Tag:Bill Belichick
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:32 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

In the eyes of the NFL, close-talking is not a crime. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL seems uninterested in dispelling the perception that there are two sets of rules -- one for the players and one for everyone else associated with the league. The latest instance came after Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz reenacted the "Wait, what did he just do to me?!" scene that has played out at every pro wrestling match ever staged.

On merit alone the incident isn't worth a fine (and none was levied); the sheer embarrassment of being a part of such a spectacle is punishment enough. But this is the NFL, where no transgression is deemed too small (see, for example) … except when it doesn't involve players.

Remember when the Colts announced before the season that they had hired former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as a game-day consultant? Instead of meting out the punishment, the league seemed happy to let Indianapolis handle it, but only after the story went public. That would've never happened had Tressel been a player (like, say, Terrelle Pryor).

Understandably, these inconsistencies irk players, and two of them spoke out about it Thursday during an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Texans wideout Derrick Mason, who have 28 years of NFL experience between them, were amazed Harbaugh and Schwartz escaped punishment.

(For what it's worth -- and we imagine not much -- NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this on Monday: "Fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine. … However, both coaches told [VP of football operations] Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. ... We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.")

“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey asked. “These are supposed to be the leaders of our team(s), and you let them get away with it, so to speak, and now how do you think the players will start acting? I like it personally, but I just know how the NFL operates today, it’s amazing to me they let this slide.”

Mason agreed.

“I think they should have (been fined), because these are the leaders of your team,” he said. “I think the NFL should have slapped them with some type of fine, $5,000 or $10,000 here or there, to at least show them they have to be responsible for what they do on the field.”

We love that Mason has no idea how much the coaches should've been fined, no doubt because the league has a history of arbitrarily handing out punishments.

It's one thing to be strict -- we get that. There's a plan, and even if most people don't agree with it, they know the rules going in. But when the judge, jury and executioner is a paranoid schizophrenic you're going to have issues like this crop up several times a season.

(By the way, Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar notes that "it could certainly be argued that both [Schwartz and Harbaugh] stepped on the wrong side of this one," and then points to the NFL's fine schedule which plainly states that "Sportsmanship: Excessive Profanity; other Unsportsmanlike Conduct (e.g., toward opponent(s), game personnel, fans, etc.): $10,000 / $20,000.")

In a web-exclusive, the analysts answer your questions for the 7th week of the season. Get the latest from JB, Phil, Cris, and Warren.

This seems like a good place to include what some other NFL coaches had to say about The Handshake when it invariably came up at their respective weekly press conferences.

Bill Belichick: "[The post-game handshake] is so heavily scrutinized by the media that it’s an event bigger than the game itself, which is so absurd. Like a lot of things, it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic of discussion. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does.

“I’d like to think that the reason that the people are there is to see the game and to see the competition. But they seem to want to talk about everything but the game. That’s not uncommon. That’s the media’s job, so that’s what they do. It certainly takes away from, as a coach, the things that you would say, so you find other times to do it outside of that. Maybe before the game, or a phone call to the coach after the game, that kind of thing.”

Mike Tomlin: "I really have no thoughts [on the handshake]. I think it is the same sometimes, when we pay attention to things that are meaningless, insignificant. The story of the NFL should be on the game itself. That was a hard-fought game played by two really good football teams, two exciting teams on the rise. I think that should be the story, not some unfortunate incident that happened after the game. I think that is silly."

When asked what does into a handshake, Tomlin was frank.

"I don't practice it. I don't think about it. I am just going to be cordial, be respectful and wish them well moving forward. I don't know about the norms, OK. I don't get into that. If I spend too much time thinking about the handshake, then I am not doing my job."

John Harbaugh: "I can just tell you this: I think I know who was right. But whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on. I’m definitely taking sides. [It’s] the same side I’ve always taken. … You know what? Everybody’s got a lot to learn. So I guess right now, [Jim's] 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame, after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Fair point. But as one NFL coach told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge, Harbaugh and Scwhartz "are going to regret it in the morning. They just bought a film clip for life."

