Mallett responds to criticism; compares self to Brady

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Mallett responds to criticism; compares self to Brady

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Patriots ended their second day of drafting by selectingthe most criticized quarterback in the entire class, Ryan Mallett.

Nobodys questioning the skill of the 6-foot-6, 238-poundpocket passer from the University of Arkansas. Its his off-the-field issuesthat presumably had him falling out of the first two rounds, only to be takenin the third round 74th overall by the Patriots.

That cloud hanging over Malletts head had all to do withthe criticisms he faced about alleged drug use. And he responded to questionsabout those criticisms, in a conference call on Friday night, after receiving acall from New England, telling him he was about to become a Patriot.

When I got that call, it was a great feeling, just to knowthat somebody wanted me, said Mallett. Its been a long road to get here.

Mallett described the drug allegations as just peopletalking and something that hes put behind him.

Mislabeled, if thats what you want to call it, fine, saidMallett. I think I was portrayed in a different light, than the people thatknow me and know who I am.

I dont think that stuffs a problem. I think theres beena lot of stuff said thats definitely been false. But Im looking to thefuture, and looking to be a Patriot.

Mallett said he was definitely surprised to get drafted byNew England, but he always thought it would be a great fit, especially afterhis visit to New England last week.

I know Toms a great player, said Mallett. Theopportunity for me to learn from him, and further my knowledge with thatcoaching staff, is something that I was very excited about, when I got thecall. I cant wait to get started.

Mallett said he loved his trip to New England, because heimmediately drew a connection with Bill Belichick.

I love the coaches there, said Mallett. The staff is agreat staff. Obviously they have great players. Im looking forward to havingan opportunity to play for the greatest organization in the NFL right now.

It was like talking to an old coach. Im a coachs son, soIve been around coaches, and coach Belichicks a great guy. He loves hisplayers, and he loves the game. Thats something that, when youre acompetitor, thats what you want.

I felt like I had a great connection with him, and I guesshe did too.

Now, Mallett will have a chance to learn from Tom Brady. Forsure, it will be an adjustment for him to go from starter to backup, he planson preparing himself every week as a starter, because you never know when youllbe called upon.

As a competitor, I want to play, but this gives me anadvantage to prolong my career by playing behind Tom and learning all thelittle dinks and dunks from him, said Mallett.

Heading into the draft, the only name any football analystcompared Mallett to was former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe. But afterFriday nights conference call with New Englands newest quarterback, Mallettbelieves he should have been compared to Brady.

I think its a perfect fit, after watching film with thecoaches while I was there, said Mallett. And me and Tom Brady are kind ofthe same. I mean, were not fleet of foot. Obviously we dont run fast. We pickdefenses apart, and we know whats going to happen before the snap, or we reactpost-snap, and thats why I feel like Im like him a lot.

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

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

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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."