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Bill Belichick’s complete Q&A with the media Thursday morning

06.14.12 at 4:26 pm ET
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Here’€™s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick‘€™s Q&A with the media from Thursday morning at Gillette Stadium.

BB: It’€™s another day here, another day of mini-camp; just trying to roll along through it. [We’€™ll] wind things down a little bit here after today. I feel like we’€™ve gotten a lot done but we still have a long way to go. Hopefully we’€™ll be ready to go to training camp, this is really what this is all about, to prepare all of us for the start of training camp in whatever it is five weeks, six weeks, depending on when they report.

Tom Brady was talking a little bit yesterday that he would remind his teammates that the next five weeks are not vacation ‘€“ will you impart the same type of words? ‘€œYeah, we’€™ve already been talking about it; definitely.’€

Why do they not take the playbook with them? Is that a common thing? ‘€œWe’€™ll make some revisions to it based on some of the things that have happened over the weeks. We’€™ll make some modifications to it. The way the playbook is set up, it kind of changes every camp anyway because of the installation schedule.’€

What were your thoughts on getting the AFC Championship rings yesterday? ‘€œBittersweet. Whatever it was last year, it was. It’€™s time to move on.’€

Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said they are interested in possibly coming up for practice during training camp. What is your interest level? ‘€œI’€™ll talk to Joe, actually Joe and I have talked about it. [I’€™ll] probably follow back up and see how that works out. I don’€™t know. Right now, we’€™re just trying to get through today and get the most we can out of that and then follow back up on the training camp logistics and our teaching schedule and that type of thing. We’€™ll deal with that in the next few days or week or so, if it happens.’€

Did you find that beneficial a couple years ago when you did it? ‘€œWe’€™ll see, maybe. If we think so, then we’€™ll do it. If not, then ‘€“ they play in the Hall of Fame game so it’€™s a little bit of a tight schedule on their end so we’€™ll see how it goes.’€

Have you reached out to the other teams you’€™ll play this preseason about the possibility of doing joint practices? ‘€œThat could be a possibility. Right now, we’€™re really just focused on trying to get through this mini-camp here. We’€™ll deal with training camp and the other scheduling and all that in the next few days here.’€

What are some of your thoughts on Bobby Carpenter and his attributes? ‘€œIt’€™s been good. Bobby has been here all spring. He’€™s worked hard. Good athlete, runs well, smart guy, has some experience. He’€™s done some different things in his career ‘€“ played inside, played outside, played in sub, played in the kicking game. He’€™s been a pretty versatile player for a couple of different organizations, three [organizations]. He’€™s fit in well; he’€™s done a nice job. We’€™ve asked him to do some different things and he mentally, physically and experience-wise has looked pretty comfortable doing those. I think he’€™s in good position to go to camp and we’€™ll see what happens in training camp.’€

What was his role with the Lions last year? ‘€œPlayed more in their sub than in the regular defense, although he played some in there too. He’€™s played, as I said, inside and outside, so he’€™s played both middle linebacker and the Sam and Will, both on and off the line of scrimmage in a 4-3 and 3-4, going back to Dallas and Miami and Detroit was the 4-3 package with the off the line, three linebacker scheme, four man line scheme. He’€™s done a lot of different things. He’€™s a very versatile player and he’€™s smart so learning really hasn’€™t been a problem for him. He’€™s been able to handle multiple responsibilities so far.’€

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Bill Belichick: No updates on Andre Carter’s situation as it pertains to the Patriots

06.14.12 at 2:42 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday there’s no new updates on the status of defensive end Andre Carter, but left open the possibility of his return.

“Nope. We’€™ll see how it goes,” Belichick said when asked about Carter, who remains an unrestricted free agent after spending the 2011 season with New England.

“The players who are here on the roster are on the roster. We’€™re at 90 so if somebody comes on, somebody else will have to go off. Might happen, might not, I don’€™t know. We’€™ll do what we think is best for the football team. We’€™ll evaluate whatever our options are. If we make a move, then there isn’€™t a spot there to make it, so somebody would have to move off if somebody moved on.”

