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Bill Belichick on The Big Show: ‘A good game all the way around’

12.07.10 at 5:34 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared Tuesday on The Big Show to discuss the Patriots’ 45-3 victory Monday night over the Jets and preview Sunday’s matchup with the 9-3 Bears.

“The players really did a good job,” Belichick said. “We had a good week of practice and preparation, and it certainly came together for the most part last night. I just think the players did a really good job; captains Jerod [Mayo] and Vince [Wilfork] on defense and Tom [Brady] and Alge [Crumpler] on offense.”

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

It was a good night of football last night, wasn’t it?

It was, Glenn. The players really did a good job. We had a good week of practice and preparation, and it certainly came together for the most part last night. I just think the players did a really good job; captains Jerod and Vince on defense and Tom and Alge on offense.

Kevin Faulk was around a lot this week; I think he had a lot of good things to help our football team prepare for the game and being in the right frame of mind and all that. I think those guys, along with a lot of the veteran players, really did a good job of really getting the team to a good point and we were out there able to execute well last night, and we really played a good game all the way around ‘€” got off to a fast start and we were able to sustain it for 60 minutes.

What is Kevin Faulk doing with these players since he’s not out there? How does he help or impact the team since he can’t be out on the field with them?

Well, he’s around. He’s in getting treatment and doing rehab. But he’s around and certainly brings a great well of experience and confidence, and the participation he’s had in the games and what they’re like and how to approach them and how to prepare for them and what to expect. I think it’s invaluable the insight who’s been in those situations can give the players who either haven’t played or haven’t been in very many of them. I mean, pretty much everybody on the team played the Jets in September, but it’s a little bit different this time of year, and the second time around. Kevin gives a great perspective on what’s important and how to win the game, and no player is more unselfish than Kevin is, and I think he can impart some of that wisdom and experience toward other members of the team.

You also had [Tedy] Bruschi out there, too.

Yeah, it was great to see Tedy. It’s great to see him recognized, he certainly embodies everything that the New England Patriots stand for, and his performance is excellent; his teamwork, his energy, his unselfish play, his success on the field, captainship and leadership that he’s given us throughout the years is just awesome. To have this kind of game on his night is really a great combining of forces, so it was awesome.

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The Big Nickel: What Bill Belichick told his team and breaking down the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski connection

12.07.10 at 4:55 pm ET
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The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots today.

1. On Monday night, it was late in the second half, and the Patriots weren’€™t letting up on the throttle. New England had scored yet another touchdown, and were set to kick off to the Jets when Patriots coach Bill Belichick gathered the entire team around him on the sideline for one very distinct message: ‘€œListen, this game isn’€™t over ‘€” we’€™re playing for 60 minutes,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œI don’€™t give a [expletive] what the score is. We’€™re playing for 60 minutes.’€

It was a clear message to a team that had suffered some defensive letdowns in the second half of recent wins against the Colts and Steelers.

‘€œThat’€™s something that we’€™ve been talking about all season,’€ quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI on Tuesday morning. ‘€œWe played ‘€” like the Steelers, for example, we had a great three quarters and then didn’€™t play well in the fourth quarter. The Colts ‘€” we had a great three quarters, didn’€™t play well in the fourth quarter. So, even though we’€™re playing well through three quarters in this game, it’€™s like, ‘€˜OK, guys, this is what we’€™ve been talking about. We’€™re not playing a great 48 minutes, 52 minutes, 59 minutes. We’€™re playing a great 60 minutes.’€™ That’€™s what he was talking about.’€

The ‘€œ60 minute’€ mantra isn’€™t new for the Patriots. It’€™s something they preached throughout the 2007 season ‘€” they even had t-shirts made up with the motto on them. Of course, if you do go hard for 60 minutes, you run the risk of saying you are running up the score (as we all saw on an almost weekly basis throughout the 2007 season). Jets coach Rex Ryan hinted darkly at it in his postgame press conference, saying, ‘€œTrust me, we will remember this.’€ Meanwhile Belichick said he never really thought about the idea of yanking his starters down the stretch.

