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Do Ravens cut block? Bill Belichick: ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’

01.06.15 at 10:10 am ET
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FOXBORO –€” Bill Belichick is pretty familiar with the Ravens’€™ offensive game plan, as he’€™s faced Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak on a number of occasions at Kubiak’€™s previous stops, which have included Denver and Houston.

One of the fundamental elements of a Kubiak offense is a zone-blocking run scheme, which calls for occasional cut blocks on the part of the offensive line. Cut blocking isn’€™t wildly popular among defensive linemen, as it calls for offensive linemen to go low to take out the legs of a defender.

Belichick was talking about the Ravens zone-blocking scheme when he was asked if  “they cut.”

“Is the Pope Catholic? Yeah, they cut,” Belichick said. “The same offense they ran in Denver, the same offense they ran in Houston, it’s the same offense Kubiak runs in Baltimore. All the characteristics from those other teams are the same characteristics in Baltimore.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Bill Belichick, Gary Kubiak, Ravens

Former Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham arrested

01.06.15 at 9:42 am ET
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Current Jets and former Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham has been accused of spreading sexual images and illegally transporting a handgun in his Audi.

Per, Cunningham was arrested Dec. 29 at his Lafayette Avenue apartment in Summit, New Jersey. While at his home, police searched his car and found a .380 handgun in the glove compartment, according to Mark Spivey, spokesman for the Union County Prosecutor’€™s office. Cunningham was also charged with third-degree invasion of privacy under a state law that prohibits the disclosure of sexual images of a person without the individual’s consent. He was also charged with destruction of clothing.

The spokesman didn’t have more details of the charges.

The linebacker was drafted by the Patriots in the second-round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Florida. He was cut before the 2013 season and signed with the 49ers in Oct. of 2013, before being released later in the month. He signed with the Jets on Nov. 20, 2013, and appeared in two games last season, but was forced to miss this season after tearing his Achilles in training camp. He will be a free agent in March.

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Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘It has been a long time since [Patriots] have been playing at a playoff level’

01.06.15 at 7:36 am ET
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ESPN NFL analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi joined Dale & Holley Monday afternoon for his weekly interview to discuss Saturday’s Ravens-Patriots playoff matchup, and to speak of the state of the Patriots going into the game. To hear the full interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The Patriots aren’t going into the postseason exactly playing their best football. Although they rested a good amount of their starters in the season finale against the Bills, the ones that did play didn’t play as well they would have liked, as they suffered their first loss at home of the year, a 17-9 setback. As an offense and as a team, they have scored more than 23 points just once in their last five games.

“Rust is something where I hope they get off to a good start and this is where the coaching staff with [Bill] Belichick and [Matt] Patricia and [Josh] McDaniels, how they handled the bye week,” Bruschi said. “How they handled this week coming up, are they hard on these guys? Do they push them? I think they might have to be just to remind them the last time it was when they were doing things at the level they wanted to do them at because I don’t think they accomplished that the last week of the season versus the Buffalo Bills.”

“So, coming back this week I think it is a critical week of preparation and how Bill Belichick handles it because it has been a long time since they have been playing at a playoff level and they have been in a game that they have known that if we win this, we move on — if we lose it, it’s done because they had things wrapped up pretty early,” he added.

With their win over the Steelers, the No. 6 seeded Ravens will come to Gillette Stadium for the fourth time in the last six postseasons. Bruschi said he’d rather see another team, but also noted it is gratifying to get to, and win a Super Bowl knowing you beat the best in getting there.

“This is a tough squad in the Baltimore Ravens,” said Bruschi. “In the areas that win late in the year, they got it. They have a tough offensive line, and it’s a tough team. I mean the defense is playing very well and looking at individual matchups versus the New England Patriots, they have players, schemes and coaches that know what to do, when to do it against a team like the New England Patriots. I’d rather have seen another team come in here to make it easier on the Patriots, but they aren’t looking for that, they don’t care who they play.

“If it is the Ravens it’s good because you want to do it right — this is how you get to a Super Bowl, this is how you get to the AFC Championship. You want to get through the Ravens, you want to get through the Broncos, you do it right and win a Super Bowl that way. It was done that way in the past and you look back after you’re done and you went through the Steelers, you went through the Colts, you went through the Rams — those types of teams. You feel good about it. So, you want to be challenged and pushed to the limit and I think they will be this weekend against the Ravens.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, Tedy Bruschi

What Antonio Brown might teach Josh McDaniels, Patriots about Ravens’ approach to Rob Gronkowski

01.05.15 at 9:32 pm ET
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Josh McDaniels is looking forward to the Ravens Saturday in the divisional round. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Josh McDaniels is looking forward to the Ravens Saturday in the divisional round. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With interviews with the Falcons and 49ers out of the way, Josh McDaniels said Monday that his complete focus now is on the Ravens in the AFC divisional round this Saturday. That’s a good thing because after watching the Ravens defense handle Steelers’ wideout Antonio Brown over the weekend, he knows that he’ll need his whole bag of tricks to make sure they don’t do the same thing to Rob Gronkowski.

“They seem to do a good job each week of forcing the offense to do some things that maybe the offense didn’€™t want to do,” said McDaniels on a conference call Monday. “They have the ability to try to take somebody out of the game with different things that they can do in their scheme. They also have good players that they can just cover and match up with the guys they have without doing anything special.”

Cornerback Ladarius Webb was asked to spot Brown Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger targeted the NFL’s leading receiver 14 times, connected just nine times for 117 yards. Take out the 44-yarder in the second half and that’s eight catches for 73 yards. Webb also kept Brown out of the end zone.

