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Bill Belichick explains how Ray Perkins took the Giants out of the ‘country club’ culture 01.31.12 at 6:35 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Before there was Bill Parcells, there was Ray Perkins.

It was Perkins whom Bill Belichick credited Monday with helping mold the Giants into a tough team, an image they carry to this day.

“I can say before I got to New York, and coach Perkins was like that, too, we had tough, physical practices, too,” Belichick said Monday. “He definitely set the tone. When I got there in 1979, relative to what the Giants had done previous to that, it was kind of a country-club atmosphere, from what I understood. I wasn’€™t there. It was a little bit different than what I had been used to. I learned a lot from the mental and physical toughness standpoint that Ray, and then Bill, built their teams with. Maybe I took it a little too far in Cleveland, I don’€™t know. It was kind of the same thing when I got there. People said that we were too demanding and we were doing too much. I was thinking to myself, ‘€˜I was with the Giants for 12 years. I saw this every day for 12 years. Don’€™t tell me we can’€™t go out there and have 9-on-7 two days in a row. I know we can.’€™ ‘€

Perkins coached the team until 1983 when Parcells took over.

The “toughness” of a team was a topic of conversation Monday when Belichick came out and announced his team spent Monday going through a “crisp” first day of practice in full pads here in Indianapolis.

Belichick also reminisced fondly about his days on the Giants coaching staff from 1979-90, with the last several years spent with Tom Coughlin, who served as wide receivers coach while Belichick worked on the defense. Belichick reminded everyone that, back in the day, there was never any question from the players about going full contact in practice. Now, thanks to the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed only one practice in full pads per week during the season.

‘€œIt was awesome,” Belichick said of his Giants’ days. “We had a great staff and great players. One of the biggest things I learned, that I can’€™t do today, but I know, is how tough those players were. We practiced every day in pads, every single day in pads. There were years that we practiced every single day on the turf before we had the grass practice fields up there on the hill, or it was being rebuilt or something happened. How we did 9-on-7, which is a good-tempo running drill, and how we did that on a regular basis. In training camp, we went out in pads every day. We hit every day. We did 9-on-7 every day. There was no way Bill (Parcells) would go out on the field without doing 9-on-7. We’€™d skip stretching before we’€™d skip 9-on-7. Going back to last year, and even this year, going out in pads, working on 9-on-7, having more contact work in practice, we’€™d get that look a little bit like, ‘€˜I don’€™t know if the players can do it.’€™ I’€™m thinking to myself, ‘€˜Can’€™t do it?’€™

“We were in pads on Fridays with the Giants, and nobody said anything. That’€™s the way it was. You went out there and practiced. I know what players are capable of doing because of how demanding we were with them from a physical standpoint, and that certainly didn’€™t lessen their aggressiveness or their toughness in games. That was a physical defense. That was a physical offensive line. Even getting ready for the Super Bowl against Buffalo, the way we ran the ball in that game. That started on the practice field with the tempo in practice. When you get those guys crashing into each other ‘€“ Jumbo (Elliott) and Mark Bavaro blocking (Lawrence) Taylor, (Carl) Banks, (Jim) Burt and all them ‘€“ they just lined up and played football. I know it was a different era, but it will never be like that again. I learned players can be tough, they can be physical, they can do more than they think they can do from that standpoint.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Pat Chung not in mood to talk about Rodney Harrison, David Tyree 01.30.12 at 6:32 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — After a win over the Redskins that saw Rex Grossman throw for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Rodney Harrison referred to the New England secondary as “probably” the worst he’s seen in the last decade.

On Tuesday, Pat Chung was asked if the comments made by the former New England safety served as motivation for the secondary over the last five games.

“It is honestly the first time I heard that,” Chung said.

That seemed impossible to me, given a) that Harrison said it on the most prominent football show in America and b) Vince Wilfork, among others, weighed in on the comments the very next. But Chung was adamant.

“I’m telling you, never,” Chung insisted. “Doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, anyway. That’s his job, mine is to play football. All we are worried about is this game. That’s it. We are not worried about anyone else. Just keep playing and continue to do the positives.”

Chung, who says he talks to Harrison “every couple of weeks or so,” also passed on this Patriots-Giants Super Bowl question:

Does David Tyree make The Catch if Pat Chung, and not Rodney Harrison, is the safety?

“Come on,” Chung said. laughing. “I’m not going to answer that, man. This is a totally different team, different players, different time. I’m not going to touch that one. It was an amazing catch, though.”

Read More: David Tyree, Giants, pat chung, Patriots
Chad Ochocinco won’t be standing up for ‘Media Day’ at 6:08 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — In an event seemingly made for Chad Ochocinco, the star Patriots wide receiver won’t be one of the 18 featured Patriots during “Media Day” on Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Sunday night, Ochocinco tweeted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, a man who helps coordinate the event. Earlier Sunday, he was asked by a follower if he plans something special for “Media Day.”

