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Bill Belichick holds court Friday in Foxboro. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — The praise of Bill Belichick, his coaching staff and the players has been flying around Foxboro more than Tom Brady’s passing game at its peak.

Even our own Chris Price wrote after the 27-0 demolition of the Texans without Brady, Rob Ninkovich and Jimmy Garoppolo that Belichick should already be considered the 2016 NFL coach of the year.

Don’t trying telling that to Belichick.

Asked by CSNNE’s Tom Curran at the end of Friday’s press conference if he takes any measure of pride in the amount of adversity the team has negotiated in the 3-0 start, Belichick showed his laser focus.

“Again, we’re really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick began. “I mean, I don’t really care about last week, I don’t really care about two weeks ago, I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care.

“We’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week. The rest of it, it’s in the books. It is what it is. Write whatever you want to write about it.

“I don’t care. It was good, it was bad, I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job with what we have right here with Buffalo. Can’t live in the past.

“I respect where you’re coming from. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month, really has anything to do with this week.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Michael Lombardi

Michael Lombardi

NFL analyst Mike Lombardi, making his weekly appearance with Kirk & Callahan, said the Patriots are justified in waiting to decide until shortly before game time who will start at quarterback against the Bills on Sunday. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.

Lombardi said the Patriots need to wait as long as possible to see if Jimmy Garoppolo can play through the injury to his shoulder.

“I don’t know if anybody can know that until Sunday,” Lombardi said. “I really don’t. And I don’t mean to be skirting the issue. But I think that Garoppolo is in such an iffy situation. I think Jacoby Brissett’s fine. I think whatever the rumors were about Brissett were wrong. I think Brissett’s fine, I think he can play. I think they probably tried to split reps [in practice].

“But I think the key’s going to be, it’s going to be windy on Sunday, can Garoppolo throw the ball all the way around the field, and how much pain can he tolerate. I don’t know if they’re really going to know that until Saturday — at least Saturday, or Sunday [after] another day of treatment. And if he can go, I would suspect he’ll go, but I have a feeling they’ll play both quarterbacks. … I don’t know if Jimmy’s going to be able to play for 60 minutes, and I don’t think they’ll want to risk that.”

Lombardi said this game likely will come down to New England avoiding mistakes and winning a low-scoring battle.

“They’re going to manage the game,” Lombardi said. “The first thing they’re going to do is not lose the game. So they’re going to protect the ball, not turn it over. And look, they’re not playing a juggernaut, they’re not playing the greatest offense on turf, So you’ve got to look at them and say, ‘OK, look, if we keep them in the pocket, if we don’t turn the ball over, if we don’t give up a big run, the game’s going to be in the teens.’ They’re not going to score very many points. So that’s how you have to approach the game plan: ‘Look, we’re not going to give up a big play down the field. If [wide receiver] Marquise Goodwin comes on the field, everybody on the sideline, play the deep ball. You’ve got to handle that. We’ve got to handle the down-the-field throws. Keep them in the pocket, don’t let them get out of the pocket.’

“It’s the law of inversion. This is what makes [Bill] Belichick so brilliant, is he operates under the Charlie Munger law of inversion. He asks what he must eliminate before he can win. And that’s what he does. They’re going to eliminate the big play, they’re going to stop the run, they’re not going to turn the ball over, and one of my pet peeves of all time is they typically are not going to get penalties on special teams.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Rex Ryan: “I think he’s a really good defensive coordinator. As a head coach I think there’s a lot to be desired.”

On which team is second best in the AFC East: “The Jets are clearly the second-best team. Their defense is good. The Jets have no depth. That’s the problem with the Jets.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Tom Brady and Robert Kraft are expanding their horizons.

The Patriots quarterback and team owner have become minority partners in UFC.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Tom Brady and Robert Kraft are expanding their horizons.

The Patriots quarterback and team owner have become minority partners in UFC.

“Expanding our ownership group to include this caliber of talent and entrepreneurs is a strong indicator of UFC’s fast-growing global presence,” UFC President Dana White said. “Our new investors bring an incredible depth of knowledge and experience to help us continue to elevate this brand and capitalize on its entertainment and sports crossover appeal.”

