Patriots News and Notes

Now that the Patriots are out of the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2002 season, news coming out of Foxborough is at a minimum. Just because news the official outlets have come to a crawl doesn't mean things are all quiet on the Patriots' front. Early reports on offseason news includes comments from soon to be free agent Adam Vinatieri, some coaching changes, a couple of internal staff changes and more on the 2006 Senior Bowl.

Vinatieri Hopes To Stay A Patriot

In an interview with the Union Leader, Patriots place kicker Adam Vinatieri said he hopes to return to the team in 2006, but that is up to the team and his agent to work out.

Vinatieri played the 2005 season under the Franchise tag label making him one of the top five paid players at his position. It also limited him from talking to other teams as other free agents have the right to do. He could talk, but the compensation to pry him away would be more than any team would care to offer.

"Clearly we've got to come to a decision that's right for me and the team," he told the Union Leader. "But I'm optimistic we'll get something done."

One team rumored to be in the hunt for his services is the Dallas Cowboys. Bill Parcells had his fill of place kicker issues in 2005. The Cowboys started the 2005 season, unhappy with their solution at kicker Jose Cortez. Cortez had the leg power, but not the accuracy the team wanted. Rookie Shaun Suisham took over for Cortez after the game against the Seattle Seahawks when Cortez missed a 29-yard field goal that was the difference in their 10-13 loss.

Vinatieri feels a strong sense of loyalty to the Patriots, and would prefer to keep things as they are, albeit with a new contract in hand.

"If it's up to me, I'll be back," Vinatieri said.

More on Vinatieri's franchise situation from last season can be found here: Face of the Franchise or Adam's Bio

Coordinators Set

Linebackers coach Dean Pees accepted the promotion offered to him by Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick last week. Shortly after the New York Jets press conference to introduce former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini as their new head coach, the Patriots announced Pees' promotion.

"Dean Pees has done an outstanding job coaching our linebackers," Belichick said. "When he joined us, Dean brought a wealth of experience into this system and has been a significant part of our success over the past two seasons."

Pees has 33 years of experience in coaching, almost half of which have been as a defensive coordinator. He spent 6 years as a college head coach. Pees joined the Patriots in 2004, turning down an opportunity to join Nick Saban in Miami for the 2005 season.

"I am very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft and the entire Patriots organization have given me," said Pees. "I am extremely proud to be part of a first-class organization from top to bottom. I will work hard to continue the standard of excellence that is expected as a New England Patriot."

Pees is the Patriots' third defensive coordinator in as many years. In 2004 Romeo Crennel left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns which enabled Mangini to assume the duties in 2005. Pees has the experience, and is the right man for the job.

Quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was promoted to the position of offensive coordinator the Patriots announced. Ending speculation that Bill Belichick may bring in an outside coach to assist with the Patriots playcalling, the team decided to appoint the 29-year old McDaniels to the official position.

McDaniels spent 2005 calling in plays to quarterback Tom Brady during games. Although Belichick refused to appoint McDaniels to the official position in 2005, it was widely understood that was to shield the young coach from undue scrutiny from the media and to have a year to see how the young assistant fared.

McDaniels moves into the position left open since the departure of former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Weis left the team to take the head coaching job at Notre Dame last year.

Mangini Settles In

Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is settling-in at his new job. Mangini, who has been part of the Patriots assistant coaching staff since 2000, agreed to take the head coaching job offered by the New York Jets on Monday last week.

The Jets offered to make Mangini the youngest head coach in the NFL, and it was an opportunity too good to refuse. The 34-year old accepted the Jets offer to return to New York, where he was an assistant under Bill Belichick from 1997-99.

"I look forward to building an organization that people can be proud of, that's built with character, that's built with toughness, and built with discipline. Those things are really attractive in this situation," said Mangini.

Mangini also praised his mentors in his acceptance speech.

"I learned a lot from Bill Parcells. I learned that you need to understand people," said Mangini. "He is a master motivator. He demands perfection and he's 100% committed to winning.

"I can't say enough about what I have learned from Bill Belichick. He gave me my first shot. He's my mentor, my teacher, and I consider him a close friend that I will have for the rest of my life."

The first order of business for Mangini was to begin a search for assistants, inside and outside the organization. Bearing in mind some of the staff from former head coach Herman Edwards were still part of the organization, Mangini talked about moving forward and speaking with staff members as one of his first priorities.

While no Patriots assistants have left to join Mangini's staff one former Patriots' assistant Rob Ryan, thought to be a leading candidate for one of the coordinator positions, agreed to return to the Raiders for three more seasons, signing a contract extension that will keep him in Oakland rather than moving to NY.

Mangini has remained in New York working on completing the search for assistants while Jets GM Terry Bradway and the Jets scouting department evaluate talent at the Senior Bowl.

Patriots' Assistant Stays

Tom Dimitroff, the Patriots director of college scouting has decided to remain part of the Patriots organization, Patriots Insider has learned. Dimitroff was being considered for a position with the Minnesota Vikings under new head coach Brad Childress' front office. Dimitroff's decision to stay in New England appears to have put the breaks on the exodus the organization has seen with the departure of coordinators Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis and Eric Mangini. Crennel did bring Jeff Davidson with him to Cleveland, and for the most part that has been the limit of staffers exiting the campus in Foxborough.