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:50 pm

Ochocinco continues to struggle in New England

Ochocinco still looking to get comfortable in the Patriots' offense. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Patriots are 5-1, their latest win coming against the Cowboys on a late fourth-quarter scoring drive orchestrated by quarterback Tom Brady. Yes, it was all very familiar. But one of the team's big acquisitions during free agency, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, still looks uncomfortable in New England's offense.

Sunday, he was on the field for seven plays, and targeted just once. And the one time Brady threw in Chad's direction, the two weren't on the same page and the pass fell incomplete (which has been the case on several occasions this season).

"After the play, Brady could be seen yelling at Ochocinco as the wideout walked back toward the huddle," the Boston Globe's Shalise Manza Young wrote Monday. "And fair or not, the exchange brought back memories of the Joey Galloway Experiment, a failure by any measure."

The experiment of which Young speaks took place two years ago. And on October 20, 2009, the Pats had seen enough and cut ties with Galloway, who had just seven catches for 67 yards, and wasn't even on the game-day roster the final three weeks of his tenure in New England.

At the time, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss wrote that Galloway struggled with the offensive system, which sounds a lot like the issues that currently plague Ochocinco. The issue, it seems, is that the Patriots' offense is more complex than anything Chad saw during his ten years in Cincinnati, and it's not uncommon for Brady or other players to have to line him up properly before the snap.

So should Ochocinco be concerned about his immediate future in New England? Young offers some background.
With this being the Patriots bye week, every member of the team, from coaching staff to players, will be evaluated. There will be discussions about Ochocinco, who has nine catches for 136 yards through six games.

Part of the discussion when it comes to the 33-year old Ochocinco likely will be what the Patriots would lose if they cut ties: the team gave a fifth-round pick in 2012 as well as a sixth-rounder in 2013 to the Bengals. Ochocinco received a $4.5 million signing bonus as soon as he joined the team, and his base salary of $1 million is guaranteed because he was on the roster in Week
There was speculation that the Patriots were interested in Brandon Lloyd, who was traded from the Broncos to the Rams Monday. But even if Lloyd was still available, New England would be on the hook for nearly $6 million and Ochocinco's body of work suggests that sooner or later he'll emerge as a big-play target.

In the meantime, Ochocinco also provides depth behind veterans Wes Welker and Deion Branch. And unlike 2006, when Brady had no legitimate pass-catchers to speak of (Reche Caldwell was the team's leading receiver), Welker is one of the league's best wideouts, and tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

That said, head coach Bill Belichick isn't afraid to cut bait with players who underperform, despite what they may have accomplished elsewhere, or what the Pats had to give up to get them (either through a draft pick or compensation).

For now, though, Ochocinco is still a Patriot.

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Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:59 am

Welker wants to stay in New England

WelkerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s no stretch to say that Wes Welker is one of the top receivers in the NFL. His 740 receiving yards leads the league by a whopping 131 yards over the No. 2 Steve Smith, and his league-leading 45 catches through five games puts him on pace for, oh, 297 catches -- which, of course, would be a record (actually, he’s on pace for 144, which also puts him one ahead of Marvin Harrison’s record total of 143 in 2002).

But it’s interesting to think about how Welker would perform if he didn’t play in the Patriots offense and didn’t have a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing passes his way. After all, he didn’t set the league on fire when he played for the Dolphins from 2004-06.

We bring this up because of Welker’s claim that he wants to stay a Patriots player after his contract expires following this season.

“Well, of course I want to stay here, but as of right now, I don’t really think about it," Welker said earlier this week, via the Sporting News. "I think we have a great owner and great coaches and they have put together a model for us to go out there and succeed. Anytime you’re a part of that, it’s a pretty special thing."

Agreed, but you also have to wonder if the Patriots will want to give Welker a huge long-term extension. Before next season, he’ll have turned 31, and though that isn’t the death call for a receiver, the Patriots might not want to make him a four-year commitment either (although he is only making a $2.15 million base salary, which is ridiculous considering his production).

And as we all know, New England isn’t afraid to get rid of a veteran player, no matter how much he’s helped the team, if Bill Belichick thinks he’s outlived his usefulness to the organization.

Obviously, Welker isn’t going to find a better quarterback to play catch with than Tom Brady. He readily admitted that this week when he was asked if he could ever hope to find the same kind of chemistry with another quarterback that he has built with Brady. Welker said, "There’s no way I would."

