Head coach Bill Belichick and his staff were at Gillette Stadium nice and early Monday morning, and a number of players were expected to join them. While the players aren’t obligated to report to the facility until Wednesday, a whole host of them said Sunday night they planned to show up Monday for treatment and film study.
“When we left here [Sunday] night, we were 14-2,” Belichick said. “[Monday] morning, we’re 0-0. Don?t know who the next game is, but we know whoever it is, it will be a team that wins this coming weekend, which means they’ll be a very good team to [have won] in the wild-card round in the playoffs. Right now, the most important thing for us is try to improve in our performance and preparation.”
Belichick said the plan is to work on self-scouting and self-improvement this week while the Patriots wait to find out who their opponent will be in the divisional round. If the Jets beat the Colts on Saturday night, the Pats will host the Jets on Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. But if the Colts win that game, the Patriots will welcome the winner of the Chiefs-Ravens matchup Sunday.
New England’s scouting department will break down film this week on the Jets, Chiefs and Ravens, but the players won’t fully engulf themselves in those preparations until next week. For now, it’s about improving their own tendencies.
With the way the regular season went — the Patriots’ 14-2 record was the best in the NFL, and they enter the playoffs with a league-best eight-game winning streak — Belichick was confident this week wouldn’t be any different, despite the level of uncertainty on the horizon.
“One thing I’ll say about this team, they’ve been pretty consistent, come to work every day, want to improve, want to get better. I think that’s a great attitude, a great approach to have,” Belichick said. “Our players, for the most part, have done a good job of taking constructive criticism, and more importantly, trying to do something about it, trying to improve it. And I think we’ve seen positive results, both on the practice field and in the games. That hard work and those corrections have resulted in better performance. When that’s the case, then that usually makes it a lot easier to do it the next time and reinforces the whole process.”