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Mike Lombardi on K&C: ‘Team won last night. Culture won last night. Chemistry won last night. That’s what won’ 09.23.16 at 9:18 am ET
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Michael Lombardi

Michael Lombardi

NFL analyst Mike Lombardi made his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan on Friday morning, following the Patriots’ impressive 27-0 victory over the Texans, and defended his former boss Bill Belichick against accusations that he was pressuring Jimmy Garropolo to play in Thursday’s game. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lombardi dismissed a report that Belichick was questioning Garropolo’s toughness because he was not able to play with a sprained AC joint he suffered in Sunday’s win over the Dolphins.

“Not even remotely close, OK?” said Lombardi, who was an assistant to the Patriots coaching staff last season and was an executive with the Browns alongside Belichick in the early 1990s. “First of all, I’ve known Bill since 1991, and his philosophy — as is mine — if a player’s not a hundred percent, if he’s 80 percent and you put him out there, you’re better off playing a backup.

“How can you make that statement when your whole emphasis is team? If you believe in team and you believe in the next man up, why would you ever pressure a guy? Why would you ever believe that? It goes counterintuitive to what your whole emphasis of the program is? It’s team. That’s what won last night. Team won last night. Culture won last night. Chemistry won last night. That’s what won.”

Lombardi wasn’t surprised the Patriots stuck with rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback rather than signing a free agent during the week, because adding a player on such short notice would be “wasting a roster spot.” The Patriots kept things relatively simple for the third-round draft pick because, “He just doesn’t have enough reps yet. So they’ve got to manage him and they’ve got to manage the game. Those are the challenges that come across,” Lombardi said.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Jacoby Brissett, Mike Lombardi
Mike Lombardi on K&C: ‘I think Jimmy [Garoppolo] will rise to the occasion’ vs. Cardinals 09.09.16 at 10:51 am ET
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Fox Sports analyst and former Patriots executive Mike Lombardi, making his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan on Friday morning, said he expects Jimmy Garoppolo will play well Sunday night in his first career start as the Patriots open the season against the Cardinals. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.

“I think Jimmy will play an effective game,” Lombardi said. “I think the key to the game will be his ability to move around in the pocket. I think he’s going to face a lot of pressure. I think they’ll be in a lot of two-minute offense. But I think Jimmy will rise to the occasion. I think Jimmy’s a good player and I think Jimmy will play well. I think most of the supporting cast is going to have to play well with him.”

Lombardi said Rob Gronkowski’s hamstring injury could be a big problem for the Patriots, and Garoppolo in particular, for a reason other than the tight end’s production.

“Jimmy needs Gronk,” Lombardi said. “What I think people lose sight of with Gronk a little bit is Gronk’s a great indicator for the quarterback. When Gronk’s flexed away from [the line] — let’s take the Super Bowl, when Gronk lines up out there and K.J. Wright’s with him, every quarterback in the world knows it’s man-to-man. If there would have been a corner out there on him, then they know it’s zone.

“So Gronk’s a great indicator. It really helps a quarterback, especially when you’re playing against a team that does a lot of multiple things on defense. And not having Gronk out there all the time will affect it. And I think that’s certainly going to play into this game.”

Garoppolo is filling in for the suspended Tom Brady, and some have speculated Brady might be feeling some jealousy regarding the third-year pro.

“I think it’s really Tom Brady’s whole mentality is to not worry about the competition, not acknowledge the competition, but he is aware of the competition. And I think that’s how he motivates himself,” Lombardi said. “In terms of how they get along off the field, that I don’t know. But I know this: Tom, just by the way he sees Jimmy Garoppolo behave himself [he] respects him. And when he respects somebody he sees it as competition. So I think that’s clearly the case in this situation.

“I think he definitely knows that Jimmy’s played well in practice, Jimmy’s a competitive guy, Jimmy’s younger, and I think Tom wants to make sure that nobody’s going to take his job from him. That’s the essence of it. You can bring Tom back to high school, it’s the same mentality. He’s not going to give an inch.”

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Lombardi, Tom Brady,
Source: Patriots to acquire LB Barkevious Mingo from Browns 08.25.16 at 2:04 pm ET
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Aug 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (51) tackles Atlanta Falcons running back Cyrus Gray (30) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Falcons won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo tackles Falcons running back Cyrus Gray during a preseason game this month. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots have gone to a familiar place to increase their defensive depth on the edge.

