Tag:Bill Belichick
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:41 pm
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Report: Pats looking to restructure Ocho's deal

Ochocinco on the 2011 season: 'I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off.' (AP)
By Josh Katzowitz

With the disappointing season Chad Ochocinco had with the Patriots in 2011, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if New England cut ties with Ochocinco, especially considering the organization will have to pay him $3.1 million for each of the next two seasons.

In fact, it probably would have been MORE surprising if Ochocinco actually took the field (or was inactive but on the roster) for the Patriots in 2012.

Now, though, it seems like the Patriots might want Ochocinco back, as Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports New England has approached Ochocinco about restructuring his contract.

Ochocinco's highs and lows
You have to imagine that Ochocinco probably would jump at the opportunity to play with New England again. After all, when he was traded from the Bengals to the Patriots, he had to restructure his deal in order to make the transaction go through. Considering it seemed he had wanted to play for Bill Belichick for many years, Ochocinco was more than willing to do so.

Ochocinco wasn’t nearly as bombastic this year -- probably because he had the worst year of his career -- but he seemed to enjoy the Patriots system. A pretty good indication of that is when he said recently, "I bought into the Patriot Way, and it paid off."

And who knows? Maybe in his second year in the Patriots system, he could begin to reach the heights he once knew in Cincinnati.

But at a much, much cheaper price.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:17 pm
 

Report: Pats 'likely' to franchise tag Wes Welker

Welkers will reportedly get the franchise tag from New England. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We've mentioned Wes Welker's name several times over the past few weeks. Once as our pick for the top available free-agent wide receiver and previously as a player on whom the franchise tag would probably be used.

And that appears to be the case: according to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Patriots "are likely" to utilize the franchise tag and place it on Welker before the March 5 deadline, in order to prevent Welker from hitting the open market. If Welker signed his tender, he would receive a guaranteed, one-year salary of $9.5 million.

There was some belief that the Patriots wouldn't commit that much cash in guaranteed money to Welker and would let him test the market and then attempt to re-sign him at a lower rate than what Welker reportedly wants (it's believed he wants to be paid somewhere in the range of $14 to $15 million per year).

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reported on Saturday that the logic behind the Patriots change of heart is that the market for Welker in free agency would be "incredibly active."

The last time New England used the franchise tag, things did not go smoothly. Logan Mankins, one of the defendants in the Lockout Lawsuit, held out for seven games after the labor crisis was resolved.

And there's a chance that a similar stand-off could occur with Welker if the two sides don't reach a long-term deal. Welker's critical to the Patriots offense -- he has 554 receptions and 6,105 receiving yards since 2007 -- but he would also like to be paid like one of the top wideouts in the game and given his age and previous injury history, the security of one more big contract.

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Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Wayne on Pats: 'Who wouldn't want to play there?'

Wayne's career in Indy may be over but he'll play somewhere (New England?) in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Way back in August, days after the lockout had ended and before any of the 32 teams had their hopes and dreams crushed, Colts owner Jim Irsay asked veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, in the last year of his contract, to be patient. There would be no new deal during the season.

"At this point," Irsay said at the time, "I don't anticipate that sort of thing, an extension or anything like that. We always talk about next year, where we're going to be with the (salary) cap, what type of situation we're going to be in because it's going to come quickly. We prepare for next year whether it's Pierre (Garcon), or Robert and Reggie."

The Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record without Peyton Manning, who along with Wayne, appears to have played his last game in Indy. To Wayne's credit, he never complained publicly or entertained thoughts of holding out, even saying last summer that "I'm a Colt, what else I'm gonna be?"


On Friday, ESPN's Josina Anderson asked Wayne about his NFL future. He doesn't sound much different in February than he did in July. 

"All I know is the Colts," he said. "That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. 

"However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven't heard anything from [the Colts] yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be. 

"But either way, I'm cool," Wayne continued. "I have nothing bad to say about the Colts. The Colts took me in and made me a millionaire. I had nothing before I got here but a bunch of invoices. So either way I am still good, and I will still be friends with all of my teammates. But I am still at a point with all of this Peyton stuff, and this Andrew Luck stuff that I can't be all the way worrying just about that. My phone hasn't rung yet. It's only fair I worry about number 87 first. When I'm signed, then I can weigh in more." 

We've been saying for almost two months that Wayne's future could be tied to Manning's. Wherever Peyton ends up, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Wayne won't be far behind. (This week, the Dolphins are the favorites to land Manning; Wayne went to the U. And if Manning goes to the Jets, it makes sense that Wayne would follow him there too.)

