PHOTO: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, left, head coach Bill Belichick, and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, right, celebrate after the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 6, 2005. Weis will be the head coach at Notre Dame next year and Crennel was introduced as coach of the Cleveland Browns, Tuesday, Feb. 8. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Scout Report: Patriots Postgame Wrap-up
The Patriots are world champions for the third time in four years and, with their eyes already on next season, still won't use the word "dynasty" to describe themselves.
"We'll leave that up to you," linebacker Ted Johnson said.
Coach Bill Belichick wouldn't touch the subject either, but he won't celebrate long. After a Tuesday parade in Boston, Belichick will turn his eyes immediately toward the NFL combine later this month and toward filling vacancies on his coaching staff.
Belichick will lose both of his coordinators to head coaching jobs. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is taking over at Notre Dame while Romeo Crennel will be the Cleveland Browns head coach.
Belichick credited Weis' professionalism for handling both his Notre Dame duties and Patriots responsibilities over most of the last two months, while he gave Crennel a plug for the Browns job moments before Crennel confirmed that he was headed to Cleveland.
"We've been together a long time," Belichick said. "In my opinion he deserves to be a head coach."
It's an opportunity Crennel will get, but his departure leaves Belichick looking to fill two coordinator jobs and possibly others on his staff. If he promotes from within, the most likely candidates are defensive backs coach Eric Mangini for Crennel's job and tight ends coach Jeff Davidson for Weis' position.
Mangini did a remarkable job all season pasting together a secondary devastated by the loss of both starting cornerbacks, Ty Law and Tyrone Poole. Playing with an undrafted rookie free agent, Randall Gay, a second-year man, Asante Samuel, and a 12-year veteran wide receiver, Troy Brown, the Patriots secondary did the job down the stretch and throughout the postseason.
On Sunday vs. Philadelphia, that group of corners played man-to-man coverage against the Eagles receivers on about 90 percent of the defensive snaps and did a solid job on the biggest of stages. Mangini, who has spent most of his coaching career working under Belichick, should be in line for the promotion.
As the tight ends coach, Davidson works significantly in both the running and passing games. He also stepped in and called plays in place of Weis during the 2002 preseason when Weis was hospitalized after suffering complications from gastric bypass surgery. So it has been widely speculated that Davidson will replace Weis, although he knew nothing about who might fill the vacancy back on Super Bowl media day when asked about it.
Belichick was mum on who might actually replace Crennel and Weis as he prepared for the Super Bowl, but Mangini and Davidson figure to be the leading in-house candidates.
The Patriots intercepted Donovan McNabb three times and forced four Eagle turnovers on the way to a 24-21 Super Bowl XXXIX victory to win their third world championship in four years and establish themselves as one of the greatest teams in football history.
The Eagles scored first to take a 7-0 lead, but the Patriots overcame a slow offensive start to tie the game just before halftime. New England took its first lead on the opening possession of the third quarter and then broke a 14-14 tie with 10 fourth quarter points, including seven on a 2-yard Corey Dillon run. The Patriots then held off a late Eagles charge for the win.
- DL Richard Seymour returned to action for the first time since injuring
his left knee back on Dec. 26 against the Jets in New York. He sat out the
season finale against the 49ers and both playoff games leading up to Super
Bowl XXXIX. But he practiced in the week before the Super Bowl and was back
in the lineup against Philly.
- LB Mike Vrabel caught a touchdown pass in his second consecutive Super Bowl
that gave the Patriots a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter. It was his
third catch of the season, all touchdowns.
- S Rodney Harrison intercepted a pass for the third consecutive postseason
game. He intercepted Peyton Manning late in the Divisional round with the
Patriots leading 20-3. He also returned a Ben Roethlisberger interception
87 yards for a touchdown. He intercepted Donovan McNabb at the Patriots 3-yard
line in the first quarter of the Super Bowl in what was the Eagles' first
red zone turnover of the season and then picked off McNabb again on the Eagles'
- S Eugene Wilson left the Super Bowl with an injury for the second consecutive
year. He injured his arm or shoulder covering a kickoff with 1:04 left in
the half and immediately went to the locker room for x-rays and did not return.
Rookie Dexter Reid replaced him at safety. Wilson also was injured in last
year's Super Bowl, tearing a groin muscle in the fourth quarter of the Patriots'
32-29 win over Carolina.
- WR David Givens caught a 2-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, giving
him a touchdown reception in five consecutive postseason games. He is the
Patriots' all-time leader in postseason touchdown catches and is second all-time
behind Hall of Famer John Stallworth (8) for consecutive postseason games
with a touchdown catch.
- WR Deion Branch caught 11 passes for 133 yards to become the fourth receiver in history to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games in the Super Bowl, joining Pittsburgh's Stallworth (XXIII and XIV), San Francisco's Jerry Rice (XXIII and XXIV) and Green Bay's Antonio Freeman (XXXI and XXXII). He also won the MVP award.
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