A hot microphone caught Bill Belichick in a candid moment of honesty Sunday.
During his postgame handshake with Bills coach Sean McDermott, Belichick seemed to acknowledge that Rob Gronkowski’s after-the-whistle cheap shot on Tre'Davious White was “[expletive].”
In his conference call with Miami reporters Wednesday, Belichick seemed to suggest the same, except with much cleaner language.
“I think the players have respect for each other and have a lot of respect for the game,” Belichick said. “It's not perfect, but I think players do that and coaches do as well. We all do.
“Some of the things that happened in the game, nobody wants to see,” he continued. “Hopefully it won't happen again.”
When asked whether players should step back and reflect on safety after recent events — Monday night’s WWE-like Bengals-Steelers game was everything the league does not want its game to be — Belichick said, “I think that's being done. I think the league's been very proactive on that.”
Gronkowski was suspended by the league for his dirty hit, and after a failed appeal, he will miss the Patriots’ Monday night game with the Dolphins.
Advantage Dolphins, right? Well, perhaps not. The Patriots are used to playing without their star tight end. He has missed dozens of games because of injury in his career, but New England has rolled on. The Patriots are 20-5 in games without Gronkowski since 2010.
“We'll just do what we always do,” Belichick said. “Take the players that we have available and match them up against a great team that Miami has, their defense.”
Other takeaways from Belichick’s five minute Q&A with South Florida media:
▪ Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, who went over 100 yards for the first time in his career last week, “is a very fast and explosive player,” Belichick said. Both he and Damien Williams, who missed the Broncos game with a shoulder injury, “can make plays in space.”
▪ Tight end Julius Thomas “is a very talented player. He’s a hard guy to defend in the passing game.”
▪ But when it comes to praising his own players — even Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history — Belichick was predictably tight-lipped. When asked how Brady can be having another MVP-caliber season at 40, Belichick referred the question to the player, saying “Tom works hard, here's here everyday, puts a lot into preparation.”