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Report: Use of drones to film practice in Foxboro and elsewhere draws attention of FAA 06.29.15 at 9:00 am ET
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The FAA is looking into the use of drones by three NFL teams –€” including the Patriots — to film spring practices, according to Bloomberg News.

According to the story, the Federal Aviation Administration has been in contact with Dallas about the use of drones to film practices from different angles this spring, and plans to also get in contact with New England and the New York Giants. It’€™s illegal to fly the unmanned aircraft for any commercial purpose without first getting an FAA waiver, and the FAA says none of the three teams have exemptions or provided evidence that the drones were being operated by someone with permission.

Asked last month what advantage drone footage might provide, Patriots coach Bill Belichick simply said: “I don’€™t know.”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett sounded enthusiastic about using the new technology when reporters asked him about it last month.

“We pride ourselves on coaching and teaching our players as well as we can and film has been a big part of the game for a long time,”€ Garrett told reporters. “Typically you have an end zone shot and a sideline shot. We use a lot of hand-held cameras on the ground. … One of our coaches went down to SMU for their spring practices and saw they were using it. They liked the angle. We got a chance to see it, so we decided to take a look at it.”

Read More: Bill Belichick,
NFLPA files complaint against Patriots for Malcolm Butler OTA discipline 06.25.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the biggest play of his life when he picked off Russell Wilson in the final moments of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the biggest play of his life when he picked off Russell Wilson in the final moments of Super Bowl XLIX. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

There’s more off the field news involving the Patriots and it has nothing to do with Tom Brady or deflated footballs.

The NFL Players Association has filed a formal grievance against the Patriots for keeping Malcolm Butler off the fields for two weeks during non-mandatory organized team activity practices, according to Randy Scott of ESPN.

Butler acknowledged missing the first two weeks of practice on the field (six practices) before returning in June for the final week of OTAs and being on hand for June minicamp.

The discipline came after he reportedly missed a flight the night before the team’€™s first OTA session. Head coach Bill Belichick then decided to keep the Super Bowl XLIX hero out of practice.

The Herald’s Jeff Howe first reported that the Patriots were disciplining Butler for missing his flight and being late to the first day of OTAs. Shortly thereafter reports came out that the NFLPA was investigating Belichick and the Patriots for their disciplinary action against Butler.

Article 21, Section 5(a) of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement reads that voluntary OTA workouts cannot be treated as mandatory. Therefore, punishing Butler for not being in attendance could theoretically be a team violation.

Neither Belichick nor Butler would provide details of the absences from OTAs, leaving the door open for the team to say that Butler was actually preparing in the classroom and weight room but just not prepared to go onto the field. Butler did confirm that he was indeed taking part in team activities but just not on the field.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Malcolm Butler, minicamp, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick makes donation to Ohio’s Hiram College at 7:00 am ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick has given a gift to Ohio’s Hiram College, where his parents met in the 1940s.

According to this story, the amount of Belichick’s gift has not been disclosed, but three areas were targeted to honor the areas where the couple made an impact, the college said: the Coach Steve Belichick Olympic Training Center, the Jeannette Munn Belichick Reading Room and the Jeannette Munn Belichick Endowed Fund.

The gift is the second that Belichick has made to a local college in honor of his parents — the Patriots coach gave an undisclosed gift to Case Western Reserve University last year to create the 4,500-square-foot Steve Belichick Weight Room in the Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center.

Read More: Bill Belichick,
Ex-Pats OL coach Dante Scarnecchia honored by PFWA 06.22.15 at 1:52 pm ET
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Even though he retired after the 2013 season, Dante Scarnecchia played a big role in helping the Patriots prepare for the 2015 draft. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Even though he retired after the 2013 season, Dante Scarnecchia played a big role in helping the Patriots prepare for the 2015 draft. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Professional Football Writers of America announced Monday that former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is one of three winners of this year’s Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award.

