Jabrill Peppers said Thursday night’s win over the Steelers was “for” Bill Belichick, and you can tell the Patriots head coach appreciated it.

Peppers, reacting to mounting speculation about Belichick’s job status, echoed a sentiment he delivered earlier in the week.

“We needed it,” the veteran safety said after New England’s victory in Pittsburgh. “I just feel good we could get it done for Bill and the rest of the coaches. … I don’t really like all the flak he’s been getting, because it’s on us as players to go out and execute. I personally feel like the game plan has been phenomenal week in and week out, and when we had opportunities to make plays, we didn’t make them. But we made enough tonight.”

When asked about Peppers’ comments Monday morning, Belichick didn’t offer some non-answer, nor did he snap at a tacit reminder that his job is on the line. Instead, he sounded genuinely enthused while turning the focus toward Patriots players.

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“Well, that’s great,” Belichick said. “But, I would say the big thing for me, what I appreciate is, what the players do every day. Whatever happens on Thursday night or Sunday is certainly in part a big reflection on what happens during the other days of the week. The preparation, the training, the resilience and the determination to improve, to get things right, to make things better. That’s what I appreciate about our team, our players, our coaching staff. That’s the attitude, that’s the way they approach things.

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“So, obviously, a level of frustration with the overall season. But, on a week-to-week basis, you kind of put that aside and focus on the week that you have. Other than two games, really, it’s been so competitive every week. It’s certainly nice to be on the higher end of the score last night. But, what I appreciate is the players and their effort and their commitment to doing what I and the coaching staff, we have asked them to do, and working hard on it and sacrificing. It’s obviously great to see them have that positive result.”

Perhaps there’s a not-insignificant number of Patriots players who’ve tuned out Belichick. Maybe some of the young players aren’t buying into his cuthroat approach to running a football team that’s 3-10.

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But if so, those players are doing a great job of hiding it.

Because, at this point, players appear universal in their respect and admiration for Belichick. And the feeling is mutual.

Featured image via Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports Images