Belichick puts bow on season; Deaderick has surgery

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Belichick puts bow on season; Deaderick has surgery

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

Calling in to WEEI's Big Show Thursday afternoon, Bill Belichick tepidly relived many of the issues of a great season gone bad at the end. "A lot of good things happened in the regular season," Belichick said from Hawaii where he's coaching the AFC Pro Bowlers. "In the end it comes down to how you play and in the end we didn't play well enough in our postseason opportunity . . . We just didn't get it done."There wasn't a lot of new ground brokenand Belichick wasn't quite enlivened by the conversation. He did acknowledge that the Patriots' mortal wounds were self-inflicted. Speaking of the team's first two offensive drives, which ended with an interception then a field goal, Belichick said, "Those two drives, we pretty much went right down the field. We had more to do with us not having a 14-point lead than the Jets did. But we just didn't capitalize on those opportunities andI think that probably gave them some more confidence and gave them the confidence to keep doing what they were doing defensively, even though we moved the ball well and could have put them in a much tougher position than we did."Belichick also circled back for what figures to be the final time on an array of issues that haven't quite been put to bed. On the benching of Wes Welker for the Patriots' first offensive drive, Belichick said he was merely doing "what I felt was the best thing for our football team." On the slow pace of the Patriots' second-to-last possession of the game, Belichick said, "There were a couple of times they subbed personnel and that affected how we called the play. It was a situation whereI know Tom Brady wanted to have things right so we didn't miss an assignment. There were a couple of times that might have slowed us down a little. Had we scored anything at all, then it would have been a one-score game with a decent amount of time to go and timeouts to use on defense." Asked about the particulars of the failed fake punt, Belichick said, "We definitely made a mistake on the play. Without going into a long explanation, suffice to say it was a mistake . . . Patrick Chung, who audibled for the fake feels badly about that. It was one play. There were opportunities to overcome that." As for an overriding feeling he's left with from the season, Belichick said, "My main expectation for this team was to improve and try to get better from the first week through the end of the year . . . I felt like our team did get better and did work hard. That needed to happen and did happen. The overriding thing was the team improving over the course of the season. There were a couple ups and downs . . . but on balance as a team we got better over the course of the year."

The agent for rookie defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick said on Twitter that his client underwent surgery Thursday, and Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, citing a source, reported it was a "clean-up" operation on the shoulder that bad been bothering Deaderick late in the year.Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

USA TODAY predicts 19-0 season for Patriots

USA TODAY predicts 19-0 season for Patriots

You can add USA TODAY to the Patriots' undefeated season bandwagon.

In its annual projections before NFL teams report to training camps this week, USA TODAY has the Patriots going 16-0 in the regular season, then beating the AFC West's L.A. Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the playoffs before capping a perfect 19-0 season with a Super Bowl 52 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Minneapolis.

Here's their Pats' regular-season rundown from USA TODAY NFL writer Nate Davis:

New England Patriots (16-0): Is it bold? Sure. Kinda. But it's not like Tom Brady hasn't gone 16-0 before ... (and, really, wouldn't he and Bill Belichick secretly love to add 19-0 to their otherwise incomparable resumes?). And from the FWIW department, Brady went 14-1 last season and appears to be surrounded by an even better cast now, especially if Rob Gronkowski is, in fact, back to 100%. 

Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman called the 19-0 talk "stupid" last week. Bill Belichick is almost guaranteed to dismiss it if and when he's asked about it this week.