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Tag:Bill Belichick
Posted on: July 30, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Things stay same: Ochocinco talks, Albert fails

C. Ochocinco meets the media for the first time (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might have heard something about the Patriots making some pretty interesting moves during free agency in the past few days. For one, they traded two low draft picks to the Bengals for WR Chad Ochocinco. For two, they acquired somewhat-moody, rarely in-shape Albert Haynesworth from the Redskins.

Luckily for you, we’ve got news on each new Patriots player and how they’re handling their new surroundings.

1) Chad Ochocinco met with the New England media today for the first time, and it’s clear the Patriot-ifcation of the outspoken WR has already begun. He said he probably won’t say much to the media going forward, and then afterward, he asked for a group hug (that latter point is very un-Belichickian, by the way).

“I will always be me,” Ochocinco told reporters in quotes distributed by the team. “It has been a part of my game to always be me, but there is a certain way the Patriots do it and it’s easy for me. I’ve always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win. ... There is no need for some of the stuff I did before. There’s no need for it.”

I guess that means he won’t be sending opposing DBs little presents in the week before their games, and I guess that means he won’t be celebrating touchdowns in quite the same way. And as WR Wes Welker would advise him, Ochocinco also probably shouldn’t share any good Rex Ryan foot-fetish jokes he’s heard.

Either way, Ochocinco feels recharged.

“It’s hard to maintain a high level of productivity when things are always up and down,” he said, “The thing about this place [is that] it’s consistent. …  There is only so much that I can control and the position that I was in. In Cincinnati I did the best I could to my ability, and I did it in sort of a noisy way and that says a lot for me -- to be able to talk it and still walk it. To be able to come here, regardless of who is in, they get it done here. I call it riding the wave; I am going to enjoy it.”

He’ll enjoy it while wearing his old No. 85.

“This was Mr. [Aaron] Hernandez’s way of greeting me here,” Ochocinco said. “He gave me the number and I didn’t have to pay anything, I just shook his hand and I said, ‘Thank you.’ … I drive a Toyota Prius, so I was going to let him use my Prius on the weekends, and that’s about the best I can do right now. I have some left over McDonald’s coupons since I don’t eat there anymore.”

2) The reports coming out of New England also say that, perhaps not surprisingly, Haynesworth didn’t pass his conditioning test Saturday. Though Belichick didn’t confirm or deny that, he did say Haynesworth isn’t ready to play quite yet.

“There are things we still need to do with Albert for him to be able get on the practice field and when those things are done, he’ll be out there,” Belichick said.

Good to see that Haynesworth has learned from his past mistakes.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 9:48 am
 

Ochocinco traded by Bengals to Patriots

Ochocinco, BelichickPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the fan vitriol at a high level in Cincinnati and with his apparent feud with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis escalating, it make senses if WR Chad Ochocinco wanted to leave the city. And, for that matter, if the Bengals wanted him to leave.

Well, it’s happening.

According to Local 12’s Brad Johansen -- formerly the play-by-play announcer for the Bengals until he was unceremoniously dumped before the lockout -- Ochocinco has been traded to the Patriots for a draft pick.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Joe Reedy, Ochocinco’s contract had been renegotiated to a three-year deal before the deal was made.

The Bengals were slated to pay Ochocinco $6 million this year, but his skills declined last year, and with Terrell Owens in the same locker room, the two receivers weren’t very conducive to a cohesive team unit.

Ochocinco has been clamoring for a trade for the past few seasons. He finally has received his wish.

Considering the Redskins traded troubled DT Albert Haynesworth to the Patriots earlier today, you have to wonder how much ego New England coach Bill Belichick now will have to massage.

UPDATED 9:47 a.m.: As CBSSports.com's Clark Judge writes, the Patriots reportedly will send the Bengals a fifth-round pick in 2012 and a sixth-round pick in 2013.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:00 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:10 pm
 

Peyton Manning could miss start of training camp



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Training camps might be days away for NFL players, but Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, one of the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. the NFL lawsuit, won't be healthy enough to participate, at least initially.

