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Super Bowl video diary: Planes, zip lines, Ines Sainz, Vic the Brick help the countdown

01.31.12 at 8:25 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The journey through Super Bowl Week has begun, and will help you taste all the flavor. The following is the first peek into the world of all things Indy …

Ray Ventrone: ‘It’s cool my brother gets to experience what I did’

01.31.12 at 8:11 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Ventrone brothers both played for the same high school, the same college and the same NFL team.

Now, both have the distinction of being members of a Patriots team in the Super Bowl playing against the Giants.

Ray Ventrone made his first NFL tackle in Super Bowl XLVI in Glendale, and delivered a devastating tackle on Dominik Hixon in the fourth quarter, a hit on kickoff coverage that appeared to set a good tone for the Patriots before Eli Manning began a drive that would make him a Super Bowl legend.

“Yeah, I watch it and I feel like I’m back in that game every time I see it on NFL Network,” Ventrone told by phone from his Cleveland-area home on Monday.

“It’s really great that my brother is going to be able to experience everything this week that goes with being in the biggest football game there is,” Ventrone said of 25-year-old Ross, who is four years younger. “It’s cool my brother gets to experience what I did. I just told him to take everything in and enjoy it.”

In keeping with his role with the Patriots all season, Ross Ventrone may or may not get into the game on Sunday against the Giants. But Ray pointed out Monday that Ross is hardly bothered by the 20 or so transactions for his brother this season, including numerous cuts, activations and practice squad assignments. Ross has played in eight games this season and is currently on the practice squad and has yet to appear in the playoffs.

“Ross understands how everything goes,” Ray said. “Honestly, he’s not bothered by it. He was able to play in NFL games. I don’t think he would trade that for anything. He played in eight games. He’d give me the rundown on how he played. Football players in general, even the ones in this league, I don’t think always understand how lucky we are to do what we do”

Bill Belichick certainly has a fondness for the way the Ventrones approach the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andy Talley, Bill Belichick, Dominik Hixon, Eli Manning

Bill Belichick explains how Ray Perkins took the Giants out of the ‘country club’ culture

01.31.12 at 6:35 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Before there was Bill Parcells, there was Ray Perkins.

It was Perkins whom Bill Belichick credited Monday with helping mold the Giants into a tough team, an image they carry to this day.

“I can say before I got to New York, and coach Perkins was like that, too, we had tough, physical practices, too,” Belichick said Monday. “He definitely set the tone. When I got there in 1979, relative to what the Giants had done previous to that, it was kind of a country-club atmosphere, from what I understood. I wasn’€™t there. It was a little bit different than what I had been used to. I learned a lot from the mental and physical toughness standpoint that Ray, and then Bill, built their teams with. Maybe I took it a little too far in Cleveland, I don’€™t know. It was kind of the same thing when I got there. People said that we were too demanding and we were doing too much. I was thinking to myself, ‘€˜I was with the Giants for 12 years. I saw this every day for 12 years. Don’€™t tell me we can’€™t go out there and have 9-on-7 two days in a row. I know we can.’€™ ‘€

Perkins coached the team until 1983 when Parcells took over.

The “toughness” of a team was a topic of conversation Monday when Belichick came out and announced his team spent Monday going through a “crisp” first day of practice in full pads here in Indianapolis.

Belichick also reminisced fondly about his days on the Giants coaching staff from 1979-90, with the last several years spent with Tom Coughlin, who served as wide receivers coach while Belichick worked on the defense. Belichick reminded everyone that, back in the day, there was never any question from the players about going full contact in practice. Now, thanks to the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed only one practice in full pads per week during the season.

‘€œIt was awesome,” Belichick said of his Giants’ days. “We had a great staff and great players. One of the biggest things I learned, that I can’€™t do today, but I know, is how tough those players were. We practiced every day in pads, every single day in pads. There were years that we practiced every single day on the turf before we had the grass practice fields up there on the hill, or it was being rebuilt or something happened. How we did 9-on-7, which is a good-tempo running drill, and how we did that on a regular basis. In training camp, we went out in pads every day. We hit every day. We did 9-on-7 every day. There was no way Bill (Parcells) would go out on the field without doing 9-on-7. We’€™d skip stretching before we’€™d skip 9-on-7. Going back to last year, and even this year, going out in pads, working on 9-on-7, having more contact work in practice, we’€™d get that look a little bit like, ‘€˜I don’€™t know if the players can do it.’€™ I’€™m thinking to myself, ‘€˜Can’€™t do it?’€™

“We were in pads on Fridays with the Giants, and nobody said anything. That’€™s the way it was. You went out there and practiced. I know what players are capable of doing because of how demanding we were with them from a physical standpoint, and that certainly didn’€™t lessen their aggressiveness or their toughness in games. That was a physical defense. That was a physical offensive line. Even getting ready for the Super Bowl against Buffalo, the way we ran the ball in that game. That started on the practice field with the tempo in practice. When you get those guys crashing into each other ‘€“ Jumbo (Elliott) and Mark Bavaro blocking (Lawrence) Taylor, (Carl) Banks, (Jim) Burt and all them ‘€“ they just lined up and played football. I know it was a different era, but it will never be like that again. I learned players can be tough, they can be physical, they can do more than they think they can do from that standpoint.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, New England Patriots, New York Giants

Timbaland produces hip-hop song about Rob Gronkowski

01.30.12 at 11:19 pm ET
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Rap producer Wizz Dumb and rapper Brasco teamed up on a new track about Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Credited as an executive producer on the track is none other than hip hop and R&B legend Timbaland.

