On Tuesday, the New England Patriots made an intriguing player acquisition by claiming injured New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard off waivers. The Giants were forced to place Ballard, who failed a physical earlier this week, on waivers in order to then bring him back and put him on Injured Reserve.
However, Bill Belichick (and his awesomeness) stepped in and snagged the 24-year old tight end off waivers and away from the Giants. Even though the Patriots really don't have a need at tight end, it's amazing what this man can do sometimes!
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday at Mandatory Minicamps, Belichick was asked to comment on the "unwritten rules" that allowed him to basically steal the Giants' starting tight end out and underneath their noses. Belichick responded with this:
"First of all, there aren't any unwrittens. As you know, as astute as you are on the rules, I'm sure you're aware that you can't negotiate a contract with a player while he's under contract. You can't negotiate a contract, release him and then re-negotiate another contract with him that was already done in advance. I'm sure the Giants weren't doing that. So a player is on waivers, then he's on waivers - ours or anybody else's. As far as anybody else, I don't know what unwrittens you're talking about."
Check out Belchick's thoughts on new running back Joseph Addai and his top two draft choices, after the jump
For the longest time, there has always been a sound veteran presence in the Patriots backfield. Whether it was Antoine Smith, Corey Dillon or just recently Kevin Faulk, there has always been a veteran leader to guide the younger running backs.
The Patriots appear to be thrusting that responsibility onto six-year pro Joseph Addai, who signed with the Patriots this offseason after spending his career with the Colts. For Belichick, he's been very impressed with what he's seen from Addai to this point.
"Joe is a veteran player that has obviously been in a lot of big games, been in a system that's had some multiples in terms of changing plays and audibling, things like that. I think our system is different from probably any other system probably because of our players or our coaches or the way it's formulated. It's an adjustment for any new player or coach, just like if we went anywhere, it would be an adjustment for one of our players or coaches to go somewhere else. I don't think it's anything unusual. Joe has worked hard at it. He's a very conscientious guy that wants to get it right, wants to know what you want to do, wants to try to get it right. I respect that."
Although we're still a ways away from the start of the 2012 regular season, Patriots rookies are having to use close to every second of the day to try and learn their new playbook. When asked about the progress that top picks Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower have made during these minicamps, Belichick said they are getting there, but still have a long way to go.
"Same thing I said about [Alfonzo] Dennard and all the rookies. They've worked hard, they have a long way to go. They're trying to understand the material we give them. In some cases they get it the first time, in other cases we ne need to go back over it. But, they're making good progress. We'll see in training camp."