Brady: Belichick keeps Patriots on even keel


Brady: Belichick keeps Patriots on even keel

By Tom E. Curran

FOXBORO - It's all rainbows and unicorns with the football team these days. And that's great. They're playing well and should be celebrated. But the ironic thing is, fans and media - we ain't that consistent. And the thing that we laud about the Patriots - what makes them a unique and endlessly fascinating - is that they are. Hands on the wheel and 10-and-2, imperturbable in a monsoon or ona perfect 74-degree day. We - fans and media - are susceptible to the slightest atmospheric change. A little bipolar. And there are plenty of teams in the NFL that are the same way. There's a pretty good team a couple hundred miles to the South like that. Wednesday, Tom Brady talked about how Bill Belichick keeps things on an even keel.
"It's just on a day-to-day basis with him," Brady explained. "Basically, when we dont do things right, he lets us know. There is nobody that's off the hook. He holds us accountable on every single play and every single day."So . . . what was going on last year?When the Patriots wereputting together a soft 10-6 record and losing everygame played away from home in the United States except one?Whenpeople were wondering if Belichick knew what he was doing without Scott Pioli or ifBrady was in decline? What was going on then? Same thing. And the players - though perhaps not the best collection of employees for Belichick's style - were held to the same standards, which is why guys like Adalius Thomas and Shawn Springs watched a lot of football last year. They didn't buy in. Brady's voice and leadership, after an injury-forced season away from the team, wasn't as forcefully heard in 2009 in a locker room full of veterans and young players who'd lost their strongest leaders.Belichick never lost control of the Patriots. To go 10-6 in a bottoming-out season is pretty remarkable. But the Patriots take a helluva lot more pride in their work now than then. Brady gave an insight into how Belichick maintains the standards for the team. "When we come into a meeting at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning . . . he's got questions, 50 questions about the team that we're going to play," Brady explained. "We haven't had a meeting about the Packers or the Bears, but he's got questions. "And basically, he's trying to make sure that on Monday and Tuesday, we're doing what we need to do to be prepared for Wednesday morning," he continued. "It's pretty embarrassing if everybody is getting their questions right that he's asking them and then he asks you, and you really don't know the answer."So everyone prepares pretty hard on Monday and Tuesday for his meetings on Wednesday," Brady explained. "And that's the way it goes on Thursday. And ultimately on Sunday . . . that's our test for the week . . .
"When we come in Monday morning, he puts the tape on, and if you're not playing the way he expects you to play, you're held accountable. And I think that's the greatest thing about playing here. When you're a player, you don't have to ever hold your teammates accountable. The coach does that. And I think that's why everyone respects him so much. He coaches an 11-year veteran quarterback just the same way that he teaches a rookie tight end."The Patriots have a small coaching staffcompared to the rest of the league.There are no "coordinators" -- a reality that's caused Belichick to be called power-mad, arrogant and resistant to allowing his underlings to succeed.
It's all crap,of course.The man knows how he wantsthings done. There is a communal effort(near as we can tell and are told) in game-planning and game-day execution. But the process begins and ends with Belichick as -- simply put -- the teacher.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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.