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Rex Ryan: Bill Belichick ‘best coach that I’ve ever seen’

05.06.11 at 9:46 am ET
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Jets coach Rex Ryan continues his media tour to promote his new book, “Play Like You Mean It,” and the Patriots-Jets rivalry continues to be a popular topic. The New York Post reports that during a taping of the YES Network show “CenterStage” on Thursday, Ryan talked about his off-field strategy leading up to the divisional playoff victory over the Patriots.

Ryan explained that he wanted to get the discussion away from the team’s previous regular-season meeting, a 45-3 Patriots victory, and that’s why he made comments that the game was about him and Bill Belichick.

“That whole week, I never wanted it to be about that 45-3 game,” Ryan said. “And I knew if I didn’t do something, [the media] would be talking about it with our players, and I never wanted that negative thought to creep into their minds.

“There certainly was a method behind it, and I told [Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum] after we win the game, I was going to say that I was wrong, that it had nothing to do with me and Belichick. Because if it did, Belichick would win, because he’s that kind of coach.”

As he has in previous interviews, Ryan continued to heap praise upon Belichick.

“I don’t think he is [great], I know he is,” Ryan said. “He’s the best coach that I’ve ever seen. I know the way he motivates his team, all these types of things. You don’t luck into three Super Bowls, and I don’t know how many he’s had as an assistant coach. This guy is a phenomenal coach.”

The interview is scheduled to air next Friday, following the network’s coverage of the Red Sox-Yankees game.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan,

Former Patriots WR Reche Caldwell arrested for possession of pot

05.05.11 at 7:31 pm ET
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Former Patriots wide receiver Reche Caldwell has been arrested for possession of marijuana, according to the Gainesville Sun. Caldwell, who had the best season of his career when he was with New England in 2006 (61 catches, 760 yards and four touchdowns), was arrested Thursday morning in Hillsborough County, Fla., for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and driving with canceled/suspended/revoked license. He was released on a $750 cash bond. Caldwell, a 2002 draft pick out of Florida, also played with San Diego and Washington.

Read More: Reche Caldwell,

Patriots legend Tedy Bruschi will join group in climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro

05.05.11 at 5:12 pm ET
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Patriots legend Tedy Bruschi will be part of an expedition to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, later this month. Bruschi will be climbing to bring awareness to the Wounded Warrior Project, a group whose mission is to honor and empower men and women who have been wounded in service.

Among those joining Bruschi will be former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, as well as other wounded warriors, including two of whom have lost a leg in service.

‘€œClimbing Mt. Kilimanjaro will be memorable, but to be able to experience it with service members that have sacrificed so much for our country is what I’€™m truly looking forward to,’€ said Bruschi via statement. ‘€œThese men and women are beyond inspiring, and I am thankful to the NFL for this once in a lifetime opportunity.’€

The group has taken practice climbs throughout the United States, and is expected to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro ‘€” the fourth-highest mountain in the world ‘€” on May 19 (They begin climbing May 13). You can follow their progress at www.believeinheroes.org.

Read More: Jeff Fisher, Tedy Bruschi,

Reid: New Patriots’ defensive back Ras-I Dowling has great leadership skills

05.05.11 at 3:26 pm ET
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Spent some quality time recently with Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid talking about new Patriots defensive back Ras-I Dowling ‘€” check out that story here ‘€” and one of the aspects of Dowling’s history I did not include in the story involves his leadership skills. As has been discussed previously, the Patriots have drafted an awful lot of college captains the last two years (11, by my count), and Reid said Dowling ‘€” who was a captain last year at UVA ‘€” should fit right in when it comes to his turn to be a leader in Foxboro.

“My observations and stories about Ras-I were not gained from sitting in my office, but from watching him compete on the field and watching how he handled the team from a leadership standpoint,” Reid said of Dowling, who was taken 33rd overall by the Patriots last weekend. “There was great respect for him on that team. If the team needed to do an extra sprint, he was the one who said it had to happen. Players would also talk about it in the summer programs when they were no coaches around. If he didn’t feel like the players had done something right, he was the one who would suggest they should do it again.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Jim Reid, Ras-I Dowling,

Revisiting a notable 2011 mock draft from SI.com and looking at what might have been

05.05.11 at 1:21 pm ET
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A few alert Tweeters pointed me toward this 2011 mock NFL draft (I believe it was WAD1980 who sent the link to me first) which was done in the days immediately following the 2010 NFL draft. Lots of fun to go back and check out what might have been ‘€” of course, it was far too early to try and figure out which teams might have been drafting where (and it wasn’t known if Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck would be leaving school early either).

As for New England, writer Andrew Perloff had the Patriots at No. 5 (thanks to the Oakland trade) and No. 21, going with George wide receiver A.J. Green and Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus, respectively.

But it was a couple of other names and where they were slotted that really caught our eye. Perloff had Ryan Mallett going first overall to the Seahawks. (Mallett, of course, was taken in the third round by the Patriots.) In addition, Perloff also had Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling being taken 16th overall by the Eagles ‘€” instead, Dowling ended up going at No. 33 to New England.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, A.J. Green, Andrew Luck, Greg Romeus

Detailing Malcolm Williams’ amazing journey from DFW to the Patriots

05.05.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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Great story here on new Patriots defensive back Malcolm Williams, who was taken by New England in the seventh round last weekend out of TCU. Williams, who confessed to the media on the conference call shortly after the selection was made that he “wasn’t expecting to get drafted,” told the TCU Daily Skiff he’s “living in a dream right now,” and still can’t quite comprehend that New England called his name.

Williams’ journey to Foxboro is perhaps the unlikeliest draft story of the year for the Patriots. Out of high school, he worked at the DFW Airport for six months before landing at Trinity Valley Community College prior to transferring to Texas Christian. While at TCU, he spent most of his career sitting behind cornerback Jason Teague (who was second-team All-Mountain West selection), and as a result, was pretty much limited to special teams play over the course of his career with the Horned Frogs.

For obvious reasons, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Williams wasn’t invited to the combine, and realized that if he was going to catch the eye of an NFL team, he was going to have to knock it out of the park at TCU’s Pro Day. That’s what he did, pressing 16 reps of 225 pounds and jumping a 42-inch vertical. The kicker? A 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. That put him on the radar with NFL scouts, and the Patriots made the move at No. 219 overall last Sunday.

Even though Williams is taken aback at what has happened, TCU coach Gary Patterson isn’t shocked.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Patterson said. “He just had to play behind a great corner in Jason Teague. He, more than anybody, epitomizes what we said this place is all about.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Gary Patterson, Malcolm Williams, Patriots

BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets face time with ESPN’s ‘First Take’

05.04.11 at 4:57 pm ET
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Big couple of weeks for Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. First, he starts tweeting ‘€” and has fast become one of the most frequent tweeters on the team from his account here. Then, he gets some time with the gang at ESPN’s “First Take.” Check out the video from his Wednesday morning appearance here:

Read More: BenJarvus Green Ellis, Patriots,
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