Coming off a big road win against their most heated rivals, Bill Belichick was in a pretty good mood this afternoon for his day-after press conference. In all, Belichick chatted for nearly a half-hour, which is longer for one of his daily briefings.
Off the top, however, he didn't offer any information on the status of cornerback Devin McCourty, who suffered a right shoulder injury in the second quarter last night, saying he didn't have an update.
On other topics, Belichick was asked about getting rookies Jeff Tarpinian and Sterling Moore ready for their increased workloads:
"Well, what happens when the lights go on, you never know for sure. You have to wait and see. Jeff's been playing all year in the kicking game, so we've seen that. Sterling really hasn't had an opportunity to play but those guys have practiced a lot, they've certainly gotten a lot of reps in practice so you can start to evaluate how they perform in practice but that's not the same as games, so when you put a player in the game who hasn't played before you're a little bit looking to see how he's going to react in game conditions - some guys do better, some guys are not as good, some guys it takes them a little while to get going. That's certainly a little bit of an ongoing evaluation.
"But from a practice standpoint those guys have had, especially Jeff, reps all year defensively. When he's been out there - he missed some time in training camp - when he's been out there he's gotten plenty of reps on defense. Sterling, as the weeks have gone along he's gotten progressively more and more this week obviously, with Pat being limited in practice all week, Sterling got more reps on defense."
On Gary Guyton being in uniform but never getting onto the field:
"Well, players that were active for the game were active for the game. Players that weren't active either weren't active because of injuries or because of coaching decisions. Someone that was active for the game was able to play. He missed some time this week in practice and that was a concern going into the game, but he was active for the game."
On special teams ace Tracy White, who has been pressed into duty at linebacker in recent weeks:
"I think Tracy brings a lot to the football team - he's very professional, works as hard as anybody, comes in early, stays late, good physical condition, runs well, he's tough. We all see he makes a lot of plays in the kicking game and he's made plays defensively, you saw a lot of him on defense in the preseason, so when hes had an opportunity, he's done a good job. But I think he's great for our football team - very professional, works hard, studies, does his job, spends a lot of time at it, it's important to him, totally respected by everybody in the program. Does everything right."
On New England's red zone defense:
"I think it's been competitive. We gave up a touchdown yesterday on third down, scored by a yard or something, but it was close. That was close to being a stop, but it wasn't. We've had some other stops that we've made throughout the year, had a couple of stops on the one-yard line, going back to the early part of the season. Always working to get better but that's something that the coaches and the players have put a lot of time, a lot of work into. We've had some success and that's certainly helpful."