Harbaugh brothers are both excitable boys

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Harbaugh brothers are both excitable boys

NEW ORLEANS Harbowl? How about Harbawl?
Every coach at every level gets a little exercised. But the Brothers Harbaugh squaring off Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII both get more than a little inflamed on the sidelines.

Jims animation bubbled over during the NFC Championship Game with a tremendous nutty after a replay challenge went against the Niners.
John is a well-known sideline jockey, to the point where he once drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty in a game at New England back in 2009. That doesnt happen often.
Are they talented coaches? As good as any in the league. Guts? Both men made stone-cold personnel calls this year Jim going to Colin Kaepernick and John letting go of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron that were catalysts for their teams.
But it doesnt escape notice that their sideline edge-seeking is very much a part of who they are. And woe to the official who crosses them.
Were pretty competitive guys, John Harbaugh admits. Its football. Its a game. If you cant express yourself on the sideline of a football game and be yourself and let your competitiveness out, where can you? Jim has a lot of fun, hes a competitor and he will always be himself.
To me, theyre different, says Mike Pereira, former NFL VP of Officiating and currently a rules analyst for FOXSports. Jim really is not constant. When he goes, he goes. (Like) the reaction that he had in the (NFC) Championship Game when they didnt reverse the pass that was ruled incomplete on that last drive. He goes quickly off the deep end while John seems to be more constantly off the deep end.
They just get so wrapped up in the game that its really incredible when you see that, marvels Pereira. Its always on TV, people see the way that they act. But, I dont know
NFL history is rife with examples of coaches who lose their marbles with regularity. From Madden to Gruden, from Cowher to Coughlin. When a head coach thinks hes getting jobbed, hes going to make his feelings known. Audibly. Demonstrably.
I guess its just the intensity of the profession, says Pereira. Some internalize it and some dont. And its the ones that dont that you see and hear about. You sit there and try to understand it. Why would they go off and act like that when certainly no official would go off and act like that to them? Its a one-sided thing.
Then Ive always felt that football coaches have control over everything, he theorized. They control every decision thats made whether its what offense theyll run or what player theyre gonna cut. Theyre in charge of everything except officiating. They have no control. I think thats what bothers them the most. They cant control it. So when something happens that goes against them, they may not even know if its right or wrong, they just know it went against them.
Niners special teams coach Brad Seely a guy who can boil over himself was asked about Jim Harbaughs wild side.
He wants to win, said Seely. And hes one of those guys who will do whatever he can to win the game. And if that means getting on the official, that means yelling at somebody, hes gonna do that because hes in the moment. But as soon as the games over, its all forgotten. Hey, hes moving on. I know why he does it. Hes so into the games that hes just trying to compete.
Jims default setting is intense. John, on the other hand, is one of the most personable coaches in the league. Approachable. Open. Candid.
John is really a fun guy, Pereira points out. Off the field with John, hes great to be around. I was on the sidelines with him at the Pro Bowl (in February of 2009) as an officiating representative to go over the Pro Bowl rules and go over violations if need be and we had the best time on the sidelines for about three-and-a-half quarters.
Then he got mad at the line judge and the line judge got mad at him and I thought the flags were gonna be thrown, Pereira recalls. I went to my good friend John Harbaugh and said, John, you gotta settle down and I put my hands on him and he knocked my hands off him and he said, Dont you touch me! I said, Wait a minute, you were just telling me how great it was to have me on the sidelines.
Every coach goes off. Bill Belichicks stoic veneer crumbles when he perceives official malfeasance unfolding and any viewer with the ability to lip read the letter F knows Belichicks protestations are not G-rated.
Given the hypersensitivity of NBA referees and Major League Baseball umpires, its amazing the patience NFL officials show relative to their peers.
Pereira says its an accepted part of the job and NFL coaches are usually just blowing off steam.
Apologies?
I remember the one time when Bill Parcells (coaching the Jets in a game at Miami) went off on me and he didnt only go off on me but he went off on the official on the other side of the field, says Pereira. The next day, he called and left me a message in Sacramento saying that he was ashamed of the way he acted. He asked me to forgive him, although saying, You have no right to even think about forgiving me but I apologize. But thats a rarity.
Given the historic nature of the coaching matchup and whats at stake, there will be no shortage of sideline closeups and reaction shots. And lids will undoubtedly flip.
Weve never really faced something that were facing with the Harbaughs now, says Pereira. Not only do you have the brothers whove been competing against each other. Theyve competed against each other going back to games in their front yards. I think theyve added a little bit of their fathers personality which is somewhat the same.
John Harbaugh was asked if hes ever been asked by a family member to tone it down a bit.
No. Thats never happened, he says. Not one time.
Their parents, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, confirmed that.
The one thing that we watch and take great pride in is that both of them are themselves. We were around (University of Michigan head coach) Bo Schembechler for a long time and there were a lot of coaches that tried to emulate him. The first time you werent yourself, you were exposed and somewhat of a fraud. So, always be who you are and not follow anyone else.
Thats what Pereira sees as well.
I dont think theyre babies. I dont think theyre bullies. I think theyre real, he says. I think they reflect how theyve been competing their whole lives and I dont think theyre phony about it a bit. But they are excitable.

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

FOXBORO – Talked to Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. His session with the media was as efficient and frills-free as his Friday night performance against the Carolina Panthers.

