Belichick views Bucs as 2-0 team

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
10:00
AM ET
The 2-0 New England Patriots host the 0-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but Bill Belichick doesn’t necessarily see the matchup that way.

“I really feel like we’re playing a 2-0 team,” he said on a Monday morning conference call.

While Belichick regularly talks up the strengths of opponents, he could make a strong case for the Buccaneers being a play or two away from being undefeated.

In their 18-17 season-opening road loss to the Jets, a personal foul penalty on linebacker Lavonte David (hitting quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds) moved the Jets into field-goal range with two seconds remaining. If there was no penalty, the Buccaneers probably win the game. The Jets had started their final drive at their own 20-yard line with 34 seconds remaining.

And in Sunday’s 16-14 loss to the Saints at home, the Buccaneers had the ball at the New Orleans 29-yard line with 1:10 remaining. They held a 14-13 lead at the time, but when kicker Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal, it opened the door for an improbable Saints comeback; New Orleans drove 54 yards on five plays to set up a game-winning 27-yard field goal at the final gun.

A few other points from Belichick’s conference call:

Impact of joint practices. It was just one month ago that the Buccaneers were in town for joint practices with the Patriots. While that might lead to more familiarity than the norm when it comes to learning personnel, Belichick said: “I’m not really sure how much carryover that will have in the game.”

Rob Gronkowski’s status. Asked if the tight end has a chance to play, Belichick said: “We’ll take everybody day to day here.”

Danny Amendola’s status. Asked if receiver Danny Amendola was more in the week-to-week category than day-to-day, Belichick said: “I’d say all of our players are day to day, other than obviously [Shane] Vereen. The rest of them we’ll take it day to day.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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