The 33-year-old Carter, who suffered a season-ending injury last December in a win over the Broncos, finished last season with 10 sacks, tying a team-high. He recently spoke with, and indicated he feels like he’d be ready by training camp, saying “when it comes to rehab there’€™s a certain timetable where you’€™re supposed to be, and I’€™ve surpassed that. I’€™m ahead of the game and headed in the right direction. Even though I know this injury takes a long time, my goal has been to be back for training camp. That’€™s my focus.” And his agent Carl Poston told in February that Carter would welcome a return to New England.

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Bill Belichick and the coaching staff scrap the final day of minicamp

06.14.12 at 1:10 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots followed the lead of some other NFL teams on Thursday, scrapping their final day of on-field work at minicamp.

Players were taped and ready to go for the start of practice shortly after noon on Thursday, but they found out from the coaches when they were on the field that practice had been called off. There’s still a series of Thursday afternoon meetings, but after that, they are free to leave.

Wide receiver Deion Branch said the move was “a shocker,” but added that he could recall similar situations “way back in the old days.”

“It’s good,” Branch added. “It’s been great. We’ve had a great offseason. We did a lot of good things. There’s a lot of things we have to work on when we come back for training camp. We’re looking forward to it.”

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Patriots get their AFC title rings

06.14.12 at 9:21 am ET
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The Patriots received their AFC championship rings from owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday, and USA Today reporter Jarrett Bell shared some of the ring details in this story:

“The 14-karat, white gold ring was designed to capture the significance of the season, as the Patriots logo on the top of the ring is emblazoned with seven marquise diamonds that represent the seven AFC titles won by the franchise. The logo is surrounded by 32 round diamonds (representing the NFL’s 32 teams) that are enhanced with special cut garnet and blue sapphire stones.

“In all, each ring contains 73 diamonds for a total of 1.51 carats, the number representing the 73 players who appeared in at least one game last season.

“The left side of the ring features a blue sapphire stone with the initials ‘MHK’ for Myra, who died last July due to cancer.”

“It didn’t end the way we all hoped,” Kraft told the team, according to Bell, “but winning an AFC Championship Game at home in front of 70,000 fans is a great accomplishment and something that I will never forget.”

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Ivan Fears on Stevan Ridley: ‘He’s got to get used to carrying the ball the proper way’

06.13.12 at 11:29 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Stevan Ridley remembers being scratched for the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl.

He fumbled against the Bills in the season finale but got the ball back. He fumbled in New England’s romp over Denver and wasn’t as lucky in the AFC divisional round. After not fumbling all season long, Ridley picked the wrong time to go all butter fingers with the rock.

Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears remembers.

“How do you get over that hurdle? Keep working at it,” Fears said Wednesday, answering the million-dollar question. “He’s got to work at it. He’s got to get used to carrying the ball the proper way. He’s trying to make plays in the game during the course of the year. He got a little loose with the ball. It can be corrected. It’s both mental and physical.”

Kevin Faulk had the same reputation early in his career before overcoming it.

“He corrected it,” Fears said of Faulk. “The only time he lost the ball with us is when he got knocked out. It’s the only time he lost the ball, let’s be honest. That’s the only time he lost the ball for us, and that’s the way we feel it should be. There is a proper way to carry the ball. If you’ll do that and if you’ll be conscious of the fact that you’ve got to secure the football, we’ll be OK. You can’t lose sight of it. The fact is that’s the most important thing we’ve got. When you’ve got the ball, everybody on the team trusts the fact you’ll bring it back. So yeah, it’s a big deal.

“Everybody advocates high and tight. It’s the proper way to carry the ball.”

High and tight refers to carrying the ball where it’s harder for a tackler to punch it free and tight refers to the three points of the body (hand, chest and inner forearm the ball should be touching when running a play.

Does the always vocal Fears have any overall impressions of minicamp so far?

