"He has a lot of skills," Belichick said. "I mean, we recognized it when we had him the first time when we drafted him. We took the guy in the second round, but it just - for a combination of reasons - I'd say a big part of it (being) mistakes that I personally made, it didn't work out the way that we hoped it would, but we got it right the second time. I think we've been able to utilize him. I wish we had been able to do that when we initially got him, but it didn't work out that way. Like I said, I think we finally got it right."
"We've been able to maintain that group, the consistency of that group, including Nate (Ebner) even though he's not on the roster right now, the active roster, but his role that the consistency that we've had from those four, call it five guys including Nate, the last three-plus years has been great. It's hard to get in this league.
"Those guys are durable. They're tough. They show up every day. They're ready to go every day and they perform well. Pat's done a great job for us in a lot of roles and so has Duron (Harmon), so has Devin (McCourty), so has Jordan (Richards) to a lesser degree but his time will come and so has Nate. It's been a real luxury."
Belichick also talked about his preparation for the Eagles. Asked specifically about their front four, he couldn't stop praising them.
"It's a lot more than four. I wish it was just four."
"It's about eight, nine," Belichick said. "It's a very disruptive group. Hard to run against, hard to throw against. Again, they're well-coached, very instinctive on screens and plays like that, that you think will take the edge off the pass rush. When you run them, they don't look as good as you think they would -- screens, draws, play-action. A lot of times they'll blow those up, too."
Belichick added: "There's no plays off. You have to block them on every play. You can't get away from them. There's nowhere to go. You have to deal with that front, and they wear you down."
Two of the biggest weapons for the Patriots this season have been Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola. Both were undrafted and left for dead by other NFL teams. However, they both carved out important roles in New England, and Belichick credited Josh McDaniels and Mike Lombardi for getting them here.
"Dion, very productive at Pitt, we all saw that, went to Cleveland, got off to a fast start, got injured, missed most of the -- whichever year that was -- then again it was Mike Lombardi," Belichick said. "Mike was here. Mike was with him and saw him and same thing I just talked about Danny with Josh, Mike saw that with Cleveland. We signed him as a future player and that's, again, when you see somebody on the practice field on a daily basis and you're around him, you know a lot more about him, especially a player like Dion who you didn't get to see on the field a lot.
"What you saw was good, but it just wasn't very much. When somebody's on the inside like that, then you can know a lot more about the player than what you do just seeing him on however many snaps he gets on Sunday afternoon, which in Dion's case wasn't very many. They were good, but they were just minimal."
"So, really the light went on with Josh," Belichick said. "Josh was here, Josh had had him in St. Louis, and we saw a good player in St. Louis, but you didn't see all the things behind the scenes that you kind of can see when you actually have the player on your team. Josh saw that, and he made me aware of, us aware of what all the things that Danny does and how well he does and what his skills were and so forth. That's kind of when it started, and once we got him here then all that became evident to everybody who works with him."
Finally, this is probably the most interesting thing I got from his press conference. Belichick said the Patriots have their eye on every team in the league every year, even if they don't play them. Though they focused less on the Eagles as opposed to other teams, Belichick said the Patriots have been aware of them all year.
“We cover every team,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a news conference. “There isn’t a team in the league that isn’t covered by the pro personnel department because in a fairly short amount of time in a couple of months, we’ll be into free agency and there will be players from every team in free agency, so you can’t neglect a team, their roster and their composition, which includes scheme and coaching staff and so forth, because there’s a lot of ways that the team comes together.”
“When we get into the playoffs then we can start to narrow that down at some point — Week 14, 15, 16 — whatever it is, and then our scouting department puts a little different focus on those teams and probably some of the people that have those teams during the regular season for eventual free agency,” Belichick said. “Or if a situation were to come up, say a player was released off another team, like Kenny Britt for example, when he was released from Cleveland.
“Even though we don’t play Cleveland, we still do Cleveland somewhere in the organization. As it narrows down, then we start to look to the teams that potentially we could face. Again, we’re not into the NFC for two games, so our first focus is the AFC and then at some point in that process as we already have gotten Jacksonville after they got to the AFC Championship Game, we got to the AFC Championship Game, then we started to turn to the two NFC teams. That’s kind of progressional.”
If you ever were curious as to how deep the Patriots' attention to detail is, that quote from Belichick pretty much tells you that they are ready for literally everything. There is no team in the league that is better prepared than the Patriots and what Belichick said just proved it.