FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick hits from media-access today with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium:
Crumpler & Branch: All players critiqued. Veteran tight end Alge Crumpler said all players were critiqued this morning on areas they need improvement. That highlights the primary goal of this week. "When you come into work, you're working on something to get better," Crumpler said. Receiver Deion Branch added: "I think the coaches did a great job of breaking down the game tape. I think we’ve got a lot of stuff that we’ve got to correct and there was a lot of stuff that was pointed out. I know a lot of guys took that to heart, and we’re going to go out and improve it with these two days and the extra days that we have next week.” One example Branch pointed out for receivers was better running with the ball after the catch.
Common link with possible opponents. While the primary focus of this week is on self-improvement, Bill Belichick pointed out that "there’s definitely some carry over in the three potential opponents that we could face." The Chiefs, Ravens and Jets all run 3-4 defenses, so that's one area in which the team can get a head start.
Caserio, Licht get tip of cap on Ninkovich signing. With reporters working on feature-type stories, Belichick fielded bigger-picture type questions on a few different players, including tight end Alge Crumpler, receiver Deion Branch and outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich. Specific to Ninkovich, Belichick credited Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio and Director of Pro Personnel Jason Licht for identifying him at the start of 2009 training camp in a last-minute type scenario. "They got who they felt was the best player available at that position and I’d say they found a pretty good one," he said.
Graham's 12 of 12 performance builds confidence. Kicker Shayne Graham is 12 of 12 on field-goal attempts since joining the Patriots in mid November, with a long of 41 yards. "I think anytime you have success, you build your confidence from that," he said, before adding it "means nothing at this point" because "none of those kicks are going to make the kicks for me in the future. I was glad I could help the team, but hopefully I have more opportunities to help the team from this point out.”