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Brian Baldinger: Patriots are being re-made to try to beat the Jets

10.27.10 at 12:40 am ET
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NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger has heard a lot of reasons as to why the Patriots dealt Randy Moss to the Vikings, but he believes the most important reason is that it allows them to become a team that is more capable of beating the Jets.

Baldinger, who breaks down game film for the NFL Network show ‘€œPlaybook,’€ says that the teams that have had the most success against the Jets’€™ defense have employed a passing attack that relies on short and intermediate routes and an ability to get the ball out to receivers quickly.

‘€œThey are building this team specifically to beat the Jets,’€ Baldinger said of the Patriots. ‘€œYou are not going to beat the Jets by taking seven-step drops and looking for Randy Moss 50 yards down the field. You beat the Jets by getting the ball to the quicker guys who can beat coverage. Between [Julian] Edelman, [Wes] Welker, [Deion] Branch and [Danny] Woodhead, that’€™s what they are doing. All of these changes are designed to beat the Jets.’€

Baldinger, who also works as a game analyst for Fox Sports, says the Patriots’€™ offense has moved from ‘€œbeing this big play team to a small-ball team,’€ and adds that they are now playing to Tom Brady‘€™s strength, which is his accuracy. In addition, he likes the changes they’€™ve made on the defensive side of the ball.

‘€œThey’€™ve completely rebuilt their defense,’€ he said. ‘€œThey’€™ve got this infusion of youth ‘€” Jermaine Cunningham and all those other young guys running around back there making plays. They’€™re all out there on the field right now. They’€™ve been able to rebuild that defense and get younger and win games.’€

‘€œI’€™ve questioned Bill Belichick‘€™s style of defense, whether you can play basic coverage in this league and still win games, but they have done it well, especially in their last two games,’€ Baldinger added. ‘€œTo beat the Ravens the way they did and then fly 3,000 miles across the country and beat the Chargers, those are two good football teams. Those are good wins. I don’€™t care what their records are.’€

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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C

10.26.10 at 2:57 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning for his weekly interview, and he talked about Sunday’€™s win over the Chargers, the upcoming game against Randy Moss and the Vikings, and his views on the Celtics‘€™ chances on the day of their season-opener.

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

I know you’€™re not a fan of “either/or” questions, but I’€™m going to lay two on you right at the beginning. Did the Patriots win that game in San Diego, or did the Chargers lose that game in San Diego?

Well, you know, I learned a lesson pretty early playing in the NFL. I was sitting on the sideline with Drew [Bledsoe] one day, and he said, “Tom, a lot of these games are lost by the other team. If you don’€™t make mistakes, then teams have a hard time winning it.”

And we made our fair share of mistakes out there, don’€™t get me wrong. They probably weren’€™t as evident as maybe a turnover would be, or what our coach described as bad football. But, we didn’€™t have really any critical errors in the game, and I think that was probably the difference.

We certainly didn’€™t play our best game on offense, with all the opportunities that we had on a short field and with turnovers, we didn’€™t convert them into touchdowns like I wish we would have. But our defense really played phenomenal and, you know, some of that is the other team not executing as well and some of that is our defense executing very well. So, it’€™s hard to say. I mean, if we don’€™t turn it over, and I think there were probably still too many penalties, but each game ends up being a little bit different and we just came out on top of this one.

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Bill Belichick on Brad Childress: Focus is on Sunday

10.26.10 at 1:02 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’€™t going to get drawn into a war of words with Vikings coach Brad Childress.

Childress, who has jabbed at the Patriots several times in recent years, said Monday the Patriots were ‘€œsome of the all-time great signal stealers,’€ and referenced a 2006 Monday Night game between the two teams at Minnesota’€™s Metrodome. Asked about the comments on a Tuesday conference call, Belichick said the focus right now is on Sunday.

‘€œRight now, we’€™re just trying to focus on the Vikings, to go and get ready to play them,’€ he said. ‘€œ[We'€™re] not really worried about any other games that have happened in the past or any ones that are coming up on the schedule. Right now, just getting ready for Minnesota. And that will consume a lot of energy and time right there. That’€™s plenty to work on.’€

Childress has taken several shots at Belichick over the years ‘€” the two reportedly engaged in a feud over waived players in 2007, and Childress crowed over the fact that the Vikings were able to land Percy Harvin in the 2009 draft at the expense of New England.

