|Steve Smith in no mood to talk about how he was courted by Patriots when he was free agent in 2014||12.08.16 at 7:00 am ET|
Steve Smith, Sr. was on the Patriots’ radar screen when he became a free agent following the 2013 season, but that doesn’t mean he wants to talk about it.
“That was a long time ago. A lot has transpired,” the veteran receiver said Wednesday of his contact with the Patriots before he signed with the Ravens that spring.
“I’m here, so that has nothing to do with this game coming up, does it?”
The 37-year-old Smith, who continues to defy the aging process, is in his 16th year in the league, and he’s still getting it done. In 10 games with the Ravens this season, he has 54 catches on 76 targets for 589 yards and three touchdowns. One of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, the outspoken Smith will be one to watch when the two teams step on the field Monday night in Foxboro.
“What a tremendous competitor. This guy is tough. He plays extremely quick,” said New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “You wouldn’t really think that he has been in the league as long as he has, but he outcompetes his opponents every play. He’s just got a drive about him that is definitely … I would say a little bit of an old school mentality that just he’s not going to be out-worked. He’s not going to be out-hustled. He’s not going to be out-competed by anybody else on the field. He’s a tough guy.”
Smith also loves to talk some trash. He had some fun at the expense of former New England cornerback Aqib Talib back in 2013, telling Talib to “Ice up, son,” after Smth’s Panthers’ upended the Patriots in Carolina. And on Wednesday — while wearing a Yoda onesie — he took some shots at the Dolphins, who complained about the state of the field in Baltimore in the wake of their 38-6 loss to the Ravens.
“Since Miami got their ass whooped, of course they’re going to complain about it, but it looked pretty good for us,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been to Miami. They shouldn’t be barking when they just started putting grass on half of the field when they had the dirt and the baseball [surface]. Beggars can’t be [choosers].”
When it comes to Smith’s woofing, you always need to keep your guard up, said New England safety Devin McCourty.
“Each week you’ve got guys that talk, and obviously, he’s elite at it, definitely,” McCourty said Smith. “You’ve watched him do it for years. But I think it starts with going out there and playing well. If we do those things, then we don’t have to worry about anything that’s being said out there and just have to focus on what we’re doing.”
|Bill Belichick endorses Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia as head coaching candidates||11.22.16 at 12:27 pm ET|
Over the weekend, Pro Football Talk released some names on the preliminary NFL Career Development Advisory Panel’s list for recommended candidates for coaching and general manager vacancies this offseason.
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was on the list, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was not.
On Tuesday’s conference call, Bill Belichick said he had heard McDaniels wasn’t on the list and also director of player personnel Nick Caserio wasn’t on the GM list.
The coach said any list without including all three current members of the Patriots staff would be “incomplete.”
“Well, I didn’t see or hear the report firsthand, so I’ll take what you described as being accurate,” Belichick said. “Yeah, the comment that I would have would be number one – I think that both Josh [McDaniels] and Matt [Patricia], so Matt who is on the list and I guess Josh who isn’t, if that’s right – I think both Josh and Matt are great coaches. [They] should absolutely be on any head coaching list. I can’t imagine that there are many other coaches that could present a resume equal or comparable to theirs. They’ve done a great job here for a sustained period of time so a great track record. I think, I personally think, that a list of head coaching candidates that didn’t include them would be incomplete.
“A similar comment on the general manager thing with Nick [Caserio], which I don’t know if he was or wasn’t included. I think somebody told me that he wasn’t included, so I would have the same comment for him. He does a tremendous job as well. I can’t imagine any list not having those three people.”
The Career Development Advisory Panel consists of Tony Dungy, Charley Casserly, Carl Peterson, Bill Polian, Jimmy Raye Sr., James “Shack” Harris, Ernie Accorsi, Dick Daniels, and John Madden. Their list will be finalized on December 8 and distributed to teams on December 10.
|Matt Patricia gets defensive when asked why he is trying to still figure things out 10 games in||at 12:19 pm ET|
Matt Patricia was finally put on the defensive Tuesday.
During his weekly conference call with reporters – and just minutes after Bill Belichick said every head coaching vacancy list should include Patricia – the Patriots defensive coordinator was asked by CSNNE’s Tom Curran if he is at all disappointed in himself since the defense hasn’t gotten the most out of some of its higher profile talent.
Namely, Curran brought up the trade of Jamie Collins and the benching of Jabaal Sheard, both players in the final years of contracts.
The exchange began with Curran asking Patricia if he’s looking at his own job performance as a possible reason for the ups and downs of the defense and the inconsistencies of personnel.
“The defense hasn’t panned out,” Curran began. “Do you feel at all disappointed in yourself that you weren’t able to get more from those players and the way it’s kind of panned out. What level of introspection that you’re still trying to figure things out this deep in the year?
“That’s a pretty negative question there, Tom. I’m going to try to put the positive spin on that.”
“Let’s try to spin it positive if that’s the way you feel. I mean, it’s two good players,” Curran answered.
“Try to look at the good side of it,” Patricia replied. “We really try to make sure that we coach everything that really comes our way. I would say, for us, every year is different. To go into a season with expectations for certain things and to be hard core into those, I don’t really think that’s applicable. Each team are [thought] to be the best team that year and very rarely does it ever work out that way. We kind of deal with the season as it goes and the guys that we have and we do the best we can with it.
“Our expectations are the same every week. We’re going to go out and compete and do the best we can and try to improve week in and week out with whoever’s out there, and that’s what we try to do. I think that part of the season in the NFL that is great is that it’s a long season. It’s a season that’s continually evolving. If you at the teams through the course of the different seasons that have played and wound up in the end where you want to be. I’m sure those teams have gone through a lot of different things throughout the season.
