Tag Archives: Bill Belichick

Draft Day; Don’t Wait Up

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Sorry for the long hiatus. I’m still adjusting to the new schedule and really sleep in the morning weighs much heavier that spitting out a blog post.

But that being said, I couldn’t let today come without offering a little something. I mean it’s draft day. If you go back through my blog’s years of posts you’ll see, the draft is one of my favorite events. I still hate that it starts on a Thursday but what I can I do, they’re not changing it.

So tonight the Patriots hold the 32nd overall pick. The last pick in the first round. The pick that will be selected around 12:30AM. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little but it’ll definitely be late and definitely be picked long after I’ve gone to bed.

Here’s the deal, the people saying the Pats are going to keep the pick because Belichick values that extra year they get on a first round pick are nuts. When what he’s picking at 32 can easily be had in the mid 40’s for the same caliber of player, zero chance he picks when he can add a seventh round pick to his draft load but jumping back 10 picks.

The need exists desperately for a corner. My fanboy hope is that the Pats trade up, get into the teens and get a game changing corner. But realistic me knows that the three third round picks Belichick can get for his first is far too enticing.

So I recommend you get your sleep tonight, stay with it as long as you can, but don’t count on the Pats ending the night. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

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Happy Trails Vince

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When the Pats passed on Vince Wilfork’s option earlier in the month we all knew the end could be near. But there were the whispers that the Pats were still working to bring him back, and we hadn’t heard any announcement from the team which fueled speculation that he could still return.

It turns out the Pats were still trying to bring him back but only on their terms for short money. Meanwhile the Texans still thought he had enough in the tank to merit a legit offer. Two years at $9 million with $5 million guaranteed legit.

So Vince took a job with the Texans. He leaves a pretty decent size void on the defensive line.

Belichick had this to say:

“Few players reached or will ever reach the special level of Vince Wilfork. He is a great champion and one of the classiest people I have ever been around — just a kind, genuine and giving person who was all about our team, football, winning and bringing joy to others,” Belichick said in a statement. “There may have never been anyone at his position with as much strength, toughness, intelligence, instinctiveness and athleticism…He is the best defensive lineman I ever coached, an all-time great Patriot whose place on our team will be missed but whose remarkable career as a Patriot will be remembered forever.”

Very high praise from Belichick. Here’s hoping that he has a plan to replace him. Early rumor is BJ Raji from the Packers. He’s only 28 and can still bring it. It’ll be interesting to see if the Pats go down that road or just wait until the draft to try and replace Wilfork.

Good luck Vince. You’ll be missed. You were a class act.

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McCourty Staying

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

My Facebook friends know that Saturday night I got my picture taken with the Lombardi trophy when I was gigging in town for the Boston Police. I was going to press my luck and try to get a picture with Robert Kraft but given the fact I was working and not a cop, I decided against it.

Jonathan was there with him and I joked to my buddy that he was on the phone with McCourty’s people pushing to get a deal done.

Maybe he was.

All of the reports I had read had him heading to Philadelphia. But I thought of Asante Samuel. He was a product of the system and didn’t have the success he had here when he left. Maybe McCourty had the same thought. I’ve succeeded in New England in two positions, maybe I should just stay.

Beats an aging Troy Polamalu trying to replace him. And you know for a fact that Belichick would’ve pressed hard for him (still may).

Now the big question mark is Revis. We should know more today on that front as his bonus is due tomorrow. Here’s hoping championships are tops on his agenda and he’s back next year and beyond.

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Another Lombardi Trophy

malcolm butler

There was a lot of back and forth leading up to the Super Bowl. The guys wanted me to meet them out at a bar in town. Then it became a bar on the north shore. I just didn’t want to go anywhere. I wanted to enjoy the game from the privacy of my living room. My TV, my couch, and of course another homemade jambalaya because that’s what I made AFC Championship week.

Early on it was apparent I’d chosen the correct venue. As Brady threw an early interception and a spew of profanities came from my mouth, I knew a bar may have asked me to politely leave. As the game went on I think the politeness would have vanished as they just kicked me and my filthy mouth out.

There were moments during that game that I thought about throwing away my allegiance completely. Similar to how I’d contemplated becoming a Pirates fan when the Red Sox pissed me off (when Pittsburgh was a perennial basement finisher not now when they compete in the central). Maybe being a Jaguar fan wouldn’t be so bad. Sure they have ugly ass uniforms and are the league’s doormat, at least you have low expectations every year.

