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Bill Belichick explains how Ray Perkins took the Giants out of the ‘country club’ culture

01.31.12 at 6:35 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Before there was Bill Parcells, there was Ray Perkins.

It was Perkins whom Bill Belichick credited Monday with helping mold the Giants into a tough team, an image they carry to this day.

“I can say before I got to New York, and coach Perkins was like that, too, we had tough, physical practices, too,” Belichick said Monday. “He definitely set the tone. When I got there in 1979, relative to what the Giants had done previous to that, it was kind of a country-club atmosphere, from what I understood. I wasn’€™t there. It was a little bit different than what I had been used to. I learned a lot from the mental and physical toughness standpoint that Ray, and then Bill, built their teams with. Maybe I took it a little too far in Cleveland, I don’€™t know. It was kind of the same thing when I got there. People said that we were too demanding and we were doing too much. I was thinking to myself, ‘€˜I was with the Giants for 12 years. I saw this every day for 12 years. Don’€™t tell me we can’€™t go out there and have 9-on-7 two days in a row. I know we can.’€™ ‘€

Perkins coached the team until 1983 when Parcells took over.

The “toughness” of a team was a topic of conversation Monday when Belichick came out and announced his team spent Monday going through a “crisp” first day of practice in full pads here in Indianapolis.

Belichick also reminisced fondly about his days on the Giants coaching staff from 1979-90, with the last several years spent with Tom Coughlin, who served as wide receivers coach while Belichick worked on the defense. Belichick reminded everyone that, back in the day, there was never any question from the players about going full contact in practice. Now, thanks to the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed only one practice in full pads per week during the season.

‘€œIt was awesome,” Belichick said of his Giants’ days. “We had a great staff and great players. One of the biggest things I learned, that I can’€™t do today, but I know, is how tough those players were. We practiced every day in pads, every single day in pads. There were years that we practiced every single day on the turf before we had the grass practice fields up there on the hill, or it was being rebuilt or something happened. How we did 9-on-7, which is a good-tempo running drill, and how we did that on a regular basis. In training camp, we went out in pads every day. We hit every day. We did 9-on-7 every day. There was no way Bill (Parcells) would go out on the field without doing 9-on-7. We’€™d skip stretching before we’€™d skip 9-on-7. Going back to last year, and even this year, going out in pads, working on 9-on-7, having more contact work in practice, we’€™d get that look a little bit like, ‘€˜I don’€™t know if the players can do it.’€™ I’€™m thinking to myself, ‘€˜Can’€™t do it?’€™

“We were in pads on Fridays with the Giants, and nobody said anything. That’€™s the way it was. You went out there and practiced. I know what players are capable of doing because of how demanding we were with them from a physical standpoint, and that certainly didn’€™t lessen their aggressiveness or their toughness in games. That was a physical defense. That was a physical offensive line. Even getting ready for the Super Bowl against Buffalo, the way we ran the ball in that game. That started on the practice field with the tempo in practice. When you get those guys crashing into each other ‘€“ Jumbo (Elliott) and Mark Bavaro blocking (Lawrence) Taylor, (Carl) Banks, (Jim) Burt and all them ‘€“ they just lined up and played football. I know it was a different era, but it will never be like that again. I learned players can be tough, they can be physical, they can do more than they think they can do from that standpoint.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, New England Patriots, New York Giants

Timbaland produces hip-hop song about Rob Gronkowski

01.30.12 at 11:19 pm ET
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Rap producer Wizz Dumb and rapper Brasco teamed up on a new track about Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Credited as an executive producer on the track is none other than hip hop and R&B legend Timbaland.

The song surfaced on YouTube on Monday. Timbaland tweeted it to his followers calling Gronkowski a “super TE” and using the hashtag “#gopatriots.”

Gronkowski also took to twitter with the song, tweeting:

“Thanks to @Timbaland for this new gronk song! Wowsers this is crazyyy!”

Timbaland responded to Gronkowski, tweeting:

“i gotchu! Now lets win superbowl.”

The 22-year-old Gronkowski set the single-season record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 17. He hopes to play in the Super Bowl Sunday despite suffering a high ankle sprain against the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

The credits on the song’s Youtube page identify the music as being from Timbaland, with the track executive produced by Timbaland and Wizz Dumb.

Timbaland has worked with the likes of Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Aaliyah and Genuine, among others in his career.

Read More: Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Rob Gronkowski, Timbaland

Press Conferences: Devin McCourty talks evolution of Patriots’ defensive backfield

01.30.12 at 7:29 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is the transcript from Patriots’ defensive back Devin McCourty’s press conference Monday (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on how the first practice went) ‘€œIt was good. Everybody got a chance to get out there and get after it. We ran around. We practiced hard. It was a good first day. We felt like we wanted to come out here and practice hard to start off the week. This was an important day to just kind of set the tone.’€

(on if he feels fortunate that he got to the Super Bowl in just his second season) ‘€œDefinitely. Just talking to the other guys on our team and other friends that I have made that are veterans, to be at this level in only my second year, you have got to be grateful for it. I think the biggest thing, is just trying to take advantage of the opportunity of being here ‘€“ working hard, studying hard and getting ready to go for this game.’€

(on how difficult it will be to face the Giants‘€™ wide receivers) ‘€œIt’€™s a very difficult challenge. I think it all starts with their offense, how balanced they are with a good running game, a good quarterback and they have three very good weapons outside at receiver. We are really going to have to prepare and come to play, because any of the three of those guys are capable of having big games.’€

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Press Conferences: Patrick Chung talks Patriots’ strategy against Giants’ offense

