Belichick all business as Patriots gear up for clash with Titans

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick faces reporters during a news conference, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — If there’s one thing Bill Belichick is good at, it’s ignoring outside noise.

After briefly addressing on Monday a controversial ESPN article about his team, the New England Patriots head coach was quick to set the tone Tuesday as he spoke to reporters at Gillette Stadium.

“Dealt with some non-Tennessee subjects here or the last few days,” he said. “At this point I’m all in on Tennessee. I’ll answer any questions about the Titans but that’s it.”

The report published last week by ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham suggested there’s turmoil within the organization, specifically between Belichick, QB Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft. Belichick said the article and commotion surrounding it has no impact on the team’s preparations for Saturday’s game.

“It’s a one-game season and this is what you work for, to get to this position,” he continued. “We have one game left against the Titans and we have to play better than they do to continue playing. That’s a huge challenge. Obviously every team that’s playing, I mean there are eight teams left, all eight of them are good teams.”

Following their eighth consecutive first-round bye, the Patriots took the field for practice Tuesday as they get ready to host the Titans.

After practice, tight end Rob Gronkowski said he and his fellow players have been following Belichick’s lead.

“The reputation that coach tries to get us to have is just ignore the noise,” Gronkowski said. “You’ve just got to keep ignoring the noise and just keep our focus on what we’ve been doing all year, and that’s preparing hard, studying our opponent, getting ready mentally and physically for the big game.”

“No matter what’s going on on the outside,” he continued, “as a team, as an organization, we’ve just got to keep grinding, keep going and keep doing our job.”

Safety Devin McCourty said the team’s motivation doesn’t come from any outside sources.

“Guys are motivated by playing for each other, their families, more than an ESPN article,” he said. “You’re not going to be motivated to prove an article wrong.”

The Titans advanced to this weekend’s divisional round with a dramatic comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday. Belichick said they’ve impressed him, especially down the stretch.

“All the way across the board, this is a team that’s been in a lot of close games,” he said. “They’re tough, they’re resilient. Won on the road, won tough games the last two weeks that they needed to win.”

Remember – the game’s on 12! Be sure to join us at 7 p.m. on WPRI 12 for a special playoff edition of New England Nation, where our panel will get you ready for the game with insight, analysis and a look inside the Patriots’ locker room. Plus – be sure to stick around for our post-game show immediately after CBS game coverage.