Bill Belichick gives complimentary scouting report on Steelers QB Landry Jones


Bill Belichick gives complimentary scouting report on Steelers QB Landry Jones

FOXBORO -- The Patriots may not have to go prepare for Steelers quarterback Ben Roesthlisberger this weekend, but coach Bill Belichick insisted on Wednesday that Roethlisberger's backup poses some problems of his own.

Landry Jones will get the start for Mike Tomlin's club, and there's enough tape on him from Weeks 6 and 7 of last season -- when he took over the offense while Roethlisberger dealt with an injury -- that the Patriots know what to expect when they head to Heinz Field on Sunday.

"Ahtletic, good arm, quick release, doesn't hold the ball," Belichick said of Jones. "Thought he played well last year when he played in Arizona and Kansas City . . . Another good player, experienced player. Knows their system."

Indeed, in Jones' lone start last season against the Chiefs, he ran the kind of varied looks teams have come to expect from Pittsburgh's offense. He took snaps from under center and out of the shotgun. He used three, five and seven-step drops. He worked the middle of the field and wasn't afraid to take deep shots down the field.

Jones, a fourth-round pick in 2013, was not as accurate as Roethlisberger likely would have been, however, completing just 55 percent of his passes. He also had difficulty taking care of the football as he was intercepted twice (one off of a drop from Antonio Brown) and he was strip-sacked while running the four-minute drill as the Steelers attempted a comeback. 

Belichick said the challenge of defending Landry is that he won't be fixated on one type of throw or one receiver. The Patriots will have to be ready for a host of different looks -- even though those looks may not be run as effectively as they would be with Roethlisberger behind center.

"He does a good job," Belichick said. "Comebacks, in-cuts, deep balls, throws all those well. But the catch-and-run plays, if you drop back and take those away, those are a problem, too.

"They do a good job on crossing routes and obviously when you get the ball to the backs, those guys are dangerous. Tight ends really show up a lot in the red area. [Jones] doesn't discriminate. Gets the ball to everybody.

"And that's the tough thing about defending the Steelers. If they get behind you, it's all over in one play. If you take that away, then they get chunks of yardage on catch-and-run plays, and a running game. They're very hard to defend. Very explosive."

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

It was reported last week that multiple NFL executives are convinced that Darrelle Revis will return to the New England Patriots next season.

Talking with the New York Daily News, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’d be open to a reunion with the 31-year-old cornerback.

“I would love it,” Kraft said. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

Asked if the team has had discussions with Revis, Kraft said “ask my boy,” in reference to coach Bill Belichick.

Revis spent the 2014 season with the Patriots, helping them win Super Bowl XLIX. He bolted back to the New York Jets the next season, signing a five-year, $70 million contract ($39 million guaranteed).

The Jets released Revis earlier this month after the incident in Pittsburgh. A judge dismissed the charges.

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

PHOENIX -- The idea that Malcolm Butler could be traded by the Patriots before the start of the 2017 season has been floated for weeks. But if Robert Kraft had his way, he'd like for the hero of Super Bowl XLIX to stick around. 

At the Biltmore hotel on Day 2 of the league's annual meetings, Kraft was asked if he anticipated having Butler back in New England for next season.

"I sure hope so," he said. "We have [a first-round tender] out to him, and I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick.

"I'm rooting, I hope, he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us. I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that."

The Patriots can't trade any player who isn't under contract, and they can't talk about a trade for a player not on their roster. Therefore, even if the Patriots hoped to deal Butler and get something in return for the Pro Bowl-caliber corner before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2018, it's not something that the owner of the team would be at liberty to discuss with dozens of microphones in front of his face. 

The tender offer of $3.91 million for one season is still out there for Butler. He could sign it and play in New England. He could sign it and be traded. For now, Kraft says he's hoping for the former -- and insists that the Patriots didn't have designs on the latter all along.

"I don't want to, in any way, take away from his rights [as a restricted free agent]," he said, adding, "I want to be clear. I hope he's with us."