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Belichick: ‘No secret’ Pats hate the Jets

08.23.10 at 6:20 pm ET
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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick joined The Big Show on Monday to discuss the pre-season, the Logan Mankins saga, and of course, HBO’s Hard Knocks.

“I’m sure it’s good,” Belichick, who noted he hasn’t seen the show, said. “If NFL Films does it, I’m sure it’s good.”

Asked about quarterback Tom Brady’s “I hate the Jets” comment on Dennis & Callahan earlier in the day and Rex Ryan’s admission that he hated the Patriots, Belichick confirmed both sides’ feelings while downplaying their significance.

“I don’t think its any secret that the Patriots and the Jets don’t have a great affection for each,” Belichick said. “I don’t think any two teams in any division do. I don’t think that’s a big news-breaking story.”

On the subject of Mankins, who remains a no-show as the team prepares for its third pre-season game, Belichick said there was nothing new to report and that he doesn’t see there being any date or “tipping point” at which something concrete must be done.

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Bill Belichick Q&A, 8/23

08.23.10 at 3:53 pm ET
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Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q&A with the media this afternoon at Gillette Stadium:

BB: We’re kind of out of the training camp mode. We’re not quite in regular season yet, but we’re definitely closer to it. A little bit of a week of preparation here for the Rams. We’re still working on some Patriots stuff that it wouldn’t make any difference who we’re playing, we still need to work on; in some cases install and in other cases just refine and improve. So it’s a little bit of a transition period. We know we have some roster decisions coming up in the near future and so that’s something that we have to kind of keep an eye on. Obviously we haven’t made any finalizations yet, but it’s something we have to keep an eye on just like every other team does. And not just our team, but Nick [Caserio] and the personnel staff looking at other teams. There are a lot of balls in the air but that’s the time of year it is. [We’re] trying to get ready for a preseason game, trying to get ready for the regular season and the opener and trying to manage our roster. [There are] a lot of things going on at once there. They’re all important. I think we had a good week last week in Atlanta and hopefully we can follow that up with another productive few days here and Thursday night against the Rams. They’re a new team, a team that we really don’t have any experience with. They have a lot of new players, a new coach since the last time we saw them and obviously a new scheme, so we’re really stating all over with them. That’s good though, because I think that helps the process for our players of preparation and film study and getting to know a new team, a team that we don’t know and won’t be practicing against. So we’ll have to do a lot of the preparation that we would normally do during the regular season and in a similar type of situation. Those are some of the things that are going on here today and this week.

Q: On the Rams, they have some uncertainty at quarterback. This being a week where you might try to replicate a little bit of the regular season, do you do more game planning and paying attention to who’s injured and try to scheme a little bit?
BB: No. We prepare for all the players. We don’t know if they’re going to play or not. There’re no injury reports, so whoever is there…We’ll prepare for all of them. If they play they play; if they don’t they don’t.

Q: So there’s not going to be a Sam Bradford scheme?
BB: No, I think it’s just more of an awareness of knowing which quarterback is in there and how they play, which receiver is in there, which tight end is in there, which running back is in there, and what the skills are of those players and how we would want to defend them or attack them if we’re on the other side of the ball, whatever it happens to be. If they play, they play; if they don’t play, they don’t play, but we prepare for all of them as if they are going to play, just like we would in the regular season. Unless we absolutely knew somebody was out, we prepare for all the players that are on the roster and should be aware of whichever ones come into the game.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday practice report

08.23.10 at 3:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Forced inside by the dreary conditions, the Patriots just wrapped up a Monday afternoon practice in the bubble. Here are a few quick notes:

•The session was held in shorts and shoulder pads, and the following players were not in attendance: wide receiver Julian Edelman, wide receiver Matthew Slater, defensive back Bret Lockett, defensive lineman Kade Weston, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur and defensive back Josh Barrett. The following players were in T-shirts and shorts, and spent much of the time riding exercise bikes: wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, linebacker Eric Alexander, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.

•While a lot of regulars were back on the field for the first time in a while — like cornerback Leigh Bodden and outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain — the backups continued to get plenty of reps, including rookie Devin McCourty at corner, who appeared to get a LOT of time with a reasonable facsimile of the starting defense. (With the return of Derrick Burgess, it appears that, at least for now, Marques Murrell has been bumped down the depth chart.) The Patriots also made some serious rotations at the safety spot, breaking up the usual combos of James Sanders/Brandon McGowan and Pat Chung/Brandon Meriweather.

•Speaking of Meriweather, he was standing directly in the line of fire on a pass in the end zone. The ball hit him right in the hands and he dropped it.

•New offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka made an appearance shortly after the start of practice. He was wearing No. 68, spent most of the practice at tackle and had his ankles heavily taped and was wearing knee braces on both knees. While the Patriots added Ojinnaka before practice, they confirmed that defensive back Terrence Johnson had been cut loose. In addition, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hinted there would be more roster moves in the offing later today, and it appears that one of those moves would be the return of diminutive defensive back Ross Ventrone, who was back on the field with his teammates.

•Not much stood out when it came to the on-field product this afternoon, but without Hernandez on the field, it was Rob Gronkowski’s time to shine. As was the case in last week’s preseason game against the Falcons when the two connected on a touchdown pass, the rookie tight end and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer continued to display a nice chemistry, with the two connecting on multiple occasions throughout the practice session. Gronkowski also caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady over McGowan, and Gronkowski and Brady celebrated after the score.

