Different week with Belichick, media

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is often said that Bill Belichick is dull when it comes to news conferences and dealings with the media. This week is evidence that is not always the case.

The latest example came this morning when Belichick was live on set with ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" at Gillette Stadium. Belichick was relaxed, engaging and humorous. He joked that he came to the set to see for himself that co-host Mike Greenberg, a Jets fan, would be broadcasting live from Foxborough.

Belichick even threw in what some might consider a zinger at this week's opponent, the Peyton Manning-less 0-11 Colts, when he talked about how proud he is that the 2008 Patriots won 11 games even when quarterback Tom Brady was lost for the season (Belichick also said he wouldn't want any other quarterback than Brady). He is proud of the Patriots' overall program.

Those who have followed the Patriots closely since Belichick was named coach in 2000 would probably agree that this week has been a bit different when it comes to Belichick and the media.

It started after Sunday's win over the Eagles when Belichick sat down for his post-game news conference (different from the norm), settling in while inviting questions and giving expansive responses to a variety of questions. One could tell how satisfied he was with his team's mental toughness and performance, and it was almost as if he wanted to share it with reporters (or at least let players know through the media). He wrapped up his news conference by acknowledging that the players deserve credit because playing for him is not easy, a sign that he likes his 2011 squad.

I can't recall too many times over Belichick's 12-year tenure that he's acknowledged he's tough to play for so publicly.

Then came Wednesday.

Gone was the introspective Belichick and in its place was a fiery Belichick. When a reporter suggested it was difficult to gauge his team's performance against a winless team like the Colts, Belichick passionately shot back.

"I don’t agree with that, so you can go ahead on your soliloquy, but I just don’t agree with that," Belichick said that day in remarks that were widely publicized. "You don’t think you can gauge a team based on how a player blocks Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? Are you kidding me? Covering Reggie Wayne and [Austin] Collie and [Pierre] Garcon – you don’t think you can gauge your coverage based on those players? ... I’m not sure what games you’re watching here."

Belichick capped it off this morning on "Mike & Mike" with talk about how proud he was about the 11-win Brady-less 2008 season, which could have been a not-so-subtle jab at the rival Colts.

It's never dull covering the Patriots.

This week, in a change from the norm, it was Belichick adding the spice.