So in the wake of the most recent comments from Childress, Belichick was asked about his relationship with the Minnesota coach, and whether the two might spend time together away from the game.

‘€œNo, Brad and I have never coached together,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œLike a lot of other coaches in the NFL, you see everybody at the combine and owners’€™ meetings and stuff like that.’€

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Bill Belichick talks Vikings, Randy Moss and Brad Childress

10.26.10 at 12:44 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick conducted a Tuesday afternoon conference call with the media and he touched on a variety of topics, including preparation for the Vikings, how Minnesota continues to use Randy Moss in its passing game and the quotes from Vikings coach Brad Childress about the Patriots being ‘€œsome of the all-time great signal stealers.’€ Here are some highlights:

Opening statement:

‘€œWe’€™re just really getting into Minnesota here last night and today. They have a really good football team, very talented. I just see a lot of great players on the field in all situations, really ‘€” offense, defense and special teams. Kind of last week with [Darren] Sproles and Percy Harvin, great return guys. A lot of weapons on offense. A big offensive line. They have a great running back, outstanding receivers. Defensively, they have a real talented group up front. Active linebackers, good in the secondary. We have a lot to get ready for. They run a lot of different formations and looks, personnel groups on offense. And they’€™re a very deep, sound, fundamental team on defense. They’€™re a good team that’€™s probably disappointed in their record, but they’€™re really just a couple of plays away from being 6-0. They’€™ve lost three games on the last possession, and had a five-point loss to New Orleans. They’€™re real close to winning every single game they’€™ve been in, just like last year. And we’€™ve just got to really work hard.’€

They led the NFL sacks last year, but are not getting to the quarterback as well this year. Why is that the case?

‘€œI think their pass rush is very good. Quarterbacks and offenses, it looks like, are making a conscious effort not to throw the ball, to get rid of it, to throw the quick passes, the screens, things like that where they’€™re not really under that kind of duress and holding the ball. We all know what can happen when these guys have enough time to get to the quarterback, so I know a lot teams aren’€™t taking a long time to execute. Probably not where you want to be against this group.’€

On Moss’€™ progression since he joined the Vikings:

‘€œThey use a lot of different people on offense. They have a lot of depth at all their skill positions. They play all three tight ends. They play all the receivers that are active. In different personnel packages they have different combinations that are out there. He’€™s out there most of the time. Randy looks like Randy. He’€™s a big weapon for them who can do a lot of things. They used him probably a little bit less in that first game against the Jets, but they had play-action last week and two-minute and things like that that he didn’€™t get as much ‘€¦ he didn’€™t play as much against the Jets in those types of situations. He’€™s out there most of the time [now].’€

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

10.26.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Week 7 is in the books and the top five teams remain intact in the latest edition of’s NFL Power Rankings. The Steelers, Jets, Patriots, Ravens and Colts sit comfortably in spots 1-5, respectively. It is obvious through seven weeks of football that the AFC rules in the NFL. Seven out of the top 10 ranked teams represent the AFC. Jumping in this week are the Titans (No. 7) and the Dolphins (No. 9). Those teams replace the Saints and Eagles, who both suffered big losses on Sunday.

The Saints go marching out of the top 10 and drop all the way to No. 11 after being embarrassed at home by the meager Browns. The defending champs suffered their third loss of the season. During their championship run last season, they lost three times all year.

The Bears also plunge this week to No. 17. The same problems haunt the Bears each week and it seems they can’t improve on the offensive line and passing game.

At the bottom of the barrel, the Bills remain at No. 32 and are the only winless team in the NFL.  There is, at least, some novelty to their basement perch, as the Bills have a new neighbor, with the 49ers falling to No. 31.

1. (Last week, 1) 5-1 Even though the Steelers probably should have lost Sunday against the Dolphins, it’s tough not to put them at the top. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to improve as the season progresses and the Steelers D is one of the best in the league. One thing to watch for is the loss of defensive end Aaron Smith, who is a major contributor to Pittsburgh’s elite defense.

2. (2) 5-1 After a week off, the Jets along with a presumably healthy Darrelle Revis will put their five-game winning streak on the line against the Packers at home.