Ocho tweeted: Cant talk, strep throat. It’s expected that Ochocinco, like every participant in every Super Bowl, will be available to all media, even if he is off to the side.

Just last year, it would’ve been nearly impossible to imagine Ochocinco not getting his own podium with his reality show background and his ability to shine in the spotlight. Before using him as a shoulder to cry and lean on this season, Ochocinco co-hosted his own reality show with Terrell Owens and formed his own “news” network called OCNN. Ochocinco has sent a reporter to cover “Media Day” just last year.

Interestingly, Rob Gronkowski will have one of the 18 featured spots during the one-hour availability beginning at 10 a.m. It will be Gronkowski’s first public availability since injuring his left ankle during the AFC championship.

Among the other Patriots highlighted for “Media Day” include Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Rob Ninkovich and Aaron Hernandez.

Once the Patriots clear the field, there will be an hour break and then the Giants will follow from Noon-1 on the same Lucas Oil Field that will host Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Greg Aiello, New England Patriots, New York Giants
Boomer Esiason on D&C: ‘It’s shocking to me that the Giants are not the favorites’ at 12:03 pm ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about how much of a role Rob Gronkowski‘€™s injury will play in the Super Bowl, what this game means to both Eli Manning and Tom Brady‘€™s legacy, and why it’s not likely that Peyton Manning will be a Colt next season.

‘€œLast Friday if you would have asked me, I would’€™ve picked the Giants to win,’€ Esiason said. ‘€œI really would have because of the way they played and the fact that they were really playing extremely well in the last five games. They had the much tougher road to get to the Super Bowl.”

Added Esiason: ‘€œWhat gives me pause is the extra two weeks, and you know coach [Bill] Belichick: He’€™s smart, he gets it, he understands what’€™s going on. I don’€™t necessarily know that there’€™s a coach in the history of this league that has a better pulse of his team. … This is one of the best game managers I have ever seen as a coach. He’€™s going to have to be on his game. He’€™s really going to have to be on his game.

‘€œAnd I still can’€™t believe, and this is not a knock against the Patriots, I can’€™t believe that they’re favored. I can’€™t believe it, because the NFC was a much better conference this year. the Giants went on the road, they beat some really good teams, Eli has been really, really solid through the postseason and the last couple of games of the regular season, and they’re just flying high and they’re healthy and they have everybody back. It’s shocking to me that the Giants are not the favorites in this game.’€

Esiason, who suffered two high ankle sprains similar to the one that Gronkowski incurred in the game against the Ravens, said that the injury could be a game-changing factor, because even if Gronkowski plays, he isn’t likely to be 100 percent.

“If they would have played yesterday, there would have been no way he would have been on the field,” Esiason said.

Added Esiason: “When you have 90 catches during the year, 50 catches during the playoffs and you become an uncoverable tool and weapon that Tom Brady has, that is a significant, significant loss.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: boomer esiason, Eli Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Super Bowl XLVI
Super Summary: Monday morning roundup of Super Bowl coverage on WEEI.com at 8:26 am ET
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The Patriots have their first touchdown in Indianapolis, this one of the most literal sort, as the Super Bowl-bound Patriots were feted in Foxborough before boarding a plane for their weeklong business trip.

“We wish we could take all of you guys to Indy with us,” Tom Brady told the crowd, though evidently, the team was unable to find a plane capable of bringing the roughly 25,000 fans, the team members and all of the equipment to the big game.

Incidentally, in his extensive interview on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, Brady said that given the need to find tickets and hotels for approximately 40 family members and friends, the Super Bowl will be a money-losing proposition for him even if he gets a cut of the winner’s share of approximately $88,000.

“That’s OK,” he said.

Today’s coverage on WEEI.com:

– Brady’s interview with Dennis & Callahan was reflective, revealing and fascinating. A transcript is here. You can also listen to the interview on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page after it re-airs at 9:20 am EST on Monday.

– More on Brady, as Kirk Minihane notes that the possibility that the Patriots quarterback can cement his place as the greatest quarterback in NFL history is near the top of the list of the four most interesting storylines for the game.

Bill Belichick, stand-up comic? The coach’s demeanor was so jovial upon his arrival in Indianapolis — during his initial press conference, he joked about his infamous decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in a game against the Colts in 2009 — that receiver Wes Welker was left to wonder what had happened to the dour man in the hoodie. Mike Petraglia has more. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Rob Gronkowski, soy fiesta, Super Bowl XLVI
Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I’m not taking this for granted’ at 7:00 am ET
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In a wide-ranging interview on the Dennis & Callahan show that aired Monday morning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said that he is mindful that he may never have the opportunity to compete in a Super Bowl after Sunday’s game against the Giants. He noted that great teams (he cited the 2010 Patriots and this season’s Packers squads) can get bounced at any stage of the playoffs, thus offering him a reminder of the need to appreciate the opportunity that he has at hand in Super Bowl XLVI.

