FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bill Belichick arrived at the interview podium in the press box at Gillette Stadium on Friday morning, adjusted the microphone, and said, “It seems like a month since we’ve played.”
The Patriots, of course, are coming off their bye.
“It seems like everybody is excited to get back out there and get going,” he said, before noting the challenges the Bills present on offense, defense and special teams. “We’ve had a lot of practice time, a lot of film time, a lot of meeting time, but I think we’re excited and ready to get back out there and go. It can’t get here soon enough.”
Those thoughts kicked off Belichick’s morning news conference, and he was later asked a variety of questions, including tight end personnel, play-action passing, scheduling, and coming off the bye.
Specific to the tight ends, Sunday could mark the debut of veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, whose practice workload has been upped as he nears next week’s deadline to come off the injured reserve list.
Belichick was asked about Shiancoe, in the context of whether he’s a combination tight end (equally effective as a blocker and pass-catcher) or a player who might be more effective in one area.
“I think when you look back at his career, he’s done both,” Belichick said. “But I don’t know. We’ve had him, but for no games, so we’ll see how it goes in our offense – if we’re able to get to that point, I don’t know.”
If Shiancoe is activated for Sunday’s game, and the rest of the tight end group isn’t affected, there would be a deep depth chart (assuming good health for all) that includes Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui and Shiancoe.
Shiancoe and Fells, in terms of style of play, appear to be similar, so it would be interesting to see how the playing time is divided.
On Fells, Belichick said, “He’s an experienced guy, a smart player. He understands all the different tight end positions and roles. He has good size, he can catch well. I think he can also play in the running game, play in the passing game, and has good experience.”