Scarnecchia has O-line ready for anything


Scarnecchia has O-line ready for anything

There was no update on Logan Mankins' knee during a conference call on Monday with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. His status for Week 17 is still unknown. What is known, though, is that the Patriots' healthy offensive linemen stepped up during the second half of Saturday's 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.

Much of the praise has been given to players like Donald Thomas and rookie Marcus Cannon, who had to be thrown right into the fire after Matt Light was a late inactive and Mankins left late in the first quarter.

But beyond the on-field execution were the adjustments that New England's O-line made at the half. And those adjustments were made by offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who got plenty of praise from his fellow coaches on Monday.

"We have a lot of depth up there, because we bring in guys that are multiple-position guys," said O'Brien. "They're smart guys and they're tough guys, and then Dante gets them ready to play. So when one guy goes down, it's really the next-guy-up mentality. "

That mentality can easily be credited to the players for being ready when called upon. But the guy that keeps them prepared and in the right mindset is Scarnecchia.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dante, and what he's done in his career," said O'Brien. "He's a guy that I've learned a lot from. He really helps me a lot during games. I rely on him quite a bit. He's a no-nonsense guy, he's a very direct guy, and we have a good relationship, it's an open relationship. And I enjoy working with him. He does a hell of a job."

Veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters echoed those sentiments after Saturday's come-from-behind win against the Dolphins.

"He's a great coach, flat out," said Waters on Saturday. "And he's going to always preach that you've got to be ready to go. No matter what the situation is, he always makes sure those guys get reps during the course of the week and that they're always prepared. He's as tough on those guys as he is on anybody, to make sure that they're prepared and ready to go."

And according to Belichick on Monday, there's certainly a reason why Scarnecchia is the only coach in Patriots franchise history to be a member of all six teams that went to the Super Bowl.
"Dante does a great job for us and he has since Ive been here," Belichick said Monday. "We go back quite a ways back to the 96 season here. Dante, as Ive said many times before, is really just an outstanding coach at every level whether its working with experienced players or developing young players or game planning against sophisticated schemes or teaching the most basic techniques to rookies, undrafted players, things like that.
"He really is very thorough, well prepared, smart, communicates well with his players . . . I have a lot of confidence in him. Hes done a great job all the years that Ive been here. Im fortunate to have him as part of the staff."

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'


Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed. Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people


Wilfork embracing modeling, tells Brady to put him in touch with Gisele's people

Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.

Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Belichick: Buddy Ryan a father to 'a great football family'

Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon. 

"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."

Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.

Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.

Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there. 

For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."