It was that time of week again this afternoon when Bill Belichick and Tom Brady took the podium to chat about how they are preparing for Week 14 in the NFL. With the lowly 4-8 Washington Redskins on the docket for a 1pm afternoon game this week, it was yet another morning of canned answers from Bill saying obligatorily nice yet backhandedly complimentary things about a crappy opponent.
Not to feed into the hype but seriously, so glad we get Tebow next week. Don't lie, you are too.
After a few quiet weeks for Andre Carter, Belichick was asked about his veteran presence and contributions on the field.
"We need players that can play and he's done a good job of that" Belichick said of Carter. "Certainly bringing a professional approach to the game, that's great too. He's done a good job at everything. He's very attentive. He's in excellent physical condition, he's out there, he takes a lot of plays... Very unselfish player that works hard [and] is consistent... He does a great job at all of them. He's been such a pleasure to have on this team and he's added a lot to our football team in a lot of different ways."
Brady added more glowing praise about the defensive lineman, making reference to him as a fellow Californian.
"I've really enjoyed getting to know him after playing against him for a bunch of years. He's a Bay Area guy, so you've got to like that about him - another California kid" Brady joked. "He's got a great attitude - really professional. You see the way he takes care of himself before practice, after practice. He's always out there doing extra conditioning. He's really a true professional, and that's why he's been around. That's why he's been productive really everywhere he's been. It's great to have him on the team."
Andre Carter's contributions this week are presumably of great interest due to the unpredictable quarterback tandem of Rex Grossman and John Beck. Combined they have thrown 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions; contributing 7 fumbles as well.
One reporter dared ask the loaded question of what Rex Grossman does well. Bill seemed to go out of his way to talk extra about Rex and his, ahem, skill set.
"First of all, I think he has a lot of confidence and I think his team has confidence in him. I think that's a good starting part" he said. "He can be accurate, he's got some mobility in the pocket, he's a tough kid and he'll stand in there and get hit and throw the ball. He's made some real good throws down the field, play action. He's hit a lot of big plays. He can get out of the pocket on bootlegs and plays like that. I think in his aggressiveness, there are probably some throws that he'd like to have back....Sometimes he makes plays and sometimes it doesn't quite get into that spot, but he's definitely not afraid to be aggressive and throw it in there. I think defensively you have to respect that."
It was nice of Belichick to leave out the part where he talked about Grossman's terrible decision-making and that special delusional slinger mentality that helps him contribute so many turnovers.
When asked about whether they work every week on trying to get after the quarterback more, Belichick simply stated that they are always try to get more pressure, better coverage, run the ball better, try to throw it better and try to score more points.
Snarky comment of the day, though, goes to this gem. When asked about doing well against Washington to be ready for Denver, he said, "We want to win in Washington because that's our next game...if we were playing in the parking lot at the expo center we'd want to win there too."
Both Bill and Brady talked about the running back play and how the backs have been incorporated this year and how their roles are shaping up as the season progresses. Bill emphasized that no particular back is sent out for a specific scheme or with a certain group, but that he essentially decides who to send out and that back runs the plays that are called on the sidelines or on the field. Brady later was asked about the lack of receptions by the running backs. His response was straightforward.
" Why they haven't caught a lot of balls? There probably just hasn't been as much opportunity for them" he stated matter-of-factly. "I'm always trying to find the open guy, so sometimes they're in protecting and no really a part of the play. Sometimes between Wes [Welker], Deion [Branch], Rob [Gronkowski] and Aaron [Hernandez] who have really gotten the ball quite a bit this year, the read takes you there first."
This week the Patriots could clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Jets' loss. Brady was asked about the rest of this stretch on that road to the postseason. The QB predictably kept his answer within the framework of the upcoming game saying,
"I think it's important for us to go out there and try to play our best game this weekend. What's in our control is how we're able to go out there and see how we match up against a team on the road that has some very good players, very good schemes, very well coached. It's going to be a challenging game. I'm excited to see if we can go out there and finally play for 60 minutes and see what that looks like."
Although the Patriots are the clear favorite in Washington, they should be looking to play much sharper than they did last week against the Colts. Whether Belichick admits it or not, they are already preparing for the more important conference game against Tebow and the Broncos, who now have first place in the AFC West.
Stay tuned for more as the Patriots prepare to take on the Redskins and Mike Shanahan; their beloved mascot! I mean, coach!