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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Highlights from Belichick

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few highlights from Bill Belichick's news conference (10:45 a.m.) at Gillette Stadium:

1. More than Tim Tebow. Belichick opened by talking about the Broncos and his comments were on the overall team. "John Fox has them playing really well, [with] a lot of confidence," Belichick said, noting it's all three phases and no "one-man band." Belichick added that he expects a lot of energy in the stadium, which will test the execution of the offense in a challenging environment.

2. Thoughts on Tebow. Belichick said Tebow's style of play has some similarities to other quarterbacks the team has faced. At the same time, when asked if it was a challenge to not have a player like him on the roster to help the team prepare, Belichick said, "I don't know if there's anoither quarterback in the league that has Tim Tebow's skills. There are not a lot of those running around," he said, adding that the Patriots won't be able to simulate Tebow on the scout team. When a reporter asked Belichick if he was surprised that Tebow has had long stretches of passing excellence despite his unorthodox mechanics, Belichick said he didn't agree with that line of thinking. He lauded Tebow's passing skills.

3. Kudos for Light. Asked about the performance of veteran left tackle Matt Light, Belichick shared his opinion that he's "playing very well" and has had a "solid year." Belichick reflected on how Light was limited at the start of training camp because of offseason shoulder surgery, but once he returned, he hasn't missed a beat. He lauded his work ethic and called him a good competitor.

4. Praise for Mesko. Similar to Matt Light, Belichick had high praise for punter Zoltan Mesko. He started by talking about Mesko's holding on field goals, which is an area he said shouldn't be overlooked and something Mesko has improved and worked on quite a bit. As for punting, Belichick shared his viewpoint that so much of it is situational and how "you don't just sit out there and bang away." Situations include dealing with a rush, different field position, and wind, and Belichick said that Mesko's "situational punting has really improved." Overall, Belichick said, "I think he's taken a solid jump from his rookie year in terms of his overall mechanics and situational awareness."

5. Don't bring up the altitude. Asked about the altitude in Denver, and if it's a factor, Belichick said the best thing the Patriots can do is play well. Asked a follow-up question on if the altitude gave Denver the strangest home-field advantage the team will face this year, Belichick said, "Both teams will be breathing the same air."

6. Updates on Spikes and Chung. Asked if there was an update on injured safety Patrick Chung and injured linebacker Brandon Spikes, Belichick said, "Doing better. Yeah, they’re doing better." Asked a follow-up question on if he's playing it safe with Chung, Belichick said, "When they’re healthy, they’re ready to play. If they’re not ready to play, then they’re not ready to play."