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Belichick pumps up the volume (pats press)

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  • Belichick pumps up the volume (pats press)

    By Rich Thompson/ Patriots Notebook
    Saturday, November 6, 2004

    FOXBORO - The Patriots practiced all week in their indoor facility, blaring loud music to simulate the noise St. Louis Rams fans will generate inside the Edward Jones Dome tomorrow afternoon.
    The entire team agreed to the exercise because dome noise can be a huge distraction to the offense, especially when the quarterback is changing the play at the line of scrimmage. But there was major disagreement on what type of music should cascade down from the loudspeakers.
    ``We worked inside to take advantage of the noise situation and get it a little bit louder in there,'' said Patriots coach Bill Belichick ``It (music) was one of the more controversial items we had and no matter what you play, not everybody was happy.
    ``I had a say in it but I wouldn't say I had the final say in it. There was a lot of input on that and if it goes into a certain style for very long, there's input on changing that type music to something else. Everybody is happy for a short period of time. We've got to balance that.''
    Good news on Givens
    Belichick hinted that injured wide receiver David Givens (knee) could be upgraded from questionable to probable by gametime. Givens leads the team with 32 receptions, 30 of which resulted in first downs.
    Troy Brown 's nagging shoulder injury has him listed as questionable. If Brown can't return punts, Belichick said he will continue to use Kevin Faulk but may use a defensive back if needed.
    Faulk may get the majority of the carries on offense because Corey Dillon remains questionable with a thigh injury.
    Better with age
    The Rams' senior citizen isn't slowing down any. St. Louis punter Sean Landeta, 42, is in his 20th NFL season (most of any active player) and he's kicking with the same distance and accuracy he enjoyed as a younger man. Landeta has averaged 43.7 yards on his 29 punts this season, good for first in the NFC and second in the NFL.
    In 1985, New York Giants coach Bill Parcells asked Landeta to join him after the punter spent three seasons with Baltimore in the USFL. Belichick was the Giants' defensive coordinator then and is dumbfounded by Landeta's longevity.
    ``He's not a low-body-fat guy,'' said Belichick. ``His career has been remarkable.'' . . .
    The Rams' young and inexperienced defense is rated 28th in the NFL, but they do have a number of quality players. Belichick is impressed with the play of fourth-year strong safety Adam Archuleta, who played linebacker at Arizona State.
    Archuleta has maintained the mindset of a linebacker while developing the skills of a safety under former Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, now the head coach of the Chicago Bears.
    ``He's a safety in the pros that plays a lot of linebacker-type positions,'' said Belichick. ``He's a zone cover player who can close on the ball and has good range on those underneath-type patterns.''

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Patriots Notebook: Injuries raising doubts by Frank Tadych (pats press)
    by RamDez
    Patriots Notebook: Injuries raising doubtsby Frank Tadych

    Wide receiver David Givens, one of 11 players on the Patriots injury report, was listed as questionable again on Friday.

    Foxborough, Mass. - The Patriots didn't report any changes to their injury report Friday, which isn't good news. The Patriots again listed 11 players on the report, including wide receiver David Givens, who sustained a knee injury in last week's game against Pittsburgh and listed as questionable for the third straight day.

    Givens was one of nine players who missed a portion of team practice Friday. Givens has been quarterback Tom Brady's primary target this season, leading the Patriots in both receptions (32) and receiving yards (544) while joining David Patten as the only receivers to play in all seven games.

    "I think Givens will be all right," head coach Bill Belichick said, electing not to elaborate any farther.

    Givens joined fellow receivers Troy Brown (shoulder) and Deion Branch (knee) on the injury report this week. Brown, who also missed the season opener due to a knee injury, saw his first action in four weeks against Pittsburgh, finishing with five receptions for 59 yards. Branch, who hasn't played since a knee injury Week 2 against Arizona, made an infrequent visit to the locker room during the media's open session Thursday. Brown, listed as questionable, and Branch, who is doubtful, both missed portions of team practice for the third consecutive day on Friday.

    "I'm straight," Branch told reporters. "You'll see me soon."

    Despite the overall rash of injuries, especially at receiver, Belichick wasn't looking to make excuses heading into Sunday's game in St. Louis. The only other receivers on the Patriots roster are Bethel Johnson and Kevin Kasper, both of whom play mainly on special teams.

    "I think everybody has a job to do and regardless of who the people are, who the 45 active players are, it is their responsibility to be ready to go and do that," Belichick said. "From a player's standpoint, their job is the same every week-get ready to play and play well in the situations that they are called on. When we go to the game we expect everybody to be ready to go and perform at their highest level."

    As for the rest of the injury report, cornerbacks Ty Law (foot) and Tyrone Poole (knee) are out and will not play Sunday. Offensive tackle Tom Ashworth (back), running backs Corey Dillon (thigh) and Patrick Pass (thigh), and linebacker Larry Izzo (knee) are all listed as questionable after missing portions of team practice again Friday. Ashworth, Dillon and Pass did not play last week.

    Quarterbacks Brady (shoulder) and Jim Miller (shoulder) are again listed as probable.