A source tells the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz that Manning isn't fully recovered from surgery on a disk in his neck and "there's no way of knowing how much time he might miss." Kravitz adds: "It could be a week. It could be a couple of weeks. Or even most, or all, of training camp." He also notes that Manning "had recurring neck problems throughout the '10 season."

At first glance, there's nothing to see here beyond the news that Manning has been dealing with this injury for some time. But Houston Texans blogger and friend of the Eye on Football blog Stephanie Stradley raised an interesting point on Twitter Wednesday afternoon:

"So P Manning had neck issues throughout '10, tons of Colts on injury report, but never Manning? Hmmm."

For good measure, Stephanie linked to the Colts' 2010 weekly injury report.

The issue: If the Colts knew Manning was injured, why didn't they put him on the injury report? And more than that, should they be disciplined by the league for it?

PFT's Michael David Smith writes that "we get the sense sometimes that injury report shenanigans are so widespread in the NFL that hardly anyone cares about them anymore, but as long as the rules on reporting injuries are in place, we’re puzzled why Manning’s neck went unreported all season long."

The other side of this coin? Bill Belichick listing Tom Brady on every injury report all season long. In both instances, it's obfuscating the truth, just from different angles.

Whether the NFL decides to do something about it is another story. We suspect it's not particularly high on the to-do list, partly because everyone's focused on a new CBA, but also because we're not convinced there's a competitive advantage to teams fudging their injury reports.

Clearly, this is a job for Mike Tahoe and CJ Hunter.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Colquitt: Haley mad at McDaniels for cheating



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Todd Haley has been known for his short temper long before he landed the Chiefs' head coaching gig. Five years ago, when Haley was a wide receivers coach with the Cowboys, he and Terrell Owens had a falling out that ended with Owens stating that the two would have "no other dialogue" after Haley berated him for being late to a team meeting.

And then, in January 2009 when Haley was the Cardinals offensive coordinator, he got into it on the sidelines with receiver Anquan Boldin.

We mention this because last season, when the Broncos defeated the Chiefs, Haley refused to shake hands with then-Denver coach Josh McDaniels and instead decided to give him a finger-wagging lecture right there at midfield.


Haley later apologized saying, "I do believe in doing what's right and and that was not right. I probably let the emotions of the situation get to me too much and I apologize to the fans and to Denver and to Josh."

Well, on Wednesday, Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt appeared on the "Vic and Gary" show on 102.3 the Fan in Denver and he had some thoughts on why, exactly, Haley wasn't particularly happy with McDaniels.

“I don’t know if I can answer that within the locker room, but I know that it has something to do with the Spygate, the videotaping,” Colquitt said, according to PFT. “All the stuff like that. And I think that Haley was like, ‘Listen, based on that game I can tell what you are doing, and you are cheating.’ . . .

“I think it was just a culmination of rumors and [McDaniels] had been involved in that in New England possibly before, and so Todd was just kind of saying, ‘Look, with the game plan we had and what you guys already knew we were gonna do, this is’ . . . basically saying it was ‘bush, bush league.’”

So there you have it. According to Colquitt, Haley was miffed because he thought McDaniels, who came to Denver from New England, was cheating. We eagerly await Eric Mangini's thoughts on the matter.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Even if Randy Moss is in shape, will it matter?

MossPosted by Josh Katzowitz

WR Randy Moss, who was tossed around the NFL last year like he was some kind of moody player with noticeably thinning talent (imagine that!), wants to become a force once again in pro football.

Basically, he wants to become the “old Randy Moss” when he was a moody, ultra-talented receiver that actually made an impact in the games he played. And coincidentally, that’s exactly what he’s become, at least according to his agent.

Not only that, Joel Segal told NFL.com that Moss is in “freakish” shape and is ready for the lockout to conclude so he can sign with his next employer.

"Randy has been working out, two-a-days, all spring and summer in West Virginia," Segal said. "He is determined, motivated and, quite frankly, has a huge chip on his shoulder. Whatever team ends up getting Randy, they're going to know they're getting the old Randy Moss. He's not just coming in to be on the team, he's going to be Randy Moss -- a difference maker."

Moss, though, has a few problems. He’s 34 years old, and his skills, simply put, have declined (perhaps “sharply” declined). Patriots coach Bill Belichick had no problem getting rid of him last year, and after butting heads with former Vikings coach Brad Childress, Moss found himself a non-entity with the Titans.

