By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV SportsBy Levan Reid

BOSTON (CBS) – Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held his first press conference of the bye week on Tuesday, and with their playoff opponent TBD, the focus was on his team.

The Pats don’t know who they are going to play, so they just want to clean up some of the stuff they have been doing to make themselves more solid.  They are trying to get a little bit of rest and let the wounded guys heal up for the awaiting playoffs. This is something they have earned by getting that number one seed and the bye.

Read: Levan Reid’s Patriots Blog

With that said, there is definitely an edge in the locker room.  It could be because they were in the same position last year and found themselves one and done.

Here are some of the items coach touched upon in his press conference:

The value of home field advantage: “I think the most important thing is to play well. We’ve won at home, we’ve won on the road; we’ve lost at home, we’ve lost on the road. You can probably pretty much say that everybody – a lot of teams have experienced both those. I think the most important thing is to play well.”

Deferring the opening coin toss: “I think obviously if you take the ball at the beginning of the game, you have a chance to get one more possession in the first half. If you take the ball at the beginning of the second half, you have a chance to get one more possession in the second half. Either way, if you get it this half, they get it that half. It’s not like you’re actually stealing something from somebody, it’s just a question of if you win the toss and even have a preference then what’s your preference? … I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Read: Patriots vs. Playoff Teams

Bill O’Brien and his name being thrown around all the head coaching vacancies: “He’s done a great job for us since he’s come here. … He works hard, he’s smart, he’s got a lot of experience,” he said. “He’s done different things here in terms of working with the receivers, working with the quarterbacks. I think he’s got a good understanding of what our system is, what our players can do and he’s put them in good position to do it.”

Chemistry Makes It Work

There were a lot of new faces on this New England Patriots team at the start of the season, but the outcome has been virtually the same as it was last year.

The number-one seed in the AFC and a solid 13-3 regular season record.

Patriots owner Mr. Kraft may have said it best all the way back in March last year.

“I think the chemistry, the locker room, a lot of games are won and lost before you hit the field,” he told ESPN’s Mike Reiss after last season.

That’s what the Pats have, chemistry.  Most locker rooms would have fallen apart if sides of the ball did not pull their weight, just take a look at their rivals, the New York Jets.

But the Pats did not have that.  Guys know what the ultimate goal is and they all pulled in the same direction to reach it.
“The best experience [for me] has been right here in New England,” said defensive lineman Gerard Warren, who has experienced it all playing in Cleveland, Denver and Oakland before joining New England in 2010. “Where you know what’s expected of you and you know what you’re all fighting for. It’s kind of like a family atmosphere. That can take a team far, as long as you go out and perform on Sundays.”

Chemistry is a hard thing to come by but Gerard feels the franchise has it from the head man and then the trickle down effect happens.  That’s why the Pats are how they are.

“It starts from ownership, down to the head coach, to the assistant coaches, team captains, to the players,” Warren said. “It’s basically having all the guys focus on one mission and one purpose.”

The Patriots have a first-round bye, but be sure to tune in to a special playoff edition of Patriots GameDay Sunday January 8 at 11:30am on WBZ-TV. Then on Saturday, January 14, tune in to the Pats Playoff matchup on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub at 8pm. Pregame coverage begins with 98.5′s Patriots Preview at 5pm.


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