Tag:Bill Belichick
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:14 am
 

Brady has history of poor play before facing NYG

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Shortly after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady was asked about his very un-Tom Brady-like effort: 22 of 36 for 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"Well I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us," was Brady's initial reaction. He expanded on those thoughts in the postgame press conference.

"As a quarterback, you never want to turn the ball over. …I wish I would've done a better job with that today. In some ways you always beat yourself up. I've been doing this for quite awhile. I'm glad we won, I'm glad we're moving on and hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks."

Brady also made a promise to owner Robert Kraft that night: "I promise you I'm going to play a lot better in two weeks."

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It's an odd thing to hear from Brady because he's been so good for so long. As observers, we've almost come to expect every performance to be masterful, every decision to be clinical. When it doesn't happen, the cognitive dissonance is too much, even for Brady, the man largely responsible for the Patriots' three Super Bowl titles since 2001.

Which is why no one is concerned that Brady won't play like, well, Brady when the Patriots and Giants meet in Super Bowl XLVI in three days. But here's the thing: the Giants have said all week that the key to getting Brady off his game is to hit him. A lot. That game plan, coupled with David Tyree's head certainly helped New York to a Lombardi Trophy four years ago. Brady entered that game as the quarterback of an 18-0 team and fresh off a regular season that included 4,806 yards, 68.9 completion percentage, 50 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 117.2 passer rating.

In the Super Bowl, the Giants held him to 29 of 48 for 266 and one touchdown. He was also sacked five times after going down just 21 times in the regular season.

We're all aware of the damage New York's front four can inflict on a passing offense, even one with Brady at the center. But here's something else to consider: in terms of passer rating (57.5), Brady has his worst game of the season against the Ravens two weeks ago. In previous weeks he had completed fewer passes for fewer yards with more interceptions, but never in the same game.

The good news: every time Brady's passer rating has dipped below 90 this season, he's hit triple-digits the following week.

The bad news: Brady was coming off a similarly poor performance heading into Super Bowl XLII, the last time the Patriots and Giants met.

In that year's AFC Championship game, New England hosted San Diego and won despite an underwhelming showing from Brady who finished the afternoon completing 22 of 33 for 209 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating: 66.4, his second-lowest of the season (he bottomed out at 51.5 against the Jets in Week 15) and well below his 117.2 average.

After beating the Chargers Brady said "Now we're going someplace warm, because I'm freezing my you-know-what off."

Turns out, the weather didn't matter two weeks later in Arizona. Partly because of the Giants' stifling pass rush but also because Brady didn't look anything like the Hall of Fame quarterback we reflexively expect to put up 400 yards and toss four touchdowns every time he takes the field. And just like four years ago, Brady is coming of a forgettable game, and just like four years ago, he now has to face the Giants in the Super Bowl.

But maybe this is just coincidence. Then again, Brady didn't play particularly well against the Steelers this season, their opponent just before losing the Giants in Week 9. 

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Kevin Faulk still has big role with Patriots

K. Faulk spends time at Media Day (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – Kevin Faulk began his career in New England 13 seasons ago. Before Bill Belichick, before Tom Brady, before the Super Bowl titles and the dynasty label. Back then, Faulk, taken in the second round of the 1999 NFL draft, took handoffs from Drew Bledsoe, took coaching from pre-USC Pete Carroll and took plenty of losses (19 in his first two seasons).

But better than perhaps anyone in the organization, Faulk understands how far the Patriots have come since 2000. He was there at the beginning when the team was going nowhere and in the middle when the Patriots couldn’t avoid the Super Bowl. And now as Faulk gets closer to the end of his closer, he gets to help determine if the Patriots can end their seven-year NFL title streak and reestablish themselves as one of the greatest organizations in NFL history.

Faulk has never really been a star. He led the team in rushing just once, and though he was a big contributor in the passing game for much of his career, he was rarely spectacular. Mostly, he was just solid. But he’s played for a coach in Belichick who has no qualms about cutting loose veteran players if he believes they’ve outgrown their usefulness,and  the fact Faulk has remained in New England all these years is a testament to Faulk’s importance in this organization.

Faulk

“Kevin has been essential,” Patriots guard Brian Waters said. “He’s got a lot of young guys he’s been working with. He has a great understanding of telling them what it takes to get to the next level. It’s different when it comes from coaches. Coaches say the same things over and over. When it comes from a player, especially when it comes from a guy with such a big heart and such a leader as he is, it definitely sticks with you.”

Faulk is not an outspoken player, which he fully displayed during Tuesday’s Media Day proceedings. He had his own podium, but his answers were clipped and not altogether interesting.

