Bill Belichick just wrapped his press conference, and believes the coming days are important ones for the Patriots:
"I think this is a big week for us coming up here," he said to open. "We have some things we can build on from training camp and the preseason game against Jacksonville and now we've got to start stacking things on top of that in terms of situations and a little bit of an expansion in our system, so a lot of things we have to cover.
"I think we've got competition at a lot of spots so we're going to have to evaluate, keep looking at that, try to put those guys in situations where we can give them an opportunity and so we can see enough to make a good decision. So that's what's ahead; it could be a big week."
Asked about the six players on the PUP or NFI list (Marcus Cannon, Kevin Faulk, Matt Light, Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick and Shaun Ellis) and whether any might be returning this week, he said, "they're definitely getting closer. So, you know, we'll see how it goes. We did some work with some of those guys in the morning, so when they're ready they'll be out there."
Specifically on the progress of Cannon, who is recovering from non-Hodgkins' lymphoma treatment, Belichick said, "He's doing what he can do...He's in all the meetings. He has a program, he's on his own workout program. He does the things that everybody does but they're specifically for him. Some things he can mainstream but other things he can't; that's all based on medical supervision."
Other quick hits from Belichick:
* He wasn't too pleased with the special teams performance on Thursday: "I think we had our moments. At times we covered well; we only punted once, but we covered that well. We covered some kickoffs well, there was definitely one we didn't cover well. In the return game, we didn't return the kickoffs very well, I was disappointed in that. We had one long punt return called back - it was a close call (on the penalty) but a little bit of a sign of life there...I think we need a little bit better play out of the specialists as a group, you can't really be strong in the kicking game if the specialists don't play well."
* Whether Stephen Gostkowski will be able to handle kickoffs: "We'll see how it goes; eventually he'll do it. The recommendation that we have as far as his schedule is a progression and I feel like we're on track on that progression - he hasn't had any setbacks, Steve's doing well, so we'll go the way it's set up unless there's a reason to change it."
* Bringing back Matt Light after drafting Nate Solder: "Well Matt's been a good player for us; he's played very well for us through the years. And I think the more good players you have on your team the better your team is. Matt gives us, as well as playing, he gives us a lot of other things and I think he's good for our football team. We worked it out, Matt and I have talked about the situation, and obviously we feel comfortable having him on the team, he felt comfortable."