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Bill Belichick on D&H: ‘This is really 3 weeks in row we haven’t been very good on offense’ 08.31.15 at 5:30 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday for his weekly appearance and talked about this time of the year in terms of roster cuts and how the team has performed through the first three preseason games. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

The Patriots’ offense, particularly Tom Brady and the starters, have struggled this preseason. Brady’s only points of the three preseason games came on the final drive of the first half Friday night in Carolina where Scott Chandler caught a touchdown pass from Brady to cap off a nice two-minute style drive.

Other than that drive, the offense has looked out of sync and has lacked rhythm and flow.

“This is really three weeks in row we haven’t been very good on offense,” Belichick said. “We weren’t really competitive in the first two games in any part of it and then this week against Carolina we weren’t very competitive offensively so we have to find a way to play a little better than that.”

Second-year defensive lineman Dominique Easley made two big plays Friday night — a sack of Cam Newton and also a tackle in the backfield for a loss. Easley’s play has drawn the attention of Belichick.

“He’s an explosive player that is very disruptive,” Belichick said. “Really I thought his best play in the game and one of the best plays that I’ve seen from our plays was when he tackled [Cam] Newton. That guy is hard to get on the ground and he really didn’t have a good shot at him. We’ve had a lot of players that have had better shots at quarterbacks than he did, but he was able to get a hand on him and drag him down. That was an impressive play. Dominique has had a really good training camp and I think he had a good spring and it’s been good to see him play. He’s played to a good level.”

By 4 p.m. Tuesday all NFL teams need to get their rosters down to 75 players. Belichick admitted it’s hard to release players, but everyone knows it’s part of the job.

“It’s hard,” he said. “It’s hard to tell guys that you can’t keep them and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. In some cases they’ve helped you win a lot of games in the past. For each player that I have to release, I feel like I have to do what is best for the other 52 guys on the roster and nobody can really be entitled to anything. They have to earn it. They earn it based on their performance and they all know that.”

Here are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dominique Easley,
NFL Network releases new ‘Do Your job’ preview: Bill Belichick on Aqib Talib, Darrelle Revis at 1:49 pm ET
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NFL Network has released another preview of “Do Your Job,” its upcoming special on the 2014 Patriots. In this segment, coach Bill Belichick looks at Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis.

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis,
How Troy Brown gave Bill Belichick some valuable perspective on cutdown process at 12:44 pm ET
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Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.   (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Troy Brown has always had the ear of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Turns out, Bill Belichick does listen to the media, at least when one of those media members is a respected former player.

Troy Brown certainly fits in that category. On Monday, Belichick shared an experience he had recently when he heard Troy Brown speak about the NFL cutdown process from a player’s perspective.

“I think Troy Brown made a comment a couple of weeks ago when he said, ‘I knew that when I came into the league, I knew that it was a long shot for me to make a team. I was probably going to get cut and all that. I felt like my job every day was to make it as hard as possible for Coach Parcells to make that decision. I wanted to make his job tough for him to cut me,'” Belichick said.

Belichick said he and his staff are in a tough spot for a very good reason. Many of his players in different groups have battled hard to make the decision on whether to cut or keep a player very challenging. In two particular groups, wide receiver and running back, especially the third-down back spot, it’s going to be razor-thin.

“It’s definitely made it hard. We’ve have a lot of guys do that,” Belichick said.

“I’d say there have been a number of guys that have done that this year in preseason. They’ve kind of taken that phrase that Troy used and really have done that. They’ve forced us to make some hard decisions because of how competitively they’ve played and vice versa. Guys at a spot where there’s a lot of competition, instead of one or two guys rising and one or two guys fading out, in some cases several members of that group have all competitively risen the level of their game to make some very tough decisions.”

The wide receiver spot includes new names like Chris Harper and Jonathan Krause, both of whom have shown glimpses of being impact players to give depth behind the likes of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Reggie Wayne and Brandon LaFell. As for the running back group, it’s very, very competitive, with players like James White, Dion Lewis, Travaris Cadet and Tony Creecy all vying for valuable game reps as a third-down back to replace Shane Vereen.

“I would put the running back position in that,” Belichick said. “We’ve pretty much had the same group. We added Tony [Creecy]. We’ve pretty much had that same group when we lost [Tyler] Gaffney but we pretty much have the same group of guys since the beginning of the spring, with no rookies in that group other than Tony coming in a couple of weeks ago. Those guys have all competed well. They’ve all improved. They’ve all pushed each other. They’ve all worked really and they’ve all been productive. It’s a good example of that. They’re making it hard on us.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Dion Lewis, James White
Bill Belichick and staff working through ‘moving parts’ as cutdowns begin at 12:15 pm ET
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Bill Belichick cracks a smile speaking to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick cracks a smile speaking to reporters Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — This is a busy time for Bill Belichick and his staff.

