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Tom Brady reacts to Antonio Cromartie: ‘I’ve been called worse’

01.12.11 at 11:38 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shrugged Wednesday when he was informed of the comments from Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

On Tuesday, Cromartie called Brady an ‘€œass—-‘€ and added, ‘€œ[Expletive] him.’€

‘€œI’€™ve been called worse. I’€™m sure there’€™s a long list of people who feel that way,’€ said Brady, who said that Cromartie is a good player.

‘€œ[Darrelle] Revis is a great player. They have a great secondary. They’re one of the best defenses we’ve faced. We spend a lot of time preparing for them, and what they’re capable of doing over there,’€ added Brady. ‘€œTo shut down the Colts’ offense like they did is pretty impressive, because we know how good that offense is. We’re going to be ready to play.

‘€œNot everybody has great things to say about our team,’€ he added. ‘€œThat’€™s the way it’€™s always been.’€

Brady was asked directly what he thought about all the talk coming from the Jets, who will come into Gillette Stadium for a divisional playoff contest Sunday afternoon at 4:30.

‘€œWe’re spending our time getting ready to play,’€ he said. ‘€œI don’t think we’re spending our time figuring out what we can do to combat what people may say about us. Not everybody has great things to say about our team or organization, or certain players. That’s kind of the way it’s always been. We’re just going to do our talking on the field. That’s the way we’ve always chosen to do.’€

Jets coach Rex Ryan also took issue with some of Brady’€™s body language early in the week, hinting that he taunts and points at opponents after a big play. Cromartie and Shaun Ellis piled on Tuesday.

‘€œHe was taunting us,’€ Ellis said of Brady. ‘€œHe was. … It wasn’€™t too much. It’€™s just his body language and things like that. When they scored, he’€™d look over to our sideline and do a little body language and all that.’€

‘€œYeah, [Brady] does it a lot. That’€™s the kind of guy he is,’€ Cromartie said. ‘€œWe really don’€™t give a damn, to tell you the truth.’€

‘€œI’€™m an emotional player,’€ Brady said. ‘€œIt’s all in the spirit of the game and the competition.’€

Read More: antonio cromartie, playoffs, Rex Ryan, Shaun Ellis

Rex Ryan on Antonio Cromartie’s trash talk: ‘We let our guys speak’

01.12.11 at 11:09 am ET
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Jets coach Rex Ryan participated in a conference call with Patriots media members Wednesday morning and defended cornerback Antonio Cromartie for his inflammatory comments about Tom Brady.

“In this country, you’re allowed to have opinions,” Ryan said, adding: “We let our guys speak. We don’t tell them what to say and what not to say.”

Added Ryan: “Am I going to punish Cromartie for saying something or whatever? No. … I know one thing: We respect New England, but we don’t fear them.”

Ryan then insisted the Patriots do their own talking, but it just doesn’t make it out of Gillette Stadium. “Trust me, they’re saying a lot worse about me and others here,” he said. “Maybe it just wasn’t printed.”

Read More: antonio cromartie, playoffs, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady

Herm Edwards on D&C: Antonio Cromartie’s comments ‘not good for the National Football League’

01.12.11 at 9:27 am ET
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ESPN analyst Herm Edwards , who coached the Jets from 2001-05, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday to talk about Sunday’s Patriots-Jets playoff game. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Edwards said the key for the Jets will be to control the ball and keep it out of Tom Brady‘s hands. “They’ve been able to run the football, that will help you some,” he said of the Jets offense. “[Mark] Sanchez is going to have to make some plays throwing the football, no doubt about that. But I think if you can limit New England’s possessions, that’s going to be critical.”

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie lashed out at Brady on Tuesday, saying “[Expletive him]” and calling him an “ass—-” for what Cromartie perceived as disrespect of the Jets. Edwards said if he were the coach, he would pull a player aside if he made comments of that nature.

“That kind of comes with the territory,” Edwards said. “When you have a lot of bravado, sometimes players get emotional. ‘€¦ I always tell player this: ‘Guys, when it comes off your tongue and it hits the airwaves, you can’t bring it back. So, watch what you say. Watch your words. It’s kind of important.

“Now, the good thing about it for him is that he’ll get to back it up. Because it’s not like they’re not going to throw the ball at him. Because they’ll throw the ball over there now. What he’s got to do is defend his turf and play well. But you don’t need to do that.”

Added Edwards: “I can understand that emotion is involved in this. But remember this, too, and I think it’s a bigger picture than this: It’s about professional football. Handle yourself as a professional. A lot of people are watching this, especially young people. It’s good to have confidence. And you might feel not good about a player. That’s fine, and that happens all the time. But I just think there’s a sense of: You don’t want to take it over the line. You don’t want to embarrass the National Football League. That’s not good for the National Football League. Not just the Jets, but the National Football League, period.”

Despite the Jets’ talking, Edwards said the Patriots might be more inspired by last year’s blowout loss to the Ravens instead. “They were embarrassed last year, losing at home, by Baltimore coming up there,” he said. “Baltimore came in there and ran the ball and got after them. That team has a lot of pride. That was a tough loss for them, for a team to come up there and beat them in the playoffs.”

Added Edwards: “I think the thing that’s rubbing them right now is the fact that they lost a playoff game at home. I mean, it was embarrassing. You don’t forget that as a player. Trust me, I was a player. Those things, you don’t forget. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing that team again right now. It’s the fact that you were at home and somebody walked into your house and beat you in the playoffs.”

Read More: antonio cromartie, Herm Edwards, Mark Sanchez, playoffs

Jets’ Antonio Cromartie, Shaun Ellis: Tom Brady taunted us

01.12.11 at 7:21 am ET
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On Monday, Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tom Brady “took a shot at me” and the Jets during the Patriots’ 45-3 rout last month because, “He always points to everybody after he scores.”

The media went to the Jets locker room Tuesday looking for support for that statement and found two players willing to back up their coach: Antonio Cromartie and Shaun Ellis.

Cromartie was the most vocal, calling Brady an “ass—-” and adding, “[Expletive] him.”

Said the controversial cornerback of Ryan’s taunting accusation: “Yeah, [Brady] does it a lot. That’s the kind of guy he is. We really don’t give a damn, to tell you the truth.”

Cromartie went on to say he didn’t care about Brady, because he plays against the receivers. When it was noted that Brady is the one throwing to those receivers, Cromartie said: “Yeah, but if I beat the [expletive] out of his receivers, he can’t throw the ball.”

Ellis’ comments seemed tame compared to Cromartie’s, but they were pointed nonetheless.

“Yeah, he was taunting us,” Ellis said of Brady. “He was.”

Explained Ellis: “It wasn’t too much. It’s just his his body language and things like that. When they scored, he’d look over to our sideline and do a little body language and all that. He was fired up for that game. We’re going to get the same thing this week. It’s for us as a defense to go out there and shut him down.”

Asked if Brady had demonstrated similar behavior previously, Ellis replied: “He doesn’t like the Jets. Any time he gets a chance to rub it in our face, he’s going to do it. For us, it’s just a matter of we want to see him on the ground as much as possible.”

Ellis and Cromartie did not have much support for their accusations in the Jets locker room.

Said cornerback Darrelle Revis: “I’ve never seen him point at somebody. Like, after they score a touchdown, I’m not looking at Tom Brady. I don’t know. I just go off to the sideline and make the corrections as best as we can. I’ve never heard him taunt or trash talk when I’ve been around him, no.”

Added linebacker David Harris: “He’s not a real big trash-talker. He just goes out there and plays his game.”

Read More: antonio cromartie, Patriots, playoffs, Shaun Ellis

Jerod Mayo concerned about Jets running the ball, not their mouths

01.11.11 at 6:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo is smart enough to let the his head coach be concerned about what is said in the media this week between the two arch-rivals.

What he’s concerned about is trying to repeat the lesson learned from the now-epic Cleveland game when Peyton Hillis ran roughshod over the Pats for 184 yards on 29 carries in a 34-14 thumping of New England on the shores of Lake Erie.

The Patriots haven’t lost since and one of the biggest reasons is not letting their opponent shove the ball down their throats. This week, the Jets will again try to do what they couldn’t do on Dec. 6 at Gillette, use Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson to establish the ground before unleashing any type of aerial assault.

“To be honest, I think we learned the most from that game throughout the whole season,” Mayo said. “Cleveland came out and ran the ball effectively, so now we know what to expect from other teams that try and do the same things. So, hopefully we can get on top of them early and make them throw the ball.”

While LT and Greene combined for 111 yards on 23 carries, they didn’t reach the end zone and their longest gain was of 14 yards. Mayo is pretty confident that the Jets won’t be discouraged by shellacking at the hands of the Patriots a month ago and will try to stick to Rex Ryan’s philosophy of “Ground and Pound.”

“All across that offensive line is experience and those guys do an excellent job opening up holes for LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene,” Mayo said. “Those are two different running styles. LaDainian has obviously had an explosive year and Shonn Greene is a downhill pounder. We have to prepare that way.”

Not only are the Patriots 8-0 since then, they haven’t allowed a back to rush for triple-figures and have held the opponents to an average of 92 yards a game. Very impressive. Still, Mayo – who leads the team in tackles with 193 as the run-stopping middle linebacker – can’t point to one specific light that magically turned on.

“You know, I’€™m not sure,” Mayo said Tuesday. “Every time you have a young defense, you have to stay on top of everybody. That Cleveland game is still in my head, so I try to go out and work hard each and every week and make sure that everybody else does the same thing so we don’€™t have another repeat episode of that. But, these guys have really been stepping it up the last couple of weeks and hopefully it continues.”

How important is it to stop the running game in the playoffs? Remember last year against the Ravens in the first round? Mayo certainly does. Ray Rice took it to the house on an 83-yard gallop off left guard and the Ravens were off to the races in a 33-14 win that eliminated the Patriots.

“I think you have to experience your first one,” Mayo said. “My first one wasn’€™t too good against the Baltimore Ravens. The first play or something like that, they got an 80-yard touchdown. Hopefully it’€™s different this year and that’€™s the plan.”

Read More: Baltimore Ravens, Jerod Mayo, LaDainain Tomlinson, New England Patriots

Pro Football Focus names Devin McCourty as top rookie

01.11.11 at 6:16 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty has been named the Rookie of the Year by our pals at Pro Football Focus. The site, which deals in statistical analysis of the NFL, had three analysts look at the grades accumulated by every rookie over the course of the 2010 season, and came up with their Top 10. The Rutgers product took top honors.

“McCourty wasn’€™t seen by many coming out of the draft as even worthy of a first-round pick ‘€” in fact, the talk was that his primary impact this year would be on special teams,” they wrote. “Instead he’€™s played like a top-10 cornerback league-wide, even with some tricky games, and has been one of the keys to New England’€™s great play down the stretch.”

McCourty, who finished tied for second in the league with seven interceptions, beat out St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford (second), Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden (third) and Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (fourth).

“There were a lot of impressive rookies this season. Sam Bradford transformed the Rams, Ndamukong Suh impressed everybody with his sack figures, but we’re not sure anybody had as impressive an impact as Devin McCourty,” said PFF senior analyst Sam Monson. “He finished the season as our ninth-ranked cornerback overall, sixth in terms of coverage alone, and was comfortably the best player in the New England secondary, for a team that has the No. 1 seed, and the NFL’s best record.

“What’s as impressive is that he improved as the seasoon went on. While many rookies hit the ‘rookie wall’ and struggle down the stretch, McCourty didn’t get a negatively graded game after Week 10 this season and finished the year with QBs recording a rating of 57.0 throwing into his coverage.”

McCourty’s teammate Rob Grokowski finished fifth, with PFF saying nothing but good things about the rookie tight end. “Early on in the season he looked to the most complete tight end entering the league, and after a blip, he reinforced that with a superb second half of the season. Not bad to lead tight ends in touchdowns and still do a superb job as a run blocker,” they write.

Read More: Devin McCourty, Joe Haden, Ndamukong Suh, playoffs

The Big Nickel: Don’t expect bulletin-board material from the Patriots, Tom Brady is a dork and Wednesday will be ‘snow problem’ for practice

01.11.11 at 3:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots on Tuesday:

1. Alge Crumpler knew what was coming.
He was just surprised it took the media until the fourth question into his press conference.

