Quick-hits from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s conference call Monday morning:
An impressive run. The Patriots are riding a seven-game win streak since their loss to the Chiefs in Week 4, but Belichick is always focused on the next matchup and doesn’t read into the past. “Nobody is happier than I am when we win,” Belichick said. “But right now that doesn’t really mean anything going into Green Bay. Great team, well coached. I don’t know how relevant last week or some other week is to this game. This is all about being prepared to play well in Green Bay against a great football team.”
Belichick’s high rating for Rodgers. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is regarded as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, and Belichick agrees. “I think Aaron is a great quarterback who does everything well,” Belichick said. “He’s very smart and does a great job with his team in situations. He’s a great passer, very good with his feet, hard to sack, hard guy to take down, has good awareness. I just think pretty much everything with his game is excellent to outstanding.”
Impressed by Ironman Ninkovich. Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich played wire to wire in Sunday’s win over the Lions, which has become a staple for the Patriots. Belichick places the highest of value on that ability. “Rob is a tough Croatian kid," Belichick said, touching home close to his own roots. "He’s strong, he’s strong for his size. He’s durable, athletic, plays on his feet, runs well. He’s definitely able to take care of himself out there."
Chung shining in coverage. Patriots safety Patrick Chung may have had some issues in coverage during his last stint in New England, but he is now looking like a solid coverage safety in addition to his ability to play inside the box. Belichick says Chung’s coverage skills have always been there. “I’d say Patrick has always been a pretty good coverage player,” Belichick said. “That’s one of his strengths. There were times where we actually used him as the nickelback instead of a third corner. Pat works hard at that.”
Allen’s booming punt. After a poor snap from long snapper Danny Aiken, Patriots punter Ryan Allen corralled the football and fired a booming punt that went 78 yards in the air. Belichick said bad snaps and rebounding from mishaps are something he has his players work on in practice. “Obviously like to always have a good, clean operation, but this is the National Football League and players at every position in this league are highly skilled,” Belichick said. “We work on bad snaps every week and those kind of things. Sometimes as a punter something that’s a little off the norm -- high snap, low snap -- helps you to really focus and make it a really good punt.”