Scarnecchia, who was honored along with Dick LeBeau and Tom Moore, retired following the 2013 season after 30 seasons with the team and 32 in the NFL. He still managed to stay in the game over the last year-plus, as he served as a sounding board for the Patriots, especially when it came to working out collegiate prospects in the run-up to the 2015 draft.

“In 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,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a statement following Scarnecchia’s retirement. “In whatever category a coach can be assessed — evaluator, teacher, motivator, problem solver, disciplinarian, team player, winner — Dante is as good as it gets.”

Scarnecchia is in pretty good company: LeBeau, who was recently let go by the Steelers after serving the last 11 seasons as their defensive coordinator, is now working as the Titans assistant head coach. Meanwhile, Moore is the assistant head coach/offense for the Cardinals, where he’s working his 37th season as an NFL head coach after having worked with the Steelers, Vikings, Lions and Colts.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia,
Science journal finds NFL favored ‘foul play over science’ in Deflategate case against Patriots 06.20.15 at 1:15 pm ET
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Ted Wells (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Ted Wells (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

When scientists chime in on Deflategate, it’s bad news for Ted Wells.

The latest pummeling of the ill-conceived report comes from the respected editors of “Science News” who published their findings of a survey of scientists who carefully examined footballs to simulate the conditions of the AFC championship game on Jan. 18 in Foxboro.

In a story entitled, “Deflategate Favored Foul Play over Science,” reporter Rachel Ehrenberg consulted several scientists from both academia and industry, and the findings do not support the conclusions reached by Ted Wells in his report. The Wells report dismisses any significant atmospheric impact on the deflated footballs, concluding that the deflation came primarily from an attempt by the Patriots to intentionally deflate the balls below the 12.5 PSI threshold.

On June 23, the NFL commissioner will hear the appeal of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady‘€™s four-game suspension, one of the punishments that resulted from the controversy,” Ehrenberg writes. “Patriots’€™ team equipment managers may have intentionally underinflated game balls and Brady may have known about it I won’€™t weigh in on that here. But the scandal, which propelled the ideal gas law to the front pages of sports sections, inspired an odd mix of experts to choose science over sports, and that’€™s almost always a win.

To Ehrenberg’s point, in his now-famous scientific press conference eight days before Super Bowl XLIX, Patriots coach Bill Belichick pointed to “climatic conditions,” “equilibrium states” and “atmospheric conditions” to explain the deflation. Bill Nye, with his mechanical engineering degree, came out within 24 hours to laugh at Belichick’s science. But, as “Science News” points out, it’s Belichick who should be enjoying the last laugh.

Here’s what Ehrenberg found and detailed:

If the initial pressure of a football measured in a warm locker room during pre-game inspection was 12.5 psi, could the roughly 25-degree-Fahrenheit drop in temperature between the locker room and the rainy field that day account for the lower air pressure of a ball measured at halftime?

Scientist Michael Naughton (expert in condensed matters physics, Buffalo Bills fan) lent his expertise to the matter when the controversy initially blew up. Naughton’€™s lab at Boston College inflated a football to 13.5 psi at 72 degrees F. Then they stuck it in a fridge and measured the pressure at 42 degrees F (slightly cooler than the low on game night of 47.7 degrees F, the average of measurements from two weather stations near Gillette Stadium). The pressure dropped to 10.5 psi.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Nye, Deflategate, New England Patriots
What moving Jake Bequette to tight end reveals about the true ‘Patriot Way’ 06.18.15 at 11:39 am ET
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Jake Bequette (66) plays defensive end in a 2012 preseason game against the Eagles at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jake Bequette (66) plays defensive end in a 2012 preseason game against the Eagles at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In many ways, Jake Bequette symbolizes and embodies the “Patriot Way.”

Bequette was selected in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Patriots to provide some quality depth and versatility at defensive end, a position he mastered at Arkansas.

