FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Nobody douses the flames of news better than New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who redirected question after question Wednesday about star quarterback Tom Brady to Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
How does Belichick explain to players that Brady’s return from his Deflategate suspension isn’t a fix-all after their 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday?
“We’ve all got to do our job, do our job better,” Belichick said at a media conference before Brady’s return to practice. “We’ve all got a lot of things to work on.”
Does he feel like he can exhale now that Brady’s back?
“I feel like we need to get out to Cleveland and play well in order to win. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Could some fans be right this will inspire Brady and the team to play even harder?
“I think our team needs to play very well this week, play well against Cleveland. I think that’s what we need to do.”
How is Brady approaching this week and feeling since he’s been back in the building?
“We’ll go out to practice today and see where our whole team is. You’d have to ask Tom that, how he’s approaching and feeling. That’s something I can’t answer.”
Many fans say they feel fortunate to come away with a 3-1 record without Brady. Do you agree?
“Right now, our focus is on Cleveland, trying to get ready to go to Cleveland. We can’t do anything about whatever was or wasn’t the last four weeks. We’re going into Cleveland week and that’s all our focus is.”
But wouldn’t it be …
“I’m not worried about last week, I’m not worried about next week, not worried about last year. I’m worried about this week against Cleveland.”
Your record affects the rest of the season, so isn’t that a net positive?
“We’re focused on Cleveland this week. Period. Cleveland.”
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said there’s an acclimation process with any player returning from injury or otherwise. How, if at all, is preparation different this week to help Brady through that?
“I don’t know. Just work through it. Just do the same thing we do every week. There’s always players that fall into that category, whatever the position is. So, we’ll take it day by day.”
So what are you looking for when Brady returns to the practice field?
“Do the same thing on this Wednesday that we do on every other Wednesday. We go out there and practice, and we have the corrections, we come back in, go through the stuff for tomorrow, for Thursday, and try to correct the things on Wednesday that need to be corrected. That’s what we do.”
OK then. On to Cleveland.
Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero
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