Extra Points

Belichick on the Chargers

Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened his Wednesday press conference (10:45 a.m. EDT) with a three-minute discussion on the San Diego Chargers.

“This San Diego team is a team that even though we haven’t played them, I kind of feel like I’ve been working on these guys for a year. We got into a situation last year where it was a good possibility we could play them [in the playoffs]. We ended up with Indianapolis, but we spent quite a bit of time working on the Chargers then. Of course, having them early in the season this year, [we] spent some time working on them in the offseason. Now, this week.

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“It’s a team I feel like I have gotten an appreciation for what they did last year –- 12-4 and had a real good football team in all three phases of the game [offense, defense, special teams]. This year they have virtually everyone back and just added [Bhawoh] Jue at safety, [Darren] Sproles returning kicks and a couple good defensive players like [Luis] Castillo and [Shawne] Merriman. I thought the way they played last week against the Giants was outstanding; they completely dominated the game. They had two tough opening losses, which pretty much came down to the last play of the game.

“It’s really an outstanding football team. They are well-coached. Offensively, they can move the ball up and down the field as well as anybody. Defensively, they play the 3-4 and [coordinator] Wade [Phillips] –- like he’s always done it, whether it’s Atlanta, Buffalo, Denver – he’s always had good defensive football teams. This is no exception.

“In the kicking game, they have a very good return game, good specialists, and some very good cover people, like [Hanik] Milligan and [Kassim] Osgood –- two of the better guys in the league. They are solid all the way around.

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“I think the team reflects Marty’s [Schoettenheimer] personality and his coaching style. Marty is a guy I’ve never worked with but I’ve been very close to. He came in as I was leaving Detroit [after 1977]. I was with the Giants after he was there. Obviously I followed him after Cleveland [with the Browns] after Bud [Carson] was there for two years, but there were a lot of remnants from his system and program in place when I got there. I have an awful lot of respect for what he’s done as an assistant coach, as a coordinator, as a head coach. I followed his career very closely. It’s been right there, kind of, with mine. He’s been a little ahead of me in those steps, but just kind of both being defensive coaches and coming up through similar franchises.

“They’re tough, they’re good, they’re explosive. We have a lot to get ready for. This is a good football team. They’re ready to play hard every week and I know we’ll have to play well. This isn’t a team that gives you s lot of opportunities. You have to earn them all.”

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We’ll have more from Belichick and the locker room in a bit. Belichick was asked about an incident in Pittsburgh where he told a Steelers trainer to get away from an injured Patriots player and also mentioned he wasn’t aware of the time error during the Steelers game. He also commented on new safety Michael Stone.

The Patriots signed offensive lineman Ryan Krug to the practice squad and released linebacker Jared Newberry from the practice squad.

More to come.

–Mike

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