Belichick: Trying to replicate earlier game with Texans 'ridiculous'

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Belichick: Trying to replicate earlier game with Texans 'ridiculous'

FOXBORO -- By now, Bill Belichick is sick and tired of the question.
You know, the whole, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing the same team a second time in the same season?"
Belichick tried to respond in simple fashion early on in Wednesday's pre-practice press conference.
"We play teams in the division twice every year, so, it's not really that big of a deal," he said.
But make no mistake about it. This "rematch" isn't against the Miami Dolphins. It's not as if the Patriots are preparing for the New York Jets. Or the Buffalo Bills.
Sure, they play AFC East teams twice a year. But the Houston Texans are no AFC East scrub. And this isn't necessarily the "same" season.
This is the postseason. The NFL Playoffs. Win or go home.
Whether the Texans are a different team from the last time they got smacked around in New England remains to be seen.
But regardless, Belichick isn't preparing to "replicate" the last game in which the Patriots won 42-14. He doesn't think that's even possible.
"I think, gameplan-wise, you can fundamentally take a similar approach if you think a certain type of player or a certain scheme or a certain style would be successful," said Belichick. "That doesn't mean you can't continue to do that. Maybe it's formatted a little bit differently, or there are some modifications to it or whatever it is. But as far as specific plays, and 'this game's going to go the way that game went,' I think that's ridiculous. Show me one example where that's happened. I can't think of one."
As usual, Belichick is going to do whatever he feels is necessary to defeat the Texans on Sunday. If that means changing some things up, then he'll do so.
He won't stand in front of the podium and give us his strategy. But on Wednesday, Belichick did describe why his defensive schemes changed from game-to-game in the 1990 playoffs when he was with the New York Giants.
And it didn't have much to do with replicating previous games against these teams.
"We played Chicago in the first playoff game and we played a 4-3 defense," said Belichick. "They had a certain style of play that we felt was more conducive to that. The next week we played San Francisco and we played a 3-4 defense. And that was predicated on what we thought would be best for us to play the 49ers that week. And then the following week, we played Buffalo, we played a 2-4 Nickel, 3-3 Nickel, whatever you want to call it, depending on what part of the game you were in. And I would say that was a different style of defense.
"Is it trying to be creative? I don't know. It's trying to win the game. It's trying to do what you felt like you had to do to match up against those particular teams: Chicago, San Francisco, and Buffalo in that particular year, that were very, very different. Playing Chicago wasn't like playing San Francisco, and playing San Francisco wasn't like playing Buffalo. They were just different match ups, different style offense, different personnel groups on the field.
"At this time of the season, you do what you need to do to win one game," said Belichick. "You don't worry about your system. You don't worry about playing time, or how many guys do this or this guy does that. You worry about what you need to do to win the game. That's what we're here for."

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.