Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened his Monday press conference [11:45 a.m. EDT] by recapping Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Broncos.
“Looking at the film this morning, as I said last night, there is a similar type of feeling. Denver got pretty far ahead, 21-3 at the half, 28-3 in the third quarter, and in the end it was too much ground to make up. I thought that in all three phases of the game [offense, defense, special teams], we just didn’t do as much as we needed to do. Sometimes it was OK. Other times, it obviously wasn’t. Collectively, it came up short against a good football team. We gave them a big head start and couldn’t make it up. It’s disappointing, because I really feel like if we coached better, played better, performed better, we could have had a little different outcome yesterday. That certainly wasn’t the case. Give credit to Mike [Shanahan] and their coaching staff. They presented us with a good plan and some difficult things to handle. They have good players. They have a good team. And they played very well, certainly, to get that kind of advantage by early in the third quarter. A certain amount of credit has to go to the players they have that made their plays on their side of the ball. That’s kind of the way it looked to me.
“You know the situation at 1 o’clock [with Tedy Bruschi’s scheduled press conference]. At this point, I won’t take any questions with regard to that subject until after Tedy has had a chance to tell you what he’s going to tell you.”
Belichick was asked a variety of questions, and his answers were, on the whole, long and thought out. He seemed to be in a reflective mode.
On the struggles of the defense
“I think what we have to do, at this point, is take advantage of the extra time that we have this week and do a good job in trying to solidify everything in all three phases of the game as much as we possibly can. Fundamentally we have to tighten everything up as much as we can. … I can’t sit here and say it was this thing, or that thing. It’s been a combination of things. I think you can point to several areas that statistically aren’t very good. Not that stats are the answer, but when it relates to points it’s significant. We have to do a better job in those areas.”
[The Patriots rank 24th against the pass; 25th against the rush; 32nd in red zone defense and 28th in points allowed.]
On Rod Smith’s 72-yard catch and the leverage played by those in coverage
“Fundamentally, there are certain routes you can take away with leverage and there are certain routes that if you take away this side, I’m lighter on this other side. Just in terms of the overall leverage of the play, they ended up in a stacked receiver look – he and [Ashley] Lelie were on top of each other and we didn’t really get the proper leverage on the play we needed to. Part of that was inherent in the design of the defense, which is to some degree a coaching problem. It’s a coaching problem, a playing problem, a technique problem. There are a couple of different factors involved there that could all probably be handled better. The way that play played out, they executed a very good play against what we gave them.”
On whether there is an increase in personnel chatter with the trading deadline tomorrow
“It’s so infrequently employed in the league, regular-season trades are few and far in between. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I don’t think it will be a whole lot different this year. It’s hard to make those trades now. It’s one thing to do it training camp. But it’s another thing to do it now because you’re talking about taking people off of a roster where there is some reason why they are on there. Probably a good reason. Every team has injuries, every team has to deal with depth issues, so to trade a healthy player on your roster … it’s hard to cast that depth off with 10 games to go in the regular season.”
On how he’d advise a player to handle a situation similar to what happened to Logan Mankins, when Mankins was ejected at the end of the first half
“I think the coaching staff’s feelings on that have already been pretty well represented to the team, and I think that’s pretty much in the books. Like any other situation I would deal with, as a coach to the player, I would keep that as a confidential situation between the player and coach.”
Looking ahead, we’re awaiting Tedy Bruschi’s press conference. We’ll post an update shortly after Bruschi speaks.