FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — From now through the end of the season, if New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium, you'll read about it here. We'll highlight one lesson learned from each of Belichick's news conferences.
Belichick was asked Wednesday if he gets a little extra excited for the regular-season opener, which is Monday night against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.
What Belichick Said
"Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, there're the first-game butterflies, no doubt. They'll be here this week for everybody.
"You go through training camp, and you never really know where you are. You haven't had the other team's game plan yet, and you haven't seen those matchups the way that teams are going to attack you once you get into the regular season. And you find out how strong your strengths are, how weak your weaknesses are and how the teams are going to try to expose them, and attack you and what you're going to be able to do about it. And sometimes it takes two or three weeks in the regular season to start to see that because the matchups the first week or the second week or the third week could be a little bit different.
"But from a game-plan standpoint, right off the bat, teams will start to go after certain areas and maybe stay away from others, and you'll try to do the same thing. It's always interesting to see how that plays out, so there's a lot of things that we have to be ready for. And we'll certainly see how Buffalo wants to try to attack us and how we're able to handle it. So yeah, there's a lot of newness there, and it will be interesting to see, as it always is, how things unfold."
What It Means
Fan, player, coach, writer, whatever … everyone gets excited for the first week of the NFL season, and Belichick is no exception. The preseason is such a different animal from the regular season — teams worry more about themselves in the preseason than what their opponents are trying to do — so that leaves a level of uncertainty heading into Week 1.
There is less hard evidence to use in the film room. Sure, coaches study film from the previous regular season and the preseason (or, in the case of Bills head coach Dick Jauron, the 2007 season to game-plan for Tom Brady), but there is still a degree of guesswork. Regardless of how long Belichick has worked on his craft, he still faces bouts of anticipation in the final days leading up to the regular season.