PHILADELPHIA — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick broke from his usual script a bit in today’s postgame press conference by mentioning himself as part of the equation that resulted in a win at Lincoln Financial Field.
Belichick was asked about his players “sucking it up” during this difficult season.
“I think our players, yeah, they’ve given good effort,” Belichick said from the podium. “I think they’re trying to do the things we tell them to do. I think sometimes we go to do better and coach better and have things maybe a little cleaner for them, but I think they’re trying to do they’re part in terms of physically and mentally, day after day, week after week, be consistent, be dependable and do what we ask them to do. I know we demand a lot and this isn’t an easy place to play and I’m not an easy guy to play for, but they have tried to respond. I give them a lot of credit for that.”
Belichick seemed pleased with the win overall.
“It’s good to come down here and win,” Belichick said. “It was obviously a short week, but I thought the players did a good job here of bouncing back, you know with the short week, Thanksgiving break, and all that, just trying to cram everything in here, I thought they really did a good job the past couple days of pulling together on the game plan. Going out, I think they really tried to play the game the way we want it played today and did a good job of all three phases of the game. So it’s good, it’s good to come down here and win and I hope we can build on this and keep improving every week here.”
Belichick spoke about the Patriots ability to respond after getting down 10-0 early.
“Well we certainly didn’t want to start the game the way that we started, giving up a couple long passes,” Belichick said. “And we didn’t get one first down on offense and gave the ball up. So we kinda stumbled out of the gate there, but it was good to see us bounce back and kinda fight through it on the road, similar to the Pittsburgh start, but we were able to respond better and get a little bit more done. I think the players hung in there for 60 minutes, we knew it was going to be tough. The Eagles got a lot of good players and they’re well-coached, so we knew it was going to be a tough game, but they got off to a good start but I give our guys a lot of credit, they hung in there.”
The Patriots head coach seemed especially pleased with the effort QB Tom Brady put forth today.
“Well, I think Tom did a good job of really pressing the issue,” Belichick said. “We felt like we had him on the run a little bit with some of the empty stuff and some of our matchups. We felt good about our running game too, but just when we felt like we had some matchups we could take advantage of, Tom just kept pressing it. Everybody got involved there and that’s what Tom does best, is finds the open guy, puts the ball on the money, and he did it many times today. Did a very good job of avoiding the rush, and not so much the yards he got scrambling, but just staying out of bad plays, keeping us on track with some positive yardage and giving us another chance to line up and make another good play, and not being in 2nd and 18 and stuff like that. That’s suicide against these guys.”
More from Belichick:
On being disciplined with RB LeSean McCoy:
“Yeah absolutely. All of them—McCoy, [QB Vince] Young, obviously [WR] DeSean [Jackson], they got a lot of explosive players, [TE Brent] Celek, he’s a tough guy too. So, yup, absolutely.”
On changes and improvements in the secondary:
“I just think as a team, we’re just trying to hang in there. We’ve battled through different challenges every week, whether it’s personnel or other things that come up, we just try to deal with it, keep our head down, and keep moving forward.”
On the offensive line improving after the first two drives:
“Well, again, they got a good pass rush, they got a lot of good players on the front, so give our guys credit for blocking them. [QB] Tom [Brady] got rid of the ball, he stepped up and took advantage of some openings in the pass rush where they look like they got a little bit up the field and he either scrambled or stepped up and was able to deliver the ball. So it was a good job by both him and the line of creating some space and then Tom finding it and being able to get it off. They hit us on a couple, they ran one blitz and we didn’t quite handle it right. I think [DT Mike] Patterson got us, [DE Trent] Cole had a little pressure on the edge there, [DT Cullen] Jenkins had a good rush early on that first drive. They’re an explosive group, especially the first time you play them, which we haven’t played these guys in a while, I mean, I know it’s preseason last year, but it’s a little bit different when you see them live and face them. They’re a very talented group.”
On WR Julian Edelman in the goal line situation:
“Julian’s worked hard on that, he’s had to keep up with what’s going on on offense and also the kicking game. But he’s worked hard, spent a lot of extra time with [defensive backs coach] Josh Boyer and kinda splitting time between meetings, between offense and defense, and of course he does all the special teams stuff too. He’s worked hard and he’s really been a huge help for us. We’ve been in a couple tight spots here and we were in it again today and we went strolling back outside at the end of the game. He’s worked hard and he’s really helped us.”
On changes in the game plan between Vince Young and QB Michael Vick:
“Well, I think they’re pretty much same, they run the same offense. I mean obviously right handed quarterback, left handed quarterback. I don’t know if there is another quarterback in the league like Vick. I can’t say there’s no difference, I mean that guy is as dynamic of a player as there could be at quarterback, all the things he can do. But I think fundamentally, other than the kinda righty-lefty thing, and knowing that Vick’s Vick, it’s still basically the same offense.”
On defensive adjustments after the first two drives:
“We were trying not to give up post patterns, yeah. We were trying not to give up 50 yard post patterns, that was the first thing. But I mean, they made good throws and good catches and we were trying to tighten up a little bit on them and they got over the top on us. So we just didn’t do a good job there. You know, [CB] Antwaun [Molden] had a big interception there that really, we didn’t score off of it, I think defensively we stopped them and then Antwaun got the interception and put us in good field position. So that was another big stop for us defensively and we finally really made a play on defense, so that helped us in our confidence a little bit.”
On improvement in defensive execution:
“Well I think there’s some things that are better, but it just seems like we are trying to catch up here. Kinda on a treadmill here. If it isn’t one guy, it’s someone else and guys going in and out at linebacker and the secondary, it seems like we’ll kinda get one thing getting some continuity and consistency and then something else happens, so we just kinda have to fight through it. Individually, yes, collectively, I don’t know. Yes and no. Hopefully we can progress quicker.”
On grabbing the number one seed:
“I don’t even think about the big picture. Big picture right now is Indianapolis, that’s the big picture. I’ll leave that to all the experts to figure out. I know you guys spend a lot of time on that. Right now I think our focus is how to improve our team on a weekly basis and how to get ready for Indianapolis and be competitive against them. That’s really only thing we can do anything about, so all the rest of it us just a bunch of garbage.”
On if this win means more because of the short week:
“Well it was a tough week, definitely, it was a tough week. The Eagles are a hard team to get ready for, they have a lot of good players. Andy does a good job. I think he’s one of the best coaches in the league. And the players had a short week, we were banged up, tough game against Kansas City, we had some guys that weren’t able to play, obviously, and other guys that played banged up. So I give the players a lot of credit for sucking it up and not just physically being out there, but mentally, all the preparation and the film work and the studying that they did, the extra meetings that they did to really try to prepare for this game, it was absolutely a great effort by the players and the assistant coaches too. It’s a tough week on them when you only have six days, you have a holiday right in the middle of it, and like you said, you’re on the road and all that. But that’s the NFL schedule. But those guys did a good job, they deserve a lot of credit.”