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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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Bill Belichick on The Big Show: ‘I need to do a better job’ on fourth-down call

10.25.10 at 5:11 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick visited with The Big Show on Monday afternoon to break down his team’s 23-20 victory over the Chargers on Sunday, including the decision to go for the first down on fourth-and-1 with two minutes left from the Patriots’ 49-yard line.

Belichick acknowledged a need to do a better job with his play-calling in such situations, saying flatly that if a team goes for it in such a situation, it needs to convert the first down.

“I thought that we would be OK with the play we had called. It obviously didn’t work out,” said Belichick. “I just need to do a better job in that situation with the plays and the decisions and all that. When you go for those, you need to pick them up. We didn’t. We’ve got to find a better way.”

Belichick also discussed the performance of safety Brandon Meriweather, one week after he had been fined by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap, as well as the upcoming challenge that the Patriots face in the Vikings and Randy Moss. Meanwhile, though Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre was diagnosed with two ankle fractures, Belichick said that his team would continue to prepare for the quarterback as they work towards next Monday night’s showdown.

“He’€™s started 8,000 games in a row,’€ Belichick joked of the 41-year-old Favre, who has played in 291 consecutive games. ‘€œFavre is like Lou Gehrig ‘€” of course I expect him to play. But you have to be ready for everybody. You always have to be ready for all the players that are on the roster.’€

Highlights are transcribed below. To listen to the complete interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Brett Favre, fourth-and-1

Bill Belichick: We are preparing as if Brett Favre will play

10.25.10 at 4:20 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Despite the fact that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was reportedly diagnosed Monday with two separate fractures in his left ankle, Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave no doubt Monday afternoon as to who they think will be under center for Minnesota when the two teams meet Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Responding to a question as to whether or not they’€™ll be preparing as if Favre was going to play Favre, Belichick smiled.

‘€œOf course ‘€” he’€™s started 8,000 games in a row,’€ Belichick said of the 41-year-old Favre, who has played in 291 consecutive games. ‘€œFavre is like Lou Gehrig ‘€” of course I expect him to play. But you have to be ready for everybody. You always have to be ready for all the players that are on the roster.’€

According to Minnesota coach Brad Childress, Favre is in a walking boot, and an MRI revealed the quarterback has two fractures in his ankle: an avulsion fracture and stress fracture, which will not apparently require surgery. If Favre is unable to go, the Vikings would turn to backup Tavaris Jackson.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brett Favre, Tavaris Jackson,

Bill Belichick responds to remarks from NFL officials about Brandon Meriweather’s play

10.25.10 at 4:02 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” With his tongue firmly in cheek, Patriots coach Bill Belichick weighed in Monday on the comments from NFL officials praising safety Brandon Meriweather for his ‘€œtenacious’€ hits in Sunday’€™s game against San Diego.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, one week after criticizing Brandon Meriweather for his hit against Ravens tight end Todd Heap, praised the Patriots safety responding to the league’€™s crackdown on hits to the neck and head of defenseless players.

‘€œBrandon Meriweather, specifically, last week we were appropriately calling him out and chastising him,’€ said Anderson. ‘€œYesterday in the Patriots’€™ game at San Diego, Meriweather made two very tenacious, effective and legal hits in similar situations. But you could see it, he lowered the target area, blasted the opponent with his shoulder. He adapted, showing it can be done. It is appropriate to praise him for the tough play.’€

When asked about the idea of a league official complimenting the play of one of his players and whether or not he had ever heard that before, Belichick responded with a small smile.