More Internal Staff Changes

As we reported earlier, Patriot's quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was promoted to the position of Offensive Coordinator. McDaniels was the point for contact for Tom Brady and becomes one of the youngest coordinators in the league.

Aside from McDaniel's promotion, the Patriots made two other staff adjustments. Brian Smith, the director of operations will now handle special assignments for the Patriots. Matt Caracciolo, a football operations assistant, was promoted to director of operations.

Senior Bowl

Patriots scouts, coaches and personnel evaluators are on the hunt in Mobile Alabama this week for the 2006 Senior Bowl. The Senior bowl, much like last week's Shrine game, are college games designed to allow players to showcase their skills for the next level, the pros. Many prospects strut their stuff during Senior Bowl week in the hopes of improving their visibility and hence their prospects of being drafted by teams in April's 2006 NFL Draft.

The Patriots' scouts arrived in Mobile over the weekend, set up shop to talk to prospects all week. They will be evaluating talent and comparing notes. TFY Draft Preview has a group of Scout.com staffers in Mobile providing continuous updates on which players teams are looking at, as well as how those players are performing during the week.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli were spotted on Monday in the throng of onlookers taking in practice. Among other NFL execs and scouting staffers, the Patriots' division rivals were also well represented.

Typically teams schedule interviews with players or talk to them on the field after practice. Some -- including the Patriots division rivals -- were methodically interviewing players in the lobby of the main hotel just to get the jump on the process.

With the Draft still three months away, teams are wasting little time getting their player evaluations done early.

Who are the Patriots looking at you ask? You'll have to keep an eye on this space daily as Patriots Insiders bring you breaking news and scouting updates throughout the week. One unit we can tell you is getting a lot of attention are the "Big boys." It appears the Patriots are serious about upgrading the talent of the players in the trenches. They've pulled aside nearly a dozen prospects who can help shore up the depth on both sides of the ball.

More Senior Bowl coverage can be found at the TFYDraftPreview.com

Draft Chat with Scout Senior Bowl staffers Wednesday night 7:00 pm EST here:

(link) http://csites.securewebs.com/brownstng

Java enabled broswers required

Monday's chat transcript here: Link


Jon Scott, a member of the PFWA, has been covering the NFL for over a decade. A regular contributor to Patriots Insider Jon makes frequent guest appearances on other media outlets on the web including Sporting News Radio. You can find Jon in the forums at PatriotsInsider.com. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Jon Scott" or

 


Patriots Insider Top Stories

 

","mobileBody":"

Vinatieri Hopes To Stay A Patriot

In an interview with the Union Leader, Patriots place kicker Adam Vinatieri said he hopes to return to the team in 2006, but that is up to the team and his agent to work out.

Vinatieri played the 2005 season under the Franchise tag label making him one of the top five paid players at his position. It also limited him from talking to other teams as other free agents have the right to do. He could talk, but the compensation to pry him away would be more than any team would care to offer.

"Clearly we've got to come to a decision that's right for me and the team," he told the Union Leader. "But I'm optimistic we'll get something done."

One team rumored to be in the hunt for his services is the Dallas Cowboys. Bill Parcells had his fill of place kicker issues in 2005. The Cowboys started the 2005 season, unhappy with their solution at kicker Jose Cortez. Cortez had the leg power, but not the accuracy the team wanted. Rookie Shaun Suisham took over for Cortez after the game against the Seattle Seahawks when Cortez missed a 29-yard field goal that was the difference in their 10-13 loss.

Vinatieri feels a strong sense of loyalty to the Patriots, and would prefer to keep things as they are, albeit with a new contract in hand.

"If it's up to me, I'll be back," Vinatieri said.

More on Vinatieri's franchise situation from last season can be found here: Face of the Franchise or Adam's Bio

Coordinators Set

Linebackers coach Dean Pees accepted the promotion offered to him by Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick last week. Shortly after the New York Jets press conference to introduce former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini as their new head coach, the Patriots announced Pees' promotion.

"Dean Pees has done an outstanding job coaching our linebackers," Belichick said. "When he joined us, Dean brought a wealth of experience into this system and has been a significant part of our success over the past two seasons."

Pees has 33 years of experience in coaching, almost half of which have been as a defensive coordinator. He spent 6 years as a college head coach. Pees joined the Patriots in 2004, turning down an opportunity to join Nick Saban in Miami for the 2005 season.

"I am very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft and the entire Patriots organization have given me," said Pees. "I am extremely proud to be part of a first-class organization from top to bottom. I will work hard to continue the standard of excellence that is expected as a New England Patriot."

Pees is the Patriots' third defensive coordinator in as many years. In 2004 Romeo Crennel left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns which enabled Mangini to assume the duties in 2005. Pees has the experience, and is the right man for the job.

Quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was promoted to the position of offensive coordinator the Patriots announced. Ending speculation that Bill Belichick may bring in an outside coach to assist with the Patriots playcalling, the team decided to appoint the 29-year old McDaniels to the official position.

McDaniels spent 2005 calling in plays to quarterback Tom Brady during games. Although Belichick refused to appoint McDaniels to the official position in 2005, it was widely understood that was to shield the young coach from undue scrutiny from the media and to have a year to see how the young assistant fared.

McDaniels moves into the position left open since the departure of former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Weis left the team to take the head coaching job at Notre Dame last year.

Mangini Settles In

Former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is settling-in at his new job. Mangini, who has been part of the Patriots assistant coaching staff since 2000, agreed to take the head coaching job offered by the New York Jets on Monday last week.

The Jets offered to make Mangini the youngest head coach in the NFL, and it was an opportunity too good to refuse. The 34-year old accepted the Jets offer to return to New York, where he was an assistant under Bill Belichick from 1997-99.

"I look forward to building an organization that people can be proud of, that's built with character, that's built with toughness, and built with discipline. Those things are really attractive in this situation," said Mangini.

Mangini also praised his mentors in his acceptance speech.

"I learned a lot from Bill Parcells. I learned that you need to understand people," said Mangini. "He is a master motivator. He demands perfection and he's 100% committed to winning.

"I can't say enough about what I have learned from Bill Belichick. He gave me my first shot. He's my mentor, my teacher, and I consider him a close friend that I will have for the rest of my life."

The first order of business for Mangini was to begin a search for assistants, inside and outside the organization. Bearing in mind some of the staff from former head coach Herman Edwards were still part of the organization, Mangini talked about moving forward and speaking with staff members as one of his first priorities.

While no Patriots assistants have left to join Mangini's staff one former Patriots' assistant Rob Ryan, thought to be a leading candidate for one of the coordinator positions, agreed to return to the Raiders for three more seasons, signing a contract extension that will keep him in Oakland rather than moving to NY.

Mangini has remained in New York working on completing the search for assistants while Jets GM Terry Bradway and the Jets scouting department evaluate talent at the Senior Bowl.

Patriots' Assistant Stays

Tom Dimitroff, the Patriots director of college scouting has decided to remain part of the Patriots organization, Patriots Insider has learned. Dimitroff was being considered for a position with the Minnesota Vikings under new head coach Brad Childress' front office. Dimitroff's decision to stay in New England appears to have put the breaks on the exodus the organization has seen with the departure of coordinators Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis and Eric Mangini. Crennel did bring Jeff Davidson with him to Cleveland, and for the most part that has been the limit of staffers exiting the campus in Foxborough.

More Internal Staff Changes

As we reported earlier, Patriot's quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels was promoted to the position of Offensive Coordinator. McDaniels was the point for contact for Tom Brady and becomes one of the youngest coordinators in the league.

Aside from McDaniel's promotion, the Patriots made two other staff adjustments. Brian Smith, the director of operations will now handle special assignments for the Patriots. Matt Caracciolo, a football operations assistant, was promoted to director of operations.

Senior Bowl

Patriots scouts, coaches and personnel evaluators are on the hunt in Mobile Alabama this week for the 2006 Senior Bowl. The Senior bowl, much like last week's Shrine game, are college games designed to allow players to showcase their skills for the next level, the pros. Many prospects strut their stuff during Senior Bowl week in the hopes of improving their visibility and hence their prospects of being drafted by teams in April's 2006 NFL Draft.

The Patriots' scouts arrived in Mobile over the weekend, set up shop to talk to prospects all week. They will be evaluating talent and comparing notes. TFY Draft Preview has a group of Scout.com staffers in Mobile providing continuous updates on which players teams are looking at, as well as how those players are performing during the week.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli were spotted on Monday in the throng of onlookers taking in practice. Among other NFL execs and scouting staffers, the Patriots' division rivals were also well represented.

Typically teams schedule interviews with players or talk to them on the field after practice. Some -- including the Patriots division rivals -- were methodically interviewing players in the lobby of the main hotel just to get the jump on the process.

With the Draft still three months away, teams are wasting little time getting their player evaluations done early.

Who are the Patriots looking at you ask? You'll have to keep an eye on this space daily as Patriots Insiders bring you breaking news and scouting updates throughout the week. One unit we can tell you is getting a lot of attention are the "Big boys." It appears the Patriots are serious about upgrading the talent of the players in the trenches. They've pulled aside nearly a dozen prospects who can help shore up the depth on both sides of the ball.

More Senior Bowl coverage can be found at the TFYDraftPreview.com

Draft Chat with Scout Senior Bowl staffers Wednesday night 7:00 pm EST here:

(link) http://csites.securewebs.com/brownstng

Java enabled broswers required

Monday's chat transcript here: Link


Jon Scott, a member of the PFWA, has been covering the NFL for over a decade. A regular contributor to Patriots Insider Jon makes frequent guest appearances on other media outlets on the web including Sporting News Radio. You can find Jon in the forums at PatriotsInsider.com. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Jon Scott" or

 

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