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Bill Belichick offers congratulations to the Bruins 06.17.11 at 4:31 pm ET
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The Patriots spent a lot of time this week congratulating the Bruins for their Stanley Cup championship. First, there was an outpouring from the players on Twitter. Then, the Kraft family took out ads in area newspapers celebrating the success of the Bruins. Now, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has chimed in.

Via the team’s official Twitter page Friday morning, Belichick, who was frequently seen at Bruins’ playoff games throughout the postseason, offered his two cents: “Congratulations to Claude Julien & the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. What an incredible display of resiliency & toughness. This TEAM was an absolute pleasure to watch.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bruins, Claude Julien, Patriots
Tedy Bruschi sounds an optimistic note about NFL labor situation 06.14.11 at 6:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi expressed optimism on Tuesday afternoon about the NFL labor situation. Speaking at his fourth annual SBLI Youth Football Clinic at Gillette Stadium, Bruschi sounded like someone who believes the players and owners would reach an agreement sooner rather than later.

“I’m getting optimistic, and so are some of the guys. Having talked to them and they’re hearing the same things ‘€” looks like a few weeks maybe,” he said.

“But I think the whole thing about it is that when it’s resolved ‘€” and it looks like it may be … I hope it is ‘€” when it’s resolved, what’s the formula after that? There just can’t be an explosion of free agency, signing undrafted free agents, rookies, having to sign rookies, having to sign free agents. There has to be some type of structure. I think that’s what has to be worked out, because you would have football chaos if there wasn’t.”

Bruschi added that because of the relative stability in New England ‘€” coach Bill Belichick is entering his 12th season with the Patriots, while quarterback Tom Brady will be going into his 11th year as a starter ‘€” that once the lockout ends, the Patriots will be better situated than many teams across the league who have new coaches or relatively young quarterbacks.

“There’s a strong advantage, I think it’s obvious. To be comfortable with the system, with your coaching staff … think of all the players out there that have had to get used to [it]?” he said. “I remember having to get used to Pete Carroll and getting used to coach Belichick. It took a little bit of time on what we wanted, what they expected of me, and then, learning the system that they wanted to implement and how they wanted me to play it on the field. There’s a little bit of a [stretch] there. How long does that take? Does it take a month? Does it takes two months? That’s possible.”

He also wasn’t surprised to see the Patriots’ players organize a three-day series of workouts at Boston College earlier this month.

“If you think about when it was for New England, it was around the same time when the three-day minicamp usually is,” he said. “So I don’t think there was any coincidence on that. We’ve had players in the past here that weren’t a part of offseason programs, but they always came back for those three days and so to have the participation they had for those three days is something regular for them. And talking to the guys too, I think they got a lot out of it. They told you guys also that it can be productive if you have guys that know what they are doing, that are arranging it.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, lockout, Pete Carroll, Tedy Bruschi
Marcus Stroud on joining the Patriots, the work stoppage and how much he’s got left in the tank at 2:20 pm ET
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New Patriots defensive lineman Marcus Stroud appeared in SiriusXM NFL Radio with hosts Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan on Monday afternoon. Here are a few highlights of the Q&A:

Give us your perception of the lockout and work stoppage: ‘€œI think everybody is going to get back to work on time. I think both sides have realized that you have to put the egos aside and do what’€™s going to be best for both sides of the game. I think everybody is coming to that realization. I’€™m confident they will get something done. I definitely don’€™t think we’€™d miss any regular-season games.’€

On how he came to be a part of the Patriots: ‘€œOnce I got realized, [agent] Drew [Rosenhaus] gave me a call and was like, ‘€˜The Pats want to bring you in,’€™ and I was like, ‘€˜Yeah let’€™s do it.’€™ … [Bill Belichick] told me they’€™d definitely like to have to have me up there and he felt I could come in and help in the role I was going to play and the role I’€™m definitely going to try and get up there and play. I felt it will be a good fit for me and I definitely think I could fit in and do the things they want me to do.’€

How much is left in your legs? ‘€œOh, man. I think I have some gas left in the legs, man. I’€™m a pretty young guy who takes pretty good care of himself. I still think I have a lot of gas left in the tank. I’€™m not going to be one of those guys who keeps holding on and kicking the tires until they’€™re bald-headed. I still feel like I have some tread left on these.’€

You’€™ve played with some nice quarterbacks — your thoughts on playing with Tom Brady: ‘€œThat’€™s the excitement I have. That’€™s what I’€™m looking forward to. I know how it’€™s like to prepare for this guy; we were playing against him twice a year. To have a quarterback of that caliber on your team, week in and week out, like you said, that gives you the chance ‘€¦ Knowing that, there is like a 70 percent chance, you give this guy the ball, he’€™s going to put points on the board. You want to go out and play, and do well on this type of team.’€

