Kevin Faulk question elicits glowing 5-minute response from Bill Belichick


Kevin Faulk question elicits glowing 5-minute response from Bill Belichick

FOXBORO -- The Kevin Faulk celebrations will continue this weekend.

The former Patriots running back was inducted to the team's Hall of Fame over the summer in a ceremony that included an appearance from quarterback Tom Brady wearing Faulk's No. 33 jersey. And on Sunday, Faulk will be honored at halftime of New England's home-opener against the Dolphins as this year's Hall at Patriot Place inductee.

Faulk has earned in share of praise in recent months, but Bill Belichick continued to fawn over the man he coached for 12 years when he was asked in Friday's press conference if there was a player on the current Patriots roster who reminded him of Faulk.

For anyone who may have questioned the impact that a return man and third-down back could have had on a dynasty, in about five minutes, and with 841 words, Belichick provided an emphatic reminder. 

"Well, I mean that’s a pretty high bar," Belichick said. "You’re talking about Kevin Faulk. We have guys like James White or [Shane] Vereen going back that had similar roles and had production. Kevin’s pretty special. 

"As I said this summer, I think many impressive things about Kevin, amongst them would be that I thought he played his best football in the biggest games, the most critical situations, the most critical plays. The times when we need him the most is when he came through with some of his best plays. The Carolina Super Bowl, the two-point play, I think it was the only time he scored all year, but what bigger play is there than that? So, I’d say that’s kind of typical of Kevin.

"I can still see him converting on third-down or punt-return situations, getting him in a nine-man, handling a short punt, or blitz-pickup so that we could make the play to somebody else, but him stepping up and making the block that we needed on a critical third-down or two-minute play to be successful. I think Kevin’s one of the great, great examples -- and I’ve tried to point this out to players that I’ve coached throughout my entire career -- Kevin’s a player that came in . . . I mean first of all, out of all the great running backs that have come out of LSU, which have been a lot of them, he has pretty much got every record. I mean [Leonard] Fournette might break a couple of them this year, but he has pretty much been the best guy down there of all the great ones they’ve had. His role in the NFL was different than that and he accepted his role, he embraced his roles, and he was the best that he could be in those roles and he’s a Hall of Fame player.

"Instead of sometimes trying to make a role different, instead of embracing the role that your team wants you to have and needs you to have, some players want a role that they want to have and then sometimes that’s a little bit of a conflict. I think Kevin was a great example of coming in here, he started off as a returner and was a great runner, but kind of worked his way into more of a third-down sub-back, but he always had good run skills, and he had a lot of good runs for us. He was great in the passing game, he was great in the return game when we needed him, he was a great leader.

"When we had backs like Corey Dillon, he was a great -- or Antowain [Smith] or guys like that -- he was not only a great compliment to them, but he was a great mentor to them in terms of preparation and dependability and a lot of little things. Just taking care of a lot of little things so the example and the leadership that he gave to the team was exceptional. It really was. And to a degree, a little bit below the radar. Not a big out-front team captain and that type of profile, yet the undercurrent that he had was arguably as strong as any. Kind of like Troy Brown. A little bit different than Troy Brown, but kind of like Troy Brown.

"A really, really special player. [He] had ball-security issues, had blitz-pickup issues when I got here. He came in, 'Coach, what do I need to do?' 'Kevin, here’s what you need to do.' He worked very hard at it, became very good at it. It wasn’t an attitude of, like, 'Well, look, here’s what I’m good at. Here’s what I want to do. What do I need to do to help the team?' [He’d] go out there and do it.

"You’re probably really lucky as a coach if you have a couple of guys, we’ve had a lot of guys like that, and he would certainly be up there at the head of that class. And honestly I think it’s great that he has been recognized for that. I don’t even know how many games he started in his career, but I would venture to say not all that many, yet you’re talking about a Hall of Famer player that let’s just say wasn’t even a starter, but that doesn’t really matter.

