Belichick has his fax straight

743564.jpg

Belichick has his fax straight

There were a few interesting developments from the last day of Patriots mini-camp, which didn't take place yesterday at Gillette. I say didn't take place, because it didn't take place. Instead, Bill Belichick canceled everything at the last second, fueling speculation that the coach isn't as committed as he's been in the past.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to worry. Anyone have Rod Rust's number?

In Rust We Trust!

Anyway, how do you think Belichick spent his afternoon off: Maybe he and Linda made an early escape to Nantucket? Maybe "VI Rings" was calling his name from the Sound?

Or maybe it was all a trick, and Belichick had the locker room bugged with cameras so that he could study the way each player reacted to the cancellation. Maybe he wanted to see which guys were a little too happy about having the day off, while hoping to see at least a few disappointed faces.

Personally, I want to believe that Belichick spent the afternoon hanging at Chili's with Tom Thibodeau and Tony LaRussa; sitting around a high top, getting awkwardly drunk like the dudes in Hall Pass.

Yeah, let's go with that one. And let's take one more second to marvel at the fact that Belichick actually gave his entire team a Hall Pass. You're a good man, Bill.

Other than that, there was one other highlight from the Pats' non-practice: Apparently, despite all the drama surrounding BountyGate and the return of Drew Brees' mole, the Patriots are in communication with the Saints about teaming up for a few joint practices during Training Camp. Or I guess "communication" is one way to describe it.

Here's what Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt had to say about practicing with the Pats: "I got a fax from Bill Belichick this morning and we're taking a look at that."

Now that's funny. Belichick's working the fax! Why do I get the feeling that at this point every team in the league has one dusty fax machine (labeled: PATRIOTS) left in the corner of their office?

On one hand, I guess it's good that the fax machine is still in heavy rotation at Patriots HQ, because it will make the transition a lot easier for Rust Regime: Phase 2. On the other hand, I know it's a a good thing that Belichick didn't fax over the cancellation of yesterday's practice, because the players would still be out there waiting.

As Belichick watched through his binoculars, ready to cut the first one who walked off the field.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

gallery_patriots_brady_belichick_010814.jpg

Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

Tom Brady may be biased, but he believes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the best to ever walk a sideline. 

That's what Brady told Westwood One's Jim Gray in an interview before the radio broadcast of Monday night's game between the Falcons and Saints. After Belichick helped cook up a game plan for the Patriots to beat the Texans on short rest with rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett behind center, Brady may not have many people argue with him. 

"I definitely think so," Brady answered when he was asked if Belichick was "the best coach to have ever done this."

"I think whatever hand he's been dealt, he finds a way to win. That's the mark of a great coach. Sitting in those meetings for the last 16 years and watching him prepare the team, there's no [other] coach I'd ever want to play for. He's just remarkable in every aspect. It's a privilege to play for him. I look forward to going back out there and, you know, getting yelled at by him. He's tough on the players and he expects the very best out of each of us every day. That ends up getting the best out of players. He's so consistent with his approach, and it's paid of for our team for a long time."

Brady said it's that consistency that stands out to him and separates Belichick from any of his peers.

"I think his consistency is just what's remarkable," Brady explained. "It's so much of what you don't see on these Sunday afternoons. But it's the way the offseason program is run in April. It's his urgency and enthusiasm at that time of year when no one's watching. His OTA schedule and his emphasis over the course of those practices in May and June when no one's really watching. There's no scoreboard to compete against. But we always feel like we're in competing against the other teams, even when there is no scoreboard.

"You go to training camp, and you can't waste days in training camp because you don't get those days back. Those days in training camp are going to prepare you for what's going to happen in Septmeber. There's urgency throughout the entire offseason to get us to the month of September, and then once September comes it's all about winning games and making improvements towards October.

"Then once you make improvements toward October, you can be in a really good position to really capitalize come November. That's when the playoff races start to shape up and you really see where you're at and there's a lot of scouting done at that point. That's whenn you really see the team develop and how the depth of the team really takes place. Coach Belichick is always understanding where the roster needs to be at and which positions we may need a little more depth at based on injuries over the course of the season.

"Then comes December when it's the last stretch of the season when you need to be at your best. He prepares us all the way throughout the season. His consistency has been remarkable. It's been fun to see from this point obvously for the last four weeks, but I've experienced that every day. That part of it doesn't really surprise me, but to see the way that my teammates have come out and played and performed under pressure on a Sunday night game, and the first home game, and a Thursday national TV game, it's just been so much fun to watch."

Brady concerned about ‘timing’ when he returns

Brady concerned about ‘timing’ when he returns

Tom Brady’s been throwing during his forced vacation. Sometimes it’s been Wes Welker. More often it’s been with local college-level players in undisclosed locations. But none of it has him feeling like he’ll be ready to stroll out next week when his suspension ends and pick up where he left off when he left the Patriots facility on September 3.

“I don’t think you can [flourish without practice],” Brady said during his weekly Monday Night Football interview on Westwood One with Jim Gray. “I do admire some guys, like [Patriots receiver]Danny Amendola. He didn’t practice at all in training camp and he goes out there and the first week of the year [and] has a great game. The second week of the year, he has two touchdown catches. I’ve played with a lot of teammates who have been off for extended periods of time and it looks like they’re flipping the switch, but I think for me, that’s not the way I really prepare. I like to take every rep in practice. I like to practice every day.

“I’ve been able to be very healthy over the course of my career, and I think that has really helped me, and I’m going to need to find that rhythm back. It’s going to take some work and some time. Like I said before, that’s some uncharted territory, too.”

Brady said that merely watching games isn’t much help at all.

“I don’t think there is any benefit to watching the team play these games from a football standpoint, because it takes time to get the timing and the practice reps,” he said.  “I’m trying to do the best I can to stay in shape and to keep the timing, and to really stay football ready. I’m hoping our team has a great week of preparation and can get to 4-0, and then I’ll have an opportunity to be back next Monday, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be ready to go for that week.

“It’s a big week for me, and it’s a big week for our team. Every week is a big week in the NFL, but not having been out there for four weeks, there is a lot of makeup time I’m going to need and the chance to be on the field with my teammates to see what kind of rhythm I can find in a short week of practice.”