Gameday Walkthrough: You're watching the greatest combo ever

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Gameday Walkthrough: You're watching the greatest combo ever

Welcome to the final regular-season Sunday of 2012. We have four weeks of football left after today, just 11 games. Amazingly rapid season, weren't it?Last night, I was toodling around the worldwide web when I started wondering how many coaching wins Bill Belichick trails Don Shula by. Including playoffs,Belichick is currently 203-108 in 18 seasons as a head coach and 166-63 in New England. Shula compiled 347 total wins in his 33 years as a head coach.Noting on Twitterwhere Belichick stood, I said he could move into sixth behind the legendary Paul Brown with a 14-win regular season in 2013. WRONG! He passed Paul Brown in 2010 when Belichick got his 170th win. Brown's 47 wins in the AAFC must have been included in this list of winningest coaches which I leaned on when tweeting. Either way, it's kind of a jumble out there because there are lists which stick to regular-season wins and others that combine regular season and playoffs. Working of of the TOTAL NFL wins, here's how it currently stands. 1. Don Shula (33 years) -- 347
2. George Halas (40 years) -- 324
3. Tom Landry (29 years) -- 270
4. Curly Lambeau (33 years) -- 229
5. Chuck Noll (23 years) -- 209
6. Marty Schottenheimer (21 years) -- 205
7. Bill Belichick (18 years) -- 2038. Dan Reeves (23 years) -- 201
9. Chuck Knox (22 years) -- 193
That's as far as I know. Who was the greatest coach ever? That's really a subjective discussion and total wins aren't the best measure. For instance, Vince Lombardi's not on this list. Or Jimmy Johnson. Or Bill Walsh. Or Paul Brown. Shula has the most wins but he also was at the controls of a team that suffered the seminal upset in NFL history (the 1969 Colts) and was head coach of the 1993 Dolphins who blew a 9-2 start and missed the playoffs. The ballyhooed perfect season? Can't do any better than perfect, but mercy, their competition was awful. Miami's 14 regular-season opponents combined for a record of 70-122-4. That's a .367 winning percentage. The two games they played against teams that finished with winning records both went 8-6. Nine of the games were against teams that won five or less. No Miami opponent made it to the playoffs in 1972. Details. That's where the answers lie. Joe Montana, 4-0 in Super Bowls, HAS to be better than Tom Brady who's currently 3-2. Right, and Montana was one-and-done in three consecutive playoff appearances from 1985-87, throwing 0 TDs and five picks. Long story short, you're may be watching the greatest coach in NFL history. You may also be watching the greatest quarterback. You're definitely watching the greatest combo. Stunned and amazed that Patrick Chung wasn't fined for the hit he laid on Cecil Shorts III last Sunday in Jacksonville. Chung explained to me after the game he was going too fast to let up and that Shorts ducked his head. Still, I thought it was head contact on a defenseless receiver. I'd rather see a player keep his money than kick it back to the league, so good for Chung. But I'm now more confused as to what the NFL's trying to ban since that seemed a textbook head shot. Chung is among nine prominent Patriots with contracts that expire after this season. Some of the others are Kyle Arrington, Julian Edelman, Dane Fletcher, Danny Woodhead, Trevor Scott, Sebastian Vollmer, Aqib Talib and Wes Welker.Of those players, Chung is the only one I can see that there would be no tears shed for if he left. Good player, but he might need a reboot in a new city.

Giardi: Two more picks for Jimmy G., but . . .

Giardi: Two more picks for Jimmy G., but . . .

FOXBORO -- The tweets stacked up on your timeline right around 12:30 this afternoon. Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions -- again.

What the 140 characters didn’t tell you was how they happened, or why.

The first was a wounded duck that had very little chance of success, save for the fact that Justin Coleman completely impeded Chris Hogan’s ability to compete for the ball (read: defensive pass interference). Safety Jordan Richards poached the ball as it fluttered to earth and the media tent started chirping.

The second came two throws later. Garoppolo zipped a ball to the back hip/shoulder of Devin Lucien in the end zone. Lucien initially had it, but a diving Eric Rowe ripped it from his hands for Rowe’s second pick of Garoppolo in two days.

“Whenever you throw an interception, whether it’s your testing someone out and giving a guy a chance, you never want to throw an int in the first place,” said Garoppolo after practice today.

Those INTs came on the heels of two interceptions yesterday. The first -- snagged by Richards -- was almost certainly a ball Garoppolo would never have thrown in a real game. That's a point that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have hammered over and over in the last 17 years, that these day in late July and August, are a time for testing both yourself and your teammates.

“You always try to do the right thing in practice, but practice is also that time, especially in training camp,” noted Garoppolo, “ to try to give an opportunity to who you maybe wouldn’t in the regular season. It’s a time to gain trust in your teammates and give a guy an opportunity.”

Lucien had that opportunity today and had it wrestled away from him. Note taken and file saved. Maybe next time, Garoppolo -- or Brady, or Jacoby Brissett -- go a different direction. Or they hammer the point home.

Ealy absence not injury-related: 'You have to ask Coach Bill'

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Ealy absence not injury-related: 'You have to ask Coach Bill'

FOXBORO -- Kony Ealy readily admitted that his absence from Thursday's practice was not injury-related. He did not, however, say what it was related to. 

"You have to ask Coach Bill," Ealy said. "Me and him had something going or whatever."

Ealy appeared to participate regularly during Friday's shells-and-shorts session. It was the first time he was spotted by reporters on the field with his teammates since he walked off the field during a June 8 workout behind Gillette Stadium.

When asked if his latest absence was related to his absence from portions of spring camps, Ealy said he couldn't remember what held him out in the spring. He explained that he was OK with missing Thursday's work because, well, what else was he going to say?

"Of course," Ealy said. "Am I going to go against what Coach Belichick says? No. At the end of the day, my job is to come here and do everything I need to do for the team and do the right things on and off the field."

Though Ealy indicated that he felt the communication along the defensive line was coming along well, he'll have plenty of work to do as he embarks on his first training camp in New England.

"Even if I was out yesterday, I was out getting individual reps," he said. "In my mind, I'm just picturing myself in those positions, those spots, just going over the call, studying, reviewing, so you never stop working."