Pats' Belichick is still a stickler for details

Posted: January 25, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Season opener or Super Bowl, every game is a big game to Bill Belichick.

His consistent approach to preparation for the next opponent, whether a powerhouse or a pushover, is the cornerstone of the coaching that has brought the New England Patriots to their fifth Super Bowl in 11 years.

The more intense the practices, the more prepared his players are for the game.

"You know what to expect week-in and week-out with him," wide receiver Matthew Slater said. "The attention to detail is always there. It doesn't matter if it's a bye week or if it's a divisional playoff round. He's committed to winning and that commitment never falters, no matter what the circumstance, no matter how much success we've had or how many games we may have lost in a row.

"That commitment to winning is always there."

During practices, Belichick strolls the field, sometimes twirling his whistle on a lanyard, other times stopping to talk with players. His daily message is simple - get the fundamentals right and just do your own job while preparing for the uniqueness of the next opponent.

That's resulted in 10 consecutive victories, eight in the regular season and two in the playoffs. Another win on Feb. 5 against the New York Giants would give the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl championship.

"I think every game is a big game," Belichick said Tuesday. "Every time we get an opportunity to compete, then we try to take advantage of the time leading up to that opportunity - the practice week, the preparation, the film study, understanding our game plan, and our adjustments, all of those kinds of things."

James Ihedigbo didn't start a game the last three seasons with the New York Jets, but he went to AFC championship games the last two seasons. The Jets lost both. This season, he started 12 of 16 games at safety for the Patriots and reached the Super Bowl.

The Patriots are special, he said, "because we prepare. We prepare harder than any other place that I've played."

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