|LeGarrette Blount aiming to please Bill Belichick because ‘Bill is a straight-forward shooter’||11.21.14 at 6:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — LeGarrette Blount is indeed getting his No. 29 back. The question now is whether he will regain the good graces of Bill Belichick after the Patriots took him off the trash heap of the waiver wire this week and gave him a two-year contract, and a second chance with a team that has a chance to go to the Super Bowl.
“Bill is a straight-forward shooter, he’s a 100 percent honest person,” Blount told reporters Friday. “I truly believe that if I do what I have to do, then I’ll make myself a role on this team. Whatever I have to do, I’m going to do it to be productive.”
The 6-foot, 247-pound Blount will team with 230-pound Jonas Gray in the Patriots’ backfield, giving the team some depth if they choose to stick with a power game as the weather turns colder.
Blount didn’t want to talk about why he landed in New England because he clearly didn’t feel the same about Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, who didn’t give him a single carry in Monday’s 27-24 win over the Titans. He left before the end of the game, prompting several Steelers to say good riddance to a disgruntled teammate.
Blount said Friday that he was surprised by his release but not scared because he believes his 27-year-old body still has plenty of football left to give.
“It wasn’t scary at all. I feel like I’m talented enough to land on any team,” Blount said. “[But] I wasn’t expecting it, You know, I don’t really want to talk about it. But just the fact it opened up another opportunity for me to get back here ended up being a good thing for me.
“I’m going to stay ready. I’m in good shape. Whenever they call me to carry the ball, I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can do to make them comfortable with their decision to bring me back.”
Blount, who signed a two-year deal with the Patriots Thursday, turned down a Patriots’ offer believed to be significantly less than the two-years, $3.85 million offered by the Steelers in late March. Blount said Friday he had no regrets with signing with Pittsburgh.
“At the time I was comfortable with my decision,” Blount said.
|Randy Moss: ‘There is a special place in my heart for the New England Patriots’||11.20.14 at 8:46 pm ET|
The former Patriots wide receiver is in town to do some TV work for Fox in advance of Sunday’s Patriots-Lions game. Between his work, Moss sat down with Patriots.com reporter Jackie Brittain for an interview for Patriots.com.
Moss talked about a variety of topics, including how he became a member of the Patriots. Moss was traded to the Patriots from the Raiders before Day 2 of the 2007 NFL draft for a fourth-round pick in that draft.
“I’ve said this story time and time again, but I just want people to understand that I am very grateful,” Moss told Brittain. “When I came from Oakland, I was in a dark place. I was in a dark place because I was there for two years, I got traded from the Vikings and things weren’t going well in California. I was away from home, my career wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go.
“I remember I was in Houston, Texas, doing the draft and I got a call from Bill Belichick and I thought it was one of my friends playing. I was like, ‘Who is this?’ and he was like, ‘This is Bill Belichick.’ I was like, ‘Man, get real, who is this?’ Coach told me that if I am up here by 10 o’clock next morning, blah, blah, blah, then the trade would go through. Man, I started scrambling.
“When I came up here and became a Patriot I was very thankful, I was very grateful. Mrs. Myra Kraft played a role in it. When she passed away I had to pay my respects to the home, to the family, and when I go see Mr. Kraft he doesn’t call me Randy Moss, he calls me Randy Moss Kraft. They welcomed me into the family and like I said, still to this day it’s just love and anytime you come here you feel the love from the Kraft family.”
|Bill Belichick says Ndamukong Suh ‘can do it all’||at 6:00 am ET|
As is the case leading up to most games, Bill Belichick has always been one to praise the opposition so that the Patriots are never looking past their opponent for that coming week. But when Belichick talks about Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, he isn’t kidding, Suh is the real deal.
The second overall pick in the 2010 draft certainly has made his presence felt in the NFL — winning the AP NFL Rookie of the Year, as well as being a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time, first-team All-Pro.
“He’s pretty dominant,” said Belichick. “He can do it all, and his effort, the plays he makes from behind in chase, like on screen plays and hustling downfield, backside plays, in addition to all his point of attack and pass rushes and disruptive plays. The guy gets double teamed, [but] he’s still productive. He’s really good.
“They move him around and make it a little bit difficult to know exactly where he’s going to be. You have a pretty good idea, but they do enough other things with their front to give him opportunities to make plays and he takes advantage of them. He’s really good. That’s a very good front they have. He’s the marquee guy, but they have a lot of good players on that front. They roll them all through, they all play, they rotate frequently and they’re fresh and they’re active — very disruptive.”
So far this season Suh has 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks, with all of his sacks coming in Lions wins.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been protected much better of late, as he’s been sacked just three times in the last four games with the offensive line getting more familiar with one another by the day. This week will present a huge test as led by Suh, the Lions have 26 sacks this season — 10th in the league.
|Protection Pattern: Tom Brady relishing more time to throw||11.19.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
In the first half, Brady went a pedestrian 10-for-19 passing for 84 yards with two interceptions, including one with less than two minutes remaining — arguably one of the worst throws he’s made in his 15 seasons, as the throw hung in the air for a lifetime before Colts safety Mike Adams picked it off.
The Colts scored a touchdown a few plays later and the Patriots got the ball back with 55 seconds remaining, but Bill Belichick didn’t mess around and kneeled out the clock sending the Patriots to the locker room with just a 14-10 lead — perhaps sending a message to Brady and the offense.
“I always need to do a better job,” said Brady. “Obviously we were there at halftime, I didn’t play as well as I am capable of. I have to do a lot better job. It always starts with me and that is where my focus is. Hopefully I can put together four quarters of good stuff this week.”
