With the 49ers behind them, the Patriots are turning to this Sunday’s game and an opponent that isn’t quite as exciting as the ones from the previous two weekends. Those came with hype and anticipation. This one doesn’t.
The Jaguars are last in the AFC South with a 2-12 record.
“We don’t talk a lot about records,” Bill Belichick said Tuesday. “We just don’t do it – we didn’t talk about Houston’s record or San Francisco’s record or Jacksonville’s record. It doesn’t really mean anything.
“What we do is we look at our opponent and try to analyze their strengths and the things that we have to do to be competitive against them and the areas of weakness that we feel like we can attack. Whatever their record is doesn’t really matter.”
Belichick said the team spends its time, instead, working on the particular matchups, analyzing the particular players. That, right now, is the focus.
There are other issues for the Patriots at the moment, like filling the 53d spot on the roster. It was empty last week after the Patriots waived Visanthe Shiancoe and put Donte’ Stallworth on injured reserve, filling one of the spots with Deion Branch and leaving the other unfilled.
“That’s something that I’ll talk to Nick [Caserio] about today,” Belichick said. “We’ve had a couple preliminary thoughts on it but nothing definitive. We’re both doing a little research and thinking and trying to see where some of our players are relative to their availability this week. We’ll have that conversation probably later on this afternoon and meet with the coaching staff on it and figure out where we are.
“But as you know, we have to have seven inactive players anyway, so signing a player at that position to then have to inactivate him, the gain on that is marginal.”
The Patriots could simply wait and fill the spot with Jermaine Cunningham, who will serve the final game of his four-game suspension on Sunday. Belichick said that remains a possibility.