FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick seemed to want to get something off his chest on Monday morning.
His New England Patriots are in first place in the AFC East. At the same time, as quarterback Tom Brady had noted on sports radio WEEI, “to be 4-2 and realize we haven’t even played close to our best football gives us a great opportunity to go show it.”
So why, Belichick seemed to be asking, is everyone expecting a finished product at this point?
Touching on how teams evolve over the course of the year, Belichick went on for 6 minutes and 45 seconds at the end of his day-after-game conference call, capping things off with sarcasm when he said, “I mean, I don’t know, maybe I just can’t figure it out. It’s incomprehensible to me how anybody could think a team that’s practiced for six months and played 19 regular-season and postseason games and had triple-digit practices; five months later, after not playing the game, after having a fraction of that type of experience could be anywhere close to the level of execution that they were five months before that.
“I mean, it’s impossible in my view. So each year, you start all over again. You build your team over the course of the year through practice repetitions, preseason and regular-season games, through the evolving of your scheme. That’s why each year is different and unique.
“But I understand I’m in the minority. Most other people don’t see it that way, which is OK. That’s the way I see it.”
The Patriots have yet to play the 60-minute complementary football game they strive for, and one of the larger issues has been giving up big plays on defense. While some of those plays are a credit to the opposition in a competitive situation -- Belichick used Jeremy Kerley's 30-yard catch in the first quarter as an example of that -- there were also “self-inflicted wounds,” as Belichick noted after the game.
The morning after a 24-17 win over the Jets, when media coverage seemed to trend to the negative side, Belichick seemed to want to make a larger point.
His conference call had an edgier feel to it, with a dash of sarcasm at the end.