Moore's been nothing less than stellar for Pats


Moore's been nothing less than stellar for Pats

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- Having to play in the UFL is a humbling experience. Eric Moore knows that.

After all, the goal is to play in the NFL and, while you're there, make an impact.

After the Patriots' 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Moore wouldn't say he's made an impact in the month that he's been in New England.

But whether he wants to believe -- or admit -- it or not, Moore has taken great strides since signing with the Patriots in early December. The defensive lineman made three tackles on Sunday -- his fourth game with the team -- and forced a second-quarter fumble that led to a Patriots field goal and a 17-0 lead. That gives Moore 14 tackles, two forced fumbles, and two sacks in four games.

Not bad for the 29-year-old who began the season in the Carolina Panthers training camp, and then found himself helping lead the Florida Tuskers to the UFL Championship Game.

"Right now, I just have to thank God for the opportunity, and thank God for putting me here, and making the best of it," said Moore after Sunday's win over the Dolphins.

"Every guy's looking for a shot," he said. "And once you get that shot, you just have to take advantage of it."

After spending four seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, and St. Louis Rams, Moore found himself battling for another shot. The Patriots gave it to him in early December, and it's paid off for the organization.

Moore's hard work and willingness to keep battling, even after having to settle for a UFL contract earlier this season, is also paying off.

"He's come in and he's done what he had to do," said linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "He's done his job, and we're happy to have him. So whatever he's doing, he's got to continue to do. I'm excited to have Eric here . . . I know him from the past. He's a good player, so we're happy to have him."

Ninkovich's locker is right next to Moore's. The two know each other from playing together in New Orleans in 2006.

And they shared a special moment in Sunday's win, as Moore rushed into the backfield and forced the football out of Dolphins running back Ricky Williams' hands. Ninkovich jumped on the ball at his own 41-yard line, and it led to a New England field goal.

If the Patriots are prepared to make a serious run, they'll need Moore to continue to have the relentless presence he's had in the backfield as of late.

His teammates appreciate the work he's done to get where he is today.

"He's been a great player for us, on and off the field," said linebacker Jerod Mayo. "He's always in the film room trying to learn. We kind of threw him in there early, and he's getting better each and every week."

"Never give up, and if you've got a dream, continue to fight for it," said Ninkovich. "That's a lesson for everybody to see that, you know, he wanted to continue to play in the NFL, and he had to go to the UFL to get back to the NFL. So it talks a lot of his character and his drive.

"Eric's a great guy to have on your team because you know he's going to fight."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on

Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time


Tom Brady explains why he thinks Bill Belichick is the best of all time

Tom Brady may be biased, but he believes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the best to ever walk a sideline. 

That's what Brady told Westwood One's Jim Gray in an interview before the radio broadcast of Monday night's game between the Falcons and Saints. After Belichick helped cook up a game plan for the Patriots to beat the Texans on short rest with rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett behind center, Brady may not have many people argue with him. 

"I definitely think so," Brady answered when he was asked if Belichick was "the best coach to have ever done this."

"I think whatever hand he's been dealt, he finds a way to win. That's the mark of a great coach. Sitting in those meetings for the last 16 years and watching him prepare the team, there's no [other] coach I'd ever want to play for. He's just remarkable in every aspect. It's a privilege to play for him. I look forward to going back out there and, you know, getting yelled at by him. He's tough on the players and he expects the very best out of each of us every day. That ends up getting the best out of players. He's so consistent with his approach, and it's paid of for our team for a long time."

Brady said it's that consistency that stands out to him and separates Belichick from any of his peers.

"I think his consistency is just what's remarkable," Brady explained. "It's so much of what you don't see on these Sunday afternoons. But it's the way the offseason program is run in April. It's his urgency and enthusiasm at that time of year when no one's watching. His OTA schedule and his emphasis over the course of those practices in May and June when no one's really watching. There's no scoreboard to compete against. But we always feel like we're in competing against the other teams, even when there is no scoreboard.

