Patriots

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady adopt different tones on Patriots-Ravens officiating

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady adopt different tones on Patriots-Ravens officiating

The New England Patriots uncharacteristically hurt themselves Sunday night, committing seven penalties in a 37-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Both head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady took issue with a few of those calls, though.

The first came on Baltimore's opening drive, when Shilique Calhoun was called for a killer neutral zone infraction penalty on a Ravens field goal attempt that gave the Ravens a first down and led to their opening touchdown.

Belichick seemed incensed by the call at the time and had an animated discussion with an official on the sideline. The following morning, Belichick was asked if his gripe was related to Ravens snapper Morgan Cox inducing Calhoun to jump by moving the ball slightly or bobbing his head.

"Doesn't matter what I think," Belichick said on a conference call, via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "It's the officials' game to call."

When asked if that's a tough play to call, Belichick responded:

"I think you should talk to the (NFL) officiating department and ask them exactly how they officiate the play and that would be the right answer for you."

When Belichick tells you ask the league, that's usually a good sign he's not happy about a situation.

As for Brady? The Patriots QB was similarly irked by his intentional grounding penalty on a play where wide receiver Phillip Dorsett made contact with Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith before cutting in the opposite direction of Brady's pass.

Brady was a little more forthcoming than his coach when asked about the play Monday morning.

"Dorsett has) got a choice to go either way," Brady said on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." "He ran down there and (Smith) drilled him at eight yards.

"So I said (to the ref), ‘Isn’t that illegal contact?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, no.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know what you’re looking at.’ Or something like that."

Brady then joked about the friendly nature of his "conversation" with the official that looked anything but friendly in real time.

"It was very polite," Brady said. "It was like, ‘Excuse me mister, I thought there might have possibly been a penalty, actually by them."

Belichick and Brady both found ways to get their points across without getting in trouble for criticizing the refs. And we're guessing they're well aware of the myriad of other miscues that cost them in Sunday night's loss.

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2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

New England Patriots fans haven't had much reason to watch the NFL Pro Bowl in recent seasons, but 2020 is different.

Patriots players haven't participated in the Pro Bowl in each of the last three years because they were playing in the Super Bowl and thus not allowed to take part in the league's version of an All-Star Game.

The Patriots were eliminated from the AFC playoffs on Wild Card Weekend, giving the team's three Pro Bowl selections (cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and special teams ace Matthew Slater) the opportunity to participate in this season's game. Hightower was ruled out due to injury, but Gilmore and Slater are expected to play.

Gilmore also will feature in Thursday night's 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown. The event is basically football's version of NBA Saturday night, which includes the Skills Challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shootout.

Here's the information you need to watch Gilmore compete in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.

When: Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live stream: WatchESPN

Gilmore reveals his Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl prediction

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

One way to get a feel for just how long Bill Belichick has been head coach in New England? Players who were kicking around the league in the early portion of Belichick's Patriots tenure have children Belichick has the opportunity to draft in April. 

Last week we touched on the fact that Randy Moss has a son entering the NFL Draft as a tight end out of LSU. Thaddeus Moss could end up being a mid-to-late round option for a team in need of a tight end. 

This week? Another former Patriots receiver has a son who's putting on a show in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl. 

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Belichick never had a chance to coach Shawn Jefferson. The longtime NFL wideout with over 7,000 career receiving yards left the Patriots via free agency for the Falcons after four years in New England.

His first year with Atlanta, 2000, was Belichick's first as head coach of the Patriots. (The two did overlap in Foxboro in 1996, when Belichick coached defensive backs under Bill Parcells.)

But might Jefferson's son end up a Patriots draft target?

Van Jefferson, from the University of Florida, has been one of the most impressive performers at his position at this year's Senior Bowl. The week's practices — thoroughly covered and broadcast by NFL Media these days — has allowed Jefferson to put his nuanced skills on display against some of the best defensive backs in the country. 

After a strong showing on Tuesday in the week's first practice, Jefferson was one of the best pass-catchers on the field again Wednesday.

Despite lacking the athleticism of some of the others at his position who will be considered first-rounders this year — it's thought to be an incredibly deep class at receiver — Jefferson has made plays this week both down the field and at the intermediate level by understanding leverage and making contested catches.

"He is a route technician on a level that has the corners tripping over themselves," The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote this week. "And it is tough to blame them because they haven’t faced many players at the college level with Jefferson’s detailed patterns. Instead of pure speed, he relies on pace, tempo and purpose, making every step matter and tying defenders in knots."

Jefferson spent three years at Ole Miss before transferring to Florida. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder finished his collegiate career with 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns. He caught 49 passes for 657 yards and six scores in his final season.

Belichick and his coaching staff are in Mobile for college football's premier postseason all-star game. Perhaps what they see from the Florida wideout with some Patriots connections will push them to consider him on draft weekend to bolster a receiving corps that needed all the help it could get this season.

Or not. Jefferson's father is currently assistant head coach and receivers coach for the Jets.