With the three teams last year, he combined for 28 catches. Yet, he managed to catch five touchdown passes, which lends credence to the opinion that Moss retains some of his deep-ball and jump skills. But other than that skill set, Moss has become a much more limited player.

Which might mean that no matter how freakishly in shape Moss is right now, it won’t really matter to those who sign free agents. His age certainly won’t change and I can’t imagine that his attitude will either. And unless Moss has the older-age skills of Terrell Owens (also, ahem, a free agent), his career as a viable NFL player is in jeopardy.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:38 am
 

Who we want to see on Hard Knocks '11

Hard Knocks (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Throughout the lockout that seems neverending -- now at 114 days and counting!!! -- we’ve seen players get arrested, we’ve seen the NFL and the NFLPA come together and then bicker and then come together and then bicker, and we’ve seen players sue their girlfriends for their engagement rings.

Most disturbing, we’ve seen the signs that Brett Favre might want to return for another season.

We’ve also heard plenty about how a lost preseason would cost the NFL $800 million if the lockout continues through August and into September.

But when it comes to the preseason and how much is on the line, you know what we haven’t heard about? We haven’t heard which squad will be the subject of the annual highlight of August –- HBO’s "Hard Knocks."  

Oh, we know which teams have already declined the invitation (or supposedly, declined the invitation). Among them are the Buccaneers, the Broncos, the Lions and the Falcons (who might be open to doing it in the future), and at this point, it seems as if nobody wants to be on the show. Making matters tougher are those who say cooperating with Hard Knocks is a mistake.

Assuming we’ll see a preseason this year that would provide a platform for the Hard Knocks crew to start filming -- and CBSSports.coms’ Mike Freeman writes that it’s getting close --here are five teams we’d like to see featured on Hard Knocks. Many of them might not be interested for one reason or another, but if we have a fantasy roster, this is it.

Panthers


NewtonThe big storyline: Simply put: the entertainer and the icon, Cam Newton. We want to see how he learns the offense; we want to see if his teammates rally around him; we want to get an early idea of whether Carolina made a bad decision last April. Or maybe he’s the next superstar in the game. Either way, he’s one of the biggest storylines of the preseason, and we want to be inside the locker room to see what happens.

The foil: Jimmy Clausen. How is he going to react to Newton? What happens when Newton badly fakes out some defender destined for the practice squad and gains 30 yards on a broken play? Will the director then cut to Clausen as he raises a fist to the sky in anger? And what happens if Clausen, um, actually outplays Newton?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has mentioned in the past couple of days that Favre has offered to help mentor Newton. Can you imagine the video that could come from this, especially if the camera caught Favre alone in the locker room sending a text message? 2) WR Steve Smith: is he going to play for the Panthers or not?

Patriots


The big storyline: The same guy who makes sure this show would never feature his team on his watch. That would be coach Bill Belichick. How fascinating would it be to see how Belichick builds a team and how he relates to his players? Would we get to see Belichick’s team meeting in which he implicitly tells his team how to answer questions from the media (in the most uninteresting way possible)? Kidding aside, we want to see a future Hall of Fame coach behind the scenes and uncensored.

The foil: Rex Ryan. Is there any way to get a split screen of the Jets coach talking trash about Belichick -- hey, he’s not here to kiss anybody’s ring! – while Belichick coldly goes about finding a way to make Ryan pay for his words?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Danny Woodhead: he was on Hard Knocks with the Jets last season, and though he’s not in danger of being cut with New England, I still want to know why Woodhead, all of a sudden, is so freaking good. 2) G Logan Mankins (and his agent) has said some not very complimentary things about the Patriots management, all in the name of landing a large contract. Will he be kinder and gentler this preseason?

Packers


The big storyline: Obviously, the Lombardi Trophy. Hard Knocks has never followed a team the preseason after it won the Super Bowl, so it’d be cool to see the ring ceremony the public wasn’t allowed to witness a few weeks back (I’m assuming Hard Knocks wasn’t actually there, but it’d be cool nonetheless) while watching the Packers attempt a repeat.

