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Jabaal Sheard learns quick lesson in Foxboro that ‘you become what you put in’ 05.05.15 at 4:17 pm ET
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Jabaal Sheard speaks Tuesday with reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jabaal Sheard speaks Tuesday with reporters at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Rookies aren’t the only new players who notice a big change when they come to Foxboro.

After playing the last four seasons in Cleveland, hybrid defensive end Jabaal Sheard learned that right away after signing as a free agent with the Patriots in March.

Belichick wrapped up Saturday’s press conference by telling reporters that each rookie better be ready to jump on board right away or risk getting left in the dust when the train picks up steam. Same goes for free agent newbies.

“You get that feeling as soon as you walk in the building,” Sheard said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. “You’re here to work. It’s definitely work first, hard hat on, and I learned that the first day, from the first team meeting on, you kind of get that feel of being in the weight room. You’ve got to lift on your own. They give you a card, go follow it, what you choose to do, what you choose not to do is on you. You’re responsible. You become what you put in. They showed me that early, as soon as I got here the first week.”

Sheard, who will wear No. 93 with the Patriots, said he has nothing but respect for the Belichick system.

“Just come here and just work. Every coach is different. Just give him respect and let’s get to work,” Sheard said.

Sheard said that may be intimidating to some in the NFL but not him.

“I guess because he’ll call you out on what you do wrong but that’s part of wearing a hard had and hard shell,” Sheard said of his new head coach. “That’s part of football. If you can’t take any criticism, I don’t know how you can get any better.”

Sheard played college ball at Pittsburgh and was selected with the 37th overall pick in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Browns. The Patriots could’ve taken Sheard in that draft but instead chose cornerback Ras-I Dowling. Sheard went to the Browns four picks after Dowling at No. 37 overall.

“I actually did visit here coming out of the draft,” Sheard recalled. “I thought I was going to end up here at first. I think I came and visited a week before the draft. Coach Belichick and met with a couple of the coaches and here I am.

“I think I developed a lot. I learned a lot of different systems. Being in Cleveland [four] years, we went through three different defensive coordinators, three different systems, three different head coaches. I got to grow a lot and understand more what the league is about and what they expect out of you and how to be a professional in this league.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Jabaal Sheard, LeBron James, New England Patriots
Which teams are most likely to deal on NFL draft weekend? 04.27.15 at 9:39 pm ET
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Bill Belichick has plenty of potential trade partners when it comes to making a draft weekend deal. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Other than 2004, Bill Belichick has made draft weekend deals every year he’s been in charge of the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With draft weekend approaching, which teams will be the most inclined to make some moves? From our viewpoint — in no particular order — here are the teams most likely to deal, as well as a couple of scenarios thrown in for good measure. (On this same topic, make sure you read this excellent piece from Andrew Healy at Football Outsiders on draft trade value. His study reveals that the biggest buyer of draft value since 2000 has been New England. The biggest seller? Washington.)

New England and Philadelphia — basically, football BFF’s Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly: Provided they stay in their current positions, these two will likely be trade partners for a very long time. Belichick was a semi-regular draft weekend trade partner with the Eagles when Andy Reid was in Philly, and given his background with Kelly, there’s certainly reason to think that there will be at least one swap this weekend between the Patriots and Eagles. For what it’s worth, since he took control of the Patriots in 2000, by our count, Belichick has made 102 trades. In all, he’s made the most deals with Oakland (9), followed by Denver, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Green Bay (all 6). That’s followed by Houston, New Orleans, Baltimore and Philly (5).

Atlanta: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has been known to make a big splash from time to time — remember wide receiver Julio Jones? — and given the fact that Atlanta holds the eighth overall pick in the draft (and has a desperate need for a pass rusher), they could be one of those teams looking to potentially move up to take Vic Beasley or Dante Fowler, Jr., two individuals who may not make it out of the top 5.