“We’re just kind of in that mix. It’s getting toward Thanksgiving. We’re going to try to play our best football here moving forward with whoever’s out there and try to get better, no matter what.
|Rodney Harrison: Patriots coaches ‘outsmarted’ themselves Sunday against Seahawks||11.15.16 at 3:02 pm ET|
Rodney Harrison had a few issues with the way his old team went about its’ business on Sunday night.
Speaking at an NBC Football Media Luncheon in New York City on Monday, Harrison called the Patriots “the best team in the league,” but was still left scratching his head over some of the decisions made by Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia in the loss to the Seahawks.
“I’m like, ‘Why are they outsmarting themselves?’” Harrison said. “We talked all week about the game plan. It’s simple. Spread them out, put the tight ends out wide, put the little guys in the middle. You know what they play; they play zone, and just pick them apart.
“I was completely surprised that Josh McDaniels just outsmarted himself. They came out and wanted to run the ball. I’m getting text messages like ‘Why are they doing something that they typically don’t do?'”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|3 up, 3 down following Patriots’ 31-24 loss to Seahawks||11.14.16 at 1:29 am ET|
FOXBORO — At first glance, here are three up and three down in the wake of Sunday’s 31–24 loss to the Seahawks.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: The big back was able to rumble for 69 yards on 21 carries, to go along with three touchdowns. He was the best and most consistent part of the New England offense, and should have been the one who got the ball at the end of the game.
Defensive lineman Trey Flowers: The youngster had a pair of sacks, and was able to consistently get pressure when rushing from a combination of spots on the field. Maybe the only true bright spot on defense for New England.
Tight end Martellus Bennett: Bennett had one of his best games as a Patriot, finishing with a team-high seven catches on seven targets for 102 yards, including a 36-yarder in the third quarter that was the longest connection of the game for New England.
Cornerback Justin Coleman: Coleman had a miserable outing. At first glance, he appeared to be the guy who was at fault when New England allowed a 36-yard pass play from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett. He was also flagged for pass interference and took a clipping penalty.
Cornerback Logan Ryan: It appeared initially he was the one at fault when it came to coverage on Doug Baldwin’s second touchdown. Honestly, we’re singling out Coleman and Ryan here for what appeared to be individual breakdowns, but there was plenty of blame to go around when it came to most of the New England secondary on the night.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia: The Patriots stumbled badly on defense in several situations on Sunday night on all three levels, and so we’re going to lay blame at the feet of Patricia. Whether it was a lack of pressure on Wilson, an inability to get the linebackers in optimal situations — it was curious to see Shea McClellin working more as a coverage linebacker, ahead of the likes of Barkeviovs Mingo — or the cornerbacks get beat on a consistent basis, it was a complete defensive breakdown.
|Bill Belichick ‘definitely’ will look at Super Bowl XLIX film vs. Seahawks to plan for this week||11.07.16 at 12:23 pm ET|
The Patriots got more than just a Super Bowl ring and their fourth Vince Lombardi trophy when they beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. They got valuable and useful game film for their game against the Seahawks this Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
“We’ll definitely take a look at it,” Bill Belichick said Monday morning in his conference call with reporters. “Again, there’s a lot of carryover, especially on their defense, from many of the players that we played against. But there’s also carryover on offense, certainly some of the key players, the quarterback, receivers and in the kicking game, with the specialists. There’s a decent amount of carryover.”
Linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright played in that game as did Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Jeremy Lane in the secondary. On offense, in addition to quarterback Russell Wilson, receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse played in Glendale against the Patriots.
“I would say that their scheme, what they do, hasn’t changed dramatically. Ours probably hasn’t changed dramatically, either. We’ve added a couple of different players. Fundamentally, we do a lot of the same things. I think there’s definitely some relevance to that game. I’m sure they’ll look at it. We’ve certainly seen it. Yeah, I think it’s relevant.
“Again, there’s been a lot of football played since then. I think it’s just one piece in puzzle. I don’t think it’s the whole puzzle.”
The game will long be remembered for Malcolm Butler saving the game when he stepped in front of Ricardo Lockette at the Patriots goal line and saved the game in the final minute. But defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Monday he won’t be spending the week going down memory lane about what transpired in the closing moments.
|Patriots DC Matt Patricia: ‘Everything was really good’ with Jamie Collins prior to trade||11.01.16 at 11:03 am ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots made big headlines on Monday when they traded Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins to the Browns in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
With the team being 7-1 going into their bye week, trading one of their top defensive players came as a major surprise. Some speculated there were some issues with Collins and the coaching staff, but linebackers coach Brian Flores and now defensive coordinator Matt Patricia indicated there was no such issue.
“Obviously, appreciate everything that he did while he was here, won a championship with him,” Patricia said Tuesday. “He was great in meetings, just great to be around. Overall, everything was really good.”
Being around Bill Belichick for so long, Patricia understands he needs to make tough decisions as it relates to the team.
“I think everybody understands coach [Bill] Belichick makes very difficult decisions about this football team every single day,” Patricia said. “Obviously, all of us care a lot about this team. We care a lot about our players. And we care a lot about trying to make sure we’re always trying to do things that will help the team in any way possible. I don’t really have a lot to say about it just in general.
“I mean, Jamie was a great player. He was a great person, still is obviously. [I have] a close relationship with him. That’s part of the reason that we coach is to build those relationships with players and help them become better players but also better people.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
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