01.30.12 at 7:10 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is the transcript from Patriots’ safety Patrick Chung from his press conference Monday (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on WR Julian Edelman playing defense) ‘€œHe’€™s good. I feel he’€™s good. He has the quickness, he’€™s fast, he’€™s smart, he has good hands and he’€™s tough, he’€™s physical. That’€™s all the intangibles of a good player. I have no worries about Julian back there.’€

(on Deion Branch) ‘€œHe makes plays, man. He’€™s a veteran that makes plays and can make big catches. If there’€™s a lot of pressure on guys, he can take the pressure because he’€™s been there, he has that experience; he has all the things that veterans need to play in big games like that.’€

(on how the Giants‘€™ receiving corps stacks up against other teams they’€™ve faced this year) ‘€œThey’€™re very good. They’€™re three different types of receivers, but they’€™re three very good receivers. They all can get the ball, they all have good routes and they have Eli (Manning) throwing to them right now and he’€™s on fire so you’€™ve got to stop them. They’€™re definitely versatile receivers.’€

(on if the Giants’€™ receivers are the best they’€™ve faced this year) ‘€œAs a corps, I think so. You have three receivers who can make a big play if anyone gets the ball, definitely.’€

(on what the biggest lesson they learned from the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens) ‘€œThe main lesson? Play to the end. That’€™s all I can really say. Play to the end because you never know what’€™s going to happen.’€

(on Sterling Moore making two huge plays at the end of the AFC Championship) ‘€œHe’€™s a baller. I mean, he’€™s a baller. He’€™s mentally tough. He’€™s been through a lot of stuff, man. He’€™s mentally tough, he’€™s fast, he’€™s quick and he’€™s confident. He’€™s confident and he feels he can do a lot of damage. He’€™s good. He wouldn’€™t be out there if he wasn’€™t.’€

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Press conferences: BenJarvus Green-Ellis talks Giants, not fumbling, and coming back to Indiana

01.30.12 at 7:02 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is a transcript of the press conference conducted by Patriots’ running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis Monday afternoon (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on what lessons he learned from the playoff game against the Ravens) ‘€œThe main lesson is just the game’€™s never over until it’€™s over and you’€™ve always got to go out there and compete. We’€™ve moved on from Baltimore and we try to learn from our mistakes in that game and just go on and get ready for the New York Giants.’€

(on why the offense wasn’€™t as explosive in the game versus Baltimore) ‘€œIt’€™s around that time. That’€™s football. There’€™s only four teams left at that time, but we’€™re not speaking on that. The thing we’€™re really focused on is the Giants.’€

(on the challenge of the Giants run defense) ‘€œSpeaking on their run defense, I mean just their defense period, they’€™ve been a good defense over the playoffs and the last half of the season. I mean really since they’€™ve played us they’€™ve really been playing good football over like the last four weeks of the season, five weeks of the season and on into the playoffs they just carried momentum and they picked up momentum and they are playing just about as well as anybody in the league right now.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Pat Chung not in mood to talk about Rodney Harrison, David Tyree

01.30.12 at 6:32 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — After a win over the Redskins that saw Rex Grossman throw for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Rodney Harrison referred to the New England secondary as “probably” the worst he’s seen in the last decade.

On Tuesday, Pat Chung was asked if the comments made by the former New England safety served as motivation for the secondary over the last five games.

“It is honestly the first time I heard that,” Chung said.

That seemed impossible to me, given a) that Harrison said it on the most prominent football show in America and b) Vince Wilfork, among others, weighed in on the comments the very next. But Chung was adamant.

“I’m telling you, never,” Chung insisted. “Doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, anyway. That’s his job, mine is to play football. All we are worried about is this game. That’s it. We are not worried about anyone else. Just keep playing and continue to do the positives.”

Chung, who says he talks to Harrison “every couple of weeks or so,” also passed on this Patriots-Giants Super Bowl question:

Does David Tyree make The Catch if Pat Chung, and not Rodney Harrison, is the safety?

“Come on,” Chung said. laughing. “I’m not going to answer that, man. This is a totally different team, different players, different time. I’m not going to touch that one. It was an amazing catch, though.”

Read More: David Tyree, Giants, pat chung, Patriots

Chad Ochocinco won’t be standing up for ‘Media Day’

01.30.12 at 6:08 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — In an event seemingly made for Chad Ochocinco, the star Patriots wide receiver won’t be one of the 18 featured Patriots during “Media Day” on Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Sunday night, Ochocinco tweeted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, a man who helps coordinate the event. Earlier Sunday, he was asked by a follower if he plans something special for “Media Day.”

Ocho tweeted: Cant talk, strep throat. It’s expected that Ochocinco, like every participant in every Super Bowl, will be available to all media, even if he is off to the side.

Just last year, it would’ve been nearly impossible to imagine Ochocinco not getting his own podium with his reality show background and his ability to shine in the spotlight. Before using him as a shoulder to cry and lean on this season, Ochocinco co-hosted his own reality show with Terrell Owens and formed his own “news” network called OCNN. Ochocinco has sent a reporter to cover “Media Day” just last year.

Interestingly, Rob Gronkowski will have one of the 18 featured spots during the one-hour availability beginning at 10 a.m. It will be Gronkowski’s first public availability since injuring his left ankle during the AFC championship.

Among the other Patriots highlighted for “Media Day” include Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich and Aaron Hernandez.

Once the Patriots clear the field, there will be an hour break and then the Giants will follow from Noon-1 on the same Lucas Oil Field that will host Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Greg Aiello, New England Patriots, New York Giants
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