I digress.

I was in a couple of group texts throughout the game. This was my lifeline to the outside world. So instead of me just screaming the f-word at the TV (which there were plenty), I could text my friends who had similar thoughts.

Down 10 I thought the magic was completely gone. We’d seen the picture play out too many times before. That old Brady magic where he’d lead the team back from a loss was gone. Brady just didn’t have it anymore. Especially in big games. We have two Giants Super Bowl losses to prove that.

The offense ran a stupid run play to the right that they’d just run to pick up a first down earlier only to be stuffed by the league’s #3 rush defense. I thought this could be the end. If Seattle scores here, we’re toast (yes we, I know).

But the defense did its job and got the Seahawks to three and out. They stopped Lynch twice and Ninkovich managed a huge sack on Wilson on third down. This led to the Pats third touchdown to cut the lead to three. 24-21.

My stomach in knots, my heart beating out of my chest, the only thing to do is grab another plate of jambalaya and ride it out. My west coast Pats friend on drink #8, sounded very much like Da Guy. “I have faith….don’t give up!”

Three and out again by the defense. So glad they took out Arington. He was killing the Pats.

The Pats get the ball back with six minutes and change on the board. I send out the text requesting a slow methodical drive that scores a touchdown with no time left on the clock. I almost get my wish as the Pats run it down to 2:02 when Brady hooks up with Edelman. Pats take a 28-24 lead.

OK defense, you’ve done it so far. Please just do it again.

Or not.

Mismatch with Collins on Lynch leads to a quick 31 yard gain and just like that the Seahawks are on the Patriots side of the field. More profanities and the two minute warning.

OK, just hold them here. You’ve proven you can do it, just do it again. After a first down a bomb down the sideline (please don’t be Arington there), incomplete. Wait what? He caught it?!? Why the hell didn’t Harmon kick it, punch it, anything except just jump over Kearse??

MORE PROFANITIES…

My mind starts racing back to the 2011 Super Bowl. Do the Pats just let them score here and you give Brady the ball with a minute to go? Is that enough time for him to get it into field goal range? Is there magic left after his previous two amazing drives?

Hightower somehow gets his arm out and stops Lynch on first down. I’m having flashes of the Green Bay game and how Lynch ran through the Packer defense when he needed to. Oh no. They line up with Lynch to the right of Wilson. Don’t be fooled, just because it’s a pass formation, it’s probably going to Lynch.

The ball is snapped…

OH MY GOD!!!!!! (as my arms are in the air)

Malcolm Butler picks off Wilson in the end zone!!

Complete and total elation. Almost. I’m trying to figure out in my head if the Pats give up a safety since they’re on the one, how well could they punt it and hold Wilson and the Seahawks down again?

Brady pulls them offsides for a little breathing room and the game is over. The Patriots are Super Bowl Champions! How in the hell am I going to fall asleep??

For all that each of their Super Bowl victories were close, this was far and away the best game. So much drama. So much back and forth. So much me on the edge of the couch.

I sit here a day later, almost exactly 24 hours removed and still can’t believe it. The #AZRedemption is complete. The Brady and Belichick dynasty is tops. Get the duckboats ready!

Tom Brady

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Super Bowl Pick

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All season long I’ve done the pick ’em challenge over on Yahoo. As the season comes to a close on Sunday, I stand at 132-130. The same record as my wife and 12 year old niece.

I’ll save the suspense of a whole column and let you know I have the Pats picked for Sunday. I mean, I picked them to win it all back at the beginning of the month when I wrote my year’s preview column so why deter from my pick.

The Patriots have a chance to improve to .500 as a franchise in Super Bowls. We lost in ’86, and ’97 before winning three of four in ’02, ’04, and ’05. That improved the franchise’s Super Bowl record to 3-2 but losses to the Giants in ’08 and ’12 dropped the team to 3-4.

For all the Belichick is a historian of the game, he doesn’t really like to dwell on the past. Knowing that this would improve he and Brady’s record to 4-2 in Super Bowls and bring the franchise to .500 I don’t think really is something he’s focusing on in meetings a practice. I think their goal is Seattle.

