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.

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

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Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.