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Vince Wilfork on D&H: ‘We can’t hit a panic button’

09.20.10 at 1:45 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork joined the Dale & Holley show on Monday, and he wasn’t shy in expressing his feelings about Sunday’s loss to the Jets.

“This one really pissed me off,” Wilfork said, “because, a division game, we could have easily been 2-0, and now we’re 1-1.”

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On the team’s inability to make the big play:

We had some opportunities out there to make the plays, and we just didn’t make the plays. It wasn’t anything they were doing that we didn’t expect they were going to do. We didn’t make the plays when we needed to. When we needed plays, it was like we were searching for someone else to make it instead of taking upon ourself and going out there and getting it. That’s what it is. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to be tuned in. We’ve got to be aggressive. First half we played aggressive, we were out there popping around.

On the defense’s inability to contain the run in the second half, especially when the Patriots were prepared for the Jets’ strategy, which was similar to the Bengals’ approach the previous week.

Cincinnati, they went back to 11 personnel, no-huddle us, and find a running game with our nickel package. Well, I’m thinking the same way. When things don’t go well, what are [the Jets] going to do? Get us in our nickel package, dime package and find a run they can stick with and stick with it. We expected that. We talked about how we wanted to play it. To get out there and just let them run wild, it bothers me. It bothers me.

On the Patriots showing up to play in the face of adversity:

We’re on the road, against one of the best teams, the hottest teams the media’s putting out there. They’re one of the best teams to walk the Earth in the New York Jets, all right? It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy. When things start going wrong, we can’t hit a panic button. We can’t hit a panic button. We’ve just got to get back to doing what we were doing in the first half. The first half, we were aggressive, making plays. The second half we came out like somebody does something to us that we don’t even know how to stop, when they basically were running their stuff. We knew exactly what they were going to run. We just couldn’t stop it.

On what the Patriots can do going forward:

We’ve just got to keep preaching, “Hey, look, guys, it’s a long season. When we play games, we’ve got to prepare to win. When things go wrong, let’s regroup. Let’s regroup and come back and do what we need to do.” Anytime we do that, we’re OK. As soon as we hit the panic button, guys start doing this and start doing that, and stop believing in what we’re running and stuff, that’s when you have problems. It’s not going to be easy. We didn’t say it was going to be easy. ‘€¦ We know how tough our division is, we knew it was going to be a rough crowd. We knew all that. We’ve just got to learn how to fight through all that stuff.

On what he wants from this team:

We’ve got to find a way to rally around each other when things are not going [well]. It’s easy to rally around each other when you’re making the plays, you’re having fun and you’re blowing people out. That’s easy. Don’t give me that team. Give me the team that can rally around when things are not going your way, that’s got the fight. I want a team like that. As soon as we get that together, we’ll be OK.

On defensive communication:

This team is made up of a bunch of guys that can play different positions. Gerard [Warren] knows what goes on in the secondary, the secondary should know what goes on up here. … At any given time, anyone can turn to anyone and say, “Hey, what happened on this one?” And they should have an answer. Because we don’t have just one guy that plays a position, we play so many different defenses it’s impossible for you not to know what the guy next to you is doing. It’s impossible. I don’t care if it’s your first year or your 10th year. It’s impossible.

So when you have a question, I think you can turn to anyone on the defense and ask them. Point blank. Jerod [Mayo] can turn to his back up, he can turn to his secondary, and the secondary can do the same thing, they can turn to Jerod and ask the backers, “How did this get like this, what happened here, did he motion?” They can talk among each other.

On the importance of learning from the past and fixing mistakes:

People hurt us on things we’ve been hurt on in the past. If we don’t fix it, for instance, sub runs, that’s sticking with us until we stop it. Third-and-long, guess what, they may run a draw just to see if we stop it because we haven’t shown we can stop those things. Until we can stop those things consistently, we are going to be in for a long, long year.

