Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Light puts hype in perspective

By Chris Forsberg


Stew Milne/US PresswirePatriots LT Matt Light.



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Leave it to Matt Light to put a unique spin on all the hoopla surrounding this week's Patriots-Broncos clash.

"No, I’m never surprised at what gets talked about any more," Light said when asked if he was surprised by all the hype around Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Saturday's Divisional round clash at Gillette Stadium. "I think I saw a seven-minute [television] piece on a girl that ate M&M’s while doing a handstand. And that was interesting; I got into it for a while. I just think that, any time there’s anything new -- and [Tebow is] obviously new -- he’s done some incredible things this season, I think the hype is justified. I think when you go out and lead a team like that, make the kind of plays that they are making, people are going to talk about you.

"I think we’ve always done one good thing here and that’s staying within our own locker room, staying within the framework of what we have to do and not get caught up in all that stuff. Hopefully that won’t be a factor."

Playoff stalwarts, the Patriots aren't exactly the sexy team any more, even as the top seed in the AFC after compiling a 13-3 regular-season record. First-game playoff exits their last two playoff appearances maybe naturally leaves New England's opponent in focus entering this weekend, but those struggles resonate with Light and his teammates that have been around for the overwhelming success last decade.

"Obviously, we haven’t done well -- well enough," he said. "So it sits in all of our minds, the guys that have been here, been a part of that [success]. You work that much, you put that much time into a season. You have success to a degree during the regular season, and then you go out and you can’t get it done in the postseason, that’s a difficult thing to swallow. I think that’s why guys you put a little more time in, a little bit more effort in. Hopefully you get a better outcome. And we’re working hard towards that. We’ve had a heck of a run through the regular season, had a lot of guys step up, and make a lot of plays to put us in this position. Now we gotta do something with it."

A few more highlights from Light's 10-minute Q&A with reporters on Wednesday:

* On Bill Belichick's week-to-week approach: "I’d say consistency, just his ability to stay focus to the nth degree, and to do that repetitively, week in and week out. It’s not an easy thing, obviously, running the team and putting up with a lot of guys like myself and the rest of the knuckleheads in that locker room, but I think coming in, setting that example with our entire coaching staff and how he approaches everything, it makes it easier for us to all fall in line."

* On offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien: "We’ve gone through some transitions, whether it’s Charlie [Weis] or Josh [McDaniels], then obviously Billy. I think Coach O’Brien’s done just a phenomenal job of handling the roles and responsibilities that come with being a coordinator, and really jumping into it from Day 1. He does a great job of getting us prepared, gives us great keys each week, the things that we have to do offensively. He really understands the game. He understands our entire offense. Obviously, it will be tough to lose him, but we’ve got some more battles yet to play out, and he’s in it for the long haul. So he’ll be good to go."

* On lessons learned from the first meeting with Denver: "I think we learned a lot from that first meeting. They are very talented group up front. They are all very active -- doesn't really matter what package they have in personnel wise. They present a lot of problems for pretty much everyone they’ve faced. I think having a little bit of experience, going through that [first game] -- albeit being a different situation being at home now -- [and] having gone up against them and see some of the things they’ve thrown at us, some of the things they’ve done since. We’ve got a lot to work on, but it’ll definitely be a big challenge for us."