SANTA CLARA – Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick just spoke to Bay Area reporters on a conference call. Here’s what he said about the Patriots.
Q: How are you feeling about the way the Patriots are playing right now?
BELICHICK: It’s all about this game. We need a good week of preparation here against the 49ers. They’re a real good football team. They’re well coached. They have a lot of good players. We need to do a good job of getting prepared for a team we haven’t played in a while, and is playing very well.
Q: There was a report out earlier that said Tom Brady has been preparing for the 49ers for a while. How long have the Patriots as a team been looking ahead to this game?
BELICHICK: Not at all. We just got through playing Houston Monday night. We put a lot of time and focus on that game, and now that that game is over we’ll turn the page to the 49ers. Yesterday was our first real day as an organization preparing for them.
Q: Your team has done a good job not taking sacks. How much of that is attributed to Tom Brady and how well he’s able to move around in the pocket?
BELICHICK: I think it’s a total combination of the performance – not one player. They all contribute to it – line, quarterback and receivers. If somebody’s open, the quarterback has somebody to throw the ball to. If nobody’s open, then you’re looking at pressure in the pocket and the quarterback probably getting hit. If you block the rushers, the quarterback has time to throw. If you don’t block them, he gets hit. Everybody has to do their job.
Q: Is Tom Brady playing at the highest level of his career right now?
BELICHICK: I don’t know. He’s played pretty well for us for quite a while. We’ll see what happens this week. This is a big challenge for us in the 49ers. Defense is strong, physical, fast. They play strong on first down which makes a lot of third-down-and-longer situations. They can rush. They can cover. We’ll see how we matchup.
Q: What are Wes Welker’s best attributes, and how well has he played this season?
BELICHICK: Wes has had a solid year. He can get open. Good quickness. Good separation ability. He can handle the ball, both in the pass game and the return game. He’s able to make yards after the catch.