"You go to training camp, and you can't waste days in training camp because you don't get those days back. Those days in training camp are going to prepare you for what's going to happen in Septmeber. There's urgency throughout the entire offseason to get us to the month of September, and then once September comes it's all about winning games and making improvements towards October.

"Then once you make improvements toward October, you can be in a really good position to really capitalize come November. That's when the playoff races start to shape up and you really see where you're at and there's a lot of scouting done at that point. That's whenn you really see the team develop and how the depth of the team really takes place. Coach Belichick is always understanding where the roster needs to be at and which positions we may need a little more depth at based on injuries over the course of the season.

"Then comes December when it's the last stretch of the season when you need to be at your best. He prepares us all the way throughout the season. His consistency has been remarkable. It's been fun to see from this point obvously for the last four weeks, but I've experienced that every day. That part of it doesn't really surprise me, but to see the way that my teammates have come out and played and performed under pressure on a Sunday night game, and the first home game, and a Thursday national TV game, it's just been so much fun to watch."

Rex and the Bills can’t afford to go belly-up vs. Patriots

Rex and the Bills can’t afford to go belly-up vs. Patriots

An unexpected – and convincing – win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday put some bounce back into the step of Rex Ryan.

Now, instead of gazing at his cavernous navel, wallowing in an 0-3 start and ticking off the reasons it isn’t really his fault, he’s buoyant.

After opening his press conference by mocking Bill Belichick’s deadpan approach to injuries, Ryan was asked what a win over the Patriots would do.

“It would mean a lot to our football team,” he said. “I think when you look at it, they’ve been the standard of this league. Not just in our conference or division or whatever. They’ve been the standard of the league. So you want to put yourself up against the best. I think everybody saw what happened when everybody’s: “No Tom Brady, this team is going to be a disaster.” Well they’re 3-0 last time I checked and beat some pretty good football teams. So, yeah, it’ll mean a lot. We need a win in the worst way. But, as far as the Patriots, I think, my admiration is really for Belichick more than anything. As a coach, that’s the guy, that’s the best. He’ll go down as probably the best in the history of the game. So, I like poking fun at him and all that stuff but there’s no coach I respect more than him.”

We are now in Year Seven of having Rex as an AFC East foil for Belichick. Given the start in Buffalo and the way things ended last year, we may not see a Year Eight. So the candor – even if it’s nonsense – will be missed when it’s gone.

With Tom Brady down for one more week, Jimmy Garoppolo likely being a close call with his AC joint separation and Jacoby Brissett having injured his thumb, there is uncertainty for Ryan to deal with. And he knows it will drag.

“I expect them immediately to tell us,” Ryan responded when asked when he thought he’d find out who the Bills would be defending. "As soon as they tell us, we’ll be like, 'yeah, ok.' Nobody would believe it anyway, Nah, I don’t know. We’re not going to find out until kickoff…

“We’ll we’ll be prepared for them,” he added. “We’re looking at all their talents and all that. The Patriots are a little different. They may take an entire game plan, and throw that away and look at you differently then they look at other teams. So, I’m watching them play Miami, and they’re chipping their defensive ends. Will they do that to us? I don’t know. Looks like to us, they do a lot of empty. So, we’ll see how they decide to play us, we’ll be ready for everything.”

Ryan gave due credit to the Patriots for their 3-0 start, saying, “Brady’s probably the best player in the league. So, it’s hard to replace guys like that. But, they are a team. They’ve always been built as a team anyway. But it has been impressive. …They have an excellent football team. They do a great job, guys, they know their roles. They have a lot of veteran players that have been in systems for a long time. You take Julian Edelman, he replaces a [Wes] Welker. They just keep rolling on. So they draft and they get players to fit their system and they do a phenomenal job of it.”

Sunday's win over Arizona probably afforded Ryan only a little bit of time. If the Bills go belly-up in Foxboro against a third-string rookie, he'll be back on the clock.