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Bill Belichick brings back Mona Lisa Vito, tells D&H he’s happy not to be doing science experiments before Super Bowl LI 01.30.17 at 6:16 pm ET
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Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

Following a Foxboro send-off early Monday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe on Monday in  Houston to talk about the potential distractions ahead of his group and the task at hand just six days away from Super Bowl LI against the Falcons. To hear the full interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

“We all know this is a circus without the trapeze and the dancing elephants,” Belichick said of media day, which will serve as the team’s kickoff to its seventh Super Bowl in the last 15 years.

But Belichick and the Patriots will take some comfort knowing that the line of questioning will be a bit different than those thrown their way during their last Super Bowl media day, which came in 2015 and served as the start of a Deflategate saga that lasted almost two full years.

“It’s been certainly a lot more concentration on football, Atlanta, the game, and not doing the science experiments that we did then,” Belichick said. “I learned a lot more from Mona Lisa Vito than I wanted to know, but this is really a two week preparation, but it’s something we definitely need because of our unfamiliarity with the Falcons.

“Having the extra time and being able to really try to prepare our players as well as possible for them to spend time learning a very good football team, a great football team, and all of the things they do well, to give them that extra opportunity to digest and analyze what they’re doing has been good,” Belichick continued. “We still have more work to do, and we’ll have to clean up some of the situational-type things here as we go through this week. We know how critical those situations are.”

Factoring in the realization that all six of their Super Bowls have come down to the last drive or close to it, Belichick knows the versatility the Patriots are up against with a Falcons offense that’s leading the league in postseason yards per game (457.5 yards), with the No. 1 passing offense and No. 5 rushing offense, and on the heels of hanging 44 points on the Packers in the NFC Championship game.

“This is about as well balanced an offense as I’ve seen,” Belichick admitted. “They have so many big plays they can hit it all in 20, 30, 50-yard chunks or they can go 14 plays and go 80 yards and grind it out and convert three or four third downs along the way.

“Coach [Kyle] Shanahan does a great job with the running game. They are very productive running the ball and that opens up a lot of other things for them; the play-action passes, their drop back, early-down passing game doesn’t put them in a lot of long yardage situations,” said Belichick. “Both [Tevin] Coleman and [Devonta] Freeman are very explosive.

“They can both beat you, but they can beat you in different ways.”

Their backs also contribute to an explosive passing game led by quarterback Matt Ryan and his talented group of wideouts.

“Well I think he’s always played pretty well,” Belichick said of Ryan. “We have a lot of respect for Matt. I think he’s a great quarterback. What I see has been good, it’s been good all year, and he has a lot of great weapons to work with, he gets the ball to all of them, and he can as we saw last week against Green Bay, he can scramble, he can make plays.

“[Julio] Jones is hard to tackle, [Taylor] Gabriel, they have a lot of tough guys that might catch a pass for a couple yards or a screen pass or something like that and it ends up going for 30 [yards] because they break tackles and they’re good runners.”

Likely the best offense Belichick has gone against in the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams, Belichick knows his team can’t prepare for the week in one day, but knows what to expect from his group.

“There’s a lot to get ready for, learning their scheme and their personnel,” Belichick, who has not faced the Falcons since Sep. 2013, said, “I think we’re definitely trying to catch up on it, still got more work to do, but we’re making progress.

“We’re going to be ready to play 60 minutes.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mona Lisa Vito, Patriots, Super Bowl LI
Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway thanks Tom Brady for ignoring ‘verbal shrapnel’ and supporting Donald Trump 01.24.17 at 12:20 pm ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

If Tom Brady really wants to stop getting questions about his support of Donald Trump, he might want to ask his friend in the White House to stop name-dropping him.

Appearing on Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said Trump appreciates Brady’s support, which seemed to waver a bit in his weekly interview with Kirk & Callahan on Monday.

“President Trump is just so grateful that friends like Tom Brady are loyal and can ignore the shrapnel, the verbal shrapnel,” she said. “I assume [the] same with Bob Kraft, the owner of the team, who is a good friend of the President’s, who came to the inauguration, and is just a fabulous man and leader in this country.”

Speaking to WEEI on Monday, Brady walked back his support of Trump just a bit.

“I don’t want to get into it, but if you know someone, it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or they do,” Brady said. “You have a lot of friends in your life. I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences.”

Read More: Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Patriots, Super Bowl 51
Johnny Manziel believes ‘The GOAT’ Tom Brady will lead Patriots to Super Bowl vs. Falcons 01.19.17 at 12:50 pm ET
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With an endorsement like this, the Patriots can’t lose.

TMZ Sports caught up with Johnny Manziel recently, and the disgraced former NFL quarterback offered his thoughts on who’ll be playing in the Super Bowl.

“It’s hard to go against the GOAT, Tom Brady,” Manziel said. “I’m a big Kyle Shanahan guy. I’m pulling for Matt Ryan.”

Shanahan is Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, and the presumed next coach of the 49ers. That means Manziel sees a Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl.

In the same interview, Manziel said he’s working out five or six times a week, presumably in the hopes of making a comeback.

