He's normally not the most loquacious fellow around, but Bill Belichick was even less talkative than usual in his press briefing this afternoon. Might have had something to do with the condensed week of work in which he and his team have to prepare for tomorrow night's game with a Miami team that has been playing some great football the past two weeks.
Whatever the reason, the head coach did offer a few memorable nuggets of info from his latest Q&A session with the media:
1) Lewis status
Running back Dion Lewis was inactive against the Jets because of an abdomen injury and has been a limited practice participant as a result for the past couple of weeks. New England barely rushed the football in his absence versus New York, but Lewis was present at the team's lone practice, a walkthrough, on Tuesday, leaving open the door for his possible return on Thursday against the Dolphins.
"We'll see tomorrow," Belichick replied when asked directly about Lewis' status. "I mean, we never really practiced this week. Based on that, a lot of us could have got through practice. My mom probably could have got through practice.
"Most of those kind of decisions are game-time decisions," Belichick went on to explain. "Generally, you don't want to take a player out a day-and-a-half before the game and test him when you have another, let's call it 36 hours and test him because you might see a different result. We'll just have to wait and see."
2) White on the money
If Lewis is unavailable and the Patriots want to utilize their backs more, James White will likely get the nod, as he did sparingly this past Sunday. The second-year player was a healthy scratch almost all of last year when he served behind Shane Vereen, and lost out to Lewis this summer for that role after Vereen departed in free agency.
Belichick drew comparisons between White's situation and Vereen's when he was the understudy to Danny Woodhead, noting that Vereen was criticized as a young player but that when he got his opportunities, he took advantage of them and became a valuable contributor. History might be repeating itself with White.
"James has done a good job for us all year," Belichick said in his most genuinely positive response of the afternoon. "Last year, he really didn't play very much and didn't have much production. This year, even in preseason, I would say his opportunities to play, he was productive running the ball, catching the ball, pass protection. He's a smart kid, doesn't make many mistakes."
3) Balance offensively
As noted earlier, the running game was virtually non-existent against the Jets, and when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday, QB Tom Brady indicated that in order to beat the Dolphins, the Patriots must be more balanced on offense with their runs and passes. Belichick seemed to contradict that notion in his answer to a question about whether balance offensively was his goal this week.
"The goal every week is to win. It's not about balance, it's not about stats, it's not about anything except trying to win," he emphasized. "Really, that's all we try to do is win. The rest of it, I don't really care about."