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Patriots Talk: Bill Belichick Teaches LB Zach Cunningham

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Patriots

Patriots Talk: Bill Belichick Teaches LB Zach Cunningham

The NFL free agency market is starting to calm down now after a full week of trades and free agents going to new teams for next season. Eyes are now on the NFL draft once again. The 2017 NFL draft will officially begin on April 27th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and many college players are anticipating how they will stack up once they transition to the NFL. Such is the case with Vanderbilt Commodores [Linebacker] Zach Cunningham, the first ever unanimous All-American in Vanderbilt history. He along with many defensive prospects such as [Inside Linebacker] Reuben Foster from Alabama or [Outside Linebacker] Tyus Bowser from Houston, are expected as first round talent in this year’s draft class and as such, there is a lot of high expectations for these players.

However, getting a chance to be tutored by one of the greatest minds in American Football, New England Patriots‘ [Head Coach] Bill Belichick, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He attended Vanderbilt’s Pro Day yesterday, March 16th, in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the sources; Tennessee Titans beat writer, Jim Wyatt, tweeted a photo of Belichick working with Vanderbilt ace linebacker Zach Cunningham on one of the defensive drills at the event.

It’s unknown if Cunningham is on Belichick’s priority list of prospects in this year’s draft or it’s simply that the veteran head coach was interested in seeing what the young man could do. He would obviously be pleased with having a player with the amount of talent that Cunningham possesses but without either a first round or second round pick in this year’s draft now, its almost guaranteed that Belichick won’t get to see the young Vanderbilt in a red, white and blue uniform. Unless of course, there are trades going on that we don’t know yet, but that would be nothing new with someone as secretive as Belichick.

New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: Alan Branch On Butler’s Benching in Super Bowl 52

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Many Pats fans are still licking wounds from the Super Bowl 52 loss, but the off season right now is set up to be an exiting one nonetheless. The Patriots have many potential cuts that will be made before the NFL Draft in April such as with veteran DE Alan Branch. In addition, the team has several free agents set to hit the market including Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, Matthew Slater and among others, obviously Malcolm Butler.

What happened to Butler was the very definition of an oddity. There was no seemingly logical reasoning to it all. Many sports analysts called Belichick’s ego being put ahead of the team in the biggest game of the year. Yet even with the news outlets going almost full on detective mode, none of the Patriots’ personnel have any idea. Some like fellow CB Eric Rowe had no idea leading up to the benching during the game. And other like FS and team captain, Devin McCourty, said that they were informed well in advance and act ignorant.

There is no doubt that Butler’s benching was a coaching decision. But all the same, it just doesn’t make sense unless you studied the game tape. A guy like Butler played over 98% of the team’s snaps last year. Even his teammate Alan Branch was seemingly off guard by the news. According to Dale & Holley with Keefe on WEEI (or however long till the station is officially closed), Branch ‘didn’t know anything, honestly.’

 “I noticed he wasn’t in the game, but then again you never know the reason for what is going on at certain times in that organization, especially. It’s neither here nor there.”

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New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: Josh McDaniels And The Colts Wouldn’t Have Worked Out

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A Case of Behind The Scenes

 

 

Josh McDaniels and the Patriots thought their time to depart after their tough loss in Super Bowl 52 was unavoidable. However, not only did Josh McDaniels get extended, but its been many rumors that Robert Kraft had contacted McDaniels literally hours before he was suppose to take off Tuesday for Indianapolis.

 

It’s difficult to know anything within the Patriots’ organization as they have remained firm in not explaining what goes on behind closed doors. However, multiple sources over at ESPN for the past week since the story broke out about McDaniels’ abrupt decision to not become the Indiapolis Colts Head Coach. The way things broke down was that Kraft and Bill Belichick got together and sat down with McDaniels. With Defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia going to Detroit, this seemed like a desperation move to maintain the coaching staff from the previous season.

 

However, according to ESPN writer Mike Reiss, there was more to the situation then just that. In one of his articles regarding the McDaniels’ decision, he stated:

 

Belichick offered to include McDaniels on more of the inner workings of the organization, from roster construction to financial/salary-cap related considerations. That was viewed as “extremely valuable” to McDaniels. Ownership also endorsed it as a way to extend Belichick’s influence on the organization in future years, although no assurances were given to McDaniels that he would succeed Belichick. McDaniels, who a source confirmed got a significant raise, has privately said in the past that he did not want to be the coach who succeeds Belichick. Although he since may have changed his mind, McDaniels knows Belichick, after five Super Bowl victories, will be a hard act to follow.

Beyond financial and professional stability, McDaniels also was thinking of his family. He wanted a long-term commitment from the Patriots so his four children, ages 12 to 3, would be able to attend the same schools over the next several years. The transient life of a coach doesn’t always make that possible.

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New England Patriots

Former NFL Official Claims Eagles Used Illegal Play To Win Super Bowl

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Did you have doubts that the Eagles lined up correctly on the Nick Foles touchdown catch?

Well, you are not the only one with a former analyst now claiming that Philly was indeed lined up illegally on the play.

Appearing on the Talk of Fame Network, former head of officiating and FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira said the Eagles were in fact lined up illegally.

“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said, via Pro Football Talk. “The down judge, who was the one that [the play] was on his side of the field, they felt that it was his judgment, and [receiver Alshon Jeffrey] was close enough. Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong.

“Not only that, it’s a trick play. And if you’re going to run a trick-type play, then you have to be lined up properly. You could either have six men on the line, or you could have an ineligible number lined up at the end of the line, which was the case. I know what the league has said, but they would have been a lot more comfortable if they would have called an illegal formation.

“We always use a yard [within the line of scrimmage], maybe a yard-and-a-half. But that’s two [yards], and even a little bit beyond two. It’s kind of one of those that has no effect on the play. I get it. But they didn’t line up properly. And it really should’ve been called.”

Bottom line is it was simply a judgment call be the officials, might have been the completely wrong judgment, but based on what we know about Super Bowl LII the New England Patriots were never going to win the game. The Malcolm Butler benching paired with Doug Pederson‘s mindset of keeping his foot on the gas and exposing New England’s weaknesses were the reasons the Patriots lost the game, not this particular play.

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