Brady becomes part of a star-studded group that is buying in on one of the biggest and fastest-growing brands in sports worldwide.

Also included in the partnership are Abel “The Weekend” Tesfaye, Adam Levine, Anthony Kiedis, Ben Affleck, Calvin Harris, Cam Newton, Conan O’Brien, Flea, Guy Fieri, Jimmy Kimmel, Li Na, LL COOL J, Maria Sharapova, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Rob Dyrdek, the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus), Sylvester Stallone, Trey Parker and Tyler Perry.

In July 2016, global entertainment and sports leader WME | IMG – joined by Silver Lake Partners, KKR, MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. – announced it would acquire UFC®, the world’s premier professional mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.

The organization, founded in 1993, produces more than 40 live events annually and is the largest Pay-Per-View event provider in the world, broadcast in over 156 countries and territories to more than 1.1 billion television households in 29 languages.

UFC continues to capitalize on digital platforms via its wholly owned subscription over-the-top service, UFC FIGHT PASS, which delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the globe.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
LeGarrette Blount didn't want any of the credit for his award Thursday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

LeGarrette Blount didn’t want any of the credit for his award Thursday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — LeGarrette Blount certainly deserved it.

The Patriots running back was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for the month of September as he currently leads the NFL in rushing yards (298) through three weeks and has chipped in with four touchdowns over the Patriots’ 3-0 start.

It was the first time he’s won the award in his career.

When asked about winning the award Thursday, Blount deflected all the credit to his teammates.

“It’s an honor, man, but it was a group effort,” Blount said. “It wasn’t all me. I know I get a lot of the recognition — I know I get most of the recognition right now. But it was a group effort. It trickles down from the offensive line to the tight ends to the fullback to the wide receivers. They all play a part in how I’ve been able to play.”

Blount, along with the overall Patriots rushing attack, has been much better in 2016 than in years past. He is currently averaging 99.3 yards per game, which is much better than his 58.6 yards per game last year.

The running back credited the team coming together and working better as a unit for being the main reason for the success.

“We practice together, and we work together every day,” Blount said. “We’ve had each other from the beginning of OTAs and camp, and everybody’s been able to stick around. We jell together like a family, man. That’s what it is here.”

After three games Blount is on pace for over 400 carries this season, which would be more than his three previous years with the team.

So how will Blount and the Patriots keep this pace up, or will they change the way they approach things?

“Listen to Bill [Belichick],” Blount said. “Simple as it gets.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — There was no changes to the Patriots’ practice report from Wednesday.

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

FOXBORO — There was no changes to the Patriots’ practice report from Wednesday.

Both quarterbacks — Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett — were limited in the Patriots’ walkthrough on Thursday. The same goes for Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower.

The team will practice again Friday in preparation for Sunday’s matchup with the Bills.

Here is the complete Patriots practice report:

LIMITED PARTICIPATION

QB Jacoby Brissett (thumb)
OL Marcus Cannon (calf)
OL Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — On Wednesday, Rex Ryan got testy on his conference call with the New England media, as he didnR

Rex Ryan apparently isn't a fan of the New England media. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Rex Ryan apparently isn’t a fan of the New England media. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — On Wednesday, Rex Ryan got testy on his conference call with the New England media, as he didn’t like a question that referred to him saying he is an “above-average” coach.

On Thursday, he responded by saying it’s not the first time he’s gone back-and-forth with the New England media, while adding “nobody like anything in Boston.”

“I don’t even care. It’s like whatever,” Ryan told reporters, courtesy of ESPN’s Mike Rodak. “That doesn’t bother me at all. Let’s face it, we’re here in Buffalo, nobody likes anything in Boston.”

Including reporters, a reporter asked?

“Pretty much,” Ryan said.

The coach was then asked if the New England media is trying to get under his skin.

“Oh, please,” Ryan said. “It’s not the first time — it’s like seven or eight years. It’s the same every time you talk to them. So you have fun with them. Going back and forth.”

