|01.30.12 at 7:02 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Here is a transcript of the press conference conducted by Patriots’ running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis Monday afternoon (courtesy NFL media relations):
(on what lessons he learned from the playoff game against the Ravens) ‘The main lesson is just the game’s never over until it’s over and you’ve always got to go out there and compete. We’ve moved on from Baltimore and we try to learn from our mistakes in that game and just go on and get ready for the New York Giants.’
(on why the offense wasn’t as explosive in the game versus Baltimore) ‘It’s around that time. That’s football. There’s only four teams left at that time, but we’re not speaking on that. The thing we’re really focused on is the Giants.’
(on the challenge of the Giants run defense) ‘Speaking on their run defense, I mean just their defense period, they’ve been a good defense over the playoffs and the last half of the season. I mean really since they’ve played us they’ve really been playing good football over like the last four weeks of the season, five weeks of the season and on into the playoffs they just carried momentum and they picked up momentum and they are playing just about as well as anybody in the league right now.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|01.30.12 at 6:32 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — After a win over the Redskins that saw Rex Grossman throw for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Rodney Harrison referred to the New England secondary as “probably” the worst he’s seen in the last decade.
On Tuesday, Pat Chung was asked if the comments made by the former New England safety served as motivation for the secondary over the last five games.
“It is honestly the first time I heard that,” Chung said.
That seemed impossible to me, given a) that Harrison said it on the most prominent football show in America and b) Vince Wilfork, among others, weighed in on the comments the very next. But Chung was adamant.
“I’m telling you, never,” Chung insisted. “Doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t, anyway. That’s his job, mine is to play football. All we are worried about is this game. That’s it. We are not worried about anyone else. Just keep playing and continue to do the positives.”
Chung, who says he talks to Harrison “every couple of weeks or so,” also passed on this Patriots-Giants Super Bowl question:
Does David Tyree make The Catch if Pat Chung, and not Rodney Harrison, is the safety?
“Come on,” Chung said. laughing. “I’m not going to answer that, man. This is a totally different team, different players, different time. I’m not going to touch that one. It was an amazing catch, though.”
|01.30.12 at 6:08 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — In an event seemingly made for Chad Ochocinco, the star Patriots wide receiver won’t be one of the 18 featured Patriots during “Media Day” on Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Sunday night, Ochocinco tweeted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, a man who helps coordinate the event. Earlier Sunday, he was asked by a follower if he plans something special for “Media Day.”
Ocho tweeted: Cant talk, strep throat. It’s expected that Ochocinco, like every participant in every Super Bowl, will be available to all media, even if he is off to the side.
Just last year, it would’ve been nearly impossible to imagine Ochocinco not getting his own podium with his reality show background and his ability to shine in the spotlight. Before using him as a shoulder to cry and lean on this season, Ochocinco co-hosted his own reality show with Terrell Owens and formed his own “news” network called OCNN. Ochocinco has sent a reporter to cover “Media Day” just last year.
Interestingly, Rob Gronkowski will have one of the 18 featured spots during the one-hour availability beginning at 10 a.m. It will be Gronkowski’s first public availability since injuring his left ankle during the AFC championship.
Once the Patriots clear the field, there will be an hour break and then the Giants will follow from Noon-1 on the same Lucas Oil Field that will host Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday.
|01.30.12 at 2:22 pm ET|
On Sunday, Brady gave a speech to fans at a Gillette Stadium pep rally and said, “We’re going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give it our best and hopefully we’ll have a lot more people at our party next weekend.”
That hit home with the homers at the Post, who responded with a story headlined: “Giants will make Brady pay for planning Patriots victory party.”
Wrote Post staffer Steve Serby: Tom Coughlin just might be inclined to mention Tom’s Terrific invite to, say, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty and Dave Tollefson, for starters.
Meanwhile, Giants punter Steve Weatherford made a similar slip of the tongue Sunday. Referring to a conversation he had with his 4-year-old son the morning after the NFC championship game, Weatherford said, “He’s a big sports fan and obviously he’s a big fan of mine. It’s special. I can’t wait to hold him after we win it all on the field.’
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes — alongside Weatherford during a meet-and-greet at a New Jersey Dunkin’ Donuts — told reporters not take Weatherford’s words out of context and that they did not constitute a guarantee of victory. But Weatherford didn’t seem to care, adding: “Well, I’m not going there to lose.”
|01.30.12 at 12:06 pm ET|
Branch was emotional after the victory over the Ravens in the AFC championship game, and he explained his feelings.
