Belichick looks to the week ahead

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Belichick looks to the week ahead

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- The Patriots got back to work on Saturday at GilletteStadium after an off-day on Friday, but prior to the afternoon session, coachBill Belichick addressed the media and talked about the week ahead.

Its a big week for us coming up here, said Belichick.Weve got some things we can build on from training camp and the preseasongame against Jacksonville. Weve got to start stacking some things on top ofthat, in terms of situations and a little bit of expansion in our system.

A lot of things we havent covered. We have competition ata lot of spots that were going to have to evaluate.

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One of those positions he talked about was the running backposition.

The guy weve seen the most of is BenJarvus, said Belichick.Sammys role is a diverse one. Woody, we saw a lot of last year, but not intraining camp. He came in in the middle of the season, so we really have to seewhat his whole value to the team would be with an entire training camp, knowingthe system, and really being able to build off his experience last year.

Seeing how well Dane Fletcher performed running thedefense at middle linebacker on Thursday night, Belichick was asked about JerodMayo, and if he would ever move to an outside linebackers role.

The answer? Nope.

I dont really see that, said Belichick. I think hesgoing to play off the line of scrimmage. Hes going to play in the tackle boxsomewhere. Whatever front were in over, under, 3-4, 4-3, 2-4 hes going toplay in the tackle box somewhere. Thats what hes always done. Hes one of thebest Ive coached. Hes one of the best in the league at doing that. I cantimagine him playing anywhere else.

Belichick was also asked about Matt Light, to which thePatriots coach praised the veteran offensive lineman who recently re-signedwith the team.

Matts been a good player for us, said Belichick. Hesbeen here and played very well for us through the years and has been a reallyconsistent player.

As well as playing, he gives us a lot of other things. I think hes good forour football team. I dont think you can have too many good players, especiallyat that position. We worked it out. Matt and I talked about the situation, andobviously we feel comfortable with him on the team, and he felt comfortablesigning with the team, so I dont see any reason not to go full speed aheadwith it.

If you noticed most kickoffs are turning into simpletouchbacks, youre not the only one. A new NFL rule has moved kickoffs up tothe 35-yard line, but Belichick said it was done with the intent of having moretouchbacks and fewer returns. So he isnt surprised with the result of the newrule.

I dont think theres any doubt that, league-wide, therellbe more touchbacks this year, said Belichick. I think, statistically, thatspretty well documented.

We had our meetings in March, and that was the proponentsof the rule. Thats what they wanted. They wanted to see more touchbacks andless kickoff returns, and Im sure, statistically, that will happen.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Hogan on facing his ex-Bills teammates: ‘Like it’s any other game’

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Hogan on facing his ex-Bills teammates: ‘Like it’s any other game’

FOXBORO – Sunday isn’t some “I’ll show them!” game for Chris Hogan. The Buffalo Bills didn’t give up on Hogan last March. They just weren’t going to extend themselves financially the way the Patriots did.

Hogan, a restricted free agent, was lured to New England by the team’s three-year, $12 million contract offer that had $7.5 million guaranteed. Buffalo, which had no cap space, made it clear before the deadline to match the Patriots offer even expired that they couldn’t keep Hogan.

So now, Buffalo enters Sunday’s game without injured wideouts Sammy Watkins and Greg Salas and must resign itself to watching Hogan run around as an opponent.

“I’m just preparing for the game just like it’s any other game,” Hogan said Friday when asked about the matchup. “[Division] opponent so it’s a big game for us. They’re going to come in here pretty excited. There’s going to be a lot of intensity out there.

“Those guys [the Bills] are all my friends still, but we’re playing a game now,” said Hogan. “Once that whistle blows, 60 minutes, I’m going to be playing football. Afterwards we can talk and do all that. My focus is on doing my job and taking advantage of all my opportunities on Sunday.”

Earlier this week, Rex Ryan spoke glowingly of Hogan, who has eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown so far.

“It was definitely tough to lose him,” Ryan said Wednesday on a conference call. “We didn’t want to. The thing about Chris is he’s a tough guy, he’s a good receiver and things, but the thing that also impressed me is this guy, he did everything that was asked of him. From being a special-teams player and obviously being a wideout, being in the slot, being outside.”

Hogan has eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown so far.

“It doesn’t surprise me the type of success he’s having, because he’s really a good football player,” said Ryan. “And when you look at him as an athlete, here’s a big-time lacrosse player who then decides he’s going to play one year of football [in college] and now is in the National Football League. He’s a pretty special talent.”

Hogan acknowledged Ryan’s praise, saying, “Anytime someone pays you a compliment, as a head coach in this league, you obviously take that. That meant a lot to me, especially coming from him. I will be forever grateful to them, that organization. They gave me my first chance. That’s where I really kind of made my, started my career. I was there for four years. I established a lot of relationships with those guys and to this day still do. I will always look back on my career and that’s where I started.”

Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

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Patriots won’t have to deal with Bills WR Sammy Watkins on Sunday.

FOXBORO - Scratch the estimable Sammy Watkins from the Bills roster for Sunday. 

Buffalo shared via Twitter that their long, tall wideout is out for Sunday with a foot injury. Also down are wideout Greg Salas and left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo.

The Bills' starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has been dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss last week's game. 

Robert Woods will be the Bills best outside threat with Watkins taking Sunday off. The Bills' talented corner Ronald Darby is also trying to get back this week from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss last week's game with Arizona.