FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick repeatedly acknowledged the improvement he wants to see from his Patriots, but the day after a 13-10 win over the Jets, he said there were plenty of positives.
“Walking off the field was a big positive,” he said. “Any time you win a division game, any time you beat the Jets, that’s a big positive. We did some things well.”
Those might be easy to overlook for Patriots fans, who are accustomed to seeing the game come easily for Tom Brady & Co., especially on offense, and especially against inferior opponents. The Patriots needed a last-second field goal in their opener to beat the Bills by 2, and generated only nine first downs in beating the Jets by 3.
Granted, the team that took the Gillette Stadium field Thursday night for the home opener should be vastly different from the one that ends the season. Five players expected to contribute on offense — Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and Zach Sudfeld — missed the game because of injury.
Perhaps predictably, the offense struggled in their absence.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of things that we need to work on as a football team, and I think that’s really where we’re at right now,” Belichick said. “Individually, every coach, every player, [there are] things we need to do better. Each unit can improve in what we’re doing, how we’re doing it.
“I don’t think anybody’s where we want to be or where we need to be, but I think we’re all committed to getting there.”
Belichick was asked about the pregame report that he has agreed to a contract extension, but chose not to confirm anything, saying, “I don’t talk about my personal contract situation.”
He was also asked about the return of running back Stevan Ridley, who emerged from the benching he received after fumbling in the season opener and rushed for 40 yards on 16 carries.
“We didn’t have a lot of practice time, most of it was walk-through preparation, but I thought our entire team prepared well for this game,” Belichick said. “I thought our players had a great attitude about being early, staying a little late, doing a little extra, being attentive and diligent in their preparation.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, but I thought the effort and the intensity, and what they put into it, was very good, all week and last night for 60 minutes.”