|Bill Belichick thinks Wes Welker is going to be a good coach because ‘Wes is a football guy’||02.01.17 at 11:06 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Some eyebrows were raised this week when the hometown Texans announced that Wes Welker would be returning to the NFL – as a coach.
Welker was hired as an offensive and special-teams assistant coach. Welker played in the NFL for 12 seasons, including six with the Patriots. Welker played for New England when current Texans coach Bill O’Brien served as an offensive coach and coordinator for the Patriots.
O’Brien left after the 2011 season and Welker departed New England after 2012. Welker, who battled with concussions for much of the second-half of his career, stopped playing after the 2015 season, finishing with 903 catches, 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns. He had more than 100 catches in five seasons.
Asked about his prospects as an NFL coach, Bill Belichick didn’t hesitate in heaping praise, pointing to a time when Welker was a placekicker for the Dolphins before the Patriots signed him in 2007.
“Nobody worked harder than Wes. Wes loved football. He was the first one in, last one out type of guy,” Belichick said. “Very instinctive player. Wes was a great player for us as a receiver but also as a returner and he was actually our backup kicker. He actually kicked in a game against us with the (Miami) Dolphins when they had an injury in pregame warmups. Wes is a football guy. He is into football.
“Whatever we asked him to do, block, run routes, return kicks, help us out in any way possible. Wes was a good football player, is a great football mind, works extremely hard and is a very instinctive player. He always seemed to do the right thing whether it was the slowdown, speed up, go under a linebacker, go over him, stop, keep going or pull up. He just had a great feel for where a quarterback wanted to throw him the ball and where he should be in the passing game relative to where other people were.”
Welker often talked about how he battled concussions, working through no fewer than six documented cases, including three in nine months and two in four weeks during the 2013 season.
Belichick and Welker did have some tension to overcome. There was the time in Jan. 2011, as the Patriots were preparing to play the Jets in the AFC divisional round, Belichick warned players not to say anything about Jets coach Rex Ryan. Welker then, while addressing reporters, made several foot references, a clear jab at Ryan’s reported foot fetish proclivities with his wife. And during a trip to Western New York, Welker reportedly joked around with Belichick before a team meeting.
All of that is now water on the bridge and Belichick was sincere in his support on Wednesday.
“I am sure Coach O’Brien recognized that as well from coaching him. I am sure he will do a great job in whatever they ask him to do,” Belichick added. “He did a great job for us as a receiver, as a blocker and as a returner.”
|Bill Belichick tells his kids to ‘follow your heart’, admits his dad told him ‘not to get into coaching’||at 10:37 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Imagine if Bill Belichick had taken the advice of his dad.
He would not be coaching the Patriots in a seventh Super Bowl this Sunday. As a matter of fact, if he listened to former Navy assistant Steve Belichick, he wouldn’t be coaching at all.
Belichick will conclude his 42nd year in the NFL this Sunday, most of them with some sort of coaching responsibility. But when asked Wednesday what advice he had for his children, all of whom have followed in his coaching footsteps, Belichick turned philosophical.
“Well, I got some advice from my dad and I passed that along to my kids. My dad’s advice was to not get into coaching,” Belichick said, only partly in jest.”
Belichick’s oldest children, Amanda, is a women’s lacrosse coach at Holy Cross. Stephen is the safeties coach for the Patriots while Brian is a coaching assistant.
Belichick often recalls the days when he was getting paid $25 a week to run off mimeographs for Ted Marchibroda and other coaches on the 1975 Colts. So, he was very aware that sometimes children follow in the steps of their parents because of a passion for what they’re doing instead of trying to choose the most financially beneficial track.
“What I have always said to my kids or really any young people that have asked me that question is you have to follow your heart, do what your passion is,” Belichick said. “Don’t just take a job because it pays a little more money, just do what you want to do. Live out your dreams and try to achieve them. They are in what they do because that is what they want to do, it is not my decision. I don’t try to guide them into it, I don’t try to guide them out of it. I try to help them the best I can like any father would try to do for his children.
