INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Belichick opened up his fourth press conference of the week by glossing over the previous day's practice, which he noted was positive. But in the same breath, he vaguely mentioned there remain some things that need to be fixed.
Can you elaborate on that, Bill?
He did, but as you might expect, did so without giving away any details that might help the opponent.
"I would say using the word 'cleaned up,' I've probably used that a number of times through the year," said Belichick. "The plays that we have that just seemed a little bit tighter, just needed a step here, a little bit deeper route, a little bit quicker match defensively on a pattern, a little better fit. We kind of got the right idea on it, we're doing the right thing, we understand the concept, it just needs to be just a little bit better. That kind of thing. So, we run it in practice, we don't quite have the timing that we need. We watch it on film. Come back and run it the next day."
Early in the press conference a reporter started a question by characterizing the Patriots' defense as inconsistent. Before said reporter could finish his question, Belichick interjected, asking dryly, "Do you have any more compliments you want to toss out?"
After the laughter in the room died down, the reporter continued, asking whether New England would have to put a lot of points on the board to win Sunday's game.
"Well, I think, we got to score more points than they do, that's really what it comes down to," said Belichick. "And how many points that is, we'll just have to see the way the game goes. It gets really hard when you start going into the game saying, 'It's going to be 51-50. It's going to be 3-2. It's going to be 7-3.' I don't think you can coach the game that way. I don't think you can play it that way. I think you just have to go out there and play the game as it unfolds."
Of course, a Belichick press conference this week wouldn't be complete without the obligatory Rob Gronkowski question. The head coach was asked if, at this point in the week, is it smarter to keep the second-year star tight end off the practice field to let his injured left ankle to continue to heal rather than to try to get him some workout time?
Belichick was brief in his answer.
"If that's what the medical people recommend we do, then that's what we'll do."
The coach was even more succinct in a response to a question from a New York tabloid reporter who asked what he thinks about people who say the Patriots' Super Bowl titles have been tarnished by the Spygate scandal of 2007.
"We've moved on from everything with that, so right now we're just focused on this game," said Belichick.
Belichick has one final pre-game press conference scheduled for Friday morning, after which he will really be able to focus on the game.