Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe on Monday to look ahead to the AFC championship game against the Steelers. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Bill Belichick responded to the Steelers' Facebook Live video as only he could. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick responded to the Steelers’ Facebook Live video as only he could. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe on Monday to look ahead to the AFC championship game against the Steelers. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

After their win over the Chiefs Sunday night, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live video, which has since been deleted, inside the locker room where coach Mike Tomlin was captured calling the Patriots a-holes.

Belichick was asked for his thoughts and responded in typical Belichick fashion.

“Yeah, as you know I’m not on SnapFace and all that, I don’t really get those,” he said. “I’m just really worried about getting our team ready to go. I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstantChat, or whatever it is.”

The coach was asked if the Patriots have any rules on social media in the locker room, but he remained focused on Sunday’s game.

“We’re really just focused on trying to play well and win this week. The AFC championship game is really what it is about,” Belichick said.

As for the Patriots getting a head start on game planning by way of playing Saturday night, Belichick didn’t offer much on that, either.

“When the games are scheduled we show up and play them,” he said. “We don’t have anything to do with the schedule. When we’re supposed to be there, that is when we’re there.”

New England will be facing a confident Steelers team, as they have won nine games in a row. They are led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and Brown.

Belichick knows the Patriots defense will have its hands full.

“Well, Roethlisberger looks good,” he said. “He’s as healthy as I’d say we’ve seen him all year. He didn’t play in our game, but going into that game he wasn’t quite the same. Last night he had a play, first I thought was a quarterback draw, but it wasn’t. He just missed a hand off, but took the ball and ran it up the middle with what looked like a draw play he turned it into a quarterback draw. His ability to move around is good. Not sure that’s been like that in other games we’ve played him. He certainly looks mobile and can extend plays. That’s always a bad thing for the opponents.

“Bell is a special guy. He is really hard to tackle. Great runner. Good vision. Very patient. Has a real good burst through the hole. Brown is a top receiver in the league. Great punt returner. Big play guy in the passing game, but as a catch and run player he is equally dangerous like we saw in the Miami game — take a slip screen, take an under route, catch a ball two or three yards down field and turn it into a 60-yard touchdown. Those three are elite players. They can hurt you in a lot of different ways.

“They have a good receiving group. They have good tight ends. The offensive line is big, physical and they do a great job in the running game. They do a great job protecting Roethlisberger, so it’s a very high-powered offense. Very explosive. They can do a lot of damage in different ways.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Josh McDaniels will return to the Patriots in 2017. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)Taking a step back, it really was a no-brainer for Josh McDaniels.



Julian Edelman joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday to preview Sunday’s AFC title game against the Steelers, while also addressing the Facebook Live video surfaced from their locker room after the game. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Julian Edelman said there would never be a Facebook Live video from the Patriots locker room. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Julian Edelman said there would never be a Facebook Live video from the Patriots locker room. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Julian Edelman joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday to preview Sunday’s AFC title game against the Steelers, while also addressing the Facebook Live video surfaced from their locker room after the game. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Following taking down the Chiefs on Sunday night, Antonio Brown posted a long Facebook Live video from the locker room (it has since been deleted). The video captures head coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots a-holes when saying they will have more time to prepare for the game.

Edelman said he caught clips of the video.

“Hey, people have different rules,” he said. “That’s how that team is run. I personally don’t think that would be something that would happen in our locker room, but hey whatever. Some people like red and some people like blue. Some people like tulips and some people like roses, whatever.”

Added Edelman: “Hey man, I wouldn’t do that so I personally — I wouldn’t do that. Let’s just say that and I’d be more worried about just trying to celebrate with my teammates and keeping it internal.”

The receiver understands why Tomlin would say what he said given the teams will be meeting in a huge game Sunday to decide who goes to the Super Bowl.

