Belichick deflects Haynesworth questions

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Belichick deflects Haynesworth questions

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Bill Belichick held his first press conference of 2011 and steered clear of discussing the 330-pound bombshell that dropped earlier today, the Albert Haynesworth deal. "Talked to Mike Shanahan last night and we're in the process of, acquiring process of Haynesworth, but that's not complete yet so I can't really comment on that until it's completed. If it does get completed," Belichick said with scrambled syntax. "We'll see how that goes."Asked if there was a contract holdup, Belichick said, "We'll talk about it when it's done."Asked to describe Haynesworthgenerally, Belichick said, "We'll talk about him when it's finished. If it's finished. Not there yet."What kind of pass rush needdo the Patriots have was the next probe sent forth. "Defensively the two things you want to do is pressure the quarterback andcover the receivers in the passing game," Belichick offered. "That's what pass defense is. Those two things working together, the timing of it, the coordination of it andthe execution of it, that's what the passing game is all about. You can never have too much pass rush, you can never have too much pass coverage."Given Haynesworth's checkered past which includes road rage, an on-field stomping, a sexual assault accusation, an accident while driving 100 mph in his Ferrari and outright quitting on the Washington Redskins because he didn't like the way he was deployed, it's important the Patriots know what the hell they're getting into.
Asked about the process for getting to know a player with a troubled past, Belichick said, "Any time you acquire a player, no matter how you do it, you always want to be comfortable bringing that player onto your team. Whether you draft him, sign him, trade for him, however you do it, that's what you want to try to do."Is this Patriots team strong enough to absorb aplayer like Haynesworth? Belichick was asked about the team's leadership - shaky in 2009 but improved in 2010. "I have no idea," he insisted. "We haven't even set foot on the field. It's a new year, new team, totally blank slate. I have no idea what we have right now. We haven't even gotten in a huddle yet."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

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Report: Patriots fill open roster spot with former Browns DL Hughes

The Patriots opened a roster spot by waiving defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, but they won't be adding a quarterback to take his place. 

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the team has swapped one defensive tackle for another by adding former Browns big man John Hughes, a 6-foot-2, 320-pounder who played under former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff Mike Lombardi when Lombardi was Cleveland's general manager in 2013. 

Hughes was released last week after spending just over four years with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2012. He signed a four-year extension with the Browns last season that was worth $12.8 million. 

With the Patriots, Hughes figures to work in as part of the rotation on the interior of the defensive line along with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine. Unlike Johnson, who was more of a penetrating pass-rusher, Hughes should factor in as more of a space-eating type. He has 5.5 career sacks in 53 games. 

Johnson is the latest in a long line of Browns who played under Lombardi to end up in New England. The two most notable Patriots who spent 2013 in Cleveland are defensive end Jabaal Sheard and running back Dion Lewis. Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who arrived in New England in a trade this summer, was drafted by Lombardi's front office as the No. 6 overall pick in 2013.

Pats exploit 'element of unknown' with Garoppolo or Brissett at QB

Pats exploit 'element of unknown' with Garoppolo or Brissett at QB

There’s no way to spin rookie Jacoby Brissett starting a game rather than three-year NFL veteran Jimmy Garoppolo or future Hall of Famer Tom Brady as preferable.
 
But can the disadvantages be mitigated? Can the fact there is no “book” on a player be helpful?
 
“I think there’s always an element of the unknown when you’re dealing with a player or something you haven’t seen or scouted as much,” said Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on a conference call Monday afternoon. “I don’t know if there’s an advantage there, it’s just that you don’t have as much information on a player or on some scheme that they may use, which then forces you to figure some things out as the game goes along and do some quick self-scouting as you move through the first cquarter, the first half, whatever it is, just to make sure that if it is something new you haven’t seen before, if it is a player that you haven’t played against and don’t have a lot of volume of tape on, that you have an opportunity to evaluate quickly what is going on.

"What’s happening in the game? How much of an impact is that player having? Are they trying to  do something that’s disrupting what you’re trying to do with their scheme? I think that happens a lot of weeks during the course of the year based on health and availability, new players, guys being called up, someone that just got signed and you don’t really have a lot of experience watching them play in their system. I would say that’s a common occurrence for us.”
 
With a fullback or UDFA guard pressed into duty, there’s not a helluva lot that will be altered in terms of scheme. With players like Garoppolo and Brissett, though, the Patriots' long-established offense can take on an entirely different look if different areas are emphasized.
 
For instance, jet sweep is a play the team won’t use much with Tom Brady except as a “keep ‘em honest” on the edges kind of play. With Garoppolo, quickness when he gets outside the pocket has to be respected so if he fakes that jet sweep and rolls to the outside, he’s a run-pass threat with speed and downfield accuracy. With Brissett, he’s a threat with elusiveness, size and power as a runner. Additionally, if the Patriots wanted to try the old Elway Throwback to the opposite sideline, Brissett may have more arm power than either Brady or Garoppolo.
 
McDaniels said the Patriots aren’t looking necessarily for ways to “surprise” opponents as much as they are looking for ways to accentuate players’ strengths.  
 
“We’ve got to take the guys that we get to play with, based on health and other factors, and then we consider the defense that we’re getting ready to play against, and the great players and the scheme that they use, and then we try to formulate the right plan to allow our players to go out there and play fast, play well, and do the things that suit their talents the best,” McDaniels explained. “I don’t think that our mindset has changed.

"Some of the variables have changed from one week to the next, which is always the case,  and of course, when you get a group of guys a plan and then you work so hard to get ready for Sunday or Thursday night and go out there and watch them play and execute and take care of the ball and do the things you need to do to try to win, and then they enjoy it so much, that’s really the thing that you take the most satisfaction from as a coach.”