|Mark Ingram talks about the Patriots and Bill Belichick||02.25.11 at 3:41 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ Alabama running back Mark Ingram has been linked to the Patriots by several local and national outlets, and with New England holding the No. 17 overall pick in the NFL draft, the Patriots could be interested in the former Heisman Trophy winner.
On Friday afternoon, Ingram said his knowledge of New England coach Bill Belichick is derived mostly from Belichick’s relationship with Alabama coach Nick Saban, who served as an assistant under Belichick in Cleveland.
“I know him and coach Saban and real close,” Ingram said when he was asked about Belichick. “I heard they’re kind of similar in their coaching styles and how they run things, but I haven’t talked to them yet. I have meetings coming up tonight and tomorrow ‘ I don’t know who they’re with. But I haven’t talked to them yet.”
Saban and Belichick remain close, and as far as Ingram is concerned, anyone who is like Nick Saban is OK in his book.
“Coach Saban was great. He’s a demanding guy. He demands perfection,” Ingram said. “As long as you’re working hard and doing what you’re supposed to do, then he’s not going to bother you. But just learning from his defense and learning from him as a player has been so great. Everybody who comes from Alabama is mentally and physically prepared for the next level just because of the type of system he runs and how he runs his program.”
|Should the Patriots go after Mark Ingram?||at 3:23 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ There’s been lots of talk about whether or not the Patriots should use their first-round pick on a running back, specifically Mark Ingram of Alabama. New England, which would almost certainly have to use the No. 17 overall pick on Ingram if they hope to get him, has only drafted one running back in the first round since Bill Belichick took over ‘ Laurence Maroney in 2006.
Ingram, who is scheduled to work out at the NFL scouting combine on Sunday, is considered one of the best running back talents available. NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi certainly believes that Ingram gets the yards after contact that will make him “a very effective player in the league.”
“I think Mark Ingram is kind of a unique player ‘ he’s more of a power back that’s not as big as those power backs,” Lombardi said. “And I think that every back has his own unique style and his balance is incredible and he always gets yards after contact which makes him a very effective player in the league.”
However, Lombardi ‘ who worked as a personnel man in Cleveland with Belichick ‘ doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who believes in using a high pick on a running back.
“Running backs, you can find them. Look at Chris Ivory from Tiffin College. He comes in the NFL and plays very well for the Saints. Running backs can be found,” Lombardi said. “I just think you have to buy what you can’t find in the top 10. So that’s why I would focus on that. Receivers, look at Green Bay. There’s not a first-round pick on the field. They have two twos, a seventh round pick and a third round pick. I think you can find those guys.”
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff is one of a handful of ex-Patriots front office men who have moved on from Foxboro to run their own teams, a group that includes Scott Pioli. Friday morning at the NFL scouting combine, I asked Dimitroff if Nick Caserio ‘ the Patriots current director of player personnel and former front office mate of Dimitroff ‘ could be the next great front office star to leave Foxboro and take control of his own franchise sometime soon.
Caserio has been with the Patriots in several capacities over the years, both as a personnel guy and as a coach, and his background would certainly lead you to believe that he might be the next guy to follow in the footsteps of Pioli and Dimitroff. Dimitroff said he’s going to get some grief from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but he certainly sounded like someone who would endorse the idea of Caserio as a GM.
‘Nick Caserio’s a fine man,’ Dimitroff said. ‘He’s a very intelligent guy. He’s a tireless worker. I don’t know who works harder than him in the National Football League. He’s won many hats in New England, Bill’s asked him to do quite a bit, not only on the personnel side, but on the coaching side. You talk about a well-rounded individual. I hope coach Belichick isn’t upset with me that I’m pitching Nick Caserio, but I think Nick is a top-notch personnel man.’
Dimitroff also noted that he wasn’t surprised that the Patriots have been able to pull together six picks in the first three rounds ‘ despite the fact that New England finished 14-2 last season.
‘Bill Belichick and his regime never cease to surprise me,’ said Dimitroff with a smile.
|Preview of Friday’s edition of “Patriots All-Access”||02.18.11 at 3:15 pm ET|
Viewers will go behind the scenes at the 2011 Pro Bowl in Hawaii on an offseason edition of Patriots All Access, airing Friday on WBZ-TV at 7 p.m. and immediately following on Patriots.com. Among the highlights:
·Coach Bill Belichick is mic’d up at AFC practices and the game, providing a look as he coaches a group of players he normally goes against.
·All Access follows the Patriots all stars as they share a variety of Pro Bowl experiences.
·The crew catches up with former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, as he and Coach Belichick share their thoughts on his formative years in the Patriots system and viewers see some rare footage from his rookie season.
Here’s a quick preview:
|Patriots confirm addition of Godsey, announce promotions for Nash and Ferentz||02.17.11 at 6:33 pm ET|
The Patriots confirmed the addition of George Godsey to the coaching staff as an offensive assistant on Thursday evening, and announced the promotions of Harold Nash from assistant to head strength and conditioning coach and Brian Ferentz from offensive assistant to tight ends coach.
