Belichick commends Arrington's improved ball skills


Belichick commends Arrington's improved ball skills

FOXBORO -- Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington recorded his fourth interception of the season on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. And even after New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis' two picks on Monday night against the Miami Dolphins, Arrington's four interceptions lead the entire NFL through six weeks of the regular season.

Bill Belichick spoke Tuesday about what's gone right so far for Arrington this year. He said the biggest adjustment in the CB's game has come in his ball-handling skills.

"Some of the things that we talked about to Kyle at the end of the season, after the 2010 season, were things that he needed to work on and areas that he needed to improve," said Belichick. "Any defensive back . . . can always improve their ball skills.

"As an offensive player, as a receiver, you get dozens of balls thrown to you at every practice and individual drills and 7-on-7, team drills, after practice and jugs machine, all those things. Defensively, it's a different story. You don't get very many opportunities to handle the ball. Maybe a couple opportunities in the beginning of practice in individual-type drills. Usually that's with the coach throwing to you, which is generally not the same as an NFL quarterback.

"Your opportunities to catch the ball are limited in practice. So it's something that you have to do more on your own, or the coach or somebody else has to set up a drill and have balls thrown to you to work on your ball skills, or the jugs machine. That's one of the things we talked to Kyle about last year, for something he should work in the offseason on, was playing the ball, handling the ball more, his overall ball skills. And obviously he's done that.

"He came into camp . . . and right from the beginning, it evident that he had worked hard on that and his ball skills, and his judgment on the ball, and his decision-making on high-pointing the ball, and reaching with two hands and not one hand," added Belichick. "All those things are little things, but they're really not little things, that he had worked on and improved on, and they showed up from the beginning of training camp."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”