‘€œI think about trying to win the game,’€ Belichick said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. ‘€œI think about a team like the Jets that’€™s come back several times this year when it looks like they were out of the game and [they] came back to tie it or win it or win it in overtime. I don’€™t think that any game is really won until you’€™re absolutely certain that the number of possessions the team has is fewer than the amount of scores that they need.

‘€œWhen you see those leads diminish in the fourth quarter ‘€“ which, unfortunately, we’€™ve seen a few times; so has everybody else ‘€“ then you look at it a little bit differently. When they don’€™t diminish, then you want to go on and talk about what the final score was, but that’€™s not the score while the game is still going on. They still have a number of possessions left in the game. Turnovers, a lot of things like that, can happen. You play to win.’€

2. As much grief as he took for the job the offense did last season, Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O’€™Brien ‘€” who holds great sway when it comes to offensive play-calling because of a lack of an offensive coordinator ‘€” deserves to take some credit for the performance of the offense, particularly over the last four weeks when the Patriots have posted wins over Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Detroit and the Jets, and have averaged 40 points in the process.

O’€™Brien was asked if there was a time since he’€™s been doing the play calling that this offense has been more efficient and productive.

‘€œIt’€™s a process of a week-to-week. It’€™s like 16 one-game seasons. So week-to-week we look at the opponent and it’€™s been a collaborative effort between a lot of guys starting with Bill and then Dante [Scarnecchia], Ivan [Fears], myself, Brian Ferentz, Chad O’€™Shea, and the players have some input, too. We’€™ve got a lot of experienced players that have played a lot of football.

‘€œAs far as how efficient we’€™ve been and all those things, that’€™s good, but again, we’€™re going into a game this week that this is a team that’€™s third in the league in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed,’€ he added. ‘€œWe’€™ve got to put together a plan that’€™s going to be good for Chicago, and let’€™s see how efficient we are against them. Last night, we executed the game plan the way we wanted to for the most part. I’€™d say the last two drives of the first half weren’€™t real good. But for the most part, we executed it pretty well.’€

O’€™Brien and the New England offense are in rarified air: With the 45 points against the Jets, the Patriots have now scored 30 or more points in seven games in 2010 and lead the NFL with 379 points this season (31.6 points per game). In addition, the Patriots are on pace to score 505 points this season, a total that would rank second in franchise history to the Patriots’€™ NFL record-setting 2007 total of 589 points.

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Vince Wilfork on D&H: Best week of practice in two years

12.07.10 at 1:02 pm ET
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Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Tuesday morning to talk about Monday night’s 45-3 humiliation of the Jets. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Wilfork said the Patriots had their best week of practice in the last two seasons, as the team showed it could work together and play a complete game. “I think everybody’s focus level was where it needed to be, and it showed last night,” he said. “That was very encouraging when guys come in and take care of business, especially coming off Thanksgiving week in Detroit, then come back home with a divisional rivalry, and playing for first pace in our division. So, hats go off to all of our teammates and coaching staff. I think our preparation was everything this week.”

Late in the game, Bill Belichick huddled with a group of players and gave a pep talk that elicited some smiles. Said Wilfork: “He basically told us we’re going to finish this game, and we’re going to play for 60 minutes, so don’t let up. And you know what, he took the words out of my mouth, because I was getting ready to tell the defense the same exact thing. That’s why I kind of smiled and chuckled about it, because sometimes we think alike and it comes out.

“And you know what? Everybody felt it. Everybody felt it. We wanted to win. We did everything in our willpower to go out and play a good football game against a good football team. And I think it started in practice. But Bill said it best: 60 minutes of football. And we’ve been saying it all year: Let’s see how 60 minutes of good football looks. Because we didn’t do it all year. We never played 60 total minutes of good football. And I think last night was the first time that we did that, and you saw the results.”

Wilfork said Belichick is the best at preparing his team for games, and Wilfork doesn’t ever want to play for another coach. “The only thing I’ve known in the league is Bill Belichick. And you know what? He’s going to go down as probably the best that ever [coached],” Wilfork said. “To be coached by someone like him, that’s an honor. That is an honor. A lot of people wish they could say that, but I’m living it now. I’m with him every day. He’s teaching every day. Even seven years in the league, he teaches every day something new that I’ve taken away from his preparation. … I don’t see myself playing for anybody other than Bill Belichick.”

