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Bill Belichick: ‘You really can’t outwork Patrick Chung’

08.30.11 at 2:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” On Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t hold back when asked about the progression of safety Patrick Chung.

“Patrick’s one of our young players that’s really worked hard. He’s very diligent. He’s a hard worker,” Belichick said. “I mean, you really can’t outwork Chung ‘€” he’s here early, he stays late. He’s in top condition. He can play all the plays that he needs to play. He’s been very productive for us in the kicking game [and] defensively. I think there’s still room to grow with him, but he works hard at it. He’s had a good camp and he’s had two solid years behind him.”

When asked later what he thought of the compliment, Chung smiled and shrugged.

“I have to keep working. I have to prove [Belichick] right,” Chung said before practice on Tuesday afternoon. “[I] have to keep working and do what I have to do to help him, help the team. Get to the best of my ability so I can help the team to the best of my ability.”

The safety position has been in a state of flux since the start of training camp. The latest move came Monday when the Patriots cut ties with veteran safety James Sanders, a move that leaves Chung as one of the most senior defensive backs on the team.

“[It was a] coaches’ decision. I don’t make those decisions. I don’t put my input into those things. All I know was he’s a good friend, a good player and my hat’s off to him,” Chung said of Sanders. “He helped me a lot. He was like a coach out there. But that’s in the past now. We have to move forward. He’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. We just have to keep working with the team we have out there now and get better.”

The 24-year-old out of Oregon is coming off a season where he finished with 72 solo tackles and three interceptions. Entering his third season in the league, in the wake of Sanders’ release, it’s likely that more responsibility will be on his shoulders this season. Not that Chung seems to mind.

“I’m not worried about that leader stuff right now,” he said. “Right now we have to get what we have to get done. Period. Execute. Get together. Communication. We’re all in the same room. We’re all out there doing the same thing. We have to go from here and get better from here.”

Chung said he wants to play in the preseason finale Sunday against the Giants for several reasons, not the least of which is to erase the memory of Saturday’s ugly loss to the Lions.

“We’re on to the Giants right now. We have two days to get preparation in and execute what we have to execute, and just play our game. They’re on a short week too, so we’re both over the last game and move on to the future,” he said. “I want to play, [but] whatever coach wants. That’s not my decision. If I play all the snaps, half the snaps. It doesn’t really matter to me.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, James Sanders, Patrick Chung,

Patriots ready to move on from ugly loss to Lions

08.30.11 at 12:17 am ET
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The Patriots have taken a look at the film of Saturday’€™s 34-10 preseason loss to Detroit, and on Monday, the players who did get a chance to speak with the media said the onus was on them to learn from their mistakes and move on to the next challenge.

‘€œWe were out there ‘€” we knew how bad the game was. We just didn’€™t make a good game plan,’€ said linebacker Jerod Mayo. ‘€œWe learned a lot from the film and that’€™s one thing that we’€™ll take with the loss. We learned a lot, and hopefully we can move forward in a positive direction.’€

‘€œIt was just one of those games that unfortunately we didn’€™t play to the best of our ability in. We didn’€™t play on a level that we expect to play on,’€ said defensive end Andre Carter. ‘€œIt was just one of those games that you learn from it and just move on. That’€™s something that we’€™ve done.

‘€œWhether it’€™s a win or a loss, the most important thing is that you continue to strive for perfection, and where your strengths and weaknesses are, whether it is you’€™re successful or unsuccessful, and just continue to go on from there,’€ Carter added. ‘€œDespite the loss that we had ‘€“ it’€™s a loss. It’€™s a loss, so from a player or from a coaches’€™ perspective all you can really do is say, ‘€˜OK, these are the things we need to work on and continue to grow, and these are the things we should never do again,’€™ and that’€™s the  best way to put it.’€

Wide receiver Deion Branch discussed what happened on the offensive side of the ball, where the Patriots scored just 10 points after putting up a combined 78 points in the first two preseason games.

‘€œOverall, it wasn’€™t the best performance by [anybody],’€ said Branch, who has yet to catch a pass this preseason. ‘€œEverything is based off execution. If you don’€™t go out and execute, then that’€™s what happens. You know, [if] you go out and do the things the coaches ask you to do, play-by-play, every play, you’€™ll see a positive output. If you don’€™t go out and execute every play ‘€” and another thing, eliminate negative plays ‘€” that’€™s another thing that kind of sets your offense back as a whole.’€

Read More: Andre Carter, Deion Branch, Jerod Mayo, lions

This will be no ordinary week for Patriots, and Giants for that matter

08.29.11 at 9:44 pm ET
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Well, at least the Patriots aren’t going to be playing preseason games three apart.

But getting an extra three days of rest went out the window with Hurricane Irene, as they lost power, along with thousands of others, at Gillette Stadium, forcing them to an off-site location on Monday to catch up on film and paper work.

They did manage to cut 11 on Monday, add three players and now are trying to settle into a more normal workflow, beginning with moving back into Gillette on Tuesday.