“They’€™ve played a lot of good players this year, and really they don’€™t do a lot of exotic things to take them out of the game,” McDaniels said. “They play good team defense. It’€™s one of the best units in the league for a reason. They’€™re well coached, as I mentioned before. They play hard. It’€™s 11 guys playing the same call and executing their assignment on every snap, which makes this a tremendous challenge for us.”

McDaniels will also being going up against old friend Dean Pees, the defensive coordinator in Baltimore who held the same job in New England for four years (2006-09).

“I don’€™t know how much of an advantage it is from one year to the next because Dean is obviously a very good coach,” McDaniels said. “This unit we’€™re playing is very talented. But they don’€™t really stay the same in terms of the things that they use or do in each game that we’€™ve played them.”

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Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dean Pees, Josh McDaniels

Vince Wilfork on D&H: ‘It’s going to be an old-school football game, it’s going to be a physical ballgame’

01.05.15 at 9:06 pm ET
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Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork joined Dale & Holley on Monday to preview the Patriots’ upcoming playoff game against the Ravens. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

With the Ravens being known for being one of the most physical teams in the league, Wilfork is fully expecting a tough, physical game on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

“It’s going to be an old-school football game, it’s going to be a physical ballgame,” said Wilfork.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us up front and we understand this game is going to be a lot about up front on both sides on the ball — our offensive line and defensive line being able to play well against a good physical football team,” he added. “We know how to play that way, we just have to play that way for how long it is going to take.”

Saturday’s game will mark the fourth time in the last six years the Patriots will play the Ravens in the postseason with the Ravens winning two of the last three. Wilfork spoke of players taking their level of play to another level in the postseason and just how much the two teams have met over the years.

“Everybody’s play has to come up another level,” said Wilfork. “You lose, you go home now. So anything that we have, anything we’ve been saving, it’s the time to lay it all out. Game plan, to calling the game, to playing the game, to being aggressive playing it, whatever we have that we think will give us an edge we got to do. Like I said, if you lose you go home and I don’t think anyone in our locker room is ready to go home and I am pretty sure Baltimore is feeling the same way.

“You have two teams that it seems like over the years it seems like a divisional team, over the years we seem to play each other at least once a year and it is one of those things this year we got them again in the divisional round playoff. They are coming in here to beat us, they seem pretty confident coming in here and playing us. They feel they understand how to play us. At the same time we have to make sure we’re on our P’s and Q’s that we are executing at a high level. Everyone’s level of play has to get to an all-time high starting now, and we will be.”

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John Harbaugh: ‘Honor’ to face Patriots in divisional round

01.05.15 at 7:38 pm ET
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Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh have met several times in the past. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh have met several times in the past. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There were nothing but nice words coming out of Baltimore Monday as the Ravens got to work preparing for the Patriots and the divisional playoff contest Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called Bill Belichick and New England a “really great football team” and added it was an “honor” to face the Patriots.

“They’re tremendously well-coached, very well-balanced,” Harbaugh said. “They play complementary football as well or better than anybody in football year-in and year-out, and especially this year.

“All three phases are Top 10-, Top 5-type units. They’re good up front on both sides. They have playmakers, skill guys everywhere [and a] great quarterback. They can run the ball; they can throw the ball. You never know what you’re going to get from coach Belichick scheme-wise. So, it is just a huge challenge for anybody going in there in the playoffs.”

For two teams not in the same division, the Patriots and Ravens are frequent dance partners. Prior to this year, the two teams met five times between 2009 and 2013 — this game will mark the fourth postseason contest in six seasons between Baltimore and New England.

For Harbaugh, the fact that the Ravens have an extensive history against the Patriots in Foxboro is a positive.

“It’s always a plus to have played in a building before,” Harbaugh said of New England. “It seems like we play there a lot. It’s always nice to know your surroundings, and that helps us. Beyond that, the guys who had experience playing against the Patriots will be able to lead the way a little bit. They are the same coaching staff, the same principles that they are built on in all three phases, so that helps to some extent.”

Harbaugh said Monday he’s been impressed by just about every aspect of the Patriots this season.

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Bill Belichick on D&H: Josh McDaniels’ interviews last weekend were a ‘pretty clean situation’

01.05.15 at 7:15 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley on Monday to look ahead to this Saturday’s divisional round game against the Ravens and also to look back on the bye week and some of the things that took place, including offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels interviewing for a few head coaching positions. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

It was reported McDaniels interviewed with the Falcons and 49ers in New England for their head coaching jobs, as the Patriots were on their bye and the interviews were conducted within the league structured window during the bye week. McDaniels said Monday he is now focused on the Ravens, and Belichick said there weren’t any issues.

“We dealt with it as recently as last year, so it is what it is,” Belichick said. “We have a job to do. I think Josh did a great job last year in terms of staying focused and doing his part in preparing for the postseason games and I think he’s done that again this year. There is no issues there.”

“Each one is a little bit different, but based on our schedule and the way the rules are, and what the format is, I think it was a pretty clean situation this time,” he added. “It was all over by Saturday, and Sunday we were onto the Ravens, so full speed ahead.”

Following the Patriots’ practice on New Year’s Eve, the team went to Patriot Place and saw the movie, “American Sniper” directed by Clint Eastwood. It was not the first time Belichick has gathered the team to see a movie, and Belichick thought it was a good experience for the team, as well as a good teaching tool.

“That wasn’t a spontaneous thing at all because that movie hasn’t been released — it’s not out,” Belichick said. “To be honest with you, it wasn’t that easy to have the opportunity to see, so we certainly are appreciative to Clint Eastwood for making this possible and a couple of other people along the way. There’s some things that are options and other things you have to set up a bit. There seemed to be a lot of talk and interest in that around the locker room, around the building, so we were able to do it. I think the guys enjoyed it — I did. It’s a great movie. It has some good messages in it and really focuses on skill and will.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Bill Belichick, Dean Pees, joe flacco



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