Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

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Conspiracies don't bother Belichick

Were officially 10 days into the Patriots season, and over those 10 days, weve been inundated with no fewer than 10 times as many theories on whats going on with Wes Welker.

Yes. Thats 100 theories. And yes, thats probably a low estimate.

The best part? No one has a clue. No one has the slightest clue. Its left us all utterly confused, angry and desperate for answers. In turn, its led to a level of wildly creative, conspiracy-fueled speculation usually reserved for the likes of JFK, Jimmy Hoffa, Jamie Lee Curtiss gender, John Claytons ponytail and Marilyn Manson's true identity.

Did you hear the one about the Pats benching Welker on Sunday so that he wouldnt break Troy Browns record before the halftime HOF ceremony?

Did you hear the one about how this entire controversy is a Trojan Horse designed to blindside the Ravens on Sunday night?

Did you hear that Wes slept with LeBron James mom?

On one hand, its so frustrating to not know the truth. We not just as football fans, but also as human beings hate not knowing the truth. And every season, on at least a few occasions, Bill Belichick becomes that proverbial annoying kid on the playground: I know something you dont know and Im not gonna tellllll you. (Only if that kid was hopped up on enough depressants to paralyze a rhino). Every season, it drives us nuts. And every season, we eventually fall back into the same desperate routine.

OK, this has gone too far. Belichick NEEDS to speak up. He NEEDS to explain himself. Hes making it worse. Hes only fueling speculation. Hes making this a bigger deal than it needs to be and its hurting the team.

Most of the time, we can even convince ourselves that this is true.

But its not. No matter how we try to rationalize Belichick's need to break the silence, he doesn't need to do anything. More importantly, he wont do anything. Has Belichick ever cared about speculation? Has he ever worried about public perception? Has he ever felt that whats going on out here has any effect on whats going on in there?

IGNORE THE NOISE.

Thats the sign that stares every member of that organization in the face every time they walk in and out the Patriots facility. And it's not just a suggestion. It's an order, a mantra, a way of life and the only way that Belichick cares to go about his business.

Bottom Line: He knows what's going on with Welker. Josh McDaniels knows whats going on with Welker. Welker knows whats going on with Welker (or at least he finds out a few minutes before kickoff). As far as Belichick's concerned, the people who need to know already know. Everything else? Just noise. So, they're going to ignore it. Regardless of how twisted our collective panties become over the issue.

But of course, in situations like this, there are conspiracies and there are realities. And as the Patriots prepare for this weekend's trip to Baltimore, and do so looking to avoid their first 1-2 start in more than a decade, there are a few realities that Belichick and McDaniels need to, and, we can only assume, will come to grips with.

Namely, this one: Julian Edelman is not Wes Welker.

Has Edelman made significant strides as a receiver? Sure, though it wouldn't have taken much. Did he have the most impressive and productive summer this side of Miguel Cabrera? Sure, if they say so. Does he have a future as a legitimate NFL receiver? We'll see.

But for now, there's no conspiracy or speculation necessary to explain the undeniable fact that in terms of this Sunday night, on the road against the Ravens, with Aaron Hernandez on the sidelines in a sweat suit or at home on his couch the more we see of Wes Welker, the more likely the Pats are to come out on top.

The less we see of him, the less convinced we'll be that all this commotion is in the name what's best for the team.

And the conspiracies will live to see another week.

Might as well start working on some good ones in advance.

Did you hear that Belichick took a flyer on Edelman in the last round of his Wesleyan alum fantasy draft?

Did you hear that Welker's actually Paul from The Wonder Years?!

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

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other. 

Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when Patriots.com published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.

Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."

The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.

"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."

Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.

Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.

"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.

"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

FOXBORO -- They sounded like a couple of old pals. 

First it was Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who spoke of Ravens coach John Harbaugh during a conference call like one of his favorite fellow lacrosse dads.

"John and I saw a game a couple of years ago, a [Johns] Hopkins vs. Maryland game," Belichick said, adding that Harbaugh's love for the sport is just starting to blossom. "Yeah, I think John is seeing the light."

Belichick added that the two might be closer if they weren't competing so often, both in-season on the field and for free agents in the offseason. 

"As you know, we get into a situation like we’re in now where they have a good team, we have a good team, we’re playing a big game on Monday night," Belichick said. "Both teams are going to do everything they can to compete as hard as they can on Monday night. That’s what it is and that’s what we all signed up for. We all know that’s a part of it.

"When we’re not going head-to-head, which isn’t very often because we compete against each other in the offseason, we compete against each other to build our team and so forth, it just puts things in a little bit of a different situation."

During his press conference with reporters on Wednesday, Harbaugh echoed Belichick's sentiments. Belichick was famously one of Harbaugh's biggest supporters earlier in his career, calling the Ravens on Harbaugh's behalf when the franchise was looking for a new head coach. And if only they weren't so frequently competing against each other, they might be even closer, Harbaugh indicated. 

"I feel like we have a good relationship," Harbaugh said. "Like you said, we're probably not socializing that much, but I don't know how many coaches really do. We're all so busy. I'll see him or any coach at the Combine or at the owner's meetings, and we have a chance to talk. It's always good. I have a ton of respect for him. I really like him as a person. I think he's a great coach -- greatest coach of this generation. He's earned that title.

"And I study him. I've always studied him. I've always studied coach Belichick from when I first met him when I was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati, and he came in and just was great to be around.  [We have a] similar background with the special teams and that sort of thing. All of that kind of goes out the window when you compete against one another. It's like anything else, you want to win. I'm sure he feels the same way."

The recent history between their respective franchises is rife with emotion: There was Baltimore's irate reaction to Belichick's unusual formations in the AFC Divisional Round two seasons ago; there was the Ravens' supposed involvement in sparking Deflategate; and there was Harbaugh's subsequent denial. But Belichick and Harbaugh made it sound on Wednesday as if all's good between them.