FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick met with the media today at Gillette Stadium and covered a number of topics, including this week's opponent (the San Diego Chargers), on whether he's talked to his team about the $50,000 fine on Brandon Meriweather (about which he offered little), and whether he's talked to Meriweather (about which he offered even less).
Here are excerpts of Belichick's remarks:
On the 2-4 Chargers:``We're all very impressed watching the Chargers here. They're a very good football team. A couple real key wins at home against Jacksonville and Arizona. I think we were able to see what kind of talent and what kind of football team they have. I know they've been in this position the last few years; they've gotten off to a slow start. But this is about where they hit stride and it's very concerning, based on what their track record has been. I think when you watch this team, you'll see a lot of good football players. Pretty much everybody on the field, offensively, is dangerous no matter who gets the ball or where they get it. They're capable of making big plays. They can run, they can throw it, and they have a great variety of plays. Norv [Turner] does a great job of play-calling, which makes it very difficult to defend. Defensively, solid, strong up front and tough to run against and they can rush the passer. They play good coverage and have gotten a bunch of turnovers: interceptions, tipped balls, strips. Very aggressive on defense and they do a good job on all downs. Explosive in the kicking game and [Darren] Sproles is as good as we'll see all year. Punter, big punter, guy can change the field position on you. They've played very well out there and they handled us the last time, pretty easily, and I hope we can be more competitive than we were two years ago out there. It wouldn't take much, but it'll be a big challenge.''
On LB Jerod Mayo's ability to wade through blockers:``Jerod has terrific instincts and he had those in college. It was one of the impressive things about watching him at Tennessee. It was the way he was able to sort plays out, find the ball, get over trash, get past guys who were around his feet, in the pile, or in the way. Get past that and make a tackle and, of course, he's a strong tackler.''
On the interesting rivalry and history with San Diego:``There's been a lot of big games and it's gone both ways. We've gotten handled out there a couple of times. We got handled out there in '08 [30-10] and in '02 [21-14]. It's been kind of a mixed bag. Same thing here. We've been handled here and we've done all right here. It's been a competitive rivalry. They're not quite a division team, but they feel like a division team. They've turned some guys over this year, but there's been some continuity.''
On comparing offensive styles of Washington coach Mike Shanahan and San Diego coach Norv Turner:``They're both very formation oriented. Norv gives you a lot of different formations. The thing about Norv is that he's a great deep-ball coordinator. His offense is very effective at getting the ball down the field. Their receivers have great height and average per catches, they always have. It's been consistent through the years, even going back to Dallas. As much as you talk about, `We can't give up the deep ball, we can't give up the deep ball,' he finds a little different way to scheme it up against you and then you give one up. Just about the time he's catching it, you realize, `Uh-oh, we're in a little bit of trouble here.' It kind of sets up everything else, the running game. The deeper you go to take those plays away then it's easier for the quarterback to dump the ball off.''
On Chargers TE Antonio Gates:``He's always open. It seems like he's always open. I don't know how he gets so open. They cut him loose, but part of it is scheme and part of it is him. [Philip] Rivers definitely has confidence in him and looks for him and there's times where there's nobody near him. I don't know how he gets so open. Even when you have him covered, he's a tough matchup, he's so big.. He can catch the ball and pretty much get it anywhere. I don't see a whole lot different; he's always standing in the end zone spiking the ball.''
On whether he's had to discuss the NFL's tougher stance on helmet-to-helmet hits with his team:``We'll do it the same way we've been doing it.''
On whether he's had any conversation with Meriweather after his $50,000 fine for helmet-to-helmet hits on Ravens TE Todd Heap and WR Derrick Mason``Right now we're talking about San Diego; that's what we're all looking forward to.''