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New England Patriots Links 9/24/10 - Belichick Confident Darius Butler Is Working Hard, Improving

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Tom Brady answers questions from the Buffalo media.

Q:  What are your thoughts on [the perception that the Patriots are in decline] and does that give you any added motivation to go out and prove that you are still one of the premier teams in the league?

TB: Obviously, every year there is change. There's transition. Every offseason there's transition. We're not the team that we were six years ago. A lot of guys have moved on. But the goal is to be the best team for 2010. You can sit here and make a bunch of comparisons, but no one cares what the Saints did last year. Everyone wants to know who's going to be the winner this year. I think that's the goal of our team. Sure, there are going to be different strengths and different weaknesses and different ways to get the job done. We've got to be able to figure those out over the course of a long season. Obviously, every team...and I would say we are a long way from the team that we want to be and hopefully the team that we're going to be. Each week, that's why we're out there practicing and trying to make improvements and trying to get better. If I thought we didn't have a chance, then that wouldn't be very fun. Of course I always think that we have a great chance to accomplish our goals.

Bill Belichick responds to questions about the Patriots young corners.

I think our players are working hard. It's a learning experience for young players every time they step out on the field, no matter what position they play. But hopefully we can continue to improve and get better over the course of the season. I think as long as we work hard and pay attention to the details, do a good job on our scouting report, and understanding the game plan that we have enough talent and players to improve out there and be competitive.  

I think Darius had a good preseason. He played about half the time last year, and he's built on that playing time this year. Like anybody there are always things that could be better, but Darius is working hard and he's improving. He's a better player than he was last year; [He] has a better understanding of our defense, and what offenses are doing. I think he's gotten better.

Ian Rapoport catches Tully Banta Cain talking about playing a full sixty-minutes.

"You got to create a mentality saying that whatever part of practice it is, we gotta go full-tilt," linebacker Tully Banta-Cain said today. "We get in those situations toward the end of practice where we keep working on end-game situations, end-half situations at the end of practice. Guys are a little bit more tired, those are the times of practice when you work on your focus and being more intense and finishing plays.

"I think it’s a focus because we’re being out-scored in the second half in our first two games," Banta-Cain continued, "so it’s definitely now a point of emphasis that we’re not coming out and playing our best in the second half. Definitely, the antennas are up this week… Obviously, we still gotta start strong, but we definitely gotta have stronger second halves."