Belichick takes reporters to school


Belichick takes reporters to school

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - Buried in the avalanche of words, grunts and shrugs emanating from Bill Belichickpress conferencesare gems. He's been an NFL coach since 1975. He's coached in seven Super Bowls. He knows how the 53-man sausage that is an NFL team gets made. And while Belichick readily admits his is not the only way of doing things that may work, from the outside looking in, it's apparent his way works pretty well. So it was interesting to hear him explain earlier this week how a play gets installed. It's the essence of teaching, the essence of coaching. How do you get your students to "get it.""Anytime we install a play, put in a kickoff return, running play, blitz or something, we usually show examples of that so that the new players sort of understand how that works and that they have the general concept of the play," Belichick began.
"I think the best way to learn is to understand what all 11 people are doing. If you just try to memorize your assignment on every play then ultimately - if you dont know whats going on around you - you end up making decisions that impact the players around you, and if you really had an understanding of what the whole concept was, its probably less likely that that would happen." That's why you don't see a lot of freelancing in a Bill Belichick defense or on a running play. The great idea one linebacker has when he wants to play "free and instinctive" may leave the linebacker next to him with two guys to cover in a 35-yard area. This seemed to be the problem the team had last year with Brandon Meriweather. The safety eventually got yanked from the starting lineup for a spell because, as he explained, he was doing his own thing on plays. Belichick continued, "We try to teach the concept of the play. We show the play usually in multiple examples because of different things that can happen on the play, and it refreshes the veteran players who have done the play or maybe were even in the play when it was run before.
"But it also serves as a visual illustration to new players as opposed to X's and O's in a diagram Heres actually the play against whatever its being shown against, and this is how it works or this is one of the problems well have to adjust to with it and this is how we will handle it or whatever. " This, Belichick said, is the video portion of the teaching. The videos are called training tapes. "Thats part of the teaching tools," he explained. "You show it on paper, you show examples of it on film, you go out on the field and spatially walk through the plays in the relationships and so forth. You go out there and practice it in individual drills: 1-on-1, 7-on-7,9-on-9 whatever the drills are, and then ultimately you bring it together in a team drill, and thats kind of the teaching progression."As we look at the 2011 season and the reduced amount of prep time each team has thanks to the lockout, it becomes easy to see the strain teams are under with new players. A coach in his first year with a team -- and there are eight of those -- has to go through the install process with 90 players. A team like the Patriots only has to do it with the new guys and each veteran is an extension of the coaching staff, able to explain the nuances of certain plays. Certainly, Belichick doesn't hold the one perfect approach to teaching. Other guys at other levels have great ideas too, that's why Belichick's door and ears are always open to guys in the non-NFL coaching fraternity. But his detail on how these things get taught is a glimpse at how one very successful professional coach does it.

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

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

Will time off in September benefit Brady down the stretch?


Will time off in September benefit Brady down the stretch?

FOXBORO -- As far as Tom Brady is concerned, there were no silver linings to Deflategate or the month he spent in exile from his team. Don’t try to put whipped cream on that particular mound of fecal material.
Found that out Wednesday when I gingerly asked Brady whether he’s ever felt this good in mid-October.
“I feel good,” said Brady. “I felt good at this time last year though, too. From one year to the next, I’d say I’ve become pretty efficient with how I get ready to play.
So the missing of September?
“I always wish I could be out there playing,” he pointed out. “I’d much rather be playing than not playing, but it is what it is. I feel good at this point. But like I said, I felt good last year, I felt good the year before that, and I think every year at this time of year just based on the right routine and kind of doing the right things to get yourself feeling good.”
The line of questioning was prompted by two things.
First, Brady’s played 256 games -- regular season and playoffs -- since 2000. His 31 postseason starts are the most in NFL history and he’ll add to it this year. No quarterback’s ever had a schedule like Brady’s for as long as Brady and the punishment he takes (witness Denver last January) would have destroyed the Montanas and Mannings with whom he’s compared. The extended layoff had to do a body good. And the level at which Brady’s playing right now -- and may continue to because he’s fresher -- can only mean good things.
Second, all the band, resistance and quickness work Brady does will never make him fast. But it has seemed to make him more decisive and determined that -- when he does opt to run -- the body will cooperate and arrive at the appointed destination without disaster.
Sunday, Brady both bought time for completions and embarked on short-range scrambles that picked up key first downs.
When Brady talked last week about making Pittsburgh “defend every inch of the field,” Brady scooting into open areas was a perfect illustration of that.
“If there are two or three plays a game that you can make just moving the pocket, or sliding, or buying your receivers more time, or scrambling on third-and-two, it’s just one more thing that they have to defend,” said Brady. “We made – Jimmy [Garoppolo] made a bunch of those when he was in there early. Jacoby [Brissett] made some.
“It’s nice to be able to do that because I think it’s a little discouraging for a defense when they feel like they’ve got you covered or they’ve got the right call on it, and all of the sudden – I mean, I don’t think they’re preparing for me scrambling for first downs. I know they’re not working on that. They’re working on stopping Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], and stopping Julian [Edelman], and Danny, and Hogs [Chris Hogan], LeGarrette [Blount] and James [White]. That’s not one of their top 10 things on their hit list, so I think it’s pretty discouraging when it happens and hopefully we can keep it going.”
At this point, Brady’s running has to at least be in the scouting report.
Although Rex Ryan isn’t buying.
“I’d like to see him do it more often,” said Ryan when asked if the scrambling of Brady was becoming annoying. “Put him in the option, that’s one thing that doesn’t scare you much, you live with that. What scares you is when he lets the ball go. He’s able to pick up a few first downs, But I think we may have the edge in running ability this week. I may go out there and make that bold statement. They may be worried about (Tyrod Taylor) more than than we’ll be about Tom running.”