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When it comes to pre-draft evaluation, Patriots scouting formula different than most 03.27.15 at 8:00 am ET
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When it comes to evaluating college prospects, Bill Belichick and the Patriots go about scouting in a little different fashion. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When it comes to evaluating college prospects, Bill Belichick and the Patriots go about scouting in a little different fashion than most. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When it comes to the pre-draft scouting process, each one of the 32 NFL teams handles its business differently. Different metrics are used for evaluating prospects, certain qualities are sought out and particular playing styles are assessed as each team tries to find the right formula for success.

In Foxboro, the Patriots have distinguished themselves by ranking prospects in a relatively non-traditional fashion. Instead of putting a grade on a player by round — as most teams do at this time of the year — more of a priority is placed on how that prospect might fit into the New England system.

“They give their scouts a clear set of guidelines in what they are looking for,” according to Dan Hatman, who has worked as a scout for the Giants, Jets and Eagles and now is the Chairman of Scouting Development at The Scouting Academy. “In talking to scouts from New England, it might be the only team that I’m aware of with an internal scout school, for lack of a better term.

“When they go out on the road for evaluations, they are given a very specific set of player profiles. They are not giving players grades by rounds like other teams. Instead, they look at how guys fit into their roster.”

That would support the statements from Phil Savage last spring, when the former college and national scout under Bill Belichick in Cleveland said on Twitter that when he worked with Belichick, he didn’t feel an area scout could know the entire country enough to say “He’s a (second) rounder.” Savage added that Belichick didn’t want round grades, but instead to have the scout categorize a player as a starter, potential starter, backup or camp body.

Per Hatman, that directive can often make a scouts job easier.

“You’re using a defined system,” he said, “as opposed to trying to recreate the wheel every time in trying to figure out where a player could or should be selected.”

It’s just one part of the New England system stands apart from sizable portions of the league, according to Hatman.

“My understanding is that the expose their football personnel people to both coaching and scouting elements, with the idea that coaches are better coaches when they understand the scouting process, and scouts are better scouts when they they understand the coaching process,” Hatman said.

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Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick, Phil Savage,
Reports: Bill Belichick gets upset with NFL at league meeting over fixed camera proposal 03.26.15 at 8:11 am ET
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Bill Belichick apparently got upset at a league meeting in Arizona earlier this week. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick apparently got upset at a league meeting in Arizona earlier this week. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s been known for years Bill Belichick has been in favor of having fixed cameras on all boundary lines on the playing field to help with instant replay reviews.

His proposal was tabled this year for more review and research. In the past it has been turned down reportedly because of the costs of the cameras being put in place.

Belichick reportedly became upset over this at this weeks NFL annual meetings, with varying accounts of exactly took place at the meeting.

Appearing on “Olbermann” on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter described Belichick as using “profane” language and other NFL officials “laughing” at him.

“They were in a meeting the other day with Dean Blandino, the head of the officials, and Bill Belichick got up there, and in profane language, told the NFL: ‘€˜We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can’€™t spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?” Schefter said on the program (via Pro Football Talk). “He went off, and the way it was explained to me, from people in the room at the time, they were laughing at it because his language was so profane and because he was so incensed about it, and the NFL didn’€™t know how to handle it.

“But the bottom line is, they did not introduce the four cameras in the end zone, they thought right now it’€™s too cost-prohibitive for the NFL even, and they don’€™t know how to do it. They’€™ll probably continue to look at this, but Bill Belichick left these owners’€™ meetings not particularly happy.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio heard differently. He says three different sources who were in the room said Belichick did not engage in a profane tirade. One said there may have been a single F-bomb used by Belichick and the source said, “I’€™ve heard much worse in that room during discussions.”

Another source told Florio: “The quote was something like, ‘€˜Let me get this straight, we can bring this game to Brazil and effing China but we can’€™t afford to put a camera in a pylon?'”

Regardless of what Belichick exactly was like in the meeting, it’s clear he is upset with the cameras not already being in place.

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Darrelle Revis: Patriots’ offer ‘wasn’t in the ballpark of what we were looking for’ 03.25.15 at 7:09 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis said Wednesday the Patriots' offer to him wasn't in the ballpark of what he was looking for. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis said Wednesday the Patriots’ offer to him wasn’t in the ballpark of what he was looking for. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Even though the Patriots didn’t pick up Darrelle Revis’ $20 million team option for 2015, the team still had a chance to sign him — just like every other team in the league — via free agency.

