|09.08.10 at 7:33 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s a strange relationship, but make no mistake, Bill Belichick is a fan of Chad Ochocinco. Belichick answered multiple questions about the Cincinnati wide receiver on Wednesday, ranging from how he met the Bengals star wide reciever to his Twitter account.
“The first time I met Chad was at USC when I worked him out there on the USC campus”, said Belichick. “We kind of ran him into the ground. It was a good workout. It was very impressive.
“I like Chad. I like him as a player. I like him as a person. I like his enthusiasm and the fun he has with football, and I like how he competes on the football field. I have a lot of respect for that. We’re an odd couple, but in the end I think we have a lot of things in common.”
Belichick was then asked if he follows No. 85 on twitter.
“I don’t do Twitter or MyFace or any of that stuff.”
The outspoken wide receiver said recently via his Twitter account that he was going to shoot one of the muskets in the endzone after he scores a touchdown.
Wrote Ochocinco: “Does anyone know if i need gun powder to shoot the musket when I score this [Sunday]?”
|09.08.10 at 7:08 pm ET|
For all the talk and bluster about grabbing a musket and firing a shot after he scores a touchdown at Gillette Stadium, Chad Ochocinco knows talk is cheap – especially when you’re talking about the Patriots.
At least, it has been for him.
Whether it was when he was Chad Johnson or Ochocinco, it’s always been tough for No. 85 to find his groove against the Patriots. And he knows the numbers don’t lie.
In three games against New England – all Patriots wins – Ocho has been held to 14 catches and 197 yards and has had the chance to dance in the end zone exactly once. It was a five-yard catch from Carson Palmer on Dec. 12, 2004 in New England’s 35-28 win at Gillette Stadium.
In the two games since then, Ocho has been held to nine grabs, 117 yards and zero chances to celebrate in the end zone.
Belichick, who as WEEI.com colleague Chris Price points out, has a great respect and admiration for Ocho, has not been afraid to double-team him in certain situations.
“Of course, nothing is going to change,” Ocho declared. “He’s done the same thing every time I’ve played the Patriots since I’ve been in the NFL. I don’t think it’s going to change this time, either. I’m going to wait for my opportunities to come and, when they do, I’m going to make the most of them.”
So for all the talk about Darius Butler and Devin McCourty combining for one year of NFL experience, Ochocinco maintains he’s not licking his chops.
“No, not at all,” Ochocinco said. “They play football just like I play football. They look good on film. I’m sure their coaches will put them in a position to be able to make plays, so I’m going to approach this game very humbly. There’s not too many times I play against the Patriots and have enormous games. They game plan very well. They’re very smart. I have to play sound football myself in order to be successful.”
So, it should not come as a surprise that while he promised – via twitter – to trash talk Butler the entire game, he also has tremendous regard for the way Bill Belichick uses his players like Butler on the field.
“Yeah, he’s pretty good,” Ochocinco said of Butler. “Not only is he good at Tweeting, but he’s good on the field also. I watched film on him. He looked extremely well. He looked to be as young as he is, so… I’m looking forward to the matchup against him and the rest of the defense.”
What about his own team? Can Ocho exist in the reality world of the NFL with Terrell Owens? Can quarterback Carson Palmer distribute the ball in a way to keep everyone happy on the Cincy offense? The funny responses were few and far between. Instead, a short and to-the-point reply.
“Yup, I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
As for his new partner in crime – or crime-stopping as it were since he is Robin and T-O is playing Batman to begin the season, he said he can’t wait to get on the field with Owens.
“Oh man, beautiful man, beautiful,” he said glowingly. “It’s going to be a freaking symphony out there. We’re going to go hand in hand… a lot of people are waiting on us not to work and all this other hoopla or whatever. We’re making each other better, pushing one another. It’s going to be wonderful, to be able to have two athletes of this caliber on the field at the same time, on the same team. A lot of people say, ‘How do they work together.’ What we’re going to do is, we’re going to prove and show you how we work.”
“We have the players that we believe can go out there and play. But unless we execute the offense, we’re just people on paper.
So that was it. Very little hyperbole, no bragging and no big-time predictions on Wednesday’s conference call. It sounded like Ocho was saving his bullets for that musket on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s Week 1,” he said of the lack of pre-game hype. “You can’t let loose in Week 1. You have to enjoy it, man. Enjoy the show.
|09.08.10 at 6:54 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are some of the highlights from this morning’s press conference between coach Tom Brady and the media:
Q: Carson Palmer said he did not feel right that first year back after his knee injury. How much better this year do you feel?