Continuing a long-standing relationship with the Browns, the Patriots acquired former first-round pick Barkeviovs Mingo from Cleveland, a source confirms to WEEI.com.

The Patriots confirmed the trade Thursday afternoon but did not reveal what they were giving up in return. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that the Browns will receive a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft from the Patriots.

The trade was first reported by Adam Schefter.

Mingo, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker, is a former first-round pick, selected sixth overall out of LSU in the 2013 draft by Cleveland. At LSU, he was considered one of the best edge defenders to enter the NFL in his class. Mingo had a pre-draft visit in Foxboro before then-Browns general manager and Bill Belichick confidant Mike Lombardi drafted him.

Like Dion Lewis, Mingo had bad luck in Cleveland staying healthy. In the second preseason game against the Lions in 2013, Mingo suffered a bruised lung and was hospitalized. Overall in 2013, Mingo played 15 games with 42 tackles, five sacks, and four passes defended. The next season, Mingo racked up 42 tackles and two sacks in 15 games. Last year, Mingo began the season as a starting outside linebacker but was relegated to back-up work after Week 2.

With Mingo falling down the depth chart in Cleveland, the Browns, in May, decided not to pick up the fifth year on Mingo’s contract as a first-round pick.

Still only 25, Mingo is clearly the kind of raw talent Belichick seeks out at low-risk. He also comes from two programs (LSU, Browns) that he has intimate knowledge of how a player is developed.

Mingo played for coach Les Miles at LSU. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, he started one of 13 games, recording 35 tackles and 3.5 sacks As a sophomore in 2011, Mingo was a second all-SEC selection after recording 47 tackles and eight sacks. As a junior in 2012, he played in all 13 games with 10 starts, and earned second team All-SEC honors after recording 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 quarterback sacks. He also led the Tigers with 12 quarterback hurries. He was one of 10 LSU Tigers to declare early for the NFL draft in 2013.

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Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Bill Belichick, Cleveland Browns, Mike Lombardi
Source: Mike Lombardi parting ways with Patriots 06.17.16 at 9:42 pm ET
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Mike Lombardi spent two years with the Patriots. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Mike Lombardi spent two years with the Patriots. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Mike Lombardi, who spent the last two seasons working as an assistant to the Patriots coaching staff, has decided to part ways with the franchise, according to a source.

Lombardi was hired by Bill Belichick following a short stint as GM of the Browns in 2013, as well as a four-year stretch as a member of NFL Media (2008-2012). In addition, Lombardi spent a stretch of time in the Oakland front office as well (199-2007) as well as Philly (1997-98).

Over the last two years, Lombardi was thought to be responsible for helping bring in a few of role players who grew into important puzzle pieces with the Patriots, including running back Dion Lewis and defensive end Jabaal Sheard.

The news was first reported by Mike Reiss of ESPN.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi,
Jabaal Sheard: Familiarity with Patriots, Mike Lombardi made it easy to settle on New England as free agent 03.20.15 at 3:45 pm ET
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Pass rusher Jabaal Sheard joins the Patriots via Cleveland. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Pass rusher Jabaal Sheard joins the Patriots via Cleveland. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

He signed as a free agent with the Patriots last week, but Jabaal Sheard has been on New England’s radar for a long time.

The Patriots’ interest in the edge rusher dates back to 2011 when he was coming out of college. That’s when he took a visit with New England, and in that time, he was struck by how the Patriots handled their business.

“It was real business-like, real focused; you could tell that it was going to be all business once you get there,” he said Friday on a conference call with reporters. “I mean, it was a bit nerve-wrecking, I can’t lie. I was a bit nervous.”

That previous visit — combined with Sheard’s background with former Browns GM Mike Lombardi, who is now with the Patriots — set the stage nicely for him signing with New England earlier this month as a free agent.

Sheard, who also drew interest from Seattle and Tampa Bay, said his stint with Lombardi “definitely” play a role in his new deal with the Patriots.

“I think that was huge. I think that’s what got New England interested in me right away,” Sheard said. “Obviously, he believed in me coming out as a rookie into the league and seeing what I could do. I think that’s going to translate to this year.”