Brissett, the third-rounder From NC State, keeps improving. From 7-for-13 for 63 yards in the first game of the preseason to 9-for-13 for 87 yards Week 2 to a 9-for-9, 85-yard, one touchdown performance against Carolina.

He’s completed all manner of passes – inside, outside, checkdowns, tight windows – and looked preternaturally comfortable doing so.

Maybe I have a little recency bias working, but I don’t recall a drafted quarterback looking as poised and in command in his rookie preseason as Brissett has so far. Jimmy Garoppolo may have had more impressive game-by-game numbers, but Brissett oozes composure that that I don’t think Garoppolo matched.

Encircled by a media horde Sunday, Brissett was pleasant and perfunctory when asked about his performance.

“Definitely it was progress,” he said, adding that he’s, "still learning. I’m sure I’ll be learning until I leave here."

 Even though he was 9-for-9, Brissett said that watching film he could see “things you messed up on and could have done better.”

Asked for an example, Brissett talk about speed. At the line of scrimmage, going through progressions and delivering the ball, Brissett said all of it can improve.

The interesting question the Patriots face now is whether they are prepared to allow Brissett to be the lone backup to the still relatively green Garoppolo. Or does the team need an experienced backup to call on if Jimmy melts down?

Thursday night could be a telling evening for that. With Garoppolo unlikely to play a ton so the team can make sure he’s good to go for the opener, it comes down to who benefits more from reps against the Giants, Tom Brady or Brissett?

It shouldn’t be close. Brissett needs the reps.

Meanwhile, we made mention of Brissett’s relationship with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells after he was drafted and I figured revisiting that on Sunday wouldn’t hurt.

Brissett said he’s circled up with Parcells “here and there” but smiled knowingly and said, “He’s not the head coach here so you kinda need to listen to what your coach here is saying.”

Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

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Ex-Patriot Ridley signs with Colts

After being cut from the Detriot Lions last week, Stevan Ridely has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

The running back played for the Patriots for four seasons (2011-2014), averaging 4.3 yards per carry while scoring 22 touchdowns in 52 games. He only played in six game in his final year with New England as a result of a torn ACL and MCL.

Ridley played for the AFC-East rival New York Jets in 2015 with a limited role in the nine games he played.

 

Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

Belichick discusses risk of exposing players to waiver claims

Bill Belichick knows the data. Knows the risk involved in exposing a player to a waiver claim at this time of the year and long ago came to the uneasy truce that you can’t keep ‘em all and somebody else might snag ‘em.

This summer, the Patriots don’t have a mass of easy releases, especially among their rookies and first-year players.

There are a lot of very intriguing players who’ve looked good either in practices, games or both. Good enough to make the Pats think twice about whether they want to leave them exposed.

Top of mind for me there are corners Jonathan Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc, linebacker Elandon Roberts, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton and running back D.J. Foster who appear to be right on the roster bubble but are impressive.

“It’s something you take into consideration, it’s a hard thing to predict,” Belichick said when asked about weighing the risk of a released player the Patriots would like to re-sign to their practice squad getting claimed. “There’s going to be, I don’t know, certainly going to be a lot of players, probably over 1,000 players that will be exposed to waivers in the next eight calendar days or whatever it’ll be. I think the average claim is somewhere in the high 20s there…so that’s what the odds are. We’ve had years where we haven’t had any of our players claimed and we’ve had years where we’ve had multiple players claimed. I think at the end you just have to do what you think is best for your team.”

Belichick has given us terrific insight this week into how he and Nick Caserio strategize their roster decisions. When asked about the team’s releases in advance of the cutdown deadlines, Belichick mentioned the team wanted to have the ability to accommodate new players who may come available.

Enter the Barkevious.

He also got into projecting young players against established performance levels of veterans and weighing current contributions against future ones.

"That’s the $64,000 question," Belichick said on Tuesday. "That’s what it is. It’s been like that since the day I got into this league. From all of the personnel meetings I’ve ever been in it’s a [matter of] a player who’s more experienced [and] more ready to help the team now, versus a player that’s not as ready now but at some point you think the pendulum will swing in his favor. Will you do that? Can you do that? What are the consequences of making that move? What are the consequences of not making that move? How likely, as you said, is it that you could keep both players in some capacity?

"That’s what it’s about, trying to balance now with later. We’re going to field a team in November, we’re going to field a team next year, we’re going to field a team in 2018. Not that we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re going to be in business in those years, so we have to sort of have an eye on those moving forward and a lot of the other factors that go into that. Those are all tough decisions. They’re all things that you really have to think about."

As is the risk of having a player scooped.

“It’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to happen when you put players on the wire because in all honesty, you don’t know what the other [31] teams are going to do and who they’re going to put on the wire,” Belichick explained. “Even though you put a player out there that you don’t want to lose, if another team happens to put a player out there that may be a team that needs that position and would be better with your player, your player gets claimed. Sometimes we waive players that we didn’t think would get claimed and they were, so that’s really hard to predict.

“In the end, you’ve got to make the decision that you feel like is best for your football team, and if you really want that player and you just can’t bear to live without them, then you shouldn’t be exposing them to the wire,” he concluded. “That’s the reality of it. We keep an eye on them, but I don’t think it’s an overriding factor. If you’re prepared to waive them, then you’ve got to be prepared to lose them. That’s just the way it is.”