‘€œI think that would be a first for me,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œThe officials are now evaluating the players and their performance ‘€” that’€™s great. I can’€™t tell you how much that means to me, really.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, ray anderson, Todd Heap

Bill Belichick talks about San Diego, fourth-and-1 and the NFL’s decision to praise Brandon Meriweather

10.25.10 at 3:54 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Patriots coach Bill Belichick just wrapped up his Monday afternoon press conference down here at Gillette Stadium. Here are a few highlights from the Q&A with the media:

On whether or not long snapper Jake Ingram’€™s struggles played into the decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 late in the game, and whether or not he’€™s concerned about him:
‘€œNo ‘€¦ well, yeah. We’€™re all concerned about our execution on every play of the game. But no, I felt like we could pick it up and end the game there, if we could pick that up. We came close to putting it away. We just didn’€™t. Obviously, we just didn’€™t get it done. A lot of things could have been better on that play. Coaching, playing, just ‘€¦ they did a good job on it. Give them credit.’€

On the defensive difference for his team from the first three quarters to the fourth quarter:
‘€œAgain, give them credit. They have a lot of good players. They have a good offensive football team. They have a good quarterback, good backs, good tight end, good receivers. And they’€™re well-coached. Norv does a great job. They lead the league in offense. Certainly there are things we thought we could have done better. There’€™s no intention of us trying to give up 20-yard pass completions. That’€™s not part of what we’€™re trying to do. But they hit them. Again, they have good players doing it and we need to defend them better, between pass rush and coverage and disguise and everything else. All the things that go with it. We just need to do a better job in those situations. But they’€™re a good football team. They’€™ve got 20-yard completions on a lot of people this year. Every year.’€

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NFL applauds Brandon Meriweather’s ‘tenacious’ hits

10.25.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, one week after criticizing Brandon Meriweather for his hit against Ravens tight end Todd Heap, praised the Patriots safety responding to the League’s crackdown on hits to the neck and head of defenseless players. Meriweather, who was fined $50,000 last week for his hit on Heap, leveled Chargers wide receiver Patrick Crayton with a hit below the shoulder on Sunday. Anderson lauded Meriweather’s clean, aggressive play.

“We like to think we’re off to a good start in terms of the new emphasis and the recognition that we are going to play aggressively but well within the rules,” Anderson told the Associated Press. “It’s a good start.

“Brandon Meriweather, specifically, last week we were appropriately calling him out and chastising him,” he added. ” Yesterday in the Patriots’ game at San Diego, Meriweather made two very tenacious, effective and legal hits in similar situations. But you could see it, he lowered the target area, blasted the opponent with his shoulder. He adapted, showing it can be done. It is appropriate to praise him for the tough play.”

Anderson also applauded the play of Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $75,000 last week and briefly threatened retirement in response to the league’s emphasis on enforcing protections of defenseless players.

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Crayton, ray anderson, Todd Heap

Brandon Meriweather on D&H: ‘Love’ aggressive coaching

10.25.10 at 1:06 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Brandon Meriweather stopped in for his weekly visit with the Dale & Holley show from Gillette Stadium on Patriots Monday. To hear the interview, including Meriweather’s summary of his phone conversation with Rodney Harrison about head hits, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Meriweather said he wasn’t surprised with Bill Belichick‘s decision Sunday to go for it on fourth-and-1 at midfield with two minutes remaining and New England holding a three-point lead over the Chargers. “That’s coach,” Meriweather said. “Coach is an aggressive coach, and that’s what we love about him, the fact that when somebody else won’t do it, he would.”

After the Patriots were stopped the defense had to take the field, Meriweather said there was no disappointment. “We were saying, ‘Man, it’s time to play.’ We were happy about it. We were like, ‘All right, now we get to show everybody how good our defense really is.’ And I think we did that.”

Meriweather said he made the necessary adjustments to avoid getting himself in trouble with the league following last week’s helmet-to-helmet hit. “I just lowered my target zone. That’s all I did,” he said. “I took some much-needed advice from some people that I trust. Big V [Vince Wilfork] is one of them. I took some advice from him and [his wife] Bianca. I talked to Mr. Kraft and Bill [Belichick]. Everybody just told me, ‘Continue playing, just lower your target zone.’ ”

Meriweather said he is trying to stay disciplined and do his part within the team’s game plan. “Just do what my coaches ask me, and when I get a chance, make the play,” he said. “Because the difference between Pro Bowlers and people who never make it is that the Pro Bowlers make the plays when given the opportunity and the people that don’t make it don’t.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Rodney Harrison, Vince Wilfork
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