Belichick: Pats not Quite in Colts' Category

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks about the challenge of playing the Indianapolis Colts, why his team isn't quite in their category, the Colts secondary, last year's AFC Championship game and much more!

On what LB-Mike Vrabel means to the defense...

"Mike's done a good job for us for quite a while. Tough guy, good pass rusher, good against the run. A real versatile player, he's done a lot of different things for us. Last week, he plays on offense, recovered an onside kick at the end of the game, so he's a really versatile player and a very valuable one for us."

On if he gets more excited for this game or is it just another game...

"It's an important game, and the Colts are an outstanding team. It's a huge challenge to go out there. As Tony (Dungy) said, and I agree with what he said, this game, nobody's going to crown anybody anything and nobody's going to clinch anything. It's a big game and it's two good football teams, but there's a lot of football left to be played. We're just at the end of October now, so we have a long way to go here. It's exciting to be part of a game like this because it's two good organizations and two good teams that are going head to head. We've had a lot of great battles with them in the past, and I hope we can be competitive in this one."

On how much he enjoys this rivalry and coaching against the Colts and in a game like this...

"It's a huge challenge. The Colts are the best team in football. They're champions, no one has beat them. They do everything well. They're very good on offense and defense. They don't turn the ball over. They don't give up big plays. They're versatile, they can stop the run and they can rush the passer. They can run it, they can throw it, they can play action. They can have a possession passing game when they want to, they can get it down the field. I think the most impressive thing is how few mistakes they make. They don't give up plays, they make them. They don't turn the ball over, not that many penalties. They are a very error-free team that forces their opponents, and in this case us this week, to play an absolutely, almost perfect game just to compete against them. They're just so efficient and they execute extremely well."

On it sounding like he was describing his own team in his previous remarks...

"We've had a lot more negative runs than they've had, we've had more turnovers, we've given up more big plays. I don't think we're quite in their category."

On the decision to be so active last offseason...

"It just worked out that way. We had some opportunities, and we were able to work out agreements with the players and their representatives, and it just kind of turned out that way. We've made those kind of commitments in the past, like other teams have. It was just kind of the way it worked out."

On if how last year's AFC title game turned out motivated the Patriots to get more receivers or linebacker Adalius Thomas...

"Our motivation at the end of the season was to try to improve our team, same as every year, so that's what we did. When you go out at the end of the year, you don't really know what's going to be available or what's going to work out for you or what isn't. Some of the things that happened in the offseason, they were opportunities and it worked out that way. There are other things that we were interested in doing or tried to do that didn't work out. That's the way it always is in the offseason."


Kelvin Hayden
Al Messerschmidt/Getty

On the Colts secondary...

"Defense is playing well. I mean, they're outstanding. I think that (Tim) Jennings and (Kelvin) Hayden have done a good job, (Marlin) Jackson of course played in the slot last year. The safeties, (Antoine) Bethea and (Bob) Sanders, they do a good job just like they've done in the past. The corners have done well, the pass rush is good. They don't give up many plays, they tackle well. They really make you earn everything and earn every yard and earn your points. Therefore, they're not giving up very many. The people that have stepped in, the linebackers, (Freddy) Keiaho for (Cato) June and the corners for (Nick) Harper and (Jason) David, they've played good, solid football, and they've played well as a team."

On with the way both offenses protect the ball, does that magnify turnovers...

"It does. Turnovers are always important, and I think we all know what the numbers are relative to turnover differential as it relates to the wins and losses. They're always important, and there's nothing more important for us than taking care of the ball when we have it. We have to try to get it away from the Colts, and that's very hard to do. They take care of it very well. They're not careless with it at all. They don't fumble, they don't throw interceptions, and they don't really create very many long-yardage situations with sacks or negative runs or penalties. So you really have to play good team defense and be able to somehow keep them from always being in control of the down-and-distance situation and try to put them in long yardage. Even when the Colts are in long-yardage, they do a pretty good job of converting those, too. So, they're a very efficient football team in all three phases of the game, but on offense, they've been outstanding through the years and they continue to be."

On QB-Peyton Manning having a quiet year statistically and if defending him is the same as ever...

"I think a quarterback's career and his season is defined by the record, and I think he's having a pretty loud season in terms of the record. They're winning games and that relates to the quarterback's efficiency and time management and in-game management. And Peyton does an outstanding job of that. He can make all the plays and has made them through the course of the year. He's outstanding with play-action, and their third-down numbers are as usual, outstanding. He's a hard guy to defend, and their whole offense is hard to defend. They're a hard team to play."

On how QB-Peyton Manning has evolved...

"He's been pretty good for quite a while. He's killed us plenty of times."

On if the criticism for running up the score has been unfair...

"Right now, we're looking forward to playing the Colts, and that's it. I'm not really too concerned what's happened in the past. We're just focused on this game."


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