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Bill Belichick: Patriots ‘stuck together as a team and supported each other’ 10.06.14 at 1:20 pm ET
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Emotion can often be a false flag when it comes to forecasting the success or failure of a football team, but it certainly appeared that it played a sizable role for the Patriots on Sunday night.

In the wake of last Monday’s drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, there was a palpable sense of energy surrounding New England. Whether it was provided by quarterback Tom Brady (who played as if his hair was on fire for much of the early going), the Gillette Stadium crowd (one of the loudest in recent memory) or the collective efforts of a team trying to erase the memory of one of the worst losses in recent franchise history, it was in abundance for the Patriots in the 43-17 win.

Coach Bill Belichick wasn’t surprised to see his team respond like it did.

“When you had the result that we had Monday night as a team, I think everybody rallied around each other. I mean, who else is there to rally around?” he asked on a conference call with the media Monday morning. “That’€™s all we have: guys that can go out there and play and make a difference. Nobody else is going to make any plays unless we go out and make them ourselves.

“Of course they stuck together as a team and supported each other. That’€™s what any team should do.”

To Belichick’s point, there was more fire on Sunday night than the team had all season long. That emotion and energy level manifested itself several ways, including their best start of the year, with touchdowns on the first two scoring drives of the night.

“I thought they played hard. I think we’€™ve played hard a lot this year, but we were able to execute things a little bit better,” Belichick said. “Get off the field on third down, convert some third downs, or fourth downs, as the case may be. So, of course there was more emotion and energy as we were making plays, especially in the first — well, throughout the game, but especially in the first quarter.”

Belichick not only praised the play and preparation up and down the roster, but also had kind words for his coaches for their ability to not only digest the Chiefs’ loss and put it in the rearview quickly, but to create a game plan for a Bengals team that came into the game as only one of two unbeaten teams left in the league.

“I just think it’€™s tough when you play on the road Monday night,” Belichick said when asked about the performance of the coaches. “Get back here at whatever it was, five in the morning and then you go through the tape of the game, which was obviously a painful process. Then get ready for an undefeated team, a team that had given up three points in the first half of their first three games and been pretty dominant. To turn around and get a game plan ready and address some of the problems that we had in Kansas City and all that.

“It’€™s handling the preparation for all the situations ‘€“ with only three games, a lot of that is going back and digging through key games and situations from last year to look at tendencies or look at plays you want to run. Again I just think as a staff they did a good job of doing those things on a short week against a good football team that’€™s well coached that gives you a lot of problems on every down and every situation. I thought they worked hard and they did a good job; as did the players.”

Here are a few other highlights from his Monday Q&A:
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Read More: A.J. Green, Bill Belichick, Bryan Stork, Darrelle Revis
Patriots elect Matthew Slater NFLPA player rep, Darrelle Revis alternate 10.03.14 at 10:51 am ET
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FOXBORO — In a move that hardly comes as a surprise, Patriots players have elected special teams captain Matthew Slater as their Players Association player rep to handle all matters between the union and the team.

Two other veterans, offensive lineman Ryan Wendell and kicker Stephen Gostkowski were elected as alternates as was cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The NFLPA made the announcement Friday morning on its Twitter page.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots, NFLPA
Rodney Harrison on D&C: Patriots showed ‘some lack of hustle’ in loss to Chiefs at 10:11 am ET
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NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots and their upcoming game against the Bengals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After the Patriots’ crushing 41-14 loss on Monday night against the Chiefs, coach Bill Belichick has looked toward the Bengals and not back at the Kansas City game. Harrison offered his take on what the mentality of the locker room is behind closed doors.

“Belichick is basically saying, ‘Guys, we played the worst game of the season. Obviously we can learn a lot from this. We can sit back and we can stay negative, but we’€™re going to move forward.’ ” Harrison said. “And I had a chance to talk to Darrelle Revis, and he basically preached the same thing to me yesterday when I talked to him. He said, ‘€˜We’€™re moving forward. We have a great opportunity here. This is a really good team coming in. But this is a team we know we can beat. We just have to play better.’ ”

On Monday the Patriots fell behind in the first half 17-0 and then compounded their mistakes in the second half with multiple turnovers on offense. The defense had trouble stopping the KC ground attack led by Jamaal Charles. Harrison said many of the mistakes the Patriots made can be fixed.

“It’€™s a lot of fundamental stuff,” Harrison said. “They were close. You look at the score and you say, ‘€˜No way, they just played awful.’€™ But they were close. … One thing that really disappointed me I saw on tape, I saw some lack of hustle. That’€™s fundamental things that come from within. That’€™s something that you can’€™t coach. You have to want to get to the play and make the play as a player. But some of these things, just missed tackles, blowing coverages, letting guys run through the secondary free, those types of things are very correctable.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Rodney Harrison, Tom Brady
Darrelle Revis: I’d be ‘comfortable’ asking Bill Belichick for specific defensive assignment 10.02.14 at 3:46 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis and the Patriots will meet Cincinnati on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis and the Patriots will meet Cincinnati on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis said Thursday he’d be “comfortable” approaching Patriots coach Bill Belichick about a specific defensive assignment.