Ultimately the Patriots did make an offer to Revis, but it fell short of what he was looking for.

“Obviously I’m not going to speak to numbers,” Revis said on The Michael Kay Show in New York Wednesday. “But I had the option — the $20 million option — that they could’ve exercised and they didn’t. We tried to work on a deal, and the deal, we felt that it wasn’t in the ballpark of what we were looking for. We moved on and they moved on too. Had a great conversation with Bill [Belichick], and we moved forward just like they did. That’s how you look at it.”

Revis ultimately signed with the Jets for five years and $70 million, with $39 million guaranteed. Some may say Revis only chose the Jets because of the money he was offered. He said it takes both sides to agree upon a deal.

“Contracts are contracts. We all know that, man,” said Revis. “Both sides have to agree on the deal and the numbers are the numbers. If a team doesn’t want to pay you money, they won’t pay you, they will give you a lesser deal. If they want to pay you, they will pay you. Everybody knows that. It’s not just one side. Contracts don’t get done one-sided. They get done with both sides agreeing to the terms.”

Playing for the Jets for the first six years of his career and then being traded to Tampa Bay in 2013, Revis said he was actually surprised the Jets would be interested in bringing him back for a second time. It was a place he wanted to return to, a place he calls “home.”

“I think at that point I was surprised,” Revis said. “It was a lot of back-and-forth with the tampering, what Mr. [Woody] Johnson said. There was just a lot of stuff going on at that time. In free agency they were one of the teams that called. The Jets were one of the teams that called. It was a bunch of teams. It was the Steelers, it was Cleveland, it was the Chiefs, it was the Packers, Baltimore — I mean, it was every team as well. Guys were willing to fly down and meet with me.

“The whole situation was like I said, it will always go back to that is where I got drafted. That is where I felt most comfortable. That is where I feel familiar with. I know a lot of people in the building and I felt like for me it was time to come home.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, New York Jets, Rex Ryan
League outlaws Patriots unbalanced line approach that New England used against Ravens at 1:59 pm ET
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John Harbaugh and the Ravens are likely pretty happy after hearing that the unbalanced line the Patriots used in the playoffs is now illegal. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

John Harbaugh and the Ravens are likely pretty happy after hearing that the unbalanced line the Patriots used in the playoffs is now illegal. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The eligible receiver/ unbalanced line tactics the Patriots utilized in the AFC divisional playoff game agains the Ravens have now been ruled illegal. The league announced Wednesday that they have passed a proposal to make it  “illegal for an offensive player with an eligible number to report as ineligible and line up outside the core of the formation.”

The genesis of the rule change came from the postseason contest between New England and Baltimore when Patriots ran a handful of plays using four offensive linemen and a running back (Shane Vereen) or tight end (Michael Hoomanawanui) lined up as the tackle. Before the plays, the Patriots informed the referee of the ineligible player, and on at least one occasion, the referee announced to the crowd that No. 34 (Vereen) was ineligible, adding “don’t cover (Vereen).”

The Ravens were clearly steamed at the legal sequence after the game. Ravens coach John Harbaugh called it “deception,” and took issue with the idea that “they don’t give you the chance to make the proper substations and things like that.”

He added: “We wanted an opportunity to be able to ID who the eligible players were. What (the Patriots) were doing was they announce the ineligible player and then Tom [Brady] would take them to the line right away and snap the ball before we had a chance to figure out who was lined up where. That was the deception part of it. It was clearly deception.”

In the midst of the confusion, the Patriots were able to capitalize — on three plays, New England hit on pass plays of 16, 11 and 14 yards. While it wasn’t the biggest turning point in the game, it was clear that it contributed to the normally unflappable Ravens coming unglued, as Baltimore twice choked up 14-point leads on the way to the Patriots win.

After the game, Brady was asked about the play.

“Maybe those guys (should) study the rule book and figure it out,” said the quarterback with a smile.

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Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh, New England Patriots
NFL passes 5 new rules, including ‘Julian Edelman rule’ 03.24.15 at 7:49 pm ET
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The NFL is continuing to take player safety seriously, and to further the trend the league passed five new rules directed to player safety on Tuesday at the league meetings in Arizona.

In the Super Bowl Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman took a huge shot over the middle of the field from Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Edelman appeared dazed, but stayed in the game, still appearing dazed a few plays after. With one of the rule changes, that may not have happened.