“Quick turnaround here with the Giants — not as quick as theirs, but still pretty quick,” Bill Belichick said Monday, referring to the fact that the Giants hosted the Jets Monday night at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. “We’€™ve got to get the film from Detroit out of the way and get ready for the Giants and be ready to go Thursday night.

“So hopefully we’€™ll be able to get the people that were out there practicing last week and maybe add a few more to that and increase our numbers of participants on the roster. So we’€™ll see how that goes tomorrow and hopefully that will be the case. That’€™s about it. We weathered the storm and we should get back hopefully into a normal flow of things here tomorrow.”

With Gillette unavailable, how were Belichick and his staff affected on Monday?

“We shuffled down a little bit here,” he said. “We’€™re working outside of the stadium, but we should be back there in a little while and it sounds like we’€™ll be back to normal.”

Belichick actually pointed to the two West Coast road trips of 2009 as good experience for handling things on the fly.

“We’€™ve been on the road before ‘€“ been away for weeks, a week at a time, whether it was the west coast trips a couple of years ago, the London trip, or whatever it happened to be, so we’€™re managing,” Belichick said. “We’€™re okay.”

Deion Branch said he weathered the storm fairly well once he got back to his North Attleboro home early Sunday morning after the 34-10 loss Saturday night in Detroit.

“I’€™m pretty good,” Branch said of his home. ” [In] North Attleboro, everything has been pretty cool. I don’€™t know about everybody in the area. My family is just now getting back, so they were stuck in Detroit. That may be the only scare that I really had. Other than that, the wind was blowing pretty good, like they said, like they predicted, high winds. Other than that, it was pretty smooth. [Monday was] a beautiful day. Hopefully we can get out and clean up some of the mess that [Hurricane] Irene caused and left behind.”

How disruptive was it to move work operations away from the stadium on Monday? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Deion Branch, New England Patriots, New York Giants

Patriots ‘have all the respect in the world’ for James Sanders

08.29.11 at 8:45 pm ET
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Safe to say, James Sanders wasn’t the only one in the Patriots locker room stunned by his release on Monday. But veterans and rookies alike know that the unpredictable is the norm in the NFL and while Sanders was likable and respected by everyone in the locker room, he was given his walking papers primarily because he was scheduled to make $2.8 million in 2011, a lot to pay your third or fourth safety on the roster.

On Monday, shortly after Sanders got his walking papers from the Pats, word quickly spread to his teammates that he was looking elsewhere for work.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo played with Sanders for the last two seasons and got to know Sanders and appreciated his leadership on and off the field.

“James is a great player,” Mayo said Monday after getting the news. “It’€™s not really my job to evaluate guys and how they do on the field. Coach Belichick made the decision, and did what he thought was the best decision for the team. I have all the respect in the world for James.”

As for coach Bill Belichick, he agreed with Mayo’s assessment on the safety whom he selected in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

“Tough release there with James Sanders,” Belichick said. “James has been a good guy to have on this team. A hard-working kid. He really has developed from the time he came to us as a draft choice from Fresno [State] and he’€™s been a really solid team player for us but we just, part of the move, needed to release people. But he was a tough one.”

Any regrets?

“Well, we just did what we felt was best for the football team at this time,” Belichick said. “That’€™s the best way I can answer it. Not a lot of negatives with James, but we have to select the players that we feel like are best for our team.”

As for Sanders, he did what any savvy professional athlete would do given Monday’s circumstances; he took to twitter to thank New England fans and teammates, and ask anyone if they knew of anyone needing a safety.

Odds are, given his reputation he won’t be unemployed long. He certainly has good references in New England.

Read More: Bill Belichick, James Sanders, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots

NFL Network will air two-part Bill Belichick documentary next month

08.29.11 at 6:55 pm ET
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For those of you bemoaning the fact the lockout derived everyone of another behind-the-scenes “Hard Knocks” look at the NFL, the crew at NFL Films has you covered. They announced on Monday that they would be airing “Bill Belichick: A Football Life” this fall on the NFL Network. Belichick was mic’d up for the entire 2009 season, and the results will be presented in a two-part documentary that begins on Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. (The second part airs Sept. 22 at 10 p.m.) Click here for a preview.

Here’s part of the press release that was sent out Monday by NFL Films:

Belichick is the first subject of a new series by the Emmy Award-winning producers at NFL Films, offering untold stories into the lives of some the NFL’€™s most recognizable icons. Each documentary provides unprecedented access to each featured individual to tell the story of how their legacy is forever intertwined in the fabric of NFL history.

“Bill Belichick doesn’€™t only make history — he studies it; he understands his place in it; and he appreciates our desire to capture it,’€ said NFL Films president Steve Sabol. ‘€œLike Vince Lombardi‘€™s Packers in 1967, Belichick and the Patriots gave us access to his football life and what we created is a portrait of the coach, the father, the taskmaster — and most importantly — the man.’€

In the 2009 season, which marked Belichick’€™s 35th consecutive year in the NFL and the Patriots’€™ 50th Anniversary season, NFL Films documented sides of the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach few have ever seen. While his unmatched record as a head coach makes him no stranger to the NFL record books, Belichick made history in the production of A Football Life by becoming the only coach to ever be wired for sound for an entire NFL season.

