Belichick: Trying to replicate earlier game with Texans 'ridiculous'

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Belichick: Trying to replicate earlier game with Texans 'ridiculous'

FOXBORO -- By now, Bill Belichick is sick and tired of the question.
You know, the whole, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing the same team a second time in the same season?"
Belichick tried to respond in simple fashion early on in Wednesday's pre-practice press conference.
"We play teams in the division twice every year, so, it's not really that big of a deal," he said.
But make no mistake about it. This "rematch" isn't against the Miami Dolphins. It's not as if the Patriots are preparing for the New York Jets. Or the Buffalo Bills.
Sure, they play AFC East teams twice a year. But the Houston Texans are no AFC East scrub. And this isn't necessarily the "same" season.
This is the postseason. The NFL Playoffs. Win or go home.
Whether the Texans are a different team from the last time they got smacked around in New England remains to be seen.
But regardless, Belichick isn't preparing to "replicate" the last game in which the Patriots won 42-14. He doesn't think that's even possible.
"I think, gameplan-wise, you can fundamentally take a similar approach if you think a certain type of player or a certain scheme or a certain style would be successful," said Belichick. "That doesn't mean you can't continue to do that. Maybe it's formatted a little bit differently, or there are some modifications to it or whatever it is. But as far as specific plays, and 'this game's going to go the way that game went,' I think that's ridiculous. Show me one example where that's happened. I can't think of one."
As usual, Belichick is going to do whatever he feels is necessary to defeat the Texans on Sunday. If that means changing some things up, then he'll do so.
He won't stand in front of the podium and give us his strategy. But on Wednesday, Belichick did describe why his defensive schemes changed from game-to-game in the 1990 playoffs when he was with the New York Giants.
And it didn't have much to do with replicating previous games against these teams.
"We played Chicago in the first playoff game and we played a 4-3 defense," said Belichick. "They had a certain style of play that we felt was more conducive to that. The next week we played San Francisco and we played a 3-4 defense. And that was predicated on what we thought would be best for us to play the 49ers that week. And then the following week, we played Buffalo, we played a 2-4 Nickel, 3-3 Nickel, whatever you want to call it, depending on what part of the game you were in. And I would say that was a different style of defense.
"Is it trying to be creative? I don't know. It's trying to win the game. It's trying to do what you felt like you had to do to match up against those particular teams: Chicago, San Francisco, and Buffalo in that particular year, that were very, very different. Playing Chicago wasn't like playing San Francisco, and playing San Francisco wasn't like playing Buffalo. They were just different match ups, different style offense, different personnel groups on the field.
"At this time of the season, you do what you need to do to win one game," said Belichick. "You don't worry about your system. You don't worry about playing time, or how many guys do this or this guy does that. You worry about what you need to do to win the game. That's what we're here for."

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

FOXBORO  -- To think there’d be no further questions about the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo dynamic when Brady’s four-game suspension ends would be moronic.

Bill Belichick won’t like them. He’s destined to give them the verbal Heisman. But there are aspects to the story which demand further interrogation.

So there’s those questions. And then there’s baiting for the sake of baiting, which is what happened Friday morning.

A reporter asked Belichick, “You said Tom will start when he’s eligible. Can you think of an occasion when you named a Week 5 starter in July?”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said.

“What happens if Jimmy plays better?”

“Look, I told you what’s gonna happen,” Belichick answered.

Pressing on, the reporter began, “So there’s no, there’s, there’s . . . ”

At that point, with Belichick reacting like he’d come open a month-old-corpse and muttering, “Jesus Christ," the reporter cut himself off.

I’ve been trying to steer clear of the media ombudsman business. But this stuff makes it hard. The first question was obtuse in the extreme. I don’t even know how that gets formulated.
This is not a Brady-Bledsoe scenario.

You have the best quarterback of his generation who – 17 months ago – took down what was supposed to be one of the great defenses in NFL history in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. A guy who got smashed all over the field in Denver at the age of 38 and still almost pulled out a win last January.

When that guy’s cleared to play, you sprint him onto the field regardless of the circumstances.

“If Jimmy plays better . . . ”? Better than what? Better than 11 touchdowns, no picks, 116-for-160 and 1,547 yards, which is what Brady did in the first four games last season? Better than Brady played in Denver while getting his head caved in every other play?

I understand that sometimes you have to ask the dumb question to get something on the record, but this was not that. This seemed like someone who really thought he was onto something. Was going to paint Belichick into an uncomfortable corner and hang him with his own words.

Sorry, counselor.

Now, you and I can sit on the front stoop and wonder what happens if Garoppolo plays ridiculously well then Brady comes back and spends four weeks playing like he’s never been on a field before and is clearly an impediment to the team’s success.

Won’t happen. But we can talk about it.

Asking Belichick if he’s gonna go with the hot hand when two days prior he told you what he was going to do is asking for a JC response.

Belichick probably figured that stating Brady was the Week 5 starter before he was asked was the best way to defuse idle speculation. “We’ll see . . . ” or “We always do what’s best for the football team . . . ” would have ignited a thousand hours of conversation about the budding quarterback controversy in New England.

Belichick now knows that the speculation and scenario spinning is coming anyway. JC may hear his name muttered a few more times from the podium between now and October.