•Working in the bubble is always tough for special teamers — they have precious little room to practice snaps, punts and kickoff work. (When they’re outside, they usually have a full field all to themselves.) But it was a nice workout from punter Zoltan Mesko, who was booming punts off the ceiling before the team just gave up and started using a JUGS gun.

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Lewis on D&H: Block responsibility biggest difference

08.23.10 at 1:15 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman Damione Lewis joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday morning to talk about his first training camp with New England and the biggest differences in transitioning to this defense.

“My whole career I’ve been a 4-3 guy and an inside guy, three technique,” said Lewis, who spent the past four seasons with the Panthers. “My main job has been penetrating. Here, it’s a little bit more of a block responsibility and not to say it’s not in the 4-3, but everything is based on penetration when you’re on a one-on-one block and being able to sit down on double teams. Here, block control responsibility has been the biggest difference.”

Lewis also talked about dual practices with the Saints and Falcons and if he would mind doing it more regularly if the NFL schedule went to 18 games.

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

Tell us how you got to the Patriots?

Well, it’s kind of hard to turn down [Bill] Belichick and these guys when they come calling. This program’s had so much success over the years and especially since my stint in my league is going into my 10th year and kind of starting that run back in 2001. I have a tremendous respect for the organization and the way they handle things. When you see guys outside of football and how they carry themselves, it speaks a lot about what they’re doing here.

How have things changed for you even from the start of training camp to now in terms of reps and expectations?

Well, I think the main thing about all of that is over the years you learn that you never know what the game is going to throw you. So, you have to be ready and ready to move forward, and that goes for me and for every other guy in the locker room. You never know what’s going to go down and you just can’t ask those kind of questions to yourself like, “What just happened?” You have to go whenever your number is called. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Bill Belichick, Damione Lewis,

Pats confirm Ojinnaka deal, waive DB Johnson

08.23.10 at 1:12 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots confirmed Monday that the team had added depth to its offensive line by acquiring offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka from the Atlanta Falcons for a future undisclosed draft pick.

To make room on the roster, they waived defensive back Terrence Johnson.

Ojinnaka, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, was originally selected by Atlanta out of Syracuse in the fifth round [139th overall] of the 2006 NFL Draft.

The guard spent time in Atlanta as a back-up, but has started 12 games in his career. Ojinnaka was used primarily on special teams but, in New England, could get significant playing time and figures to compete for the starting left guard spot. Ojinnaka will have to serve an NFL-mandated one-game suspension to begin the regular season after a domestic violence issue in May 2009.

Logan Mankins is unsigned has shown no signs of reporting to Foxboro while Nick Kaczur is out indefinitely following back surgery, according to the Boston Herald.

Johnson, 24, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on April 29.

In four years at California University of Pennsylvania, he finished his career as one of the most prolific defensive players in school history with 178 total tackles and 16 interceptions. He led the team in interception in each of his years with the program.

Johnson, who also played special teams, was an American Football Conference Association (AFCA) and Associated Press All-American.

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, nfl, Quinn Ojinnaka

Belichick: I haven’t seen ‘Hard Knocks’

08.23.10 at 12:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday afternoon he has yet to see an episode of this season’s edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

Belichick went out of his way to applaud the work of NFL Films, who produces the show, saying “nobody does it better than” them when it comes to riveting TV. But he hasn’t seen this season, which features Rex Ryan and their division rivals.

“I’ve missed it,” Belichick said.

According to Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, the Patriots have been approached in the past, and Belichick didn’t dismiss the idea when he was asked about it on Monday.

“Have I been approached? I’ve had a lot of offers,” Belichick said with a smile. “I think everything NFL Films does is worth watching. Nobody does it better than they do in terms of making football interesting. … If NFL Films does it, I’m sure it’ll be good, entertaining, interesting.

“[But] I haven’t seen it,” he added. “I’m sure I’ll probably see some of it. I don’t even know when it’s on.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, training camp,

Brady on D&C: It’s a different team from last year

08.23.10 at 12:19 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about the team’s new tight ends, who provided the top highlights in Thursday’s preseason victory over the Falcons.

“I caution everybody,” Brady warned of rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. “These guys have never taken a regular-season snap. Everyone loves having them out there. Believe me, they wouldn’t be out there with that first group if coach [Bill] Belichick and the offensive coaches didn’t have confidence that they’d be able to do what they’re asked to do. There’s no doubt that both of those guys, even though they’re very young, both in age and experience level, they do have a great feel for the game.”

Brady also touched on the Jets being featured on “Hard Knocks” this season.

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

Are you happy with the performance from the second preseason game?

Yeah, I think anytime we’re winning I mean I like that. That’s what it all comes down to. We went down there a few days earlier and practiced against them a couple times and I think we felt pretty good about the practices too. So, each of those competitive situations that we’ve been in, whether it was practices against the Saints and the game, practices against the Falcons and the game, we hung in there pretty good. There’s a lot to be taken from that. I think guys are certainly playing with a lot of confidence. As you can see, it’s quite a different team from what you saw at the end of last year. It needed to be, I don’t think we were playing the type of football we needed to play and I think looking back at some of the things, when it boils down to it, we’re a winning football team so we have to keep it going. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady,
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