|Bill Belichick explains in great detail how his coaching staff will be there for Stephen Gostkowski||10.24.16 at 11:33 am ET|
Belichick was asked about his kicker again on Monday in a conference call with reporters. Belichick was asked how much special teams coaching support there is with the Patriots. Starting with special teams coordinator Joe Judge, Belichick made it clear that Gostkowski is not in the battle alone.
“I can’t speak for other teams. I think Joe’s very knowledgable about the techniques of kicking,” Belichick said. “I know when I became a special teams coach and coached special teams for many years as an assistant coach, and I continue to be involve with it as a head coach, that’s one of the things I had to learn. I had to learn how to coach those individual specialists, the snappers, the kickers, the punters, the returners. I don’t think it’s any different than coaching any other position. Things you don’t know, you need to learn. The things you do know, you need to be able to teach to the players, however you acquire that information.”
Belichick then recalled how he’s had the chance to learn how to coach different positions from some of the greatest to play.
“Some of that certainly comes from the players, especially when you coach good players at the position that you’re coaching, you can learn a lot from them, just like I learned a lot from many of the players that I coached. Going back to people like Dave Jennings as a punts or Carl Banks or Lawrence Taylor or Pepper [Johnson], guys like that, as linebackers with the Giants. However you acquire that information, you acquire it and you have to be able to convey it and teach it to the players and recognize technique or judgment.
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|After mimicking him on interception, Malcolm Butler has ‘much love’ for Antonio Brown||10.23.16 at 11:00 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just ask Malcolm Butler.
After picking off a first quarter pass in the end zone, intended for star receiver Antonio Brown, Malcolm Butler celebrated his first interception of the season by breaking into a dance.
It was supposed to be modeled after the dance Brown makes after a touchdown. High style points for the play. As for the celebration? Maybe not so much. But Butler, when asked about the pick after the game, admitted the dance was indeed modeled after the receiver he has so much respect for.
“Yeah. Yeah. [Laughter]. Me and Brown had conversation before. It was a joke. It was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. I just did it in the game,” Butler said. “Much love for that guy. It’s nothing personal.
“I just turned around and [found] the ball. Just playing football. That’s all I did. I just made the play. That’s all there was to it.”
He went even further, speaking of Brown in the most glowing of terms.
“He’s one of the best, if not the best,” Butler said. “He’s one or two. He has no flaws. There’s no stopping Antonio Brown. That’s impossible. You can’t stop him. You only can slow him down. He’s going to do what he does. I just went out there and tried to complete today. Le’Veon does what he does also. Great players are going to make great plays. You just have to match their intensity.”
Butler did give up a 51-yard play to Brown in the second quarter that set up Pittsburgh’s only touchdown of the day, a pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey. It was the first time the Patriots allowed a pass completion of over 40 yards this season.
|LeGarrette Blount is really loving playing for Patriots now: ‘I’m having a blast. I’m not counting numbers’||10.23.16 at 10:23 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — On Friday in front of his locker in Foxboro, LeGarrette Blount promised he’d talk after the game against the Steelers.
After carrying the ball 25 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns, he delivered Sunday.
“I’m having a blast. I’m not counting numbers,” Blount beamed. “I’ve always loved it here. I’m going to continue to love it here. I have a great coaching staff, great teammates. It’s really family-oriented. We’re always going to do what we have to do to get the job done.”
Blount’s game Sunday marked his third 100-yard game of the season and 13th career. He already has a career-high eight touchdowns in seven games. After the game, he gave credit to the offensive line for opening huge holes, especially in the second half, when he collected 74 yards on 12 carries.
“They’re great,” Blount said. “They’re amazing. They’re always amazing. They played as good as we can ask them to play. They did everything we needed them to do to open the holes and put us in a good position. On a few of my runs, I didn’t get touched till I got tackled. They played a really good game, all of them.”
Blount only got stronger in the second half, and that was never more evident than when he ripped off runs of 11 and 25 yards on back-to-back runs, preceding the 36-yard touchdown strike from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski.
“It’s always fun to run the football,” Blount said. “As a running back, you’re going to always want the football. If we have 80 plays, you’re going to want 80 carries. You’ve just got to be patient and when the opportunity presents itself, you’ve just got to make the most of it.
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|Stephen Gostkowski on another missed PAT: ‘Right now, I stink’||10.23.16 at 9:34 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — It’s so bad, even Stephen Gostkowski knows the questions are coming.
Gostkowski stood at his locker after Sunday’s 27-16 win in Pittsburgh and nodded as reporters gathered around.
