Bill Belichick stepped to the podium in the Gillette Stadium media work room Wednesday morning for his traditional mid-week press conference.
As he does each and every week the Patriots coach got the morning presser rolling by breaking down the things that this week's opponent – the heavy underdog Jets (4-10) – brings to the matchup.
After he'd finished a quick scouting report on New York's personnel in all three phases, Belichick was asked a handful of questions on a wide variety of topics regarding his own team and the latest rivalry game with Gang Green.
But the elephant in the room – a corps of media members that included a number of news reporters from Boston TV stations – was a recently-released TMZ video showing last week's DUI arrest of New England's newest receiver, former Cardinal Michael Floyd.
Late in the press conference, Belichick was finally asked about the video by a TV sports reporter from Providence's WPRI.
"Do you think you would have still claimed Michael Floyd had you known the full extent of the situation that he got himself into last week?" Belichick was asked.
"Yeah, we were aware of his situation when we claimed him," Belichick said.
Asked more directly, again, if he'd seen the video, Belichick declined to expand on his previous comment.
"We were aware of the situation before we claimed him. He's in an ongoing legal situation that I'm not going to comment on," Belichick said.
That exchange highlighted a press conference that also had Belichick breaking down the Jets questionable quarterback situation, assessing how New York running back Bilal Powell has broken out in recent weeks and praising the four Patriots who were elected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday night.
1.Patriots Pro Bowlers "all good players": Belichick was asked for his thoughts on the NFL Pro Bowl announcement Tuesday night that included four Patriots – Tom Brady, Dont'a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater. As he's done in the past, the coach praised the New England players who got the recognition, but seemed a bit dismayed with the process that is a combination of voting by players, coaches and fans.
"I mean they're all good players," Belichick said. "They've all done a good job for us. Pro Bowl – I mean it is what it is. I don't really comment on the process or all of that. But all of the players that are selected are good players. There are a lot of other good players in the league, too. Who gets selected and doesn't get selected, I don't know. Talk to the voters."
2.POW!-ell: Matt Forte is the biggest name in the Jets backfield and leads New York with 218 carries, 813 yards and seven touchdowns. But Powell is the guy who has come on of late, rushing for a combined 200-plus yards in the last two weeks. The physical, determined runner is averaging 5.7 yards a carry on his 540 total yards this season.
"He makes yards on his own," Belichick described. "Yeah, he's not the biggest guy but he does run hard. He's got good balance. He gets hit but he's able to maintain his balance, stay on his feet. He's got good feet. He spins and ducks under some tackles. [He's] a little bit unorthodox but athletic. Guys don't really get a lot of clean shots at him. He's able to avoid those hits and, as I said, spin off of them or bounce off of them for extra yards, regain his balance sometimes. He's turned a lot of 3-yard completions into 15-yard gains or 10-yard gains where he makes a couple of guys miss in space or things like that. He's bounced out some runs. He had a couple against San Francisco where he started up inside over the guard or off tackle and then saw some space, got outside and makes a guy miss in space and it's 15 yards. He can run inside but he's got good vision and good quickness and when he gets outside he's a tough guy to handle in space and he plays hard. He's a very aggressive runner. He gets a lot of extra yards on his own. He doesn't go down easy. He's a tough kid and he's got good run instincts. He knows how to gain yards."
3.Jets QBs are "both good": New York's play at the quarterback position has been pretty bad this season. And consistent in that ineptitude. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed 56.8 percent of his passes and tallied a 69.1 rating in his time under center for Gang Green. Youngster Bryce Petty, who is dealing with a chest injury, has completed 57.7 percent of his passes and garnered a 64.6 passer rating in his more limited work. Maybe motivated by the fact that Fitzpatrick's best game of the season came against the Patriots, Belichick praised both players as New England prepares for whichever will be under center Saturday afternoon.
"I mean they're both good. They both are athletic. They can both run," Belichick said. "They both throw a good deep ball. Obviously Fitzpatrick has a little more experience but Petty has a good arm. He's thrown some balls into tight spots, has kind of lasered them in there. Fitzpatrick is the same kind of guy. He's an aggressive thrower, especially down the field, and those receivers will go get the ball, especially [Brandon] Marshall and [Quincy] Enunwa. But [Robby] Anderson has shown that he'll go up and get it in a crowd, too, go up and take it away. He's got great leaping ability and good timing. I mean he's not as big as those guys but his ability to go up and time his jump and take the ball away from defenders like he did in the San Francisco game. He's obviously got great speed like we saw in the Rams game, the Miami game. He's made big plays every week. I think the quarterbacks, any quarterback likes a receiver that's open, a receiver that makes plays, and they've got a bunch of them so we've got to do a good job on the quarterback but we've got to cover the receivers. [Bilal] Powell's right at the top of the league. He's in the top three, or four, or whatever it is in receiving for backs. He's got 50-something catches so they get a lot of production out of him, too, and he's tough with the ball in his hands. They have a lot of explosive players."