    A player who is listed as doubtful is described as having at least a 75 percent...
    -11-07-2004, 03:04 AM
  • RamDez
    Landeta punts conventional wisdom (pats press)
    by RamDez
    Landeta punts conventional wisdom

    FOXBORO -- Sean Landeta doesn’t have the qualities you look for in a football player, but there are few who do their jobs better than the Rams’ 42-year-old punter.

    Landeta, who is in his 20th season as a pro, leads the NFC in punting, averaging 43.7 yards per kick. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick worked with Landeta while the two were with the New York Giants in the 1980s, and he’s surprised the veteran punter has lasted this long.

    "If you had told me in ’85 that Sean would be punting 20 years later, I would have never thought that," he said. "I know punters have longer careers, especially the good ones, but Sean has really had a remarkable career. He has proved to everybody that he can just keep punting the ball and that’s literally all he does. That’s all he does. He will never hold. He is never going to kick off. He will never do anything but punt, but he can punt."

    Landeta, who is one of only two active NFL players (Doug Flutie the other) to have played in the USFL, has also had a number of his punts returned for touchdowns, which means he’s not a great tackler. That doesn’t surprise Belichick.

    "Sean is not a good athlete," he said. "When you look at him, you are just not in awe. He is kind of compact. His hands are OK. I don’t think they are really anything special. He’s not really quick getting the ball off, but it is OK. He’s not a really good directional kicker, but it is OK.

    "He is not bad at anything and he is average to above average in pretty much everything. He is a good situational punter. He is accurate and he can kick for distance and he can get the ball up there. To do it at his age, it’s just remarkable. Sean is as pure of a punter as I have ever been around. You talk about a specialist. He defines the word. He really does."

    Landeta would be the perfect fit on one of Belichick’s future coaching staffs, but that might not interest him -- at least not right now, since it’s obvious he can still play.

    "I don’t think that is really his thing," Belichick said. "He is not really a coach. He is a player. He has the mentality of a player and the moxie of a player and all those things you talk about as a player. The way he is playing, why couldn’t he keep playing? He’s leading the league. It’s just remarkable."

    On the mend

    There were no changes to New England’s injury report on Friday, but Belichick indicated that David Givens’ knee injury won’t cause him to miss an extended period of time. He wasn’t sure when Givens hurt himself, though it might’ve been on his second touchdown catch last weekend.

    "I think Givens will be all right," Belichick said. "I don’t know. I don’t go around and ask every player, ‘What happened on this play? What happened on that play?’

    -11-07-2004, 03:02 AM
  • RamDez
    He's got it covered Patriots' Samuel ready for Rams
    by RamDez
    He's got it covered

    Patriots' Samuel ready for Rams

    By Joe Burris, Globe Staff | November 6, 2004

    FOXBOROUGH -- To hear Patriots coach Bill Belichick tell it, the St. Louis Rams aren't necessarily prone to subscribe to the adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," when it comes to their offensive game plan. He said as far as play-calling is concerned, New England's opponent tomorrow won't run a particular formation on consecutive downs even if it does succeed.

    "The Rams don't have many tendencies because they make it a point of never running the same play twice," Belichick said yesterday.

    Therefore, regardless of how New England's secondary fared in a play where Torry Holt ran a slant pattern and Isaac Bruce went long, the Patriot defensive backs might as well forget about it as they move on to the next down. Belichick was asked if that meant St. Louis had as many as 70 formations in their playbook.

    "It's more like 300," he said.

    It will present quite a challenge for a Patriots secondary looking to bounce back from last Sunday's debacle in Pittsburgh, where All-Pro cornerback Ty Law suffered a broken bone in his left foot that will sideline him 4-7 weeks. That means the two starting cornerbacks are on the injured list, as Tyrone Poole is out with a knee injury.

    After its troubles with Pittsburgh wideouts Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward, the New England defense must face an offense that ranks sixth in the NFL in total yards (375.4 per game). Led by Bruce (44 catches, 635 yards, 1 touchdown) and Holt (37 catches, 491 yards, 4 TDs), St. Louis ranks fifth in the league in passing offense (264.1 yards per game).

    What's more, running back Marshall Faulk is a perennial pass-catching threat, placing third on the team with 28 receptions for 216 yards. Faulk leads the Rams in rushing with 111 carries for 465 yards and 3 touchdowns, and this season has been bolstered by the exceptional running of rookie Steven Jackson (46 carries, 260 yards, 1 TD).

    Asante Samuel, who has been the Patriots' starting right cornerback since Poole's injury, said the Rams merely offer another challenge.

    "You've got Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and all those guys are very fast and they run very good routes," said Samuel. "They've got good hands and they play real good ball. This is the NFL, you never know what you're going to get. You can get [particular plays] twice or you may not get them twice.

    "Every game is a different kind of challenge, so you have to just approach it by watching film and figuring out what to do."

