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Belichick sidesteps question on Josh McDaniels and video incident

11.29.10 at 12:47 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked Monday about the recent incident involving the Denver Broncos videotaping scandal ‘€” an incident that involved former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Steve Scarnecchia, a former employee of the New England video department ‘€” and sidestepped the question, saying the team was concentrating on this week’s task at hand.

“Just focused on the Jets,” Belichick said.

McDaniels and the organization were fined $50,000 each by the NFL for taping a 49ers walk-through prior to their game in London last month. The team reported the league violation to the NFL. McDaniels took the fine on behalf of Scarnecchia, who filmed the 49ers prior to their game on Oct. 31, a game won by San Francisco, 24-16. Scarnecchia, the son of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, was fired as a result of the violation.

“I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director before our game against the 49ers in London,” McDaniels said in a statement released Saturday. “The actions of this individual are in no way representative of the values held by myself, our players and coaches, and the entire Denver Broncos organization. I understand the punishment from the NFL and support it’s commitment to the integrity of the game. We have addressed the situation internally to make sure nothing like this happens again.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia, Josh McDaniels, Steve Scarnecchia

Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C

11.29.10 at 12:44 pm ET
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It’s no secret that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on the top of his game as of late. In his past three contests, Brady has completed well over 70 percent of his passes for 877 yards and a 9:0 touchdown to interception ratio, further legitimizing his claim for the NFL MVP award. Most recently, Brady carved up the Lions on Thanksgiving afternoon for a perfect passer rating of 158.3 ‘€” the second time he’s done so in his career.

The star player made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss his performance as well as the huge upcoming contest with the co-division leaders, the Jets.

Following is a transcription of the interview, in which Brady also discusses what he’s been up to in his extended time off, what he does to motivate teammates, the potential of the wildcat offense in New England, and more. To listen, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

How was your vacation?

It’s great.

It’s not over?

Today’s kind of a check-in day. So we have to be back at the stadium to kind of see our coach. But it’s been great to have some time to spend with family.

When you watch games yesterday, I assume you watched some football, correct?

Yesterday I didn’t watch any.

You watched none?

Yeah, yesterday I didn’t watch any.

It’s good to get some time off I guess, but you missed some good games. You weren’t curious about the scores of, say, Falcons and Packers?

Yeah, I was checking my phone all day. But I just didn’t have a chance to sit down in front of the TV.

Is the short week getting ready for Detroit worth it because A) you won the game and B) you now have 10 days until you play again?

Yeah, well, I think that’s the whole ‘€” if you win that game there’s a huge benefit to it. For us to be able to have quite a bit of time to recover, it’s really kind like another bye week. A lot of guys are getting some rest, and it comes at really a good time. We had a bye week relatively early, but then this kind of feels like a second one so it’s been a great couple of days for us.

Are you able to turn it off and not be the quarterback of the New England Patriots between now and whenever you have to get back in the facility?

No. I spend a lot of time watching and seeing a lot of games. I haven’t been watching the games on TV, I’ve been watching all the games on the computer breaking down the opponents. So I’ve been trying to get ahead. Basically I tried to get ahead on Chicago because we play them on a short week so I watched a lot of their stuff and made my notes on them and then I started on the Jets yesterday. From here until the Jets game it’s all Jets. But I feel like we’ve got a nice little break to really get ahead on the remaining games on the schedule. So it’s actually been very helpful.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tom Brady

Vince Wilfork on D&H: ‘The biggest stat of all is W’s’

11.29.10 at 12:19 pm ET
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Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Monday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Wilfork said “it was something special” to walk away with a win in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Now, he’s turned his attention to the Jets, who pay a visit next Monday night. “We’re looking forward to a division rival,” he said. “We’re going to slug it out. It’s going to be an exciting game, and hopefully we’re going to be on the winning side of it.”

Wilfork called the Jets “probably the best team in the NFL.” Said Wilfork: “They’re probably one of the soundest teams there is out there ‘€” defense, special teams and offense. In every category, they have a person at an All-Pro level.”

