Pats coach Bill Belichick had his conference call with the Buffalo media Wednesday morning. As usual, he essentially said nothing, spouting a bunch of drab clichés and refusing to take the bait on some of the more provocative subjects. Here's the transcript. Grab a pillow:
I started by asking, "Bill, Rex referred to you as the hated Patriots, and a number of Bills aresaying they don't like you guys and it's personal. Does that bring a smile to your face, assuming you don't already have a smile on?"
BB: "Yeah. I always have a smile here on Wednesday. It's a good day to get to work. We're really not too concerned about that. We're preparing for the game. We have a lot of respect for Buffalo organization, Coach Ryan, his team, his players, their staff ...
"So they played great against Indianapolis last week and we know we're going to have to come in there and play a really good football game to be competitive. So that's our challenge this week."
Media: What did you see from Tyrod Taylor?
BB: "Well, you know he was a really good player for the Ravens when he had an opportunity to play. Experienced, showed a lot of poise, had a lot of production when he played. I thought he had a really good game against Pittsburgh in the preseason. He played well against the Colts.
"So I have a lot of respect for him and his ability. Good player."
Media: Coach, you've seen plenty of Rex defenses. Any greater challenge since you're trying to incorporate your study with the Bills personnel?
BB: "Well, it's, every week in this league is a challenge. Every team has good players, every team has good coaches and good schemes. The Bills do what they do, so we'll prepare for what they do, I mean, just like we prepare for everybody else."
I ask: Why do you think Rex has often been so effective against Brady? The numbers say he's been better than other defensive coaches.
BB: "Yeah. I mean ... I think our record against him has been OK. I'll take it."
Media: Does having Rex in the division spice up the rivalry even more?
BB: "I think all the teams in this division have a good rivalry. So that'll be there.youlayers and coaches have changed through the years, but I think the rivalry has always been good."
I ask: Players said they'd never heard the crowd here as loud as last week, and Rex had called on them to be loud. What kind of challenge will that present?
BB: "We always expect a lot of crowd noise on the road (sighs). So that will be something we prepare for. We deal with it eight games a year that we play on the road. So we'll deal with it this week. However loud it is, it is. We can't control that, initially. So we'll deal with whatever it is."
Media: Comment on Scott Chandler, how he's blended in with your offense and what was appealing that made you want to sign him?
BB: "Scott's done a good job for us. Smart guy, very experienced. He picked things up quickly here, from a timing and execution standpoint with our offensive team . He's been a good addition. Like having him, and he's been productive for us. Good teammate, works hard, smart, gets along well with everybody. He's a good person to have on the team."
Media: On Gronk, anything about his game on field that can surprise you, done anything to take to another high level?
BB: "Yeah, I think Rob gets better all the time. He was a young player coming into the league without a lot of collegiate experience, really, that one year, sophomore year. He's worked really hard on his techniques in the offseason and in training camp and continues to get better on a daily basis.
"He's very attentive. He's coachable. You tell him how to do something, how he can improve it and he works hard to try to do that. I really think he continues to develop as a player and he obviously has a lot of talent. He's a great player to coach and work with. I really enjoy him."
Media: What more did you learn about Brady during the offseason ordeal and how he responded Thursday.
BB: "Right now, we're totally in Buffalo mode. So whatever happened in the past doesn't really matter this week. It's all about our preparation for the Bills and being able to go up there on Sunday and play to a high level and be able to execute and perform well. So that's a challenge for all of us.
"The past is the past, and the future really doesn't have anything to do with this week. We're just focused on Sunday's game."
Media:" I'm not trying to delve into the past, but Tom's poise and compeititiveness, how much more have you learned of him?
BB: "I think Tom has always done a great job throughout his career preparing and competing."
Media: As a defensive coach, can you appreciate the nightmare of trying to cover Gronk?
BB: "We work against our offense every day in practice. We have a lot of good players on the offensive side of the ball, a lot of good players on the d efensive side of the ball. They compete well on a daily basis. Sometimes, some guys win and sometimes other guys win. That's what competition is about.
"Our focus is to try to improve and get better. Whatever talents and abilities we have, we try to maximize and the things we don't do as well or need to improve on, we work hard to try to make those better -- whether it's on the field or off the field or in the classroom or in the weight room or wherever it is. We try to focus on our work ethic, our improvement and that's across the board.
"It doesn't matter who the player is or what they do. There's always room for improvement, and if they work hard and understand what they need to do to get better, then we've found you usually see that."
I ask: Bill, do you get any motivation from all this disdain from outsiders. Does that help you maintain a bit of an edge?
BB: Pause. "You know, right now it's just about getting ready for Buffalo. What goes on on the outside, I can't control, don't try to, so ...
Me: So you're telling me as far as motivation, it's not a factor at all, right?
BB: "I'm telling you we're preparing for Buffalo. That's what we're doing."