The foil: Charles Woodson vs. Tramon Williams. Woodson is the bigger name, but he’s older than Williams and there’s a pretty good chance Williams is the better CB these days. Maybe we’d really get to see if Woodson is close to the end, and if Williams can replace Woodson’s outrageous production.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Would Aaron Rodgers sign autographs for the fans at training camp? Because, as we all know, he doesn’t like signing for cancer patients (I kid, I kid). 2) Last year, little-used cornerback Brandon Underwood had a sexual assault charge hanging over his head all season (he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge). Now, he’s been charged with disorderly conduct after an alleged physical altercation with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Underwood isn’t a great quote, but his story might make for an interesting change of pace on the show.

PhillipsTexans


The big storyline: The will-they-or-won’t-they-fire-him as it relates to coach Gary Kubiak. I’m kind of surprised he’s still coaching in Houston actually, and the last time Hard Knocks featured this kind of storyline, it was Wade Phillips with the Cowboys. Now, Phillips is Kubiak’s defensive coordinator. How hot can that boiler room get anyway?

The foil: The secondary. This is what I wrote in the Texans offseason checkup: “The secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.” I don’t disagree with that.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Though he came off a bit bumbling in Season 4 with the Cowboys, Phillips is a sympathetic figure. And the man has proved he can coordinate a defense. I want to see how he transforms a 4-3 sieve-like defense into a 3-4 defense that potentially could save Kubiak’s job. 2) Will QB Matt Schaub ever get into the playoffs? He’s the best quarterback in the league who hasn’t gotten there.

Raiders


The big storyline: Obviously, Al Davis, and the one question I want to know. How hands-on is he these days?

The foil: Nnamdi Asomugha: Just like Darrelle Revis last season with the Jets, we’re not going to see too much of the talented free agent cornerback on the TV. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see any of Antonio Cromartie either (psst, see video below).

Two other compelling reasons: 1) New coach Hue Jackson finally gets his chance at running a team. Forget that Tom Cable went 6-0 in the AFC West last year without making the playoffs -- still a pretty damn impressive feat. Davis got rid of him, just like he gets rid of everybody after a couple years. Will Jackson be an exception? 2) Al Davis: Seriously, I want as much Al Davis as possible.



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Posted on: July 5, 2011 9:44 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:22 pm
 

Could Ochocinco end up with the Patriots?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

In recent years, Bill Belichick's approach to the NFL Draft seems to involve more trading than selecting -- either down or out of the current draft altogether -- but always with the goal of accumulating future considerations. It's not a particularly exciting personnel strategy, although it's difficult to argue with the results. The Patriots have won at least 10 games a year since 2003, three times going 14-2, including last season.

While New England may be relatively quiet on draft weekends, they're generally pretty active in free agency. That hasn't been the case this offseason because of the lockout, but that could change if the owners and players agree on a new collective bargaining agreement in the next 10 days or so.

In anticipation of that eventuality, the Boston Herald takes a look at the Patriots' needs and the soon-to-be free agents who could fill them. First up: wide receivers.

New England's current depth chart includes established veterans with injury histories (Deion Branch, Wes Welker) and unproven, high-upside young guys (Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater, Brandon Tate). It's not quite the uninspiring group of wideouts that were on the team in 2006 (Reche Caldwell led the Patriots with 760 yards receiving that year), but it's not 2007, either (Tom Brady threw 50 touchdowns, 23 to Randy Moss).

Which is why the Herald lists Sidney Rice and Chad Ochocinco as possible free-agent targets. Rice, who had hip surgery last August, played in just six games with the Vikings in 2010. But in 2009, he was one of the league's most explosive players. He's also just 24.

Ochocinco's (mostly off-field) exploits are well documented. He's 33 and not technically a free agent. The Herald explains:
There’s still the popular debate on whether the Patriots need a speed receiver or not. That began when Randy Moss was traded last season and continued in the loss to the Jets. Well, this would certainly provide a solution. Rice has got the speed to stretch the field, and the skills to do a lot more. With the possible exception of Vincent Jackson, he’s the best guy out there. Brady isn’t getting any younger. Why not shoot for the moon? As for Ochocinco, he’s not actually a free agent. But if he’s treating himself like one, why shouldn’t we?
Conventional wisdom says that Ochocinco's best days are behind him, and a team in need of wideouts would be wise to look elsewhere. But this is New England, the place where over-the-hill malcontents go to revive their careers.