On the opportunity to rush the passer: ‘€œHopefully ‘€˜Streamlined’€™ Stroud can get a few sacks [laughing].’€

It’€™s got to be a little different — you’€™re going to go to camp with Belichick and the New England Patriots: ‘€œYeah, it is. I’€™m just happy to kind of be back up under some of that tough, in-your-face, kick-you-in-the-butt type of coaching. Something like I had my rookie year with coach [Tom] Coughlin. I think it’€™s going to be something like that. I’€™m kind of prepared for it. I’€™m definitely excited and want to do things the ‘€˜Patriots Way,’€™ and to see how the ‘€˜Patriots Way’€™ works, because there has to be something about it. It’€™s been successful for this long.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Drew Rosenhaus, Marcus Stroud, Pat Kirwan
Free agent snapshot: Marcus Spears at 12:13 am ET
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We put together a list of nine free-agent possibilities for the Patriots this offseason ‘€” check out that group here ‘€” but we wanted your take on who the 10th should be. We got more than 450 votes, and in the end, the people went with defensive end Marcus Spears by a narrow margin over Braylon Edwards, Plaxico Burress and Mike Vrabel. And so, without further ado, a profile of the peoples’€™ choice, Marcus Spears.

Marcus Spears
Position: Defensive end
Age: 28
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 311

The six-year veteran isn’€™t likely to return to Dallas ‘€” he announced it on his Twitter page on Feb. 28 that while ‘€œit’€™s still possible’€ that he could be back with the Cowboys, the unrestricted free agent was going to be ‘€œtesting the market.’€ The LSU product (who played for Bill Belichick protege Nick Saban for a year in college) was a first-round selection of Dallas in 2005 (20th overall). His numbers have been OK, but for such a high pick, he’€™s had something of an underwhelming career. While he has held up well against the run, in six seasons, he’€™s had just eight sacks and 185 tackles (the high point was a career-high 45 tackles in 2006). In addition, Spears was hobbled by injury in 2010 ‘€” he suffered a sprained knee, which wiped out most of August, as well as a left calf strain that ended his season.

However, his backers believe that a new atmosphere with a new series of challenges could serve to re-invigorate his career. Spears is a veteran of the 3-4, and with a background in a Saban and Bill Parcells system, it’€™s likely the transition to a Belichick defense would be fairly swift. Other than last year’€™s injury, he’€™s been very durable ‘€” 2010 marked the only season where he played less than 16 regular-season games. And by all accounts, he’€™s a solid presence in the locker room. He’€™s not going to be the pass-rushing presence that so many fans were clamoring for, but will certainly give the Patriots depth at a spot where they were lacking late last season.

Why it might not work: Despite the occasional spotty numbers, the potential and the age are going to make him an attractive target for several teams. In addition, it figures that if the Patriots are able to re-sign veteran Gerard Warren for a reasonable rate ‘€” and if fellow d-linemen Ty Warren and the versatile Mike Wright are healthy after spending extended time on the sideline last year because of injury ‘€” that would eliminate the need to bring in someone like Spears. And New England does have many young defensive linemen, including Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love and Ron Brace, as well as freshly-signed veteran Marcus Stroud. If they feel like they are secure at that spot, they’€™d likely forget about going after Spears.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Brandon Deaderick, Braylon Edwards
Bill Belichick spends a day with the 1986 Giants and talks about how that team prepared him to be a head coach 06.13.11 at 1:33 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick attended the 25th anniversary of the 1986 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Sunday, connecting with more than 50 former players and fellow coaches, including Bill Parcells. While speaking with ESPN, Belichick took time to reflect about that team.

‘€œIt was awesome, 25 years ‘€¦ special group,’€ Belichick told reporters. ‘€œUnselfish, it was a very competitive group, they loved to practice, they played hard. We had a lot of great players and they fed off each other.

