|09.10.10 at 1:48 pm ET|
Taylor recounted what happened Thursday morning when news filtered in about Tom Brady‘s car accident. “Tom came in and he was still upbeat,” Taylor said. “Guys were concerned, asking him, ‘Hey, are you OK,’ even, ‘What did it feel like?’ Just the shock of it all. To see him walking around, a smile on his face, the energy was still there, he was still positive ‘ we went out there and had a productive day.”
The mass of writers and television crews didn’t take long to overtake the Patriots locker room. “The media was in here so quick,” Taylor said. “They swarmed down very quick. To see that amount of people, it definitely looked like a playoff crowd of media. But hey, this is the market that we’re in. And that’s what you get. You want to go out there and you want to do well. … The tradition is so deep. That’s what you have to expect.”
Talking about his personal approach for the season, Taylor said: “I’m not trying to prove anything. First and foremost, I put in all of the work, I laid my foundation back in the offseason. And I try to do that each and every year. And then I like to come out here and play as hard as I can. My motivation comes from just still being in it. Because my career, according to some outlets and a few other people, was supposed to be cut short. It was supposed to over a long time ago, because I was ‘Fragile Fred’ … So, I’m just thankful to still be in the game and still be able to compete at a high level. That’s the only thing I set out to prove in a year-to-year basis.”
Taylor was asked about what Randy Moss is like as a teammate, and he had plenty of positive things to say. “Randy’s misunderstood form the outside looking in, for the most part,” Taylor said. “In this locker room, you would love to have him as a teammate. I’m sure the receivers do. Everybody else, he’s always trying to get a little energy, a little spark from the players. You know: ‘Hey, guys, let’s go. Keep your head up.’ In a nutshell, he’s an awesome teammate. I don’t want to get carried away, but he’s a great teammate to have.”
|09.10.10 at 12:59 pm ET|
King said the Patriots deserve praise for getting the Brady deal out of the way before the start of the season. “Whatever the feelings were on the part of Robert Kraft or on the part of Tom Brady, I give them credit, both of them, for not allowing this to be any sort of festering boil,” he said.
King said he doesn’t expect any of the other Patriots, even the ones pushing for new contracts (Logan Mankins, Randy Moss) to have any jealousy about Brady’s deal. “Tom Brady has been beyond a good soldier,” King said. “He has not ever raised a stink and said, ‘I’m underpaid.’ He’s always said, ‘Hey, listen, I just want to build the best team we can.’ I think sometimes in life, the non-squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is one of those times. ‘¦ I don’t think anybody looks at that contract and says Brady was greedy. For once in his life, really, Brady looked out for himself with this deal. I think over time it will be a good deal for both sides.”
Asked what he thinks the Mankins situation will be a month from now, King said: “I think we’re going to be saying he followed through on his threat, and he’s not playing. Whatever you think, whether you think it’s a mistake or whatever, he seems like a guy who feels like he’s been wronged by the Patriots. ‘¦ I’m reading the tea leaves, and it looks as though like this is going to be a long holdout.”
King said his clear top three teams in the NFL are the Steelers, Saints and Packers, with the Panthers and Colts a notch below. He has a number of concerns about the Patriots. “I don’t know about their running game,” King said. “Can Fred Taylor stay healthy? Because I think he’s the best running back they have. Is Brady going to have enough time behind some different guys on the offensive line? Is he going to have the weapons? They just, in my opinion, have not focused enough right now on the receiver position in the offseason, but obviously they did focus on the tight end. I would be very, very excited if I were them about the tight end position.
“On defense, there’s a lot of good, young, exciting players. But as I wrote the other day in Monday Morning Quarterback, I think it’s eight guys in their secondary that they kept or maybe nine, and they’re all 26 or younger. That can be an advantage if they’re all good. But they’re going to start two corners evidently against Carson Palmer and some veteran, smart receivers with a lot of guile, [and the Patriots starters] are a second-year player and a rookie, respectively. I just think they have a lot of questions that I don’t know the answers to right now.”
Talking about HBO’s “Hard Knocks” documentary, King said: “Teams that want to do that kind of thing always have a reason for it. I think the New York Jets wanted to see their profile raised and didn’t mind being the big guys on the block.” On whether opposing teams will be more motivated to beat the Jets, King said. “Do people think they want to knock their blocks off? Absolutely. But I don’t think necessarily that [opposing] guys play better because they’re mad at Rex Ryan or because they think he’s a horse’s behind.”
Added King: “You are not seeing anything ‘ and I mean anything ‘ that is not the real Rex Ryan. This is who he is. I think there are a lot of guys who are like that in real life but don’t want people to see it. Rex doesn’t care.”
|09.10.10 at 12:52 pm ET|
When he joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter jokingly, yet appropriately, referred to Boston as, “the hub of all the news,” given the recent buzz surrounding Tom Brady, his car and his contract. Schefter also offered a few predictions of teams he sees exploding, and others he views as imploding, for the 2010 season.