You’ve got to learn. The mistakes we made this week? We can’t make them next week. We’ve got to show improvement each week. It’s a tough one, because I think we had more opportunity to walk away in that game with a ‘W.’ And we didn’t take advantage of that. You might have a couple of plays in the game. … Those couple of plays, you’ve got to make count, especially against a good team like the Jets. And I don’t think we did that yesterday.

On next week’s game vs. Buffalo:

Point blank, there’s no excuses. We lost. But the good thing is, we can move forward, and we get to see them again. So now, we watch this film, make the corrections, get everybody on the same page, and get ready for Buffalo. Another division game, let’s get ready for these guys and walk away with a ‘W’ this week.

We just have to be more alert there on the field, as a unit. If we do that, we’ll be OK.

On Nick Mangold and the Jets offensive line:

I’ve been saying that since he was a rookie. He’s probably one of the best centers out there. … Nick is one of the tougher guys to play that position. The Jets offensive line is probably one of the toughest lines around. They pride themselves on being tough, on being physical and wanting to run the ball. That’s what they pride themselves on. We knew that. So we knew how we had to meet force with force. At times, we did. At times, we didn’t. The times we didn’t, it hurt us. It really hurt us.

It is what it is. I’m very disappointed. A comeback would’ve helped. But you live and you learn. You move on. We’re going to watch film and put this one behind us and move forward to Buffalo.

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Brandon Meriweather on D&H: ‘I haven’t been myself’

09.20.10 at 12:59 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Brandon Meriweather joined the Dale & Holley show Monday morning (listen to the interview at the Dale & Holley audio on demand page) and explained why he didn’t start in Sunday’s loss to the Jets. “The coaches were doing whatever they felt was best for the team at the time,” he said. “I haven’t been myself in practice. The coaches wanted to show me just because I went [to the Pro Bowl]. I still have to come and play. Basically, that was my fault that I’m not on the field as much.”

Meriweather admitted to not heeding the coaches’ instructions, leading to his demotion. Explained the  defensive back: “I was trying a lot of things in camp just to see if they worked. And they weren’t. Instead of me stopping trying them and doing exactly what I was coached, I kept trying them.”

Consistency is Meriweather’s other key concern. “I can’t be a Pro Bowl-caliber player on one play and then a practice squad-caliber player on another play,” he said.

Meriweather said the fault for Sunday’s loss lies solely with the players. “I think it was all on us,” he said. “We were missing tackles. We were just not playing aggressive like we were in the first half. In the first half we were playing aggressive, we were hyped up, we were having fun. In the second half, it just seemed like we were dead. We weren’t having fun, we weren’t cranked. We weren’t doing anything that got us success in the first half.”

Meriweather said he calls himself the “party-starter” because he likes to make the big play that gets the defense going. Asked why his team didn’t seem to want to party Sunday, he said: “We wanted to start the party, I just think everybody was waiting for somebody else to start it.”

Asked if confidence will be an issue for teammate Darius Butler, who got burned on a couple of big plays vs. the Jets, Meriweather said not to worry. “Apparently, y’all don’t know Darius Butler,” Meriweather said. “He’s very confident on his own. That’s one person I can always say he’s going to keep his head about water without any help.”

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Darius Butler,

Tom Brady on D&C: Frustrated, but not discouraged

09.20.10 at 11:59 am ET
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Shortly after a disappointing 28-14 loss to the rival Jets on Sunday, Tom Brady was as fiery as ever, telling the media, “We just sucked.” Though he was a bit more reserved in his emotions Monday morning on the Dennis & Callahan show, a lingering frustration still permeated the interview. Yet, Brady still remained adamant about his confidence in this team’s ability to recover quickly from the loss.

Following is a transcript of the interview, in which Brady discussed the second-half struggles, the game plan after the injury to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, which players Bill Belichick is most angry at, and more. To listen, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Why did this loss strike a nerve more than other losses?

