Each Wednesday when Bill Belichick takes to the podium for his press conference, he generally discusses the upcoming opponent at length and often accentuates the positives. If the coach has a recent loss against that opponent to point to, it's even better.
That was case today when Belichick opened by discussing the Miami Dolphins, and quickly he harkened back to the regular-season finale last year in Miami where the Patriots lost out on a chance at home field in a 20-10 loss.
"I'd say the thing that's most etched in my mind, I'm sure our team, is last time we went down there it was a pretty rough day for us," he said.
References to that game were sprinkled throughout his rather long briefing, which also featured some lighter moments regarding Bruce Springsteen, who will be performing at Gillette Stadium Wednesday night.
Emotional Rescue – One of Belichick's repeated references to the finale in Miami came in response to a question about his team dealing with the possibility of an emotional letdown following the Patriots upset win in Arizona opening night. He explained why that shouldn't be the case.
"All you have to do is turn on our game against Miami last year, it's sickening," Belichick said. "It doesn't take long at all. I don't know if you had a chance to see that or not. Not very good. Bad coaching. Bad playing. Just bad period."
When asked specifically about that 2015 performance and the unorthodox, run-heavy game plan that it featured, Belichick tersely tried to move on.
"We're focused on playing them this week. The 2015 review, I'm sure you did that. That was great and I'm sure you did a great job on it. We're really past it. We're on to 2016, we're playing the Dolphins.
"I referenced the game that we competed against them. I'd say that's relevant. Last time we played that team, it didn't go very well. I hope we can play them more competitively this year."
Clearly the coach is looking to get his troops focused on the Dolphins and not looking back on their accomplishments last week.
Continuing theme – Belichick was able to move past 2015 eventually while continuing explaining how dangerous and talented the Dolphins are. But before too long he found himself looking back once again. When asked how quarterback Ryan Tannehill has improved since he's been in the league, the coach once again brought up the season-finale.
"Since he killed us last year? I mean that was pretty good. He's a good quarterback. He's smart, he handles the offense well, he certainly takes control of things at the line of scrimmage, as we've seen quarterbacks do in Coach [Adam] Gase's offense. It obviously runs through the quarterbacks. It tracks adjustments, but he's a good decision maker, he's athletic, throws the ball well. He can certainly make plays out of the pocket. The big drive that he had in the fourth quarter going – I don't know – 85, 90 yards against Seattle on the road to take the lead. I mean I don't know how he could've done any more than that in that critical situation. He's a good player. He's definitely a problem for us."
The Boss on the Boss – In one of the few lighter moments, Belichick was asked if he's ever gone wild at a Bruce Springsteen concert, and the coach admitted he's "seen a few wild Springsteen concerts, yeah."