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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
Thieves poach 3 Super Bowl rings from Mike Vrabel, and he’s pretty ticked 11.08.14 at 5:16 pm ET
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Mike Vrabel is an angry man. He has every right to be after thieves broken into his Houston area home and stole his three Super Bowl rings he won with the Patriots.

Vrabel, now the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans, tweeted Saturday that burglars broke into his home and took the jewelry.

Vrabel took to Twitter to express his outrage. “To all the Houston area pawn shops: 3 super bowl rings are headed your way. Courtesy of the m—– f—— who smashed our back door in.”

Vrabel wasn’t alone. His wife, Jen, lit into the culprits of the crime.

According to a spokesperson for the Bellaire Police Department, the break-in took place around 11 a.m. Saturday. The Texans are on a bye this weekend.

Vrabel was a starting linebacker on the Patriots teams that won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX. He was also a favorite receiving target of quarterback Tom Brady.

A championship ring from the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI season sold on eBay in April 2012 for $50,000.

Read More: Bellaire, houston texans, Jen Vrabel, Mike Vrabel
Tom Brady on Josh McDaniels: ‘I’m glad he’s my coach’ 01.01.14 at 2:55 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Whether or not the Patriots lose offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Cleveland Browns, Tom Brady made a point of appreciating the work McDaniels has done in his two stints in New England.

Brady and McDaniels worked together from 2001-2008, when McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos for a season and a half. He then spent most of 2011 as the Rams offensive coordinator before returning to the Patriots late in the run to Super Bowl XLVI.

It was a natural when McDaniels, a native of Northeast Ohio, became a candidate for the Browns head coaching vacancy when Rob Chudzinski was fired on Monday.

“I’m not surprised by much anymore in the NFL,” Brady said of McDaniels’ name coming up as a leading candidate. “He’s a great coach and I said the other day, he’s one of my best buds and I’ve been around him for a long time so I know him pretty well. I’m glad he’s my coach.”

He was not as effusive about another former offensive coordinator. Bill O’Brien will reportedly be hired as the new coach of the Houston Texans. He was on the Patriots staff from 2007-11, and was the fiery offensive coordinator during the ’11 season with Brady.

“That was a long time ago,” Brady said of his time with O’Brien. “Truthfully, I’m just trying to stay focused on this week. That’s not really in my thought process right now.”

As for other teams tapping the Bill Belichick coaching tree, Brady said he’s grown accustomed to it by now.

“Multiple times but it’s a credit to those guys and what they’ve accomplished,” Brady said. “It’s a very flattering thing when other people are interested. But you know, they’ll make their decisions based on whatever they make their decisions based on. I still have to go out there and do my job, which is ultimately what I owe this team and what I signed up for and what I promised Mr. Kraft when I signed my contract. What I commit to Belichick and all my teammates that I’m going to do the best I can do. It doesn’t matter who’s coaching or who’s running routes or who [I’m] handing the ball off to or who’s blocking or who’s playing defense. I’ve got to do my job and that’s where my focus is.”

He wasn’t staying up late on New Year’s Eve worrying about his coaching staff or partying.

“I was asleep. We had an early-morning practice,” Brady said.

Read More: Bill O'Brien, Cleveland Browns, houston texans, Josh McDaniels
Patriots release TE D.J. Williams 12.04.13 at 5:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — One week after signing him for roster depth, the Patriots Wednesday released tight end D.J. Williams.

The 25-year-old was signed by the Patriots on Nov. 27 and saw limited action in the win last Sunday at Houston, playing four snaps. He was not targeted in the passing game.

The release of Williams comes on the same day that tight end Michael Hoomanawanui returned to practice after missing two games with a knee injury.

Williams played in seven games with one start for Jacksonville this season before being released by the Jaguars on Nov. 4. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (101st overall) by Green Bay out of Arkansas in 2011. Williams was waived by Green Bay on Aug. 31, 2013, and claimed off waivers and awarded to Jacksonville on Sept. 1, 2013. He has played in 34 NFL games with three starts and has nine receptions for 70 yards.

Read More: D.J. Williams, houston texans, Michael Hoomanawanui, New England Patriots
Houston security guards fired for taking photos with Tom Brady 12.03.13 at 2:33 pm ET
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Two Reliant Stadium security guards who were working the Texans-Patriots game on Sunday lost their jobs after taking a picture with Tom Brady following New England’s 34-31 win.

Joel Williams, one of the security guards, told KHOU.com that he ran into Brady after he had clocked out of his shift for the day.

‘€œI said, ‘€˜Hey Tom Brady, good job, good game man.’ He looked at me and smiled,’€ Williams said. ‘€œHe was very polite, very nice guy, humble. Sometimes I see players and say hello, and they just keep walking.’€

After taking the picture, Williams was approached by his supervisor, who fired him on the spot.

‘€œImmediately after I took the picture, I got ran down by a supervisor,’€ Williams said. ‘€œThey didn’t really give a reason, they said you know you’re wrong and you’re fired.”

