Bill Belichick Knows How to Play to a Crowd and 19 Other NFL Thoughts

Bill Belichick Knows How to Play to a Crowd and 19 Other NFL Thoughts It's time to interrupt the lockout with some football talk. We hope you understand, as we dive into this week's Two-Minute Drill.

1. The Patriots have taken the week off from their player-organized workouts in the Foxboro area, and they'll get back at it next week. It's been a quiet run for these 12-15 players, who have been at it for at least two months now.

2. The Patriots usually get to take off for Memorial Day weekend anyway, so this would be a normal time for them to break to see family or take their minds off football.

3. It looks like several Patriots will be heading to Las Vegas this weekend, according to their Twitter accounts.

4. Speaking of having a good time away from the field, Bill Belichick was the fan of the game on the TD Garden video boards Monday night during the Bruins' Game 5 victory against the Lightning.

5. I covered the Celtics from 2007-09, so I've seen Belichick at a bunch of games at the Garden. He really knows how to play to the crowd when he's on the video boards, and he gets a massive ovation every time.

6. The NFL worked toward two interesting decisions Tuesday. I liked that it gave the officials more freedom to use judgment to make calls when there is contact to a quarterback's head. The cut-and-dry rules of 2010 yielded far too many senseless penalties, so it should cut down on that in 2011.

7. The next was commissioner Roger Goodell's desire to implement a system that would fine teams when its players are guilty of too many helmet-to-helmet hits. Will this have a major impact? Maybe not. But at the very least, it could spur an extra degree of coaching to cut down on those hits in training camp.

8. It looks like linebacker Dane Fletcher has joined Twitter, according to safety Sergio Brown's account. Brown and Fletcher are close, so I would expect that to be legit.

9. It's interesting that Patriots rookie running back Shane Vereen is living at home and cutting his parents' grass during the lockout.

10. Vereen was the 56th pick in the draft. If there's no rookie salary scale for this class, Vereen can expect to sign a four-year deal worth $3-4 million over the life of the contract. Defensive tackle Mike Neal, who was the 56th pick last year, signed a four-year, $2.95 million deal with the Packers. Defensive tackle Fili Moala, the 56th pick in 2009, signed a four-year, $3.3 million deal with the Colts.

11. With those numbers in hand, Vereen would have no problem taking out a loan and living on his own for a little while, although that isn't always the most financially responsible route to take. Based on conversations I've had with agents and financial advisors this offseason, Vereen would likely pay a 12-18 percent interest rate on those loans.

12. I know for a fact there are rookies staying at hotels in New Orleans as they take part in the Saints' player camps. That type of cash adds up quickly, but the experience could be priceless if it helps the rookies catch up to speed with the veterans before training camp. After all, those contracts aren't worth anything if the players get cut during training camp.

13. There probably isn't a right answer for it, but if a rookie takes out a loan with a moderate interest rate to pay for living expenses in order to practice with his teammates, it's hard to find fault in that.

14. But if a rookie has taken out a loan — I reported one top-five pick received $500,000 at least a month before the draft — and isn't training hard, he doesn't have any excuse. In fact, it will probably be pretty easy to predict which rookies will have good careers based on their habits during the lockout.

15. The NFL's Top 100 Players of 2011 list has been interesting, to say the least, and I'll weigh in more when it's complete (NFLN has only announced Nos. 61-100 and sent out press releases about Nos. 51-60). But the fact that Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is in the top 60 is a joke.

16. Sure, Lloyd had a great season in 2010 with a league-high 1,448 receiving yards, but let's take the one-year wonder thoughts to a new level. Lloyd was inactive for the first 14 games of the 2009 season. As the Denver Post put it, that means Lloyd wouldn't have even been in the top 1,440 players that season (based on 45 active players for 32 teams).

17. Lloyd will be ranked ahead of the NFL's tackle leader, Mayo (No. 62), two of the top-three sacks leaders, Cameron Wake and Tamba Hali (Nos. 63 and 64, respectively), Mario Williams (No. 71), Trent Cole (No. 73) and Lamarr Woodley (No. 82), to name a few.

18. If you ignore the fact that the Broncos have some good defensive end/outside linebacker types, wouldn't the Broncos trade Lloyd for all six of those players in a heartbeat? Yes, yes they would.

19. The NFL has announced it will cancel its annual rookie symposium due to the lockout. Normally, you'd think the symposium — which is geared toward teaching players about living life as a professional athlete — would be more beneficial during the climate of a lockout. Actually, that's not really the case.

20. It's flat-out lazy to say the rookie symposium has been the first event cancelled due to the lockout. What about free agency, rookie camps, voluntary workouts and organized team activities? And, of course, there's almost no chance that teams will be able to conduct training camps in June, either.

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