Finesse? Belichick wants 'winning' team

Kirby Lee/US Presswire

Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain.After Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain dubbed the Patriots a "finesse team" on Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick passed on the opportunity to offer a rebuttal.

"You’d have to ask him there, I don't know what he meant, or how he meant it," said Belichick. "We’re trying to be a winning team. That’s what we’re trying to do."

When asked Monday by Bay Area reporters if the Patriots present a different challenge than the Jets, McClain said, "This is just a finesse team. I mean, Tom Brady’s a smart guy, has many weapons around him, with his receivers as well as his tight ends. His tight ends are playing great right now."

As usual, members of the Patriots' staff heaped praise on Oakland while discussing their next opponent during conference calls with the New England media on Tuesday.

"They are a couple seconds away from being 3-0," noted Belichick, who noted he'd never crossed coaching paths with Raiders first-year head coach Hue Jackson, but smothered the team with praise.

"Looking at the team, obviously it's impressive," said Belichick. "They are doing a lot of things well. That was a strong team at end of season last year -- actually all year -- they had a solid year, played very well in their division. We studied them quite a bit in the offseason because we haven't played them since '08. That's a good football team and looks like they're getting better."

Belichick said the team will follow its typical west-coast strategy and depart for San Francisco a day early following Friday's practice.