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Patriots notebook

He's issuing challenge

Belichick: Angles crucial to review

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / November 22, 2008
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FOXBOROUGH - Bill Belichick's chalk talk with the media yesterday at Gillette Stadium revolved around angles, in particular the number of angles provided by instant-replay cameras. The Patriots coach was angling for better coverage, enabling the decision-makers on the field to make a better determination of whether to challenge a play.

"Well, that is the whole issue with instant replay," Belichick said. "When you challenge a play, you have no way of knowing what the camera angles are. That's why I said, going all the way back to the Denver game in 2005, if we at least had a camera placed like in tennis, on the goal line, the end line, and on the sideline so you have six cameras [and] you know that [if] the play involved any one of those positions, you at least have a camera angle on it, so you know what you are challenging."

Belichick said he understood the play "that happens out in the middle of the field" to determine placement or possession of the ball often can be "the luck of the draw."

"But a play that was on the goal line like [Benjamin] Watson's play with Champ Bailey [in the 2005 playoffs] was, or a play that was on the sideline, you don't know for sure that you have an angle on that," he said. "You think you would but you don't know, and that is what happened in the Denver game [when Bailey was ruled down at the Patriots' 1, although Watson had separated him from the ball, which went through the end zone]. All the cameras are down at the other end and they didn't have a good angle on it, supposedly.

"So I don't understand why we can't put six cameras in every stadium and just say, 'OK, here is where they are,' whether the game's a division championship game with 25 cameras [covering] it or whether it is a regular-season game with however many they have on that [game]."

This year, the Patriots are 2 for 3 on challenges.

Praise for Pennington
The Patriots' defense will get its second look at Chad Pennington in a Dolphins uniform tomorrow. The first time out, Pennington completed an eye-popping 85 percent of his passes, connecting on 17 of 20 for 226 yards.

Asked what Pennington has brought to the 6-4 Dolphins, nose tackle Vince Wilfork responded, "Leadership is one. He doesn't turn the ball over a lot. He was like that when he was with the Jets. I think this team thrives off of that, and when you have that and two running backs who are running the ball so well, sometimes you don't need to throw the ball."

Wildcat strike
Miami's "Wildcat" offense may have made a fantasy league hero out of running back Ronnie Brown, who produced five touchdowns (four rushing, one passing) vs. New England in Week 3, but the Patriots don't expect to be clawed by it again.

"I'm pretty sure they have something else new brewing up," Wilfork said. "We have to do a good job of making sideline adjustments, whatever it may be. They might [run the Wildcat], they might not, but having the success they had with it early in the season, they'd be a fool not to try to run it. It won't hurt anything."

How comfortable do the Patriots feel defending Miami's gimmick formation?

"I feel very confident in what we've done in practice," Wilfork said. "It seems like every week somebody is pulling something out of the bag of tricks. They might have something new, but at that time, we have to go to the sideline and make adjustments."

Question marks
The Patriots listed linebacker Tedy Bruschi (knee), center Dan Koppen (elbow), cornerback Mike Richardson (concussion), defensive end Richard Seymour (toe), and safety Ray Ventrone (concussion) as questionable for tomorrow. Running back LaMont Jordan (calf) is doubtful and linebackers Eric Alexander (hamstring) and Adalius Thomas (forearm) are out. Alexander, Jordan, Richardson, and Thomas did not practice yesterday, while Bruschi and Seymour were limited in their participation. Koppen and Ventrone fully participated. Wilfork was removed from the injury report after he was listed on Thursday's for non-injury-related reasons. The Dolphins listed one player, tight end David Martin, on their injury report. Martin did not practice yesterday, but it was not injury-related . . . The Patriots Ladies will join with representatives from Patriot Place, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and Cradles to Crayons Friday to kick off a winter coat drive for low-income and homeless children. Donations of gently used coats for infants to children age 12 will be accepted at 11:45 a.m. at the Patriot Place Plaza just outside The Hall at Patriot Place.

Christopher L. Gasper of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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