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A grateful Josh McDaniels says he was humbled by latest round of interviews 01.09.17 at 12:28 pm ET
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Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA;  New England Patriots Josh McDaniels offensive coordinator reacts as he leaves the field following the win against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 16-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Josh McDaniels could have more to smile about if he gets the chance to lead another team in the NFL in 2017. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Josh McDaniels knows all about compartmentalizing.

He noted Monday during his conference call with reporters as the offensive coordinator of the Patriots that his job requires that each and every day.

Over the weekend, he had the chance to step out of his role as OC of the NEP and into the shoes of a candidate who is presumably highly sought as a future head coaching candidate. The 49ers, Jaguars and Rams had their chance to speak with the 40-year-old offensive guru.

“It’s humbling,” McDaniels said. “It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to do any of those things. I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to sit in front of those people, that they would listen to me and spend time with me. Just got to do the best you can to represent yourself, your team, your organization that you come from, your family as best you can, and all the rest of it will play out how it’s supposed to play out.”

McDaniels is in a different position than defensive coordinator Matt Patricia or general manager Nick Caserio. McDaniels has 28 games on his resume as an NFL head coach, posting a 11-17 mark while in charge of the Broncos in 2009-10.

McDaniels had a chance to sell himself to the three teams over the weekend. But as soon as those meetings were over, he quickly turned his focus back on the team that still employs him.

“The profession we work in requires that each week,” McDaniels said. “We get ready for one team. We put all our focus, our time, our preparation, our energy into getting ready to do the best we can each week against a certain opponent. And the very next day, as soon as the game ends actually, our focus shifts to something different, whether that’s how we improve from what we just did to the preparation for the scouting report, the game plan for the next opponent.

“I think honestly, we’ve been trained to switch gears and really tie our focus into the thing that is at hand. If it’s a workday, we know where our focus is going to lie. It’s absolutely going to be on the Texans this week, and I’m looking forward to getting ready to go.”

Read More: Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh McDaniels, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots
Devin McCourty gives Matt Patricia a ringing endorsement for his job interviews this weekend 01.04.17 at 1:50 pm ET
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Matt Patricia reportedly will interview with the Chargers and Rams this weekend. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Matt Patricia reportedly will interview with the Chargers and Rams this weekend. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — One thing either the Chargers or 49ers are looking for in their coaching search is someone who can re-energize their languishing programs.

While the Chargers need a spark to re-enter consideration for the 2017 AFC playoff race, the 49ers need a full overhaul just to be competitive after firing their head coach and general manager.

If energy is what either San Diego or San Francisco is looking for, then Devin McCourty thinks they should look at Matt Patricia very closely this weekend.

“I would just say for us he’s been great,” McCourty said. “I don’t know anything about what it will be or how, but I think for us as players getting the opportunity to play under him has been great. Just his energy, his drive to be perfect, to get everything right for us. I think how much he cares about the defense and about the guys in that room I think really gets guys going and you have a great appreciation for what he’s doing and what he’s trying to do.

“I mean the time he spends here, the little things he does for us I think as a defense sticks out. I think that’s the first thing new guys, rookies, young guys, you learn as soon as you play under him, is really how much he cares and how much he wants to get better as a group. I think this year showed that he put a lot into it and it’s worked out well for us as a defense with him at the top leading us. We’ve just got to continue to do the things that we’ve been doing and listen to him.”

The 42-year-old Patricia, who has never held a head coaching job at any level, reportedly has already agreed to talk with the Chargers and 49ers this weekend about their job openings. Patricia has been the defensive coordinator in New England since 2012.

McCourty also gave credit to Patricia – at least indirectly – for helping to keep the defensive unit together and on the same page in the wake of several issues that cropped up over the season, including the trade of Jamie Collins and the benching of Jabaal Sheard.
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Read More: Devin McCourty, matt patricia, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers
Josh McDaniels downplays interest from Rams, 49ers: ‘I have nothing to add or comment on’ 01.02.17 at 12:18 pm ET
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Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels may be the hottest coaching commodity for vacancies around the NFL.

But on Monday, during a conference call, he didn’t talk like it.

Multiple reports indicate that the 49ers have set up an interview with McDaniels for their opening after Sunday’s firing of head coach Chip Kelly (along with general manager Trent Baalke). The Rams and Jaguars are also interested in talking with the Patriots offensive coordinator.

“Really, nothing. I’ve just been working at grading the film here and getting everything nailed from the Miami [game],” McDaniels said in Monday’s call. “I know there’s a process in place and we’ve gone through that before. But, at this point, I have nothing to add or comment on.”

The process, which McDaniels has been through the last several seasons, includes a window during the playoff bye week – usually on the weekend – to meet with teams and discuss openings.

Reports of interest in McDaniels in San Francisco, Jacksonville and Los Angeles came to light Sunday night. Tom Brady, during his weekly interview on Kirk and Callahan, said he would ‘hate to lose‘ McDaniels to another team.