TB: I felt pretty good last year. I don’t think it had much to do with my knee at all, the way we ended up playing last year. There were a lot of things we didn’t do well and there were things we worked hard to improve on, so my knee is not going to be the issue this year, hopefully. It’s just a matter of us going out and playing well, playing good football, playing the way we’re capable [of playing] and executing. It’s a totally new team for us this year. We have a lot of new guys, a lot of guys that have been here that know what we’re doing, but I said earlier today that we’re always looking for ways to reinvent ourselves.
Q: Does it ever enter your mind about the first contract you signed and how the expectations have changed?
TB: No, I mean I hate when athletes say it’s not about the money. It’s our job, so… I think you love playing the game and that’s why we do it. I think we’re fortunate to get paid for something that we love. If we weren’t getting paid, we’d have to find something else to do. There’s no better job in the word that I’d rather have, to do what I’m doing. That’s why I want to do it for a long time. Everything else in my life pales in comparison to how much I love this. In that sense, it’s about winning games. That’s what we’re here for. We’re expected to go out and win games. That’s the real motivation for all of us. That’s definitely the real motivation on our list.
Q: Are you excited about the possibility of being here for the extended future?
TB: I don’t assume anything anymore in life. I don’t think anything is guaranteed to us beyond what we have today and I really feel that way. That’s the approach I’ve taken over the years, because you never really know when your last day will be. I really try to just take it one day at a time. I know it’s a cliché and all that, but it’s the truth. I think it’s a great message for all of us. No matter what your job, you’re living and enjoying today and that’s what’s most important to me.
Q: Is getting a contract done before the season starts important to you considering what you just said?
TB: It’s not even a part of my thoughts right now. I haven’t thought about it yesterday, today… I’m just thinking about the team we have to play. I owe that to this team. They have a lot of things going on, too, but when they come into work, they’re focused on the team. I think that’s my responsibility and my role and that’s what I love to do anyway. That’s what I’m going to continue to try to do.
Q: How disappointed are you that Logan Mankins is not here to start the season?
TB: Logan is a great friend and I think all of us in this locker room have to focus on what we’re doing because he hasn’t been here and we’re all trying to get our job done. We’d all love Logan here. Everybody in this building would, but he’s not. We have to move on and play a game this weekend. Who knows what’s going to happen?
Q: How does that first game from 2008 shape your mindset for the business side of things for you?
TB: That’s a big part of it. This is a physical game. I’ve had four surgeries in eight years – my shoulder and my knee and my groin… and another one, too. But, pretty much every other year you’re having a surgery. Some are major… all surgeries are major as far as I’m concerned now. You count your blessings when you come off the field; I think you have a new appreciation when you do come off the field, win or lose. You’re trying to win every time out, obviously. But I think you also pinch yourself every time you walk off the field healthy and say, ‘Man, at least I get a chance to go out next week and play also.’
Q: Are you confident that you will have a new contract before this one expires?
TB: I don’t know. I don’t know. I have no idea. We’ve had a chance to deal with it this offseason and we are where we’re at. I’m excited with where we’re at for this season. I think that’s what I owe this team. I don’t assume anything. I just want to come out and play football. That’s where I’m at.
Q: Randy Moss said he feels unwanted. Can you talk about the camp he’s had and your relationship with him at this point?
TB: I want him. He knows that. I tell him every day. He’s everything we look for in a receiver. He’s been a great player for his whole career. Look at what he’s done here in terms of his productivity. Look at what he’s done this preseason in training camp. He’s been a great example, a great leader. We’re lucky to have him, we really are. He’s something.
|09.08.10 at 4:14 pm ET|
Here’s Wednesday’s injury report for the Patriots-Bengals game:
Full Participation in Practice
Kyle Arrington (groin)
Ron Brace (ankle)
Tom Brady (right shoulder)
Jermaine Cunningham (ankle)
Brandon Deaderick (toe)
Aaron Hernandez (knee)
Myror Pryor (knee)
Matt Slater (hamstring)
Did Not Participate in Practice
Julian Edelman (foot)
Nick Kaczur (back)
Laurence Maroney (thigh)
Randy Moss (illness)
Terrence Wheatley (foot)
Andre Caldwell (groin)
Jonathan Fanene (hamstring)
Geno Atkins (knee)
Did Not Participate
Brandon Ghee (head)
Brian Leonard (foot)
|09.08.10 at 2:36 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady apparently has a bone to pick with Mo Vaughn.