“I thought about [the possibility of never playing in another Super Bowl] the other day, because we haven’€™t been there for four years,” Brady said. “Last year, I thought we had a great team, and we lose in the divisional round of the playoffs. Green Bay had a pretty damn good team this year, and they lost in the divisional round. You can have a great team. You need some things to go your way, too. Ultimately, the thing we can control is playing good.

“I’€™m not taking this for granted. I’€™m enjoying every second of it. The opportunity to play this game, to represent the Patriots, I don’€™t take that for granted,” Brady added. “It’€™s hard to get to this game. To do it five times, it’€™s crazy. You don’€™t take it for granted.

Brady touched on several other topics, including his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, his increasing inability to be social in public settings, whether he truly felt (as he has suggested before) that he “sucked” in the AFC championship game against the Ravens, and how he views the matchup against the Giants in the Super Bowl.

A transcript of the conversation is below. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

When you were in high school, did you have any idea that your career would turn out like this?

Certainly not. You have goals and things as an athlete. I was never the greatest athlete. Even throughout high school, there were so many other guys who were potential Division 1-caliber athletes. I really didn’€™t start growing into my body.

I always tried to work hard. That came from my parents. To finally have the opportunity to go to Michigan, I was like the seventh guy on the depth chart when I got there. Even that was a dream. I didn’€™t even know anything about Michigan other than the helmets. To have a chance to go there and, wow, you’€™re seventh on the depth chart, I didn’€™t know if I would ever get an opportunity there. Finally I get an opportunity in my fourth year. Then you play, and going into your fifth year, I thought I did a decent job and then no one picks you and you’€™re like, man!

You don’€™t get invited to the Senior Bowl. I played in the Shrine Bowl. Gil Brandt was one of the guys who selected me there.

I’€™ve always felt like I’€™ve had to work pretty hard for it. It’€™s pretty cool now these days. Even warming up and running across the field, when I’€™m running next to Chad Johnson [Ochocinco] and Deion [Branch], these guys were, like, the fastest kids in their high school class, the best athlete on probably every team they’€™ve ever played on, and here I’€™m warming up next to those guys. I’€™m thinking, “Man, at least I can keep up with them a little bit.”

We’€™ve come a long way. I have so much fun doing what I do. Every day is fun for me.

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Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski
Bill Belichick acts like he’s really going to enjoy this Super Bowl 01.29.12 at 11:12 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Belichick has been to the Super Bowl twice as an assistant with the New York Giants, once as an assistant to Bill Parcells on the 1996 Patriots and now, five times with the Patriots as the head coach.

Never in the previous seven trips before Sunday’s arrival on the scene here in Indianapolis has he ever looked so calm or at ease.

‘€œWe wonder about that all of the time,” Wes Welker told reporters just after Belichick’s insightful, chatty and downright happy-go-lucky 15-minute session with reporters. “I don’€™t know if it’€™s a lady in his life or what the deal is, but he definitely smiles a little more than he used to. But trust me, he is just as hard on us as what he’€™s been since day one, at least with me. He is on all of the time. He works very hard and tries to put us in the best position to win.’€

There were no reported sightings of Belichick’s girl friend, Linda Holliday, on Sunday and she was not with him as he took the stage but he certainly spoke as if he had a spring in his step.

‘€œIt’€™s nice to be in Indianapolis,” Belichick opened his address at the IUPUI Conference center inside the team hotel. “It’€™s about the nicest I’€™ve seen it here in February. It’€™s an honor to represent the AFC and New England in this game. A tremendous challenge here with the Giants. The Giants are a great football team. They’€™ve done an outstanding job all year, particularly here at the end of the season. (Giants president and CEO) John Mara and his family ‘€“ I have a close relationship with them ‘€“ a lot of respect for their organization. (Giants head coach) Tom (Tom Coughlin) and I are good friends, and we go back quite a ways. He and his staff have done a great job with his football team.”

Belichick was only just beginning.

“They have a lot of good football players, they are well-coached, disciplined and tough,” Belichick continued. “They have played very well over the last five weeks and during the course of the season as well, which we saw plenty of that during the regular season. Looking forward to a good week of work here, a good opportunity to play against another great football team. Hopefully, we will be ready to go on Sunday night. We have a lot of work in front of us. I think our players are obviously excited to be here, looking forward to the challenge and we get to work tomorrow out on the field.”

Asked about the hospitality provided by the City of Indianapolis, Belichick had the line of the day.

‘€œI never had too much hospitality here until I went for it on fourth-and-2, and since then, I’€™ve been greeted in a lot more friendly manner than I have in the past,’€ Belichick quipped, causing stunned reporters to laugh out loud, their form of applause at a truly witty line and evidence that Belichick is entirely capable of self-depricating humor, even on the sport’s biggest stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brian Waters, Chuck Noll, John Mara
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