Patriots

Flores' looking for 'tough, smart, dependable' Patriots defenders

Flores' looking for 'tough, smart, dependable' Patriots defenders

FOXBORO -- Brian Flores has never run a defense before, but he has an idea of what he'd like a Brian Flores-coached unit to look like.

"Well this is gonna sound like a Bill Belichick-coached team," he said on Friday afternoon. "Tough, smart, dependable, that can play under pressure. That's been a good formula. I'll go with that one."

Flores remains Patriots linebackers coach, a title he's held since the start of the 2016 season. But in 2018, he's expected to serve as Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator - just without the title.

"I’ve never been big on titles," Flores told reporters. "I’m here to work. I’m here to make this team win any way I can. I think I’ve always said that in some form or fashion. Again, if they want me to get water, I’ll get water. If that’s what the role we need to help us win, then that’s what I’ll do."

It's worth asking, though, how will Flores put his stamp on the Patriots defense?

When Matt Patricia took over the defense in 2011 (he didn't get the coordinator title until the next season), he helped transition the Patriots from a 3-4 team to more of a 4-3 team. Belichick and Patricia deployed multiple fronts over the years together, but there was a change in styles when Patricia took the reins. 

Will Flores prefer 4-3 looks and the personnel required to play that style? Or will he turn back the clock to pre-2011 and shift to more of a 3-4 approach? 

Much of what the Patriots will do will be based on their personnel. If they want to roll with Dont'a Hightower and Derek Rivers as outside linebackers with Danny Shelton on the nose...they could look like a 3-4 defense. If they roll with Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise on the ends, they could play Hightower off the line and Shelton along a four-man front in some 4-3 looks. 

Time will tell when it comes to how exactly the Patriots will mix up their fronts. Regardless of how things look, Flores says he's not all that focused on putting his own personal imprint on how the Patriots defense plays. 

"This is a team game, you know what I mean? It's hard for me to think that I would put my imprint on anything," he said Friday. "It's a team imprint. That's my feeling on that. It's hard to say, 'your personal ...' No, it's a team imprint. This defense will become what it becomes as a team. Not because of me or because of anyone. It'll be because of the guys in that room, building from right now, into the OTAs, into training camp, into the preseason games. Building and building and building. It'll be a team imprint, I'll say that."

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Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Tom Brady appears to have a kindred spirit as his career continues into his 40s.

Eminem name-drops TB12 on the track "Premonition" off the album "Music To Be Murdered By" which he released on Friday.

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The song takes on the critics of the 47-year-old rapper from Detroit and compares the critiques he gets to ones leveled at LeBron James, 35, and the Patriots quarterback, who'll turn 43 in August. 

Here's part of the song:

“Revival flopped, came back and I scared the crap out ‘em

But Rolling Stone stars, I get two and a half outta

Five, and I’ll laugh out loud

‘Cause that’s what they gave BAD back in the day

Which actually made me not feel as bad now, ‘cause

If it happened to James

It can happen to Shady

They do the same [expletive] to Brady

More people hate me than love me

This game will make you go crazy.”

It's not Eminem's first reference to Brady in one of his songs. In 2013's "Baby", he raps, "I'm what Tom Brady is to the Patriots of rap. Not a man, a weapon."

And it's just the latest Brady reference that has dotted hip-hop and rap since the mid-2000s when the QB led the Pats to the second and third of the six Super Bowl titles they've won. Other artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Kanye West have referenced him as a symbol of excellence. 

Brady told the Boston Globe last year before the Super Bowl he appreciates it.

 “That’s always really cool,” Brady said. “I’m a big fan of so many of those guys. I have a lot of friends [in music] that I’ve met over the years that are fans of what we do, too...I think that mutual appreciation or admiration is really flattering.”

Aaron Rodgers describes how 'Belichick effect' has impacted the NFL

Aaron Rodgers describes how 'Belichick effect' has impacted the NFL

The Green Bay Packers are preparing for a battle the San Francisco 49ers on the NFL's championship Sunday. The two will square off in the NFC Championship for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

While Aaron Rodgers and his teammates are doing what they can to be ready for the game, they still aren't exactly sure what to expect from the 49ers.

And Rodgers credited Bill Belichick's influence for that.

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Rodgers explained in a post-practice interview that not knowing what to expect from opposing defenses is something that has been popularized over the course of the past five years. And he called the defense's ability to change up week to week "the Belichick effect".

"I think that’s the NFL in the last five years, especially, it’s kind of the Belichick effect where teams are more reluctant to really try and scheme up opponents instead of relying on their base defense," Rodgers said to reporters.

"There’s less and less teams like the Lovie Smith Bears defenses over the years that say ‘Hey, screw it, we’re going to play four-man front, play Tampa-2 the entire game and make you go the whole field, and strip the ball and tackle securely and stop the run with a six-man, seven-man front.’

"There’s more teams that are scheming specifically up for teams. I think the tough part is it might be different than you saw on film. The drawback from that is a lot of these teams are used to playing coverages they’re not used to playing, they’re not super-comfortable playing, they don’t have a lot of reps in and that can cause some confusion at times."

Rodgers hit the nail on the head as the NFL's best defenses have become more versatile and game plan-dependent in recent seasons. Having multiple defensive looks is essential to success in the modern NFL and Belichick's ability to adjust week in and week out played a big role in kicking off the trend.

Though the Patriots won't have a chance to out scheme anyone on the defensive side of the ball until next season, they can be thankful that they have a forward-thinking coach at the helm. His ability to adjust on defense as well as Josh McDaniels' ability to change the Patriots offense look to match their best weapons have helped to make the team difficult to figure out.

And that's a big part of the reason that they have been able to make multiple deep postseason runs in recent seasons.

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