FOXBORO -- The assumption is that playoff experience for players like Tom Brady, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Solder, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung might help at this time of year.
The playoffs are a different animal. They're played at a different speed. They require another level of focus. Those are the cliches that get thrown around at this time of year, at least.
Bill Belichick disagrees, apparently.
"I always remember my rookie year when Bill came in there and he always harped on around this time everyone talks about experience and having guys with playoff experience," McCourty said Wednesday. "He came in there and said, ‘I don’t give a damn about playoff experience.’ It’s all about who executes and plays their best football this time of year.
"Whether you’re a guy who’s played in 12 playoff games or whether you’re a rookie, he’s said he’s seen examples of both who have come out and played great and those who have come out and played terrible."
McCourty explained that Belichick didn't totally discount the benefits of having played in big games, but his general point was crystal clear.
"He said, ‘Does it help? Maybe.’ He said it doesn’t matter if you don’t come out and play," McCourty said. "I think for those guys [who haven't played in the postseason], their biggest thing is they’ve played, they’ve played football for years now. Just zero-in and playing your best football right now is what’s important, and I think they understand that more than anybody because this is what they’ve waited for, and this is what they’ve wanted. You just let those guys go out there and play."