New England Patriots Links 1/25/12 - Belichick: This Will Be Our 'Toughest Game'

Brandon Spikes brings his instincts, his mind games and an edge to this defense.

Bill Belichick responds to reporters in his Tuesday conference call with the media.

Can you talk about the play of some of your lesser known defensive linemen like Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick and how they've progressed throughout the season?

Of course, Brandon started out the year on PUP, so he wasn't able to participate with the team in training camp or in the first six regular season weeks and then started practice after that. He kind of got a little bit of a late start. But Brandon has worked hard; he's certainly improved a lot from last year, his rookie year, just in terms of technique and consistency and his quick reactions and so forth. He's had a good solid year for us, as has Kyle.

Kyle, kind of similar to Brandon, had a good year for us last year, was able to contribute. But unlike Brandon, Kyle was able to start the first day of training camp and really build on his rookie season. He had a good camp and has had a good season. Every day, every week really, he's been able to work, to improve, to just refine his game and take it to a higher level. I think that time that Deaderick missed in the early part of the year , which was significant – all the training camp practices and the first six weeks of the season – just put him a little bit behind, but he's still way ahead of where he was last year.

Both guys have done a good job for us. They're both good, young defensive linemen that are continuing to get better. They've contributed for us in a lot of different ways: the running game, the passing game, sub situations. They've shown good; they've been very valuable for us. It was good to get Deaderick back, along with Ron Brace after that sixth game.

Can you tell us how gratifying it was to see your defense come together at in the AFC Championship? What was it like to see Sterling Moore, who wasn't even on the initial roster, make a play like that? How does it feel to be able to identify people like that and have them contribute in timely situations like he did?

I think that our defensive players and coaches have really worked hard all year. At the end of the regular season, I think things, we had more to show for it, let's put it that way. I don't think that necessarily the work ethic or the desire or the competitiveness to do it has changed a lot, but the results started to improve because of a little more continuity, a little better execution, better technique, more confidence, all those kind of things that came together. I thought that we had our moments, but there were a lot of times in the latter part of the season where we had stretches where we played very competitively on defense. That was true in the Denver game and it was true in the Baltimore game.

There were other moments that were certainly less than ideal, but overall it's a group of guys and coaches that have worked hard and tried to get better on a daily basis and I think they have over the course of the season, more so in the last five or six weeks. we recap the Patriots 23-20 win over the Ravens to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. Plus, we start our Patriots-Giants preview.

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