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Bill Belichick has seen the film and says ‘it’s been a while since I’ve seen a team as complete’ as Cincinnati 10.02.14 at 10:42 am ET
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Giovani Bernard has proven to be quite elusive so far in 2014. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Giovani Bernard has proven to be quite elusive so far in 2014. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Kansas City Chiefs certainly provided a challenge that proved to be too much for the Patriots on Monday night.

But Bill Belichick is telling his team this week that if they thought the Chiefs were good, they better be ready for an even stiffer challenge Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

The 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals have their sights set on finally realizing all of the potential that has built up over the last three seasons, all of which ended in one-and-done experiences in the playoffs.

This season, they’ve started with a road win in Baltimore, when A.J. Green bobbled and then hauled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton. They then proceeded to dominate Atlanta and Tennessee at home. They are coming into Gillette Stadium off the bye.

They have two of the more dynamic running backs in football in rookie Jeremy Hill and second-year sensation Giovani Bernard. They’ve been tabbed “Thunder and Lightning” and for good reason. Hill is a powerful downhill runner and can pound between the tackles. Bernard, who can run inside, is also lightning quick and tough to bring down on the outside and is a good pass-catching receiver out of the backfield.

Even after losing longtime defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to Minnesota, the Bengals again possess one of the better pressure defenses in football. Geno Atkins (coming off ACL surgery) anchors one the best defensive lines in football, alongside Domata Peko and edge rushers Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry.

“This is really an impressive football team. I think [owner] Mike Brown, Coach [Marvin] Lewis [and] the organization have really done a good job of building this football team. They have a lot of good players. They’€™re well coached. They’€™re tough, they’€™re physical, they’€™re explosive. It’€™s been a while since I’€™ve seen a team that’€™s as complete as they are ‘€“ even going back the past [years], they’€™ve been a playoff team here, but the way they started the season this year.

“Watching them through training camp, they’€™re really a good football team. [They’€™re] strong in all areas of the game ‘€“ offense, defense, special teams. [They’€™re] playing extremely well. Well coached, good fundamentals. Marvin has an excellent ‘€“ I think they’€™ve got an excellent approach to the game as an overall team. They play to it and they do it consistently and they’€™ve done it consistently. It will be a big challenge for us Sunday night. Good to get back on the field today here and get going. They’€™ve been very impressive, watching the Bengals and where they’€™re at. I’€™m sure coming off the bye week they’€™ll be fresh and ready to go. They’€™ve played very well the first three weeks of the season.”

The Bengals started the season with two flawless games in terms of protecting the quarterback and turnovers, not allowing a sack or committing a turnover. Dalton has been intercepted once, the offense has no fumbles and the offensive line hasn’t allowed a sack through the first three games.

“They’€™re tough, they’€™re physical,” Belichick added. “They’€™ve done a great job on the turnovers. They’€™ve done a good job controlling the line of scrimmage. They’€™re an explosive team that can make big plays, score from anywhere on the field on offense, on special teams and on defense, relative to strip-sacks and interception returns and things like that. They’€™re a very dangerous and explosive team. They play hard for 60 minutes. There are no plays off. You can’€™t turn your back. There’€™s something ‘€“ they run fakes in the kicking game. They have good returners; they can change field position on special teams. They can score on defense. They can grind it out on offense, but they can score from 80 yards too, with a number of different guys. All of the above.”

This is a team that replaced Zimmer with Paul Guenther at defensive coordinator, while the boisterous and energetic Hue Jackson took over for Jay Gruden as the offensive coordinator.

“I think it’€™s been pretty similar,” Belichick said. “They’€™ve promoted from within. Every year is a little bit different. There’€™s always a couple new wrinkles or things, little adjustments and so forth. But I’€™d say the core of it is absolutely, it looks like it’€™s Coach Lewis’€™ system and whoever the coordinator is, they’€™re doing what they do.”

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Bill Belichick on helping Tom Brady: ‘We’re on to Cincinnati’ 10.01.14 at 10:42 am ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The tough questions are starting to come at Bill Belichick.

Thirty-six hours after watching his team get dominated by the Chiefs, 41-14, Monday night in Kansas City, and in wake of speculation that Tom Brady is not happy with the roster or the weapons he’s been given, Belichick was asked about the roster and how it has impacted his starting quarterback.

The three-minute exchange was as follows:

How difficult is the adversity of Monday night?

BB: We’re on to Cincinnati.

You mentioned Tom’s age in the draft…?

BB: We’re on to Cincinnati.

Do you think having a 37-year-old … ?