Statistically speaking, the Patriots have one of the worst defenses in team history. Wilfork admitted he’s seen some of the numbers. “Yeah, I look at it sometimes,” he said. “But I really don’t pay too close attention to stats.”

Wilfork said he’s ultimately concerned with only one stat. “At the end of the day, I don’t care how great your stats are or how bad they are,” he said. “The biggest stat of all is W’s. The more W’s you get, the better you’ll be off. That’s our focus, is winning. I don’t care how we win ball games. You can have the best defense or the best offense in the league, but if you’re not putting up W’s, what does that say?”

Read More: Vince Wilfork,

Boomer Esiason on D&C: Josh McDaniels’ actions ‘spineless’

11.29.10 at 9:11 am ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his weekly discussion of NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Looking at next Monday night’s Patriots-Jets showdown, Esiason said he expects the Patriots to earn a split of the season series. “I thought in the preseason that these two teams would split home and home,” Esiasons said. “I still believe that.”

Asked to describe the most impressive thing about Tom Brady‘s game, Esiason said: “I would say the poise and the accuracy. There’s no panic in his game. You don’t see any jitteriness ‘€” I don’t know if that’s a word ‘€” in the pocket. I also have seen a more demonstrative Tom Brady in the last four weeks than I have seen pretty much at any time in his career. ‘€¦ He has certainly taken it upon himself to become I think the leader that we all knew that he is, but I don’t necessarily know that we’ve all seen it publicly.”

Added Esiason: “He’s only gotten better with age. This is one of the best runs he’s been on in a long time. And I think he’ll be able to do it Monday night.”

Esiason had praise for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as well, but he said the second-year pro is not yet strong enough to take advantage of the Patriots’ “questionable” secondary. “I think their quarterback ‘€” while he’s on the fast track to become a really good player, and he’s certainly shown that late in games ‘€” he’s still not there overall, consistently, quarter in and quarter out, where he can go out there and just throw up big numbers,” Esiason said. “I think that’s the saving grace for the Patriots in this particular game. I don’t think Mark Sanchez can go toe to toe with Tom Brady.”

Esiason has been touting the Chargers for a while, and he said the Patriots would do well to avoid having to play a playoff game in San Diego. “If they can stay away from the San Diego Chargers, I think they’ll have as good a chance as anybody of getting to the AFC championship game,” Esiason said. “Whoever has to play the Chargers in that first round or that second round, now I think you’re asking for trouble. Because assuming that they stay healthy, you saw [in Sunday night's win over the Colts], their defense is as good as anybody’s and their offense can score on anybody.”

Looking at the Josh McDaniels videotaping controversy in Denver, Esiason said McDaniels isn’t likely to survive as coach, especially with his team struggling on the field. But the former Patriots assistant’s first problem is to figure out who is leaking information. “Josh McDaniels has got a rat in the building,” Esiason said, adding: “There are some people that don’t like Josh McDaniels in Denver right now.”

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Read More: boomer esiason, Josh McDaniels, Mark Sanchez, Tom Brady

Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Nine wins is nothing’

11.29.10 at 7:33 am ET
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Quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady said despite the fact that his stellar play of late has catapulted him into discussion for league MVP, he has plenty of room for improvement leading up to next Monday night’s AFC East showdown vs. the Jets. “I could play better, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “And I really think this would be a great week for it.”

Brady said the Patriots don’t have much margin for error against their co-division leader. “It’s going to be a hell of a test,” he said.  “They’re one of the best teams in the league, and they’ve got some great players that are playing well. They’ve shown they can win close games. They’ve blown teams out. It’s going to be a hell of a game. I’m excited for it.”

Brady lauded his team’s resiliency and mental toughness, traits that were not as evident last year. “Whatever coach [Bill] Belichick asks of us, guys are willing to do,” he said. “That’s really been something that’s really been talked about all offseason, all during training camp. I’m really proud to be a part of a team that’s really showed up when it matters most.”

However, Brady responded to a question about his motivational sideline speeches by saying there’s still a need for some players to be reminded about the importance of every game.

