Belichick acknowledges looming scheme changes

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Belichick acknowledges looming scheme changes

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
FOXBORO- Last week, Bill Belichick pished-poshedtheflurry of speculation about whether his team will run a 3-4 defense or a 4-3. He did that despite the fact he hired the most devastating 4-3 DT in the league, Albert Haynesworth (when he feels like it), has been running a ton of four-man fronts in practice and that recently released Ty Warren said it's clear the team is changing to a 4-3 set. Belichick's contention is that it really doesn't matter how many guys are in three-point stances at the front of the defense. What matters is their alignment and marching orders.OK. Point taken. But as the pass-rushing 4-3 defensive ends and defensive tackles with pocket-crashing ability stack up like cord wood here at Gillette Stadium, Belichick acknowledged on Monday that, yeah, things may look a little differently. This past weekend the Patriots added Andre Carter, a pass-rushing specialist at defensive end. Asked about Carter's strength Belichick said, "Last year with(when Carter was with Washington)they went to a 3-4 defense and it wasn't a good fit for him in that system.But we feel like with what we'll be asking him to do this year, as opposed to what he was asked to do last year and what we've seen him do in the first nine years of his career that we could use his ability on the edge and (we felt he could ) be effective."Ah-HA! So there you have it. Carter sucked in the 3-4, he's been hired to play here where his skills will be a better fit, hence...no 3-4. I am ... a super sleuth. Here's the thing though - and this is the point Belichick is trying to makeby being persnickety about the front- just because Carter has 4-3 defensive end attributes (the ability to get upfield, beat left tackles 1-on-1 and get to the quarterback), doesn't mean the Patriots are going away totally from their 3-4 roots. They will switch and mix and match. And sometimes Carter will be at the end in a 4-3. And other times, Shaun Ellis will be at the end in a 3-4. Down, distance, matchups, time left in the game, field position, injuries and personnel are going to figure in. Adding Carter, Ellis, Mark Anderson and Haynesworth allows them to be more versatile. That's all. "I don't think the defensive philosophy's gonna change," Belichick added. "How we align and how we handle the responsibilities could definitely change by game plan or by what we feel are our strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think fundamentally our philosophy and techniques will change. I think what we're teaching, we'll continue to teach and use on a very consistent basis. How we want to move guys around or put them in certain formations ...I think there's flexibility there."What this whole conversation comes down to is this: "Will the Patriots become an attacking defense? Will they remain a read and react defense?""We have an assortment of things to choose from from my time here and depending on how our teams shapes up, what some of these players can do (will help decide the scheme). Some of these players I'venever coached before so I'm not sure exactly how they'll fit in or what roles they'll play in this defense. We'll just have to wait and see how that turns out. I think we'll have enough defense where we'll be able to."It certainly seems that way. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

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Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats. 

As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions. 

The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around. 

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“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”

In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game. 

If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone. 

Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016. 

With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1. 

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