Read More: Falcons, Johnny Manziel, Matt Ryan, Patriots
Malcolm Mitchell (knee), Chris Hogan (thigh) part of a group of 7 limited for Patriots on Wednesday 01.18.17 at 4:27 pm ET
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Malcolm Mitchell was limited at practice on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Mitchell was limited at practice on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan were part of a seven-player group that were listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice for the Patriots. Hogan is dealing with a thigh injury he sustained in Saturday’s divisional playoff win over the Texans, while Mitchell has been sidelined as of late with a knee issue.

Limited Participation
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

Here’s a look at the Steelers’ injury report.

Did Not Participate
RB Le’Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (illness)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)

Limited Participation
LB Anthony Chicikllo (ankle)
TE Ladarius Green (concussion)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)

Full Participation
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
DE Ricardo Matthews (ankle)
RB Fitzgerald Toussant (concussion)

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

Read More: Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots, Steelers
Lou Merloni on OM&F: ‘There’s no way Tom Brady will be MVP’ of Super Bowl at 11:57 am ET
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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Love a good conspiracy theory, Patriots fans? Lou Merloni’s got one for you.

Speaking on OM&F on Wednesday, Merloni said what a lot of Patriots fans are probably thinking — the NFL is not going to let Tom Brady win the MVP of Super Bowl 51, even if the Patriots romp, because the league does not want to deal with the spectacle of commissioner Roger Goodell handing Brady the award the day after the game.

“What about the MVP trophy?” Merloni asked. “There’s no way Tom Brady will be the MVP of that game, if they win. It’ll go to Julian Edelman. It’ll go to Dion Lewis. It will go to Trey Flowers. It’ll go to Patrick Freaking Chung before it goes to Tom Brady.”

The Super Bowl MVP is voted on by a panel of 16 writers and broadcasters after the game, as well as in an online/texting vote of fans during the game. The writer/broadcaster ballots are weighted 80 percent and fans the other 20. The league does not technically have a say in the result, but after the way the league conducted itself during Deflategate, there are sure to be questions raised if Brady is not rewarded for a big game.

Of course, the Patriots must get through the Steelers first, but it’s food for thought.

Read More: Lou Merloni, MVP award, OMF, Patriots
Patriots greatness summarized in one amazing chart 01.03.17 at 4:04 pm ET
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Patriots graphicWe know how great the Patriots are around here, but it never hurts to see it laid out graphically.

A user over at Reddit named Portuguese Empire takes care of that (as unearthed by USA Today’s FTW blog) with this handy graphic illustrating division winners since NFL realignment 15 years ago.

Every division has had multiple teams win multiple division titles in that time . . . except the AFC East, which has been dominated by the Pats. Seriously. Look at this graphic. Look at all those little Patriots helmets. There are 13 in all.

It’s fascinating to see the runs of teams like the Eagles in the early 2000s, or the Colts in the early- and mid-2000s, or the Broncos of recent vintage come and go, while the Pats stay remarkably, dominantly consistent.

It’s also worth noting that of the two times the Pats didn’t win the division, in 2008 they actually tied for first with the Dolpins at 11-5, but lost on a tie-breaker.

Read More: NFL Playoffs, Patriots,
Charlie Weis on Kirk & Callahan: Michael Floyd already knows 75 percent of Patriots offense 12.16.16 at 12:30 pm ET
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Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis joined Kirk & Callahan on Friday and discussed new wide receiver Michael Floyd, who joined the team this week after being cut by the Cardinals following an arrest for suspicion of DUI.

Weis coached Floyd at Notre Dame nearly a decade ago and said his former player should have a considerable leg up on the typical midseason acquisition, because the system he played at ND is similar to the one the Patriots run now.

“How many places can you go to where you’re going to know 75 percent of the verbiage walking through the door?” Weis said. “The verbiage is the same verbiage, with Josh [McDaniels’] tweaks and what’s matriculated over the past decade, the verbiage is still the same. There’s just a 25 percent spinoff in every system. You’ve got a guy who comes in here who doesn’t have to learn the system all over again. Mentally, you’ve got a big advantage over other guys because you already know what to do.”

Perhaps that’s why the Patriots plan on bringing Floyd to Denver for Sunday’s showdown with the Broncos. He could provide another outside threat for Tom Brady, alongside Chris Hogan.

“Learning a pro system takes some work,” Weis said. “You come in in a short time frame, come into one system that has one set of verbiage vs. another. Where he’s coming from, he played under me, he knows all those words.”

Weis is clearly fond of Floyd, the No. 13 pick in the 2012 draft, despite some off-field issues.

“Mentally, I want him to get his life screwed on straight,” Weis said. “He can really help you on the football field.”

Weis even invoked the name of a former Red Sox nemesis to illustrate how athletes should conduct themselves off the field — Yankees great Derek Jeter.

Added Weis: “I’m not downplaying what happened. But I do know this is not a habitual, every-night partier. That’s not who he is. But it really bothers me that these guys make a whole bunch of money and they don’t have the common sense when they have a beer — Derek Jeter told me one time if he ever had one beer he wouldn’t drive. And you wonder why Derek Jeter is never in the papers.”

Read More: Charlie Weis, Kirk & Callahan, Michael Floyd, Patriots
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