FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some additional nuggets to pass along from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's Thursday morning news conference:
Praise for Cannon. Rookie Marcus Cannon was elected as the team's 2011 Ed Block Courage Award winner, the team announced Friday. Belichick called it a "great selection," adding "Marcus has gone through a lot this year. He’s certainly had to deal with a lot more than a normal rookie would have to deal with, which is a big transition as it is, just coming into this league. He dealt with a lot very maturely and unselfishly. He did what he had to do, but at the same time he was always there for the team and was always doing what he could to help the team and he’s helped the team in a lot of ways. I’m proud that he’s on our team and what he’s accomplished. He certainly deserves to be recognized for it."
Bye week TV viewing. Belichick was asked if there is any benefit to watching this weekend's Wild Card playoff matchups on live TV rather than on coaches' tape. "Well there’s a lot more for us on the coaches’ film," Belichick said. "I don’t want to say there’s no value, but it’s a lot higher on the coaches’ film than TV scouting. ...You’re at the mercy of whatever they show you. If they show you something and you can learn something from it then great. We really have to get a lot of information off the coaches’ copy where you can see all 22 players and see exactly what the schemes and the relationships are. Sometimes you get a close-up shot and you can see a little more when it’s just two guys in the picture instead of 22. I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t any value to that because there is and we use that all the time because of the closeness of the shot and how much more detailed it can be relative to a technique or hand placement, little things like that. But as far as actually scouting the team, no." Belichick did admit that the TV copy provides a better sense of the flow of a game than the coaches' tape.
Padded practices in focus. The Patriots practiced in shells (light shoulder pads) for their Wednesday and Thursday practices this week, but Belichick confirmed that league rules allow the team to practice once in full pads during their playoff bye week. "I would say at this time of year the number of practices that are really heavy contact practices in late November, December, January, that isn’t a real high number anyway – this year, last year, the year before. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I think the numbers of those are pretty, I’d say low probably league-wide. I’d say even the ones that are, the quality of them probably isn’t quite what it is earlier in the year in training camp, understandably. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal," Belichick said. "I think the much bigger issue is trying to get your team ready in training camp with what we did there, that was a big difference from what it’s been in the past. I’d say what we’re doing now isn’t too much different from what we’ve normally done at this time of year."
Scouting Antwaun Molden. The Patriots claimed cornerback Antwaun Molden off waivers prior to the first week of the regular season, but the team "had their eye" on him for "a couple of years," Belichick said. "He’s a bigger corner that can run that’s been productive in the kicking game. He’s had some production on defense. He definitely has some things you like to work with," Belichick said of Molden. "In the opportunities he’s had, he’s done well with. There are still things he can improve on, but he works hard and he’s been out there every day, he’s a dependable guy, he’s healthy, he’s on the field every day, so he’s getting better and those are all good things."