Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a conference call with the New England media this afternoon. He touched on facing the Atlanta Falcons, how tough it is to defend Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and the progress of rookie safety Pat Chung, whom Belichick said is headed in the right direction.
He also had a shout-out for Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who worked for the Patriots from 2002-2007 as a scout and was the team's director of college scouting from 2003 to 2007 -- "It's a pretty impressive job that Thomas Dimitroff and [head coach] Mike Smith have done down there, really a good looking football team, said Belichick.
On facing the Falcons:
"It's a team that we don't know very well, obviously we haven't played them in a while. When we did play them last they've had a lot of changes since then, so we've got a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball and all three phases of the game. As I've said the last couple of days, regardless of who we play or what we play we've just got to play better and coach better and just do a better job all the way around."
On Tony Gonzalez:
"I think the acquisition of Gonzalez has made a huge impact on their offensive football team. ...He makes you worry about what's going on inside. Gonzalez has already had a real productive two games. He was productive in the preseason as well. They've done a good job with him scheme-wise of getting him matched up in some advantageous situations, and Ryan has been able to pick those out and get it to him. When teams have tried to take him away he's been able to come back to [Roddy] White and [Michael] Jenkins and the running game. They've done a good job. Gonzalez, that was certainly a good addition."
On the progress of Pat Chung:
"I think all of our rookies are in the process of learning whatever it is they're doing, offense, defense, special teams, but I think all the ones that are on the roster are capable of playing and either have played or will play, depending on game plan situation and some of other circumstances. Maybe some are in their control, maybe some not in their control. Patrick would definitely fall into that category. He has a lot to learn, and he's learning it. He has done a good job for us when he has been in there on defense and in kicking game. I think he has a real good future ahead of him, and I'm excited to work with him and Darius [Butler] too in the secondary for that matter. I think that they're headed in the right direction. There is no question about it."