By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - Bill Belichick just finished his rehash of the Patriots win over the Bills.
A few nuggets from the session. (Note: the word "better" was frequently employed.)
On the starting lineup changes Sunday (Tully Banta-Cain and Darius Butler down in favor of Jermaine Cunningham and Kyle Arrington): "The starting lineup usually is reflective of what personnel matchups are on that particular play. Whatever that first play is, whoever's out there, that's what the starters are."
On communicating with players who have their playing time altered: "The players' roles in the game change from game to game, we talk to them collectively, individually. Do you think I sit down and have a meeting with every single player on the team every week? No. I can't have 53 meetings. But each player understands his role."
On the 5-yard CJ Spiller touchdown where Brandon Meriweather and Kyle Arrington seemed to get confused in coverage: "That's a play we hadn't seen a lot of (inside the 10) and we could have coached it better. Hopefully we won't see that again."
On whether there was adequate coverage of Spiller's 95-yard kickoff return: "Obviously not." Belichick then passed on the chance to pin the blame on a couple of blocks in the back that a scribe said he saw on tape.
On safety Jarrad Page: "He's done a good job. That was the most he played yesterday. It wasn't perfect but he did some good things. He'll keep getting reps."
As for how to mix his safety group of Patrick Chung, Brandon Meriweather, Jarrad Page and James Sanders, Belichick said, "We'll give them to [the] chef here, let him figure out how we mix 'em."
Belichick said that he didn't think that - numbers-wise - the Patriots blitzed more in the first half this week than previously. He did not that the tempo of the offense was far better than it was in New York last week.
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In the Patriots' locker room, tight end Alge Crumpler praised the work of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, the team's two rookie tight ends. "I really enjoy watching the process of those two young guys. They’ve come in and really contributed in all facets of the game."
Other locker-room notes:
Jarrad Page on whether there's enough overall talent on the defense: "Oh yeah, the talent's definitely there. I think anybody that has watched the games can see that guys are talented. They can see guys go out there and make plays. We just have to do a good job of putting that together for 60 minutes and be consistent."
Banta-Cain on the defense overall: "Obviously, no one's happy about giving up 30 points, but I still think that there's a lot of room for improvement. It isn't anything where we're going to panic or anything like that. I just think that we're not playing complete team defense. You have flashes of guys playing well in certain departments. You know – the D-line sometimes plays well, the linebackers play well, the secondary . . . but it's not consistently doing it at the same time. So I think once we put together a complimentary game with all those departments, you'll see a good defense."
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomecurran