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Bill Belichick Q&A, 8/30

08.30.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of the Q&A between Bill Belichick and the media this afternoon at Gillette Stadium:

BB: We’re into our final week of training camp. It’s a big week for us. It will give us a chance to straighten out a few things and then work on the Giants. The Giants are a real good football team. A little different than what we’ve seen. Physical. Real good in all areas. Offense, defense, special teams. They have a good style of play. It’s very challenging. It will give us a chance to see the new stadium which we’ll be back in, in a couple weeks. It’s a good opportunity for us this week to get a lot of stuff done. Really our last chance till we get into a bye week later on this season where we’re not getting ready for a regular season opponent here every week. It’s important for us to try and iron out a few things. We’ll have a good competitive test down there in New York, New Jersey.

Q: What are some things that you look for when you go into a new stadium for the first time?
BB: Well, any stadium, just getting familiar with it. The field conditions, the footing, obviously. The returners, the ball handling. Whatever the structure is, lights so forth. Not that that will be an issue with the Jets. The familiarity with it, the wind patterns, just being comfortable with the whole setup. Coaches press box, coming down at halftime. It’s a lot of little things, but it’s just easier when you’ve had a run through once before, and you kind of know what you are doing. 40-second clocks for the quarterbacks. Stuff like that.
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Read More: Bill Belichick, training camp,

LB leaders: Bruschi, Vrabel and now… Mayo

08.30.10 at 4:09 pm ET
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FOXBORO –It has been the most-often asked question since Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel left before the 2009 season.

Who will fill the leadership void on defense for the Patriots?

As as much as coach Bill Belichick relies on his linebackers to call his defense and be responsible for so much at once, that leader is naturally a linebacker.

Jerod Mayo stepped forward Monday and said that while he’s still only 24, he’s ready to take on that task full-time this season, his third in the NFL.

Mayo said he’s still learning the Belichick system but now feels comfortable in teaching younger players what is expected on defense every game.

“I’m still a young guy, maybe not a young guy as far as years played on the team, but I’m 24 years old and still learning from guys like [Vince] Wilfork and [Ty] Warren, even though he’s not here right now, I’m still learning from guys like that,” Mayo said following Monday’s practice. “If the guys have a question for me, I’m there to answer it, try to play the same role that Bruschi and Vrabel played for me when I first came here.”

Clearly, the player most obviously in his sights is fellow linebackerBrandon Spikes, the talented rookie playmaker out of Florida who figures to be a big run-stopper and a foundation of Belichick’s interior D for years to come.

Vrabel is entering his second season in Kansas City after eight seasons and three Super Bowl titles in New England and four before that in Pittsburgh. Bruschi is now sharing his football wisdom with the world on ESPN.
And Mayo is left behind in Foxboro to carry the leadership torch along with Wilfork and Warren.

As for last Thursday, when the Patriots failed time after time to get off the field on defense on third down, Mayo said the team was reminded that’s not acceptable starting Sept. 12 against Cincinnati.

“We did get some humble pie and we didn’t play like we were supposed to,” Mayo said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots

Pats practice report-Monday

08.30.10 at 3:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The biggest news of the day was who was not on the practice field with the Patriots as they look to put last Thursday’s preseason embarrassment behind them and get ready for their final tune-up before the real games begin against Cincinnati on Sept. 12 at Gillette Stadium.

The team worked out in full pads and helmets on the hot, sunny day on the fields outside Gillette.

WR Julian Edelman and TE Aaron Hernandez both missed practice as did CB Tyrone Wheatley, CB Leigh Bodden, CB Bret Lockett, S Brandon McGowan, OG Logan Mankins, DL Brandon Deaderick, OL Nick Kaczur and DL Daryl Richard.

DT Ron Brace, DE Jermaine Cunningham, DL Myron Pryor, Hernandez and CB Kyle Arrington were on the field but did not practice during the open portion visible to reporters.

A pair of receivers, Matthew Slater and Darnell Jenkins returned to practice after missing time last week. Of those not participating Monday, Richard, Pryor, Wheatley, McGowan, Deaderick, and Brace were new absences.

Bodden’s absence raises eyebrows since he returned from a balky knee last week and played against the Rams.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Giants, Julian Edelman, Leigh Bodden

Wilfork, Lewis on D&H: Rams loss looked worse in person

08.30.10 at 1:53 pm ET
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Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive lineman Damione Lewis joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday morning to talk about Thursday night’s disappointing loss to the Rams and what will need to be improved in the final preseason game against the Giants.

“You can’t be pissed off or nothing like that because we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do. At the same time, we looked at the film and corrected the mistakes,” Wilfork said. “Hopefully, we can go out Thursday against the Giants and put it together and move forward. It would be very encouraging if we can do that. We can’t take another step back this week and I don’t think that we will. I think we’re ready and we’re going to see what’s going to happen on Thursday.”

Lewis also touched on the possibility of the NFL expanding the regular season schedule from 16 games to 18 games.

“If we’re going to play 18 games then we should be paid to play 18 games,” Lewis said. “I don’t see how you can schedule us for 18 and then turn around and pay us for 16. … If they’re going make two preseason games regular season games then they’re not preseason games anymore, they’re regular season games. We get regular checks during the regular season.”

Below are the highlights of the conversations. To hear the interviews, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Vince Wilfork:

Tom Brady said earlier that Bill Belichick jumped on you guys for Thursday’s performance. I would think on the defensive side of the ball, you probably deserved whatever he was saying.

