No Huddle: Belichick on Waters, Cunningham, RBs


No Huddle: Belichick on Waters, Cunningham, RBs

Though most of Bill Belichick's Thursday conference call concerned the general roster reduction process, the Patriots coach did answer a few pointed player questions.
Here are a few odds and ends.

Seems you're coming down to the wire with OL Brian Waters. How does his status impact your decision making on the 53-man roster?

BB: "I'll just say that, any personnel decisions, whatever they are, we'll always do what we feel is best for the football team."

You praised Jermaine Cunningham early in the offseason. How did you see his improvement translate from summer workouts into the offseason?

BB: "Overall, he's been at a higher level. He came in in great condition. He worked hard in the offseason. He got faster, stronger, more explosive. He worked on his techniques. He worked extremely hard. He came to training camp and with that work and those improvements showed up. It showed in practice. It showed up in camp and in all four preseason games. Just a little bit of everything. That's good. It wasn't just one thing. There's more position flexibility than he's had for us in the past. We've asked him to do more, different things. It's showed. He's had more production."

You have a young running back corps this season. What have you seen from them so far?

BB: "They've all improved. Really, the only experience player we had there was Danny Woodhead. Stevan Ridley played a little bit last year but not much. Shane Vereen didn't play hardly at all; he missed training camp, he missed the majority of the season. Of course, Bolden and Demps weren't here. Kettani was here for a few weeks then was called to service off the practice squad. Really only one player has had any significant regular season playing time of the group.

"They've all gotten a lot of reps, a lot of opportunities. They have a lot to learn both offensively and their role in the kicking game. I think we've gotten a a good evaluation of those players. They've all shown up well. At one point or another, they've all done things. It's a lot different group than we've had a couple of years ago. BenJarvus.. We had Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, that group of guys. The position has turned over completely to a much younger group."

How do you think your team handled the condensed schedule of three preseason games in nine or ten days?

BB: "We did the best we could. I think we've made some progress. We definitely made progress. We kind of worked guys in different stages. Some guys played more in games than others, some practiced more than others did. I think we were able to keep moving ahead."

Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots


Rex Ryan: Zero focus on 'extracurricular things' vs. Patriots

FOXBORO -- Seems as though the Bills don't quite have their stories straight. 

On the one hand, you have Bills players, who say that they won't hesitate to retaliate if a Patriots player gets near one of their pregame warmup drills, as Jacoby Brissett did in Week 4. 

On the other hand, you have the Bills coach, who sounded less eager for there to be any kind of scrap before this weekend's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. 

"No, I mean with us, just go out and warm up," Ryan said in a conference call Wednesday. "That’s what you do, but any of the extracurricular things, you know, there’s absolutely zero focus on that, and shouldn’t be any focus on that. It’s just about playing games.

"I mean if people want to show how tough they are, put the boxing gloves on and get in the ring or something. That might be more impressive -- I don’t want Gronk by the way.

"But I definitely don’t want to see that happen, and our focus is 100 percent on the game and doing the very best we possibly can."

It's an interesting comment from a coach who has made it very clear that he wanted to build a "bully" in Buffalo. His team shut out the Patriots after trying to intimidate New England's rookie quarterback before the game. Did his team not benefit somehow from what occurred before kickoff that day?

He doesn't think so.

"It had nothing to do with our team . . . Absolutely nothing," he said. "You know, those things happen every now and then but it was no big deal. It did absolutely nothing for us."

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but...can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but...can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."