Wilfork acknowledged that the Patriots defensive line did not do a great job stopping the Jets running game, but because the defense stifled the passing game, the team’s strategy still worked. “One way or the other, we needed to make them one-dimensional,” he said. “Once we got that, we really had them where we wanted them. We just came together when we needed to. They ran the ball, they got some plays on the ground. But when they really needed to get plays, and down the field to [Braylon] Edwards and those guys, they couldn’t do it.”

Added Wilfork: “If you can take away an offense’s strengths ‘€” one of their strengths ‘€” and make them one-dimensional, your chances of being successful are very high.”

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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C

12.07.10 at 10:53 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly conversation Tuesday morning, following Monday night’s 45-3 rout of the Jets.

Considering his past comments about his distaste for the Jets, Brady was asked if he now felt sorry for New York following the Monday night embarrassment.

“I would never, never feel sorry for the Jets. There’s no chance,” Brady said with a laugh. “I have a lot of old players, Patriot players and Patriot coaches, that texted me after the game last night and expressed their views on the Jets as well. There’s no love lost between the current Patriots and the current Jets, or the former Patriots and the former Jets. It’s such a great rivalry, and I think we bring out the best out of each other.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

How long does it take the adrenaline flow to calm down after a win like last night? What time did you drift off this morning?

Probably 2, 2:30.

Over the years, you’ve had your share of fun playing football. Super Bowl wins aside, was that about the most enjoyable four quarters of football you can remember?

[Laughs] You know what, I don’t really enjoy it until it’s over. Because the whole game you’re so into it. We’ve got a six-touchdown lead with six minutes left and I’m still going, “God, is there a way for them to come back?” You just never really let off the gas pedal until the game’s over. But the problem is, once the game’s over, we’ve already moved on to Chicago. So, you don’t get a chance to enjoy them too often. That’s not the nature of it. And we’re caught up in this marathon of the season. You’ve just got to keep plugging away.

There’s no doubt, it was a great night. It’s a big win for us. I will say it means that we put ourselves in a pretty good position. But that really doesn’t guarantee us anything. All it means is that, hey, OK, we’ve got a good opportunity now, let’s see what we do with an opportunity. The guys were real excited after the game. Playing a very good team on Monday night, at home, the crowd was rocking. It was a great win for us.

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Bill Belichick postgame transcript

12.07.10 at 2:17 am ET
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FOXBORO — Courtesy of the Patriots, here’s the transcript of Bill Belichick’s postgame press conference:

BB: Well that was a really great effort by our players tonight. I’€™m really proud of them. I thought that this was the best 60 minutes of football we’€™ve played all year. We had a good week of practice and everybody was really focused and we just got a lot of solid play from really everybody. It was a good night for us. We’€™ll take it. The Jets are a good football team. I’€™m sure we haven’€™t heard the last from them, but tonight was our night. I’€™m glad it could be on Tedy Bruschi night. I’€™m sure this is a game that Tedy is proud of and he was a part of many like this, so I think we got a little inspiration from him tonight

Q: You guys went for it on fourth-and-two toward the end of the first half toward the open end of the stadium. In pregame warm-ups it looked pretty windy down there.

BB: It was.

Q: How much did that affect your decision?

BB: I think it affected it. You know, we kicked earlier but that was fourth-and-seven or eight, whatever it was. Fourth-and-two just kind of felt like it was fourth-and-short and we’€™d have a pretty good chance to [convert], instead of the long field goal. It was a tough kick. That was a heck of a kick by Shayne [Graham], the first one. What was it 43 yards or something? With the wind and it was a cross wind’€¦It was a tough kick, but he hooked it right in perfectly, just the way I would like to hit a golf shot but never can. But that was really a big part of the decision. If it had been fourth-and-nine, we would have kicked it again.

Q: On Brandon Spikes‘€™ pick, how did he end up with it? Did he just do his normal thing?

