Belichick lays out the consequences

Belichick lays out the consequences

By Tom E. Curran

FOXBORO - Bill Belichick spoke Friday about staring into the gaping maw of his team's 2010 mortality. Not really. "The season's gonna end for somebody this week," Belichick said in front of a loaded-to-the-gills media room at Gillette Stadium. "I'm not trying to over-dramatize it but that's the way it is." Belichick was in a pleasantly matter-of-fact mood on Friday. With a healthy crew of New York media on hand, Belichick gave them a look at the stark contrast in approach between him and Jets coach Rex Ryan. "It's the same for all of us," he said when discussing how much pressure was on younger players. "I don't care if you've been in the playoffs or haven't been in the playoffs. It's a one-game season. However many plays there are, that's how many are left. And if they're not good ones, that'll be it. If they're good ones, we'll get another opportunity. But if they're not good enough, season's over." Belichick said Brandon Spikes is improving but that the inside linebacker's first few days back after his four-game suspension were shaky. It will be interesting to see this weekend whether Spikes gets hisnormal number of reps or whether Gary Guyton, who played well in Spikes' absence as an everydown inside linebacker,gets more reps. Members of the Gillette Stadium grounds crew have been at the facility since Tuesday working to get the joint ready. That's "at the facility" as in, haven't gone home. And barely slept much. Asked about Wes Welker's press conference that was chock full of foot references on Thursday, Belichick answered, "My focus is on the Jets. You have to ask him about that. The Patriots' rookie class has been outstanding. But Belichick resisted calling them off the charts exceptional in terms of smartsmentioning Vince Wilfork, Patrick Chung, Jerod Mayo and Tom Brady as guys who came in and got it down quickly. "We've had a lot of guys come in here and learn the system gain more knowledge and gain more experience from one week to the next . . . Some guys do a better job of it than others," he noted, "but this isn't the first rookie class that's come in and had a couple guys play well." IR'd guard Stephen Neal was in the locker room Friday (as was owner Robert Kraft). Neal said he intends to be back next season. "That's the plan," he told me.

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Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.