Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met the media for the final time before kickoff of Super Bowl XLI on Friday morning, remaining mainly quiet about the specific details of the team's preparation for the Giants.
INDIANAPOLIS — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met the media for the final time before kickoff of Super Bowl XLI on Friday morning, remaining mainly quiet about the specific details of the team's preparation for the Giants.
Belichick, who is in his fifth Super Bowl as a head coach and eighth overall, echoed sentiments from earlier in the week that he is happy to be here. He was not happy, however, to share the progress made by TE Rob Gronkowski, who has been a main topic this week as he attempts to recover from an ankle injury suffered in the AFC Championship. Belichick told PFWA pool reporter Alex Marvez on Thursday that it would be key to see Gronkowski's health on Friday after practicing on a limited basis yesterday.
When asked about Gronkowski's Friday condition, the head coach was very vague on how the rehab is going.
"I think he was OK this morning. I don't think we had any setbacks," Belichick said. "We'll see how it goes out there today. Rob's worked extremely hard, he's gotten treatment morning, noon and night and he's gotten better on a daily basis. Hopefully we'll be able to continue that progress today, tomorrow and all day Sunday. He's coming along, we'll just have to see where he gets to, but it's certainly moving in the right direction."
On a follow-up question about what exactly Gronkowski did in Thursday's practice, Belichick said, "He practiced on a limited basis. He did some of the things we did in practice, but not all of them."
One game-planning topic the coach was willing to discuss was the chance the Patriots would run a no-huddle offense vs. the Giants. New England had some success in the formation when the teams met in Week Nine of the regular season, and Belichick said Friday the reason the Patriots utilize the attack is to throw off the timing of their opponents.
"Overall, it has been a change-of-pace for us," Belichick said of the no-huddle. "I think it forces the defenses to play at a different tempo where they just can't fall into a natural rhythm, they have to be ready to speed up and slow down, have different personnel groups. Puts a little more stress on our defensive opponents to prepare for more things. If we can do it better than they can, it's an advantage."
Another aspect of the Super Bowl that will affect the timing of the team on Sunday will be halftime. In Wednesday's practice, Belichick had his players stretch and warm up, followed by a light workout. Then, midway through the practice, he had them stop and rest for 30 minutes, preparing for the time they'll spend in the locker room when Madonna is performing at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"My experience has been with the longer halftime has been that you go out and play the first half, and normally our halftime is 12 minutes and this one will be closer to 30, so two-and-a-half times as long," Belichick said. "I think it really gets into the whole re-starting mentality. It's not like taking a break and coming out in the second half, it's like starting the game all over. It's like playing a game, stopping, then playing a second game. Like a double-header in baseball."
Belichick said the Patriots will practice Friday at the Colts' facility, then go to Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday for a team photo and final walk-through in the building they will play on Sunday night.
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