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Technology isn’t ‘the highest priority’ with Bill Belichick

11.18.11 at 3:07 pm ET
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FOXBORO — One of the more surreal scenes from “A Football Life: Bill Belichick” was the Patriots coach intensely studying at his desk and working off his computer while a technician was working on the television in his office. There was also the more humorous moment when he tried to set the clock in his car to Daylight Savings Time back in Oct. 2009.

He thought, you have all these buttons on the dash and there isn’t a simple way to fix a clock radio in a car?

When asked about signals being called into the helmets of offensive and defensive players on the field, Belichick has often said he doesn’t worry about the technology since he couldn’t even figure out all the wires in the back of his computer.

On Friday, Belichick was reminded that teams like the Ravens have turned to installing portions of their playbook on the iPad. Has he thought of doing it with the Patriots?

“There’€™s so much technology out there, you could go to whatever you want. I’€™m sure we have enough technological equipment in here to put the whole team on the moon,” he said with his typically wry smile.

So – he was asked – are the Patriots sticking with good old-fashioned ring binders for their game plan?

“In the end, it comes down to ‘€“ you’€™re at all the games ‘€“ it comes down to blocking and tackling and running and throwing and catching and kicking and solid fundamentals and all that. You could put the iPad on the super-duper wizard computer and whatever you want. You could throw all that crap on there and I’€™m sure it would come out great. I’€™m sure you could get some statistical analysis that would provide 28 theses for MIT. In the end, you have to go out there and play football.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Ernie Adams, Floyd Reese, MLB

Brian Waters says he has ‘no earthly idea’ what Chiefs will do Monday night

11.18.11 at 2:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — With a sincere smile on his face, Brian Waters on Friday – in front of his locker – was quick to dispel the notion that his 11-year career in Kansas City would be of any real benefit on Monday night when his Patriots take on the Chiefs.

“It’s a different football team than the team I played [on],” the 34-year-old right guard said. “Every year every team is different. I’m not in their locker room, I’m not in their meeting rooms. I have no idea of the plays that are going to be called and have no idea. The players have changed, some guys have gotten a lot better, the techniques, some of those things are different. I’m really not of a great value in that aspect. That stuff is overrated. It really is. I’ve read other things from other players and other teams, that stuff is really overrated. Unless you’re in that locker room, unless you’re there preparing with them, you have no earthly idea what they’re going to call and what they’re going to do from play to play.”

As for revenge, don’t look for Waters to be playing angrily.

“There’€™s no revenge-factor here, there’€™s not one of those things where there’€™s anger or things of that matter, it’€™s just, I have a great amount for respect for those guys, I love a lot of those guys personally, but I’€™m a Patriot now,” he added. “I’€™m here to try to win football games and be a product part of this football team, and that’€™s something I’€™m going to take pride in, I always try to take pride in the job I do, and this will be no different.”

He was a Pro Bowl lineman five times and an all-pro twice in Kansas City but he maintained Friday that is all out the window now.

“Again, I’m not there,” he said. “If those guys learned anything from me in my time there, they’re going to learn all my little tricks that I’ve played over my time so if they learn anything from me, they’re probably going to use that to their advantage. Stuff like that, I think what it does is it causes you to focus on stuff they’re probably not going to do, and you end up tricking yourself. Nah, this team does a great enough job and has great enough coaches to prepare, and the players do a great job in preparation, they don’t need my help, they don’t need my help in that way.”

With the Chiefs ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing at 141.3 yards a game and with Waters former offensive line coach Bill Muir now calling the plays, Waters says one thing will stay the same – a commitment to the running game.

“I think that’s always going to be an emphasis,” Waters said. “I know that offensive coordinator, he was my offensive line coach. I know the emphasis is going to be running the football but more than that, they’re going to do whatever they have to do to try and score points and move the ball. I know there’s going to be a lot of stuff made about the quarterback situation but that’s not going to stop them. They’re going to run their game plan. They’re not going to deviate from what they think is the best thing for their team.”

