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Bill Belichick admits his players ‘put up with a lot from me’ but proves it’s all worth it 01.23.17 at 1:39 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have had quite a run. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have had quite a run. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — When cameras caught Martellus Bennett doing the pom-poms with Patriots cheerleaders after New England’s 36-17 win over the Steelers in the AFC championship, it was equal parts celebration of going to the Super Bowl and relief after passing the latest Bill Belichick exam.

What did Belichick think of Bennett’s cheerleading tryout?

“Yeah, I missed all of the dancing with the cheerleaders; sorry. We’ll have to get a replay on that,” Belichick said on Monday’s conference call. “But you know, I’d say just in general it’s great to, obviously it was a great win for our team and our organization last night, but it’s great to see the players who have worked so hard take so much satisfaction in their relationship with their teammates and the goal that they accomplished last night.”

Bennett, who is headed home to Houston for his first Super Bowl appearance, caught five passes on all five targets from Tom Brady on Sunday, amassing 32 yards. He was the third-leading receiver behind Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman.

Bennett is just one example of what Belichick has always sought in his players – a firm belief in the team as one. Bennett came to New England from Chicago in the final year of his four-year deal. He’s used it as a platform to show his talents for a new deal in New England or elsewhere – and he’s done it while playing over half the season with a broken bone in his right ankle.

“Another step in a season where the team has already won 16 games but it was another significant step,” Belichick added Monday. “When you see them reacting and congratulating each other and celebrating like that, you know you have a closeness on the team that is special. I mentioned that last night and it’s true. These guys, they work hard. They put up with a lot from me and they put up with a lot of significant demands and requirements here, but it’s done with the intent to try and produce a good product and a good team.”

For as much as he is considered super serious and rigid, Belichick has always encouraged his team to celebrate big plays and big games with one another. The team that wins together celebrates together, and vice versa.

“They buy into it,” Belichick said. “They perform well in critical situations like [Sunday] night. I take a lot of satisfaction in seeing them achieve that because they’ve worked so hard for it and I think they deserve it, but you’ve got to go out and prove it.

“Again, going back to [author] Jerry Izenberg – ‘No Medals for Trying.’ [The 1990 book on the New York Giants] This time of year everybody tries hard. Everybody has a good team that is still playing. You’re only rewarded for achievement. Last night we were fortunate enough to earn that. It’s a great feeling to see everybody have that kind of interaction with each other and feel so good about their teammates and the guys they’ve worked so hard with.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerry Izenberg, Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots
Mike Petraglia talks Tom Brady’s first half as Patriots drop preseason finale to Giants 09.01.16 at 11:37 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Brady played the whole first half, Barkevious Mingo shines in debut and DJ Foster impresses in 17-9 loss to Giants. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia has the report from inside MetLife Stadium.

Read More: Barkevious Mingo, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Tom Brady plays entire 1st half, Barkevious Mingo lights it up as Patriots drop preseason finale vs. Giants at 10:07 pm ET
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Sep 1, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;   New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) scrambles against  New York Giants defenders during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady was under pressure early and often Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tom Brady certainly got his chance to throw the ball in the preseason finale Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.

The Patriots quarterback, making his final game appearance of any kind until Oct. 9, attempted 26 passes, completing 16 of them for 166 yards for a touchdown and an interception in a 17-9 loss to the Giants. Brady attempted 19 passes alone in the first quarter.

Jacoby Brissett played the entire second half while Jimmy Garoppolo, who is slated to the start the season opener Sept. 11 in Arizona, suited up but did not play.

The Patriots finished the preseason 3-1 and now look ahead to Saturday’s cutdown to 53 players by the 4 p.m. deadline.

The game also featured the impressive debut of linebacker Barkeviovs Mingo, acquired Aug. 24 in a trade with the Browns. The linebacker forced fumbles on consecutive plays and had a three-yard tackle for a loss on another as he made his debut a strong one in the first half.

