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Bill Belichick flashes just a little chip on the shoulder for the critics

12.02.11 at 2:02 pm ET

FOXBORO — Sometimes Bill Belichick offers a glimpse of what he tells his players behind the closed doors at Gillette Stadium.

On Friday, in the midst of a question about how the lockout has impacted his team four months later, he offered just that glimpse.

The trick is you have to look for it.

“We’€™re better now than we were in September, there’€™s no question about that,” Belichick said. “Even though maybe you don’€™t want to believe that, but I know we are.”

There it is. The nugget that gets you through an otherwise quiet, mundane, typically-businesslike Friday.

Belichick has heard all the criticism about his secondary, the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL, the secondary that gave up two bombs to Vince Young before recovering, the finesse offense that wouldn’t survive in December and the playoffs. The team that has faced a cupcake row of quarterbacks in the last month.

You can bet that’s exactly what he’s telling his team about their naysayers.

That little morsel came in the middle of a 2-minute, 55-second answer, an answer that began:

“I think you go through it every year, I think you go through it every year,” Belichick opened. “You get to the end of the season, you get to December, January and you’€™ve been doing things now for 22, 20, however many weeks it is. The same plays, you continue to build on your situation plays so you get third and goal on the three, you start the year with one play or two plays, now you maybe have four or five plays, maybe a couple that you’€™ve used before but it’€™s been so long ago that it’€™s really not showing up on the breakdown so you can go back to them but in the meantime you have to keep adding to that. So you get to the end of the year and then you start the next year and you think, ‘€˜OK, where are we?’€™ Well we’€™re nowhere close to where we were in December or January ‘€“ we’€™re just not.

“We’€™re starting training camp, we have new people, nobody has run these plays in six months. It takes you a period of time, even if you have some spring practices, still you’€™re just nowhere near the execution level. Now, they’€™re executing better at this time of the year too, I’€™m not saying that we’€™re great in December. We’€™re better in December, well so is everybody else. I think where your team is in September from an execution standpoint, what we can do now and what we can do in September are two different things. A big part of it is just the newness and the getting back to the timing and the execution of your basic plays and then adjustments and situations and all those kind of things”

And he continued, without missing a beat.

“That’€™s the way I see it,” Belichick said. “Now, you can look at the stats, like I’€™m sure everybody does and say ‘€˜Look at how great the Patriots were in September.’€™ That’€™s only relative to where anybody else was in September, it’€™s not relative to where you are. But where is everybody else? And if they’€™ve improved more than we have, then the results are a little different. Or if we have improved more than they have, the results could be a little bit different. It’€™s a constant race for 16 weeks to get your football team better and better and better and better but they’€™re doing that on the other side too. I really think when the season starts, as much as anybody wants to say, ‘€˜Well, we’€™ll start off where we were last year,’€™ there’€™s no way. There’€™s no way. It takes so long to build to that point that you have to be realistic. You just can’€™t do the things that you did a year ago in December, in September. Maybe some of them, you pick out a few but overall as team, there’€™s no way.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, nfl,



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