As for head coach Todd Haley, any way his two years there with him might help Bill Belichick game plan?

“Some ways and some ways not,” Waters said of Haley, who came to Kansas City after helping the Cardinals reach Super Bowl XLIII as Arizona’s offensive coordinator. “You have to remember the head coach is from Arizona and other places so, he has a lot of influences on the things that go on there but there are some structural and operational things that are similar. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Muir, Brian Waters, Kansas City Chiefs

Peter King on M&M: ‘The Jets are all but out of it’

11.18.11 at 2:01 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni on Friday at noon for his weekly appearance. King talked about Tim Tebow leading the Broncos in their win over the Jets on Thursday night and the Patriots distancing themselves in the AFC East.

Tebow led the Broncos on a 95-yard drive late in the fourth quarter and capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown run to give Denver a 17-13 win. The loss drops the Jets to 5-5. The Patriots are 6-3 and face the Chiefs, who will be without Matt Cassel, this Monday night. King said that the situation is looking pretty hopeless for New York at this point.

“One of the most telling things last night is that the Jets fell to 4-5 in the conference. They have five conference losses right now,” King said. “That’s huge in order to get into any legitimate wild card discussion. … At the absolute bare minimum, they have to go 5-1 down the stretch, and they may have to go 6-0. Whenever you’re talking about that and whenever you’re looking at, even though the Jets have a relatively easy schedule down the stretch, I thought the game at Denver would be relatively easy. When you’re playing at Philadelphia and when you’re playing the Giants, and when you’re ending the season at Miami, which is always a bugaboo game for you, I think the Jets are all but out of it.”

King also said that he doesn’t like the Bills’ chances within the division after their recent struggles. So, despite their flaws, King thinks the Patriots have a firm hold on the AFC East for right now.

“I think it would stun everyone if the Patriots didn’t have a two-game lead over both teams in the division this weekend, but we’ll see,” King said.

King also said that the AFC in general is wide open, but that if he had to pick anyone to come out of the conference, he would select the Texans.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andy Reid, Mark Sanchez, Peter King, Tim Tebow

Patrick Chung on M&M: ‘I’m working hard’ to get back on field

11.18.11 at 12:06 pm ET
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Patriots safety Patrick Chung joined Mut & Merloni on Friday morning to for his weekly appearance as New England prepares for a Monday night matchup with the Chiefs. To listen to the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Chung sat out the Patriots’ 37-16 win over the Jets this past Sunday with a foot injury. His status for Monday is unknown, as his participation in practice was limited on Thursday. In typical Patriots fashion, Chung did not reveal much when asked if he would play against Kansas City.

“I’m working hard man, working hard,” Chung said.

Filling for Chung at safety against New York was rookie Sterling Moore. Chung said that Moore did a good job in his first career start.

“I think he played fine. Honestly, I had no doubts about him, he’s a very athletic guy, he’s smart,” Chung said. “He’s just young and he played good, he played good and he’s going to get better, I have no doubts about him at all.”

Chung said that it was hard to sit out a game, especially against the rival Jets, but that he made sure to make use of his time on the sidelines.

“You have to take mental reps,” Chung said. “Even when you’re not playing, you can definitely take mental reps and get your mind right and make the calls in your head as if your on the field. ‘€¦ It’s kind of like practice, it keeps your brain working.”

On Monday, the Patriots will face quarterback Tyler Palko, who is filling in for the injured Matt Cassel. Palko has played in just four games in his two-year career and attempted a total of 13 passes. But Chung said that the Patriots are preparing for Palko like they would any other starting quarterback in the NFL.

“He makes the throws,” Chung said. “He’s a good quarterback, he’s an NFL player so obviously he’s good. ‘€¦ They wouldn’t put him out there if he couldn’t make the throws, that’s my view on things. Any quarterback comes in, you have to play him like he’s All-Pro.”

