Five takeaways from Bill Belichick’s Tuesday afternoon conference call
|01.24.12 at 4:56 pm ET|
With the understanding that Rob Gronkowski‘s injury situation was already covered earlier in the day, here are five takeaways from Tuesday afternoon’s conference call with Patriots coach Bill Belichick:
1. The Patriots have given the players Tuesday and Wednesday off, with the instructions being that they should use those two days to take care of logistics and come back Thursday ready to work. New England will hold practices Thursday and Friday (Saturday’s schedule is still up in the air), and the Patriots will leave for Indy after a sendoff rally at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (more details on that will come later in the week).
Belichick talked about the sort of things they’ll have to focus on before leaving for Indianapolis.
‘I think there are a lot of things, but the logistics and all that, that’s part of it,” Belichick said. ‘That’s something that we have to deal with on any away trip. This is an extended away trip so it has some elements of that, but there are additional things. But that’s part of it. The health of the team is always important. That’s what a team is: the healthy players that you can put out there on the field. That’s always something that we try to be mindful of and do everything we can to get it to the highest level. We can get started on our opponent and understanding what they do and what we need to do against them and how those things match up and what adjustments we can anticipate or we’ve seen them make. I’d say it’s all those things.’
‘I have a lot of respect for Tom. I think he’s definitely stood the test of time in a couple organizations: in Jacksonville and at the Giants,’ Belichick said. ‘He’s tough; his teams are disciplined. They play with great competitiveness and play smart. They’re a good situational football team. They force you to go out there and beat them. They do a lot of things well. That’s kind of the way Tom is: Tom is tough, he’s very detailed, he has a lot of experience, he’s an intense coach and I think that’s reflected in the way his teams play. He’s a good friend of mine that I’ve been with a long time as I’ve mentioned before.
‘When I was the secondary coach and Tom was the receivers coach at the Giants, we worked against each other daily and we also had great rapport off the field of helping each other out, talking about the different techniques and players of our upcoming opponents and suggestions of how to cover them or run routes, helping each other out on things like that as well as working with each other on the practice field. Of all the coaches I’ve worked with, it was as good as any.’
3. Belichick also continued to lavish praise on veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who was immense in the Patriots 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game.
‘Vince, he’s really the elder statesman on the defense in terms of time with the New England Patriots,’ Belichick said. ‘There are other players that have played longer but not necessarily on this team. He’s got a great work ethic, very unselfish, does whatever we’ve asked him to do. We’ve put him in a lot of different positions: nose obviously, on the guards, outside on the tackles, gap schemes, two-gap techniques, stunts. Whatever it is, he’s a very smart football player.
‘He’s given us [a lot] on a lot of levels, on the field, off the field, as a captain in individual meetings and some group settings. He does a good job of all of that. I think the most important thing is just the way he goes about it. He doesn’t talk as much as just demonstrate how to prepare, how to practice, how to do your job, how to be alert, how to communicate, the different line calls and things like that. That really is, I think, the best way for a player to lead is by first of all doing his job very well so everybody can see how it’s done and try to emulate that.’
4. The dynamic between offensive assistant (and offensive coordinator to be) Josh McDaniels and current OC Bill O’Brien was also discussed. O’Brien is reportedly spending a few days at Penn State, but Belichick said that the outgoing OC is handling the transition smoothly, while the head coach said it’s been ‘great to have him back.’
‘It’s great to have Josh here. Josh was here for a long time. He obviously made a lot of contributions to our team and our success. He and I had a good working relationship,’ Belichick said. ‘That being said, Billy has continued to do in the last few weeks, everything — since he’s been named the head coach of Penn State, he’s done everything that he’s done this year and last year on a weekly basis. He’s had the same responsibilities; he’s just worked very hard to try to manage the two situations. By far and away, the majority of his time and energy and effort have all been put into the New England Patriots. He’s done his fulltime job here well and very diligently, just like he always has; there hasn’t been any difference.’
5. Belichick wants no part of reliving David Tyree‘s remarkable helmet catch from Super Bowl XLII.
‘I think we’ve talked about all that,’ he said. ‘It was a long time ago. I have a lot of comments on the record after the game and everything else. You can go back and look at all the things that happened then or some other year.’