Patriots

Bill Belichick an eclipse guy? 'Yeah, it's great'

belichick_smile_ota.jpg

Bill Belichick an eclipse guy? 'Yeah, it's great'

FOXBORO -- During Bill Belichick's Monday press conference, voices could be heard coming from the Gillette Stadium tunnel shouting about the solar eclipse and protective eyewear. Clearly, Belichick's some of Belichick's players were spending part of their day off as amateur astronomers. 

A few minutes later, after a lengthy back-and-forth with reporters, Belichick was asked if he was an "eclipse guy."

Belichick laughed and shrugged his shoulders. 

"Yeah," he said. "It's great."

The Patriots will get back on the field for practice Tuesday in preparation of Friday's preseason game against the Lions in Detroit. 

McCourty replaces Brady at podium, bobs and weaves in the face of Brady questions

McCourty replaces Brady at podium, bobs and weaves in the face of Brady questions

FOXBORO -- The Patriots probably made a wise choice in selecting a player to replace Tom Brady at the podium on Thursday. 

Devin McCourty met with reporters once already on Wednesday, holding court and providing more than 2,000 words in responses to their questions. One day later, he was back at the front of the room, staring down a microphone and many of the same faces from the previous day.

Because Brady was held out of Thursday's practice, it was announced that he would not be holding a press conference and that McCourty would be taking his place. McCourty knew the Brady questions were coming, and he seemed to relish the opportunity to sidestep them one after another.

How was Brady injured on Wednesday?

"I don't know," McCourty said. "I was playing defense."

How did he look at Thursday's practice? (This was before it was announced that Brady was a non-participant.)

"Tom looks excellent every day," McCourty said. "One of the best-looking people I've ever met . . . When you look at Tom, the facial [region], it's hard to look at anything else. I only really saw his face."

The questions continued, and McCourty never flinched. Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. 

Who was on the other side of the ball? When you were out there, did you see who was throwing?

"For us on the look squad?" McCourty asked. "[Brian] Hoyer was playing quarterback today."

Asked if Brady's hand is becoming a distraction, McCourty pointed out that it may be a distraction for others. But inside the building it probably doesn't fall under that umbrella.

"I think usually because it’s just a distraction I think for you guys," he explained. "I think it’s like, ‘Fine, we don’t get to write about the running game and third down. We can write about something cool.’ So it’s like, ‘Let’s talk about Tom’s nice hand or let’s talk about whatever it was through the years.’

"A couple weeks ago it was, ‘Let’s talk about an article and ask them.’ For us, we just stick to how do we win a football game? How do we study the film, find out how to execute offensively, defensively, special teams? And that’s what makes us happy at the end of the day . . . We just continue to do that. I think our families are usually distracted. They send text messages asking questions, but they can’t even bother us."

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The Patriots' only healthy QB offers little insight on Brady injury

The Patriots' only healthy QB offers little insight on Brady injury

FOXBORO -- Brian Hoyer did his best Sgt, Schultz impression Thursday afternoon.

He saw nothing, he knows nothing and, had we asked him, Hoyer probably would have denied even Tom Brady’s existence. The Patriots backup quarterback has been thrust into the spotlight because of the right-hand injury Brady suffered in practice Wednesday. Though Brady appeared at the media access portion of today’s session, the team listed him on the injury report as not having participated. That would mean Hoyer -  as the team’s only healthy signal caller - had to get more reps than usual, right? 

“Define what is usual,” he said. “Since I’ve been here there’s been days where I’ve taken a lot of reps and days where I’ve taken any. I just do what’s asked of me.”

MORE BRADY:

So, you were asked to do more today?

“You’ll have to check the injury report. I don’t know if they put that on there or not.”

Okay then. This was just the beginning of a question-and-answer session that provided many of the former and almost none of the latter. Hoyer said he “wasn’t there” when the injury happened. When asked if Brady threw any passes today, the normally genial Hoyer paused before saying tersely, “you have to ask somebody else that question. I’m not going to answer that question.”

There were also a couple of “I’m not going to speak for him” or “you have to ask him” responses. Not unexpected given the nature of the queries but also handled better by every player we spoke to today, from Trey Flowers saying he’s not a hand doctor to James White joking the world will never know how Brady was injured to Kyle Van Noy saying of Brady: “He always looks good. He’s handsome”.

What Hoyer did have a good handle on was what he needs to do to be ready if his number does get called Sunday in the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  

“I prepare every week like I’m going to play,” he said. “Whether I do or don’t...that’s not really up to me. I did the one thing I can benefit from since I was the backup here - I played a lot of football. I’ve been a starter for three different teams. I know how to prepare as a starter. Whether I’m given those reps or not, each rep I’m not getting I take as a mental rep. I stand back there and I go through and I try to think who I’d go to, who would I’d make the Mike [middle linebacker] on this play. Whether I’m getting the reps or not I’m always preparing to play because you never know when your name is going to be called.”

The Patriots hope it doesn’t come to that. Hell, maybe even Hoyer hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“If I don’t play, that’s good for our team.”

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