He’s adamant about not reflecting on his career before it’s finished. He knows he’s on the backend of his career, but he doesn’t appreciate these days any more than he appreciated the game in the past.

“What happened earlier in my career? You worry about that after your career,” said Faulk, who is the team’s all-time leader with 12,349 all-purpose yards and just one of six NFL players this past decade to total 3,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards. “Once you’re in it, you’re in it. You don’t want to look back and think about what you’ve done. You wait until it’s all over.”

He did wonder, though, if he still had a place in the NFL after missing most of last season with a torn ACL. He wondered, in fact, if he’d ever get a chance to win his fourth Super Bowl ring.

“Sorta, kinda,” said Faulk, who started this season on the PUP list. “That’s every year, though. You always wonder if you’re going to get back there. There’s a lot of different ways and situations that has to go on in order to make it to this point.”

But there’s little doubt Faulk has been one of Belichick’s favorite players. Even though Faulk, throughout the years, has played behind the likes of Terry Allen, J.R. Redmond, Antowain Smith, Laurence Maroney, Corey Dillon, Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ((see above graph), Belichick continues to see Faulk’s value.

“In terms of his contributions, his unselfishness, and being a great teammate, everybody loves Kevin,” Belichick said. “As they should. He contributes so much to our football team. He’s so unselfish. Always tries to help the younger players and the team in whichever way he can. He’s not the most vocal guy, but he will speak up sometimes and it’s always in a positive way. He was here when I got here. He’s been a great player and a great teammate for all of us through the years.”

H/T to CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson for the graph.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:16 pm
 

Will NYG be NFL's most consistent team with win?

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin go back a long way. Both worked on Bill Parcells' staff with the Giants in the 1980s, and they remain two men who have great admiration for one another.

“I respect a lot of things about Tom – his evaluation of talent, the way he attacks teams, his consistency, his discipline, his team’s toughness, their resiliency," Belichick said.

Coughlin, several blocks away at the Giants' press conference, was just as complimentary. “He’s always been an exceptional defensive coach trained by the best, by Parcells," he said of Belichick. "He’s also become an outstanding offensive coach and Tom Brady has helped him to really diversify and get into areas offensively that only lead to the particular strengths of the individuals involved, and he’s done a very good job of that."

Now, two decades later, Belchick and Coughlin have four Super Bowl titles between them. Three of those Lombardi Trophies belong to New England but that happened during a four-year span from 2001-2004.

In the seven seasons since, the Patriots have made six playoff appearances, but returned to the Super Bowl just once, in 2007, where they lost to the Giants in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. From 2001-2011, New England is 16-5 in the postseason, but since 2006, they're just 6-4. Relatively speaking, 6-4 is a fantastic accomplishment. It's just that we've gone from hailing the Patriots as the next great dynasty four years ago to now wondering if they're even the NFL's best team this century.

In fact, if the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI, you could make a case that they belong in that conversation.

New York hasn't had the Pats' sustained success since 2000, but they played in a Super Bowl following the '00 season (a loss to the Ravens), and since Coughlin was hired in 2004, they've been to the playoffs in five of eight seasons. They're 7-3 over that time with three of those wins coming last month.

Since '07, Coughlin's winning percentage with the Giants is impressive (49-31, 0.613), though less so when compared to Belichick (64-16, 0.800). But regular-season accomplishments mean little if they don't culminate in a championship. No one talks about New England's almost perfect 2007 season except to point out that the Giants beat a thought-to-be unstoppable offense and longer odds to earn the Lombardi Trophy.

Yet no one mentions the Giants in the same breath as the Patriots (and to lesser extents, the Steelers, Saints, Packers and before this season, the Colts) and that includes some Giants players.

"Honestly, for us, that ’07 (Super Bowl) was kind of like us coming together as a football team," defensive end Justin Tuck said this week. "We just said we wanted to kill a dynasty, and that’s what they were. But now, we’ve been here before and we felt as though all that is secondary. We just want to come in here and have our mind focused on playing a great football game, and not really getting caught up in all the hoopla around the game.”

That's exactly what Super Bowl week is -- hoopla around a game -- but the absurdities of Media Day shouldn't obscure what the Giants will have accomplished if they win. Coughlin remains unimpressed, at least for now.

"That’s the furthest thing from my mind is how this enhances my legacy," Coughlin said Tuesday. "That’s nowhere near anything that I am thinking about right now. What I’m concerned with is the concentration of our players, putting ourselves in the best frame of mind that we can possibly be, preparing our team to the best of our ability, and then playing exceptionally well, as best as we possibly can.”