I think everybody was frustrated after that game. The way we played in the first half, where I thought we did a pretty good job of executing the game plan, and then to come out in the second half with really our goals ahead of us and to not perform the way that we expected to, I just think everybody was really frustrated, I was certainly frustrated. I thought offensively not to score any points, or really not staying on the field at all in the second half, nobody was happy, I certainly wasn’t happy about that. As a captain, as a quarterback of the offense that’s something I bear a lot of the burden on that. That’s unacceptable.

What changed in the first half to second?

That’s what it is, we couldn’t complete passes and we couldn’t run the ball. So, we couldn’t convert on third down to stay on the field, and then the turnovers, those were what they were, but we just couldn’t make enough plays in the run game or the passing game to stay on the field consistently. We really hung our defense out to dry when they’re out there trying to stop them, and we’re giving them the ball back and they have to go back on the field. It wasn’t very complementary of us in the second half, and we just couldn’t stop the momentum. The Jets had it, and we really couldn’t stop them from continuing to move forward, and we couldn’t do anything offensively to get it back on our side.

Once Darrelle Revis was out, did you lock in on Randy Moss too much?

As a quarterback, you’re trying to pick the guys that have the good matchups and the guys that are open. We didn’t execute very well there in the second half. I don’t think that’s a matter of not throwing to certain players. It’s just a matter of not getting the job done. Believe me, when [Darrelle] Revis went out, they still have a great defense. I said that after the game. It really wasn’t like, “OK, now everything’s going to be easy.” One player doesn’t make a defense. One player doesn’t make an offense. It’s a collective group, and offensively, for us, collectively as a group we just have to go out there and do a better job.

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Belichick, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Boomer Esiason on D&C: Pats need pass rush

09.20.10 at 8:51 am ET
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CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly visit and discussed the Patriots’ 28-14 loss to the Jets. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“I think you saw a really desperate Jets team defend their home turf,” Esiason said.

Esiason said the Patriots’ lack of a pass rush is a problem that needs to be fixed. “You can’t let an opposing quarterback stand back there without pressure,” he said. “I think that has to be priority No. 1 for Bill Belichick: ‘How the hell can I get pressure on the quarterback so that the secondary is not exposed.’ ”

Esiason said the Jets deserve some credit for letting Mark Sanchez have some more freedom than they did in a Week 1 loss to the Ravens. “The fact is, a lot of people were down on the Jets, were down on them offensively,” Esiason said. “A lot of people, me included, felt that they had the bubble wrap on Mark Sanchez. They finally took it off yesterday.”

Despite Sanchez’ breakout performance and Tom Brady‘s second-half struggles, Esiason stated: “I still say the New England Patriots have the best quarterback and the best offense in the division.”

Read More: boomer esiason, Mark Sanchez, Tom Brady,

Tom Brady on D&C: Share the blame

09.20.10 at 8:05 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Jets. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady said he expects Bill Belichick will distribute the blame among the entire team. “He’ll scream at all of us,” Brady said. “Obviously, nobody did what we were hoping we would do. We didn’t execute in any phase. We win as a team, we lose as a team. If you play for the Patriots, that’s the lesson you learn. Believe me, there’s nobody that’s happy coming out of a game like that.”

Added Brady: “I was very frustrated, but I’m certainly not discouraged.”

Brady paused when asked if he spent too much time trying to find Randy Moss in the second half, after Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis left with an injury. “As a quarterback, you’re trying to pick the guys that have the good matchups and the guys that are open,” he said. “We didn’t execute very well there in the second half. I don’t think that’s a matter of not throwing to certain players. It’s just a matter of not getting the job done. Believe me, when Revis went out, they still have a great defense. I said that after the game. It really wasn’t like, ‘OK, now everything’s going to be easy.’ One player doesn’t make a defense.”

On Jason Taylor‘s sack that forced Brady to fumble the ball and ended the Patriots’ hopes of a comeback, Brady said: “He’s a good player. He’s been a good player for a long time. I wish I would have [heard him coming]. That was a bummer for that to be the last play of the game [for the Patriots]. ‘€¦ I wish I would have done a better job of feeling that and getting rid of the ball.” Brady added that he tried to talk Taylor into signing with the Patriots as a free agent in the offseason before he selected the Jets.

On Eric Smith‘s hit to the head of Wes Welker, Brady said: “You hate to see that on any side of the ball because you know the kinds of repercussions to those kind of contact hits. They don’t go over very well. But he’s doing good.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Tom Brady, Wes Welker

Darrelle on Moss TD: ‘Revis Island will be back’

09.19.10 at 9:45 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After the Patriots’ 28-14 loss to the Jets Sunday, New York cornerback Darrelle Revis explained that he was forced to pull up because of an injured left hamstring on Randy Moss touchdown catch with 53 seconds remaining.

“I don’t want nobody to score on me or the secondary. But I pulled up,” said Revis, who wouldn’t return to the game after the play. “I usually rely on my speed, but I tried to speed up and it wouldn’t let me speed up to make a play. It was just a nice throw and catch. I’ll be on SportCenter tonight.” (Jets head coach Rex Ryan later confirmed that there were two different coverages called on the touchdown catch, which might have led to some of the confusion in the New York secondary.)

Asked if there should be an asterisk next to the touchdown catch — which concluded with Moss grabbing the ball with one hand — Revis said he didn’t think so, referencing a phrase he had made popular while keeping his eye toward the teams’ next meeting.

“‘Revis Island’ will be back when it’s time for me to play,” said the cornerback, citing the term he uses to exemplify how he can be left on an ‘island’ when covering receivers one-one-one.

“[The catch] was great. I couldn’t do anything about it. I pulled up with my hamstring and Brady made a great throw and Moss made a great catch, so you have to tip your hat to both of those guys.”

Revis ended up covering Moss on 22 of the Patriots’ 36 first-half plays (that didn’t include a punt), with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throwing at the corner five times (completing a pair).

“I thought they were going to come at me more straight off the jump with Randy,” Revis said. “He went across the field and he tried to run away from me on that play, and they threw the ball. I think they were trying to get me to run a little bit more in this game, and that’s what they did.”

Revis, who was engaged in a bit of a back-and-forth with Moss through the media over the course of the week, explained that there was little to no trash talk between the pair.

“Right when the game started he said what’s up and I said what’s up. But other than that, I think it was just a respect level for each other,” the Jets’ star said. “Other than that there wasn’t no trash talking, there’s wasn’t no bad trash talking. One time he went out on a route he patted me on my back and I patted on his back. So it’s a respect level that we have for each other.

“There wasn’t no bad trash talking. Randy, I respect him. He makes plays and he don’t say nothing. That’s a hard-working guy. You have to respect a guy like that

Revis said he wasn’t sure when he would be back from his injured hamstring, although the ailment wasn’t classified as a pull or a tear.

For more Patriots coverage see the team page at

Ryan on Sanchez: ‘He played great’

09.19.10 at 9:41 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jets head coach Rex Ryan was asked in his postgame press conference Sunday about the effort of Mark Sanchez in the Jets 28-14 win. The oft-maligned second-year quarterback completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards and three touchdown passes to lead the Jets to the comeback victory.

“I thought he played great,” said Ryan of Sanchez, who struggled mightily in a Week 1 loss to the Ravens. “There’s no question that you’re going to get some criticism here [New York], but we’ve never stopped believing in him. We know this is a guy that’s going to do it for us. We’ve been saying it all training camp and tonight we saw it. He was on the money with every throw.”

Sanchez completed 10-of-21 passes for just 74 yards in the opener vs. the Ravens, but Ryan — who admitted earlier in the week that he was “concerned” with the offense — said he never worried that his QB was suffering from a lack of confidence.

“The guy is more confident than I am, which is saying something,” said Ryan. “You have to have wide shoulders, especially in this media market. We have the right guy to pull the trigger for us.”

Read More: Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan,
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