|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.”
|It was missing out on ‘family time’ — not lack of ‘fun’ — that made Reggie Wayne decide to leave Patriots||at 10:53 pm ET|
HOUSTON — Reggie Wayne has no regrets about the way it ended with the Patriots.
The veteran wide receiver, who had an 11-day stay in the summer of 2015 with New England at the end of what is likely a Hall of Fame career, hung them up after his time with the Patriots ended. But there were conflicting reports on the way it all went down, with one story saying Wayne asked for his release from New England because it wasn’t any fun. On Thursday, he said instead, it was about missing out on “family time.”
“I needed to get in my kid’s life. Fourteen years [playing] is enough. My wife, she was the All-Pro. It was time for family. It really was. I don’t regret the way it ended,” he said. “It’s a dead end at some point in time. Not everybody can be Tom Brady, to keep playing. Going through it, talking to my family, talking to my kids every day, I was 36 at the time. It was time to go home.
He had a problem with the reports that said he retired because it wasn’t fun with the Patriots.
“One thing about me? They live through sources. I don’t live through sources,” he said of those reports. “Let’s call your source. I don’t live through sources. I live through facts. I’m a facts guy.”
Wayne also rejected the idea that he was struggling to pick up New England’s offense.
“Listen, I’ve been playing football since I’ve been 7 years old. There are only so many route concepts you can make up. The only difference is learning the terminology,” he said.
“I went there, I worked out the 22nd or 23rd and I was with the starting offense on the 26th,” he added. “I was only there for 11 days, so I’m sure there was more to it, but I was starting in three or four days. In the third preseason game, which is probably the most important preseason game, I was with the starting offense. So as far as me saying it was too hard, practice was too hard, whatever man.”
Wayne also scoffed at the idea that he didn’t fit in.
“It’s football. They can say all they want about it not being fun, but [expletive], look where they’re at, in the Super Bowl. They win games.”
Currently working as an analyst for the NFL Network, he remains impressed with the New England receivers.
“It’s a amazing to see [the Patriots’] wide receiver position,” Wayne said. “It’s an example of you don’t need all first-rounders. You just need guys to go out and do their job. We were talking about that on the way in; Julian Edelman played quarterback. Chris Hogan … did he really play at Penn State or didn’t he? Malcolm Mitchell. All these guys. They’re an example of guys who … when you work hard and give it everything you’ve got, the sky is the limit.”
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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.”
|Robert Kraft wants to win Super Bowl LI to make ‘statement’ following Tom Brady suspension||at 8:59 pm ET|
HOUSTON — The 2016 Patriots season didn’t get off to the best of starts.
The team was without quarterback Tom Brady as he served his four-game Deflategate suspension. Although the team started 3-1, there many distraction without Brady on the field.
Since Brady returned, the Patriots have won 13-1 and now are facing the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Kraft hopes the team can win to prove to everyone that even if things go wrong, goals can still be achieved.
“I hope we can win this,” Kraft said on Thursday. “I think it will also be a great statement to people who are pursuing their dreams that sometimes you get treated unfairly or things don’t go your way. You just hang in there. You keep persevering, and sometimes good things happen. But it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win Sunday.”
This will be Bill Belichick’s seventh Super Bowl with the Patriots and the coach is showing no signs of slowing down. Kraft was asked how much longer Belichick will coach.
“As long as he’d like to,” Kraft said. “I’m very happy with him. We’ve been together 17 years. I like it when I hear him say, when you ask him that question, he said he’s getting paid to do what he loves. We’ll try to keep it like that.”
Added Kraft: “We’re just lucky to have a confluence of situations where we wind up with the greatest coach in the history of the game and the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, keeping them together and keeping a great team around them. It’s pretty special.”
The owner was also asked if he secretly hopes Belichick and Brady never retire.
“I hope not,” Kraft said. “At least as long as the good Lord lets me breathe, I hope they’re playing or coaching. It’s been such a treat.”
|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.
|Pool report: Nate Ebner (concussion) expected to play Sunday, Patriots using 2 players to simulate Julio Jones||at 8:11 pm ET|
HOUSTON — It appears Nate Ebner (concussion) will be good to go Sunday against the Falcons.
The special teams ace again worked in a red, non-contact jersey on Thursday, but all signs are pointing to him play Sunday in Super Bowl LI.
“I expect him to be ready to play in the game,” Bill Belichick said to pool reporter Jarrett Bell.
Another thing worth noting is the team is using two players to simulate Falcons receiver Julio Jones in Matthew Slater and Michael Floyd.
“That’s such a key guy for us, the routes and all that,” Belichick said. “We have two guys doing it so we won’t wear one guy out.”
Added Belichick: “You’ve got to know where he is on every play.”
The team is putting extra work in conditioning this week given the length of the game, especially factoring in the long halftime.
“You’re taking a game that’s three hours and it’s going to be closer to four” Belichick said. “You’ve got to sustain that a lot longer. Mentally, you just understand how slow the game is, how long the halftime is, what breaks are in between. It’s going to take a lot more staying power in this game than in a normal game. With pregame warmups and all that, you’re looking at 5.5 hours. It just makes for a long day.”
|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)
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