Belichick: For us, it's a crash landing


Belichick: For us, it's a crash landing

FOXBORO -- There was no dour eulogy on the 2012 season from Bill Belichick Monday morning.
The Patriots coach did stand up to debrief reporters some 12 hours after from New England's AFC Championship loss to Baltimore.
He was steady and, for the most part, patient.
"I thought there were a lot of positives from this football team," he said. "It's a team I enjoyed coaching. The players worked hard behind the scenes -- everybody doesn't see that -- on a day-to-day basis. They worked hard, they competed well, they didn't make excuses, they got better over the course of the season, both individually and collectively. And we wouldn't have gotten to where we were without a lot of good, consistent performances from a lot of people in a number of games, and countless practices and meetings, and all the things that lead up to that.
"Certainly the outcome yesterday is not where we wanted to end up, but I have to give these guys a lot of credit for what they did do, the number of times they did it in tough situations. Hopefully we continue to build on that. I don't think anything from this year means too much for next year. Each year is a new year; we start all over again, just like everybody else does."
Belichick's even keel was briefly upset when he was asked what the year's positives are. He spat back New England's 13 regular season wins.
"We played in an AFC Championship game," he said. "There arent a whole lot of teams that are saying that."
Falling just short of the title game is blatantly devastating. Worse, the feeling is compounded by last season's Super Bowl loss and the desire for redemption. But Belichick's was the picture of composure Monday -- a man hardened by almost four decades in the league.
It's not that he finds losing easier to accept. Quite the contrary -- there is no bracing yourself.
"You play a game at this time of year and it's either euphoria or it's a crash landing. So for us, it's a crash landing," Belichick said. "A year ago at this time it was the other feeling. But it's one or the other; there's no between. And there's certainly no soft landing. A season thats very much alive and with great hopes and expectations and energy suddenly crashes and its over. Thats the way it is. Its going to be for every team but one this year."
Maybe it's just easier to see what's on the other side.
"You stop; it's over," Belichick said. "We're on to next year."

Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14


Griff Whalen practicing for Patriots, wearing No. 14

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took to the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Friday with all but one player. 

Wideout Danny Amendola was the only player not present at the session. Newly-acquired receiver Griff Whalen was present and wearing No. 14. 

Safety Jordan Richards was back on the practice field for the first time since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 12. Martellus Bennett (ankle/shoulder), Elandon Roberts (hamstring), Eric Rowe (hamstring) and Matthew Slater (foot) were all limited in practice on Thursday, but were on the field Friday.

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”