“No impressions,” Fears said. “No impressions. My impression, I’m very happy. That’s my impression right now. I like what we’re doing. That’s about it. It’s a good start.

“”The big deal is continuing to study. And the most important they’ve got to do is to continue to stay in shape. They’re going to have a good idea of where they are when they leave. So, they either have to improve it or maintain it to get to where we need to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ivan Fears, Kevin Faulk, minicamp, New England Patriots

Tom Brady on the impact the late Tom Martinez still has on him, his own health and focus

06.13.12 at 4:55 pm ET
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FOXBORO — It’s been almost four months since Tom Brady lost the single biggest influence in his football life. But he said on Wednesday, following the second of three mandatory minicamp practices at Gillette Stadium, that Tom Martinez still has a huge impact on him. Martinez, who was waiting on a kidney transplant, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack during dialysis on his 66th birthday.

“I had a great level of comfort with Tom over the years,” Brady said. “He was always someone I could call on to rely on him. I know he’s watching down with every throw and I hear his voice in the back of my head after every throw. Throwing the football is about mechanics. There’s nothing special. It’s just a matter of doing it the right way. The better mechanical you are, the more accurate you’re going to be able to throw the football.”

So what are those words that Brady hears?

“When you’re not accurate, there’s a reason for it. It’s not like, ‘Hey you’ve got to throw the ball more accurate.’ No, there’s a reason. What are you doing?

“I’m constantly evaluating every throw. I watch every practice. Every rep I take in practice, I have someone film and I watch it after practice. I just make sure I’m continuing to work on the right things because ultimately when you’re under pressure, your body is going to revert to what it knows. Muscle memory is a very important thing for a quarterback. Hopefully, you train your muscles to react the way you need them to react when the pressure is on the most. That allows you to throw the ball with velocity and accuracy. The tougher the games get, the closer the coverages, the more accurate you need to be,” Brady added.

Martinez coached and mentored Brady every since the Patriots quarterback grew up in California and eventually attended the University of Michigan. Martinez, who also worked with John Elway and JaMarcus Russell, followed Bill Walsh and John Madden at the College of San Mateo before being forced to retire due to health concerns.

“I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years,” Brady said. “I have a lot of stuff written down of things we’ve talked about and things that I’ve learned and I have a great understanding of mechanically what I need to be able to do. It’s just a matter of seeing it and being able to correct it. Hopefully, you can correct it between series sometimes. You don’t always have the fortune to wait until Monday to figure things out. Sometimes you have to figure them out in the middle of the third quarter. That’s something where I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years.”

Something Brady has taught himself is to take care of his body, something he stressed Wednesday. He had his minicamp weigh-in on Wednesday and tipped the scales at 228 pounds.

“I feel really good,” Brady said. “I feel great. I’m right about where I always am, to tell you the truth. We had weigh-in today and I’m right where coach wants me at.

“I think you really refine what you do over the course of years because you realize what works for you and what you need to do to be prepared for the football season. I think there are things you do when you’re younger I haven’t necessarily done in a while because I don’t think it really correlates well to being a better football player. And ultimately, we’re trying to be the best football player we can be, not necessarily the best weight-lifter, or the best sprinter. You need to be the best football player.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Walsh, College of San Mateo, JaMarcus Russell, John Elway

Asked about Chad Ochocinco, Patriots WR coach Chad O’Shea says current WRs are as ‘good a group as I’ve ever been around’

06.13.12 at 4:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea was Wednesday asked about the team’s decision to cut ties with Chad Ochocinco last week, and instead preferred to look forward instead of back.

“I’d rather just talk about the guys we have in here, the guys I’m working with, because this group that I’m working with, they’re as professional and as good a group as I’ve ever been around,” O’Shea said after Wednesday’s minicamp practice at Gillette Stadium. “And they have a tremendous work ethic, and they’re all really competitive and want to win. They’re familiar with the system. So I’m pleased with the guys we have.”

Ochocinco had 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown in his one season with the Patriots. He was released last week by New England, but has since been picked up by the Dolphins.

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