    After starting for the first time this season Oct. 10 against Miami, Samuel had 3 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and a forced fumble in the Oct. 24 win over the Jets. He had three tackles and a forced fumble in last Sunday's loss in...
    -11-07-2004, 03:04 AM
  • RamDez
    Rams-Pats: 5 Things To Watch
    by RamDez
    Rams-Pats: 5 Things To Watch
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Life without Law

    The New England secondary that muscled the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI will not be found Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome. CB Otis Smith, a former Mizzou player, just turned 39 and is out of football. Free safety Tebucky Jones was traded to New Orleans in April 2003. Strong safety Lawyer Milloy, a St. Louis native, was released in September '03 and now plays for Buffalo. That leaves four-time Pro Bowler Ty Law. He's still with the Pats, but is out after suffering a fractured left foot last week. Law is one of the league's best cornerbacks and will be tough to replace.

    "He's a great player ... and he's definitely one of the shutdown corners," Rams QB Marc Bulger said. "But they have a lot of great players, and the structure of their defense is pretty sound."

    The Patriots already are missing veteran Tyrone Poole (knee), so the Rams could face a pair of unproven cornerbacks in second-year man Asante Samuel and undrafted rookie Randall Gay. Samuel was effective last year as the Patriots' nickel back, but is on the small side and sometimes struggles against bigger receivers. Gay was only a part-time starter in college, but played for Bill Belichick disciple Nick Saban at LSU in a Patriots-style defense.

    Gay was shaken up against Pittsburgh, so there's a chance the Patriots could move free safety Eugene Wilson to cornerback and bring Dexter Reid off the bench to safety. But no matter what the alignment, the Rams should be able to exploit the New England secondary if Bulger gets enough time to throw.

    What's up front

    New England has three former first-round picks in its 3-4 defensive alignment in ends Ty Warren and Richard Seymour and nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Seymour is one of the league's top young defensive linemen. The two-time Pro Bowler has excellent size (6-6, 310), a huge wingspan, a non-stop motor and good quickness and burst. In short, he's the total package.

    Normally, Seymour lines up on the side of Rams LT Orlando Pace. But he has been known to line up over center on passing downs. The Patriots also move him to the other end, which could be the case Sunday if New England tries to create a matchup advantage with Rams RT Grant Williams. The X-factor for opposing blockers is New England's outside linebackers, mainly Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest and Rosevelt Colvin. The Patriots move them around, which can create confusion and mismatches.

    "They'll use a four-man front, they'll use a three-man front," Rams C Andy McCollum said. "They'll use linebackers as ends - down guys. You've got to be able to determine who's blocking where, and if you consider somebody a rusher, or if you consider him a linebacker."

    As imposing as the Patriots can be, the power-rushing
    -11-07-2004, 10:55 AM
  • RamDez
    Pats try to avoid another collapse (pats press)
    by RamDez

    The Patriot Ledger

    You might recall the last time the New England Patriots tangled with the St. Louis Rams.

    OK, who are we kidding? The images of Super Bowl XXXVI are seared into your memory - Ty Law returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown; David Patten elevating in the end zone for a TD catch just before halftime; and Adam Vinatieri splitting the uprights at the final gun.

    Since the winners get to write history, what often gets overlooked from that 20-17 victory is the fourth quarter, when the Patriots nearly staged the greatest choke job in Super Bowl history by blowing a 17-3 lead.

    St. Louis' ‘‘Greatest Show on Turf'' offense, dormant for the first 45 minutes, erupted late. Partly that was because it was tough to keep Kurt Warner and company down for too long. Partly it was because the Patriots' offense went AWOL in the second half, leaving the tiring New England defense no time to catch its breath.

    Nearly three years have come and gone between that game and Sunday's belated ‘‘rematch'' at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis (4:15 p.m., Ch. 4). There is one carryover, though - should the Patriots' defenders' tongues be dragging on the carpet again, disaster will likely follow.

    As you no doubt have heard, the Patriots' secondary is in shambles with starting cornerbacks Ty Law (broken foot) and Tyrone Poole (knee) sidelined. That puts a high priority on limiting the exposure of their backups (some combination of Asante Samuel, Randall Gay and Eugene Wilson) to the Rams' high-octane offense.

    The Patriots' offense could be a huge help there, but only if it doesn't duplicate last week's effort in Pittsburgh when Tom Brady's guys held the ball for just 17 minutes, committed four turnovers, and - in a decisive four-possession stretch in the first half - ran only eight plays, none of which generated a first down.

    The Patriots' B team defensive backs can't give up any big plays if they're lounging on the sidelines, so hogging the ball instead of handing it right back to the Rams becomes imperative.

    ‘‘We are going to do everything we can to try to give our defense some help in terms of trying to stay on the field,'' vowed Brady, who accounted for three turnovers (two INTs and a fumble) in the 34-20 loss to the Steelers that snapped the Patriots' record 21-game winning streak. ‘‘... You don't want to go three-and-out and turn the ball over against (the Rams). You want to be able to control the clock.''

    That sounds like a plea for Corey Dillon to get healthy. The Patriots' leading rusher, who sat out the Pittsburgh loss with a thigh injury, could be the New England secondary's best friend on Sunday, especially with No. 1 receiver David Givens (knee/questionable) joining the usual WR suspects (Deion Branch and Troy Brown) on the injury report.

    In the good news department,...
    -11-07-2004, 03:03 AM