The song surfaced on YouTube on Monday. Timbaland tweeted it to his followers calling Gronkowski a “super TE” and using the hashtag “#gopatriots.”

Gronkowski also took to twitter with the song, tweeting:

“Thanks to @Timbaland for this new gronk song! Wowsers this is crazyyy!”

Timbaland responded to Gronkowski, tweeting:

“i gotchu! Now lets win superbowl.”

The 22-year-old Gronkowski set the single-season record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 17. He hopes to play in the Super Bowl Sunday despite suffering a high ankle sprain against the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

The credits on the song’s Youtube page identify the music as being from Timbaland, with the track executive produced by Timbaland and Wizz Dumb.

Timbaland has worked with the likes of Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Aaliyah and Genuine, among others in his career.

Read More: Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Rob Gronkowski, Timbaland

Press Conferences: Devin McCourty talks evolution of Patriots’ defensive backfield

01.30.12 at 7:29 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is the transcript from Patriots’ defensive back Devin McCourty’s press conference Monday (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on how the first practice went) ‘€œIt was good. Everybody got a chance to get out there and get after it. We ran around. We practiced hard. It was a good first day. We felt like we wanted to come out here and practice hard to start off the week. This was an important day to just kind of set the tone.’€

(on if he feels fortunate that he got to the Super Bowl in just his second season) ‘€œDefinitely. Just talking to the other guys on our team and other friends that I have made that are veterans, to be at this level in only my second year, you have got to be grateful for it. I think the biggest thing, is just trying to take advantage of the opportunity of being here ‘€“ working hard, studying hard and getting ready to go for this game.’€

(on how difficult it will be to face the Giants‘€™ wide receivers) ‘€œIt’€™s a very difficult challenge. I think it all starts with their offense, how balanced they are with a good running game, a good quarterback and they have three very good weapons outside at receiver. We are really going to have to prepare and come to play, because any of the three of those guys are capable of having big games.’€

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Press Conferences: Patrick Chung talks Patriots’ strategy against Giants’ offense

01.30.12 at 7:10 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is the transcript from Patriots’ safety Patrick Chung from his press conference Monday (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on WR Julian Edelman playing defense) ‘€œHe’€™s good. I feel he’€™s good. He has the quickness, he’€™s fast, he’€™s smart, he has good hands and he’€™s tough, he’€™s physical. That’€™s all the intangibles of a good player. I have no worries about Julian back there.’€

(on Deion Branch) ‘€œHe makes plays, man. He’€™s a veteran that makes plays and can make big catches. If there’€™s a lot of pressure on guys, he can take the pressure because he’€™s been there, he has that experience; he has all the things that veterans need to play in big games like that.’€

(on how the Giants‘€™ receiving corps stacks up against other teams they’€™ve faced this year) ‘€œThey’€™re very good. They’€™re three different types of receivers, but they’€™re three very good receivers. They all can get the ball, they all have good routes and they have Eli (Manning) throwing to them right now and he’€™s on fire so you’€™ve got to stop them. They’€™re definitely versatile receivers.’€

(on if the Giants’€™ receivers are the best they’€™ve faced this year) ‘€œAs a corps, I think so. You have three receivers who can make a big play if anyone gets the ball, definitely.’€

(on what the biggest lesson they learned from the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens) ‘€œThe main lesson? Play to the end. That’€™s all I can really say. Play to the end because you never know what’€™s going to happen.’€

(on Sterling Moore making two huge plays at the end of the AFC Championship) ‘€œHe’€™s a baller. I mean, he’€™s a baller. He’€™s mentally tough. He’€™s been through a lot of stuff, man. He’€™s mentally tough, he’€™s fast, he’€™s quick and he’€™s confident. He’€™s confident and he feels he can do a lot of damage. He’€™s good. He wouldn’€™t be out there if he wasn’€™t.’€

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Press conferences: BenJarvus Green-Ellis talks Giants, not fumbling, and coming back to Indiana

01.30.12 at 7:02 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Here is a transcript of the press conference conducted by Patriots’ running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis Monday afternoon (courtesy NFL media relations):

(on what lessons he learned from the playoff game against the Ravens) ‘€œThe main lesson is just the game’€™s never over until it’€™s over and you’€™ve always got to go out there and compete. We’€™ve moved on from Baltimore and we try to learn from our mistakes in that game and just go on and get ready for the New York Giants.’€

(on why the offense wasn’€™t as explosive in the game versus Baltimore) ‘€œIt’€™s around that time. That’€™s football. There’€™s only four teams left at that time, but we’€™re not speaking on that. The thing we’€™re really focused on is the Giants.’€

(on the challenge of the Giants run defense) ‘€œSpeaking on their run defense, I mean just their defense period, they’€™ve been a good defense over the playoffs and the last half of the season. I mean really since they’€™ve played us they’€™ve really been playing good football over like the last four weeks of the season, five weeks of the season and on into the playoffs they just carried momentum and they picked up momentum and they are playing just about as well as anybody in the league right now.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

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