FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bill Belichick arrived at the interview podium on Wednesday afternoon and saw a larger media crowd than the day before.
“How’s it going today?” he asked. “Election is over, so everybody is back on football.”
Asked if he watched any election coverage, Belichick cracked, “Just the final score.”
Belichick touched on a variety of topics, and here are some of the notable soundbites:
1. Devin McCourty’s concise communication. With McCourty answering questions from reporters today, his flexibility to play cornerback and safety was broached with Belichick. McCourty’s communication style was discussed, with Belichick explaining that “he’s not a guy that has a lot of excess communication; he’s concise, to the point, ‘here’s what it is.’ He does a good job back there.”
2. Myron Pryor, Jake Ballard not practicing – time to look to 2013. Belichick confirmed that the clock has not started on either player on the physically unable to perform list -- defensive tackle Myron Pryor and tight end Jake Ballard. Our understanding is that this would eliminate either from playing for the Patriots this season. According to the NFL, “if a player did not start to practice by the Tuesday following Week 9 (yesterday), he remains on reserve/PUP and is ineligible to return this season. If they are in the last year of [a] contract, it tolls.” Both Pryor and Ballard are in the final year of their contracts and thus can be projected into the 2013 mix. With Pryor, this is somewhat of a surprise. With Ballard, it was expected.
3. Bills doing a few things differently. Belichick said there are a few noticeable differences with the Bills from the Sept. 30 meeting between the teams. “It looks like they changed up a little bit of their defensive scheme the last couple of weeks,” he said, later adding that he’s seeing some different fronts, mixed their coverages, played more base defense, and a little more pressure.
4. Dennard’s tackling a strong point. Asked about the importance of cornerbacks tackling in their system, and how rookie Alfonzo Dennard fares in that department, Belichick said it was something he views as important and that Dennard “plays strong, is a tough kid, and tackling is on the positive side for him.”