Scrap heap: More scuffles at Pats' camp

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Scrap heap: More scuffles at Pats' camp

FOXBORO - Three laps to take an inventory of the exact nature of their wrongs.

That was the sentence for the entire Patriots roster Friday after two more post-whistle dustups ballooned into full-team pushing and shoving.

The first appeared to start when Shane Vereen got stood up and wrestled down by Bobby Carpenter and Patrick Chung. That scrap was over quickly with the only noticeable combat developing between rookies Jeremiah Warren and Justin Francis as people jostled to break things up.

The second fight began when Dane Fletcher was blocked from behind by an unknown offensive player. Fletcher and the lineman landed on the ground and wrestling ensued followed by another high-intensity team meeting.

Bill Belichick then sent the team on a three-lap jaunt around the goal posts. When that was done, Belichick addressed the team for about two minutes. Tom Brady then called them together and spoke for another minute.

That was the third set-to in three practices and Belichick, given his response, has had enough.

What led to the issues?

"Same stuff it always is, it's guys trying to go all the way through the whistle and things got a little heated and one thing leads to another and the next thing you know there's 60 guys out there," said Carpenter. "Coach Belichick talked to us and hopefully that won't happen again. We can't be fighting ourselves, we gotta be working to improve."

Stop roughhousing?

"With a few choice words in there but that was the message," said Carpenter. "That's the first time I've done three laps probably since high school.

Competition is good, fighting is not," Carpenter added. "There's a fine line between taking it to the whistle and taking it a little bit beyond. It gets hotter, camp gets longer, about 9-10 days now, guys start getting a little irritated, agitated, and things get a little hot sometimes. Thats what those laps are for, to cool us off. ... You hit the same guy and no one wants to be embarrassed out there. The offense wants to look good, the defense wants to look good, the coaches want to look good, you want to be competitive and improve, but there is a very fine line between competition and fighting.

Running back Stevan Ridley was asked about Brady's message.

"Brady's our leader," he explained. "It's Brady's show out here. For him to say something and voice his opinion, that's nothing that we haven't heard before. And he's only going to tell us what's best for this team, and for us to get better. We all listen and we all key in when he talks, because at the end of the day, he's just trying to get to another championship, man. And that's what we want to do as a team effort. So we buy into whatever he says and whatever the coaches have to say."

Matt Slater and Jerod Mayo also had lead roles in trying to end the rough stuff.

Full-team dustups are rare with this team. And three in three days is unheard of. It's a clear sign of the competition on every rep in camp and the fact that the New Orleans Saints, who arrive Tuesday for two practices and a preseason game, will be a welcome sight for the Patriots as they grow weary of running into each other.

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

The Patriots should always be motivated heading into games against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore might be the team’s primary rival. 

Yet Monday’s matchup might be about more than past meetings. It could be a revenge game for the Ravens’ role in the Deflategate fiasco. 

As Tom E. Curran notes in the above video, the then-recently eliminated Ravens set off the ordeal when they tipped off the Colts entering the 2014 AFC Championship game. From there, the year-and-a-half-long saga played itself out, ultimately resulting in Tom Brady accepting a four-game suspension from the league. 

Curran and Mike Giardi discussed whether Monday could be a revenge game, with them both concluding that they feel the Patriots are still “pissed off” at the Ravens. 

"I’m just reading the tea leaves,” Curran said. “Bill Belichick will usually throw bouquet after bouquet at the Baltimore Ravens any time they play, from Ozzie Newsome, to George Kokinis, to Eric DeCosta, to John Harbaugh, Dean Pees, everyone. Not a lot of that today. Make of that what you will; I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I do know that when the Patriots were going through the process early on, the fact that the Ravens had dropped a dime -- their assistant special teams coach Jerry Rosburg calling the Indianapolis Colts and saying, “Look there was some foolishness going on with the K balls.’

“Additionally, when that email from the Colts to the NFL was sent to Mike Kensil, it said, 'It’s well-known throughout the league that the Patriots screw with the balls after they’ve been checked by the officials.' So if that conversation was going on during the week between those two teams, one certainly has to surmise that they also spoke about the fact of deflating footballs. 

“So as much as John Harbaugh has tried to dissuade anyone from thinking there was involvement, Dean Pees was interviewed by Ted Wells, Jerry Rosburg was interviewed by Ted Wells. Those are the only two principals from other organizations who were involved, so yeah, I think they’re still probably pretty pissed off about it.” 

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

FOXBORO -- Ever wonder what might've been if Bill Belichick had remained the coach of the Browns, and later the Ravens, after they moved from Cleveland? He says he doesn't.

[And maybe it's a good thing that he doesn't, as his last memories with the organization saw fans literally rip the team's stadium apart and throw it onto the field.]

"I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, no," Belichick told Baltimore reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. "I try to think ahead and make the best of the situation that I’m in, which is what I tried to do when I was in Cleveland. I took a team that wasn’t very good in 1991, prior to free agency and all of that, had a real good team in 1994. The team moved in 1995."

The decision to move the team helped undo the Browns season in 1995, and Belichick was later fired. There's little denying, though, that he left the pieces of a competitive roster behind. And he helped stock the Ravens' cupboard with valuable assets.

Five years after Belichick's tenure in Cleveland had expired, the franchise won a Super Bowl with linebacker Ray Lewis -- drafted with a pick Belichick had acquired -- as its foundational piece. 

"We made a trade that provided two first-round picks that Ozzie [Newsome] did a great job with," Belichick continued. "Ozzie and Ray Lewis were two of the cornerstones of that eventual championship team.

"I have a lot of confidence in my ability, I had a lot of confidence in the coaching staff and the players that we had at that time – 1995 wasn’t obviously a great year for us. I don’t think we need to talk about that. We all know what happened. But yeah, I think we would have been competitive if I had been the head coach there. I think we would have been competitive. We had a good team, we had a good staff, and we had a lot of good players.

"Ozzie did a good job with that team and made it better, and they won a championship five years later [with] some of the same players that we started with. But you know, it wasn’t my choice, Ted [Marchibroda] came in there and was going to transition that for what they needed at that point in time. But I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, no."