In regards to the reported four-year, $72 million deal ($48 million guaranteed) Brady received, Schefter expected a slightly greater payday, saying, “I personally thought the number might come in a little bit higher, but the truth of the matter is, in all honesty, what’s the difference between $18 [million] and $20 million? That’s why a deal is done going into the weekend. Tom Brady did absolutely fine. It probably wasn’t as much as he thought or would have liked, but it’s fair, and if it wasn’t fair he wouldn’t have signed it.”
Following are more highlights. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On Logan Mankins‘ ongoing holdout:
I don’t like the way this is going. I don’t like the way it’s gone, And you never know that something could happen to change the tenor of the tone and the direction of the negotiation. But right now, it’s ugly. Right now I’d say no, I don’t think he’s playing there.
But again, all of the sudden somebody, his side, the Patriots side, could reach out in the next few days and say, “You know what? We have to make this happen, we want to make this happen, let’s make this happen.”
On Randy Moss‘ complaints about his contract situation:
Randy Moss has been and continues to be one of the supreme talents that has ever played in the NFL. He’s fantastic. I still think he’s one of the top receivers in the game and I do think he deserves to get paid and he will get paid.
Let’s flip it around for a moment and say you’re the New England Patriots. You’ve got Tom Brady, who you just gave 48.5 million guaranteed. You’ve got this Logan Mankins situation. You just signed Vince Wilfork to a boatload of money. You have other contractual issues coming up as well. Are you going to give a long-term contract right now to Randy Moss at the age of 33? I don’t know in a football sense if you want to go and give 33-year-old wide receivers three-year deals for $30 million. I don’t know, let’s see what he does this year, which is exactly what New England’s doing.
|09.10.10 at 12:34 pm ET|
Usually, Fridays in Foxboro are relaxed and laid back when it comes to talking with the Patriots coach but this Friday was hardly normal. First, Bradypalooza has been all the rage this week, ever since news of Brady’s contract extension broke on Tuesday morning.
Then there was the little matter of a car accident involving No. 12 as he left Boston for work on Thursday morning. Then Thursday night, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, after speaking with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, broke the news that Brady and the team had finally agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension worth $72 million, $48.5 million guaranteed.
So this is hardly a normal Friday.
Brady did not speak publicly Friday about his car accident on Thursday or his newly-minted contract extension. But his coach did offer some gracious words for his Pro Bowl quarterback.
“There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady,” Belichick said. “He does a great job for us in all phases of the game. I think Tom, myself and all the rest of us are trying to get ready for Cincinnati.”
Belichick did acknowledge that he and his star quarterback share a similar philosophy that has made for a successful working relationship since the two started working together in the 2000 season.
“I think our goals are the same and, generally speaking, that we have similar way of achieving those goals,” Belichick said. “So, I think that works well together. I’ve certainly enjoy that, my association with Tom, those things he brings I believe in. And some of things he believes in, I believe in so that certainly helps.”
The Patriots host the Bengals at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in the season opener for both.
|09.10.10 at 11:54 am ET|
The Patriots are preparing for the Cincinnati Bengals at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
|09.10.10 at 11:12 am ET|
Faulk is a new captain this year, replacing Randy Moss, who was elected captain the previous two seasons. Meanwhile, there is no designated special teams captain this season as was the case in 2009 when the recently cut Sam Aiken was elected captain.
|09.10.10 at 11:04 am ET|
Patriots lineman Stephen Neal joined the Dale & Holley show Friday morning as the team prepares for Sunday’s season-opener against the Bengals. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Neal said Tom Brady‘s car accident Thursday morning isn’t a problem for the Patriots. “I didn’t think too much of it,” Neal said. “We just started our preparation for the Bengals. We’ve got a tough task at hand. ‘¦ I don’t think it was a distraction at all.”
Asked about the Bengals, Neal said the Patriots linemen will have their hands full. “They have a really good defensive line and they’ll all play everywhere,” he said. “They all have different skill sets. They’re all physical and tough. Some of them are a little bigger, more powerful. Some of them are a little quicker. Then you’ve got the linebackers. They’re also great. They’re young, fast, athletic. They’re real good.”
Neal considered retirement in the offseason before re-signing, and he doesn’t regret his decision now that the season has arrived. Said Neal: “It’s just great to get over here and put the gear on. It’s not over. Where I was thinking for a while, ‘Hey, this might be it,’ but then you start thinking it’s going to be done. I’m pretty excited to be here. It’s opening week, and the excitement with that. We’ve got a Friday practice today, and we get to eat some pizza after that practice, so that’s always a good thing. Jumping back into the routine is always a good thing. The body’s feeling pretty good.”
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