The two promotions are hardly a surprise ‘ Ferentz (son of former Belichick assistant Kirk Ferentz) essentially worked as the tight ends coach without the accompanying title last season, while Nash had certainly earned his stripes while working as the assistant under longtime strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik before Woick recently departed for Dallas.
Here’s a portion of the press release that accompanied the announcement:
Ferentz will enter his fourth season with the Patriots and his third on Bill Belichick‘s coaching staff. After serving as a scouting assistant in 2008, he was named a coaching assistant in 2009. Last season, he served as an offensive assistant coach. Ferentz played football as an offensive lineman at Iowa from 2001 through 2005 and then spent the 2006 season on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.
Nash served as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the last six seasons. In addition to his strength and conditioning duties, Nash also assists in coordinating the Patriots’ player development programs. After receiving top honors for the teams financial education program for three of the last four years, Nash and the Patriots player development program were awarded the 2009-10 Outstanding Overall Player Development Award.
Nash joined the Patriots following an all-star career as a defensive back in the Canadian Football League with the Shreveport Pirates (1994-95), Montreal Alouettes (1996-99), Winnipeg Bombers (1999-03) and Edmonton Eskimos (2004). He played four seasons as a defensive back at Southwestern Louisiana.
Godsey joins the coaching staff as an offensive assistant coach after spending the last seven seasons (2004-2010) at the University of Central Florida. He was the running backs coach in 2009 and 2010 and the quarterbacks coach from 2005 through 2008. He originally joined the Central Florida coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2004. A quarterback at Georgia Tech from 1998 through 2001, Godsey played one season in the Arena Football League with the Tampa Bay Storm.
|A closer look at the coaching changes made by the Patriots on Friday afternoon||02.11.11 at 4:07 pm ET|
When it comes to the coaching changes that were announced by the Patriots on Friday afternoon, the biggest news was the move of Bill O’Brien from assistant to offensive coordinator, as well as the move of Matt Patricia from linebackers to safety coach.
However, for O’Brien, the shift is a move in title only. Much was made of the Patriots not having an offensive or defensive coordinator the last couple of seasons. While coach Bill Belichick and Patricia appeared to handle most of the duties on the defensive side of the ball last season, on the offensive side of the ball, play-calling was something of a collective effort. Players said that O’Brien, Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all had serious input. But it’s been O’Brien who has had his fingerprints all over the offense. As a result, don’t look for a dramatic shift in New England’s offensive philosophy in 2011.
The biggest move on the defensive side of the ball involved Patricia, who was considered the closest thing to a defensive coordinator New England had in 2010. He will now coach the safeties after spending the last five seasons as linebackers coach. But as was the case on offense, don’t look for much to change in 2011. Patricia is well-schooled in the Belichick system, and considered the closest thing on the staff to a rising young star who could eventually become a head coach.
One sure sign to see how much ‘ if anything, really ‘ has changed on the defensive side of the ball next season will be to see which defensive assistant is wearing red. That’s the assistant who players look to for calls. If Patricia is wearing the red jacket or sweatshirt in 2011, he will still be regarded as the most important defensive assistant on the team.
Meanwhile, the biggest promotion comes with the move of Patrick Graham to linebackers coach after serving as a coaching assistant in 2009 and defensive assistant in 2010. (This is a move that’s been made by several young assistants under Belichick ‘ previous coaching assistants under Belichick on both offense and defense include O’Brien, Patricia, Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels.) In addition, Brian Flores ‘ a former linebacker at Boston College ‘ appears to be moving into the role formerly held by Graham.
It was also announced that Corwin Brown, who shared responsibilities with Josh Boyer as a defensive backs coach in 2010, would not return to the team in 2011. The Brown move was reported earlier this week, and while Patricia will be moving to coach the safeties, it appears Boyer will focus on only coaching cornerbacks in 2011.
While the possible departure of Mike Woicik probably doesn’t register with many casual Patriots fans, it’s the sort of move that will resonate in the locker room. Woicik has been part of some of the most successful teams in recent NFL history ‘ he is the only player or coach with six Super Bowl rings (three with the Cowboys and three with the Patriots), and is one of the most well-respected strength and conditioning coaches in the NFL.
A hard-nosed, old-school guy who began his career in 1978 at Springfield College, he was one of the first major hires of the Bill Belichick/Scott Pioli team when they took over in New England in 2000. You will be hard-pressed to find a member of the Patriots or Cowboys to say a bad thing about Woicik ‘ he was even given a shout-out in Michael Irvin‘s Hall of Fame acceptance speech in 2007.
While in New England, he’s pretty much hid behind a veil of anonymity. Players and other coaches rave about him, but he’s steered clear of the media. The closest thing to a definitive look at Woicik and his impact can be found in this NFL Films piece.
According to ESPN, Woicik is in talks to return to Dallas. It’s believed Woicik would be replaced by Harold Nash, who has served as Woicik’s assistant since 2005. Nash also runs the team’s player-development program, which was named as the best in the NFL this past year. While Nash’s credentials are impressive, Woicik’s departure is another sign that the glory days of the early 20th century are truly a thing of the past ‘ only Tom Brady, Matt Light, Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal still remain as players from Super Bowl XXXVI, while Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia and Pepper Johnson are the only members of the coaching staff left.
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