New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likely will start his news conference Wednesday with a long soliloquy, praising all aspects of his team’s AFC Championship Game opponent.
But as of Monday morning’s conference call — Belichick’s first meeting with the media since the Jaguars advanced Sunday to play the Patriots — the head coach gave what amounted to a bunch of assumed shoulder shrugs when asked about Jacksonville’s squad.
“Well, we’re kind of working our way through it here,” Belichick said. “We’re not where we’re going to be on Wednesday. We have a lot of work to do. We haven’t seen them in quite a while, but obviously, they’re well-coached. They have a lot of good players. We saw that from training camp. They’ve been in two close games and they’ve made a lot of critical plays in critical situations. They’ve made the plays they’ve had to make, and that’s what you have to do at this time of year.”
The Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night, but Belichick only found out New England would be playing the Jaguars after Jacksonville beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots almost certainly would have had low-level assistants planning for both the Jaguars and Steelers starting last week, though.
“I’m not trying to be evasive about Jacksonville here, but we didn’t know who we were playing until last night and we’re really starting to get to work on them now,” Belichick said. “We haven’t been working on anybody except for Tennessee and I don’t think it’s really smart to base everything off of something that happened in August. A lot of water under the bridge since then. We’ll spend a lot of time here in the next couple of days of finding out as much as we can about everything that will help us.”
“That was a long time ago,” Belichick said. “I think right now what it’s about is getting ready to play this game. That was a different point in time, different emphasis. I don’t know.”
The Patriots play the Jaguars on Sunday 3:05 p.m. ET. Expect Belichick to be more prepared in six days.