Fair enough, but by Sunday night we could be talking about Coughlin -- who annually (and inexplicably) finds himself on the hot seat -- as the man responsible for bringing the Giants two Super Bowls in five years. Just like Parcells.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:54 pm
 

Gronkowski misses Patriots practice Wednesday

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By Ryan Wilson

Update (5:50 p.m. ET): On Wednesday morning Belichick talked about what Gronkowski might be able to do in practice later in the day. We now know that answer: nothing. The Patriots sent out a practice report around 5:45 on Wednesday afternoon and Gronkowski was listed as did not participate.

Gronkowski now has two more chances to get on the field and see how his ankle responds in practice. If he can't even do that, it's going to make for a tough decision as to whether or not he can even contribute on Sunday during the Super Bowl.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- It's hump day at Super Bowl week and head coach Bill Belichick continues to be in a good mood. In fact, his demeanor has been a storyline since the Patriots arrived. During Tuesday's Media Day session, wide receiver Wes Welker attributed it to the "lady in [Belichick's] life."

Whatever the reason, New England's head coach seems at ease four days out from the final game of the 2011 season.

During his Wednesday morning press conference, Belichick spoke on tight Rob Gronkowski, who continues to recover from a high-ankle sprain he suffered during the AFC Championship game. ("Rob's getting better … we're taking it day to day. … We'll see what he can do today [at practice] and go from there.") 

Belichick was also asked about the Giants' front four, a group that terrorized Brady earlier this year and did the same when New York upset New England in Super Bowl XLII.

"Those inside guys can really knock the line of scrimmage back," he said. "Their ends are a good combo of size and speed (and) I don't know if anybody can play like the Giants play -- they're so good."

Brady knows this too. Some Giants players have said that Brady can be rattled, and he might be more cognizant of pressure -- and it could affect the way he plays -- after having reconstructive knee surgery early in the 2008 season.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," Brady said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

****

Other notes from Wednesday's press conference…

-- Brady was asked about Chad Ochocinco, who was acquired just before training camp to give the Patriots a deep threat. Instead, he had just 15 catches and one touchdown in the regular season. He played a single snap against the Broncos in the Divisional playoff game and was inactive a week later against the Ravens in the conference championship. (Ochocinco missed practice time leading up to that game to attend his father's funeral.)

"Chad has worked hard everyday … and I've really loved having Chad on this team," Brady said. "He still has that childlike quality in terms of his enthusiasm for the game." And while Ochocinco's season hasn't gone well, Brady said that the former Pro Bowl wideout is still "willing to do whatever it takes to win."

-- Belichick was also asked about Julian Edelman, the college quarterback and former seventh-round pick who now plays just about every position but quarterback in New England.

"We saw Edelman as a good athlete at Kent State," Belichick said … "We didn't really think he was a quarterback but tough, quick, good with the ball in his hands with a desire to improve. … It's been a big transition for him (as both a returner and a slot receiver) … and we got in some injury situations and his skills as a slot receiver transferred into what we ask of our slot corners."

Belichick called Edelman "a smart guy" who's taken "a lot of plays in practice on both sides of the ball."

-- Brady may have said he "sucked" following the Ravens game but Belichick sounded unconcerned Wednesday. "I think Tom does a good job in his preparation every week. … He's one of our hardest workers. I meet with Tom at the beginning of the week and he's always seen as much (game film) or more than i have."

-- Belichick saved his best for last. He was asked about comments by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said he was embarrassed by the NFC's effort in last weekend's Pro Bowl (the AFC won, 59-41).

"What I'm going to say probably shouldn't be what I should say to that question so I'm going to let it go," Belichick said as he fought back a smile. "What it was and what it is now … it's a lot different," he added before leaving the podium.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 9:00 pm
 

EoF on the scene: Super Bowl XLVI, Media Day

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tuesday was Media Day. And while it was more subdued than in previous years, there was still plenty to see. (Click photos to enlarge.)