Aaron Dobson and D.J. Foster also had big moments in the first half, with Dobson making a spectacular 38-yard leaping grab in the second quarter to set up the Patriots in the red zone. Foster caught a 30-yard pass to set up Brady’s only touchdown pass of the night.

Foster finished with nine catches on 10 targets for 110 yards, plus nine carries for 22 yards.

[Click here for a complete box score].

Brady started his night by targeting Julian Edelman three times. He completed one for minus-3 yards. The first drive ended when Dobson appeared to stop short and the short pass over the middle was intercepted by Trevin Wade. Brady moved the ball to the Patriots 44 before the drive stalled.

Brady’s third drive was one play. He completed a pass to Martellus Bennett for two yards before Bennett coughed it up for a fumble and turnover.

Brady finally got rhythm on the fourth drive, completing six of seven passes, including a 7-yarder to a wide-open Keshawn Martin in the right flat for a touchdown. Brady even rambled 10 yards up the middle for a first down.

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Read More: Barkevious Mingo, New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl
Jonathan Kraft wants to keep Roger Goodell (or any commissioner) out of the ‘firing line’ of discipline at 7:37 pm ET
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Jonathan Kraft

Jonathan Kraft

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jonathan Kraft has some sympathy for Roger Goodell.

On Thursday, the 10th anniversary of Goodell taking over as NFL Commissioner, the Patriots team president voiced his opinion on the job Goodell has done since taking over for Paul Tagliabue on Sept. 1, 2006.

Speaking on the Patriots pregame radio show, Kraft was asked how he thinks Goodell has handled discipline over the last 10 years. Kraft made it clear that while he still vehemently opposes the way Tom Brady was disciplined, he thinks the league should take steps to take the Commissioner out of public scrutiny.

“Look, I think that’s a complicated position,” Kraft said. “Obviously, you know my opinion on our current situation and we’re not in agreement with what’s gone on and I think our organization has been pretty vocal about that. I do think that whoever the Commissioner of the National Football League is, at any point in time, it’s important that the office have authority. It gets watched. It’s very visible. I’ve seen over the last couple of years, since the air pressure situation, I think that a clear and defined methodology around conduct that takes into account the role of the Commissioner and doesn’t put him or her in the firing line is probably where this needs to go. It’s much more complicated than it’s been in the past.

“I think having the ability to discipline conduct for anybody involved, be it a player or coach, executive or owner, is extremely important because we’re scrutinized, rightfully so, in a very granular way and there needs to be a clearly defined ability for conduct and for the rules of the league to be followed. For the good of the league, the Commissioner shouldn’t probably be on the firing line, at least in my opinion.”

Asked about his thoughts about the job Goodell has done overall on the 10th anniversary of taking over, Kraft took a long pause, had a small laugh and then offered his perspective.

“When Roger became Commissioner, he succeeded Paul Tagliabue, that had been a lawyer and Paul had succeeded Pete Rozelle, who was the brilliant marketing guy,” Kraft said. “And when Pete was the Commissioner, I think the league really needed Pete’s marketing. I never had the privilege of meeting Pete but I’ve read a lot about him and obviously know a lot of people who worked with him. He was a world-class marketer.

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Read More: Jonathan Kraft, New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl
Tom Brady to spend part of suspension working on TV project with Michael Strahan at 5:18 pm ET
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Tom Brady had a touchdown pass in his return to the field Friday night. (Jeremy Brevar/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady throws a pass during the preseason. (Jeremy Brevar/USA Today Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tom Brady will not just be watching TV during his time away from the Patriots. He’ll be helping to produce a TV show of his own.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Audience Network has picked up six one-hour episodes of “Religion of Sports,” a documentary series created by Brady and long-time defensive nemesis Michael Strahan.

The series will explore the “impact of sports in society and culture by looking deeply at events and trends, including episodes focused on the Calgary Stampede and NASCAR events,” according to the network.

The series is set to debut in November, after Brady has already returned to the field from his four-week suspension.

Brady said, in a statement to THR, that he’s always been interested in the emotions sports evokes since he was a kid.

