|Tom Brady doesn’t know how long Bill Belichick will coach, adds ‘there’s no B.S. with Coach Belichick’||02.02.17 at 11:14 pm ET|
HOUSTON — The subject of how long Bill Belichick might coach has become a hot topic in the last few days of Super Bowl week.
The story broke on Wednesday in the Washington Post that Patriots owner Robert Kraft knows how long Belichick might want to coach the Patriots but said that information will remain between the owner and the coach.
Then on Thursday, Belichick, when asked point blank if he’s given thought about his coaching future, said he’s focused only on the game with the Falcons Sunday.
Minutes later, at the same podium, Tom Brady was asked who might retire first, Belichick or the quarterback?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know what he plans on doing,” Brady said. “He’s the best, and I’ve been very lucky to play for him. He’s so focused on coaching and doing anything he can to help us win. There’s no B.S. with Coach Belichick, and I think that’s what players appreciate. When you come into the program, you realize it’s all about football and it’s not a bunch of ra-ra crap that’s not going to matter and has no bearing on preparing you for the game, but it’s just coaches screaming louder and louder and thinking that’s going to emphasize some certain point.
“I think Coach does a great job of every week putting the urgency on the team and making us understand that we’re going up against a very competitive team that could beat us if we don’t play the way that we should play. Every week, he’s so consistent, and I think that’s a great thing for us as players is to have a leader like that who brings it every day. Whether that’s April or whether that’s early February, his attitude is the same.
“He’s trying to do and coach the best way that he can in order to get us to go out there and execute at the highest level possible. I love it. He’s certainly a disciplinarian, so in that sense, it’s great because when you’re the quarterback and you coach does that for you, I don’t really have to do any of those things. I can be just like one of those other guys. I’m yelled at just like everybody else, but it’s nice to feel, especially in my 17th year, that I am one of the guys because I think that’s ultimately the best thing for our team. He certainly takes the lead and we all fall in line.”
Brady went in depth as to why he and Belichick have gotten along so well over their historic 17-year run.
“His style, I think, is very conducive to just getting the best out of me, so I think it’s a good fit,” Brady said. “I probably don’t take compliments very well is something you guys probably know covering us, and he doesn’t give very many compliments out. I think in that sense, he coaches us hard. There’s some throws that I make and you throw it 50 yards downfield and hit the guy in stride, and I’m like, ‘Damn, that was a pretty good throw.’ And I’ll look back at him and he’ll be looking for the next play. That’s just his style. He has a very high level of expectation. He’ll say all the time, ‘I hope my expectation for you guys isn’t better or more than your expectation for yourself.’ I think those types of things really challenge us as players to be at our best every single day, to never take these opportunities for granted and to try to keep reaching a higher level as the season goes.”
HOUSTON — Bill Belichick had nothing but glowing things to say about Julio Jones in the final media availability before Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Going into the biggest game of the season, Belichick wasn’t about to revisit the history of his advice to current Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff not to draft the receiver out of Alabama in the 2011.
That story was detailed in Michael Holley’s book “War Room“.
To review, the Falcons essentially mortgaged the future to move up to No. 6 in 2011 in a blockbuster trade with Cleveland. Dimitroff dealt their No. 27 overall selection, their second and fourth-round picks in that same draft and their first and fourth picks in 2012.
Belichick wasn’t in the mood for going down memory lane Thursday.
“I think I’ve said it many times. Julio Jones is a tremendous player,” Belichick said. “He does everything well, plus he brings an element of toughness to that position that I would say is extremely high. He is big, strong, fast, catches the ball well, runs well after the catch and he blocks.”
This season, Jones had 83 catches, 1,409 yards and career-best 17 yards-per-catch average to go with six touchdowns.
To Belichick’s point, he used two players in practice Thursday to simulate the energy and competitiveness Jones brings on every play. Why?
“That’s such a key guy for us, the routes and all that,” Belichick told USA Today pool reporter Jarrett Bell. “We have two guys doing it so we won’t wear one guy out. You’ve got to know where he is on every play.”
About an hour later in his press conference, Belichick reiterated his respect.
“He is a very competitive tough player and I have all the respect in the world for him,” Belichick said. “Again, I really don’t see any point in going back over that conversation. It was a long time ago and it doesn’t really have an application to what is going to happen on Sunday. But I have great respect for Julio Jones and I had a lot of conversations with Coach (Nick) Saban about Julio. Nothing but positive things about the player and from what I have observed the way that he plays and competes. He is one of the top players in the league.”
As for Jones, who led the NFL in 2015 with 136 catches and 1,871 yards, he is just looking forward to the game Sunday.
“The next three days for me – we’re going to go to practice and we’re going to practice hard,” Jones said Thursday. “I’m not going to make anything up as far as my routine. It’s just one day at a time. I’m not looking forward to Sunday right now like, ‘It’s Sunday! Sunday!’ It’s just one day at a time. I have to put the work in to be where I want to be at on Sunday.”
Has he ever spoken with Belichick?
“No I haven’t had any communication at all with Bill Belichick, but you can see he’s a great head coach.”
|Mike Petraglia recaps Bill Belichick’s respect for Julio Jones and Tom Brady on family night||at 8:21 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Bill Belichick paid nothing but great respect to Falcons receiver Julio Jones and spoke of a spirited practice while Tom Brady laughed when asked if he has any idea if he or Bill Belichick will retire first. Mike Petraglia has the Thursday report from Patriots Super Bowl headquarters in Houston.
|Vincent Valentine (back) added to Patriots Super Bowl LI injury report, 7 Patriots limited||at 7:49 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Wednesday it was Alan Branch who turned up on the injury report during Super Bowl week. On Thursday, another Patriots defensive tackle appeared on the list.
Vincent Valentine, the rookie out of Nebraska who has played a bigger and bigger role as the season wore on, was listed as limited, along with the same six Patriots limited from Wednesday.
The Patriots will conduct their final practice on Friday at the University of Houston before going through a light walkthrough and meetings on Saturday.
As for Branch, he told reporters that the toe that was stepped on Wednesday in practice is “a little sore” but he expects to be fully ready to go come Sunday.
Nate Ebner (concussion) was again limited participation. Danny Amendola, Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Bolden were all removed from the report on Wednesday.
Here is the complete Patriots injury report for Thursday.
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)
DT Vincent Valentine (back)
|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.
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