Belichick gives the boot to NFL's kickoff proposal


Belichick gives the boot to NFL's kickoff proposal

By Tom E. Curran

NEW ORLEANS - The NFL's Competition Committee hatched a proposal that would radically change kickoffs. Bill Belichick hates it. The proposal, which would move the line of scrimmage on kickoffs from the 30 to the 35, would result in more touchbacks. Yet the line of scrimmage after a touchback would now be the 25 instead of the 20. Additionally, the kickoff team would only be allowed a 5-yard runup before the kickoff - currently there's no limit. And there would be no wedge-making. Currently, two players are allowed to join together to block for a kickoff return. "It's a very complicated proposal," Belichick said to a group of reporters in the hallway at the Roosevelt Hotel. "I dont like the idea of removing the kickoff from the game. I think it's one of the most exciting plays in football. It seems to me the Competition Committee wants to eliminate that from the game."Belichick went a step further, noting that the notion it's proposed for player safety didn't come through in the commuttee's presentation Sunday night. "I dont know that its because of head injuries, Belichick said. The ones they showed, there werent very many of them. I think you should talk to the Competition Committee. They are the ones that really proposed the rule. Talk to Rich McKay, whoever else is on the committee and see what they have to say about it. There are a lot of components to it, four different elements to it. Its a complicated rule."One thing that isn't complicated - Belichick's feelings on the proposal.

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

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language


Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."