One thing the Patriots hope translates is an ability to consistently get after the quarterback. Sheard’s pass rush numbers have dipped every year he’s been in the league, going from 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011 to two last year. Sheard pulled no punches when asked to assess his game the last few years: It wasn’t a switch in Cleveland’s scheme or injury, but his own level of execution.

“It was just me not executing, me not sticking to the game plan,” he said. “But I’m more focused; I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been. Like I said, I look forward to getting with these coaches and learning new things. Pass rushing is about learning new things, getting comfortable and coaches helping you out along the way. I just can’t wait to get started.”

The 25-year-old Sheard has played both outside linebacker and defensive end, and said Friday he feels like he “can play anywhere up front.”

He added: “I think my main strength is knocking guys back and creating penetration in the line of scrimmage, ultimately stopping the run and being a big factor there and getting after the quarterback or dropping, whatever else may come with it. Ultimately my strength, personally I think, is knocking guys back and creating penetration.”

Sheard is also looking forward to enjoying a level of consistency in New England that wasn’t necessarily there in Cleveland.

“I envision that they have some great plan for me, just knowing the system that they run,” he said of the Patriots coaching staff. “I’ve been around three different systems in my last three years so I’m ready for whatever. I’m always ready to embrace something new and something different and I’m up for the challenge, whatever it is.”

“I definitely look forward to working with Chandler [Jones] and Rob [Ninkovich]. Those guys are definitely excited, just talking to them a little bit. I think we’ll make a nice three-[man] tandem. We’ll get after guys and create a lot of [havoc] in the backfield and on quarterbacks.”

Read More: chandler jones, Jabaal Sheard, Mike Lombardi, Rob Ninkovich
Bill Belichick reportedly gave ‘tremendous’ talk to Indiana University basketball team prior to NFL combine 02.18.15 at 12:02 pm ET
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The NFL combine kicked off in Indianapolis Wednesday morning, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t go straight to Indianapolis when he arrived on Tuesday. Instead he visited with good friend, Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean and spoke to his team.

According to Indiana.Scout.com, the coach gave a “tremendous” speech. Crean thought only Mike Lombardi, an assistant to the Patriots coaches, would be going, but he brought Belichick along with him.

Crean is brother-in-law’s with the Harbaugh brothers.

Belichick will now be hard at work with the rest of the organization at the combine, which runs through Monday.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Honored to have met two of the all time greats in the NFL earlier today, Coach Bill Belichick and Mike Lomabrdi!

A photo posted by Nick Zeisloft (@n_zeis2) on

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi,
Patriots sign WRs Cole Stanford, Brian Tyms, release injured WR Greg Orton 07.27.14 at 9:51 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots made a pair of signings for the back end of their roster, adjusting for the loss of receiver Greg Orton on Friday.

Director of player personnel Nick Caserio announced Sunday morning during his press conference that the team signed receivers Cole Stanford and Brian Tyms. Both were in attendance Sunday morning as the team held its second straight practice in pads.

Stanford was wearing No. 14 while Tyms was assigned No. 84. Tyms was undrafted out of Florida A&M in 2012. He has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. Last year, he played for the Cleveland Browns, where currently Patriots executive Mike Lombardi watched him when Lombardi served in Cleveland’s front office.

As for Stanford, he played collegiately at Cal Poly, catching 43 passes for 891 yards and four touchdowns during his four years. As a hybrid weapon, he also rushed 54 times for 314 yards with a touchdown.

The Patriots also waived (injured designation) Orton, who will go back to the Patriots on injured reserve if he clears waivers. Orton suffered a lower body injury during practice late in practice Friday and had to be carted off the field.

Orton, 28, was originally signed to the Patriots practice squad on Dec. 31, 2013, released by the team on May 22, 2014, and re-signed on July 23. The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder spent part of 2011 and all of 2012 on the Denver practice squad and went to training camp with Denver in 2013. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals out of Purdue in 2009. Orton had stints with the Arena Football League’€™s Spokane Shock and the United Football League’€™s Omaha Knights before joining the Denver practice squad.

Read More: Brian Tyms, Cleveland Browns, Cole Stanford, Greg Orton
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