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

Patriots first pick understands social-media landmines

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Patriots first pick understands social-media landmines

Watching Robert Kraft refer to Cyrus Jones by Jones’ twitter handle “Clamp Clampington” was the perfect confluence of amusing, surreal and awkward.

Like when my father used to complain about the kids “making donuts” in the intersection outside our house in the middle of the night, or anybody over 30 combining the words “epic” and “legit,” it just hits the ear wrong.

Social media has bridged the communication gap between the generations. Or at least made “old” people privy to conversations that -- throughout the course of recorded history -- kids haven’t wanted them nosing into.

This newfound access doesn’t allow us to merely appropriate and make others cringe. It also allows people -- in the context of professional sports -- to consume, judge, interact and drop consequences on athletes because of their social media persona.

Employers, fans, owners and media members now have unprecedented access to players’ personal lives. And the player who forgets that, or decides he doesn’t care and marches on without asking “How will this reflect on me?” is courting disaster. Or at least a level of irritation.

No player drafted in 2016 will ever forget the impact social media can have on a career. Even though Laremy Tunsil didn’t tweet out a video of himself smoking a bong while wearing a gas mask in front of a Confederate flag (social media hat trick), he paid the price. His draft drop cost him millions because, even though he didn’t actually tweet it, the video called into question Tunsil’s decision-making, off-field habits and the circle of people around him. That’s a lot of judging off of one tweet, but that’s what the deal is.

I asked Mr. Clampington – whose twitter feed shows he’s a Sagittarius who’ll go back at people who offer critiques – what his philosophy will be now that he’s in the NFL.

“Social media is one of those things where you gotta control and discipline yourself to not pay too much attention to it,” said Jones, the Patriots second-round pick on Friday. “As you get older, people tend to stray away from social media and I’m already starting to. At least trying to. And being more aware of what I put out there and knowing that I can’t respond to everything somebody says. That’s definitely something that myself and fellow rookies have to understand . . . We’re not just representing ourselves but our families and this organization. “

Jones -- based on the 10 minutes we spoke to him and the conference call from last Friday -- seems sharp enough to know where he ought not tread. In case he doesn’t, he and the rest of the rookies will get an indoctrination.

Cyrus Jones: I was scared of Tom Brady growing up as a Ravens fan

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Cyrus Jones: I was scared of Tom Brady growing up as a Ravens fan

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady has struck fear into the hearts of many a cornerback during his 15 years as a starter. Apparently that includes corners who haven't even entered the league yet. 

Cyrus Jones, a corner out of Alabama and New England's second-round pick in this year's draft, grew up in Baltimore as a staunch Ravens supporter. When his team squared off against the Patriots over the years, he said that Brady never allowed him to feel confident. 

"I grew up a Ravens fan so anytime we played the Patriots, I definitely was scared of Tom Brady," Jones said after being introduced to reporters by Patriots ownership. "But obviously, you know, he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to step foot into this league, and I'm just honored to be a part of his team.

"He's a winner, and everybody likes winning. I consider myself a winner so I'm looking forward to working with him and trying to get to another Super Bowl and winning."

Jones now joins a cornerback group that will compete against Brady regularly in practice that includes Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman, Darryl Roberts and EJ Biggers.

Jones ready to follow in Revis, Law's footsteps with No. 24

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Jones ready to follow in Revis, Law's footsteps with No. 24

FOXBORO -- For the Patriots, the No. 24 is held in high esteem when it comes to the cornerback position. Ty Law, a team Hall of Famer, wore those digits for 10 years. Darrelle Revis played just one season in New England, but he helped the team to its fourth Super Bowl title with No. 24 on his back. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft announced on Friday that second-round draft pick Cyrus Jones, a corner from Alabama, would be the latest to sport the number. 

"Cyrus will be wearing a special number to our family, No. 24," Kraft said. "There's a lot of good karma that goes with that number."

Jones was just two years old when Ty Law began his rookie season in 1995, but he said he understood Law's historical significance to the franchise despite their age difference.

"I knew who Ty Law was before I came here," Jones said, "and watched him as a young kid still trying to learn the game. Definitely remember him making a lot of plays on TV."

Of course there have been others who have worn No. 24 since Law and before Jones, including Kyle Arrington, Bradley Fletcher, and most recently Rashaan Melvin. But what Revis did for the Patriots in 2014 is still fresh in Jones' mind, having beaten Jones' hometown team, the Baltimore Ravens, in the Divisional Round of the playoffs before helping the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX.

"It's definitely a lot of history, guys like Ty Law, Darrelle Revis," Jones said. "Great defensive backs and great players. Two of the greatest players ever to step foot in the National Football League. There's definitely a legacy behind the number, and I want to make my own legacy with the number."