Broncos defense will try to confuse Brady


Broncos defense will try to confuse Brady

FOXBORO -- One of the keys to defeating the Denver Broncos on Sunday will be for Bill Belichick's defense to disguise and surprise Peyton Manning, keeping him off-guard all game.

But it's safe to say that the Patriots won't be the only team using that defensive style.

Throughout the first four weeks of the regular season, Denver has utilized a defensive formula that has all 11 players standing up before the snap.

Belichick said it makes for a "who's who" game.

"They have kind of a defense where nobody's down, and they kind of walk around," said Belichick on Friday. "They don't really have anybody in a three-point stance, or maybe sometimes one guy will get down. They've down that, they've shown that, I'll say, in every game, or, a number of times during the year. It's not like a one-time thing against Oakland. They've been doing that.

"They have some versatile guys, that, sometimes they rush, sometimes they cover. And they like to bring a lot of defensive backs, when they get into their six or seven defensive-back defenses. So, they're really like linebackers, but they're defensive backs. It just becomes an identification thing for the offense. Who's a DB, who's a linebacker, who's got who, who's down? And so, you potentially have 11 guys in coverage, instead of, just say, seven, which is a traditional four-man line.

"They've done that, and again, that's one of the many things they do that creates problems for you, preparation-wise," added Belichick. "They do it every week, then that's something you've got to be ready for, because you kind of know that sooner or later, they're going to give it to you."

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?

Phil Perry and Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran debate which receiver has been better for the Patriots: Wes Welker or Julian Edelman? It's part of this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots


Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."