Notes: Belichick on how DBs stick it to wide receivers


Notes: Belichick on how DBs stick it to wide receivers

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.comFOXBORO -- During Sunday's game against the Jets, a person in the press box well-versed in football statistics but seemingly a little short on football comprehension (and self-awareness) raged every time the Jets threw short of the first-down marker on third down. "They need 6, nice job throwing it 2 yards short of the sticks!" he'd sniff. You may have heard a person like this in your circle of football-watching friends (get rid of him). Or maybe you are that person (shut up, please). The fact is, you can still catch the ball and run for the first down. There's no extra credit for throwing it past the marker. But the problem is, the defense doesn't want you to get to the sticks so they wall up right there. On Monday, Bill Belichick discussed the two plays where New York came up short on third-down completions. Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald brought up the fact that, on both plays, safety James Ihedigbo camped at the sticks, forcing receivers to make a decision. "That's always a dilemma for the receivers," said Belichick. "You can either tell the receiver to go up and get the first down and run into the defender and get covered and hope that he can find a little space where the quarterback can throw it to him. Or you can tell him to shorten his route and get him the ball and hope that he can break a tackle or spin out of it or catch it and fall forward for the first down. "That's one of those things where, it's tough offensively," Belichick added. "I know I've got to get the first down but if I run right to you, I just get covered. If I stop short, then I'm short of the first down. You see all the time the guy doesn't get the yardage. But if a guy is standing right there, do you want to run right to him and be covered? What good does that do?"
A couple other Beli-nuggets on a Monday where the Patriots' locker room was practically vacant and we were left with the (thankfully) upbeat Belichick to fill our notebooks. On crowd noise"When you're down on the field it's like a constant roar. It goes up and it comes down a little bit but it'sa constant roar. I think when you're in the stands, you hear it a little more and having been in the stands for Bruins games and Celtics games, you hear it come to life. I'm not saying there aren't different levels when you're down on the field, but when you're down on the field, 65,000 people just all talking at the same time, there's a volume of noise there directed at the field." On Albert Haynesworth"Did some good things and some things could have been better. Hadn't played in a couple of weeks so hopefully this week he can get more time on the field and build on this week's performance but I think he did some things to help us."

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

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Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."