FOXBORO - Resiliency has been a hallmark of the Patriots' most successful teams.
Hell, even ones that weren't as successful - like the 2006 edition that lost in the AFC Championship - were remarkable in their ability to soldier on regardless of injury, shortcoming or game situation.
Funny thing is, resiliency often shows up most often in people who've gone through stuff. It builds up, like scar tissue. And maybe, just maybe, that's why the 2011 Patriots actually play better when their most desperate and lightly-regarded players are on the field. A) They don't play like they know it all. B) They have something to prove.
"I think its something you can always work on," said Bill Belichick. "Theres probably always room for improvement. Ive seen countless players, probably pretty much most all players, improve over the course of their careers. You just deal with different things and the more you deal with them, the more you learn to, hopefully, dont worry about what you cant control and focus on what you can do something about and when things arent going well, still be able to perform well; thats what mental toughness is."
A few other items from Belichick's Monday press conference:
Asked"what went into" Taylor Price's continued inactivity while Tiquan Underwood played at wideout, Belichick said, "What went into it was Tiquan played more than Taylor did."
Belichick indicated that Underwood's drop wasn't really as egregious as it appeared, saying, "It would have been a tough play. It could have been a little better executed all the way around. I thought he ran a good route. The ball was a little inside. He couldnt quite get it. Maybe he could have had it; I dont know. Could have been thrown better, probably could have been caught, but well keep working on it and hopefully get it the next time."
Asked about Tom Brady and ball security in the pocket, Belichick explained the improvement he's made. It is amazing. Brady had 36 regular-season fumbles in his first three seasons at quarterback. Belichick alluded to a 14-fumble season. It must have just felt that way. Brady had 12, 11 and 13 fumbles in his first three years.
"He works hard at it," said Belichick. "We do drills on it all the time. Its an awareness thing. Its breaking habits of quarterbacks in the pocket, taking a hand off the ball or dropping the ball or moving around and not keeping it right in the most protected position and still having it loaded and ready to throw."