BB: We’re on to Cincinnati. It’s nothing about the past. It’s nothing about the future. Right now, we’re getting ready for Cincinnati.

Do you think you’ve done enough to help Tom Brady?

BB: We’re getting ready for Cincinnati. That’s what we’re doing.

As you get ready for Cincinnati, does Tom Brady have the talent and protection around him to get ready for Cincinnati?

BB: We’re going to game plan and do the best we can and be ready to go Sunday night, the same as we always do. Nothing’s changed.

How much closer are we to an O-line that’s going to be comfortable with the positions that they’re in?

BB: We’re going to put the best players out there this weekend that we can, and we’ll see how that plays out.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Tom Brady
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I just do what I’m told. I’m not overanalyzing anything’ regarding removal from Monday’s game at 8:38 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tom Brady suffered one of his most embarrassing losses Monday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Making his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan, Tom Brady attempted to explain the team’s poor play in Monday’s embarrassing loss to the Chiefs and why the already-struggling offense appears to be getting worse. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady acknowledged he did not have a good game, but he downplayed the importance of one disastrous night for him and the team.

“I think you’ve got to have enough mental toughness to endure through all the situations,” Brady said. “This game, it tests your will, it tests your mental toughness, it tests your discipline and your work ethic. I think those are the things that are going to be tested by us the rest of the year. I don’t think it’s just going to be easy to just roll out helmets out there and expect to go out there and win games. We’ve got a lot of tough opponents, the competition’s tough.

“It was a tough loss the other night, but whether you lose by one point or you lose by 30, they’re all going to count the same in the end. We’ve got to figure out the things that we need to do better, which is quite a few things in order to be a lot more competitive than we were. It was a disappointing loss, but at the same time we’ve got to be able to move on. We’ve got a short week and we’ve got a great opponent. We don’t want one bad week to turn into two bad weeks. That’s where we’ve got to show, like I said, our mental toughness and our ability to move forward, learn from our mistakes and hopefully not repeat them.”

Brady was removed from the game in the fourth quarter, with the result no longer in doubt, and backup Jimmy Garoppolo entered and threw a touchdown pass. Bill Belichick laughed off a question in his postgame news conference about a quarterback controversy.

“I just do what I’m told. I’m not overanalyzing anything. We were getting our butts kicked,” Brady said. “It was a situation where we didn’t have a good game. That’s what coach wanted to do, so that’s what we did.”

Routs of the Patriots in the Belichick-Brady era are rare, and past teams have been able to avoid allowing bad games to lead to bad seasons. However, the 2014 team has underwhelmed since the start of the season, leading to questions about whether these Patriots can turn things around.

“There’s no magic play, there’s no magic scheme. It’s us as players playing a lot better than we’re playing,” Brady said. “This hasn’t been an isolated incident. I don’t think offensively we’ve played well all year. I don’t think we’ve played well for a long time. We’ve got to figure out the reasons why we’re not playing as well as we’re capable and try to improve them.”

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Bill Belichick on D&H: Monday’s loss ‘wasn’t a good night for us, period’ 09.30.14 at 6:08 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined WEEI’s Dale & Holley show on Tuesday to discuss New England’€™s 41-14 loss to the Chiefs on Monday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

There were very few aspects of positive play for the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium, as New England fell behind 17-0 after one half of play and could not get the ball moving on offense throughout the second half to mount a comeback.

“It just didn’€™t go well last night,” Belichick said. “We didn’€™t get off to a good start, ended up playing from behind. We weren’€™t able to stay on the field offensively in the first half. Defensively, we gave up a long touchdown drive on a couple of big plays and then ended up with a field goal at the half, which certainly some points that could have been saved there. Instead of it being 10-0, or even 14-0 at the half, it ends up 17. Then we turn the ball over three times in the second half and the game got out of hand. It just wasn’€™t a good night for us, period.”

With the Patriots down by a significant amount in the final quarter, Belichick replaced Tom Brady with rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. Belichick said the score was the reason he brought in the first-year quarterback.

“I thought the game was out of hand at that point. I took a lot of players out,” Belichick said. “I played some guys that need some playing time.”

Continued Belichick: “Every player on the team is part of the evaluation of the team every week: what we can do, how we can do it better and what our plans are. There’€™s no player that isn’€™t part of the team, every player is part of the team at every position.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Bill Belichick: ‘We just didn’t do a good enough job really in any area’ at 12:50 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The day after one of the worst losses in recent franchise history, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said not much has changed.

