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Highlights from Bill Belichick’s press conference

01.26.12 at 12:47 pm ET

At his weekly press conference Thursday, Bill Belichick talked about the familiarity between the Patriots and Giants, the availability of Sebastian Vollmer, Eli Manning‘s strong year, and the intangibles Brandon Spikes brings to New England’s defense.

Following are some highlights.

On the familiarity with the Giants: “There is no team we’re more familiar in the NFC than the Giants. We play them every year. Twice in ’07 and this will be three times this season. A lot of those were in the preseason, but still there is a familiarity keeping up with a team every year as opposed to a lot of other teams who we see once every three years. At least there is sort of an annual review of the Giants. I don’t think it is like a division game but we know them a lot better than most NFC teams.”

On Sebastian Vollmer’s status: “We’ll see how it goes. [Vollmer] practiced some last week and wasn’t able to go. He’ll practice this week. The crystal ball is clouding up…If he’s ready, he’s ready. If Sebastian is ready he could really help our football team. There’s no question.”

On the Giants offense and Eli Manning: “When they have to throw it , they throw it. When they have to run it, they run it. And that’s the mark of a good offense. … Eli has done a good job not turning the ball over, hitting big plays, and converting on third downs. Their third down conversion numbers are significantly up from the regular season, playing against better teams. He can hurt you with his legs. Not that he’s looking to run for a 100 yards or anything but converting on third downs, scrambling out of the pocket, and keeping plays alive. We’ve seen that before. He’s done a good job. He has a lot of skill and spreads the ball around. And he wins and that’s a quarterback’s job: to manage a game and win.”

On Brandon Spikes: “Brandon is a very instinctive player. He catches on quickly. He just knows where the ball is. Sometimes it is not exactly the way you would coach it in terms of what keys and footwork would be, but he has a good ability to find the ball and know where the play is. … He is tall like Pepper [Johnson] was. You don’t see a lot of inside linebackers with that kind of height. Most guys are a little more compact than that. That’s a problem for a quarterback because of their length, their height, and range. They get their hands on a lot of balls. Like Pepper, Brandon plays with power. He gives us a different presence in there.”

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