Tony Romo could see Bill Belichick coaching 'all the way until we put him in the ground'

Tony Romo could see Bill Belichick coaching 'all the way until we put him in the ground'

RUMFORD, Rhode Island -- Tony Romo never played for Bill Belichick, but he has had an opportunity to pick Belichick's brain several times over the course of the last couple of years.

Since he became a color commentator for CBS, Romo -- along with play-by-play man Jim Nantz and others -- has been able to sit with Belichick during production meetings ahead of CBS broadcasts of Patriots games. Those are generally relaxed settings where Belichick will provide insight on his team, its season, upcoming matchups. Whatever might help the broadcast. 

Ahead of competing in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at the Wannamoisett Country Club, Romo met with reporters to take questions about his golf game. But it didn't take long before the Patriots became a topic of conversation. 

Asked if in those production meetings he got a sense for Belichick's enthusiasm for his job, Romo said he doesn't see a head coach who looks anywhere close to retirement. 

"I feel like there's rare guys in life that just . . . It's just kind of who they are. It's not as if he's working," Romo said.  

"I relate him to something I really [liked to say]. 'Attack throwing the football,' I'd say. Every day of your life, for like 10 years. It was literally, you could not not do it, I felt like. 

"With Bill, I just feel like that's what he wants to do. He wants to actually work that hard. Not because he thinks he's working hard. It's a joyful obsession for him. It brings him joy to do this, to compete."

Belichick turned 67 in April, and though he told NFL Films cameras in 2009 that people didn't have to worry about him taking after Marv Levy and coaching into his 70s, that seems like a distinct possibility at this point. 

Belichick has a program set up to his liking. He has a boss who gives him the opportunity to run the football side of things. He has assistants on the coaching staff and in the front office who have come up through the ranks, who've learned from him, who understand the way he wants things done. 

And in the instances when we're allowed to watch Belichick go about his work, he does so with plenty of energy. At minicamp earlier this month he bounced from one position group to the next on the fields behind Gillette Stadium, getting involved in drills at times to show players how to take an angle or how to hit a sled.

There are challenges, to be sure. Belichick just lost a sizable chunk of his coaching staff, including last year's defensive play-caller, to a division rival. His character coach left for a playoff team in the conference — a team that just tried to pluck one of his most valuable employees from the offices at One Patriot Place. Belichick's roster is one of the league's oldest. He has 19 draft picks he's taken in the last 14 months that he's trying to get up to speed. 

But those obstacles may help to hold Belichick's interest in a job he's held for two decades, Romo explained. Seeing the team through to the other side of whatever roster/staffing turnover is underway may be part of what's keeping him around. 

"The challenges that they face, I think that just makes it more fun for him, if anything," Romo said. "It doesn't make it harder and [and make you] want you to walk away. I think it's the opposite. I think he'd enjoy that aspect. 

"To me, I think, if he wanted to, he'll do this all the way until we put him in the ground. I think he's that good. He's the rarest of rares. He's brilliant."

That would be music to the Kraft family's ears, one would think. Two years ago, coming off the team's fifth Super Bowl title, Kraft said at the NFL's Annual League Meeting that he wanted Belichick to go for another couple decades.

"I hope he coaches until his 80s," Kraft said at the time. "I see Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch, and they're in their mid-80s, and they're performing at a pretty high level. We gotta keep Bill healthy."

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Scarnecchia: Marshall Newhouse will play left tackle vs. Jets; Joe Thuney sticking at guard

Scarnecchia: Marshall Newhouse will play left tackle vs. Jets; Joe Thuney sticking at guard

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick isn't one to give away game plans, but Dante Scarnecchia doesn't have the same kind of filter in his meetings with reporters.

During a lengthy back-and-forth with reporters, Scarnecchia said that the plan was for the Patriots to start Marshall Newhouse at left tackle with Isaiah Wynn currently on injured reserve. Joe Thuney will remain at left guard.

Scarnecchia has said many times in the past, and he reiterated it during Friday's interaction with reporters, that less shakeup on the line is preferred. That means if you can get away with a one-for-one substitution -- Newhouse for Wynn, in this case -- that would be better than moving a guard and then finding a new guard as a replacement.

Newhouse has been in the league since he was a fifth-round pick of the Packers in 2010. His experience level and football IQ allows him to pick up the system more quickly than most, according to teammates.

And Bill Belichick noted recently that Newhouse's ability to pick up the system -- he played both right and left tackle last week in Miami -- might be thanks in part to his experience with the Bills, where offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is a former Patriots assistant. (Newhouse spent part of last season with Buffalo.)

"Although," Belichick said earlier this week, "he's only been here for a few days, he came from the Buffalo system where Daboll is, and I think a lot of the terminology, although maybe not exactly the same, is close and some of the same concepts, maybe different words or a different way that it's called. But the concepts and a lot of things that they do and we do are obviously the same, based on the background and carryover from Brian's system, and to what we do. So in terms of learning and all that, Marshall has a lot of league experience and experience recently in a similar system to what we run."

Patriots owe AB $5M portion of signing bonus on Monday>>>

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Patriots $5M installment of Antonio Brown's signing bonus due Monday

Patriots $5M installment of Antonio Brown's signing bonus due Monday

The first installment of Antonio Brown’s $9M signing bonus must be paid by Monday.

If the Patriots haven’t already coughed up the $5M they agreed to give Brown when they officially signed him on September 9, news that broke Thursday night of Brown sending threatening text messages this week to a woman should give them pause about cutting that check.

If the Patriots have paid it, it will likely take some wrangling to get it back if the team ultimately decides to follow the lead of Nike and helmet manufacturer Xenith and get out of the Antonio Brown business by releasing him.

Brown’s tenure with the Patriots has been an unmitigated PR disaster not nearly outweighed by the four catches for 56 yards he had in last week’s 43-0 win over Miami.

When it was just unpaid bills for services rendered, ill-advised Facebook Live content, going 100 in a 45, showing up late or not at all for events, launching furniture from the upper floors of his condo, frozen feet, an uncomfortable helmet, calling the Raiders GM a cracker and persistent social media drama, it was all fun-and-games and the Patriots were happy to hold their nose because the football he played was so, so good.

Fifteen days later, not so much. The civil lawsuit filed alleging two instances of sexual assault and one instance of rape led NFL investigators to interview Brown’s alleged victim for 10 hours on Monday.

Less than 48 hours later on Wednesday night, Brown went back at a woman who said Brown approached her naked aside from a facecloth on his genitals while she was working on a painting for him. He derided the woman as a “celebrity groupie” on a group text, instructed a henchman to look into her background “to see how broke this girl is”, included images of the woman’s children on the text chain and said he would be reaching out to the “team” surrounding rapper Meek Mill to try and dig for more on the woman.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft took up for Meek Mill while the rapper was imprisoned and developed a friendship with him.

Language in Brown’s contract says the deal is “null and void” if he “takes any action that materially undermines the public's respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, the Player's teammates or the Club's ownership, coaches.”

Has Brown taken any action that “materially undermines the public’s respect for … the Club”? What does “material” mean in this instance? It could also be argued the mere signing of Brown in the first place lowered the public’s respect for it.

AB's first public comments since joining the Patriots>>>

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