“€œWe just didn’€™t do a good enough job really in any area,”€ Belichick said on a conference call Tuesday morning. “[There was] no consistency offensively, didn’€™t do a good job defensively against the running game, didn’€™t convert on third down, in the red area. Offensively we weren’€™t good on third down. We just dug ourselves a hole and then a good pass rush team, like the Chiefs are, we put ourselves in a bad situation in the second half and they capitalized on it.

“I think Kansas City did a good job ‘€“ give them credit. But we didn’€™t really just do much to help ourselves last night, period. The offense didn’€™t help the defense; the defense didn’€™t help the offense. We just didn’€™t play a good complementary game. We put ourselves in some bad situations.”

Things don’€™t get any easier for the Patriots, who will host the unbeaten Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium on a short week. It’€™s part of a stretch of four games in 18 days for New England, which sits at 2-2 with one-quarter of the season completed.

“€œThere’€™s no doubt that this will be a challenging period of time for our team in terms of our mental toughness and resiliency and being able to handle a lot in somewhat of a compressed period,” Belichick said. “But that’€™s what it is and we’€™ll try to do the best we can in terms of utilizing our time as productively as we can. As I said before, it’€™s a balance of all those things. It’€™s a balance of correcting things. It’€™s certainly a lot of preparation and moving forward with the next opponent, in this case, a very good one in Cincinnati. Yeah, we’€™ll have to put those things together and find a way to get as much done as we can with the opportunity and the time we have allotted.”

One area where the Patriots could get a boost is at cornerback and wide receiver. Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms are scheduled to come off their four-game suspensions this week, and could provide New England with depth and support at both positions. As for how they might fit as the roster is presently assembled, Belichick said that remains to be seen.

“Those two players have [not only] missed four weeks, four games, but all the practice time as well. We’€™ll have to see where they are relative to the other players,” Belichick said. “I think both those guys had good preseasons and they both had very positive impacts in the opportunities they had in preseason. But in the time that’€™s passed, we’€™ll see how far behind or where they are relative to their teammates that have been practicing and working over that timeframe.”

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Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘[Tom] Brady just looks like he’s scared to death back there’ at 12:37 pm ET
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NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ embarrassing 41-14 loss to the Chiefs on Monday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Harrison said he was “shocked” at the performance by his former team, as the Patriots were dominated for one of the rare times in the Bill Belichick era in Foxboro

“I’m trying to be mellow, but it really hurt me,” Harrison said. “I’m not used to seeing a team go out that was so unprepared, a team that was flat-out embarrassed. You expect your best players to step up and be able to make plays, and you put on that tape and you just see quarterbacks not afraid to go at [Darrelle] Revis, Vince Wilfork, he missed a tackle that could have stopped that touchdown, [Jerod] Mayo gets burned on a touchdown, [Tom] Brady just looks like he’s scared to death back there.

“It’s so many issues. If it was just one issue, then you could probably fix it. But it’s so many issues, that’s the concern that I have.”

Added Harrison: “This was a case of the Patriots going into a situation and you’d think the players just showed up and said, ‘OK, I’m part of the Patriots, we’re going to win this game.’ But if you look at the Oakland film, Oakland should have beat the Patriots. So this is a team that everyone says, ‘Hey, don’t worry, they’ll be fine.’ No, you have to worry, because they have a lot of looming issues.

“You look at the offensive line, they looked like basically Kansas City was going up against a high school offensive line. They have no deep threat. Where’s the deep threat? Then you pay Danny Amendola all this money and he’s just virtually nonexistent. So if I’m Bill, I’m definitely concerned. You look on the defensive side of the ball, you can’t even get a pass rush. So it’s a lot of issues there.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski
Bill Belichick promises, ‘We’re going to do better’ at 1:14 am ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick knows Monday’s performance was not good enough. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick spoke for 10 minutes after Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City, but he didn’t need many words to sum up what he felt after his team was beaten in every possible manner, 41-14, by the Chiefs.

The team stands at 2-2, but it feels much worse. The Patriots traded away Logan Mankins and their offensive line has responded with a disastrous start. The middle of the line was somewhat improved Monday night, but Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder were beaten badly on back-to-back drives in the third quarter as the Chiefs edge rushers blew right by them.

It appears they haven’t recovered since the trade of their captain on the offensive line.

“We can sit here and have a lot of hypothetical questions,” Belichick said. “We are where we are and we’re going to do better.”

But perhaps most troubling Monday night was the defense. They allowed 303 yards in the first half, the worst defensive half of football in the Belichick era in Foxboro.

“We need to perform better,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t good enough.

“I’ve said many times, every year, we’ve got to go out and prove ourselves every year, all of us. So we all have to do that.”

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