Notes: Belichick on how DBs stick it to wide receivers


Notes: Belichick on how DBs stick it to wide receivers

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.comFOXBORO -- During Sunday's game against the Jets, a person in the press box well-versed in football statistics but seemingly a little short on football comprehension (and self-awareness) raged every time the Jets threw short of the first-down marker on third down. "They need 6, nice job throwing it 2 yards short of the sticks!" he'd sniff. You may have heard a person like this in your circle of football-watching friends (get rid of him). Or maybe you are that person (shut up, please). The fact is, you can still catch the ball and run for the first down. There's no extra credit for throwing it past the marker. But the problem is, the defense doesn't want you to get to the sticks so they wall up right there. On Monday, Bill Belichick discussed the two plays where New York came up short on third-down completions. Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald brought up the fact that, on both plays, safety James Ihedigbo camped at the sticks, forcing receivers to make a decision. "That's always a dilemma for the receivers," said Belichick. "You can either tell the receiver to go up and get the first down and run into the defender and get covered and hope that he can find a little space where the quarterback can throw it to him. Or you can tell him to shorten his route and get him the ball and hope that he can break a tackle or spin out of it or catch it and fall forward for the first down. "That's one of those things where, it's tough offensively," Belichick added. "I know I've got to get the first down but if I run right to you, I just get covered. If I stop short, then I'm short of the first down. You see all the time the guy doesn't get the yardage. But if a guy is standing right there, do you want to run right to him and be covered? What good does that do?"
A couple other Beli-nuggets on a Monday where the Patriots' locker room was practically vacant and we were left with the (thankfully) upbeat Belichick to fill our notebooks. On crowd noise"When you're down on the field it's like a constant roar. It goes up and it comes down a little bit but it'sa constant roar. I think when you're in the stands, you hear it a little more and having been in the stands for Bruins games and Celtics games, you hear it come to life. I'm not saying there aren't different levels when you're down on the field, but when you're down on the field, 65,000 people just all talking at the same time, there's a volume of noise there directed at the field." On Albert Haynesworth"Did some good things and some things could have been better. Hadn't played in a couple of weeks so hopefully this week he can get more time on the field and build on this week's performance but I think he did some things to help us."

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)


Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.