Cleveland: In our chat with him on “NFL Sunday,” draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network pointed to the Browns and Ravens as two of the teams who might be more inclined to pull off a draft weekend deal. Cleveland has Nos. 12 and 19 in the first round — the Browns are one of two teams with two first-round selections. And based on what we saw last year with the big deal with the Bills, they certainly wouldn’t shy away from trying to swing a big first-round deal to try and move up. Cleveland certainly has some needs across the board, and will have a real chance to address those issues come Thursday.

Baltimore: Like Belichick, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is a big fan of compensatory picks, and while those can’t be dealt away, the three comp selections that Baltimore acquired this offseason — in addition to the fourth and fifth rounders Newsome got from Detroit in exchange for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata — certainly gives Newsome the sort of potential draft capital he might need if he wants to try and climb the board. One thing that Patriots fans might want to keep in mind here is that Newsome and Belichick are very tight (Belichick has made five draft weekend deals with the Ravens). If the Patriots see a potential target sliding down the board and could put together a package for Baltimore’s 26th overall pick, that certainly remains a possibility.

San Diego sends Chargers QB Philip Rivers to Tennessee for the No. 2 overall pick: This sounds like an interesting deal, but it apparently stalled out over the weekend. It would be a fascinating swap that would fundamentally be a Rivers-for-Mariota deal between San Diego and Tennessee, with multiple picks presumably going in both directions. While that would appear to mean the Chargers would be hitting the reset button with a rookie quarterback as opposed to the 33-year-old Rivers, as Jeremiah reminded us in our Sunday conversation with him, while the front office has changed in San Diego, the Chargers have never been shy about making big draft weekend deals. Individuals like Rivers (2004) and LaDanian Tomlinson (2001) landed in San Diego after draft swaps.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Bill Belichick
Report: Patriots in on Brian Hartline, possibly to replace Danny Amendola 03.05.15 at 3:55 pm ET
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Brian Hartline could be on the Patriots' radar in free agency. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brian Hartline could be on the Patriots’ radar in free agency. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Patriots are considering all of their options when it comes to their wide receivers, and one of them may be veteran Brian Hartline.

According to Cleveland.com, the Patriots are among a group of four teams seriously considering making a bid for the 28-year-old veteran of five NFL seasons and may have already made a preliminary offer. Hartline hit the market after playing just two of the five seasons in his contract he signed with the Dolphins in March 2013. Miami signed him for five years and $30 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed and a $7 million signing bonus.

Amendola, 29, signed a similar contract at the same time, inking for five years and $28.5 million with $10 million guaranteed and a $6 million signing bonus. Amendola’s production picked up in the second half of this season and he played a key role as a kick returner. He had five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. He also had two touchdown receptions in the playoff win over the Ravens.

Still, Amendola’s targets and catches were down drastically in 2014, his second season in New England, catching just 27 passes for 200 yards and only one touchdown on 42 targets. He caught 54 passes for 633 yards on 83 targets in 2013. His biggest impact came on kickoff returns, returning 20 kicks for an average of 24.1 yards.

Cleveland.com reports that the Patriots could be willing to cut Amendola and replace him with Hartline if it clears cap space and gives them more flexibility.

The Patriots are reportedly in the mix with the Texans, Browns (Hartline went to Ohio State and is from nearby Canton, OH), Bears and possibly the Colts. The Dolphins have already not ruled out making a run again at the receiver, who was a fourth-round pick of Miami in 2009 and has played his entire six-year career in South Florida. Hartline caught 298 passes for 4,243 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2012 and 2013, he became just the fifth receiver in Dolphins history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Last season, Hartline was relegated to a back-up, grabbing only 39 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns.

If he chose his hometown Browns, he could help fill the void left by Josh Gordon, who’s serving a minimum one-year ban for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Read More: Brian Hartline, Cleveland Browns, Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins
Florida is closing in on a new head coach and it’s not Josh McDaniels 12.03.14 at 4:37 pm ET
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Patriots fans can stop worrying about whether Josh McDaniels will be distracted by the Florida head coaching job.

A source tells FOX Sports that the Gators are closing in on a deal with Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain to take over for the ousted Will Muschamp starting in 2015. Muschamp went just 10-13 in the last two seasons in Gainesville. Yahoo! Sports first reported that the school and McElwain were closing in on an agreement on Tuesday.

