FOXBORO, MA — It’s no secret that a football team needs to play hard for a full 60 minutes, but that’s something that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said on Thursday that his team will be focusing on.
The example of what he may have been talking about was New England’s first meeting against the New York Jets last season that came in week two on Monday Night Football. The Patriots were leading 19-7 with nine minutes remaining in the game, and 77,000 Jets fans watched their team rally for two touchdowns to steal the win and drop their AFC East rivals to an 0-2 start. Belichick is hoping that his team’s first meeting this season against the Jets isn’t a repeat of last season.
“One of the things I talked to the team about this morning, and I think this is really important this week, is our ability to play 60 minutes,” said Belichick on Thursday. “I think that last year’s games against the Jets were good examples of how the last two minutes of the game are just as important as the first two minutes and vice-versa. We got behind early in the second game and the last couple minutes of the first game, where in the end, were probably the difference in the game.”
“We didn’t do a good job of that two weeks ago in Cincinnati, and that’s the emphasis point that we’re really trying to drive home this week and heading into the game I think it’s real important.”
In their second meeting last season the Jets, the Patriots allowed New York to jump out to a 14-0 lead following a 9-play 38-yard march that began after then Jet linebacker Bryan Cox recovered a Kevin Faulk fumble which gave them 1st and 10 at New England’s 38-yard line. The second touchdown came on a Drew Bledsoe interception by Victor Green that was run back 21-yards for a touchdown. With only a little over seven minutes gone by in the game New England was in a hole that they never dug themselves out of, and they later went home with a 34-17 loss.
Belichick says that his team’s ability to play with the same intensity throughout the game, both in the beginning through the end is something that his team is going to need to do in order to be successful.
“We need [the same intensity] all through the game, both the first quarter and the fourth quarter and all the plays in-between,” said Belichick. “It’s something that should be a given but I don’t think it really is, probably with any team even though it should be.”
Meanwhile, the Jets are coming off of an embarrasing 45-24 home loss to the Colts last weekend. Many people talked after the game about the fact that New York may not have been in as good of shape conditioning-wise as Indianapolis. No player plays a full game during preseason, and being in shape for the regular season Belichick says is a concern that he is certainly aware of.
“I think we talked about [conditioning] a little bit in preseason, but nobody plays a full game in preseason,” said Belichick. “I can’t remember a player playing every play on offense or defense in a preseason game.”
“Some games, usually it’s that third game where they traditionally play a few more plays, maybe in the 40’s somewhere in that range. So going into the regular season nobody’s had that full game condition playing, and even if they have it’s still not the same level of intensity as it is during the regular season. There’s a certain amount of game conditioning that you get through playing games, whether it’s basketball or football or whatever the sport is.”
With one game under their belt, Belichick says that although he doesn’t think his team is in bad condition right now, he feels that like every other team the more games they play, the better they’re going to be.
“I don’t think the team’s in bad condition now, I’m not saying that,” said Belichick. “I think we’ll be in better condition three weeks from now just like probably every other team in the league will be when they have more games under their belt and are able to get some true game conditioning.”
“You really try to get to that point as soon as you can and you’d like to get to it in the first game instead of the fourth game, or the second game instead of the fifth game, but the fact is I think everybody’s team is going to be in better physical condition the fifth game than the first game.”
“No matter how many plays you run out there in practice it’s not the same, and it’s not same intensity as pushing and hitting and running at a tempo that you have to do in the game.”
COMPTON TO RETURN SUNDAY?
Belichick also said on Thursday that he expects guard Mike Compton to be on the field on Sunday. “I think we can count on Compton being in there which we were hoping for in Cincinnati,” said Belichick. “He’s had two more weeks of practice and I think that should be something that we can count on.”…..Belichick also said that while he feels that offensive lineman Adrian Klemm isn’t ready to play the left tackle position yet, he may be challenging for playing time at some point. Klemm is still recovering from an elbow injury he suffered during camp and has been limited ever since.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season
Tags: 2001 Patriots Season Bryan Cox Drew Bledsoe Kevin Faulk Mike Compton New England Patriots New York Jets Victor Green