According to Bill Belichick, you’ll have to wait until the Patriots’ injury report comes out on Wednesday to get a sense of the team’s quarterbacking options for next Sunday’s game against the Bills.
“Well, we’ll give the injury report on Wednesday as we always do. That’s what we’re required to do. Based on where things are at that point that’ll be represented in the report,” Belichick said on a conference call with reporters Sunday.
The injury report likely won’t be the only tell about the condition of the two quarterbacks, however.
The team is optimistic that Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett or both will be healthy in time for Sunday’s game, ESPN reported. If the Patriots begin to fear that neither Garoppolo nor Brissett will be healthy, they would most likely make a signing before then to have a chance to prepare. The most likely candidate is T.J. Yates, who the Patriots worked out but did not sign last week.
Along with the luxury of a 10-day break between games, the Patriots got to devote their Sunday to evaluating their next opponent, Buffalo.
“I think for today we’ve done preparation work on the Bills through the first two games so this is one of those rare opportunities where you can kind of watch the game with a little bit of an idea of how you would want to play it or what you would want to do in certain situations, and then obviously not knowing what they’ll do, kind of see how that goes,” Belichick said.
Belichick said coaches would have the Bills game against the Cardinals on in the background in meetings during the day Sunday, then dissect the all-22 once they get it a few hours later.
A point of interest will be to see if Buffalo’s tendencies have changed with Anthony Lynn having replaced Greg Roman as offensive coordinator.
“Obviously, with a new coordinator you have to . . . defensively we have to pay attention and see what changes or modifications they will make this week,” Belichick said.
The Patriots had all hands on deck blocking against the Texans, and benefited with three rushing touchdowns. Though the scores came on the ground, Belichick credited his receivers for making downfield blocks.
“In order to break long runs you either have to have an exceptional run by the runner, or he breaks tackles, or makes somebody miss, or great blocking downfield by the receivers, or could possibly be another player but usually receivers when they get the secondary players that keep those runs to 6, 7, 8, 9 yards,” Belichick said.
Malcolm Mitchell made a key block on cornerback Johnathan Joseph that helped Brissett score on his bootleg touchdown run, but the receivers often have the challenge of blocking larger safeties or linebackers as well.
“Sometimes they’re on the corners but most of the time they’re on safeties or linebackers. Sometimes occasionally defensive ends, but they come in there with a lot of toughness and grit and that really helps our team,” Belichick said.
Before the game, Danny Amendola had noted the emphasis on blocking among Patriots wide receivers.
“That’s something that they coach, something that we take a lot of pride in in our room, and we love playing physical,” the wide receiver said. “We understand that we’re going to get hit sometimes, and that’s not something we’re going to shy away from, either. So we really embrace that style of play.”
Amendola played just 13 snaps against the Texans after playing 19 against Miami and Arizona. Many of those snaps, however, have come in high-leverage situations and Amendola already has two touchdowns and is averaging 13.2 yards per reception.
“The plays that he has been in there for have been important ones; third down, red area, two minute, punt return, things like that, and he has done a really good job three weeks in a row now in those situations,” Belichick said.
Belichick said that’s likely a role Amendola will continue to fill.
“He has made a big difference in some significant plays in every game with that. So, hopefully he has a role — or something like that, I’m not sure exactly, each game will be different — but some element of that.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was a guest at the Hall of Fame Huddle fund-raiser for Belichick’s foundation Friday night at the Seaport Hotel.
Belichick said the two have shared thoughts on “preparation, training, teamwork, team building, confidence, communication, players relationships, and so forth” with each other.
“I’ve gotten to know Brad over the last couple of years,” said Belichick. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he has done, taking a young team, a team that you barely knew the names of some of the players on the team, and in a couple of years has built them into a strong team.”