Ryan is 4-11 against the Patriots, including one playoff game.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Sep 25, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) during the second half at New Era Field. Bills beat the Cardinals 31-18. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Williams has been a force for Buffalo defense early on in the 2016 season. (Kevin Hoffman/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The Patriots have been running the ball better than any team in the NFL through three weeks.

If that’s to continue this week, they will have to contain one of the best interior lineman in football.

Kyle Williams is in his 11th season with the Bills as the anchor of their defensive line. He was a stud the moment he came in as a fifth-round pick out of LSU in 2006. He was limited to six games last season because of torn meniscus in his left knee.

With Williams back this season, Buffalo is allowing just 98 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. The Jets ran for 123 yards in the 37-31 win on Sept. 15, and that’s what the Patriots will try to copy. But the Bills were also able to hold the Ravens to 83 yards and the Cardinals to 88 yards. In three games, Williams has 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Bills.

The Patriots come into Sunday’s game with the leading rusher in the NFL and AFC offensive player of the month. LeGarrette Blount leads all of football in yards (298) and carries (75). But what sticks out the most to Williams is how physical the line in front of Blount is playing with Dante Scarnecchia back as offensive line coach.

“The thing is, you know I’ve played against them a number of years, you see the same things that you saw a decade ago,” Williams said. “Physical offensive line that plays hard and doesn’t make mistakes, a running back that hits things downhill, a tough runner. So it’s going to be a great test for us. There’s no doubt about it. Coach Scarnecchia always does a great job with his O-line and they don’t beat themselves. So just be on top of our jobs and be ready a physical football game on Sunday.”

Williams, at 6-foot-1, 305 pounds, is not considered the typical two-gap, run-stopping force in the middle of the line.

“I think Kyle is just a great player,” his coach Rex Ryan said in a conference call. “You know it’s as simple as that. He’s much different than a Vince Wilfork but he’s more of a penetrating one-gap player. But he can do it all. He’s got great pass rush from the inside.”

Added Bill Belichick, “At times he is on the center, at times he is on the guard in a three-technique. Occasionally they’ve even played him at end a little bit on the tackle in a four or five-technique. More inside than outside but depending on what scheme they have, and they have multiple schemes, they move those guys around so you don’t always know exactly where they’re going to be.”

So what exactly has made Williams such an effective anchor in the middle of their defensive line for so long?

“He’s a really disruptive player,” Belichick said. “He’s very instinctive. He has a great feel for anticipation of plays, whether that’s tendencies or reading linemen’s stances. I’m not sure how he does all of it but he does it very effectively. He has got very good quickness. He has a tremendous motor. He never gives up on a play. He makes a lot of plays on second effort where he comes off of a block and hits the quarterback or makes the tackles or that type of thing.

“He also makes a lot of plays on his quickness. He has got good playing strength. He’s explosive in a short area. He can knock blockers back. If they come off too hard on him then he’s quick enough to jump around them and make them miss and end up in the backfield. But again, he’s a very instinctive guy. He always seems to do the right thing at the right time and it’s not always the same thing but it always seems to be the right thing.”

Belichick noted that when the Bills are flying around on defense making plays, Williams has plenty of help.

“[Jerry] Hughes outside, Williams inside; those two guys are really disruptive on their defense,” Belichick said. “They make a lot of plays or they force plays to be bad plays and somebody else makes them. Obviously, they have a lot of speed at linebacker with Zach Brown. Preston Brown makes a lot of tackles so those guys are very productive players, too. But those two guys up front are particularly a problem.”

The Bills have shown a very solid defense in two of their three games. They lost 13-7 in the opener at Baltimore. They allowed just 18 points against Arizona. In the loss to the Jets, they allowed 37 first downs and 493 total yards.

“I think the first game I think the defense played really well,” Ryan said of his D. “Really gave up one big play. Other than that, I think it was a pretty solid performance week one. But we just laid an egg week two. I mean it’s as simple as that. We played poorly. We had opportunities, throwing jump balls up and they were coming down with them. It’s one of those things, one of those days but we did, we played really poor. And then the third week, we came out, we had a good game against a pretty talented team.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia