New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick once again addressed the media in his final press conference until Sunday’s game. In reference to the team’s mentality this week, he said it has been good and it has been a good week. “If you can’t get excited for the AFC Championship Game, I don’t know what you can get excited for. This is what we’ve worked all year for, this opportunity.”
Jan 22, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stands on the stage after the Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 in the 2011 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
While not in the same division, the Baltimore Ravens have maintained a Patriots-Ravens rivalry over the last six seasons combining a total of six meetings not counting this Sunday’s game. In respect to that, Bill Belichick reaffirmed, once again, his respect for the Baltimore Ravens organization from ownership to general manager, to coach John Harbaugh, to the players and their respective staffs.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Baltimore Ravens and all the things they do. They’re great competitors and we know we’re going to have to play our best game of the year this Sunday. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Bill Belichick impression on the Patriots depth at defensive end is that it has been pretty good. He notes that the team has gotten contributions from a lot of different guys in diverse areas; for instance, first down, second down, third down, kicking game, and players playing outside and inside.
“It’s been a pretty versatile group and overall they’ve given us as a group, good production. It can always be better but it’s been pretty good.”
That’s exactly the Bill Belichick Way and the Patriot Way!
Belichick likes to operate football in a way that provides him and the team versatility and flexibility. He drafts players that possess multiple talents and that can play more than one position and be real good at it. Such versatility and flexibility did not happen last year and Belichick just had to force and try to make things work with whatever he got.
Belichick applied the same analogy when asked about the tight end group as a whole when Rob Gronkowski got injured for the first time. There are a number of different guys in different games and opportunities. Belichick always prepare his players to be ready not matter what – that’s the readiness and preparation of “The Next Man Up”.
“I think overall it’s been a pretty productive group for us in total. However it shakes out, whatever they’ve been asked to do, whether it’s run block, pass protect, catch passes, whatever it happens to be, they’ve been productive for us all year. It’s been a variety of different guys, different situations, but kind of the same thing that they’re all prepared and ready to go. However the game unfolds, however it plays out, then they’re ready to step in and take advantage of whatever opportunities they get. I’m sure they will. It’s a good hard working group that has been dependable and pretty consistent for us all year.”
Bill Belichick knows firsthand what they are up against. “We know we’ll get their best, they’ll get ours. Both teams have had a lot of success; both teams have a lot of confidence. It’s a great match up.”
Fans and spectators – that’s something we can all agree on.
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