“Hey, we’re one of their competitors,” Edelman said. “We’re about to be stacked up against each other. I mean when you were a kid and you were playing against another kid he wasn’t your friend, so like I said it is what it is. I am not going to be worried about what they are saying, I am going to be worried about what they are doing. I am going to be worried about my week of prep and what I have to do to out and contribute for this team.”

As for the game itself, the Steelers have won nine straight games. Many believe their defense is weak, but the fact of the matter is they have allowed 16.5 points per game over the nine-game win streak.

“Their defense is good,” Edelman said. “Let’s call a spade a spade here. They have a lot of speed, athleticism, they are young. Coach Tomlin is going to have them with their eyes pinned back trying to come out — they swarm, they play a lot of different stuff. They have some veterans in key positions that know football, been in the situations, been in this atmosphere. They’ve won on the road in the playoffs so they have confidence. Any time you have stuff like that man, it’s going to be a battle.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Vernon Harris (48) defends during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Le’Veon Bell (26) runs the ball as Kansas City defensive back Vernon Harris (48) defends during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Patience, patience, patience.

That’s all you need to know about Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell and his approach to running the football. It’s been on full display all season. The back will wait behind the line of scrimmage for his offensive line to do its work and then pick a spot and go.

On Sunday night, in an 18-16 win over the Chiefs, he had 170 yards on 30 carries employing that approach. He is widely considered the most dangerous back in the game.

“He’s good all of the time. He’s really a hard guy to tackle. He’s got good vision, great patience, and he does a good job,” Bill Belichick said Monday in his conference call.

The Patriots’ coaching staff Monday acknowledged that the counter to Bell’s patience must be team discipline this Sunday. That, and not trying to do it all yourself.

“I think defensively he really forces you to be disciplined,” Belichick said. “You jump out of there too quickly then you open up gaps and open up space. Le’Veon [Bell] has a great burst through the hole. He doesn’t really need long to get through there, runs with good pad level. He’s hard to tackle so if you don’t get a full body on him then he’ll run right through those arm tackles.

“[He] really forces everybody to be sound in their gaps. Getting off and jumping around blocks or trying to get to the hole too quickly just opens up cut-back lanes or stays in the front somewhere and he does a great job of finding it. I mean team defense is the only way to stop it. There’s no one guy that can stop him. You’re going to have to have everybody doing a good job in a number of different areas all the way across the front and then do a good job of tackling.”

Just how important will tackling be?

“That’s a huge part of the game,” defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “It’s a team concept. You don’t want them in space in 1-on-1 situations.”

When the Patriots faced the Steelers on Oct. 23, the quarterback was Landry Jones. It will be Ben Roethlisberger this Sunday. How much more dangerous will Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell be with Big Ben back?

Brown caught six passes for 108 yards and got free up field for a couple of big plays. Back in October, the Patriots were able to hold Bell to 81 yards on 20 carries and 10 catches for 68 yards while Brown had seven catches for 106 yards. Neither found the end zone.

The key Sunday, as Belichick noted, will be whether the Patriots can repeat the success of the Chiefs’ defense in the red zone, where the Steelers were 0-for-4.

“They’re really good. They’re a tremendous offense. Kansas City was able to make some plays in the red-area, but I mean they could’ve easily been up in the 40’s [Sunday] night,” Belichick said. “They do a lot of things well; can run it, can throw it. [Antonio] Brown’s the main guy, but all of the receivers, tight ends, backs, I mean they’re all a problem. [Ben] Roethlisberger is really good, can make all of the throws. It looks like his mobility is good. They’re doing a great job. They’re a good offense.”

In other words, Sunday will be a huge step up from Saturday night.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Monday to look ahead to Sunday’s AFC title game against the Steelers. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Dont'a Hightower responded to the Steelers' Facebook Live video. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower responded to the Steelers’ Facebook Live video. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower checked in with the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria show on Monday to look ahead to Sunday’s AFC title game against the Steelers. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Following the Steelers win over the Chiefs Saturday night, Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live video (which has since been deleted) from the locker room.