Take Corey Dillon and Randy Moss. Dillon rushed for 541 yards in 2003, his last season in Cincinnati. In 2004, he gained 1,635 yards for the Patriots, and he won a Super Bowl. In 2006, Moss had 42 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns with Oakland. The next season he caught 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns in New England. It's not unreasonable to think that Belichick and Brady couldn't keep Ochocinco focused, something Marvin Lewis never managed to do in Cincy.

As for Moss, whose name occasionally comes up as a possible option for the Patriots, his time in New England appears to have passed.

"It’s really hard to imagine [Moss returning to Foxboro], the Herald explains. "It’s one of those 'been there, done that, no sense doing it again' kind of stories. That’s not to say the Pats won’t be looking for a speed guy or another veteran receiver. Rice would help, if they could afford him. Ochocinco has one more year on his contract, but he’s made no secret he wants out of Cincinnati. It appears the Bengals want a divorce, too. With Bill Belichick’s affection for him, Ochocinco may, in fact, find a way to end up in Foxboro. If he behaves and still has some left in the tank, he could be the answer."

Even if the Patriots don't pursue a wide receiver during free agency, the 2011 group of pass catchers will still be plenty dangerous. Not so much because of the wide receivers, but because of the tight ends. As rookies last season, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were third and fourth on the team in receptions (45 and 42), and they accounted for 33 percent of the team's passing yards. If nothing else, Belichick learned from the 2006 season; if you don't have wideouts, find some tight ends. Tom Brady doesn't much care who he's throwing the ball to just as long as they're open.

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Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 11:57 am
 

McCarthy not worried Packers aren't working out

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Opinions vary on the long-term importance of player-organized workouts. The lockout prohibits coaches and players from communicating, so until there's a new CBA, these informal training sessions are all we have. Or, if you're the defending champion Green Bay Packers, you forgo the workouts altogether and wait for the season to officially begin.

It's one thing for the Carolina Panthers to take this approach; they would immediately be ridiculed for not wanting to improve on last year's 2-14 season. It's something else entirely when the Super Bowl champs do it. It's akin to fans and media mocking the Raiders for taking on Randy Moss' baggage but praising the Patriots for doing the same thing a few years later. The difference: Bill Belichick has earned the benefit of the doubt.

Same deal with the Packers. And perhaps it's why we haven't heard much consternation about the fact that they haven't held informal get-togethers during the lockout. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy, appearing on ESPN Milwaukee with Jason Wilde, addressed the issue Monday.

“I’m more interested in them being together as a group for Greg Jennings’ event or Donald Driver’s event," McCarthy said. "I think that’s as important as them going onto the field and trying to manufacture a practice. I think anytime you have a group of people, especially professionals, there’s other factors involved that obviously have to deal with risk. Part of our business in the training environment is risk assessment.

"It’s important for these players when they do come together for the first time that there’s a progression you go through as you get ready as a group. I know in my heart that every one of them has been taking care of business on an individual basis, and I know some of them have gotten together in small groups. They’ll be ready.”

Seems perfectly reasonable to us.

It also parallels the observations Browns tackle Joe Thomas made this week when he said that fewer OTA and minicamp sessions during the offseason might be better for the players in the long run.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning called the workouts "better than nothing," which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for their effectiveness.

"It's kind of the best we can do under the circumstances," Manning said Monday, according to the New York Daily News. … "[The sessions were] really to just kind of get some of the young guys out there, to get Jerrel (Jernigan, the Giants' third-round pick) and some of the draft picks, to get them to meet some of the guys, learn a little bit of the terminology," Manning said. "You get worried. You don't know how long this lockout is going to be, where if it goes too long they'll never be able to catch up and it'll be a wash of a year for them. You're trying to prevent that."

Manning's less concerned with the veterans. "You can get your timing in training camp," Manning said. "We've got guys that have been there before."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com