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Bill Belichick recaps win over Tampa Bay, says final score was deceiving

08.19.11 at 5:28 pm ET
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Tom Brady looks downfield Thursday against Tampa Bay. (AP)

After taking a look at the film of his teams’ 31-14 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the final score was a bit deceiving.

“I think in the first half we still made a lot of … there’s a lot of things we need to do better. In the second half, I think there were a lot of good things out there but a lot of those were negated by a few bad things,” Belichick said of the Patriots, who pushed to a quick 28-0 halftime lead and didn’t look back. “The first half probably wasn’t quite as good as it looked [and] the second half probably wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.

“In any case, collectively as a team in all three phases of the game, we still have a lot of work to do.”

On a conference call with the media Friday afternoon, Belichick also addressed several other points, including the status of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (for more on that, click here), as well as the Patriots’ ability to generate a lot of pressure early against Tampa quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson.

“A couple times, when we pressured, it looked like they just had a breakdown in assignments — they just didn’t block a guy. So we had a few of those,” Belichick said. “And then we had some good rushes up front at times and were able to beat some blockers and get pressure on the quarterback. But I would say it was a combination of things. A couple times, it was more them making a mistake than us making a great play. And there were times where we had good rushes when they should have had us blocked, but we were able to be disruptive with even an individual pass rush or a stunt that was called or something like that.”

On rookie Nate Solder, who got the start at left tackle and played well into the second half:

“I think Nate’s had a couple of good weeks. I’m sure he learned a lot of things last night. [He] did some good things. I think he built on last week’s game. There are still things that are coming up and that will continue to come up, I’m sure, on a weekly basis — different matchups or different situations against a certain play that he’ll learn from and hopefully be able to do it better the next time — but he’s making progress,” Belichick said. “It’s just gaining a little more experience, consistency, working together with his teammates so that we can execute better as a group when we’re blocking two-on-two or three-on-three or four-on-four — that everybody can see the same thing and get it done right. But he’s making progress.”

On rookie tight end Will Yeatman, who saw an extended stretch with the starting offense:

“Will’s coming off of a very limited amount of football experience in the last three years,” Belichick said. “He didn’t play two and three years ago and last year he played in the fall, but without spring practice. So this year he’s starting it up again and the more he gets out there, the more he does things, the more confident and better technique-wise he does them. He’s a good athlete. He’s made a lot of progress, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up just from a football-playing experience standpoint. But he’s working hard to do that. Like last night there were some good signs and then again a lot of things he knows he still needs to work on.”

The Patriots coach also discussed backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, who entered the game at the start of the second half in relief of Tom Brady and stumbled a bit, throwing New England’s only interception of the night and taking a sack. While Belichick acknowledged, “you don’t want to see negative plays happen,” it can provide a good look at how a young player might deal with adversity.

“Seeing how people respond to that type of adversity or negative play; do they go in the tank? Does one bad play become two? Does one missed block become three? Or do they bounce back and right the ship and then settle down and do a better job?” asked Belichick in response to a question about how Mallett responded. “I think that’s part of the evaluation with really all of our players and if they play enough they all have those plays. But it is interesting. We do talk about that, about how players respond when they have a bad play. How does that affect them on the coming plays?

“Ryan got a few blitzes there in the last series he was in,” added Belichick. “They gave him a couple of different looks: the weak safety look off the weak side, a couple of strong-side blitzes. He saw those plays pretty well after the interception, so I thought he did handle himself pretty well considering there were a couple of tough looks there.”

Belichick also indicated there were no medical updates on Bret Lockett (thigh/groin) and Danny Woodhead, both of who were injured on Thursday and did not return. (Woodhead took a vicious shot on punt coverage and appeared to wobble to the sidelines after the hit.) The coach was asked why Woodhead, a valuable part of the teams’ running game, was involved on punt coverage in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.

“When we go into any game, all players are told to be ready to play the entire 60 minutes. That’s what a game is,” he said. “We don’t stop playing. We don’t stop coaching. Everybody’s ready to play the whole time from beginning to end. That’s every player and every coach. That’s part of the game. That’s how we approach them all.”

Read More: 2011 training camp, Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Bret Lockett
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