“There’s always an effort to bring energy out there,” Brady said. “I love being out there at practice. I’m always pretty much on edge. I’ve been around a little while. Look, we’re 9-2. We haven’t accomplished anything. I’ve been a part of a team that won 16 games in the regular season. And I’ve been to five AFC championship games. These games that we’re playing, yeah, they’re important. But a lot of the guys on our team have played in a hell of a lot bigger games than regular-season games. So, to me, what we’ve accomplished really is nothing to this point.

“There’s always a part of me that knows, ‘Man, you can lose. You can have a really bad game and lose.’ I’m not trying to have any of those games. And I’m trying to express to my teammates ‘€” who maybe it’s their first year or second year, they haven’t been a part of it ‘€” ‘Man, listen, we haven’t done anything. Literally nothing. Zero. Nine wins? Nine wins is nothing.’

“Coach always says ‘€” and I said this last week ‘€” ‘Football season starts after Thanksgiving.’ It’s after Thanksgiving. Now we’re going to see what kind of football team we have. We’re going to see what other good football teams are, and what it takes to be a good football team. It’s not easy this time of year. There’s a lot of guys banged up. Depth for each team now has really become an issue. Mental toughness has really become an issue. The weather’s getting colder. The games are getting bigger. This is really when you find out kind of what the heart of each team is.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady,

Ex-Patriot Curtis Martin a semifinalist for Hall of Fame

11.28.10 at 1:34 pm ET
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Among the 26 semifinalists announced Sunday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 is former Patriots running back Curtis Martin.

Martin, a third-round pick of New England in 1995, rushed for 3,799 yards in three seasons with the Patriots, including 1,487 yards and 14 touchdowns as a rookie. In all, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, finishing with 14,101 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns.

Martin is is the only semifinalist with New England connections to make the cut ‘€” some of the other notable semifinalists included running backs Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk, offensive lineman Willie Roaf, defensive back Deion Sanders, wide receivers Cris Carter and Tim Brown, as well as coach Don Coryell, owners Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and Art Modell and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced to 17, and from that list, the Class of 2011 will be determined at the Selection Committee’s annual meeting on Feb. 5 in North Texas the day before Super Bowl XLV.

Read More: Curtis Martin, Pro Football Hall of Fame,

Josh McDaniels, Broncos fined $50K for taping walk-thru

11.27.10 at 1:58 pm ET
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It appears ‘Spygate’ is about to be re-visited as the Patriots get ready to take on – drum roll, please – the New York Jets.

In a story full of irony, Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels and the organization have been fined $50,000 each by the NFL for taping a San Francisco 49ers walk-through prior to their game in London last month.

The team reported the league violation to the NFL. McDaniels took the fine on behalf of Steve Scarnecchia, who filmed the 49ers prior to their game on Oct. 31, a game won by San Francisco, 24-16. Scarnecchia, the son of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, was fired as a result of the violation

“I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director before our game against the 49ers in London,” McDaniels said in a statement released Saturday. “The actions of this individual are in no way representative of the values held by myself, our players and coaches, and the entire Denver Broncos organization. I understand the punishment from the NFL and support it’s commitment to the integrity of the game. We have addressed the situation internally to make sure nothing like this happens again.”

McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots in 2007 when coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Pats docked $250,000 and a 2008 first-round pick for Matt Estrella‘s  illegal filming of the Jets during their season-opening win in their 16-0 regular season. Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who was the Jets head coach in 2007, reported the violation.

There were also allegations by former Patriots staffer Matt Walsh that he was told by the Patriots to tape the Rams’ walk-thru prior to New England’s Super Bowl XXXVI win in Feb. 2002. The Patriots were not penalized for those charges.

What makes this all the more surreal and coincidental, Steve Scarnecchia succeeded Walsh with the Patriots. According to the New York Times, Walsh told Senator Arlen Specter that he witnessed Scarnecchia illegally tape the Steelers in 2002 and the Steelers and Cowboys during their second Super Bowl championship season in 2004.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia, Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniels
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