This would be a return to the SEC for the 52-year-old McElwain, who spent four seasons on Nick Saban‘s staff at Alabama as the offensive coordinator. He has spent the past three seasons revitalizing the Rams program, going 4-8 in his first season to 8-6 in 2013 to this year’s 10-2 mark. One of those 10 wins was a 24-21 come-from-behind victory over Boston College on Sept. 27 at Alumni Stadium.

Florida AD Jeremy Foley has publicly listed several requirements for Muschamp’s replacement, saying his next coach had to have high integrity, character and needed to be a fit at Florida. This is the second straight season McDaniels’ name came up in rumors about a head coaching vacancy. Last January, he interviewed with the Cleveland Browns to replace Rob Chudzinski and was considered a leading candidate before turning them down.

Florida was rumored to be interested in speaking with McDaniels but nothing ever materialized.

McElwain’s pro-style offense has led the Rams to eye-opening numbers this season. They are No. 3 in the nation in passing efficiency, No. 7 in passing offense and No. 7 in third down offense. The Gators struggled badly on offense in the Muschamp era, which included quarterback Tyler Murphy in 2013 before he transferred to Boston College this season.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Florida Gators, Jim McElwain, Josh McDaniels
Report: MRI reveals pectoral muscle tear, ending the season for Ryan Mallett 11.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season.  (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.

An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.

Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.

The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, houston texans, New England Patriots
Tom Brady thinks Brian Hoyer against Ryan Mallett is ‘pretty cool’ 11.12.14 at 11:20 am ET
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Ryan Mallett will be running the show for the Texans this Sunday in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett will be running the show for the Texans this Sunday in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady can’t wait to see his last two back-ups square off against each other.

Brian Hoyer will lead his 6-3 Cleveland Browns into battle against the 4-5 Houston Texans Sunday in Cleveland. The Texans starting quarterback will be Ryan Mallett, getting his first career NFL start.

Hoyer has his team all alone in first place in the AFC North while head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make a change, giving Mallett the chance after Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled heading into last week’s bye.

“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said. “It speaks to their work ethic and I think what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve both overcome quite a bit in their career, so it will be fun to see. We play at 8 o’clock, so I’m sure a lot of guys from our team will be paying attention.”

Of course, Brady will have some extra time to pay attention Sunday afternoon if he’s not napping. The Browns and Texans play at 1 p.m. in Cleveland while the Patriots don’t kick off in Indianapolis until 8:30 p.m.

Brady has already faced another former back-up this season head-to-head, when the Patriots beat Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 30-7, in Week 2.

Read More: Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns, houston texans, Matt Cassel
Bill Belichick shows an edge with Bills media, remembers his 1995 nightmare with Browns 10.08.14 at 11:57 am ET
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Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Bill Belichick. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Every so once in a while, Bill Belichick shows he has a sense of humor. And every once in a while he shows a sharp edge.

On Wednesday, in a conference call with Bills reporters, he showed both.

Belichick spoke for about 10 minutes with the Buffalo media after his weekly Wednesday chat in the Gillette media work room with New England media.

In the standup session, he spoke of the emotion that came from winning, Sammy Watkins looking like Larry Fitzgerald and even Brandon Spikes‘ dreads. He also spoke of how well Spikes has played in the system but the Bills media decided to pick up on the longer hair reference.

Q: What has Brandon Spikes brought to the Bills defense?

BB: I think we know Brandon well. He’€™s a good, strong, physical player inside, does a good job in the running game.

Q: You made a comment about maybe his hair being longer. Is that what you’€™ve noticed?

BB: No, I said that he looks pretty much the same as a player that we had here, which I think he does. The strengths that he had when he played for us are I’€™d say the same strengths that he’€™s shown with Buffalo.

Then the Bills media tried to move onto the subject of Darrelle Revis playing mostly man on Cincinnati’s A.J. Green Sunday night. That didn’t go so swimmingly either.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: A Football Life Cleveland '95, Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns
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