“Have I changed? Probably, but I think it’s important as the process of learning. You learn, develop, and change every year." - Tom Coughlin (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) "I’m not in to making predictions. It’s not my job to list quarterbacks. [Brady's] obviously a future Hall of Famer. He’s had a tremendous career. It’s his fifth Super Bowl, so that’s amazing. This is a team game. Win or lose, based on how the team plays. Hopefully the Giants can be the better team on Sunday.” - Eli Manning (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
Patriots wide receiver Tiquan Underwood is obviously a huge Kid 'n Play fan. HUGE.  (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) Ross Ventrone interviews Peter King. (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
“Yeah, there is a lot of [talking] going back and forth (between the two teams), but that’s just football. We are all competitive guys that just want to win. We all think we are better than one another. That’s just what it leads to.” - Brandon Jacobs (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “[Media Day] is just a lot of hoopla. We are just ready to play football and go out there and have fun. Just staying focused this week is the main key.” - Ahmad Bradshaw (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
“We practice as if Gronkowski is going to play. If he doesn’t play, then you just go to a different gameplan, but It’s all on Coach Perry (Fewell), how Coach Perry wants to play it out. He will put us in the best position to win the football game.” - Jason Pierre-Paul (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “Playing football again was that goal, and that really pushed me. After six hours of chemotherapy, you’re sitting there and your body just feels drained. You don’t want to move, but I said, ‘I am going to be playing football again in eight months, so I need to go and workout." - Mark Herzlich (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
"I think [Belichick's] enjoying himself.  I think he’s got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don’t know.  We’re just coming here to try and win a ballgame.  However we do that or whatever demeanor we have to take, that’s what it’s going to be.” - Wes Welker (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) “Draft day was definitely frustrating. At first, I wasn’t buying into the mock draft boards. But I’m glad I came to this team and I love the New York Giants organization and what they stand for. It’s been working out well so far.” - Prince Amukamara (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
CBS golf analyst David Feherty made an appearance at Media Day. (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com) This is Artie Lange, comedian and formerly of the Howard Stern Show.  (Photo credit: Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:23 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Welker: Belichick nicer due to 'lady in his life'

Welker thinks Belichick's happy because of a 'lady in his life.' (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- By all accounts, the version of Bill Belichick that showed up at this year's Super Bowl is a kinder, gentler version of the Hoodie. Or funnier. Whatever it is, Belichick's clearly in a chipper mood this week.

But what's the cause? Well, Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has one theory: Belichick's dating life.

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"I don’t know, I think he’s enjoying himself," Welker said when asked about Belichick's demeanor.  "I think he’s got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don’t know.  We’re just coming here to try and win a ballgame.  However we do that or whatever demeanor we have to take, that’s what it’s going to be."

It's entirely possible that Welker's right. (You should've seen how cynical I was before Mrs. Brinson.) But just to make sure, we asked him again.

"A lot of people have been asking me that," Welker said laughing. "I attribute it to Linda, personally."

This isn't Welker's first run-in with sly press conference humor. The dude knows how to slip a joke or two into a media appearance and have a little fun. But it's not the kind of thing you'd hear from all the Patriots -- Deion Branch, asked about his thoughts on Belichick's demeanor, was a little surprised at Welker's theory.

"He said what?" Branch said before busting out laughing. "I don't know. That's what Welker said? Coach told us to have fun, but not that much fun."


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Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:19 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 8:30 pm
 

EoF on the scene: Super Bowl XLVI, Day 1

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's officially Super Bowl Week, which means that the Patriots and Giants met with the media for the first of many press conferences Monday. (Click on the photos to open in a new window.)



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Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:24 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 7:30 pm
 

Belichick: Revenge is not a factor for Super Bowl

Belichick says revenge isn't a factor for the Pats. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Perhaps you've heard by now, but the Patriots and Giants squared off in the Super Bowl previously. The Giants won that game back in 2007 and there's a common theme around Indy relating to getting revenge.

Well, to be more accurate: everyone would like there to be a common theme relating to revenge. Because Bill Belichick's not buying into the idea, even though former Patriots -- and members of that 2007 team -- like Rodney Harrison have said revenge would be a factor.

"You can talk to all those guys. Their opinion is their opinion," Belichick said during his press conference Monday. "I see this game as this game. And there aren't really that many guys who played in the last game four years ago. This team is this team."

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Belichick doesn't just think the teams are different from the 2007 renditions. He believes the teams squaring off Sunday are different than the two teams that met in Week 9 of the 2011 season.

"I think our team is different than what it was at midseason," Belichick said. "I think it's different than what it was in December. I think the Giants are a different team than we played in November. I think they're a different team than they were in December.

"So this game ... the elements of it are what we have in front of us. Not what happened two months ago, not what happened two years ago, four years ago, whatever it was."

This won't be the last time Belichick has to talk about the 2007 Super Bowl. He'll be consistently reminded of his team's failures against the Giants throughout the week and it's entirely possible that by the time the Super Bowl actually gets here, revenge will be a factor.

But as of right now, it's the focus of the Patriots locker room. Or so Belichick says.

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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