Belichick: Taking turnovers 'to the house' always a focus

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Belichick: Taking turnovers 'to the house' always a focus

FOXBORO -- Turnovers are important. Nobody questions that. But if you don't do anything with them, they don't really change a football game.

The Patriots forced turnovers on Thursday night in New York, and they turned them into points, which is an aspect of the Patriots' game that coach Bill Belichick said is stressed each and every week, on each and every play.

"I think those plays always energize you a little bit," said Belichick in a conference call on Friday, a day after New England's 49-19 win over the Jets. "But we really try to go out there and do that on every play, believe it or not. When we go out there on the kickoff team, we're always thinking about making a big play, tackling inside the 20, knocking the ball loose. We go out on the punt return, kickoff return team, we're always thinking about taking it to the house, trying to execute the play properly. Whether it's blocking a punt or returning a kick, whatever it happens to be, we're trying to get that in the end zone."

The Patriots forced five turnovers on Thursday night, with Steve Gregory and Julian Edelman turning two of those turnovers into immediate touchdowns.

Belichick praised his team's preparation, but also the players' capitalization following those turnovers, to quickly put the game out of reach.

"Well I think last night is Exhibit A on how quickly the game can change," said Belichick. "Turnovers are a huge part of the game. And other than points, they're probably, statistically, the highest correlation to winning. We had a lot of turnovers earlier in the year, and we didn't get enough point production out of those turnovers. Even though we had a turnover differential advantage, that didn't really translate into a big point advantage with those turnovers. And in the past few weeks, those numbers have changed, more in our favor, where the turnovers have been converted into points.

"The score was tied, and both teams are battling back and forth, and then all of a sudden there's 35 points up there. But that's how it happens . . . When you get all those yards in one play, whether it's on a big play or a turnover, that's what defines explosive plays. It certainly changes the whole dynamic of the game. Even though a 14-play, 80-yard drive that takes seven-and-a-half minutes gets you the same amount of points, at the end of it, it just takes longer and doesn't change the game as quickly, obviously. So being able to take advantage of those opportunities and turn them into points . . . when it happens that fast, it really can swing the game in a hurry."

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

We knew back on the night of the draft that as the Cavaliers desperately looked for a way to pry Paul George out of Indiana, they started involving third teams in the talks (because Indy had no interest in Kevin Love for Paul George straight up, not should they). Phoenix was involved, but that fizzled. So did talks involving Denver.

But those latter ones didn’t die the night of the draft, according to reports that came out over the weekend. Denver, Cleveland, and Indiana were still talking about a three-team deal that would land Love in Denver and George in Cleveland. The challenge for Cleveland was finding the combination of young players and draft picks that Indiana wants in a deal — Indy is rumored to want a lottery pick (preferably high lottery) and a young player or players.

Now that Denver three-team is “very unlikely” to happen, according to Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady