Belichick puts brakes on postseason personnel talk

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Belichick puts brakes on postseason personnel talk

FOXBORO -- Last week, Bill Belichick lauded Aqib Talib's work as a player and employee since Talib joined the Patriots in November.

But Belichick was steadfast about not entertaining case-by-case questions on which players he'd like to have back in 2013.

Talib and Wes Welker are two prominent players with expiring contracts. Belichick addressed their status, saying, "I would not make any decisions on any players into the future now. I just can't do it. There are too many factors, too many unknown things. All of the things I said about Aqib I meant and I still feel that way. Nothing has changed but I can't put unto place an entire plan for the team at this point in time. There's not enough information. It's too early.

"As much as you want to just go case-by-case and list each guy, what his deal is, there is some of that, no question," he acknowledged. "But at the same time, when you're trying to put together a team, you've got to look at the entire team before you just say, 'OK, well, we want to try to keep this guy. Well, we don't want to keep this guy. We Want to try to get somebody else or whatever.'

"You've got to look at the entire context and not just take it one guy, piece by piece," he concluded. "I don't think that's the way you put together an entire football team. You've got to see the big picture and how it all fits together."

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

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Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."