|08.19.11 at 10:23 am ET|
Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty spoke with Dennis & Callahan Friday morning following the Patriots’ 31-14 preseason victory over the Buccaneers Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
While McCourty would not grade the Patriots’ defense Thursday, he said he liked how quickly the defense asserted itself.
‘We were able to get out there and get a couple of three-and-outs, just to kind of get the offense back on the field and keep them on the field,’ McCourty said.
McCourty said the key to pass defense was a balance between a strong pass rush and competent defensive backs.
‘You can’t have one without the other,’ McCourty said. ‘If you have a great defensive line that gets to the quarterback fast ‘¦ then you find out the offense will just say, ‘You know what? We’ll just throw quick throws to our receivers. They have bad defensive backs and we’ll just attack that way.’ And then if you have a bad front and you have a great secondary, quarterbacks have all day to throw the ball. So at the end of the day you still get picked apart, because no one can cover forever.’
McCourty said this defense is more experienced than last seasons, more familiar with the situational football that ‘coach [Bill] Belichick is big on.’
‘We have some guys coming back that have a better understanding of what we’re going to do on offense,’ McCourty said.
McCourty also called the work ethic with which Chad Ochocinco has approached his first training camp with the Patriots ‘incredible to watch.’
‘Often at practice, you’ll see him just talking to himself, trying to stay on top of himself,’ McCourty said, adding: ‘You can just see how hard he’s trying to get it and trying to work at it.’
McCourty also said Ochocinco’s work ethic may be justified by the complexities of the Patriots offense.
‘I don’t know how hard it is to learn,’ McCourty said. ‘I just know how hard it is to defend.’
|08.19.11 at 8:50 am ET|
Prosecutors in the Albert Haynesworth sexual assault case claim Haynesworth’s attorney has repeatedly tried to buy off the victim.
In a document filed in court Thursday, Prosecutors wrote that on “numerous occasions” Haynesworth’s attorney offered the waitress money to encourage the government to drop the case. The attorney denied the accusation.
“Just not true,” A. Scott Bolden told The Associated Press.
Earlier in the week, Bolden filed a document in court claiming that Ramon Davis, the security guard at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C., who said he witnessed the incident in mid-February was paid $50,000 for his testimony. Davis said in an affidavit that he was paid $50,000, but he also said the man who paid him never mentioned testifying or the victim’s name.
Though Davis said he thought the money was for testimony, Haynesworth’s prosecutors want the allegations excluded because they were speculative only.
A grand jury indicted Haynesworth on April 26 on a charge of misdemeanor assault stemming from an alleged incident at the W Hotel in which Haynesworth was accused of fondling a waitress as she cleared the table, including sliding a credit card inside her bra.
|08.19.11 at 2:52 am ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are some quick notes in the wake of New England’s 31-14 win over Tampa Bay Thursday night:
‘¢The Patriots are 2-0 to start the preseason for the second straight year following the 31-14 win against Tampa Bay.
‘¢The Patriots win was just their second in nine preseason games against the Buccaneers. The Patriots are now 2-7 against the Buccaneers in the preseason. The Patriots are 5-2 against Tampa Bay in the regular season.
‘¢The Patriots starting units made their preseason debut after most of the starting units did not play in the first preseason game vs. Jacksonville.
‘¢QB Tom Brady made his 2011 preseason debut and led the Patriots on three scoring drives in his first three series, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to TE Aaron Hernandez and an 8-yard touchdown pass to WR Chad Ochocinco to culminate the first two drives.
‘¢Brady played the entire first half and helped the Patriots take a 28-0 lead. He finished the game 11-of-19 for 118 yards with two touchdown passes.
‘¢Newly acquired WR Chad Ochocino made his Patriots debut and was in the starting lineup in a three wide receiver set. His first reception as a Patriot was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter.
|08.19.11 at 1:04 am ET|
You hear it all the time from coaches at every level. Work your tail off in practice and in the offseason, and the rewards will come.
In Thursday night’s 31-14 walkover against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, Mayo had about as dominating a game as a linebacker can have in the preseason. He racked up five tackles – three solo – two sacks, two passes defended and three hits on the quarterback. That’s called being a force.
It was also clear that Mayo, who began at the strong side (SAM) outside linebacker spot, took full advantage of the Patriots four-man front completely dismantling an overmatched Tampa Bay offensive line. Showing his versatility, he then moved back to his more customary inside (MIKE) linebacker position as the game moved on.
With Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love dominating the interior and Andre Carter getting it done on the opposite side, Mayo was able to take advantage of the gaps on the edge and up the middle, occasionally on the blitz and other times just on a great rush.
‘I’m not sure how many times he blitzed,” Belichick said afterward. “But Jerod’s a good player. He really does everything pretty well. There’s not a lot of weak points in his game. He’s worked hard on his blitzing, his man coverage, his tackling, his pass defense, his run defense. He works hard at everything. I’m happy for whatever success he has because he works as hard as anybody to earn it.’
That’s not to say everything was perfect, despite holding the Bucs scoreless in the first half as the Patriots were nearly perfect again on third-down defense.
‘We’ll take a look at it on film,” Belichick said. “We had trouble chasing these fast quarterbacks. So, it looked like we made a few plays.”
Mayo can’t do everything but he’s working toward it.
|08.18.11 at 11:58 pm ET|
The Patriots’ second preseason game, a 31-14 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa, had many symptoms of an exhibition. Many starters didn’t play past the first half, rookies got significant time and looked like rookies in the process, and the offense likely got away with some things that wouldn’t happen as easily in the regular season. The game also featured another thing commonly associated with the preseason: injury concerns.
By the end of the night, the fact that 17th overall pick Nate Solder landed funny on quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter was an afterthought, as was the fact that Chad Ochocinco took a helmet-to-helmet shot from Tampa rookie Mason Foster in the first quarter. A lower-body injury to safety Bret Lockett suffered on the Pats‘ first punt of the game forced the third-year player to leave the game as he was carted off the field.
In the final minutes of the game, the Pats had their final scare of the night when they saw their second instance of helmet-to-helmet contact. Running back Danny Woodhead was the victim as he chased down Jock Sanders on a fourth-quarter punt and was rocked by Devin Holland.
Woodhead, who had 63 rushing yards in the first half on five carries, was slow and appeared dizzy as he got back on his feet following the play. His teammates surrounded him and held him to ensure he wouldn’t lose his balance. Though the running back did not return to the game, he could be seen sitting on the bench with his helmet off, talking to coaches and teammates, suggesting a concussion was not suffered on the play.
|08.18.11 at 11:56 pm ET|
The Chad Ochocinco era is officially underway in New England after the star wide receiver caught two passes from Tom Brady for a grand total of 14 yards and one very easy touchdown on a pass that was not defended by the Buccaneers Thursday night.
But that’s probably the way Bill Belichick and Tom Brady want it – at least at the start. They are giving Ocho just enough to nibble on so that Ocho’s appetite for knowledge of the Patriots offense and system grows and grows.
Certainly, they want to give Ochocinco some confidence, confidence that comes from catching a wide open 8 yard “pop” route in the red area for a touchdown on the Patriots’ second possession. But Ocho took his lumps, too, taking a head shot from linebacker Mason Foster earlier in the drive. He also ran a route in which Brady failed to connect with him on 2nd-and-10. In all, Ocho was targeted four times and came away with two catches.
Brady also made it clear that he doesn’t want to overload Ochocinco with too much, too soon since he is still trying to bring the receiver up to speed with the rest of the veteran receivers like Wes Welker and Deion Branch who already know it like the back of their hand.
‘We’ve missed a lot of time,” Brady said. “That’s the reality of the off-season. We’ve missed a lot of time over the course of six months that we really couldn’t do anything football-wise. So, a lot of it just trying to continue to talk, and the only way you can make corrections is to communicate between the two of us.
“Even with Deion and Wes, we haven’t played football in eight months, or been on the field together. So a lot it is all receiver group, tight end group, quarterbacks and skill guys being on the same page so you can anticipate the things going on out there, you can play with confidence so you can go out there and play with confidence.’
It’s that confidence that Brady – through teaching on the sideline with Welker and Branch looking on – is trying to get through to No. 85. Once Brady feel comfortable that Ocho is comfortable and confident, then the quarterback can make the next step. The goal is to take as many steps as possible before the season opens on Sept. 12 in Miami. Read the rest of this entry »
|08.18.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
The Patriots beat the Bucs, 31-14, Thursday night in Tampa. New England started fast ‘ when it was the starters against the starters, it was no contest, as the Patriots took a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back on the way to their second preseason win in as many games. Here’s a quick look at what happened.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢The starting New England offense had virtually no problems on the night, coming away with a 28-0 halftime lead. Thanks in large part to the work of quarterback Tom Brady (who finished 11-for-19 for 118 yards and two touchdowns ‘ one to Aaron Hernandez and one to Chad Ochocinco), the Patriots’ starters moved up and down the field without impunity for much of the first half. While there were some early struggles getting on the same page with Ochocinco (who could be seen getting an earful from coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines early on), Ochocinco ended up with two catches for 14 yards in his New England preseason debut.
‘¢The Patriots’ pass rush: New England was able to get some sustained pressure on Tampa quarterbacks Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson throughout the first half. The Patriots flashed a variety of looks at defensive tackle in their four-man front, but outside, it was a lot of Andre Carter. The former 49er and Redskin looked to have a high motor while he was in there, leading a serious charge that had the Bucs’ quarterbacks on the run for much of the first half. In addition, Jerod Mayo was immense, coming away with two sacks, five tackles and three quarterback hits.
‘¢The New England running game: Using a combination of Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley and Sammy Morris, the Patriots were able to chew up serious chunks of yards on the ground all night. The highlight came early when Woodhead ripped off a 29-yard gain on the ground where he made some big yardage on a busted play. Woodhead went right, saw the play get blown up, and darted back left, seeing an opening and taking the ball all the way down to the Tampa 22, setting up the Patriots first touchdown of the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS
‘¢If you’re looking for a downer, it might be on special teams, specifically punt returns and coverage. Without Julian Edelman and Taylor Price, the Patriots ended up going with Jeremy Ross and Buddy Farnham on punt returns, neither of whom exactly seized the opportunity presented to them. As for the rest of the special teams unit, Sergio Brown was flagged for a horse collar tackle on punt coverage, while Woodhead was just crushed by Tampa’s Devin Holland on punt coverage midway through the fourth quarter.
‘¢The injury to safety Bret Lockett makes a difficult situation at safety even tougher. Lockett was carted off the field in the second quarter with what was either a thigh or groin injury, and New England now has three healthy safeties ‘ Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung and Brown. As was the case in the preseason opener against the Jags, Farnham was on the field playing safety at the end of the game.