“Ultimately, when they become adults and they are ready to make their own decisions then they have a green light to make them. If they ask for my advice I will certainly give them the fatherly advice, the best that I can. But in the end, they are the ones that have to live that. That is the same thing when kids are choosing a college or making a decision like that. They are the ones that have to wake up every day, go to school, play on the sports team and get the education at that school.
“They are the ones that have to be happy at the school, not the parents, not somebody else that is directing them. Again, you try to help them with the decision but ultimately it is their choice and they are the ones that have to live with it. I try to be supportive and not try to steer it one way or the other.”
|Mike Petraglia recaps all things, Bill Belichick and Roger Goodell on Day 3 at Super Bowl LI||at 7:50 pm ET|
HOUSTON — What did Roger Goodell have to say about coming back to Foxboro? And what did Bill Belichick have to say about Day 1 of practice in Houston? Mike Petraglia reports from Patriots AFC Super Bowl headquarters in Houston.
|Nate Ebner (concussion) returns while Alan Branch limited after toe stepped on Wednesday in practice||at 7:28 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Riding that scooterboard might be a little more painful for Alan Branch.
The Patriots nose tackle, who rode about 100 yards on the skateboard from the back of the Patriots charter plane Monday to the team buses, told ESPN’s Mike Reiss he had his toe stepped on while at practice Wednesday, the first full day of workouts at the University of Houston in preparation for Super Bowl LI Sunday at NRG Stadium.
But he added, he’s “feeling good” and not concerned, something that was apparent as he spoke with reporters after practice with a smile.
Nate Ebner (concussion) cleared concussion protocols and was cleared for limited participation.
Martellus Bennett (knee) and Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) were also limited again. In total, six Patriots were limited at the practice which featured full attendance.
Danny Amendola, Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Bolden were all removed from the report on Wednesday.
Here is the complete Patriots injury report for Wednesday.
ST Nate Ebner (concussion)
DT Alan Branch (toe)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
|How Bill Belichick is preparing for a game that is ‘unlike any other’ and helping his team avoid ‘burnout’||at 9:47 am ET|
HOUSTON — When you’ve been to seven Super Bowls, you pretty much know the drill.
Such is the case for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. But even with that experience comes the challenge of pacing yourself on the game day unlike any other in the NFL.
When Brady spoke Monday night of trying to monitor his early energy in Super Bowl LI, he brought up the point about how important it is to save his best play for the end of the game.
“It’s a long day. It’s a long game. There’s long breaks, long halftime, long pre-game, a lot of emotional energy,” Brady said. “I think sometimes what happens is as the game goes on… we scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Seattle. I think some of the best football needs to be played at the end.
“So, you can’t waste all your energy before that. There’s some of these games that get out of hand for one reason or another. We’ve never had those. I hope that… I’d love for it to get out of hand in our hand. We’ve been in too many of these close games to realize its pretty unlikely for that to happen.”
Belichick echoed those sentiments Tuesday and detailed the challenges he faces as a head coach to monitor his players during the early parts of the Super Bowl.
“That’s a very challenging situation because there is so much leading up to the game,” Belichick said. “It’s such a long game between pregame, the start of the game, halftime, TV timeouts and so forth. It just extends longer than what it normally does including the pregame part of it.
“We just try and pace ourselves through that. Some of that is nutrition, hydration and things like that. Part of it is an understanding of what it’s going to be like so you don’t get surprised and get into the middle of the game or the middle of the third quarter. That’s kind of when the game would be ending but there’s still another 20 minutes to play or so. I think understanding that and making sure that the pace of the game for each individual, which is different, for an offensive line or defensive line, the pace is a little different than receivers or defensive backs that are running 30, 40, 50 yards to cover.
“It’s the difference between boxing and distance running. Then, you have a lot of guys in between. It’s definitely challenging but it’s the same for both teams. It’s the same environment. Everyone needs to try and maximize all those things, their rest, attentiveness and pace so they don’t burn out too soon. It’s a challenge. This game is unlike any other that way.”
|Bill Belichick says Tom Brady puts it all together as ‘a great role model’ for the Patriots||at 9:18 am ET|
HOUSTON — When Bill Belichick finishes up installation of his seventh Super Bowl game plan as a head coach this week, he has little doubt that the offense will understand exactly how he wants it to run on Sunday.