3. (3) 5-1 This team has been criticized for its poor play on the road and in the second half in the past. On Sunday, however, the Patriots stepped up their game and managed to win on the road. After struggling mightily on offense in the first half, Tom Brady led a 76-yard touchdown drive to open the third quarter that took over eight minutes off the clock. Bill Belichick’s young defense is making noteworthy progress and has become fun to watch.

4. (4) 5-2 Baltimore’s pass defense has looked very suspect over the last two weeks. When your team allows the Buffalo Bills offense to gain 374 yards in the air, something has to be fixed. The Ravens have a bye this week and then will try and get back on track.

5. (5) 4-2 Peyton Manning is facing one of the biggest tests in his career. Can No. 18 continue to win games with his receiving core in shambles or will injuries finally put a stop to the Colts’ long run of success?

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Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Been called a lot worse’ than signal-stealer

10.26.10 at 8:37 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning for his weekly interview, and he talked about Sunday’s win over the Chargers, the upcoming game against Randy Moss and the Vikings, and his views on the Celtics‘ chances on the day of their season-opener.

Vikings coach Brad Childress on Monday called the Patriots one of the all-time great signal-stealers, referencing a Patriots-Vikings game in 2006.

Responded Brady: “We’ve been called a lot worse than that. ‘€¦ That’s come and gone. That’s been not a part of football here for a long time, and we’ve still won a lot of games. In ’07, they changed the rule and so forth. I don’t buy a whole lot into that. The team that’s going to win this weekend is the team that plays better. I promise you that.”

Asked about critical comments Childress made about Brett Favre after Sunday night’s three-interception effort in a loss to the Packers, Brady said different coaches motivate their players in their own way.

“I think every head coach has different styles to motivate their players.,” he said. “Coach [Bill] Belichick, he doesn’t ever do that to anybody. It doesn’t matter if I threw seven interceptions, he would never do that. But there’s no doubt that he’s going to bring that up to me at some point, probably right away, in front of the team, as well. He’s going to make the point that he needs to make in order to try to get his players to play better.”

Added Brady: Everyone does that in different ways. We’re all big boys. We can handle the criticism. If we don’t do something well, we know that we didn’t do something well. Often times, players are their harshest critics. When I don’t play well, I know it. Sometimes it does hurt your ego a bit when somebody tells you you’ve got to do it better. But that’s the truth. If that’s what you need as a player, then in the end you’ll be pretty happy that someone actually came out and said it, because maybe that will motivate you a little bit more to get it improved.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Brett Favre, Tom Brady

Brad Childress is no fan of Bill Belichick and the Patriots

10.25.10 at 11:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” When the Patriots and Vikings meet Sunday at Gillette Stadium, it’€™ll be a game rife with storylines: The return of Randy Moss. The continuing drama surrounding Brett Favre. And the continued emergence of New England’€™s young players, including Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham and Devin McCourty.

But one of the most underrated is the less-than-civil relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Vikings coach Brad Childress. Childress has taken a few shots at New England over the years, so it was no surprise that Childress called the Patriots ‘€œsome of the all-time great signal stealers’€ in a Monday afternoon press conference.

Childress’€™ answer was in response to a rather innocuous question about playing time for rookie defensive back Chris Cook against a New England passing attack led by Tom Brady, and whether or not the Patriots might try and exploit a matchup involving the youngster. The Vikings coach said New England would ‘€œprobably’€ operate ‘€œby coverage,’€ and then referenced a 2006  Monday Night game between New England and Minnesota, a game where the Patriots crushed the Vikings in the Metrodome, 31-7.

In that contest, Brady was masterful, going 29-for-43 for 372 yards and four touchdowns.

‘€œI’€™m mindful of the last time we faced them here on Monday Night Football, where it was like a surgical procedure,’€ Childress said. ‘€œThat’€™s back when we used to signal and things like that. I remember having a conversation with [ex-Minnesota defensive coordinator] Mike Tomlin about [the fact that] these were some of the all-time great signal stealers. In fact, that’€™s what was going on ‘€” they were holding, holding, holding, holding. We were signaling from the sideline. And they were good at it. It’€™s like stealing signals from a catcher.’€
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Read More: Bill Belichick, brad childress, Chris Cook, David Herron
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