So, maybe Welker really should try his best to break the record. Because even if the Patriots aren’t interested in retaining his services, there’s no doubt at least half the league would be trying to get his cell phone digits once he becomes a free agent. Even if he’ll lose the chemistry he has with Brady, he’ll get a ton of money instead.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:39 pm

Pats practice-squader ordered back to Navy ship

E. Kettani has been ordered to return to his Navy ship (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When Patriots running back Eric Kettani made the Patriots practice squad this year, he became a nice little story. Mostly because he had spent the previous two seasons on the reserve list as an active member of the Navy and because he was continuing his dream to get paid to play football in the NFL.

And while Kettani requested leave from his superiors, his dream of NFL glory has been postponed. That’s because the Navy, according to the Boston Herald has ordered Kettani back to his ship in Jacksonville, the USS Klakring.

In its letter of denial to Kettani, the Navy wrote: “As our nation is at war, it is important to ensure we maintain our commitment to the nation’s defense. As such, a release from active duty would be inconsistent with that effort.

"I appreciate your Patriotism and service to our nation and encourage you to pursue your goal to play professional football after completion of your service in the Navy.”

Kettani understands, but he’s also sad to leave his teammates, especially when, as ESPN Boston points out, the Army allowed Colts linebacker Caleb Campbell and the Air Force allowed Eagles receiver Chad Hall to stay and play football.

"I love my country and I’m happy to serve it, but I’m also happy to be a New England Patriot," said Kettani, who will fly back to Florida at 6 a.m. Friday.  "I think some of (the Patriots) were shocked. Coach Belichick said he'd help me out in any way possible.”

In the meantime, the Patriots and the NFL should be thankful for men like Kettani, who sacrifice their dreams in order to help protect our country.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your Amazon.com page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 3:45 pm

Ochocinco lost bet, quit Twitter for three weeks

Posted by Will Brinson

Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco hasn't tweeted since September 24. Lest you think this is normal, well, it's not -- Ocho used to fire out 40-plus tweets a day, and for him to go 12 days without any noise on Twitter whatsoever is disturbing.

As it turns out, Ocho isn't being forced off Twitter, per se, he just lost a bet, which probably involves his not-so-stellar play this season.

"Ochocinco hasn't tweeted because he lost a bet," Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald tweeted on Wednesday. "Twitter ban/lost bet last three weeks. Won't tell me the wager."

We checked with "Rap Sheet" on Twitter, and Ocho won't reveal who the bet is with either.

Or guess, because you care, goes something like this: there's was a bet between either Bill Belichick or Tom Brady and Ocho relating to number of catches against the Bills.

This makes sense for a couple of reasons. The Bills and Patriots played on September 25, one day after Ocho's last tweet. And Ocho had the most number of targets (four) that he's had all season, meaning you could jump to the conclusion, if you're inclined, that someone was trying to give him a fair shake of getting his hands on some balls.

He caught two passes for 28 yards, but dropped a critical pass in the Patriots loss, and that's not good enough to win any friendly bets. Or maybe he had a "don't drop any passes" or "run all your routes perfectly" bet going with Belichick.

Whatever, he's not talking about it, which means it's someone with authority and we probably won't see Ocho on Twitter until October 14 -- Rapoport says it's "retroactive," which is hilarious -- when the three-week stint is up.

So at the very least, we can rule out Tedy Bruschi.

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:51 pm

Report: Haynesworth is out for Sunday's game

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the fact Patriots defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has spouted the line that he’s happy to be in New England and that he’s grateful for another chance to prove himself again as an elite defensive lineman, he’s gotten off to a slow start, accumulating just two tackles in two games.

That number will not increase Sunday vs. the Raiders, because, as the Boston Herald reports, Haynesworth did not make the cross-country trip to Oakland. That means his balky back will keep him from playing.

The move isn’t shocking, since Haynesworth didn’t practice Thursday or Friday. But still you have to wonder what is going on with the one of the NFL’s most controversial figures. According to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the answer is simple: he’s improving.

“I see him every day,” Belichick said Friday. “He’s in here early, staying late, doing everything he can.”

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:50 pm
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