Patriots

Rivers goes full Rivers on being "fussed' when Belichick went full Belichick at Pro Bowl

Rivers goes full Rivers on being "fussed' when Belichick went full Belichick at Pro Bowl

FOXBORO - Philip Rivers remembers the moment fondly. He was there with one of his all-time favorite quarterbacks, listening to one of the game's all-time great coaches at the Pro Bowl.

Heckuva day, as Rivers might say...Right?

Well, yeah. Only his team was getting smoked by the NFC and Bill Belichick was giving it to his players. Even Rivers, Peyton Manning and Belichick's former pupil Matt Cassel -- all of whom had thrown interceptions before Belichick's halftime address.

Rivers recalled the story during a conference call on Wednesday.

“I do remember at halftime of the Pro Bowl game, we were getting killed, and it was...me, Peyton and Cassel,” Rivers said. “We were getting blown out at halftime, and he kind of called [the team] up and said, ‘Hey, we can tackle. I know it’s the Pro Bowl and all that, but can we tackle somebody today? Let’s go out and see if we can make this a little bit respectable in the second half.’

“And then he looked at us quarterbacks. We had all thrown an interception — thank goodness I wasn’t the only one — and he said, 'And it’d help if you guys would stop throwing it to the other team.’ "

That was following the 2010 season, which was the last time Belichick coached the league's annual All-Star pillow fight. If he were to implore anyone to tackle these days, he might get laughed out of the room.

Regardless, Rivers had a laugh thinking back to that particular moment with that particular coach, against whom he'll be competing this weekend.

“I got a kick out of that," Rivers said, "because I was standing by Peyton Manning and Cassel, and Peyton’s, if not my all-time favorite, one of. I was glad I wasn't the only one that had thrown it to the other team. But I thought that was pretty good. I got fussed out at halftime of the Pro Bowl."

Belichick had nothing but kind things to say about Rivers on Wednesday, a trend that has been developing this week as Belichick has spoken to reporters three times in the past three days. 

"He’s played great," Belichick said. "He plays great. Very accurate, obviously a smart guy, offense runs through him, handles things at the line of scrimmage, makes good decisions with the ball, uses everybody, as he always does – he gets the ball to everybody, all of the receivers, all the tight ends, all the backs. 

"He’s very, very efficient, makes big plays, good in situations – third down, red area. He’s really good, outstanding. Hard guy to tackle, big, strong guy, has a good feel for the pocket, knows how to use his blockers, kind of like [Ben] Roethlisberger – same type of thing. He’s good."

Asked if he remembered anything in particular about Rivers from their shared time at the Pro Bowl, Belichick didn't take the trip down memory lane that Rivers did. 

"Yeah, that was a long time ago, but he’s a smart guy," Belichick said. "He’s a great guy, good football player, really cares and knows a lot about football. He’s an impressive guy to talk to."

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LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

The New England Patriots don't fool around.

They are all about winning and will work harder than anyone else to make sure those objectives are met. These elite levels of dedication and preparation are among the reasons why the Patriots have enjoiyed an unprecedented run of success for the last 20 years that includes six Super Bowl championships.

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This worth ethic was not lost on LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who admitted to being "kinda scared" meeting with the Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Tight end is among the primary needs for the Patriots, and Sullivan is one of the top 10 players at the position in this draft class. 

Sullivan tallied 12 receptions for 130 yards in six games for the undefeated and national champion Tigers last season. He also impressed at the combine by running the third-fastest 40-time of all the tight ends. 

Sullivan's speed and size (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) make him an intriguing target for teams in need of a tight end. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3, which is when rounds four through seven take place.

He's not the only tight end who the Patriots made an impression on this week. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney revealed the Patriots said one of his answers in an interview with the team was a "loser's mentality."

Whether it's Sullivan, Pinkney or someone else, it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots select at least one tight end in April's draft. They need much better offensive production from their tight ends than what they received in the 2019 season.

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Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

Report: Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on injured left ankle

With only a couple of weeks until the NFL's free agent frenzy begins, the Patriots offense is dealing with even more uncertainty heading into the 2020 season.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu needs surgery on a high ankle sprain that has not healed properly this offseason.

Sanu suffered the injury on a punt return in Week 11 against the Eagles, and even though he was only sidelined for one game, the ankle severely limited his production down the stretch last season.

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After racking up 10 receptions (on 14 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 10, Sanu only totaled 15 catches (on 33 targets) for 114 yards and no touchdowns over New England's final seven games, including a Wild Card loss to the Titans — not the type of production the Patriots were counting on when they sent a second-round pick to the Falcons in exchange for Sanu.

It remains to be seen if the uncertainty surrounding Sanu affects the team's offseason plans at wide receiver. Right now, only Sanu, Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers are under contract for the 2020 season, with Phillip Dorsett entering free agency and reportedly already attracting outside interest.

Sanu will earn $6.5 million in 2020, the final year of his contract.