Bill Belichick moving on to next season: ‘We’re in 2014 now’
|01.20.14 at 10:55 am ET|
FOXBORO — Like a being on a treadmill, the Patriots season was going and going but then came to a sudden stop Sunday afternoon in Denver with their 26-16 loss to the Broncos in the AFC championship game.
Coach Bill Belichick now shifts his focus to the 2014 season. Belichick spoke of what that entails at his season-ending press conference Monday at Gillette Stadium, noting decisions regarding the makeup of next year’s team will come in the next two months.
“I would say in the neighborhood of 6-8 weeks. Free agency starts a little less than two months from now so we definitely need to be ready by then,” Belichick said. “There will be some other transactions along the way before then relative to tenders and those types of things. There are a few situations that will precede that, but I would say somewhere in the 4-8 weeks category, some sooner than others. Trying to compile all the information on players and situations as well as things like responsibilities on our staff, looking at scheme and maybe a player could fit a little bit better into a scheme, or maybe not as well into a different scheme if we are planning on making some changes along those lines. That’s all part of it, too.
“Some decisions need to be made sooner than others, other decisions honestly may wait. We’ve re-signed players in April, May, June and we’ve also released players in that range. I don’t think there is a specific timetable, but I would say somewhere in that 6-8 week range is probably when most of the decisions need to be made or at least, even if they are delayed, you’ve made that decision to delay.”
Of those decisions to be made, some of them surround the team’s free agents: Aqib Talib, Julian Edelman, Brandon Spikes and LeGarrette Blount. Belichick said he will speak to each of them as well as other players on the roster in the coming days and weeks.
“We have a number of players whose contracts are going to expire that I am going to talk to one way or another,” Belichick said. “I’m not saying there’s any decision to made, but there is certainly a conversation to be had. A lot of guys on the team that I have and will talk to personally about their situation and appreciation for what they’ve done, whatever it happens to be.”
Despite a number of season-ending injuries to key players, the Patriots still made it to their third AFC championship game in as many years.
“I’m proud of this team, I’m proud to be the coach of this team,” Belichick said. “I respect the players and what the players and the staff did in terms of their work ethic, their preparation, their mental toughness, physical toughness and playing hard every week. Every one of our games, came — I would say really the Denver game really, and that was potentially a very competitive situation — it could’ve been a one-possession game with four minutes to go in the game, but it wasn’t, as we didn’t make the two-point conversion, but all the other games have literally come down to the last play and the last possession. So, we played very competitively all year and we just came up short five times and I wish we could’ve done a little better job in any of those games, especially the one yesterday, but that was our season.
“I’m proud of what our players and team did, but we came up short and that is not our goal. We’re going to continue to try and work towards a higher level of performance and that starts with me, the coaching staff, then our players. We’re starting all over again. That’s where we are, we’re in 2014 now.”
Belichick ended his press conference on a lighter note, joking that he will take out his frustrations when he heads to California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, an event he’s played in numerous times over the years.
“I’ll be OK, I’ll take out all my frustrations at Pebble Beach and see if I can hit the ball over the water instead of in,” he said.