He has a lot to consider as rosters get cut to 75 by Tuesday at 4 p.m. and to 53 by Saturday at 4 p.m. Will his starting center be ready for the season? Who will step up and fill the void for the injured James Develin? How many corners will he keep and which ones?

Then there’s the outside element, as in players that become available outside the organization, like veteran running back Fred Jackson, who was released Monday by the Bills.

And all of these questions don’t even include the uncertainty around the quarterback position, which is expected to resolve by the end of the week when Judge Richard Berman issues his ruling on the Tom Brady four-game suspension.

But first and foremost, Belichick needs to get from 84 to 75 by the end of the workday Monday. One of those moves has already been made with the reported release of tight end Jimmay Mundine.

“Some of those may be made today,” Belichick said during his Monday morning press conference. “We’€™re in the process of working through some things. There’€™s some moving parts. Some things play off other things, so whatever we have, we’€™ll just give you at the end of the day.

“It’€™s trying to balance a lot of things here at this time of year between roster, the Giants game, obviously the Pittsburgh opener and a number of other things. Each coach, each player is all in their own individual situation, whatever the circumstances are that surround it in the next couple weeks. We just have to try to work through it the best we can and try to get as much done as practically as possible. That’€™s what we’€™ll try to do.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots,
Nick Caserio on D&C: ‘Nobody works harder than [Bill] Belichick’ at 8:52 am ET
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Nick Caserio

Nick Caserio

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Monday as the team heads into the final week of the preseason. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots need to part ways with nine players to get to their roster to the league-mandated 75 by Tuesday afternoon. Then they have to be at 53 at the end of the week, after the final preseason game.

Caserio said the team still is determining which players are most worth keeping.

“We’re getting closer. Probably a better idea today or tomorrow,” he said. “There’s a lot of factors that go into it just in terms of overall player ability, and there’s some other factors that go into it.”

Added Caserio: “We spend a lot of time as a staff, really on a daily basis. You go through, you watch every play at practice, you go through every game. And ultimately you’re trying to, when you get down to 53 you just identify the right 53 players. … It’s an ongoing discussion. It’s not something where ultimately we just roll out of bed and wake up and say, ‘It’s time to move on from this player.’ Every player is different.

“Really, you look at everything — their progress on the field, how they perform off the field, their strength and conditioning. Everything that you can imagine as it relates to being a good football player or different aspects of our program. Those are the things that you try to sort through. And really you just try to make the decisions that we feel are best for the team moving forward.”

Caserio has been with the Patriots since 2001, serving as a personnel executive, a scout and an assistant coach at various points during his tenure in New England. He said what he’s learned from Bill Belichick has been invaluable.

“Nobody works harder than Coach Belichick,” said Caserio, whose voice sounds similar to Belichick’s. “I’ve been fortunate to be in this organization, this will be my 15th season. Everything that I’ve learned in football I’ve learned from him and watched him. He works so hard. He has really a grasp of every aspect of the football operation, whether that’s college scouting, game-planning, contracts, you name it, he’s at the pulp of it. Really, it’s a blend of sort of short-term focus, like, ‘These are the thing we need to do today in order to improve as a football team,’ and then as an extension, once we start preparing for the opponent and for the regular season, ‘All right, these are the things that are most important and most critical for us to win.’

“And he really tries to boil it down to the simplest — I mean, look, there’s a lot that goes into it, ‘Do this, do that,’ but ultimately he tries to pinpoint, ‘All right, here are the things that we need to do on a daily basis and a weekly basis in order to be successful as a team. We go back at the end of the game and figure out, ‘OK, well, we didn’t do this well, we didn’t do this well.’ But he spends so much time and he’s so ultra-focused on ultimately trying to put the best team together, try to put the team in the best position possible on a daily basis in order to be effective and successful. And it’s fun to see that. It’s fun to be around it. And like I’ said, I’ve learned an immense amount of football in the time that I’ve been here, and I’m just honored and privileged to be able to work with him and for him.”

Caserio said he sees no signs that Belichick is ready to hang up his coach’s whistle in the near future.

