- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Leftovers from Monday's media conference calls with coach Bill Belichick, safeties coach Matt Patricia and director of player personnel Nick Caserio:
1. Excitement for the Patriots. Belichick opened his remarks by saying, "On behalf of the entire organization, we’re excited to be playing in the Divisional Playoff round. We have a lot to great ready for with Denver coming in here. That was a great win for them yesterday, a really impressive game. We spent time on all three teams last week and so now we very quickly got zoned in on Denver last night and of course today. We have a lot of work to do today in terms of getting things finalized for the players when we get back on the field tomorrow."
2. McDaniels as Belichick's "right-hand" man? In discussing how Josh McDaniels might contribute to the team, something Bill Belichick said drew attention. "He’s here to help us any way he can, whether that’s with me or the offensive staff or anything else," Belichick said. Later, Belichick added, "He’ll help me, he’ll help the offensive staff, Billy [O’Brien] or whoever else it is." When Belichick twice mentioned the possibility of McDaniels helping him on responsibilities related to the head-coaching position, I thought that spoke to the trust he has in McDaniels. Can't think of too many people in the NFL who would be able to slide into that type of role right now.
3. Similar to an AFC East rematch. Belichick compared facing the Broncos a second time this season to playing an AFC East team later in the year. "You know them, they know you, but you really need to go back and look at a lot of little details, the keys and see the adjustments that we need to make ... Our preparation starts all over again," he said. "We need to be very detailed and get a good handle on everything and carry that execution over onto the practice field and into the game on Saturday."
4. Tebow a top competitor. Patricia was asked what he sees from Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. "I think obviously [he] is a great competitor," he responded. "You watch all of his games, not just yesterday, and you can see just what a great competitor he is, how much he improves every week, and just really what a big challenge it is for us to get ready to play him next weekend," he said.
5. Restrictions on transactions. Unlike the regular season, playoff teams are limited when it comes to transactions in the postseason. Another factor to consider, Caserio explained, is that "any player released off the roster [is] under the 10-day claiming period, so the reality is that if you release a player you’re probably not going to see him for the rest of the year." Teams can still add players to the roster and promote from the practice squad.
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