“I’ll never forget watching “The Catch’ in Candlestick Park with my dad. I was 4 years old, in awe of it all,” Brady said, referring, of course, to the Joe Montana-to-Dwight Clark connection against the Cowboys that sent the 49ers to Super Bowl XVI in Jan. 1982.

“In a lot of ways, I’ve dedicated my life to replicating that feeling. Now playing on the same stage as my childhood idols, I’m fortunate to have a pretty unique perspective on football and the sports world. I can think of no better vehicle than ‘Religion of Sports’ to share some of what I’ve learned and dig a little deeper into that feeling, the sort of spiritual experience that sports creates for players and fans alike.”

Strahan got the best of Brady in Super Bowl XLII, getting two tackles and a sack of Brady in New York’s 17-14 win over the Patriots.

Read More: Michael Strahan, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Super Bowl XLII
Scene-setting from MetLife: Tom Brady set to start preseason finale in final game before Oct. 9 at 3:56 pm ET
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MetLife Stadium is once again the scene for the Patriots’ preseason finale. (Mike Petraglia/

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Will he or won’t he?

From the moment Tom Brady dropped another big hint during his press conference Tuesday that he was “hopefully” going to play in the preseason finale against the Giants, the question has been whether he will play in a preseason finale for the first time since 2011. The second biggest question is should he? The first question will definitely be answered shortly after the 7 p.m. ET kickoff between the Patriots (3-0) and Giants (1-2) at MetLife Stadium.

That year, training camp reps and the offseason was affected by the labor stoppage in the middle of the summer. Brady went 5-of-9 for 116 yards and played three series (all in the first quarter) in an 18-17 loss to the Giants at Gillette.

According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Brady will indeed start for the Patriots in the preseason finale at MetLife, his last action before his suspension officially begins Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. He won’t take another snap in a game until Oct. 9 in Cleveland.

Brady was 3-for-9 for 76 yards and a 33-yard TD to Chris Hogan in his 2016 preseason debut last week in Charlotte.

Curran also reports that Jimmy Garoppolo, the Week 1 starter in Arizona, will not play, despite making the trip to North Jersey.

This means that Jacoby Brissett will likely enter sometime in the second quarter and play the remainder of the game. Brissett looked impressive at times last week, completing all nine pass attempts for 83 yards and a 12-yard TD pass to DeAndre Carter in the third quarter.

The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a game-time temperature of 75 degrees. The Meadowlands was drenched in a heavy downpour for about 30 minutes at 2 p.m.

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Read More: Jacoby Brissett, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Josh McDaniels ‘focused on Chiefs,’ not interviewing for other head coaching jobs 01.11.16 at 10:52 am ET
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While not coming out and saying it, Josh McDaniels had no interest in seeking other head coaching jobs around the NFL. He’s much more interested and focused on getting Tom Brady and his offense ready for the Kansas City Chiefs this Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

McDaniels’ name once again came up in early talk about coaching vacancies in cities like Miami, Cleveland and New York (Giants). But word leaked late last week that he was taking his name out of consideration.

“I’m focused on the Chiefs and there’s nothing to report,” McDaniels said in a conference call Monday morning. “I’m excited for this week right now and don’t really have nothing to add to it.”

McDaniels, like Matt Patricia with the Browns, had a chance over the weekend to interview while the Patriots were resting on their bye. Why is this different for McDaniels?

“I think each year is different,” McDaniels said. “My focus is on the Chiefs and getting our team ready this year for this game. I’m excited to get a start on that preparation with the players this week.

“I think that there’s a lot of experiences that you have in coaching. If you learn from the experiences as you go through them, whether it’s as a coordinator, a position coach, a quality control coach, a head coach, whatever it might be, and you learn from those experiences, and take the good and take the bad and try to assess what you can do to be a better coach, a better staff member, what have you. Then hopefully we’re all improving. That’s the goal. Right now, my focus is on being the best coordinator and quarterback coach I can be for us so that we can get ready and have our best game of the year against the Chiefs right now.”

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Read More: 2016 NFL playoffs, Cleveland Browns, Josh McDaniels, Miami Dolphins
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