Patriots coach Bill Belichick wrapped up his conference call a few moments ago and in it talked about the struggle of game planning for the Dolphins, Deion Branch's place on this team and how he categorizes his safeties.
A few highlights:
On Miami: "... It's always tough to go on the road in this division and play down there this time of year. It looks like Miami has played well in their preseason games. They've got a lot of weapons on offense. They're a big a physical defensive team that has good speed and athleticism with their linebackers and defensive backs and they're much improved in the kicking game from where they were last year. ... "
On how Patriots categorize safeties: "I think that categorization was the way it was many years ago when you had a lot of two-back offenses and one safety traditionally played closer to the line of scrimmage and another safety traditionally played at the deep part of the field. ... And as the game's evolved over the last 20 years, anyway, offenses have done a much better job of trying to make your strong safety play free safety and make your free safety play strong safety and not let your defensive players get comfortable playing where they want to play. ...
"... I think in our system we've always taught our safeties both positions. ..."
On Deion Branch's potential to contribute this year: "I think Deion's had a pretty good camp. He hasn't missed any time at all and that wasn't something he was able to do last year. We had to manage him a little bit at practice. He was in good condition and he took his share of reps out there in training camp and I thought he looked good doing it. I think he's in position -- based on what I've seen so far and what he's done in training camp and preseason -- I think he's ready to have a good year. He works hard and gives us good leadership at the position. He's a very smart player and instinctive player. He knows what to do and does the right thing and is very dependable. I think everybody in the organization feels good about counting on Deion. He's a very consistent guy everyday. ... We all have a lot of confidence in Deion."
On Brandon Spikes: "I thought Brandon got off to a good start in preseason and he missed some time and so he's a little behind with the time that he missed. he's back on the field now and he's working hard on getting back his conditioning and his timing and all of those things. We'll see how quickly he can get back to where he was at a few weeks ago. ..."