Quick hits from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s Monday morning conference call:
Browner regaining form. Cornerback Brandon Browner struggled with conditioning in his first game against the Jets, but put together a stronger performance against the Bears where he utilized his size.
Belichick: “Brandon really works hard. He really works extremely hard on the practice field. We saw that in training camp and all through the spring. He has good instincts. He knows the defense. We ask him to do a lot of different things. Yesterday he was outside, but he also came in -- was on [Martellus] Bennett in certain situations -- and did a real good job of tackling. He had a good open-field tackle there on [Matt] Forte on a big third-down stop. He’s a good run force player. He does a good job in all those situations. I don’t think his on-field effort has ever been a question. Just missed a little bit of time there at the beginning of the year. The more he has played, the better the techniques are.”
Trade activity? The Patriots tend to be active around the trade deadline, though they already made one move to acquire Akeem Ayers. Belichick offered his take on trades at this time of year.
Belichick: “Every team is dealing with some type of injury situation -- they have lost players since the beginning of the year one way or another. You see each injury report come out every week, I mean, every team has guys that are questionable or doubtful or out or whatever, so there are fewer guys. When you have fewer guys, I'd say it is harder to trade them. You are less inclined to give away guys that you have at this time of year than maybe what you are at the beginning of the year when you can’t keep them all. If the opportunity is right and there is some conversation at this time of year about the circumstances or especially if the team says let's add depth or there’s just another reason they think their team can make a move. I would say those situation are a lot fewer than they are at the beginning of the year. I wouldn’t say it’s all that hectic right now. We are focused on getting ready for Denver.”
Ayers’ first game. Ayers didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for playing in his first game as a Patriot, but Belichick was happy with the contributions and hard work from Ayers.
Belichick: “I think Akeem did a good job this week of coming in and getting acclimated to everything. I mean, new town, new team, new terminology -- there wasn’t a whole lot of carryover from the system that he was in to the system that we run. I thought he did a real good job of making that transition playing in the kicking game, playing on defense and just getting the game plan, the scouting report. The whole transition was a lot in a few days. I think he handled it well, helped us in the game.”
Timeout at end of first quarter. Belichick called a timeout at the end of the first quarter that was a little questionable. On Monday he provided context to why he called the timeout.
Belichick: “We were on the 1-yard [line] there, so if we had scored there then we would have had to kick off with the wind, which of course didn’t work out that way. The wind I thought it gusted, there were times during the game when I thought it was more of a factor than others. It wasn’t a constant, steady factor. It kind of came and went at times. I think it was more of a factor in the kicking game than the passing game.”