|12.30.09 at 11:01 am ET|
FOXBORO – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Ed Block Courage Award.
Here is the official release:
The honor is voted on by teammates and bestowed annually upon the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration. Brady and award winners from the 31 other NFL teams will be honored at the 31st Annual Ed Block Courage Awards Banquet in Baltimore in March. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.30.09 at 10:36 am ET|
FOXBORO – For the third time this season, Tom Brady has been selected as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Brady was 23-of-26 for 267 yards and four touchdowns and a passer rating of 149.0 in a 35-7 win over the Jaguars that clinched the AFC East title.
Brady passed the 4000-yard mark in the win, the third time in his career.
|12.29.09 at 7:14 pm ET|
Four Patriots players have been named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster: Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork were named starters, while wide receiver Wes Welker and quarterback Tom Brady will go as reserves. Here’s the press release from the Patriots:
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Quarterback Tom Brady, G Logan Mankins, WR Wes Welker and NT Vince Wilfork have been selected to represent the New England Patriots and the AFC in the 2010 Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 in South Florida. Mankins and Wilfork were selected as starters, while Brady and Welker were selected as reserves.
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|12.29.09 at 2:30 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of today’s conference call between defensive coordinator Dean Pees and the media:
Q: It seemed like the defense played with more energy. Did you notice that they brought a higher energy or sharpness to the game?
DP: Well, I think playing at home helps that some. Anytime you play at home it seems like you have a little bit more energy. I wish that wasn’t always the case. I would say yeah, it appeared like it at times except for the start of the third quarter and the one drive in the fourth quarter. I didn’t think we had too much energy, but overall I think we did. I think guys are kind of gaining some confidence back. I think they lost it a little bit there midway in the season. We had a couple rough goes at it and I think anytime that happens your confidence gets a little bit down, and I think once you start coming back and start having some success I think that confidence grows. And when that confidence grows, the energy grows and everybody kind of feeds off of it. But I also think that, as a team, the whole team knew what this game meant to all of us and so I think the whole team went out there with a lot of energy.
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|12.29.09 at 2:27 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of today’s conference call between director of player personnel Nick Caserio and the media:
Q: The offense functioned better on Sunday than it has in a while. To what would you attribute that?
NC: Yeah, I think the execution was probably as good as it’s been all year. If you look at different things we did, there were not many negative plays. I think we had 62 plays and there were only three negative-yardage plays and one of them came at the end of the game. So when you have positive plays that put yourself in manageable situations, then you’re able to go ahead and execute. I think collectively we ran the ball well. We blocked well. We threw it well. The receivers ran good routes; they got open. Multiple people caught the ball. There was good distribution in the passing game. Collectively, there were a lot of people that were doing the right things. I wouldn’t say that the play calls were that much different. I think it just came down to the execution and we eliminated a lot of the negative plays that may have shown up in weeks past.
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|12.29.09 at 2:25 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete transcript of today’s conference call between Bill Belichick and the media:
BB : We’re plugging away here on Houston. They do a very good job throwing the ball. They have a very good passing attack. They use all the receivers, tight ends and backs. They’ve lost a couple productive players in the passing game — the running backs, the tight end — but they’ve still got a lot of production out of everybody. Defensively, it’s a real athletic group. Up front, guys are big, fast, can rush the passer, play the run, [and are] good in pursuit. [The] linebackers are active. The safeties are good. Of course, [Dunta] Robinson is an outstanding player. [They are] good in the return game with [Jacoby] Jones. They have solid specialists, solid in the kicking game and they have a good kicker, good punter, good returner. They’re a real solid football team. They’ve played well recently — very good against a couple quality teams, too, like Indianapolis. I know they lost those games, but they played really competitively in both of those games. It’s a good football team with a good mix of young players and veterans in there. They’ve got some young guys who are playing and contributing, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. [Connor] Barwin, [Brian] Cushing, [Brice] McCain, all those guys have played regularly for them on defense and contribute. They’ve added some good young players on that side of the ball.
Q: What kind of challenge will it be for your secondary this week?
BB: It will be a big challenge, as I said. They spread the ball around quite a bit, but certainly Andre Johnson gets his share and he’s pretty good at everything. He’s good on the deep balls. He’s a big target, tough after the catch. He’s — again — like Terrell Owens, where he catches short balls and breaks tackles and runs a long way. People get up there and try to play him tighter and he runs passed them. He’s good on intermediate routes. He’s good on deep routes, and he’s good on short routes, and running with the ball after the catch. And he’s a good blocker. He certainly attracts a lot of attention, as he should.
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|12.29.09 at 12:33 pm ET|
The masked man who had Gillette Stadium laughing on Sunday was actually a 12-year-old fan attending his first-ever Patriots game.
Josiah Shumaker is from New London, Conn., and was attending his first NFL game with his father, James. The two were sitting together in the second row of Section 135 at Gillette Stadium when the cameras caught Shumaker in his Randy Moss Mask — which he picked up before the game at the Patriots’ Pro Shop — celebrating Moss’ third touchdown of the day in a 35-7 rout of Jacksonville.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Shumaker told WEEI.com Tuesday morning. “I was just trying to have some fun at my first game.”
Moss and Shumaker went back and forth — Shumaker started with Moss’ signature “separation” move, drawing cheers from a sold-out Gillette Stadium. Moss saw what was going on, and responded with a move of his own, drawing more cheers. Shumaker continued the celebration, pumping his fist and getting the crowd louder and louder. Moss, egged on by his teammates, continued the interaction. (To see the complete exchange, click here.)
And as officials continued their review to see if Moss has crossed the goal line, Gillette Stadium erupted with a chant of “Ran-dy! Ran-dy! Ran-dy!”
Shumaker’s shared celebration with Moss was undoubtedly the lightest moment of the season at Gillette Stadium, and quickly became a hot postgame topic in the Patriots locker room.
“It was entertaining,” said Moss, who finished with four catches for 45 yards on the day. “You know, I had a lot of teammates wanting me to mess with the guy. He put a little humor into it and I enjoyed it, man. That’s the thing about having fun. When things go right, you get the fans in the game, you get the players in the game. So it was a stadium full of fun today and I think we all enjoyed it.”
“I’m looking for one of those masks on eBay. I don’t know if I can pick one of those up,” said quarterback Tom Brady. “Yeah, it was hard to miss that.”
“You don’t so much see the fro and things like that; it’s pretty extraordinary,” said wide receiver Wes Welker. “Plus, what he does out there is extraordinary.”
After the game on the way out of Gillette Stadium, Shumaker was a celebrity.
“I walked out the stadium, and people were asking me for pictures and stuff,” said Shumaker, who hopes to get to a playoff game. “I couldn’t get out of the gate.”
Shumaker, who is a running back and linebacker in his youth football league back in Connecticut, just moved to New England from Florida, and has been playing the last five seasons. (According to his father, he has 37 touchdowns in his last two seasons playing in New London.) The youngster is a big Moss fan, saying the receiver “has a good attitude toward the game — he can make plays.”
He also believes the Patriots still have a shot at the Super Bowl, and has a message for Moss.
“I would tell him don’t worry about what other people think,” Shumaker said. “Just play your game.”
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