FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick's conference call about Sunday's game against the Jets was as filled with cliches as the day is long: one game at a time, prepare for all eventualities and so forth.
But, later in the day, quarterback Tom Brady was willing to add something of a human touch by acknowledging the need for a struggling team to tune out the outside static. (New England is in the unusual situation of being 3-3, same as the Jets.)
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"It's something we talk about," Brady said Wednesday, "and we talk about focusing on our job, and our job isn't really to listen to our friends or family members or our parents or what people may say on television.
"That's just a distraction."
OK, Brady threw in a trite old line, too. But, with this extra little touch: "If your mom thinks you played a great game, you know, great," he said. "But the reality is, the person you should really care about is your coach and the players you play with.
"Those are the guys you really need to satisfy. So, that's done with the hard work and preparation and, ultimately, the performance. We're a performance-based business. If you don't win, there's going to be someone else out there who's itching to do your job."
Belichick deflected questions of a personal rivalry with the Jets and their often blustery coach, Rex Ryan. "The only thing that matters is this week's game, and that's all we're focused on," Belichick said. "I'm not really concerned about what did or didn't happen some other year or some other game."
As clear as a bell, and mumbling through the session as quiet as a mouse, Belichick said his take on Tim Tebow's potential contribution to the Jets -- a topic already beaten like a dead horse -- hasn't changed, because Tebow "looks a lot like what we saw last year [with Denver]. He's tough. He can throw the ball, the deep ball. He's a poised guy, does what he's asked to do and does it hard, does it pretty well. I'm sure whatever they ask him to do he'll do his best at."
Thus was the usual working-like-a-dog preparation proceeding without revealing any secrets, which Brady acknowledged can occasionally be sprung on an opponent.
"It definitely happens," he said. "Maybe not a shock; just more of adjusting you need to do" -- as when Arizona surprised New England in Week 2 by abandoning blitzing tendencies from previous games.
"So, OK, we're expecting one thing, we didn't get it, what are we going to do now?" Brady said. "Teams are going to come up with game-plan type schemes and so forth trying to slow us down, and it's really how quickly you can adjust to those things."
Meanwhile, playing things close to the vest is a matter of being stubborn as a mule. And wise as an owl.