Bill Belichick at Monday's press conference. (AP Photo)
By Chris Begley, Boston.com Staff, 01/28/02NEW ORLEANS - New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will wait until after practice on Wednesday to announce who will be his starting quarterback in Super Bowl XXXVI. Late in the second quarter of Sunday's 24-17 victory over Pittsburgh, starter Tom Brady sprained his ankle and never returned to action. Drew Bledsoe, the $103 million backup who lost his starting job to Brady after being injured in Week 2, filled in admirably. He completed his first 3 passes, the latter of which resulted in an 11-yard touchdown to David Patten. Despite being pressed by reporters at a press conference at the team's hotel Monday evening, Belichick stuck to his guns and said an announcement will be made on Wednesday. Rookie guard Mike Compton said that unless Brady cannot walk, he'll want to play on Sunday. Belichick also discussed the Rams, acknowledging that the Patriots faced a challenge on Sunday. "They are well-coached on defense," said Belichick. "They are very sound." Referring to the Patriots' 24-17 loss to the Rams in Week 10, Belichick said, "St. Louis was the best team we faced all year. They outplayed us that night, and they deserved to win." Belichick referred to New England's 17-16 win over AFC East rival New York Jets in Week 12 on Dec. 2 as a turning point in the team's season. "It kept us in the race for the AFC East championship," Belichick said. The Patriots' day started at 8:30 a.m. with meetings back in Foxborough. The team arrived in New Orleans at 4 p.m. CST, but the assistant coaches stayed behind to work on Sunday's game plan. They are scheduled to arrive sometime tomorrow. As they've done all season, the team kept its focus on Pittsburgh last week and didn't think about the Super Bowl. They began formulating a game plan after yesterday's game. But who will take the snaps against the Rams remains a mystery. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi summed up the dilemma by saying, "I'm glad I'm not the coach."