Toward the end of his tenure in Boston with the Red Sox in 1998, Vaughn went on the air with Dale Arnold on WEEI and uttered his now-famous line, “It’s not about the money, Dale.”
Those famous last words were followed by his departure out of town and a new contract with the Anaheim Angels.
Brady, reportedly on the verge of a new $58-80 million deal with the Patriots that would carry him through either the 2013 or 2014 season, would beg to differ.
“I hate when athletes say it’s not about the money,” Brady said Wednesday at Bret Lockett‘s locker to help avoid crowding Randy Moss.
“It’s our job. I think really you love playing the game, that’s why you do it. I think we’re fortunate to get paid for something we love. If we weren’t getting paid, we’d all probably have to find something else to do. There’s no better job in the world that I’d rather have than do what I’m doing. Everything else, for me in my life, really pales in comparison to how much I enjoy this. In that sense, it’s about winning games.”
While saying his focus is all about the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and not the reported contract extension, Brady did offer some philosophical insights as to why getting paid and getting this deal behind him is important.
“I don’t assume anything anymore in life,” Brady said. “I don’t think anything is really guaranteed to us beyond what we have today. I really feel that way. I think that’s a difference approach that I’ve taken over the years. You really never know when your last day may be.”
But Brady followed that up by saying he’s not concerned about his new contract right now.
“It’s not even a part of my thoughts right now,” Brady said. “I haven’t thought about it yesterday, today. I’m just thinking about the team that we have to play.
“I owe that to this team. They all have a lot of things going on, too, but when they come into work, they’re focused on the team.”
|09.08.10 at 1:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In keeping with last year’s tradition of taking Wednesdays off during the regular season, Randy Moss was not spotted during the open portion of Wednesday practice on the lower practice field at Gillette Stadium.
Additionally, Terrence Wheatley, Nick Kaczur and Quinn Ojinnaka were not spotted at practice either. Meanwhile, Julian Edelman and Laurence Maroney were on the sidelines in sweats.
Ojinnaka is not eligible to practice this week as he is serving a one-game league-mandated suspension for a domestic issue involving his wife in May 2009.
The team practiced in full pads and helmets in the hot and humid conditions.
The team is getting ready for its season opener Sunday at home against Cincinnati.
|09.08.10 at 10:51 am ET|
What The Dolphins Did Well Last Season:
* – Engineered Long Drives: The Dolphins were 3rd with 36 drives of 10+ plays… They scored on 31 of those drives (1st) and tallied 160 points on them (1st).
* – Clutch Third Down Offense: The Dolphins converted 49.0% of their third down tries last season, the 2nd highest percentage in the league (Indianapolis, 49.2%). On 3rd and short (3 yards or less), they converted 60 of 76 tries, an NFL-best 79% rate. They were also among the league’s best at converting 3rd downs in the red zone, going 20-35 (57.1%):
61.5% – Indianapolis Colts
57.1% – Miami Dolphins
52.2% – Arizona Cardinals
49.1% of Miami’s third down pass attempts went for first downs last season, the highest percentage by a Dolphins team since they began tracking the stat in 1991.
* – Moved The Sticks On The Ground: Miami converted 129 first downs via rushing plays in 2009, the 2nd most in the league:
132 – New York Jets
129 – Miami Dolphins
123 – Carolina Panthers
* – Consistently Rushed For Decent Gains: 46.6% of Miami’s rushes gained 4 or more yards in 2009, the 3rd highest percentage in the NFL:
48.8% – Buffalo Bills
47.2% – Detroit Lions
46.6% – Miami Dolphins
For some context, the NFL average was 42.5%.
* – Cashed In Their Red Zone Opportunities: The Dolphins came away with points on 48 of 54 trips inside the red zone last season (89%), tied for 3rd best in the league. What’s more, they averaged 5.11 points per red zone trip, also 3rd best in the NFL:
5.48 – Arizona Cardinals
5.30 – Indianapolis Colts
5.11 – Miami Dolphins
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