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Shots Heard 'Round The Web - Patriots Links 9/17/08

What would say were the 8 most meaningful regular-season victories in Bill Belichick's nine years as New England's head coach? Mike Reiss ranks the Patriots' 19-10 victory over the Jets at number one and explains why.

The defensive side gets a look today, showing the snaps played against the Jets and how the players were utilized on defense.  Harrison, Mayo, and Thomas played on all 50 snaps.  Beasts, all of them.

What did he say?  Here is the transcript of Bill Belichick's Tuesday conference call.

Coach Hoodie praises hard-working, hard-hitting Ray Ventrone.

Patriots benefit this year from seeing more Seymour.  Belichick notes how "he's played with good power and explosiveness and has been productive.”


As much as the Dolphins try to divorce themselves from 2007, they're having trouble even getting a trial separation. Contrast that with the way receivers seem to be able to get separation once in the Dolphins secondary, as demonstrated by the way the Dolphins defense still qualifies as a big-play buffet.

  • Miami Herald's Sarah Rothschild nixes any reports of a quarterback change come Sunday.

[Dolphins Head Coach Tony] Sparano said Pennington is not the reason the Dolphins' offense has been anemic, and indicated the team is not going to make a knee-jerk reaction despite starting the season with two losses. The Dolphins are sticking to their plan to bring along Henne as their quarterback of the future, rather than accelerating his development.


BRADY AS COACH:  The Patriots team website elaborates a bit on the Brady helping Cassel, "old lion, young cub" theme:

Much like Bledsoe did in 2001, Brady is working behind the scenes to help Cassel make the transition from backup to starter. Brady, who is out for the season after tearing two knee ligaments, attended the Saturday quarterback meeting before the team flew to New York and figures to play some role in Cassel’s development throughout the year.

Brady’s influence is already helping Cassel make strides as he prepares for his second NFL start Sunday at home against Miami. The fourth-year veteran looked poise in the pocket last weekend in New York, completing 16 of 23 passes for 165 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. With Randy Moss double-teamed throughout the game, Cassel checked off to his running backs and tight ends and effectively utilized the screen pass to catch the Jets off guard – a trait often associated with Brady in regards to his penchant for spreading the field and taking what the defense gives him.


  • Reiss's mailbag topics cover defense, team captain responsibilities, and what motivates this team, along with his views on the play so far of Maroney, Hobbs, and Mayo.
  • Patriots Football Weekly is worth a stop to get your Cassel and quarterbacking questions answered, along with a bit of rookie analysis.


Pats coach Bill Belichick employed the play regularly in 2001 when Tom Brady took over at quarterback under similar circumstances to Cassel’s ascension. Brady’s screen partner in ’01 was Troy Brown.

“Regardless of where you put it, it’s still the same concept of trying to get the ball to the perimeter for one reason or another,” Belichick said Monday at Gillette Stadium. “I think it is a compliment to the running game and the deep passing game. If the defenders don’t come up and get on you, it creates more space for the runner to make some yards and break a tackle like when (Welker) got it down there in the fourth quarter.”

Guess the plan worked, because the Jets still haven't gotten over their loss to the Patriots.  "We talked a lot about Welker on the little screens, those types of things, and we didn’t recognize that as well as we should have," Mangini said.