‘€œHonestly, I think I learned something from every guy,’€ he added. ‘€œOur defense understood the team concept. The corners knew what the linebackers were doing. The linebackers knew what the nose guard was doing. The nose guard knew it. I learned from Jim Burt, George Martin, Perry (Williams), Lawrence (Taylor), Pepper (Johnson), Carl (Banks), Mark Collins ‘€¦ all those guys, I learned a lot from all those players.’€

He also talked about how his experience with the Giants would prepare him to serve as the coach of the Patriots

‘€œIt definitely helps to be in a big game and to have won them,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œYou learn something every day, every game. Each year is a learning year, it is a long process. But having done it, then when you go, like to go to the Super Bowl in ‘€™01, having been there on a short week like we did, that was a short week, we went on a short week after the San Francisco game, you are not going in there blind. You know what you are dealing with. I think that helps. And if you can convey that confidence to everybody else, look, I’€™ve been there, I know what we need to do, then maybe that comforts them a little bit. So there certainly is a lot of benefit to it.’€œ

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells,
Bill Belichick: ‘Do your job’ works in business as well as football at 10:27 am ET
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Do your job. It’s the overriding philosophy for Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and one the New England coach brought with him when he recently addressed a group of financial advisors at the Pershing INSITE conference in Hollywood, Fla.

‘€œIn business things change quickly ‘€” in your profession and in ours,’€ said Belichick. ‘€œThere are always new people and new environments.’€ To stay competitive, Belichick said that everyone must do their part: ‘€œWe need to all do our job,” he added.

Belichick this means four things: being prepared, working hard, paying attention to the details and putting the team first. It also means playing to your strengths and overcoming weaknesses. Belichick used Tom Brady and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as examples of two players who have overcome obstacles to be successful.

‘€œThey still have shortcomings, but they play to their strengths,” Belichick said. “Their deficiencies don’€™t get spotlighted.’€

Belichick also talked about his evolution as a coach, what makes a good leader (he singled out Troy Brown, saying the wide receiver was great when it came to leading by example), his favorite memories as a coach and the importance of loving what you do, saying he looks at punts when he wakes up at 5 a.m.

‘€œI know it is a little screwed up. I don’€™t feel like I am working,” he said. “If you are doing something you love, you will be motivated to do it, even when the conditions are not great.’€

Read More: BenJarvus Green Ellis, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Troy Brown
Vince Wilfork at No. 35 and Logan Mankins at No. 39 in ‘NFL Network’ Top 100 series 06.12.11 at 9:24 pm ET
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Two Patriots players highlighted this week’s edition of the NFL Network’s “Top 100″ series, a players-only poll on who’s the best in the game. Offensive lineman Logan Mankins was slotted at No. 39, while defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was at No. 35.

Mankins was presented by coach Bill Belichick, and here are a few highlights of what Belichick said about New England’s first-round pick in 2005:

‘€¢’€œThere are tough players and then there are the super tough guys. I’€™d say Mankins would go into [the second] category. Both physically and mentally, he’€™s as tough as they come. …  You could honestly pick out any one of 30 plays of him in any game and find him really dominating guys.’€

‘€¢’€œHe played left tackle at Fresno State. He made the move inside right away and became an immediate starter for us from the first preseason game, the first year he’€™s out there. He’€™s been our most durable and consistent performer on the offensive line for several years.’€

‘€¢’€œWith a quarterback like Tom Brady who needs to step up into the pocket — who likes to step up into the pocket — there has to be somewhere to step up into. Logan does a great job of that, of staying firm on the line of scrimmage and not getting driven back, so that Tom can step up and avoid the rush and make the throw.’€

‘€¢’€œI think Logan is really a force in the running game because he’s able to play with great leverage and power, and get movement. A lot of plays that run to our left side, you see him getting push at the line of scrimmage and creating seams for the back. He’s also a very good puller, and a lot of plays to the right, he ends up pulling around and leading the runner through the hole. A lot of times Logan is at the point of attack in the running game regardless of where the play is called.”

Wilfork was at No. 35, and presented by former college teammate and current New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Here’s Vilma’s take on Wilfork:

‘€¢’€œHe was with me in college for three years, I played against him twice a year when I was with the Jets, and the best thing about him is that as big as he’€™s gotten, it looks sloppy, but when you watch him on film it’€™s not. He’€™s very explosive, very athletic.’€

‘€¢’€œFrom college, we knew he had good feet, which is pretty impressive for a guy his size to have feet like that. All those things you want in a defensive tackle, that rough, down-in-the-trenches-type mentality, he has that. He’€™s going to disrupt it. If you’€™re one-on-one, he’€™s going to make the tackle. You have to double him. … You turn on the film and watch that and you know, that was because of him. [Someone else] may have gotten the stats, but that was because of Vince.’€

‘€¢’€œHe lets you know ‘€˜this is how I’€™m going to set the tone,’€™ and you love that, especially in a d-lineman, where it’€™s that big personality. He wants to be that guy who takes the leadership as far as being on the field and showing you how I’€™m going to play. … He’€™s a helluva player.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jonathan Vilma, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady
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