Versatile Fletcher draws high praise from Belichick


Versatile Fletcher draws high praise from Belichick

By Danny Picard Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Second-year linebacker Dane Fletcher could get some moreplaying time in the near future, now that Jerod Mayo is expected to miss an extended period of time with a sprained MCL.

On Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick commended Fletcher on theimprovements he made from his rookie season.

Belichicks obvious confidence in Fletcher most likely meansmore playing time in Mayos absence.

I think Danes taken a big jump from where he was lastyear, said Belichick. Last year he came in as really a defensive lineman, andmade an impact for us in the kicking game. At other points in the year, he didsome things situationally, on defense.

But this year, he came in and played inside linebackerright from the beginning of the year. Hes way ahead of where he was last year.Theres really no comparison. He had a good year of experience and hedefinitely built on that. Hes a smart guy. He works hard. Hes in goodcondition. Hes a good athlete. He runs well. Hes physical."

Belichick's a believer, obviously.

We have a lot of confidence in Dane, Belichick said. SoIm sure that whatever we ask him to do, hell try to do it. I have no doubtabout that.

Thats been evident over the last couple of weeks, as thePatriots have used Fletcher on the offensive side of the ball as well, makinghim the fullback in goal-line situations.

Dane kind of has a good feel for that, said Belichick.Its different, but similar to linebackers. Linebackers, youve kind of got tosee the hole. You dont want to fill where your guys are. You want to fillwhere theyre not, and fill in that space. And thats the same space therunning backs seeing.

Fletcher said he has slim to none experience on offense,but did say he played tight end in high school. Either way, hes willing todo whatever Belichick assigns.

If they tell me to go run my face into some people, Ill doit, said Fletcher. They tell you a certain thing, they want you to run in acertain direction and fill a hole, and hit somebody on the way. In a lot of thesame sense, its like linebacker. So far Ive been doing alright at it.

His presence on the offensive side of the ball may bringback memories of former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who was also used ingoal-line situations. But Belichick isnt ready to put Fletcher on that levelyet.

Youre talking about a guy who might have had the besthands on the team in that group when he was on the field, said Belichick aboutVrabel. Im saying, when Mike was on the goal line, offensively, all theplayers that were on the field, he probably had the best hands of anybody weput out there.

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

Obama’s Super Bowl pick: Patriots over Seahawks, again


Obama’s Super Bowl pick: Patriots over Seahawks, again

Tom Brady didn’t go to the White House after the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks, but the President thinks the Pats will be visiting 1600 Pensylvania Ave. again to be welcomed by President Trump (does that mean Brady goes?) or Clinton in the spring of 2017.

In an interview on Sirus/XM Radio with Sway Calloway, Obama sees a Pats-Seahawks rematch in Super Bowl 51. And if he were a betting man, he’d be going with New England, again. 

“I’ve got to say at this point, you have to put your money on Brady again,” Obama said. “I don’t see any strong teams. Seattle and Patriots have a rematch. That’s my call.”

Obama and the nation will get a preview of his pick on Week 10 at Gillette Stadium when the Pats host the Seahawks.

Oh, and the President likes the Golden State Warriors, particularly with the addition of Kevin Durant, to reclaim the NBA title. 


Bills injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) doubtful


Bills injury report: RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) doubtful

FOXBORO – After being unable to practice all week for the Buffalo Bills, running back LeSean McCoy is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Patriots due to a hamstring injury.

Already ruled out for Buffalo are wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and safety Aaron Williams.

The Bills also have a fleet of players listed as questionable including DT Bryant Corbin (shoulder), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring), RB Mike Gillislee (foot), TE Cordy Glenn (ankle), LB Jerry Hughes (hand), LB Lerentee McCray (knee), G John Miller (shoulder) and WR Robert Woods.

The skill position dings to Goodwin, McCoy, Clay, Gillislee, Glenn and Woods have to be a concern for the Bills who already have their best wideout, Sammy Watkins, on injured reserve.