But the impact and production many in the coaching staff projected on the defensive side never has materialized. In three NFL seasons, he has played in just eight games (all over the first two seasons), without recording a sack or tackle. He was released by the Patriots on Aug. 30, 2014 as part of final roster cuts. But Bill Belichick and staff still saw potential.

Bequette re-signed with the team’s practice squad shortly after the 2014 cuts and earned a Super Bowl ring for the Patriots after spending the entire season on the practice squad, a unit for which he still retains eligibility this season.

It was during the ’14 season that the Patriots began thinking outside the box on Bequette. They saw a player with good hands and a very smart head and the ability to pick up schemes quickly. They starting toying with the idea of moving him to tight end while continuing his work on special teams. After all, Belichick loves versatility.

Jake Bequette the tight end was born. The plan has continued this spring in OTAs and this month’s minicamp. So far, so good.

“Jake works hard. I think he’€™s really into it,” Belichick said after the final minicamp practice Wednesday. “He wanted to do it, wants to do it and he’€™s worked really hard at it. The techniques are different, but he played on the end of the line on defense, so he has some familiarity with that kind of spacing over there if you will and what it looks like on the other side of the ball.”

It’s a new take on an old financial adage: Lack of past production doesn’t guarantee future failure. It’s one of the foundations of the Patriots under Belichick. Don’t give up on a smart player or staffer willing to work hard at whatever assignment you give him. Belichick believed that as far back as Cleveland, when he gave his “slappies” like Kirk Ferentz, Ozzie Newsome and Nick Saban a chance to prove themselves valuable in the organization as scouts and coaching assistants.

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Read More: Arkansas, Bill Belichick, Jake Bequette, James Develin
Bill Belichick cuts his team loose a day early: ‘We’re not going to conquer the world this week’ 06.17.15 at 5:42 pm ET
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Bill Belichick addresses reporters Wednesday on the final day of June minicamp. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick addresses reporters Wednesday on the final day of June minicamp. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick sounds like a man who’s ready for some R & R.

After coaching his team to a Super Bowl win in early February, then preparing for free agency and the the draft on a very compressed schedule (albeit very happily) and then getting to know his new personnel through offseason workouts and OTAs, the Patriots coach decided Wednesday that two days of minicamp was enough.

He called off the final day of minicamp on Thursday and decided that the next time he needs to see his team on the field will be for training camp in July. As WEEI.com’s Chris Price detailed, it was another full day of work for both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Does Belichick feel the team has accomplished what he wanted to over the course of OTAs and mini-camp?

“Well you can see, we’€™ve got a lot of stuff in,” Belichick said. “We’€™ve done a lot of things. We’€™ve gotten into more situational football each day. We’€™ll just keep building on that. It’€™s good to expose it to them once and then the next time around hopefully it will come a little bit quicker.”

On Wednesday, there were some moments when players on opposite sides seemed to get into it, jostling and getting hands up in the non-contact teaching practice.

“Yeah, we don’€™t really need that. We’€™re just trying to teach things,” Belichick said. “The competition will start in training camp. There will be plenty of it there. If these guys want to get after it and hit somebody, there will be plenty of chances in training camp ‘€“ more than they want.”

What has Belichick taken away from the two minicamp practices?

“I think it just gives us a little better evaluation of how the players are handling things mentally, their assignments, there’€™s more things they have to worry about and the communication, their communication as a team from the signal callers on out to each of the different groups of players,” he said. “It’€™s not an evaluation of the physical part, but it’€™s an evaluation of the mental part and their ability to think quickly, process information, handle different situations and communicate individually and as a group.”

As for letting his team go, which he announced after meeting with reporters on Wednesday, even Belichick knows proper perspective.

“We’€™re not going to conquer the world this week,” Belichick pronounced. “But, we can just keep pushing forward on all the basic situations and then as many of those extra ones as we can get to just puts us that much further ahead down the road.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, minicamp, New England Patriots, OTA's
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