I mean at this point, we’ve been through a bunch of practices, been in training camp for a while. Things we can do better, we need to do better. Things we put in from Day One, we need to know how to run it and go forward from there. You can’t be pissed off or nothing like that because we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do. At the same time, we looked at the film and corrected the mistakes. Hopefully, we can go out Thursday against the Giants and put it together and move forward. It would be very encouraging if we can do that. We can’t take another step back this week and I don’t think that we will. I think we’re ready and we’re going to see what’s going to happen on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Damione Lewis, Vince Wilfork,

Rodney: Patriots are ‘fed up’ with Jets’ trash talk

08.30.10 at 1:28 pm ET
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Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, speaking on a conference call this afternoon, said his old team is “fed up” with the amount of trash talk coming from the Jets, and the Patriots have their Week Two game against New York “circled” on their calendar.

“You better believe, the Patriots have that [game] circled with the Jets,” Harrison said. “They hate the Jets, but they hate them even more because they’ve been coming out saying, ‘This is our division.’”

Harrison, currently an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America,” said the words coming from Jets head coach Rex Ryan are the most surprising.

“It’s one thing if a player trash talks,” Harrison said. “But if a coach starts trash talking, guess what? He hasn’t made one tackle, he hasn’t caught the ball, he hasn’t scored one touchdown.”

Harrison believes the words from quarterback Tom Brady — who told WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” last week that he doesn’t watch “Hard Knocks” because he hates the Jets — are fairly indicative of the way the rest of the organization feels about the Jets.

“Tom Brady is an honest guy, but Tom never comes out and blatantly says how much he hates a particular team,” Harrison said. “So obviously they’re very tired, fed up with the trash talk.”

Read More: Rodney Harrison, training camp,

Belichick not fooling around

08.30.10 at 1:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The tone from the outset of his briefing with reporters Monday morning spoke volumes about how much the sloppiness from last Thursday night still bothered Bill Belichick.

“Things that come up in these games, if you don’t get them fixed, they are going to come up again,” Belichick said without batting an eye. “There are certainly a lot of fundamental things that need to be addressed. Hand placement, footwork, leverage. All those type of things that we’ve said them before and we are still in the stage where you need to keep repeating them and make sure that everybody understands.”

For that reason – the coach said – everyone wearing red, white, blue and silver should be ready to play this Thursday. That means No. 12 and all those on the starting unit.

“Any situation can be a little bit different or a different person [can be] involved, that kind of thing,” Belichick said. “There’s always fundamental coaching going on, but certainly at this time of year, you don’t want to gloss over it. Sometimes later on you get into a short week or other circumstances during the year, [and] you don’t get to go through the film as thoroughly or sometimes not at all. In a lot of cases those corrections for the most part have been made.

“Those types of weeks, sometimes you’ll pull out a dozen players that are a little different, a little new. First time that situation has ever happened or something is unique about it, and you can go over it with them. During the season, a lot of times the things you go over at that point, you’ve already gone over multiple times. I think that’s really the case now.”

Like getting the defense off the field on third down. Like not taking unnecessary and undisciplined penalties as was the case with three roughing-the-passer calls last Thursday against the Rams. Like holding onto the ball more than 16 minutes for the game so that their defense doesn’t wear down like it did against St. Louis.

In other words, whether or not this Thursday’s game game counts or not is not the issue. How they play is.

The Patriots boss took a no-nonsense stand Monday in addressing whether or not he would play starters in the preseason finale against the Giants this Thursday night at New Meadowlands Stadium.

“I tell everybody to be ready to play every week,” Belichick said. “That’s what we do. Coaches control control playing time but players should be ready to play every week, regardless of the score, situation, field conditions or anything else. That’s their job, that’s their responsibility and that’s what it is every week and that’s not going to change.”

Belichick was speaking just hours after Tom Brady told Dennis and Callahan on Patriots Monday on WEEI that Belichick let the players ‘have it pretty good’ following a sloppy 36-35 preseason loss at home to the St. Louis Rams last Thursday.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New Meadowlands Stadium, New York Giants

Brady on D&C: Belichick served humble pie

08.30.10 at 11:23 am ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about coach Bill Belichick’s reaction to Thursday’s 36-35 preseason loss to the Rams.

“He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday,” Brady said. “There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.”

Brady, who went to Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship event at TD Garden on Saturday night with teammate Stephen Neal (a former collegiate wrestling champion), also talked about what he does in his free time.

Below are the highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Would it have made a difference to you if the Rams didn’t make the field goal at the end of the game on Thursday?

Well, I like winning so it definitely matters, not in the standings obviously, but I think everyone feels a little better when we win, regardless of preseason games or regular season games. I understand where coach is coming from. He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday. There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.

Does the whole team share the humble pie? What is the offense doing when Bill is going over things with the defense?

Well, he gives it to everybody, I don’t think it’s only a defensive thing. I think there are days when offensively we can certainly do a lot of things better, especially Thursday night when we had the ball for 14 minutes so we couldn’t do anything to stay on the field early on. I thought we picked some things up as the game went on but I think we have to be more consistent throughout the course of the game. You really don’t want to put yourself in too much of a hole in any of these games because you get behind, it’s pretty tough to come back. We have to do a better job of scoring points early and getting off to much better starts. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady,
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