"When the game was on the line he was always in the game and he was always in the eye of the storm, and that really speaks more to me to the value of the player than whose name is in there on the starting lineup on the first play of the game. You’ve got 59 minutes of football left. I don’t think that’s the most important play yet that’s what a lot of people want to relate it to. Really the most important plays are the game-winning plays at the end of the game. Who’s in there for those? That’s what you really want to know."

Martellus Bennett: NFL players just want to smoke weed and play video games

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Martellus Bennett: NFL players just want to smoke weed and play video games

Martelllus Bennett was released by the Patriots earlier this month after reappearing for a two-game cameo following his controversial exit from Green Bay last season.

As he ponders whether to play again, it's probably to safe to guess what he's been spending his time doing. It's what he says all NFL players want to do in the offseason. 

The outspoken tight end talked about the goals of every NFL player in an interview with Complex's "Out of Bounds". 

"You hand the guy a book and they're like...get that thing away from me!" Bennett said, laughing as he fumbled a book. "That thing is the devil. A book? That's the devil!"

Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

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Change to pass-interference rule is WAY overdue

Yes, please, on the proposed adjustment to defensive pass interference. No, thank you on the revised catch rule.

And I know I'm going to have my dreams crushed on both counts.

Despite all the arm-flapping and breath wasted that "NOBODY KNOWS WHAT A CATCH IS ANYMORE!!!!", long-distance pass interference has been a bigger bugaboo for the league for a much longer time.

In 2017, there were 129 pass interference calls longer than 15 yards. The proposed rule change that will be debated at next week's NFL Annual Meeting will make pass interference a 15-yard penalty unless it's egregious and intentional. In those cases, it will continue to be a spot foul

So overdue. For too long offenses have been rewarded by officials on 50-50 balls where DBs and receivers engage in subtle handfighting. It's absolutely illogical to expect middle-aged officials in okay (or worse) shape to keep pace with Gronk-sized receivers and whippet-quick defenders, then make calls on plays 40 yards downfield.

If you're going to throw a flag that gives the offense 40 yards, there should be an extreme degree of certainty accompanies that flag. And too often, the officials are forced to make educated guesses. Next thing you know, Joe Flacco and Rex Grossman are in the Super Bowl.

It's probably the most difficult penalty to call in football, yet it carries the greatest punishment for a defense? What sense does that make? 

I actually think the NFL should go a step beyond and make pass interference reviewable. I'll even make this concession -- it's reviewable only for DPI that puts the ball inside the 10 and is longer than 15 yards. How's that?

"More reviews?!?!? We don't need more reviews?!?!?!"

Okay, but you'll accept them when a dimwit coach argues a spot on a three-yard run that may or may not mean a first down, but not on a play that hands the offense half the field? Come on. Forward thinking.

As for the contention corners are going to begin bludgeoning receivers once they realize they're being beaten deep -- BAM! -- that's where you get the aggravated pass interference (API . . . trademarked 2018) that can be dropped on their heads.

A DB that doesn't turn to face the ball and runs through a receiver? An arm bar all the way downfield preventing a receiver from getting his hands up? A way-too-early arrival? That's API and it's a spot foul. What are the possible negative consequences?

It will now spawn debate as to what's aggravated PI and just garden variety PI. And it asks officials to make another judgment call.

But the truth is, it already is -- in many cases -- a judgment call. And if I were an official reaching for my flag on a Hail Mary from the 43 at the end of the game where there was jostling, I'd sure as hell be happy that I have the option to call garden variety PI and put the ball at the 28 rather than put the ball at the 1.

It's a rule change that makes the game better. That way you don't have calls like this or this. This 55-yarder would be an API (defender hugs Crabtree).

Tellingly, there's no outcry about the need to reform pass interference NOW like there is about the catch rule. You know what needs to happen? A few more plays like this where the Patriots profit. Then you'll see a damn MOVEMENT!