man who prides himself on preparation. All the New England Patriots coach can do right now is plan for a season he assumes will come, but knows can't be guaranteed.

"At one point, we had to prepare for the offseason program, and that's not really a part of it now," Belichick recently told the Boston Herald. "We talked about some kind of minicamp or (organized team activities), but now, we just turn our attention to training camp and get our teaching and organization straight there."

Belichick is entering his 12th season with the Patriots, an incredible run that's included a 126-50 record and three Super Bowl titles. He's spent the offseason cooking up gameplans for teams on New England's schedule, and has a list of available players on the ready, even though he cannot contact any of them.

A stunted offseason also means Belichick's playbook might not be as prolific as he'd like it to be. All part of headaches that come with the league's extended labor fight.

"Whatever the time frame is, if it's less than what we're used to having, which I agree it seems like it's going to be, (we'll adjust)," Belichick said. "We'll have to take the windows that we have to teach things and try to see how much we feel realistically we can get done. Something's going to have to go, I would think. The progression's got to stay the same, but the breadth of that amount of installation could be subject to being trimmed back, maybe drastically."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hasn't led any players-only workouts like Mark Sanchez, quarterback of the Jets team that knocked New England out of the postseason in January.

This apparently doesn't bother Belichick, who isn't sold that the workouts provide any tangible advantage down the road.

"None of us have observed those workouts and (know) what their idea of a productive workout is," Belichick told the Herald. "What a group of players on this team is doing relative to a group of players on another team, your guess is as good as mine."

While he waits for word that football is back in business, Belichick and his staff are doing whatever they can -- scouting teams, looking at old reports and compiling lists of possible free agents.

"We don't even know what we're working with, but we know more than we knew before the draft," Belichick said. "It's just a lot of odds and ends."

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