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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Quick hits from conference calls

By Chris Forsberg

Ric Tapia/Icon SMIThe Patriots have turned their attention to their Week 2 opponent, the San Diego Chargers.
The Patriots didn't get back to Gillette Stadium until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning and players were given their normal day off before starting preparations for Sunday's home-opener against the Chargers. As part of conference calls with the media, coach Bill Belichick said he got right to work on San Diego and hadn't reviewed game film from Monday's 38-24 triumph over the Dolphins yet.

"It's a quick turnaround, we're on to San Diego," said Belichick. "I haven't had a chance to look at Miami, we're just trying to get started on San Diego, so we'll get to [the Miami film] tomorrow -- later tonight or tomorrow morning, we'll see how it goes. Of course it's good go down there, playing on the road with all the conditions we had to deal with, and come away with the win. It's great to be 1-0, but we have to put that behind us and turn our attention to the Chargers.

"I know we were pretty fortunate out there last year that we had a lot of turnovers and some breaks go our way, so we’ve got a lot to do against a good football team. We’re just going to turn the page quickly and get onto them."

Here are some more highlights from the evening conference calls with Belichick, personnel director Nick Caserio, and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien:

PLENTY TO WORK ON

While hesitant to focus too much on what the Patriots did well Monday night, the staff didn't hesitate to harp on what could have been done better.

"There are always areas to improve on, whether it's turnovers, the six penalties, the two-minute [offense] at end of half, the red-area execution," O'Brien said. "So, there’s a lot of things to improve on in a game and that’s what we’ll work hard at doing, in addition to first and second downs, and getting better at our game plan for San Diego."

Added Belichick: "There are a lot of areas [to improve on]. We had the ball on the [Miami] 1-yard line ready to score a touchdown and we end up getting knocked out of field goal range and couldn’t get a field goal before the half. We really weren’t able to close out the game at the end of the game with a couple of first downs that we could have made. We stalled out there after the second quarter... There are always things on every play, even good plays, that a lot of times aren’t done quite properly and had the defense or the offense been in different play or done things a little bit differently, then we would have had a problem. You keep correcting those and try to get as many things right as possible. But I would include every position on that. Again, the coaching staff, all of us – we all did plenty of things in that game that we need to better."

WITH OCHOCINCO, SPIKES IT'S 'WEEK TO WEEK'

* O'Brien said every player's role will be reevaluated based on that week's opponent and not to read too much into limited snaps in Week 1 for new wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

"It’s week to week," said O'Brien. "Every week it’ll change, and that’s one of the things that's great about the guys here, they all understand that -- that each guy has a role. It'll be bigger in certain game than in another and that would be same for wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. It's just week to week.

"Regarding Chad, he's worked really hard to improve each week, and he has."

* Asked about the progress of linebacker Brandon Spikes, Caserio put him in the "week-to-week" category.

"It’s a week-to-week proposition in terms of, there are only X-amount of players that you have available for the game, so we make the decisions that we feel are best for the team given the opponent and that’s what we do each week," said Caserio. "So this week, we’ll see what happens. We’ll go through practice, the players will prepare –- all 53 on the roster and then the eight on the practice squad, or however many we have on the practice squad at the time. Everybody will prepare for the game and then we’ll make the decision that we feel is best for the team in terms of who’s out there on Sunday.

"I think [Spikes is] like a lot of players -- they’re here, they’re out there, they’re performing, they’re practicing, they’re doing their best to try to put themselves in a position to play on Sunday. So, he's like any other player that’s on the roster; he’s no different."

PRAISE FOR CHARGERS

* O'Brien on the Chargers' defense: "[They’re] a very disciplined defense. They’re an aggressive defense. They’ve got a lot of good players at every position: [Eric] Weddle the safety, Bob Sanders, obviously, [Quentin] Jammer and [Antoine] Cason at the corners -- those guys are playing well. Their nickel, Dante Hughes, is a really good player, [he’s a] tough, quick, good player. Their front with [Shaun] Phillips and those guys in there – those guys are good players, their linebackers… When they got to their nickel defense and [when] Antwan Barnes is in there rushing they’re pretty much… they’re an excellent defense that’s an aggressive one that’s going to be a real challenge for us."

* Caserio on the Chargers' offense: "They’ve got a lot of weapons. They lost [Darren] Sproles, but between [Mike] Tolbert and Ryan Mathews in the running game and the passing game for that matter out of the backfield, they present some issues. And then [Antonio] Gates is as good a tight end as there is in the league. They’ve got a bunch of big receivers: [Malcom] Floyd had a lot of production for them last year. [Vincent] Jackson looks like he’s back at playing at a high level. I think across the board, this is a good football team. A.J. [Smith] and Coach [Norv] Turner, they’ve put together a solid group. We’re certainly going to have our hands full."