Players get message from Belichick


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots players said Monday that they expected coach Bill Belichick to come down hard on them during afternoon meetings, but that wasn't necessarily the case.

They said Belichick's message was straight-forward: "We're better than we showed, but we have to eliminate 'bad football.'"

Belichick often refers to "bad football" as plays in which the team beats itself -- such as false-start penalties, not lining up correctly, or not executing the simple fundamentals such as the quarterback/center exchange, running the correct route or catching/securing the football. Receiver Deion Branch estimated that the Patriots' bad football was at about 80 percent on Sunday.

"They didn't come in and jump down our back," Branch explained of the coaches' message today. "I think the biggest thing is that it's not always as bad as it looks, and it's not always as good. I think the thing we take from it is that it wasn't our game, we're 6-2, and we can't worry about what happened last week. We have to move forward."

Veteran tight end Alge Crumpler echoed that message, saying players had to get back to following Belichick's mantra of "do your job."

"Our goal is to move forward and be positive about it while being very critical of ourselves individually on what we have to do to get better," he said. "I think when you have a loss like this, self-evaluation is the No. 1 goal. What can I do to get better? As long as we do that ... just as the sign reads when we walk out to the parking lot every day -- 'Don't believe the hype' -- then we'll be all right."