Belichick: ‘Whoever plays, plays’

Around the league, a handful of coaches are dealing with the same end-of-season dilemma — and the questions that accompany it — of how much to play their starters, or at least players who are less than 100 percent, in Week 17 games where playoff seeding has been decided. You can make an argument the scenario is playing out in San Diego, New Orleans and Cincinnati. And we already know about Indianapolis.

True to form, Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t revealing anything about how much his key players will play against the Texans. The Patriots — like the Bengals — aren’t locked into a playoff seed, but will either be the No. 3 or 4 seed, and will have a road playoff game in the divisional round.

Belichick said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday he hasn’t had that discussion with his staff.

“I wouldn’t even anticipate doing it, having that discussion right now,” Belichick said. “What’s going to happen now is we’re going to go through the game plan, players will come in tomorrow, and everyone is going to get ready to play. And that’s how we’re going to approach it. Whoever plays, plays. Whoever doesn’t play, doesn’t play. But it’s like that every week. We could go out there and on the first play of th game something could happen and somebody else could be in there.

“Everyone needs to be ready to go all of the time.”

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