‘€œHere we go ‘€” I thought we would get a few days before some of the banter started, but it is what it is,’€ Crumpler said with a smile after he was asked about his ‘€œpersonal reaction’€ to what he’€™d heard coming out of New York.

‘€œLike I said the last time we played, that team takes after their coach. We take after ours,’€ he said. ‘€œIt all boils down to what you do on the field.’€

The first day of media availability with New England players was Tuesday morning, and Crumpler’€™s comments were echoed by his teammates. While New York has spent the last few days making bold statements about what’€™s going to happen, New England players made it clear on Tuesday morning they have no plans on getting into a war of words with Rex Ryan and the Jets.

‘€œIt’€™s just the philosophy of our team. We’€™re just … we’€™re here to work,’€ said safety Jarrad Page. ‘€œWhen it’€™s game time, that’€™s when you’€™ve got to come out. You can do your talking then. You either win or lose ‘€” that’€™s the most important thing. We’€™ll let people talk about that instead of what we’€™re talking about during the week.’€

‘€œThey’€™re just comments,’€ shrugged wide receiver Deion Branch. ‘€œCoach [Ryan] says and does what he does and we do what we do over here. Whatever he has to do to get his team motivated, I think that’€™s what he’€™s going to do.’€

Linebackers Jerod Mayo and Tracy White say New England’€™s philosophy of well done is better than well said comes directly from the head coach.

‘€œI also don’€™t think you have too many guys who talk trash on this team. They let their game do their talking,’€ White said. ‘€œI know coach preaches it to us every day, so we got used to not saying things, letting our game plan [speak] for ourselves instead of talking. You don’€™t need too many distractions.’€

Apparently, Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a reminder to players about potential bulletin-board material this week. His advice?

‘€œJust to let him handle it,’€ Mayo said. ‘€œHe does a good job of doing it.’€

2. Tom Brady‘€™s study habits were called into question by Ryan over the last couple of weeks, who first suggested Peyton Manning studies more than he does, and then gently tweaked the Patriots quarterback on Monday after he was informed Brady was at ‘€œLombardi’€ on Broadway last Saturday night instead of watching the Colts-Jets game.

‘€œPeyton Manning would have been watching our game,’€ Ryan said with a smile.

(For what it’€™s worth, in his interview with WEEI’€™s Dennis & Callahan on Monday, Brady did say he caught the second half of the game. ‘€œI saw the second half of the game ‘€” I got home and watched the second half,’€ he said. ‘€œYou know what happens to me is I get very anxious watching those games. I was watching the second half and I was actually kind of pissed that I watched it because I didn’€™t go to sleep ‘€˜til 3 in the morning. You just get riled up as I watch them, and then I start rooting for a team to win, and that’€™s not really what I want to be doing. I figure I’€™ll get enough, I’€™ll see the game. I’€™ve seen that game [on tape]. You know, it’€™s just something I wanted to do with my wife.)

However, in the wake of Ryan’€™s comments on Monday, Brady’€™s teammates were more than happy to talk about the quarterbacks’€™ study habits.

‘€œHe said he was watching ‘€˜Lombardi.’€™ I believe him. He hasn’€™t steered me wrong,’€ said Crumpler. ‘€œI’€™m sure he’€™s watched every ounce of film going back to a lot of different games, as we all have.

‘€œI think Tom does a great job, not only in his personal preparation, but in his delivery to what he wants to get across to, not only the coaches, but to us as players,’€ added Crumpler. ‘€œHe has a real good, keen sense of what’€™s going on throughout the ball game and he gets his point across, whether it’€™s quietly or animated or whatever way you want to do it, he’€™s going to get his point across. And that really translates to us as players in terms of trying to be perfect in our execution on the field.’€

‘€œTom studies a lot,’€ added Branch. ‘€œWe get the bulk of it in the meeting rooms with just the players when we sit down to go over the things that he’€™s been looking at. It carries over to the practice field as well. Tom is a dork when it comes to that, so I’€™m going to leave that alone, but Tom is a dork in that meeting room.’€
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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Adalius Thomas, Alge Crumpler, antonio cromartie
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