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Reports: TE coach George Godsey leaving Patriots to become QB coach for Texans

01.23.14 at 12:20 am ET
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The Patriots will lose their third coach in a week, as George Godsey will be joining Bill O’Brien‘s staff in Houston, according to multiple media outlets.

Godsey, who spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach, will serve as the quarterbacks coach for the Texans. He follows linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia out the door at Gillette StadiumJohnson announced Tuesday he was leaving, while it was revealed Wednesday that Scarnecchia will be retiring.

Godsey was originally added to Bill Belichick‘€™s staff as an offensive assistant on Feb. 17, 2011 before being promoted to tight ends coach a year later after Brian Ferentz left for Iowa. He has deep ties with O’Brien — during Godsey’s senior season as a quarterback at Georgia Tech in 2001, he was coached by O’€™Brien, who was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Yellowjackets at the time. After a stint as a player in the Arena Football League and as a coach at University of Central Florida, he was brought to New England as an offensive assistant by O’Brien.

In addition to the current exodus, there are conflicting reports about the status of Josh McDaniels. One report says the offensive coordinator is possibly back in the mix as a head coaching candidate with the Browns, while another report indicates he’s not a possibility at this time.

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Report: Josh McDaniels possibly back in play as candidate for Browns head coaching job

01.22.14 at 11:43 pm ET
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The same week the Patriots lost offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, a new report indicates that the Browns have a renewed interest in hiring New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for their vacant head coaching job.

Tony Grossi of reported Wednesday night McDaniels and the Browns have had “more conversations,” and that McDaniels is “possibly back in the mix” for the position.

McDaniels acknowledged earlier this month that he was interviewed for the Cleveland opening but publicly bowed out of consideration, saying that he was going to stick with the Patriots.

“I’€™ll definitely be here,” McDaniels said on Jan. 14. “I think all it means is that, you know, I made the decision that this is the right time for me to be here. I’€™m really happy here. … I’ve said that numerous times. There’€™s not really much else to it. I don’€™t think it’€™s … you know, it’€™s a process you go through sometimes and you ultimately have to make choices based on what’€™s best for you and your family. That’€™s what I try to do.”

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Read More: Dante Scarnecchia, Josh McDaniels, Pepper Johnson,

NFL VP of officiating: Wes Welker hit on Aqib Talib ‘a legal hit’

01.22.14 at 11:04 pm ET
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NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino appeared on the NFL Network on Wednesday night and discussed Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker‘€™s hit on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in the AFC title game (click here for video of the appearance).

On if Welker’s hit on Talib was legal:

“It was a legal hit … Here’€™s Welker in the slot. The first potential foul would be for offensive pass interference; a receiver can’€™t block downfield before the ball is touched, so the timing is important. You’€™ll see Welker run the route and he does appear to angle back towards Talib and come into his path creating that contact. Now we have to look to see when was the ball touched in relation to the contact; you’€™ll see here the contact occurs, the ball is touched almost simultaneously. We don’€™t have a foul for pass interference. The other thing, is it unnecessary roughness? Under the current rules it isn’€™t. It’€™s not late, Talib wasn’€™t out of the play. Unfortunately there was an injury so just like in other situations when an injury does occur, the competition committee will take a look at this and determine if there needs to be a change. But under the current rules, this is a legal play.”

On if he has spoken with Patriots coach Bill Belichick regarding the play:

“Yeah, there was communication with Bill. We talked about the situation and the play, and obviously there is a difference of opinion there and something that we’€™ll continue to look at during the offseason.”

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Bill Belichick doesn’t think cornerback Aqib Talib will need surgery

01.22.14 at 6:04 pm ET
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Bill Belichick said Wednesday that the knee injury suffered by cornerback Aqib Talib in the first half of Sunday’s playoff loss to the Broncos will not necessitate surgery.

Speaking with WEEI’s Salk & Holley on Wednesday afternoon, the coach said that Talib — who went down after colliding with Denver receiver Wes Welker in the first half — will not have to go under the knife. For audio of the interview, visit the Salk & Holley audio on demand page.

“I don’t think we’re talking about an injury that would be of that kind of significance,” Belichick said.

Meanwhile, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told NFL Network Wednesday afternoon that there was no penalty called on Welker because, “under the current rules, this is a legal play.” On Monday, Belichick was highly critical of what happened in the contest, saying Welker’s maneuver was “one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen.”

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Bill Belichick on Salk & Holley regarding Wes Welker incident: ‘We’re done with that’

01.22.14 at 5:31 pm ET
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Speaking on the Salk & Holley Show (via phone from the Senior Bowl in Alabama), Patriots coach Bill Belichick chose not to address anything related to the controversial pick play by Denver receiver Wes Welker on Aqib Talib during the Pats‘ AFC championship game loss Sunday. To hear the interview, visit the Salk & Holley audio on demand page.

“We’re done with that,” he said. “Again, I congratulate Denver. I don’t want to take anything away from them. … I don’t have anything else to say about that.”

Belichick said to the best of his knowledge, Talib wouldn’t need surgery for the injury sustained to his knee on the Welker play.

Belichick did start the interview by once again relaying a frustration regarding his coaching performance in the loss, singling out the decision to go for it on fourth-and-3 instead of attempting a 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter.

“I don’t know if that was the right decision,” he said.

Check back for more from the Belichick interview.

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Longtime Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retiring

01.22.14 at 5:16 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Wednesday afternoon that longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is retiring. Scarnecchia, who spent 32 seasons in the NFL (30 of which were with the Patriots), will be replaced by Dave DeGuglielmo.

“Dante Scarnecchia is a Patriot and NFL legend who defied the phrase ‘€˜not for long,’€™’€ said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “œIn an industry of constant change, Dante remained a fixture here for the simple reason that he helped every player reach his highest potential, regardless of who he was, how he was acquired or how much raw talent he had. In whatever category a coach can be assessed — evaluator, teacher, motivator, problem solver, disciplinarian, team player, winner — Dante is as good as it gets.

“As many games as he helped us win and as much as we would like to work with Dante forever, we are blessed with the opportunity to have been with him as long as we were.”

“œDante Scarnecchia has been the only coaching constant since I purchased the team in 1994,”€ said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Not coincidentally, he retires as the only coach to have been a part of all seven Super Bowl teams in Patriots franchise history. I want to thank Dante for his leadership, professionalism and always putting the team first. For as long as I have known him, he was always the first to arrive in the morning and among the last to leave.

“He didn’€™t demand respect from his players. He earned it. I loved watching Dante lead by example, especially when he would run stride for stride with his players during their conditioning runs. He was a coach who always stressed technique and fundamentals and helped players reach their full potential. At training camp, his colorful, constructive, coaching critiques made him a fan favorite. His presence on the Patriots sidelines will be missed by our coaches, players and fans alike.”

The move is the second major change to the New England coaching staff in as many days — assistant Pepper Johnson announced Tuesday he was not returning for the 2014 season.
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Bill Belichick on Pepper Johnson: ‘Pepper made me a better coach and person’

01.22.14 at 4:36 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a statement Wednesday on Pepper Johnson‘s decision to leave the franchise:

“I am proud and honored to have spent more years of my career with Pepper Johnson than any other player or coach. Of all the people I coached or worked with, nobody has more passion and love for the game than Pepper. His energy and wisdom for football knows no limits. Pepper made me a better coach and person and helped create some of the greatest moments of my career. He is a great player, coach and lifelong friend and I am sure he will enjoy continued success as he moves forward.”

The longtime defensive assistant announced Tuesday that he was leaving the Patriots, saying that he was going to “embrace this new chapter in my life.”

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