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Belichick: 'The next game we play will be toughest of the year'

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  January 3, 2011 12:22 PM

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Bill Belichick just wrapped a day-after conference call as his team now turns the page from its stellar regular season to the playoffs and the pursuit of a fourth Super Bowl title.

Appropriately, he opened by noting that, "When we left here last night we were 14-2, I think this morning we're 0-0."

As it does during bye weeks, New England will spend much of this week self-scouting, tightening up any problems it is having with its own execution and performance before focusing all of its attention on its divisional round opponent once this weekend's wild card games are over.

Belichick's best answer was his last, when he was asked about getting this team to buy into the idea that there's always room for improvement even though they've had some great results of late.

"One thing I’ll say about this team: they’ve been pretty consistent," Belichick said. "They come to work every day, they want to improve, they want to get better, and I think that’s a great attitude to have. We can all get better. Once you identify what those [areas of improvement] are, you work at it, and then generally, eventually, it will improve, it will get better.

"Our players for most part have done a good job taking constructive criticism, and more importantly, trying to do something about it...The next game we play will be the toughest game of the year, we know that. Whatever we did in the past, it needs to be better, it needs to be our best. However we can improve our performance between now and then, I think all of us should do what we can to address that. That’s our commitment to each other."

Belichick also wouldn't say what roster move the Patriots would make with Brandon Spikes coming off his suspension, but we have confirmed reports that Ron Brace will be placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury suffered in Buffalo, making room for Spikes.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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