But should the duo go their separate ways after playing together for a decade, the Patriots would be a logical landing spot for the wide receiver. Here's what we wrote on December 22 about possible destinations for Wayne in 2012:

"1. New England. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati."

Wayne isn't a burner (he's 33 and an 11-year veteran), but he knows how to get open on short, medium and deep routes, something Ochocinco struggled with from the moment he arrived in Foxboro.

And while Wayne-to-the-Pats was nothing more than speculation, it also makes sense.  Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, has spoken to Wayne about relocating to New England.

“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said according to the Boston Herald. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’

“If it could have worked with Chad (Ochocinco), it would have been good. It didn’t. I just think (Tom Brady) has a lot of weapons, but he can always use that stretch-the-field receiver," McGinest said. "When they had Randy (Moss) there, it really made it tough for teams to stop them. Reggie Wayne is somebody who could stretch the field. He has great hands, he’s a professional who could pick up the system. Having another big-time receiver like that would put it over the top.”

And that was our point back in December. Ochocinco has been a disaster, Wes Welker is a possession receiver not a deep threat, and the passing offense is built around the tight ends.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith points out that Bill Belichick is a longtime Wayne fan, too.

“I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne,” Belichick said during the 2009 season. “That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better.”

The Patriots have a history of taking guys who regularly torch them. That's how Welker ended up in New England in 2007.

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Posted on: February 11, 2012 6:38 pm
 

VIDEO: Belichick mourning loss at Pebble Beach

By Josh Katzowitz

For those who have a problem with Rob Gronkowski dancing shirtless a few hours after the Patriots Super Bowl XLVI loss, they'll probably be infuriated with the video you’ll see below -- namely Bill Belichick enjoying his time playing golf at Pebble Beach this weekend with Alabama coach Nick Saban.

“It’s awesome,” Belichik said. “It’s great to spend time with Nick and the pros here. Just to be out here at Pebble Beach.”

And though Belichick, we assume, hadn’t played golf since August, he apparently played quite well and made the cut with Ricky Barnes at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It’s not like he was dancing shirtless (though check out the hoodie he wears in the interview with Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo), but still, it’s disappointing he wasn’t mourning the Super Bowl XLVI loss for at least a week (I kid, I kid).

“It’s been tough,” Belichick said. “It’s a tough couple days, but Pebble Beach is a great spot to take your mind off some of the troubles we had.”



And as an added bonus, I’ll go ahead and post this video of Aaron Rodgers and Darius Rucker. It’s awesome: Rodgers and Rucker together again, a long-awaited reunion that finally came to fruition.



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Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:31 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 9:43 am
 

Patriots president defends Rob Gronkowski

Jonathan Kraft on Gronkowski: "He hasn't brokan any laws."  (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Rodney Harrison is particularly passionate and passionately particular. For instance, he proclaimed that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski "disrespected himself" by partying (and dancing -- topless) in the hours after Sunday's Super Bowl loss. But the same sanctimony was nowhere to be found when coach Bill Belichick headed to California to play in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

Is one worse than the other? Does a few days really make that big a difference? (Seriously, we're talking about mourning a game that includes dressing up in funny costumes and running into other similarly dressed people.)

Like most things, it depends. Unless, of course, you're Harrison, who appears resolute in his opinions that there are no gray areas when it comes to skimping on the self-flagellation after a devastating loss. (Although he conveniently forgets to call out everybody.)

Gronkowski reportedly had ankle surgery Friday, and that same day team president Jonathan Kraft went on ESPN radio to speak to those who felt compelled to criticize Gronkowski for his postgame party plans.

“One thing I do know is the guy is 100 percent a passionate when it comes to football,” Kraft said (via the Boston Herald). “He loves football. He wants to win. He doesn’t like losing. I don’t know specifically what people are questioning, but he’s an ultimate competitor. I think the team did accomplish a lot this year. Unfortunately, we fell a little bit short of the ultimate goal. I do think that he and other players probably have different ways of both celebrating what we were able to achieve and dealing with the disappointment of the night, and I think it’s hard to personalize how any individual would deal with that and project it on someone else.”

Kraft also pointed out that Gronkowski “...hasn’t broken any laws, he hasn’t done anything else, and I think it’s hard to place value judgments.”

How this isn't obvious to Harrison might be the biggest post-Super Bowl story.