‘€œWhat they say and what they practice are two different things,’€ said Christopher Moore, the other guard who was fired for taking a photo with Brady.. ‘€œWhat we see on a daily basis, whether it be Reliant or CSC employees, is them taking pictures and asking for autographs from players.’€

CSC, which stands for Contemporary Services Corporation, justified its actions in a statement sent to KHOU.

‘€œIt is strictly against CSC policy for its employees to request photos or autographs from players. CSC stands by its decision to terminate the two employees who violated this policy.’€

Read More: houston texans, New England Patriots, Security Guards, Tom Brady
Bill Belichick on S&H: Antonio Smith comments likely due to ‘some frustration’ at 9:52 am ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Salk & Holley on Monday afternoon to discuss New England’s 34-31 victory over the Texans on Sunday, the decision to bench Stevan Ridley in the game, and Antonio Smith‘s postgame comments regarding the Patriots’ second-half comeback.

Sunday’s game against Houston started off in similar fashion to the Patriots’ previous game against the Broncos, as New England looked sluggish and unfocused over the first two quarters. At the end of the first half, the 2-9 Texans had built a 17-7 lead.

‘€œWe’ve just got to do a better job, I’ve got to do a better job preparing the team for the beginning part of the game. We’€™ve got to do a better job executing then,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œIt wasn’€™t great. I didn’€™t think we took advantage of some of the opportunities that we had and we gave them some, and obviously the interception set them up and fortunately we were able to hold them to three on that.

‘€œWe gave up two good drives defensively. ‘€¦ We were trying to find our rhythm and our execution on a number of things yesterday, and it wasn’€™t a great feeling.’€

New England’s first-half slump would not last, as Tom Brady and company outscored the Texans by a 27-14 margin in the final two quarters to come away with the 34-31 victory.

One notable move that Belichick made before Sunday’s game was to list Ridley as inactive. Despite showing talent out of the backfield with 2,280 career yards in 42 NFL games, Ridley has struggled with holding on to the football, as he has nine fumbles in his career, with six of those being recovered by the opposing team.

‘€œWe make those decisions week to week,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œEvery week, we have to make a decision as to who we feel are the players that we’€™ll activate for the game, and sometimes injuries and the availability of a player takes care of that. After that, it comes down to decisions that we make as a coaching staff. ‘€¦ That’€™s the way that it is every week.’€

After the game, Smith, the Texans defensive lineman, made postgame comments questioning the Patriots’ ability to turn around their play in the second half, calling their adjustments “highly suspicious.” (Smith said Monday that he was joking.)

‘€œI’€™m sure [Houston] is frustrated,’€ Belichick said. They lost to us twice last year and lost to us again down there at home. We’€™ve seen that before and I’€™m sure there was some frustration. ‘€¦ There’€™s nothing we can do about, we just have to worry about what we can do.’€

To hear the interview, go to the Salk & Holley audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Smith, Bill Belichick, houston texans, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick on Stevan Ridley benching: ‘There’s no sending a message’ 12.02.13 at 1:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After quickly dismissing the question in his post-game comments Sunday after a 34-31 win over the Texans, Bill Belichick was somewhat more effusive and forthcoming about his decision to sit Stevan Ridley Sunday after his three-game bout with fumblelitis.

Belichick was asked Monday in his conference call about the decision to bench Ridley when Julian Edelman has fumbled five times this season (including twice on one punt against Denver), recovering three of them. Ridley has four fumbles this season and hasn’t recovered a single one. Ridley has nine fumbles over three seasons.

How do Belichick determine when a player sits after fumbling and when he doesn’€™t?

“Well, that’€™s easy,” Belichick said. “We always do what we feel is best for the team in every situation. That’€™s the way it’€™s always been and that’€™s the way it will always be as long as I’€™m here. I have to do what I feel like is best with any decision, in any situation, with what I feel is the overall best decision for the football team. That’€™s what drives every decision I make, on everything: plays, players, you name it. I have to do what I feel like is best for the team.”

So, it’€™s never about sending a message?

“If I have a message to send to somebody, I’€™ll just sit down and talk to them and tell them what it is,” Belichick said. “I can have a conversation and do have a conversation with anybody on the team that I need to have a conversation with. That’€™s not a problem. There’€™s no sending a message. You sit down and talk to somebody man-to-man and talk about the situation so that we’€™re all on the same page as to whatever it happens to be and what the direction is going forward. That’€™s easy. There’€™s not sending a message. You just have a conversation with somebody. This isn’€™t cryptic. We’€™re just trying to win a football game, that’€™s all.”

Did Ridley specifically not play on Sunday because of his fumble issues?

“The inactive players every week are based on, in part injuries and ultimately what we feel like for that particular game is the best decision for the football team in that game to try to win,” Belichick said. “Along with every other decision on the team that I make, it’€™s made with what gives our team, in our opinion, the best opportunity to win on Sundays. That’€™s what all decisions are based on.”

Belichick was also asked whether he read the comments of Houston defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who was very suspicious of the adjustments the Patriots made to Houston’s defense after trailing at halftime Sunday, 17-7.

“Yeah, I saw them. I don’€™t have any comment on them. I think that’€™s a league matter,” Belichick said.

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Read More: Antonio Smith, houston texans, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
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