All three of those teams figure to have an enormously long road ahead in terms of competing just to reach the playoffs. San Francisco finished 2-14, Jacksonville was 3-13 while Los Angeles came in at 4-12.

Read More: Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh McDaniels, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers
Bill Belichick calls on Patrick Chung to be D X-factor: ‘He’s got to be one of the best tacklers in the league’ 11.21.16 at 7:45 pm ET
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Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) tries to hold off New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) and defensive end Trey Flowers (98) before being sacked during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick (7) could not hold off Patrick Chung and defensive end Trey Flowers as he was sacked during the first quarter Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

The way Bill Belichick saw it coming into the game against San Francisco, the issue with the Patriots putting pressure on the opposing quarterback had less to do with getting after the QB than it did finishing the play when it was in front of them.

Insert Patrick Chung into the equation.

Bill Belichick has never been one to send a lot of pressure from the outside on corner blitzes. But on the very first series of the game and Colin Kaepernick facing 3rd-and-9 at his 26, Chung lined up on tight end Vance McDonald, who was split out wide. Chung looked right into the eyes of McDonald pre-snap but as the ball was snapped to Kaepernick in shotgun, Chung made a beeline for the Niners quarterback.

Unlike like past weeks, the Patriots would not let this chance for a big defensive play slip out of their hands in the Bay Area rain. Chung dove for Kaepernick’s ankles and held on for dear life, while Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich finished it off for a 12-yard sack credited to Chung. It was the start to a very productive day, as Chung wound up with a sack and nine tackles, topped this season only by his 11 tackles at Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.

“Patrick played well, played productively, pretty much as he always does,” Belichick said in his conference call Monday. “He gives us that week after week, makes plays in the kicking game, makes plays in the running game; makes plays in the passing game. He’s a good tackler, he’s around the ball. He’s just a productive player and it seems like it’s pretty much like that every week.It was the second of two sacks by defensive backs on the opening series. Malcolm Butler came off his man and came up to the line of scrimmage to tackle Kaepernick for a 0-yard sack on the first play of the game.”

The Patriots finished with four sacks in the first half and added one in the second half to finish with five on the day, a season high. As for selling the play at the start, Belichick said that was not as important as the finish of the play.

“There was pressure on the edge,” Belichick said. “They didn’t have it picked up. He had good patience with it and all of that, but I’d say the harder part of the play was tackling the quarterback. We’ve had a number of situations this year where we’ve been in that situation, where we’ve had players come in and block off the edge, and we just weren’t able to get the quarterback. He escaped somehow.

“So I think that’s really – Kaepernick almost got out of there on that one, too. Patrick tackled him, kind of wrapped him up around the leg or the ankle, and then somebody else, I think it might have been Trey Flowers, or somebody else was there to kind of help finish the play. But when you’re coming out of space like that, you can’t really let the quarterback outside when he’s as athletic as Kaepernick or Tyrod Taylor or guys like that. It’s a tough open field tackle on a player like that, so it was another good tackle. Chung is one of our best tacklers. He’s got to be one of the best tacklers in the league whether he’s in line or in space or whoever he’s tackling. He’s very good. I thought that was a very good tackle on the play and not an easy one.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Colin Kaepernick, New England Patriots, Patrick Chung
For escape artist Tom Brady, ‘it was a pretty great day’ and a great homecoming 11.20.16 at 8:58 pm ET
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Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (19) after Mitchell's touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady celebrates with wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell after Mitchell’s touchdown against the 49ers in the fourth quarter Sunday. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady showed Sunday he was paying close attention when he was growing up in the Bay Area cheering for Joe Montana and Steve Young.

The Patriots quarterback adjusted to tight coverage on his receivers by scrambling and extending plays, throwing four touchdowns in a 30-17 win over the 49ers Sunday in Santa Clara.

There was no better example of this than his final two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, he was facing second-and-goal at the 49ers 5. He was falling down and found Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone. Then with just over 10 minutes left, he slid forward in the pocket, saw rookie Malcolm Mitchell breaking free and rifled a touchdown pass of 56 yards to the receiver just over the head of of a defender.

“Yeah, it was a third-down pass and he was short of sticks and when I scrambled up, he wheeled and I just saw a little separation and just tried to give him a chance. He made a great play,” Brady said. “That was a phenomenal play by Malcolm. We really needed it. It was tough conditions out there but we hung in there, fought it out and grinded it out pretty good.”

And on the Amendola TD?

“We got a little different coverage than we want and then had to buy a little bit more time,” Brady said. “Danny made a great play, finding some space. I just kind of put it up there for him. It was a great play by Danny. He shows up every day with hardhat on, ready to go to work. I’ve just been impressed with him since the day he came in. Just his personality is infectious. He’s a very positive person and made a great play today. He made a lot of great plays. He’s growing along with everybody else. It’s been great to see.”

Brady was asked if he’s modeling his game after another scrambler – Brett Favre.