There was only one reason for the media to be there after a game in which he didn’t attempt a single field goal. Gostkowski missed an extra point for the second straight week after not having missed a regular season extra point in nine years.
“Right now, I stink,” Gostkowski admitted.
Gostkowski pushed his extra point wide right after New England’s third touchdown in the third quarter.
Gostkowski, of course, is the same player who kicked three field goals and pinned the Cardinals back in their own territory in a 23-21 win at Arizona in the season opener. That work earned him the first AFC special teams player of the week honor of the season.
Bill Belichick continues to express confidence that whatever Gostkowski is working through in his mechanics and his mindset.
“We’ll work through it,” Belichick said. “Nobody works harder than Steve. Steve’s a very talented player. He’s mentally tough. He’s a good football player. Again, this is a tough place to kick. I’m not making any excuses. The kicker on the other side of the field had trouble too, but we have to hit them.”
Going back to the AFC championship in Denver, Gostkowski has now missed three extra points in his last seven games. Gostkowski is 19-for-21 on extra points and 9-for-12 in field goals this season.
|Snap Judgments: Behind LeGarrette Blount, Rob Gronkowski, Patriots survive undermanned Steelers||10.23.16 at 7:30 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH – It took longer and was tougher than many expected but the Patriots eventually wore down the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger.
Behind the 13th career 100-yard game from LeGarrette Blount and the 68th career touchdown reception from Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots outlasted the Steelers, 27-16, Sunday before 66,009 at Heinz Field.
Blount ran the ball 24 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns against his former team while Gronkowski caught four passes for 93 yards and tied Stanley Morgan for the team’s all-time touchdown reception mark.
Tom Brady completed his first nine passes and finished 19-of-26 for 222 yards as the Patriots improved to 6-1 and extended their AFC East lead to two games over Buffalo.
Early on, in building a 14-0 lead, the Patriots did exactly what would be expected when a Tom Brady team takes on a depleted opponent.
They took advantage of every mistake by the Steelers. And they covered their own. On the first drive, Brady completed the first of nine straight passes to open the game. But Chris Hogan fumbled, giving the Steelers the ball at the Patriots 45.
|Jonathan Kraft references Christian Peter on Josh Brown, adds NFL still has ‘a ways to go to make it perfect’||10.23.16 at 4:28 pm ET|
Speaking on the Patriots pregame radio show, the team president said he and his father are very sensitive to the issue since the early days of owning the franchise. He referenced what he and his family learned from the ill-conceived drafting of defensive tackle Christian Peter in the fifth round of the 1996 draft.
“Well, I’m going to speak for the New England Patriots. I think it’s something going back to the days of Christian Peter that we’ve been pretty stringent about, and I think ahead of the curve, in terms of the seriousness of,” Kraft said.
The Patriots relinquished the rights to Peter only a week after the draft. After Myra Kraft spoke out against Peter’s arrest (his eighth in seven months) for grabbing a woman’s throat, the team said Peter, who played with the Giants, Colts, and was “incompatible with our organization’s standards of acceptable conduct.”
Jonathan Kraft reiterated that stance on Sunday.
“There might be some that are as serious but there’s nothing more serious than what’s going on in the domestic violence and the sexual abuse area,” Kraft said. “It’s something we have felt strongly about since we’ve owned the franchise. We’ve partnered with [Massachusetts Attorney General] Maura Healey over the last year, plus, to starting bringing programs into high schools in Massachusetts to make sure we’re using the power of professional sports, and our players and our brand that at the teenage level that A, we prevent teenage sexual assault and abuse and hopefully, teach young men when they’re still in their formative years that it’s something that’s totally unacceptable and it’s not something we’re ever going to tolerate here at the New England Patriots.”
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|Jamie Collins (hip), Brandon Bolden (knee) return to action, Jordan Richards, Cyrus Jones inactive||10.23.16 at 3:02 pm ET|
The linebacker returns after missing last week with a hip issue.
Brandon Bolden, who missed practice Friday, also returns to action after missing two straight games with a knee injury against Buffalo on Oct. 2. Linebacker Shea McClellin is also active for the first time since suffering a concussion against the Bills.
Missing his first game is safety Jordan Richards. This year’s second-round pick Cyrus Jones is also a healthy scratch for a second-straight week.
Defensive linemen Vincent Valentine (back) and Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder) were ruled out Saturday. Offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, tight end A.J. Derby and running back D.J. Foster fill out the Patriots inactives list.
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