It's playoff time and Bill Belichick was fully engaged in playoff mode on Thursday during his press conference at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots coach was a bit edgy while fielding questions as he and his team await the identity of their opponent in the upcoming divisional playoffs.
"Like everything else, it doesn't really matter where anything was, it's where it will be next Saturday night," Belichick said when asked if he was happy with the communication level on defense.
"So that will be the challenge, to have everything the best it can be next Saturday night. Honestly, I don't really care where anything was during the regular season. It doesn't matter how good it was, or wasn't. The only thing that matters is where it is next Saturday night. That's all we care about.
"I don't really care about last year. I don't really care about the year before that. I don't really care about the decade before that. Honestly, it doesn't matter. Where we were or weren't some other year, who cares?"
That playoff mindset remained throughout his press conference, and usually created a bit of an air of contention.
EXPERIENCE NOT NECESSARY - No team in the league has as much playoff experience as the Patriots and that's especially true of Tom Brady, who is about to play his 32nd postseason game. Belichick downplayed the importance of experience on a couple of occasions before being asked why he felt so strongly it.
"How do you think Brady played in his first playoff games? How do you think [Julian] Edelman played in his? How do you think Lawrence Taylor played in his? If experience was all there is to it, those games wouldn't be won by those teams those guys played on."
FACING THE CHALLENGE - Belichick continued to discuss elements of his team and the things he finds most interesting about the process of getting it ready each year.
"Each team is unique, each has its own challenges, and I think that's the intriguing part to me, to try to figure out what it is about this team, how they play, how they win, what gives them trouble. You break it down from a team standpoint -- offense, defense, special teams and then individually, and try to put it all together the best you can. Each one is different and I find that fascinating. To be honest with you, that's what it is all about, to try to figure all that out. I think that's the very interesting part of it."
CHANGING THE GAME - Belichick did take some time to address a non-playoff topic when asked about the Hall of Fame candidacy of Ty Law. The former Patriots cornerback was one of 15 finalist for induction this year, and his former coach certainly believes he warrants serious consideration.
"He's pretty good. When they start, I don't want to say changing the rules, but changing the rules because of the way he plays, there's probably something to be said for that. I know they didn't 'change them' change them, but we all know what happened.
"Great player. Really no weaknesses in Ty's game. Strong, physical tackler. [Could] jam receivers. Good coverage player. Great hands. Interceptor. I really enjoyed coaching him in '96 as a position coach, and just spending a lot of individual time with him as his coach. We had a good group that year -- Lawyer [Milloy], Otis [Smith], Tebucky [Jones], Scooter [McGruder] and those guys."