In the video coach Mike Tomlin is captured calling the Patriots a-holes when discussing how they will have an extra day to prepare for the game.

Hightower didn’t see the video, but was told what was said in it.

“I don’t care,” he said. “Is that supposed to hurt my feelings?”

Hightower and the Patriots defense will have their hands full Sunday with running back Le’veon Bell, especially with his patient running style. Since Week 10, he has an insane 1,565 yards from scrimmage.

Even with his different running style, Hightower said he won’t change the way he plays.

“I don’t have to switch to stop it, but he does a really good job with his patience,” he said. “He lets his linemen do a good job of climbing up over the top of the linebackers and he does a good job of getting those guys to shift in one direction and he takes the gap and he shoots it.”

Bell ran for 81 yards on 21 carries in the previous meeting between the two teams this year.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
In 2007, Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In 2007, Pittsburgh’s Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown’s video of Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech on Sunday unknowingly caught the Steelers coach cursing out the Patriots. But it isn’t the first time that a member of the franchise has said something before a big game against New England that could come back to haunt them.

In the days leading up to the 2001 AFC championship game in Pittsburgh — a year when there was only one week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl — the Steelers made a sizable show about the fact they needed to take care of any potential Super Bowl travel business as early as possible so they could focus on the AFC title clash with New England. Those statements made their way back to the Patriots, who took great exception to the idea that Pittsburgh was putting the proverbial cart before the horse, at least publicly. After the game — a 24-17 win over the favored Steelers — Lawyer Milloy told reporters exactly what he thought about Pittsburgh’s approach. “You never disrespect anybody,” said Milloy, who bristled before the game when told of the Steelers’ Super Bowl plans. “You just make it hard on yourself. I’m just surprised the veterans on that team didn’t shut the younger guys’ mouths on that team. It was a momentum-builder for us. We rallied around that, and in the end we were the AFC champions.”

Prior to a game against the Patriots in 2007, Steelers defensive back Anthony Smith guaranteed a win over the then-unbeaten Patriots while dismissing the New England receiving corps. “They’ve got [Wes] Welker and [Randy] Moss, but they’re not like Cincinnati,” Smith said. Almost predictably, Smith was targeted on several occasions by Tom Brady and the New England passing game on the way to a 34-13 win over Pittsburgh. In his postgame press conference, Bill Belichick piled on when asked about Smith. “We’ve played a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
In 2007, Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In 2007, Pittsburgh’s Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown’s video of Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech on Sunday unknowingly caught the Steelers coach cursing out the Patriots. But it isn’t the first time that a member of the franchise has said something before a big game against New England that could come back to haunt them.

In the days leading up to the 2001 AFC championship game in Pittsburgh — a year when there was only one week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl — the Steelers made a sizable show about the fact they needed to take care of any potential Super Bowl travel business as early as possible so they could focus on the AFC title clash with New England. Those statements made their way back to the Patriots, who took great exception to the idea that Pittsburgh was putting the proverbial cart before the horse, at least publicly. After the game — a 24-17 win over the favored Steelers — Lawyer Milloy told reporters exactly what he thought about Pittsburgh’s approach. “You never disrespect anybody,” said Milloy, who bristled before the game when told of the Steelers’ Super Bowl plans. “You just make it hard on yourself. I’m just surprised the veterans on that team didn’t shut the younger guys’ mouths on that team. It was a momentum-builder for us. We rallied around that, and in the end we were the AFC champions.”

Prior to a game against the Patriots in 2007, Steelers defensive back Anthony Smith guaranteed a win over the then-unbeaten Patriots while dismissing the New England receiving corps. “They’ve got [Wes] Welker and [Randy] Moss, but they’re not like Cincinnati,” Smith said. Almost predictably, Smith was targeted on several occasions by Tom Brady and the New England passing game on the way to a 34-13 win over Pittsburgh. In his postgame press conference, Bill Belichick piled on when asked about Smith. “We’ve played a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price