DAVIE–Patriots coach Bill Belichick is in a similar position as Adam Gase this week. When their teams meet Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, neither has a ton at stake.
Both New England and Miami are headed to the playoffs, though their seeding has yet to be determined. The Patriots are playing for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and the Dolphins still have a shot at moving up to the No. 5 seed if they win this week and get a Chiefs loss at San Diego.
Here’s what Belichick said on his conference call with the South Florida media this morning:
— Belichick has been highly impressed by Adam Gase getting the Dolphins from 1-4 to the playoffs. “Tremendous,” he said. “He’s done a great job. They’re balanced in all three areas. It’s as explosive of an offense as we’ve seen all year…They’re just getting better each week and finding a way to win.”
— Does Miami look much different now, or did Belichick see some of this back in September? “Some things look a little different, but we saw plenty of (Jarvis) Landry and (DeVante) Parker — they had 240 yards against us,” he said, recalling that Landry had 10 catches for 135 yards and Parker had eight for 106. “We saw plenty of (Ndamukong) Suh. They’re different than they were; we’re different than we were. A lot of water’s gone under the bridge, but it’s two good teams that are going to the postseason. Hopefully we can play competitively down there.”
— As far as playing guys when the playoff berth is already clinched, Belichick wasn’t going to reveal his plans for resting or playing starters. “We always try to do what’s best for our football team,” he said. “Whatever that is, that’s what we’re gonna do. That’s the philosophy.”
— Is it in his team’s mind that they’ve lost three straight in South Florida? “I don’t know,” he said. “I guess we’ll see Sunday.”
— Both teams have held it together this year despite many key injuries and both overcame it to make the playoffs. “I’m sure both teams have kind of the same mentality — the guys who get in, that’s what they’ve waited for and worked for,” Belichick said. “Every team in the league has to deal with this throughout the course of the year. Miami’s done a great job of it.”
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