“I think Bill enjoys every aspect of the football process, the football operation, and he invests a lot of time, and he genuinely is fully invested,” Caserio said. “Whenever that point in time comes when he doesn’t have that feeling, then ultimately he’ll make that decision to move on. But this isn’t a guy that comes in and he’s trying to just dip his toe in the water. He’s fully invested, he jumps right in. And until that dissipates, then I don’t see him walking away anytime soon. … To be around him on a daily basis, to see the amount of energy and focus that he has into football and to this team, it doesn’t appear to be somebody that just says, ‘I’m ready to walk away.’ ”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio,
Bill Belichick says good to get Reggie Wayne up to (game) speed: ‘Always different in a game’ 08.29.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Bill Belichick has seen enough of young and veteran players alike to know that there’s no substitute for game action.

That’s why he decided to throw 15-year veteran receiver Reggie Wayne into Friday’s game with Tom Brady right from the start.

Wayne played 21 snaps but clearly was still finding his way. He was targeted just once, and dropped the one pass (a bullet through his hands) that was thrown his way — a 5-yard dig or “sit” route over the middle in the first quarter.

How comfortable did Wayne (sporting his new No. 15) look to Belichick after watching film of the game Saturday?

“Well, you have to ask him that question,” Belichick said before noting that Wayne is not the only one on a cram course in the Patriots playbook. “I’m not sure. There’s a lot to learn in a few days. There’s several players in that situation, Mike Williams, Reggie, Asante Cleveland hasn’t been here very long. Brought [offensive lineman] Chris Martin back, he had been here before so he’s probably a little bit ahead but it’s pretty common around the league. See a lot of teams in that situation, bring in a player at this point in training camp and having to catch them up.”

After each series, Wayne and Brady sat down to one another on the Patriots sideline and chatted. Wayne seemed to appreciate Brady’s concern and his ability to ignore the noise of Deflategate.

“In spite of all of all that stuff, [Brady will] pull me to the side and help me out,” Wayne told reporters after the game.

To Belichick, putting Wayne in Friday’s game was much more about seeing him on film at game speed.

“I think it’s always different in a game,” Belichick noted. “The game speed, timing and communication, not necessarily verbal but the timing and communication with the quarterback, the routes and so forth. Practice is good and that certainly helps but it’s never quite the same as the game. That’s something we can learn from and build on. You go out there in practice and work on that stuff all you want. But it’s always a little bit different in a game. It’s good to start that process. Obviously, it’s got a long way to go but keep working on it.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, nfl, Reggie Wayne
Bill Belichick says Patriots will ‘take a look at what our options are’ after James Develin leg injury at 12:16 pm ET
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James Develin catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first half of the AFC championship in January. (Elsa/Getty Images)

James Develin catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first half of the AFC championship in January. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Patriots came back to Foxboro early Saturday morning after their 17-16 preseason win over the Panthers but fullback James Develin did not accompany them.

Bill Belichick announced on his conference call Saturday that Develin stayed back in Charlotte to have his injured right leg treated. That treatment, according to multiple reports, was surgery after a clean break.

“He didn’t come back with us on the trip. He’s down there in North Carolina, in Charlotte. Don’t really have anything at this point,” Belichick said.

Mike Reiss of ESPN reported that Develin sustained a broken right tibia on a hit with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter Friday night. The injury, according to Reiss, was not immediately considered season-ending but rather a clean break that some in the organization felt could heal in 6-8 weeks. But Reiss pointed to medical skeptics who doubt that optimistic timetable and see a longer recovery for the valuable blocking/pass-catching fullback.

Belichick did not confirm the details of the severity of the injury, only to say that the team is considering its options for replacing him.

“We’ll have to take a look at that,” Belichick said. “I’m not sure right now. Just happened last night. Take a look at what our options are, talk about the situation and figure out what we want to try to do.”

Asked about how he uses players in preseason, Belichick said there are injuries that happen that are out of anyone’s control.

“We try to do what’s best for each player and [against] each team. [There are] some things during a game that unfortunately happen. You just can’t control,” Belichick said. “I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is on that. [You] do what you think is best.”

Develin, who gained 10 yards on the play, rolled to his left and caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. But as he was turning, his right foot appeared to stick in the turf. When it released after a tackle from linebacker David Mayo, it crashed into the leg of safety Dean Marlowe. Develin’s lower right leg bent backward and he had to be carted off with 8:01 left in the game.

After a few moments on the field with medical staff, coach Bill Belichick came onto the field and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hate to see that,” is all Belichick said after the game.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, James Develin, New England Patriots,
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