Patriots coach Bill Belichick was in no mood to give a medical update Tuesday on injured punter Ryan Allen, and didn’t want to talk about Brandon Spikes, whose agent said Monday that the team’s decision to place the linebacker on injured reserve was not a mutual one.
“We’ll put out our injury report tomorrow after practice, like we usually do,” Belichick said during the weekly coaches’ teleconference, when asked if he anticipates Allen being able to play against the Broncos in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
Allen suffered a shoulder injury in last Saturday’s win over the Colts, which led to kicker Stephen Gostkowski taking over both roles the rest of the game.
Belichick cut off the questioner when asked for his reaction to the statement regarding Spikes, who was placed on IR Jan. 3. An ESPN report on Saturday said Spikes was late for a bye-week practice, which was part of the reason he was placed on IR.
“We’ll talk about the game and the players that are on our roster,” said Belichick. “I’m not going to talk about any players that aren’t currently on the active roster.”
He was asked about the upcoming game, and praised Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who missed the Nov. 24 game at Gillette Stadium with an injury.
“Excellent player,” said Belichick. “Size, speed, he’s a good vertical receiver, gets down the field on seams and flags and over routes, wheel routes, like he caught last week, things like that.
“He’s also good on catching [underneath] plays, he’s caught crossing patterns, diagonal patterns, out in the flat, things like that, where he’s made a catch for a small gain but then turned it into a long gain because of his ability to run after the catch and break tackles, [using] his size and speed.
“He’s just a good, solid, all-around tight end, been a big target for them in the red area with his size and his catching ability and his athleticism, so he’s a hard guy to match up with.”
Belichick confirmed that the Patriots are considering flying to Denver on Friday, two days before the game. When they have played on the West Coast in recent years, they typically fly two days out, so they have an extra day to get acclimated to the time difference. In this case, perhaps they’d like extra time to get adjusted to the altitude.