“I’m a very passionate guy,” Branch said. “I love playing this game. I’m very honored to be back. I truly appreciate the opportunity that this organization gave me, Mr. [Robert] Kraft, coach [Bill] Belichick. Those are the guys that drafted me. Those are the guys that asked for me to come back — ‘Hey, we want you back.’ ‘Trust me, I want to be back.’ I’m very thankful for the opportunity.
“Also, just to share this moment with these guys. Because you’ve got to realize, this might not happen again. It may never happen again. And I think we all as professionals need to embrace that. It’s an honor to be a part of this one event. The entire world [is watching]. And not only just speaking about us, but with all the time that we put together, we sometimes forget about our families. This is their moment, too. That’s the stuff I’ll be thinking about.”
Branch was asked about comments from critics such as Cris Carter, who last year questioned Branch’s reliability in big games despite Branch’s rank as the third-most prolific receiver in Super Bowl history.
“Trust me, I’ve been doubted my entire life, and I’m still standing. So, I thank them for doing that. That helps me. Does it motivate me? No, I don’t use that as motivation? I use my family for my motivation. I don’t need to sit back and listen to what this guy says, that guy, to motivate me.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Branch said it will come down to execution.
“We have a lot of time, so there’s no excuses for us not to be prepared,” he said. “It’s just all about now going out and executing our plays. The coaches will have the right plays. Coach Belichick will make sure that we’re fully prepared to play the game. Now, it’s all about executing the plays.”
|01.30.12 at 12:03 pm ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about how much of a role Rob Gronkowski‘s injury will play in the Super Bowl, what this game means to both Eli Manning and Tom Brady‘s legacy, and why it’s not likely that Peyton Manning will be a Colt next season.
‘Last Friday if you would have asked me, I would’ve picked the Giants to win,’ Esiason said. ‘I really would have because of the way they played and the fact that they were really playing extremely well in the last five games. They had the much tougher road to get to the Super Bowl.”
Added Esiason: ‘What gives me pause is the extra two weeks, and you know coach [Bill] Belichick: He’s smart, he gets it, he understands what’s going on. I don’t necessarily know that there’s a coach in the history of this league that has a better pulse of his team. … This is one of the best game managers I have ever seen as a coach. He’s going to have to be on his game. He’s really going to have to be on his game.
‘And I still can’t believe, and this is not a knock against the Patriots, I can’t believe that they’re favored. I can’t believe it, because the NFC was a much better conference this year. the Giants went on the road, they beat some really good teams, Eli has been really, really solid through the postseason and the last couple of games of the regular season, and they’re just flying high and they’re healthy and they have everybody back. It’s shocking to me that the Giants are not the favorites in this game.’
Esiason, who suffered two high ankle sprains similar to the one that Gronkowski incurred in the game against the Ravens, said that the injury could be a game-changing factor, because even if Gronkowski plays, he isn’t likely to be 100 percent.
“If they would have played yesterday, there would have been no way he would have been on the field,” Esiason said.
Added Esiason: “When you have 90 catches during the year, 50 catches during the playoffs and you become an uncoverable tool and weapon that Tom Brady has, that is a significant, significant loss.”
|01.30.12 at 8:26 am ET|
The Patriots have their first touchdown in Indianapolis, this one of the most literal sort, as the Super Bowl-bound Patriots were feted in Foxborough before boarding a plane for their weeklong business trip.
“We wish we could take all of you guys to Indy with us,” Tom Brady told the crowd, though evidently, the team was unable to find a plane capable of bringing the roughly 25,000 fans, the team members and all of the equipment to the big game.
Incidentally, in his extensive interview on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, Brady said that given the need to find tickets and hotels for approximately 40 family members and friends, the Super Bowl will be a money-losing proposition for him even if he gets a cut of the winner’s share of approximately $88,000.
“That’s OK,” he said.
Today’s coverage on WEEI.com:
— Brady’s interview with Dennis & Callahan was reflective, revealing and fascinating. A transcript is here. You can also listen to the interview on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page after it re-airs at 9:20 am EST on Monday.
— More on Brady, as Kirk Minihane notes that the possibility that the Patriots quarterback can cement his place as the greatest quarterback in NFL history is near the top of the list of the four most interesting storylines for the game.
— Bill Belichick, stand-up comic? The coach’s demeanor was so jovial upon his arrival in Indianapolis — during his initial press conference, he joked about his infamous decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in a game against the Colts in 2009 — that receiver Wes Welker was left to wonder what had happened to the dour man in the hoodie. Mike Petraglia has more. Read the rest of this entry »