“Those kids have worked hard. They’ve tried to learn from their mistakes and they’ve tried to improve individually or as a group. We’ve definitely made some progress. We’ve got a long way to go but hopefully we can keep moving in the right direction here.”
Do those sound like the words of a coach whose team is 11-2? They are. But the Patriots’ Bill Belichick talks more like a guy who is running a club that’s 2-11.
In the last two weeks, Belichick’s boys turned two supposed “showdowns” into blowouts, ripping the Jets by 42 points and ho-humming their way through a Soldier Field blizzard to thump the first-place Bears.
The coach held a conference call with Wisconsin media Wednesday morning at Lambeau Field and was asked if he was excited that his team is playing at such a high level in December.
“It doesn’t really matter what happened the week before, whether you won or lost, think you played well or don’t think you’ve played well,” Belichick said. “You have turn the page and move on to the challenges of the next week. The next game presents a different scheme, different challenges, different matchups. It starts a whole new chapter in the book.
“You have to move on from the past. Maybe learn some things but most importantly, set your attention on the new challenges coming up and figure out what’s the best way you can maximize your performance against the next opponent.”
No one in the press corps expected Belichick to sound like Robin Williams, but considering that New England has won its last five games by a combined score of 196-88, and that with each passing week of watching the Patriots, the other 31 NFL teams are increasingly getting the impression that everyone else is playing for second place, couldn’t the coach talk up his team, just a little?
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Belichick said. “It doesn’t really matter right now. We’re just trying to get ready to play Green Bay and the challenges the Packers bring us.”
The Packers play at New England Sunday night and Belichick has been studying the video of Green Bay’s loss at Detroit last weekend.
“I just don’t think it was the Packers’ best day,” Belichick said. “They’re a very good offensive football team. They’ve got great players, a great scheme. They present a lot of problems for you. A couple things didn’t go right and they didn’t get into the rhythm they wanted to be in. I think that’s pretty uncharacteristic of the way they’ve moved the ball offensively all year. We know we’re going to get their best shot this week. I’m sure their execution level will be high.”
Belichick said his team would be ready to face either Aaron Rodgers or Matt Flynn as the Packers’ starting quarterback. “