Belichick on scrap: No big deal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday night's scuffle at practice, which had offensive tackle Nate Solder and linebacker Brandon Spikes in the middle of things, was standard stuff.

"Football is competitive, and we're in a competitive camp, so I think some of those things are just part of football," he said.

After the scuffle, Spikes had walked off with a trainer before returning. Given that Spikes took a medical break, Belichick was asked if he felt the scuffle was close to crossing the line past good competitive fire.

"No, football is football. We deal with a lot of things in football," he answered. "I don't think it's a big deal."

Belichick later had some fun with the topic, saying he's seen bigger scuffles in his 38 years in the NFL.

"The big thing I try to do is stay out of the way and not get hit," he said. "It's happened more than once. I'd be the last one to try to break that up. They'd probably all go after me."

Also, don't count Belichick among those who believe scuffles can create a bond among players. He said he couldn't think of a time that has happened with a team in his coaching career.

Belichick seemed pleased with Wednesday night's in-stadium practice.

"I thought we had a good night there. We got a lot of things done," he said, noting work in the red zone and situational work.

The plan was to slow things down at Thursday's practice.

"I think the players are working hard. They've taken the coaching and things we've asked them to do and tried to work on them. I see some improvement here," Belichick said.

"We have a long way to go. We have a lot of timing and execution to build, but I think that we're moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can keep taking one good step every day here and we'll see where we're at about a week from now when we go against another competitive team."