Belichick is seeing secondary gains


Belichick is seeing secondary gains

Two games ago, the Patriots picked off three Andrew Luck passes and returned two of them for touchdowns.

Last game, safety Steve Gregory snuffed some building Jets momentum by stepping in front of a red-zone throw by Mark Sanchez in the first quarter of the Patriots blowout win.

Opposing wide receivers left desperately and totally alone along the sidelines for 20-something gains are becoming less frequent. Late-arriving defensive backs arriving without brakes and plowing into receivers have become scarce.

The Patriots secondary is making incremental improvement. Just like it did last year. Bill Belichick sees it too.

"I think over the last couple of weeks we've made improvement there," Belichick said on a morning conference call Monday. "Steve (Gregory) coming back, Devin (McCourty) at safety and with (Aqib) Talib and Alfonzo (Dennard) switching sides; with Talib coming (to the team) in the past couple games . . . there's some moving parts there but I think those guys have worked hard to try to improve it and I think there are some positive signs and they need to continue to do that."

Belichick said that, although the Patriots' track record has been to build momentum and efficiency as a season progresses, improvement is not automatic.

"It can increase as the season goes along," Belichick said, speaking of the secondary's intuitiveness and anticipation specifically. "I don't think that's a given or something you can take for granted. The people that are involved in the rotation and the amount of opportunity that they get to practice, prepare, play and communicate together (leads to improvement)."

Belichick cited practice reps as being indispensable to being able to effectively carry out a game-day plan.

"If your scout team gives you a really good look at a play in practice and you get that play in the game it can really build your timing and help your anticipation," Belichick noted. "That can make a difference too. All those little things add up. Where one stops and the other starts, they're all interrelated and all a part of the end-result product. We just try to incrementally (improve) and hope that in the end the product (is effective)."

The Patriots have cycled through a slew of defensive backs this season. Injuries, ineffectiveness and skipping on from ineffective combinations have forced their hand into moving guys around. But it now seems the intangible and invaluable attributes of confidence, aggressiveness and trust are starting to emerge.

"You know how quickly it moves and how fast the game is, especially at that position," said Belichick. "Just a split-second of anticipation or of saved reaction time can make the difference between making a play and giving up a play and those split-seconds are very hard to measure but the difference can be the difference in a game. So if you think that it's improving, I think it should continue to improve, it needs to continue to improve. We've gotta really work hard at it. That's everybody."

Giants coach: ‘We’re not going to turn our back on Josh [Brown]’

Giants coach: ‘We’re not going to turn our back on Josh [Brown]’

LONDON — Coach Ben McAdoo said Friday that the New York Giants have not yet decided whether Josh Brown will remain on the team after admitting to abuse of his former wife.

McAdoo faced repeated questioning about the kicker following the Giants' first practice in London for a game Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

“We’re not going to turn our back on Josh,” McAdoo said. “He’s a teammate and a guy who we’re hoping makes strides.”

Brown did not travel to London and the team has yet to say if he will be suspended or cut following this week's publication of King County Sheriff's Office records in which the player said he physically abused his wife, Molly, over a protracted period. She told police in those documents that the abuse and other threatening behavior stretched from 2009, when she was pregnant with their daughter, to the Pro Bowl in January 2016.

At the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Brown's wife said she called NFL security to move her and her three children to another hotel to avoid harassment from her estranged husband. She said he pounded on her hotel door seeking to get in. The allegation is included in the final report filed last month by the investigating detective, King County Sheriff's Det. Robin Ostrum.

When asked whether the Giants knew about Brown's behavior at the Pro Bowl, McAdoo repeatedly said the Giants were still gathering information. Finally, he answered: "I'm not going to answer that."

When a reporter asked McAdoo about his comments earlier this year suggesting he would show no tolerance for players abusive of their family members, McAdoo said his comments then were more nuanced.

"When did I say zero tolerance?" he said, adding: "I do not support domestic violence, if that's what you're asking. I do not condone it."

McAdoo described Brown as a practicing Christian who was trying to improve his behavior and the Giants organization was supporting him in this. But when asked to explain how the Giants supported him or monitored his off-field behavior, McAdoo said he couldn't detail any specific acts of support.

The Giants have signed Robbie Gould, an 11-year veteran of the Chicago Bears who was cut in September for salary cap reasons. The 34-year-old will practice with the team Saturday.

"I've seen him make a lot of kicks against me in the past. He's been successful, and we're hoping that continues," the coach said of Gould.



Kusnierek: Lack of NFL discipline on Josh Brown disgraceful

Kusnierek: Lack of NFL discipline on Josh Brown disgraceful

Trenni Kusnierek is outraged, and rightfully so, by the actions - or lack thereof - by the NFL regarding domestic violence by Giants kicker Josh Brown.

Tom E. Curran details the NFL's botched investigation here.