Chris Gasper talks with TE Alex Smith about learning the Patriots playbook and how different New England's system is from Tampa Bay.
"It's different, but at the same time there are a lot of similarities," said Smith, who had 21 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games last season. "Gruden had that very complex offense as well with lots of formations and lots of personnel groupings. You see a lot of similarities here. There is a lot of volume here. I thought Gruden had a lot, but there are definitely a lot of plays, a lot of switching in and out."
The biggest difference for Smith between the Patriots and the Buccaneers is the stability New England offers at quarterback with Tom Brady. Smith, whose reception numbers declined each season in Tampa after he led all rookie tight ends with 41 receptions in 2005, played with six starting quarterbacks in his four seasons with the Bucs.
Albert Breer(Sporting News) talks with Bill Belichick about the challenges of moving from being a position coach to coordinator.
Belichick went through a similar transition in the mid-1980s, taking on many coordinator responsibilities with the New York Giants in 1984, before his title changed from linebackers coach in 1985.
"You're the linebackers coach, you see it through the linebackers' eyes," Belichick told Sporting News. "So, OK, what's the hard thing for the linebackers? Well, it's this and this. How do we make it easier? Well, sometimes making it easier for them makes it harder for somebody else.
"As a coordinator, you have to think about all of it. 'Well, this is a little harder on the linebackers and this is a little harder on the secondary.' So there's a balance there, so everything's not always stressing one position or one particular guy, and you're putting the burden on one guy."
More Shots after the jump...
John Cockrell Friday Out-Takes: Wild, Wild
- Mike Reiss notes that Friday's Mini-camp practice was called off by Belichick this morning.
- Shalise Manza Young reminds us that It has been 11 years since the Patriots made Kevin Faulk their second round draft pick, and only he and Tedy Bruschi pre-date Bill Belichick in Foxboro.
- Mike Reiss says Shawn Springs has been keeping a notebook of all the receivers he's covered, to give himself an edge when he has to face them again. The section on Terrell Owens is the thickest.
- Karen Guregian notes Tom Brady, Randy Moss go extra mile to reconnect, and how Shawn Springs won't let anybody look at his notebook on receivers he's faced around the league.
- Jeff Howe takes a look at the highlights from last week's OTAs and Mini-camp.
- downplays Rex Ryan's comments about the Patriots. (Quick 38 second NECN video)
- Derrik Zetlin discusses the trendy new look of tandem backfields in the NFL.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of yesterday's on-line chat.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Pats OLB Thomas thinks Ryan-Crowder a hoot.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Brady's return should help O-Line regain form.
- Tom Curran & Greg Rosenthal (NBC Sports) Ranking the NFL's 32 teams during the decade. Patriots #1 Baby!
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Q & A with NFL Films' Steve Sabol. Belichick is the best coach of the past decade.
- Ryan Wilson (NFL Fanhouse) Bill Belichick now has an excuse to run up the score on the Jets.
- Aaron Wilson (Pro Football Talk) Belichick takes the high road. He's never done anything but that.
- Tom Monkovic (NY Times) Fred Taylor on what makes Tom Brady special.
- Tom Pedulla (USA Today) Veteran Fred Taylor ready to prove his worth with Patriots.
- Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly) Overrated, Underrated Super Bowls. SB XXXVIII underrated.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Is there a value to OTAs?
- Jhn Mullen (SI) No-Win situations: Three guys in tough spots for 2009 NFL season.
- PFTV Looks at whether Rex Ryan should shut up. (2.39 min. video)
- Mike Florio (Sporting News) Bad Boys: NFL 2009 'All-notorious' offense.