Belichick: Pats playing to win

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
11:54
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media for the final time before the conclusion of the 2012 regular season, a 16-game slate that he said went by in a blink.

"It seems like we were just in Tennessee, doesn't it?" he quipped, before adding with a smile, "it usually goes by a little faster when you win, as opposed to 4-12 years that really drag."

As his team gets ready to take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, many have discussed the possibility of the Patriots resting starters in order to preserve them for the playoffs, including notable players such as tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Belichick said that Gronkowski's status for Week 17 remains a medical decision, and while resting starters would be a consideration if the game had no impact on playoff seedings, with a potential top two seed on the line with a win, it is not this week.

"Not in this particular case, because there's nothing we can do to help ourselves unless we beat Miami," Belichick said. "There's nothing we can do to help our situation unless we win, we have to win for anything to happen positive. And that's no guarantee that it will, but that's the first prerequisite. So that's what we [are] operating under, that premise. We've got to go out there and win. If we want things to be better, we have to help ourselves, we have to do that first. That's really what it's all about."

By that same token, Belichick said that the team is not preparing to hold anything back from a game plan standpoint so as to keep those plays and schemes off of film for its first playoff opponent to study.

"I think that definitely would be a consideration if the game didn't mean anything, standings-wise," he said. "Kind of like a preseason game, we're out here playing, but the game really doesn't count in the standings, it counts in your development as a team. But I think when you're in a situation like we are, where you need to win to improve, then its worth winning to improve."
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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