FOXBOROUGH – Patriots coach Bill Belichick held his season-ending press conference this morning at Gillette Stadium (11:45 a.m.), and one topic of note was his view of a possible silver lining to the abrupt end to the season.
While Belichick said the team would obviously prefer to be playing into January, he offered this analysis:
“With the AFC Championship game two years and having to go out and coach the Pro Bowl, then last year finishing another season in February, those have been two very, very long seasons for our players and for our staff -- not just the coaches, but the entire sports staff, everybody involved.
“That’s always the way you want to finish a season. You want to be playing into February. But, at the same time, those last two offseasons we had were as condensed as they could be relative to the other teams in the league. Unfortunately, we’re not playing this week, but it will give us a little more time to do maybe a little more thorough of an analysis and a breakdown of everything I just talked about than we’ve done in the past [two years].
“I think one thing that we all need, and probably deserve around here, is a little bit of rest. Again, a lot of our players, in the last couple of years, went from the end of the season, to rehabbing an injury, to jumping into the offseason program, to getting back on that treadmill again.
“I think that maybe this year is an opportunity for some of those guys to take it at a little bit of a different pace, and that would include the coaching staff as well. Our guys around here work hard, put in a lot of hours, they’re very dedicated. So I think it will be a useful break and you can include me in that group.”