‘€œThis documentary would not have been possible without the support of Robert and Jonathan Kraft and the entire Patriots organization,’€ said Howard Katz, senior vice president NFL Media and COO of NFL Films. ‘€œMr. Kraft is always searching for new ways to bring the fans closer to the game and this project was a perfect collaboration between the Patriots and NFL Films.’€

Actor Josh Charles (CBS’€™ The Good Wife) lends his voice to the two-part documentary that begins with Belichick spending his last day of the offseason in Nantucket before reporting to training camp the following day. The 2009 Patriots, who welcomed the return of QB Tom Brady, faced a number of personnel changes from the front office to the field. ‘Bill Belichick: A Football Life’ chronicles Belichick through the season in a variety of roles and situations including his last trip to Giants Stadium, game planning with quarterback Tom Brady, lighter moments with members of his team and family, and a look inside Belichick’€™s childhood during a visit with mother, Jeannette.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Howard Katz, Josh Charles, Steve Sabol

Vince Wilfork on Big Show: ‘Detroit game wasn’t who we really are’

08.29.11 at 6:28 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork joined The Big Show as apart of Patriots Monday to discuss Saturday’s game with the Lions, what the team can do better and wanting to play in the fourth preseason game, among other things.

“That New England Patriots team that just played the Detroit Lions, that is not who we are,” Wilfork said. “That is one thing we have to show. We know that is not us, so we have to prove it to ourselves, the coaching staff, the fans. We have to prove who we really are. That Detroit game wasn’t us at all.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

On Saturday’s loss to the Lions: “Any time you lose a ballgame, you’re going to question what happened. I think that was the case all the way around the locker room, what we could have done better and go to Detroit and put out a better effort. We got a chance to sit back and watch film and go over corrections and it was a lot of things that happened in the game that shouldn’t have, a lot of football that was played the way it shouldn’t be played. At the same time there were things that we did well. At this point you have to correct and move forward. Thursday night with the Giants it will be rockin’ again. We have to put one foot forward and keep striding to be the best. We’re going to take another step this week.”

On what the Patriots could have done better: “First of all, it was inconsistent football all the way around. Defensively the screens killed us, at times we had them backed up and we let them off the leash. It was just a lot of inconsistencies. One things we pride ourselves around is being consistent and being able to play on the road, handle the road crowd, all those things. I don’t think we did a pretty good job of that.

“Defensively, giving up big plays played a big factor of what went on. Just little stuff here and there that made plays look even worse. You got to go back to the drawing board. We have one preseason game to go against the Giants and we have to make these corrections and move forward. The last thing we can do is sit back now and say, ‘What if, what if, what if, we should have …’ That’s it. It’s over with. We’ve watched film, and hopefully against the Giants we don’t make those mistakes. Sooner or later those mistakes are going to add up and bite us in the butts.”

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Bill Belichick on Big Show: Chad Ochocinco ‘has made a lot of strides with offense’

08.29.11 at 6:24 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined The Big Show on Patriots Monday to discuss what went wrong Saturday in the preseason game against the Lions, the releasing of James Sanders, the offensive line’s play Saturday and the final preseason game, among all other things Patriots related.

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

On Chad Ochocinco making progress: “Absolutely, without a doubt he has made a lot of strides with the offense with the time he has been here. We’ve thrown a lot at him, and there is still a ways to go. I think getting open, catching the ball, working on timing with the quarterback in the passing game, coordination with the other receivers and so forth — the passing game is so dependent on that and as a unit we have to do a better job. Chad is working hard and getting better. I think our passing game is getting better. It didn’t all show in the game against Detroit, it is hard for anyone to look at that game and see improvement, but I am saying on a day-to-day basis we go out there and practice and some aspects in the game were better. We have to be more consistent than that.”

On what the coaching staff could do better: “Obviously, when you go out and play like that I don’t know how you can like the way the team was prepared and the way they performed. I didn’t go out there and play, but my job is to prepare the team, and based on the way we played there is not much I can take pride in there.”

On what went wrong vs. the Lions: “It is probably a combination of all of it. We didn’t get off to a very good start, obviously. Once we saw that we were a little bit on defensive mode we didn’t turn it around. In some cases we just made it easier for them with turnovers and long-yardage situations and negative plays, sacks, penalties. Then we kept it going defensively with more big plays and let them out of long-yardage situations, not that we had them in a lot of them — screens, scrambles. We didn’t do much in the return game to help ourselves. We were inconstant in a lot of areas and just never got it going back to a competitive game.”

On the release of James Sanders: “It is always tough when you have to release players, especially guys that have played for you and won for you. James certainly has done a lot of that, he has played a lot of good football here. He has been a solid team player, teammate and member of the team. Ultimately. we have to make the decision we feel is best for our team. That is an unfortunate part of this job and we will be doing it later this week. It is a tough part of the business, but one we all enter to with open eyes.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco, James Sanders,
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