Belichick believes the quarterback has reached the pinnacle game for a record seventh time because of the work he’s put in, on and off the field, setting the best possible example for younger players on the roster.
“Tom works very hard and prepares well. He always has. He’s very diligent in his preparation,” Belichick said Tuesday. “It’s not an up and down thing. It’s consistent every week in terms of learning the defense, learning their schemes and their players. Just getting our game plan so he knows what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.
“Then, getting into the situational football as we get closer to the game. He’s very smart and has a lot of experience. In our system he has a lot of experience against defensive coordinators, different players, and different situations. He’s able to put it all together better than any player that I’ve ever coached.”
There’s been plenty of discussion over the past two years about the example Tom Brady has set throughout football.
In his coach’s mind, there’s no doubt what he’s meant to the Patriots.
“Putting all that together at once in just a couple of seconds of time, he has to process it once he gets the calls and gets to the line of scrimmage. I think his preparation allows him to in part do that. He has the football instincts as well. He’s a great role model for all of us. Any player and any coach. All of us.”
|An epic Super Bowl answer from Bill Belichick on how watching dad scout was ‘unforgettable experience’||01.31.17 at 5:13 pm ET|
HOUSTON — No one had a bigger and long-lasting influence on Bill Belichick than did his father, Steve.
In the David Halberstam book “The Education of a Coach” Belichick reveals just what coaching means to him and how his dad guided him to his life’s passion.
Just 12 hours after Tom Brady fought back tears talking about his father’s influence, Belichick gave a nearly five-minute dissertation on exactly how his own father, a 34-year assistant at Navy, guided him on the path he’s enjoying now, as he makes his seventh appearance as a head coach in the Super Bowl.
“He influenced it greatly,” Belichick began. “I grew up going to Navy practices and meetings that he would have with the team. He scouted the Navy upcoming opponents. On Tuesday nights, he would go over to the field house, the team would come over. He would watch the film with them. Of course, back in those days players went both ways so it was kind of [like] you’d watch continuous game film, offense, defense, special teams. But the same guys were out there playing, whether out there on offense or defense.
“So I’d go over there with him and sit and listen to him talk to the team about, ‘Here’s what they’re going to do, this is a key, here’s this backfield set, here’s this guy’s stance.’ Whatever it was. He would talk to the team, prepare the team from a scouting standpoint and then going to practice. Of course, that gave me a great opportunity to a see a number of great coaches that were at the Naval Academy, head coaches like Wayne Harden and assistant coaches like Coach Rosano, Coach Corso, Ernie George, just go right down the line. There were dozens of them, Joe Mark, Joe Bugel, all the positions.
“Each guy had a different style, each guy had a different way of doing things. And I kind of learned that you could be a good coach doing it this way, doing it that way, fit in your style. But as it goes back to my day, hard work, preparation. To go to a game and watch him scout a game was it was an unforgettable experience really.”
But the backbone of Belichick’s coaching is preparation. That’s something he learned from his father, who was regarded as one of the most advanced scouts in all of football for three decades.
“There would be four or five other scouts in the press box scouting the game besides him,” Belichick said. “He’d be there with his book and scout it and he would write down the substitutions, the play and would be ready to go for the next play. Then, when it was all over, those plays, back in the days when it took two days for the film to come in, those plays were the game. I mean you had to wait two days before you could see the play on film.
“Meanwhile, there would be other guys scouting and they would be like, ‘What happened on that play? Who caught that?’ He was just so good at it so when the game would be over and we’d be driving home, we’d talk about the game. He saw every play, the blocking scheme, the defense, the pattern that they ran, how it was covered, what coverage they were in, who blitzed. He had a great vision so he taught me and tried to explain those keys to me, how he watched the guard triangle, fullback, get a run-pass key, take his eyes move down to the passing game if the quarterback was off the line of scrimmage. If it was a running game, then go to the line, see the puller, see the blocking pattern but before that, he already knew that he already knew the down-and-distance, the field position, the formation and the front, so that was already locked in and he would just put it together. So, it was really impressive.
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