Catching up on Bill Belichick's weekly Monday appearance on sports radio WEEI, one thought came to mind: The coach's fighting spirit came out.
Often guarded in his remarks, he was direct and powerful on two topics: 1) The playing field in Houston; 2) Charley Casserly's CBS report that Tom Brady has played this season with three broken ribs.
Belichick called the field conditions "terrible" and then blasted Casserly by saying, "Who's been wrong more than Charley Casserly? ... At least he put his name on it, which doesn't happen in a lot of cases. I'll put my name on it and say, like he usually is, he is 100 percent wrong."
That's about as strong as it gets from Belichick.
When players arrive for their first team meeting this week, it wouldn't be a surprise if Belichick delivers a message to them with similar conviction.
The loss of receiver Wes Welker, coupled with the way the Patriots lost their season finale in failing to hold a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, stopped some of the momentum the Patriots had generated in last week's 35-7 victory over the Jaguars.
Belichick will be looking for a way to get the team back on track, and showing the players his fighting spirit is probably where it will start.