Belichick: For us, it's a crash landing

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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."

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”

 

 

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)