Revis, speaking after practice, said earlier in his career he had requested specific defensive assignments on a “bunch of receivers.” He added that in his experience with Belichick to this point in his first season in New England, he’d have no problem approaching Belichick with a similar request.

“Yeah, I’d feel comfortable approaching Bill about anything, whether if it’s on the field or an issue off the field,” Revis said. “Bill is very open to players coming up to him and talking about things on and off the field.”

His comments come in the wake of a four-game stretch that has seen Revis utilized in a number of different ways, including working in zone coverage, as well as off the ball in an attempt to prevent deep passes against a variety of receivers.

Could he ever see himself walking into Belichick’s office and requesting to cover a single receiver for the bulk of a game?

“Maybe I could, I don’t know,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a team effort on defense. It’s not one individual on defense. That’s how you have to look at it. Whatever is best for the defense, game-planning wise, to help us win, that’s what we’re going to do. The goal out of this is getting a win. It doesn’t matter if I’m inside, outside, if I’m coming off the edge. We’re just trying to get a W.”

Revis and the Patriots’ pass defense faces another challenge this week in the Bengals, who are 11th in the league with an average of 262 passing yards per game. They’re led by A.J. Green, who has 12 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown over the course of the first three games. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Green will likely see a lot of Revis on Sunday night.

“A.J. Green is one of the best receivers in the league. I have a lot of respect for him,” Revis said. “They’re very talented, all across the board at every position. Running back, tight end and receiver. You have [quarterback] Dalton, who operates everything. He runs that offense and he’s been doing well.”

Ultimately, Revis and the rest of the Patriots are clearing itching to get back to work following Monday’s 41-14 shellacking at the hands of the Chiefs. While a short week can sometimes be a hardship, in this case, it’s a blessing in the sense that they have a chance to get the memory of that blowout erased from their collective memories sooner rather than later.

“I think we’re very upbeat,” Revis said when asked about the state of the locker room. “It’s been a short week this week and we made the corrections and we moved on to Cincinnati. It was a terrible loss for us, but at the same time, it’s a short week and we had to move on. I feel like the team is upbeat and we’re looking forward to this matchup against Cincinnati on Sunday.

“We just don’t perform well Monday night, and that’s that. It happens sometimes. It’s not the way we wanted it to go. At the same time, we just have to make the corrections and move forward.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis,
Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘Right now, [Tom Brady] isn’t one of the elite quarterbacks’ 09.30.14 at 4:14 pm ET
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In the aftermath of the Patriots’ 41-14 demolition at the hands of the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, former Patriots linebacker (and current ESPN analyst) Tedy Bruschi pulled no punches in examining the state of his former team. He suggested that the Patriots were out-coached when they were on defense (praising Chiefs coach Andy Reid for using misdirection plays to open up the field, particularly the weak side of the line for the running game) and simply beaten up when their offense was on the field.

“You’re comparing the world championship teams, of course there’s a major talent deficit,” Bruschi, in his weekly interview on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, said. “They’re not playing at a world championship level.”

He noted that Chandler Jones can be coached to improve his technique and do a better job of holding his ground on the weak side of the line for runs, while adding that he felt that Vince Wilfork had performed adequately at the point of attack, with the issue being the large holes emerging next to him on the line. Bruschi said that he felt the defense would have to be the defining presence of the team given some of the offensive shortcomings on display that show little possibility of immediate resolution.

No one was beyond blame for the offensive woes. Asked if Tom Brady remained an elite quarterback, Bruschi was candid.

“Right now, he’s not one of the elite quarterbacks, just based on performance. I can’t say that,” said Bruschi. “Based on numbers, wins and losses, accuracy, throws down the field — no. He’s not. He’s not playing like it.”

That said, Bruschi quickly added that some of coach Bill Belichick‘s player personnel positions had destined Brady to struggle. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Mankins, Richie Incognito
Revis Report, Week 4: Art of defending the deep ball 09.25.14 at 10:03 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis breaks up a pass intended for Oakland's James Jones last Sunday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis breaks up a pass intended for Oakland’s James Jones last Sunday. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England will make its Monday night debut against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Overview: Revis and the Patriots head to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs on Monday night. New England (2-1) enters the weekend tied for the league lead in takeaway ratio at plus-six, while Kansas City (1-2) is last in the league at minus-five. (The Chiefs’ defense has not had a single takeaway in three games this season.) The art of the takeaway has been one the Patriots have become well-schooled in this season, as they are tied with the Bears and Bengals for the league lead in interceptions with six.

