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Jason Pierre-Paul: Tom Brady rattled by phantom Giants pass rush

02.02.12 at 1:16 pm ET
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Defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul suggested that he and his Giants teammates got into the head of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the regular season matchup between the two teams when New York beat New England, 24-20, at Gillette Stadium.

“If you look at Week 9 when we played them, it’s like he felt us,” Pierre-Paul told reporters. “We went back on the film, we watched the film and we didn’t really rush as we can as a defense. … He was throwing balls on the ground and stuff.”

Brady was sacked just twice while completing 28 of 49 passes (57 percent) for two touchdowns and two interceptions. Pierre-Paul, who had 16 1/2 sacks during the regular season, was asked if Brady was responding to phantom pressure in that contest.

“He was,” said Pierre-Paul. “Yeah, he was reacting to pressure that didn’t exist and he was just throwing the ball places that there wasn’t a receiver there. So imagine us just getting there even faster and we’re actually doing out jobs and getting there and getting hits on him.”

On Wednesday, Pierre-Paul described Brady as “a great quarterback, but at the end of the day he is just a quarterback. It’s not like he is God.”

Read More: Jason Pierre-Paul, Tom Brady,

Photos: WEEI’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis

02.02.12 at 12:47 pm ET
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WEEI has been in Indianapolis all week long and we’ve been posting photos of everything for you! See the players, coaches, Radio Row, celebrities and your favorite WEEI personalities by clicking the image below or by visiting New photos will be added constantly leading up to the Super Bowl, so be sure to check back to the gallery!

Stephen Gostkowski is confident he won’t be ‘overwhelmed by the situation’ on Sunday

02.02.12 at 12:20 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Where was Stephen Gostkowski on fourth-and-13 at the Giants 31 late in the third quarter?

One of the lingering questions from Super Bowl XLII for Patriots fans. Bill Belichick chose not to rely on Gostkowski’s leg indoors at the University of Phoenix Stadium on what would’ve been a 49-yard field goal. Instead, the Patriots went with a fade route for Jabar Gaffney that landed incomplete.

Those three potential points were the difference as the Giants won, 17-14. There were nearly as many theories about about why Belichick didn’t go for it as there were theories on Roger Clemens coming out of Game 6 of the ’86 Series against the Mets. There was rumors of a lingering injury, field surface, more trust in Tom Brady, etc.

But rest assured, Gostkowski will be ready come Sunday in Indianapolis should his name get called this time by Belichick.

‘€œI just want to play well and I want to win,” Gostkowski said Thursday. “I feel like I do a good job not getting overwhelmed by the situation. Even playing in preseason games are nerve-racking. You’€™re playing for your job and for a spot on the team. It picks up as the year goes on, but you’€™ve been doing it all year. Although the stage might be bigger, the goal posts are the same size, the football is the same and the guys playing around me are the same. If you’€™re confident in your ability, you should be able to have success. At the same time, you have to be humble because any player is one play away from being the hero or the goat. It’€™s something that you sign up for.’€

That’s interesting because when the subject of big kicks came up, Gostkowski said he’s been somewhat a victim of the Patriots great offensive success under Tom Brady, where the field goal has not been as big a weapon as it might be on other teams.

“I feel like that there’s been a bunch,” Gostkowski said of memorable kicks in his career. “I had three field goals in the ’16-0′ game [against Giants in 2007], had a game-winner against the Chargers my rookie year [2006], had two big kicks in the AFC championship my rookie year that we end up losing [to Colts] at the end but we were close to winning that. We’ve won a lot of games around here and there’s been a lot of games won by a few points, like the game-winner last year against Baltimore [in overtime]. It’s hard to put yourself in opportunities.

“I feel like I’m getting asked this question about big, memorable kicks and you can’t sign up for them. It’s not like I can sign up for them and say, ‘Hey, put me in that situation.’ I feel like I get penalized sometimes for being on such a good team. All I can do is make the kicks that I’ve been put out there to make and I feel I’ve been doing that at a pretty high, successful rate.”

Read More: New England Patriots, New York Giants, nfl, Steve Gostkowski

Win or lose, Rob Ninkovich is ready to lose the beard come Sunday night

02.02.12 at 11:50 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — The bearded Rob Ninkovich scoffs at Wes Welker‘€™s mustache campaign.

‘€œWelker just started that a couple of weeks ago,’€ he said. ‘€œThis has been going three months now, so I think I have more time invested in the beard.’€

The linebacker has been growing out his beard since the Patriots’€™ last loss — a Nov. 6 defeat to the Giants. Since then, he’€™s looked more like a Bruins’€™ blueliner in the throes of a playoff run than a New England linebacker.

‘€œI decided that I wasn’€™t going to shave until we won again, and we haven’€™t lost,’€ he said. ‘€œThis is a win-streak beard. The last time I shaved was when we played the Giants. … I have to take it down a little bit. It’€™s getting kind of long.’€

In the hockey spirit, Ninkovich said he tried to get some of his teammates to try and grow beards with him.

‘€œI saw that last year how [the Bruins] all grew their beards out for the whole playoffs. I couldn’€™t get too many guys to come along with me,’€ he said with a smile. ‘€œSome guys can’€™t grow them too well.’€

Welker and Ninkovich aren’€™t the only two garnering attention for their hair this week. Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood sports a high-top fade with a Patriots logo carved into the side. Ninkovich, who said he was thinking about shaving a ