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IT guru Dan Famosi: The most important Patriot you don’t know 09.19.14 at 10:56 am ET
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Bill Belichick has embraced the use of a tablet on the sidelines in games. (Getty Images)

Bill Belichick has embraced the use of a tablet on the sidelines in games. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Without technology, most in today’s society would be lost. Without Dan Famosi, Bill Belichick would be lost when it comes to preparing his team in today’s NFL. That’s what the Patriots coach admitted Friday when heaping praise on the Patriots IT guru.

“We’ve had to adjust to new methods of technology, teaching, apps and different things we’re not familiar with that our players are that will help them,” Belichick said.”I think the apps are certainly convenient. Guys can be getting treatment in the training room and watching iPad. It’s a lot easier than when I came into the league when you had to take a projector and a roll of film home and watch it. Now everybody has that. They have the access to it where before they had to take our film and put it on VHS, not that any of our players would know what a VHS is.

“They would pop it in their TV and watch it. That’s what we had to work with. We progressively worked through those stages and now we’re into another stage. It’s been very educational for me and I’d say I’ve learned on a lot of our IT people, like Dan Famosi. He’s done a tremendous job in coordinating all of this. Also, our coaches who have, in some cases, have used it with other teams or organizations they’ve been with. It’s been brought to our attention this is how another team is doing it and then one of our coaches or scouts will then go and find out how somebody else is doing it and see how we can apply it to us.”

Starting in the preseason and now in the regular season, the Patriots coaching staff has started to use Microsoft Surface tablets [pictured] on the sidelines. That’s a move Belichick would never consider if he didn’t feel his staff was prepared for going into games.

And before a play is called on Sunday, Famosi is the guy Belichick turns to if he needs a play, team or player on film processed on his tablet device for distribution to the team or even his coaching staff.

“Dan’s really been the guy for us who has taken all that stuff to the level that we’re at and just daily handling all the moron coaches like me who can’t turn it one or can’t get from one view to another to our players, the compatibility and accessibility of all the information,” Belichick said. “There’s a ton of information, and being able to access and utilize it is the key to doing that. We spend a lot of time on it and the organization is committed to it but on a daily, hands-on basis, he does a tremendous job.

“You think about people like Paul [Brown], Vince Lombardi, Sid Gillman in a picture, I think of them next to a projector with a film running. I have still a lot of films in my personal possession. I don’t even know if I have anything to watch them on. It’s been obviously a huge change. Film technology and teaching and being able to do cut-ups and I do something and I can share with somebody else.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dan Famosi, IT, New England Patriots
Why Raiders QB Derek Carr has chance to make history against Patriots 09.18.14 at 11:40 am ET
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Derek Carr

Derek Carr

If Derek Carr is able to lead the Raiders to an upset win over the Patriots on Sunday in Foxboro, he would break new ground for rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick. Since 2001, no rookie QB in his first or second start against the Patriots has beaten Belichick in New England.

In that span, Belichick has faced rookie quarterbacks on 19 occasions, and New England is 14-5 against them. However, none of those losses have come at home. Last year, Geno Smith turned the trick at MetLife Stadium when he led the Jets past the Patriots in overtime. In 2012, Russell Wilson did the same in a home game for the Seahawks. Colt McCoy shocked the Patriots in a Browns blowout in 2010 in his first time against New England. In 2009, Jets QB Mark Sanchez knocked off the Patriots in his first-ever game against Belichick in the Meadowlands. And in his first year in the league, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers past the Patriots. All of those games were away from Foxboro.

Belichick said this week he’s been impressed with several aspects of Carr’s game, and as a team that was interested in taking a quarterback in the early stages of the 2014 draft — Carr went 36th overall to the Raiders, while New England chose Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 62 — the Patriots were able to get what Belichick called a “good look” at Carr. The coach was impressed by the Fresno State product.

“His athleticism, [as well as his] arm strength, Belichick said. “[His] ability to get the ball down the field and avoid negative plays in the pocket with his athleticism, mobility and some running ability, too, are all things that we saw in college that I’€™d say are showing up this year in the NFL as well.

“He’€™s only been sacked a couple of times,” Belichick added of the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder who has completed 47-for-74 passes for 414 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while adding 55 rushing yards. “He’€™s an athletic guy back there. He can certainly get the ball down the field. We know he’€™s a smart kid. I think all the things that we saw from him at Fresno and when he’€™s had an opportunity to do them in this league have continued to show up. Obviously the systems are different, but from a skill standpoint I think his skills are his skills and they’€™re pretty good.”

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Bill Belichick waxes poetic about his youth and how it influenced his coaching at 9:59 am ET
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Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick is always teaching and planning. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick loves to talk football, especially the history of football.

That was certainly apparent this week when he was asked about the art of the unbalanced offensive line, putting an extra tackle on the end of the line and leaving just two linemen on the opposite side.

Stephen Belichick, Belichick’s father, wrote “Football Scouting Methods” and was on Navy’s coaching staff for 34 years in Annapolis. It was there that Belichick began to soak up all kinds of football knowledge that he makes use of today.

“In a way I really feel lucky because the one year, in eighth grade I played for the T-Birds in Annapolis,” Belichick said. “It was the Ford dealership. I think it was 110-pound football and so we were the T-Birds and so our coach played college football at Clemson so we ran the single-wing. That was our offense. Whatever year that would have been, call it ‘€™62, somewhere in there, ‘€™63, whatever it was.

“So, for a whole year I got to experience what a single-wing offense was. It was pretty interesting, just being a lineman, which that was the game really, was the blocking play, the blocking patterns and the calls. That’€™s kind of all he knew, was to run the single-wing. So we ran the single-wing. Really looking back on it, it was a great experience I never would have gotten otherwise just because it was kind of going out of, hardly anybody was running it.

“Lawrenceville [N.J.] ran it and when I played at [Phillips Academy] Andover in 1971, Coach [Ken] Keuffel down there, I think he might have been the last one to run the single-wing because he ran it all the way through his career at Lawrenceville. So we actually played against it when I was in high school. The principles and the elements of it are interesting. I’€™m glad I got to experience it. I got to experience the wing-T in high school, the single-wing in Pop Warner football, the Wishbone in college and my exposure to all the NFL stuff since ‘€™75.”

1975 was the year Belichick entered the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. The modern-day Colts used an unbalanced line often against the Eagles on Monday night while the Patriots – featuring Cameron Fleming – have used it frequently in their first two games as they look to bolster the protection in front of Tom Brady while also strengthening the running game.

That’s all the daylight Belichick needed to begin his lecture.

“I’€™d say the main issue you get into would just be the commitment you make to it,” Belichick began. “Putting an offensive lineman in for a tight end, I would say you’€™re going to get less of a defensive adjustment, normally. I would say you’€™d get less of a defensive adjustment because the spacing is still the same, it’€™s just who is that guy? It’€™s a lineman instead of a tight end, but if it was a blocking tight end or lineman, how much difference is there? I’€™d say there’€™s a smaller degree of grade of adjustment for the defense.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, option, Phillips Academy
Bill Belichick: Desperate Raiders are ‘where we were a week ago’ 09.17.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Continuing with a theme that the 0-2 Raiders pose a legitimate threat to the Patriots in New England’s home opener, Bill Belichick explained why he feels Oakland should be taken seriously, starting with their speed and size.

Belichick said Wednesday the Raiders present big and fast challenges on both sides of the ball, starting with their defense of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Antonio Smith.

“I think that this team looks like the big, fast team that the Raiders have historically been known for,” Belichick said. “They’€™re big at every position ‘€“ their line is big, their receivers are big, backs are big, defensive line is big, secondary is big, kicker is big. They’€™re fast. I don’€™t know how many guys they have run under I’€™d say 4.4, 4.5, but it has to be a dozen, maybe more than that. I don’€™t know. There’€™s a lot.

“They’€™re fast at linebacker, they’€™re fast ‘€“ DBs are all fast. Even the safeties are fast. [Usama] Young is fast, obviously Woodson is fast. Tyvon Branch is sub-4.4. These guys can all ‘€“ they have a big, fast team. You see it in the kicking game. You see it certainly defensively. Teams that try to run outside and bounce the ball out on them, it’€™s not one guy making the play. It’€™s like four guys that are out there before the back gets out there. They have very good team speed. Overall, they’€™re big. I don’€™t know what their offensive line, I don’€™t even know what they list them at, but just looking at them, they have to average 340 [pounds]. They’€™re huge. It looks like the Raiders. Maybe they look bigger in those black uniforms, I don’€™t know.”

With all the leadership on the Raiders, including Tuck and Charles Woodson, Belichick has warned his team to be aware of a desperate team looking for a win that could turn its season around before it’s too late.

“That’€™s the first thing I said. I think with the leadership out there, the veterans that they have on that team, guys that are used to winning, guys that they’€™ve brought in that have been in all those playoff games and Super Bowls and all that, I’€™m sure that they’€™re ‘€“ I mean look, this is where we were a week ago,” Belichick said. “This is the same thing we heard in here last Wednesday or whenever it was, after the Miami game. I’€™m sure they feel after the Houston game the way we felt after the Miami game. Last week doesn’€™t mean anything in the NFL. It’€™s what happens this week. That’€™s all we can focus on is what we can do to get ready for this game. We have a lot to get ready for. They have a lot of good players, good team, and they have a lot of pride; they have a lot of toughness. It’€™s going to be hard.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders,
Why Bill Belichick is not taking 0-2 Raiders lightly: ‘They have a lot of very experienced players’ 09.16.14 at 7:29 pm ET
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Led by 37-year-old Charles Woodson, the Raiders have a formidable pass defense. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Led by 37-year-old Charles Woodson, the Raiders have a formidable pass defense. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick has made a living in the NFL by not taking any single opponent for granted. With the 0-2 Raiders coming to Foxboro this Sunday, he showed again his respect for every opponent by giving praise to the Raiders for bringing in veterans.

While he’s very familiar with the likes of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Carlos Rogers and Charles Woodson, he has not seen them play together that much on defense. That’s where the work begins for Belichick and his staff.

“Obviously we have a lot of work to do here to get familiar with the Raiders,” Belichick said. “It’€™s a team that we don’€™t know very well and haven’€™t played against this coaching staff. Even though we’€™ve seen a number of these players on different teams, this is kind of our first shot at them with the Raiders. There are certainly a lot of very good, very experienced players on this team. But you know, guys like Woodley and Tuck, [Tarell] Brown and Rogers we saw at San Francisco, [Charles] Woodson, guys like that coming from other teams, guys that are very experienced, have had good careers.”

To Belichick’s point, Woodson leads a group on defense that collectively has four Super Bowl rings, 12 Pro Bowl selections and an average age of 34. Woodson is a strong Hall of Fame candidate with eight Pro Bowls alone and leading the Raiders secondary to two AFC title games, Super Bowl XXXVII and making the infamous strip sack in the 2001 playoff game in Foxboro that was overturned by the “Tuck Rule.” He then signed in 2006 with the Packers and led that secondary in a Super Bowl XLV win over the Steelers. Tuck was part of the NASCAR defensive front that provided the pressure that brought down the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. Woodley was considered one of the best edge rushers in the game as a defensive end/outside linebacker for the Steelers.

That’s a lot of experience for third-year head coach Dennis Allen to work with and draw from. What has he done with it?

“They’€™re very aggressive,” Belichick said. “They have a lot of good players, a lot of very experienced players. They give you multiple looks and different blitzes and pressures, mixtures of man and zone, man, zone and pressure, man pressure, zone pressure. It’€™s a lot of four-man line but they use [Khalil] Mack as a defensive end at times. He’€™s sort of a linebacker, defensive end, whatever you want to call him. There are times when he’€™s involved in coverage as well from the defensive end position, so that gives them some flexibility as well.”

The experience has apparently paid off, at least in defending the pass, so far this season, as the Raiders enter Foxboro tied with Washington in allowing the second-fewest passing yards (164.5 yds/game) in the NFL.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Charles Woodson, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders
Bill Belichick: ‘I don’t have any idea’ how new NFL drug policy impacts Brian Tyms or Brandon Browner at 3:32 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The NFL is about to adopt a new and improved drug policy for its players but Bill Belichick has no idea if and how it impacts two of his currently suspended players.

How this will impact the players and how the NFLPA will guide their players through the new policy is still to be determined, as evidenced when union spokesman George Atallah told the Associated Press Monday that the “drug policies are currently getting finalized.”

League and NFL Players Association attorneys and officials are reviewing the documents and could approve them this week.

One key element is how the changes affect players currently under suspension, including Denver receiver Wes Welker (four games) and Browns receiver Josh Gordon (entire season). Their bans would be reduced, and the union would naturally like to see reductions before Week 3.

The Patriots have two players – defensive back Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms – currently under suspension for violation under the old policy. Could Belichick and the Patriots get them back in time for the home opener this weekend against the Raiders? The Patriots coach says he has no idea and is not about to begin guessing.

“Certainly not anything I could share with you because I don’€™t have any idea,” Belichick said in a conference call Tuesday. “I have no knowledge of it at all ‘€“ zero. You’€™d have to talk to the league and other people that are involved with that. The drug policy in the NFL is an extremely confidential and sensitive area. I would say that in most cases, [the media] probably knows more about it than I do and certainly more in advance because of the great sources that [the media has].”

Belichick said he has not been in touch with the NFL to ask for any guidance or hints as to whether the players might be eligible to return.

“We don’€™t have any knowledge, input or really involvement whatsoever in the league’€™s drug policy. Any information that we get comes from wherever it comes from ‘€“ I don’€™t even know where it comes from. I’€™m not even sure exactly how the process works from the other end. I just know that when we receive information, then we act on it as we receive it. It’€™s not anything that I’€™m involved in whatsoever other than being the recipient of the information of suspension or if it’€™s revoked or amended or adjusted or you know, whatever. I’€™m just the recipient of that information.

“I’€™m not in any way, shape or form whatsoever involved in any part of the process. So, whatever happens, when it’€™s announced, when we know about it, then we’€™ll deal with it. Until then, it’€™s 100 percent out of our hands. That’€™s something that you should address with league people and not with an individual club, certainly not our individual club because we have no part in it whatsoever.”

Tyms tweeted his reaction to the pending new drug policy Tuesday morning, an ambiguous message that had three crying emoticons.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Brian Tyms, George Atallah
‘Rock’ steady: Julian Edelman focused on improving every week 09.15.14 at 11:45 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have forged an excellent chemistry this season. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Julian Edelman knows there are more than enough rocks to go around.

After two weeks, the receiver leads the Patriots with 12 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown. He’s responsible for 27 percent of Tom Brady‘s completed passes through two games, and has established an impressive Welkerian-style chemistry with the quarterback — going back to the preseason, he’s caught 22 of the 25 passes thrown in his direction this year.

But he knows that the time is going to come when there’s going to be greater distribution in the passing game.

“€œI’€™m not the quarterback, so I’€™m sure — it’€™s only two games, there’€™s a lot of season left — there’€™s going to be games where other guys are going to get more rocks than me,” he said Monday, a day after he had six catches in a 30-7 win over the Vikings in Minnesota. “But, I’€™m just going to continue to try to get better and do my job.”

It’s hard to be any better than Edelman was in the first half against the Vikings, particularly on the scoring drive that gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. First, quarterback Tom Brady found Edelman down the sideline for a 44-yard pickup, which tied his longest gain of the year. Then, he followed that up with a 9-yard touchdown reception on a play where Brady stood in the pocket, took a big hit and still managed to loft the ball perfectly toward Edelman, who gathered it in for his first score of the year.

‘€œThe quarterback putting us in the best play, and Tom did that as he has time in and time out,’€™’€™ Edelman said Monday when asked to describe the play. ‘€œIt’€™s just going out and executing a play, running a route, making a catch, the line doing their job, the running back doing their job, Tom taking a hit and making a throw.

“€œYou expect nothing less from a guy like him. He’€™s tough as nails, he’€™s our leader, and he’€™ll give up his body to do that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,
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