New England Patriots Links 3/24/10 - Ron Brace Nose Vince Is The Man; Belichick Talks Draft Strategy

Ron Brace is sticking with Vince Wilfork, hoping to make an impact in his second season with the Pats.

Ian Rapoport notes Vince Wilfork is using a hands-on approach with Ron Brace.

"Basically, everything this man is doing, I’m watching," Brace said after a workout at Gillette Stadium yesterday. "Hopefully I’m going to try to play to the caliber that he does."

"Whenever he has a chance, V will pull me aside," said Brace, referring to Wilfork. "I just ask, ‘V, what do you look at while you watch film? Or ‘Come watch film with me.’ Those little things right there are going to make a big difference. You realize you got to really get in-depth."

Mike Reiss notes that one of the more interesting points of view he heard about the NFL's new OT rule for the playoffs had a strong Patriots connection.

Part of the reason one team opposed the rule change was because of the added stress it places on coaches who make risky decisions.

Someone connected to ownership from one of the teams opposing the OT change pointed out how Belichick was crucified for his unconventional decision. With that in mind, he didn't want his coach put into the same position when all the decisions that come with the new overtime rule were put into play in such a high-stakes environment as the playoffs (e.g. if the receiving team advances the ball to the 5 yard line, does it kick the field goal or go for it?).

The line of thinking went like this: Since Belichick was so vilified for a risky regular-season decision that backfired -- and coaches already have enough critical decisions to make -- imagine what it would be like if something like that happened in overtime of the playoffs or Super Bowl.

Tom E. Curran gets Belichick's thoughts on the new draft format and the different strategies it opens up.

"I kind of think the second round will be like the first round," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said this morning at the AFC Coaches Breakfast. "You take those 32 players [selected in the first round] out of there . . . and you start all over again . . . You stop and have the whole night to sit there and think about it and talk to other teams and develop a new strategy. You reset your board, take the names off and reset it. Based on who you drafted, you may change your draft strategy a little bit."

"Even though you have certain grades on players, you may feel a particular player is undervalued or overvalued in the league and if you want this player this is where you're gonna have to take him," Belichick explained. "Like last year, we saw a run on [offensive] tackles. There are trends that are unique to each draft. This year there'll be an opportunity to recalibrate after the first round and the second round. Your draft strategy and how you view the board -- especially when you have three picks in the second round -- [will change]."

"To move up, you have to give up something," he said. "There's a question of whether teams will want to do that. I've been there before thinking, 'If we could just get ANYTHING for this [pick]. Case of beer. A gift certificate.' But there's no takers."

"You never know. There were teams last year trying to drop down in the first round who took, on trade charts, very little to move down. That A) showed how much some of those teams wanted to move down and B) how reluctant other teams weere to move up. Yeah, they'd move up but at a discounted rate."

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