BB: Yeah, that’€™s where he was on the coverage. It looked like a play-action pass, what we call a pop pass where they fake in there hard and try to hit it over the middle, similar to the play the Colts scored against us on. Similar to that. Brandon made a great play; he made a nice catch. You know, Pepper [Johnson] throws balls at all of those guys every week, fires it in there and makes them catch the ball. And it was kind of like the be-on-the-line drill that the linebackers do with Pepper every Friday, so it was a nice catch

Q: It looked like you threw a lot of different guys out there in different fronts and did some shifting. Do you think that played a role in your success tonight?

BB: Yeah, I don’€™t know. I don’€™t know. We played about what we usually play. I don’€™t think it was any big deal. I’€™m sure it’€™s nothing that they haven’€™t seen before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Santonio Holmes, Jets latest to learn to respect Devin McCourty

12.07.10 at 2:09 am ET
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FOXBORO — Devin McCourty had the perfect chance to throw the words of Santonio Holmes back in his face. But like the way he’s played all season, McCourty decided to take the high road.

It was Holmes who smiled and smirked at the notion of a rookie defensive back covering him.

“Negative,” said Holmes. “That was proven in the Super Bowl two years ago when they had a rookie follow me around the whole game. I wouldn’t do it if I was them.”

Well, Holmes did catch seven balls for 72 utterly meaningless yards but it was McCourty who made one of three interceptions of Mark Sanchez as the Patriots defense played like Tom Brady – both with a huge point to prove.

“Just out there having fun, man,” McCourty said. “He said something about me in the paper earlier. I’m not worried about that. You have to come out and play. I’m more worried about this team and how I can help the team win each time we go out there and play.”

McCourty said he could sense the team was going to have a good game on defense just based on week of practice they had.

“That was one of the most competitive weeks we had against each other in practice all season,” he said.

The bigger the game, the better McCourty seems to play. That was again the case Monday night as he collected his third interception in as many games to help frustrate Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets in a 45-3 demolition. Monday night marked the third straight game McCourty has registered an interception.

This time, the Jets offense featured offensive threats such as Edwards, Holmes and Dustin Keller. But Sanchez looked helpless and was kept out of the end zone due to the work of McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Patrick Chung and James Sanders.

McCourty intercepted Sanchez with the Patriots already ahead, 31-3, on a pass intended for Edwards. It led to another Brady TD drive of over 90 yards. It was his sixth pick of the season, just two shy of the Patriots record for a rookie set by Mike Haynes in 1976.

The consensus is that Lions rookie nose tackle Ndamukong Suh will win the Defensive Rookie of the Year with 10 sacks – an unheard of number for an interior lineman. But don’t tell that to another powerful defensive lineman, Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

“We’ve been able to make some plays,” Wilfork said. “I think McCourty – as a rookie – he’s probably the best in his position in the league, hands down. I put him up against any corner you throw at me. He is a helluva football player. He’s going to get better and better and he works his tail off.”

Read More: Devin McCourty, Mike Haynes, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots

Game notes from Patriots vs. Jets

12.07.10 at 1:47 am ET
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FOXBORO — Courtesy of the Patriots, here are the game notes from the Patriots’ 45-3 win over the Jets:

Tom Brady set an NFL record for most consecutive home wins as a starting quarterback. Tonight’€™s win over the Jets was Brady’€™s 26th straight win in a regular-season home start, passing Brett Favre‘€™s previous record of 25 straight wins (1995-98) for the NFL record. The last time the Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was on Nov. 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.

Player Team Years Streak
Tom Brady NE 2006-Present 26
Brett Favre GB 1995-98 25
John Elway DEN 1996-98 22
Bob Griese MIA 1971-74 20
Randall Cunningham PHI 1990-94 20

The Patriots won their 14th straight regular-season home game, and have not lost a regular-season game in Foxborough since Nov. 30, 2008. New England’€™s 14-game home winning streak is double the next longest current streak in the NFL (Atlanta, 7). The Patriots are one of just three teams (along with Atlanta and Kansas City) that have current streaks of more than four straight home wins. New England’€™s 14 straight regular-season home wins are the second longest such streak in team history, trailing only the team-record 18 straight home wins from Dec. 2002 to Sept. 2005.

Team Wins Last Loss
New England Patriots 14 11/30/08
Atlanta Falcons 7 12/13/09
Kansas City Chiefs 6 12/20/09
Philadelphia Eagles 4 10/03/10 Read the rest of this entry »

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