The second half was a completely different story as the offense scored touchdowns on four of its five possessions and the only one they didn’t score was the last possession of the game when they were running out the clock late in the fourth quarter. While the ground game was exceptional (Jonas Gray’s 201 yards rushing, four touchdowns), but Brady was a major reason as well. He was 9-for-11 passing for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. (One of the incompletions was a Julian Edelman drop over the middle.)
So, what changed in the second half? Brady had more time to throw.
The quarterback looked much more comfortable in the pocket in the second half, as he was given more time to throw. By our calculations, in the second half Brady averaged 2.61 seconds from snap to release, compared to 2.20 second in the first half — almost half a second difference.
Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells joined Dale & Holley on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his new book detailing his career in the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
In the book, “Parcells: A Football Life,” the former coach delves into experiences he had throughout his time in the NFL. The hosts asked Parcells if it was a difficult task to reveal so much information.
Said Parcells: “Quite frankly, when you decide that you’re going to do something of this nature, you have to be willing to, I think at least, understand that they’re going to be some things that are not very favorable that are going to be said. Quite frankly, there’s some things that I’ve done in my lifetime that I wish I had the opportunity to do over again. And there are some things I didn’t do that I wish I had the opportunity to do. But that’s the way life is.”
Parcells detailed his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. At the end of Parcells’ tenure in New England, there was strain between the two, but they’ve tried to patch things up.
“It’s very difficult, particularly I think the thing that precipitated some of the things, was the first year-and-a-half or so that I was there, there was a tremendous number of different agendas with the people that were in the organization. Nobody really was on the same page. We had a general manager at the time that wasn’t qualified to be one. He had no background in football. And it was a very difficult situation. And then of course when a new owner comes in, I didn’t really know what to expect and I was a bit jaded from first-year experience. I would say I had my guard up a little bit too much and I wasn’t quite open-minded enough. But since that time, Bob and I, we had a few differences, but it’s worked out — everything’s fine. The Patriots are in great hands, and they’ve done great, great things. That’s a place that I do feel some sentiment about because it was my first pro job as an assistant coach back in 1980. They gave me the opportunity. So I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a lot on his plate to get ready for in dealing with the Lions this week.
“It’s been really impressive to watch the Lions this week,” Belichick said Wednesday. “They’re really a good football team and do a good job in all three phases of the game. They’re good in the kicking game, really explosive on offense, have great skill players and I think they’re statistical accomplishments on defense really speak for themselves. They’re at the top of the league in everything, points, yards (allowed), run defense, time of possession, turnovers, red area, third down, pass defense, you name it.”
Indeed, the Lions enter game as the top defensive team in the NFL in points allowed (15.6), total defense (290.3 yards/game) and rushing defense (68.8 yards per game). They are second in third down defense, allowing just a conversion rate of 35.2 percent.
“Very dominant and disruptive there so we’re going to need to play a good complimentary game all the way across the board,” Belichick said. “There’s no real weak points. There’s a lot of things we’re going to have to deal with. It’s a team obviously we don’t obviously know very well so we’re going to have to really work hard this week to get on top of them, get familiar with them. They present a lot of problems. They’ve been in a lot of close games, in a lot of tough situations. I think they’re mentally tough, resilient team. They’ve shown that. That’ll be a big challenge for us to match that toughness and competitiveness, too. It’s a good football team coming in here.”
“He’s pretty dominant,” Belichick said. “He can do it all and his effort, the plays he makes from behind in chase, on screen plays, hustling downfield, backside plays in addition to all of his point-of-attack and pass rushes, disruptive plays. The guy gets double-teamed a lot and is still productive.
|Bill Belichick: 3rd downs, red zone opportunities, turnovers all ‘critical’ parts of the game||11.18.14 at 3:01 pm ET|
Third downs, red zone opportunities and turnovers.
According to Bill Belichick, those are the three most important situations in a given game.
“I definitely put them up top, along with turnovers. You talk turnovers, third down and red area, those are big, big situations in the National Football League,” Belichick said on Tuesday’s conference call. “They’re critical. We spend a lot of time on all situations, but particularly those. We try to do a good job in preparing our team for what in general to expect in those situations in the red area and third down based on the yardage, the personnel, sometimes the formation and then we obviously do it specifically for each team. If there’s particular, which there always are, but whatever the tendencies are. Again, all the things that go into it, whether it’s their protections, their coverages, their coverage adjustments and other subtle things that are part of all that.”
The Patriots did an outstanding job in two-of-the-three Sunday night against the Colts, going 9-for-12 (75 percent) on third down and were 5-for-5 in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all five of their red zone appearances. The Patriots did turn the ball over twice, losing the turnover battle in the process, but it was just the fourth game out of 10 this season where the team has committed a turnover.
For the year, the Patriots are best in the AFC in turnover differential at plus-11, and second in the NFL, only trailing the Packers who are plus-14. They’ve also been successful in the red zone over the course of the season, scoring touchdowns on 63.4 percent of their trips, ranking sixth in the NFL. They have scored 220 total points in the red zone, which leads the NFL.
Third downs haven’t been as good, but they’ve improved over the course of the last three games. Overall on the year, New England has converted 43.97 percent of its third downs (ninth in the league), but over the last three games that number has risen to 56 percent, and that tops the NFL in that span.
These are all three areas the Patriots have been working on since the summer, so it’s no surprise the team is at, or near the top in all three categories that are most important to Belichick.
“It’s something that we try to devote a lot of time to, starting right from the beginning,” said Belichick. “Right the start of, probably late in the second week in the offseason and then the second week of OTAs. We started on red area on the first day of training camp, so it’s a priority.”