Read More: Patrick Chung, Sterling Moore,

Jerod Mayo on M&M: Tim Tebow ‘a winner’

11.18.11 at 11:12 am ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo checked in for his weekly discussion with Mut & Merloni Friday, with the Patriots gearing up for a Monday night game against the Chiefs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Chiefs turn to Tyler Palko at quarterback, as Matt Cassel is out with an injured hand.

“His skill set is pretty comparable to Cassel’s,” Mayo said. “They do the same type of things. He can run, he can throw the ball. It is a little difficult not having as much film on him, but at the same time, the schemes won’t change, because they’re pretty similar in style.”

The Broncos edged the Jets Thursday night behind Tim Tebow‘s last-minute touchdown run. Mayo said he’s focused on the Chiefs and did not watch the game, but he knows Tebow well, having played him in college when both were in the SEC (Mayo at Tennessee, Tebow at Florida).

“He’s a winner,” Mayo said. “No matter if he throws the ball one time a game, he can win you the game. As he proved in college, he’s a valuable asset for a team.”

The Jets have lost two straight, having previously lost to the Patriots on Sunday. Asked if the Patriots might have a letdown Monday after the win over their rivals, he predicted that wouldn’t happen.

“I don’t think so,” Mayo said. “I think the coaches have done an excellent job all week, making sure we’re prepared and focused on this upcoming game. We’re through with the Jets. We were through with the Jets the day after. We were on to Kansas City. i think that’s the right mindset to have.”

Read More: Jerod Mayo, Tim Tebow, Tyler Palko,

Target practice: Who has been Tom Brady’s favorite receiver through nine games?

11.17.11 at 2:13 pm ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains an imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. After nine games, here’€™s a look at the target breakdown in the New England passing game for the 2011 season:

Kevin Faulk: 5 catches on 5 targets (100 percent)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 5 catches on 6 targets (83 percent)
Stevan Ridley: 3 catches on 4 targets (75 percent)
Wes Welker: 72 catches on 101 targets (71 percent)
Rob Gronkowski: 52 catches on 73 targets (71 percent)
Aaron Hernandez: 37 catches on 55 targets (67 percent)
Deion Branch: 37 catches on 60 targets (62 percent)
Danny Woodhead: 12 catches on 20 targets (60 percent)
Chad Ochocinco: 11 catches on 23 targets (48 percent)
Julian Edelman: 3 catches on 7 targets (43 percent)
Matthew Slater: 1 catch on 3 targets (33 percent)
Taylor Price: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
Dane Fletcher: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
TOTAL: 238 catches on 360 targets (66 percent)

By position:
Running back: 25 catches on 35 targets (71 percent)
Tight end: 89 catches on 129 targets (69 percent)
Wide receiver: 124 catches on 195 targets (64 percent)
Other: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, BenJarvus Green Ellis, Chad Ochocinco, Dane Fletcher

Mankins: The no-huddle is ‘tiring,’ but defensive lines ‘get more tired than we do’

11.17.11 at 1:50 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots love to use the no-huddle offense, and have leaned on it fairly heavily through the first nine games of the season. But how does the uptempo style play with the offensive line? Left guard Logan Mankins acknowledged Thursday that “it gets pretty tiring” for the big guys up front, but the guys on the other side “are getting tired too.”

“It’€™s nice to do it occasionally when it’€™s working good. We like it,” Mankins said of the no huddle. “The d-line, I think they get more tired than we actually do, because they have to chase the ball. But it does get pretty tiring in there — you don’€™t have the rest between plays like in the huddle.”

Asked if the sight of weary defensive linemen perks him up a little, Mankins responded in the affirmative.

“Of course. You like those guys to be tired, they can’€™t go as fast,” Mankins replied. “Occasionally, they substitute guys in there and then we’€™re tired and they’€™re not, so that’€™s the disadvantage, I guess.”

Read More: Logan Mankins,



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