Denver Post columnist says Pats 'cheat system'

634308.jpg

Denver Post columnist says Pats 'cheat system'

Remember the outrage and indignation when the Dallas Cowboys hired Paul Pasqualoni back in 2009?

The Dolphins' defensive coordinator, fired at the end of the regular season, was hired by Dallas for their playoff run. He was brought in because Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham was taking a job with the University of Georgia.

You don't remember the outrage? Know what? Me neither.

So when I read the, "Not fair! Not fair" foot-stomping column written by my friend from the Denver Post, Mike Klis, whining about the Patriots hiring Josh McDaniels for the playoff run after the Rams let McDaniels out of his contract, I know it's justan instance of someone wantinga separate set of rules for 31 teams and another set of rules for the Patriots.

This is what happens when you become in the eyes of the NFL media and the majority of NFL consumers the NFL's Godzilla.

This is what happens when you go fromtheir cuddly "Little FranchiseThat Could" in 2001 to boring, relentlessly excellent dynastyby 2004.

This is what happens when the head coach isn't a laugh-a-minute soundbite machine, is prickly with the media even on his best days, gets drawn-and-quartered by the league for the equivalent of a second-offense speeding ticket (Spygate) and still continues to win and win and win.

Otherwise sane people like Klis get emotional and insist that new rules be drawn up to stop the evil Patriots and the diabolical Bill Belichick. Absurd.

I'm not saying that the hiring of McDaniels after the Rams' season ended passes the smell test of propriety with ease. That's why I contacted NFL VP of media Greg Aiello on Saturday to check that the whole thing wasn't going to get squashed and was told it was all legal and within the rules.

From there, you shrug and say, "What the hell, good play by them. Pretty smart."

Instead you get from Klis: "Once again, Bill Belichick has figured out a way to cheat the system. And once again, he caught the NFL standing there sucking their collective thumbs."

Klis goes on to explain how awful McDaniels has been since getting fired by Denver last season and then says he brings a competitive advantage to the Patriots even though Denver's played 25 games since he left.

The "Good vs. Evil" storyline that's too easy to pass up has been hatched. Consider this the first of many salvos between now and Saturday night.

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

van_noy.jpg

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."