“I’m trying not to do that. Truthfully, I think they were pretty good in coverage,” Brady said. “They took away some of those early reads. There’s a lot of opportunities to be made when you do that because our guys can spring free with their quickness. We had a lot of those plays. There’s a lot of times, like on the touchdown pass to Malcolm, someone said you got hit on that. I don’t remember that. You throw it and see it on film the next day.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tom Brady,
Snap Judgments: Tom Brady (4 TDs) rescues Patriots in slop vs. 49ers at 7:30 pm ET
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November 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (33) runs past San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (29) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dion Lewis made his 2016 debut in the rain Sunday. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady wasn’t about to let a little rain spoil his much-anticipated homecoming.

Playing his first-ever road game against his hometown 49ers in a driving rain storm, Brady was at his improvisational best. The quarterback-turned-escape artist completed 24-of-40 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots ran away from the 49ers, 30-17, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

On a day they were without Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan on offense and the benched Jabaal Sheard on defense, the Patriots relied on the elusiveness of their superstar quarterback, who heard chants of “Brady, Brady, Brady” throughout the day.

Another Bay Area native, Julian Edelman from Redwood City, Calif., also had a big day. He was targeted 17 times by Brady, including on the first play of the game. He finished with eight catches and 77 yards and a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount finished the game strong with 19 carries and 124 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

The win improved the Patriots to 8-2 on the season while the miserable 49ers lost their ninth straight to fall to 1-9.

[For a full box score, click here.]

The game featured the debut of running back Dion Lewis. He was targeted five times in the passing game, with three catches for 26 yards. He added five carries for 23 yards in his first game back since tearing his left ACL against the Redskins on Nov. 8, 2015. With Gronkowski out with a chest injury, tight end Matt Lengel was active for the first time.

Another all-purpose back, James White, had an even bigger impact. He was targeted six times and had six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, linebacker Kyle Van Noy made his debut, taking the place of Sheard in certain situations. He finished with three tackles and a sack. The Patriots started out strong. They forced a 3-and-out from Colin Kaepernick on the opening drive.

Brady marched the Patriots down a very short field thanks to a 30-yard punt return from Danny Amendola. Brady hit Julian Edelman in the right corner of the end zone for a four-yard touchdown pass. Edelman caught the ball and got both feet down before falling out of bounds for the score.

But, as has been the case since mid-October, Stephen Gostkowski was not reliable with the extra point. He pushed it to the right on the wet turf. It was the tenth missed extra point of the day around the NFL.

The 49ers came back with a 33-yard Phil Dawson field goal to make it 6-3.

On the next drive, LeGarrette Blount broke out for a 44-yard run, thanks to some great downfield blocking from Malcolm Mitchell. Brady capped it off with a 9-yard screen pass to the left side to James White on the first play of the second quarter. White barreled over a defender for the touchdown and a 13-3 Patriots’ lead.

Closing Time note

Tom Brady recorded his 199th career victory, tied with Brett Favre for second all-time.

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Read More: Dion Lewis, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers,
As Rob Gronkowski heals, Bill Belichick explains the science of traveling an injured player across the country 11.18.16 at 10:37 am ET
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IMG_1518

Bill Belichick speaks Friday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The likelihood Rob Gronkowski and his injured torso makes the cross country trek to the Bay Area to take on the 49ers is slim-to-none.

Just in case, Gronkowski did have his equipment bag packed in front of his locker when the media was allowed in the locker room at 6:45 Friday morning. And Gronkowski did walk by and greet Tom Brady before team meetings.

But making the jump from classroom attendance to playing in an NFL game a week after a serious chest injury is risky at best.

Bill Belichick takes everything into consideration when traveling his team from one end of the country to the other. Without mentioning Gronkowski by name Friday, the coach said player injury and availability is right near the top of the list of his priorities.

“I think it could have a lot to do with it. It would depend on what the player’s individual situation was,” Belichick said. “It’s certainly a lot different than being at home where you could literally wait until an hour and a half before the game and make your decision on the player. I don’t think there’s a lot of downside. We’ve certainly had discussions in the past if the player has, whatever his particular condition is, if we think it’s probably less than 50-50 that he would be able to play.

“Again, if we were playing at home it would be a bit of a different situation. If we feel like it’s probably a long shot if you will, then do we really want to put him on the plane for five hours? Do we really think that after all that the swelling is going to down or that the ‘whatever’ is going to loosen up or whatever the case, whatever the nature of the condition is, is really going to improve? Is that the best thing to do, or the right thing to do?

“And could it set us back, and now we come back after the game, let’s say the player either does or doesn’t play, and then here we are on Monday and we’re further behind than we were on Friday. Yeah, I think that’s a legitimate conversation.”

There were initial reports that Gronkowski suffered a punctured lung on the hit from Earl Thomas Sunday night. In that scenario, cross country air travel would almost certainly nullify any chance Gronkowski would play, let alone make the trip. Those reports were modified on Monday to clarify that he suffered a bruised chest. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, as he continued to heal.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Gronk, New England Patriots, nfl
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