A rule passed Tuesday now says there will be an injury spotter, who can stop the game if he/she sees a player may have suffered a brain injury. The ATC spotter (athletic trainers) would be able to notify the side judge who can then call a medical timeout to remove the player from the game.

“You’€™d have to talk to the medical people about that. I was coaching the game,” Bill Belichick said of the play and if he thought Edelman should have came out of the game.

The other four changes are:

1. Defensive players can no longer push teammates at the line of scrimmage on punts.

2. Peel back blocks are banned.

3. Once a pass is intercepted, receivers now have defenseless receiver protection.

4. Running backs can no longer chop block a defensive player engaged by the waist outside the tackle box.

It’s worth noting Belichick’s proposal for fixed cameras on all boundary lines to aid in instant replay was tabled to allow for additional time for research and development.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman,
Bill Belichick stresses ‘competition’ and uncertainty when talking free agent signings at 5:11 pm ET
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Jabaal Sheard is one of players the Patriots signed via free agency recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jabaal Sheard is one of players the Patriots signed via free agency recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick was in midseason form Tuesday morning speaking for the first time since the Super Bowl, talking for over 40 minutes without saying much at all at the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL’s owners’ meetings in Arizona.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Belichick answered “I don’t know” 23 times, and said “We’ll see” another 23 times.

Before getting on the coach for his lack of expansion, he really was just being honest when it comes to the new players the team has signed recently with their roles because with it being late March and the season not starting for another roughly six months, even Belichick doesn’t know how things will shake out for them in the Patriots’ system, especially since he hasn’t coached any of these newcomers before.

For example, Jabaal Sheard. The Patriots signed the former Browns outside linebacker/defensive end as their biggest signing of free agency so far. Sheard recorded 8.5 and seven sacks in the league before a slight dip the past two years. Even with his production in Cleveland, Belichick truly doesn’t know how things will work out once he puts on a Patriots uniform.

“We’€™ll see how it goes. He’€™s been a productive player,” Belichick told reporters.

Will he be more of a defensive end or an outside linebacker?

“We’€™ll see how it goes,” said Belichick.

The same goes for veteran tight end Scott Chandler, who should serve as a nice complement to Rob Gronkowski, but like with Sheard, Belichick didn’t commit to anything.

“€œHe’€™s been a productive player. We certainly had a lot of trouble with him. We’€™ll see,” Belichick said.

When it comes to replacing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at cornerback, the Patriots have signed two veterans in Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain. Given it was Belichick’s first time speaking following any of the offseason acquisitions, he was asked about Fletcher and McClain.

With how deep the Patriots are at corner, no job is safe, and Belichick certainly didn’t speak like either were even guaranteed a spot on the team.

“We’€™ll see how it goes,” said Belichick. “Competition, and see how the competition turns out. I don’€™t know.”

“There is competition at every position every year. It’€™s no different than any other year,” he added.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jabaal Sheard, Scott Chandler,
Bill Belichick on Darrelle Revis signing with Jets: ‘It’s NFL free agency … That’s not a big story’ at 12:31 pm ET
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Bill Belichick spoke for the first time to the media since the Super Bowl Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona.

The coach was in midseason form, not offering much to the media on hand in the nearly 40 minutes he spoke at a roundtable.

Belichick commented for the first time on losing Darrelle Revis to the Jets, but the coach offered very little.

“It’€™s NFL free agency. It’€™s like that in the NFL,” Belichick told reporters. “Players leave teams and go to teams in free agency every year. That’€™s not a big story.”

The Patriots could have picked up the $20 million option on Revis’ contract to keep him in New England for 2015, but the Patriots declined without really expanding on the answer.

“It’€™s NFL free agency,”€ Belichick said. “We do what’€™s best for our football team.”

As for how the Patriots defense will look without Revis at corner, Belichick muttered, “I don’t know.”

Belichick was also asked about losing cornerback Brandon Browner, as the Patriots also declined to pick up his option for 2015 and Browner signed with the Saints.

“You should ask Sean [Payton] and the Saints,” Belichick said, saying Browner is no longer on the Patriots’ roster.

He was also asked to expand on losing Vince Wilfork, as the defensive tackle signed with the Texans last week. Belichick didn’t even answer that question.

“I released a pretty comprehensive statement on that,” he said. “I think that about covers it.”

The owners’ meetings wrap up on Wednesday, with the NFL draft scheduled for April 30-May 2.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis,
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