“[There's] a big emphasis on turnovers for this defense,” Revis said after practice on Thursday. “That’s probably the main thing — that’s what the coaches always harp on and always talk about, creating turnovers every game. We have high expectations for that to try and make turnovers. We have to try and make turnovers this week as well.”

Last week: Against the Raiders, Revis played all 60 snaps. (It was the first time all season he went wire-to-wire.) By our count, he was on the left side 35 times and the right side 25 times. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw in his direction seven times, and completed five passes for 63 total yards. James Jones caught three of the passes, while Rod Streater and Denarius Moore had one catch apiece.

One important thing that we saw that was later verified by Revis on Thursday was an apparent priority on guarding against deep balls against the Raiders. That was manifested in the sight of Revis and the rest of the defensive backs playing off their man throughout the afternoon. At least three of the balls that were completed against Revis were completed in front of him. The one time where there was a deep ball thrown on him, it came in the second half and it fell incomplete.

“Every week is a different strategy and different game plan,” Revis said. “Every week is a different emphasis. As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you. They kill any defense. Double moves in the high red area usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far, and we just have to continue to stay consistent in that area.

“[But] deep balls will kill you. Just overall. It can be a long day for a secondary, and it’ll be a longer day Monday coming in and the coaches getting after you about it,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve been doing a great job all around the board. We and the safeties have been doing a great job and alerting it in certain situations and key moments and guys have been paying attention, and we’ve been taking care of that.”

While it appears to be a fundamental change from the style of defense he played as a youngster under Rex Ryan when he was with the Jets, the results have pair off through the first three games of the season. As we noted here, the Patriots have yielded six pass plays of 20 or more yards (tied for second-best in the league), and zero pass plays of 40 yards or more (tied for best in the league). That’s a big change from the numbers the Patriots pass defense put up in previous years.

Something else we mentioned here, but in this context, it certainly bears repeating: the Patriots moved him from one side to another all afternoon, and matched him up on various receivers throughout the day, including Streater (who had one catch for nine yards on Revis in the early going) and Moore (who also had an 11-yard reception when matched against Revis). However, on Oakland’s final drive, he appeared to be almost solely focused on going head-to-head with Jones. On the Raiders last eight plays, he was against Jones on five occasions, including matching up with him in the slot on one play while Logan Ryan went against Andre Holmes on the outside. (That was the play where Ryan was flagged for pass interference.)

And then, there’s this:

In all, by our count, through three games, Revis has yielded eight catches on 16 targets for 103 yards, with one interception and three pass breakups.

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Dwayne Bowe, Revis Report,
Darrelle Revis: Through three games, Patriots ‘doing great’ at limiting deep balls at 3:48 pm ET
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Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Through three games, Darrelle Revis and the New England secondary have done well to limit deep balls. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Last week against the Raiders, some questioned the sight of Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis playing off some of Oakland’s quicker receivers, particularly James Jones, Denarius Thomas and Rod Streater. That approach may have played a role in the fact that Revis yielding five catches for 63 yards in what appeared to be man coverage.

Revis was asked Thursday after practice about giving those receivers some sort of cushion.

“Every week is a different strategy and different game plan,” he said. “Oakland did a great job of taking care of the ball as well — [David] Carr did. Every week is a different emphasis. As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you. They kill any defense. Double moves in the high red area usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far, and we just have to continue to stay consistent in that area.

“[But] deep balls will kill you. Just overall. It can be a long day for a secondary, and it’ll be a longer day Monday coming in and the coaches getting after you about it,” he added. “Like I said, we’ve been doing a great job all around the board. We and the safeties have been doing a great job and alerting it in certain situations and key moments and guys have been paying attention, and we’ve been taking care of that.”

To this point in the season, the Patriots are tied for second in the league (six) when it comes to allowing the fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards. And they’re tied for the top spot when it comes to yielding the most pass plays of 40-plus yards (zero). That stands in sharp contrast to the last few seasons, where the New England secondary was usually at or near the top of the league when it came to giving up deep balls, particularly pass plays of 20 yards or more.

2013: 55 20-plus (11th), 9 40-plus (15th)
2012: 74 20-plus (1st), 8 40-plus (14th)
2011: 79 20-plus (1st), 9 40-plus (17th)
2010: 55 20-plus (7th), 4 40-plus (30th)

To this point in the season, a less aggressive approach in the secondary has yielded greater success when it comes to defending the deep ball. It’s a change from the system Revis learned as a younger player with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

“It’s a different system. It’s a totally different system,” he said when asked to stack one against the other. “Rex is more aggressive. We switch it up here. We plan man sometimes, and sometimes, we switch it up and do different things. It’s just two different things.”

Of course, you always have to bring some level of aggression to the cornerback position.
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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Rex Ryan,
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