For all that the Seattle defense scares their opponents, the offense has scary parts too. Lynch is a great running back and has made some other-worldly plays in the postseason. I think if the Pats can shut him down, the passing game is scary too. Not that they have wide receivers that are going to light it up, it’s more the elusiveness of Russell Wilson. What will look like a broken play and a sack all of a sudden is a 20 yard quarterback run.

When the Patriots play with a lead, they’re unstoppable. Most teams are. But they’re a better team ahead than behind. When they get behind Brady doesn’t look like Brady of old anymore. There are forced passes, and too many three and outs.

So here’s hoping the defense can stop the Seahawks on that opening drive. Then the offense can put together a touchdown drive on the next series against the Seahawks defense. Then the Pats defense can repeat shutting them down. If they play ahead, I don’t see any issues. If they fall behind like they did against Baltimore, I don’t see them able to come back against Seattle. They’re better than the Ravens.

Back Monday with a recap. Hopefully a happy one.

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Never Ending Deflate-Gate

tom brady

Yesterday was the first time we heard from both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady regarding deflate-gate.

Oh my God was it painful to listen to. I mean cringe worthy garbage.

How about a new rule; non-sports media isn’t allowed to attend any sports press conference ever. Let’s use that as our jumping off point.

I read the highlights of Belichick’s press conference and will just assume it was a shit show like Brady’s was on my ride home. I caught pretty much the whole Brady conference and oh how painful it was.

Then let’s treat circuses yesterday like a town hall meeting. If you have a question, you get in line, and you get to ask it on the microphone. All the talking over one and other yesterday was absurd. Six people would start asking a question and one would just keep going. There was some girl there that started her question 46 times and I still don’t think got to ask her question.

And what did we learn yesterday? Nothing.

Belichick has never talked to anyone about pressure in a football (which I don’t believe) and Brady picks out his game balls a few hours before kickoff and never sees them till he’s taking the field.

The Belichick part is absolute crap. You’re telling me if it’s a 10 degree day, he didn’t pull his kicker aside and talk about how the ball is going to react differently in the cold because the air pressure. That’s such crap. In 35 years or so of coaching that exact conversation has to have come up at one point.

The Brady part is much more believable right up until he said he doesn’t really know what pressure he likes. Sure the laces, tack, grip, and stuff has some bearing on how he likes the ball but how hard he can grip it should be based on pressure and having played football his whole life, he must know what he likes.

My issue with the whole thing at this point is that the NFL hasn’t completed an investigation. So they’re dragging their feet. The longer they drag their feet the longer the media feeding frenzy is just going to continue. Vince Wilfork and Dan Connolly have press conferences today, what do you think they’re going to be asked about repeatedly?

Here’s hoping the Bruins, Celtics, or even Red Sox pull off something major this weekend so we can distract our attention to something else before the Super Bowl. Beats talking about balls.

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Cheating Galore

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Driving to work yesterday the talk wasn’t about the Patriots victory, instead the talk was about the Colts alleging the Pats were playing with deflated balls.

This reminds me of when the Yankees stopped a Sunday night game so the umpire could go over and make sure that Terry Francona was wearing a jersey underneath his fleece. They knew he was but just wanted to try and get in the Sox heads.

So the league is looking into the balls used by the Patriots on Sunday. Some people speculate that the ball the ref took at the start of the third quarter was one of the supposed “flat balls”. Didn’t really seem to have any affect on the Patriots play.

But as Sports Illustrated points out (in a non-flattering way) this is just another in a line of accusations against the Patriots (thanks NESN.com):

  • Patriots staffers who supply the visiting team with towels eavesdrop and report back findings to the home team.
  • Opposing coaches put locks on their locker room to prevent Patriots staffers from walking in to grab play sheets.
  • Head coach Bill Belichick didn’t follow the unwritten rule to run by his ineligible formations with the league office before running them last Saturday, Belichick instead ran it by NFL referee Bill Vinovich before the game in hopes to confuse and intimidate the official.
  • And the best of all: The large monitor outside CBS Scene restaurant in Patriot Place only is visible to the Patriots’ sideline, which gives Belichick and the Patriots the advantage of being able to see replays.

So really when’s enough enough? When can teams just admit they were beat by a better team?

I guess that’s part of being the envy of the NFL. Everyone is just trying to knock you off the top.

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