BOSTON (CBS) — We know Bill Belichick doesn’t believe in taking days off.
While Patriots players enjoyed an off-day on Tuesday, Belichick and his staff were hard at work getting to know the Philadelphia Eagles. The head coach admitted he has a lot of work to do with Super Bowl LII in less than two weeks.
The Patriots won’t leave for Minneapolis until next week, giving Belichick and his staff time to study everything they can about an unfamiliar foe. Belichick noted in his conference call on Tuesday that in past Super Bowls, the Patriots usually faced an opponent they had seen within the a few seasons. They last saw the Eagles in 2015, when Philly pulled off a surprising upset at Gillette Stadium, but quite a lot has changed since that meeting.
Chip Kelly and many of the Philadelphia players on the field during that disappointing Sunday are gone. Doug Pederson now leading the charge with a whole new system and a whole new group of personnel, leading Belichick to call Tuesday a “catch-up day” for him and his staff.
“We just don’t know very much about Philadelphia,” he remarked.
That will change soon enough, but it requires some long hours and a lot of game film. Belichick and his assistants are locked in, gathering all the information they can for Patriots players ahead of their return to the practice field on Thursday.
“We have a lot of ground that we need to cover, so we’re at it hard trying to catch up so when we bring the players in we’ll be ready for them and we can do a good job of presenting the information to them efficiently and accurately because, again, there’s a lot of information to digest,” Belichick said on Tuesday. “There’s 16 regular season games, and then there are playoff games, and then maybe some additional other things that get kind of get tossed in there as well. But the bottom line is it’s a lot to sort out and then pull together pretty concisely.”
Belichick estimated they’re breaking down over 2,500 plays, though they’ll only see roughly 160 plays from Philadelphia come Sunday, Feb. 4.
“They can’t do everything that we’ve ever seen them do any more than we could run everything that we have experience running, so we have to whittle down our side of it,” he noted. “We know that they’re going to have to only be able to run so many plays and so the idea is; we have to be prepared for a lot of things but at the same time we can’t be overly distracted by things that either have a low percentage chance of coming up or probably wouldn’t be the type of thing they would do against us. We try to eliminate some of those and make sure we work on the things that we feel are most problematic or may be most likely to occur.”
After spending Monday analyzing their own performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game, now Belichick and company are finally on to Philadelphia.
“We were focused on Jacksonville and now we turn our attention here to Philadelphia and there’s a lot of work to do,” he said. “They’re obviously a great team and they’re strong in every area. That’s why they’re playing in this game. Our attention is on them, but there’s a lot of work to do.”