In related news: it's clear that, in addition Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, Julian Edelman, Tiquan Underwood's flat top and Robert Kraft don't care about winning, either. This must pain Harrison to no end. 

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:56 pm
 

Report: Rob Gronkowski had ankle surgery Friday

Perhaps we can stop talking about Gronk's ankle for a while now? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, the subject of an unholy amount of media scrutiny over the past two weeks, reportedly underwent ankle surgery on Friday to repair the high-ankle sprain that he injured during the AFC Championship Game.

That's according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, who reports that the arthroscopic surgery was successful and that the recovery time for Gronkowski is "expected to be 10 weeks."

Gronk suffered the injury when he was tackled by "Pats Killer" and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard in the AFC title game. Gronk's ankle was the focus of pre-Super Bowl media coverage to an annoying extent and the tight end managed to play, but was essentially a decoy, catching just two passes for 26 yards.

Since then, Gronkowski's been spotted dancing shirtless at the Pats post-Super Bowl party and taken way too much guff from former Patriots like Rodney Harrison.

The fact is, Gronk suited up for the Super Bowl with an injury that many athletes wouldn't be able to play with; he wasn't necessarily effective, but he was still on the field and running routes.

He got his surgery done immediately following the season and though he probably won't get to dance much in the future, there's really no need to criticize him for what he did once the season was over. Unless you want to rip Bill Belichick for playing golf this week too anyway.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:08 am
 

Brady told O'Brien he threw ball away on safety

Hard to blame Brady for throwing it away. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Much ado's been made about the safety on the first Patriots offensive play of the game in the Super Bowl last Sunday -- Tom Brady threw the ball to no one while standing in his own end zone. But was intentional grounding the right call? And did some receiver mess up a route that caused Brady to throw the ball where he did?

Turns out, no. Brady actually was throwing it away. On the Sound FX portion of NFL Replay, NFL Films caught Brady telling (former) offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien that he did in fact throw it away after first trying to find Rob Gronkowski, then Wes Welker and finally feeling heat from Justin Tuck.

"I looked to Gronk, I looked to Wes, he dropped and then I felt [Tuck]," Brady said. "I had no place to throw it away. I threw it over his head. I didn't want to throw an interception."

So it's a pretty clear case of intentional grounding, provided Brady was in the pocket (he was) and therefore a clear safety provided Brady was in the end zone (he was). That didn't stop Bill Belichick from arguing the call with referee John Parry through.

Sound FX picked up Belichick calling Parry over and saying "The intentional grounding call ..."

"What's the problem with it?" Parry replied.

"He had a guy coming in there -- he didn't throw it to him. But he had a guy that was coming in there," Belichick said. "I mean, damn."

There are four parts up on NFL.com (if you don't have NFL Network) and all are worth watching. As we noted earlier on Thursday, one clip shows Belichick telling his defense to stifle Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and "make" the Giants find Mario Manningham on their final drive.

Unfortunately for Belichick, that worked out about as well as his attempt to argue that Brady didn't throw the ball away.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:44 am
 

Belichick at SB: 'Make em go to Manningham'

Eli didn't mind going to Manningham. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

It's always fascinating to see how NFL sausage is made: Sound FX and NFL replays do just that. There's a particularly interesting nugget from Sunday's Super Bowl that occurred in between "The Drop" by Wes Welker and "The Catch XLVI" by Mario Manningham.

Bill Belichick, talking to the Patriots defense, told them how to handle pass protection. He wanted them to bottle up Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and "make 'em go to Manningham."

"This is still a Cruz and Nicks game," Belichick said on the sideline. "I mean, I know we're right on 'em. It's tight. But those are still the guys. Make 'em go to Manningham. Make 'em go to Pascoe. Alright? Let's make sure we get Cruz and Nicks."

You know how this works out, right? Not well: Eli Manning slung a teardrop towards the Patriots sideline that Manningham somehow managed to real in ... right in front of Belichick. Belichick challenged and lost.

"He caught it," a dejected Tom Brady said in the Sound FX video.

Thought not for any real fault of either Belichick or his defensive backs. Manning got what he admitted was a bad look at Manningham (after he looked to Cruz and Nicks, who were covered) and just made an unbelievable throw into an unbelievably tight window. I can still see the ball in the air when I try to envision it. There's no way he should've completed that pass.

And it's probably a matchup that Belichick would take again.

H/T: Ultimate NYG

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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