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."

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.