“So that’s what we’re keyed in on this week.”
And this season’s playoff wins over Denver, 45-10, and Baltimore, 23-20, are fading rapidly from players’ minds.
“It has been going on all year and you just have to put everything in the past,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “If you have a good game, that is all over with and you just have to keep moving on forward to the future and make sure you have a good practice week.”
Running back Stevan Ridley, drafted in the third round last April, was the team’s second-leading rusher during the regular season. When the playoffs began, he didn’t notice much difference in Belichick’s intensity.
One of the Patriots‘ most veteran players, left tackle Matt Light, also has played for just one head coach. Drafted in 2001, only Tom Brady and Kevin Faulk have been with the team longer.
What stands out most about Belichick is his “consistency, just his ability to stay focused to the nth degree and do that repetitively, week-in and week-out,” Light said. “It’s not an easy thing, obviously, running a team and putting up with a lot of guys like myself and the rest of the knuckleheads in that locker room.
“But you know what? I think that coming in and setting that example with our entire coaching staff and how he approaches everything, it makes it easy for all of us to fall in line.”
By Elaine Donnelly
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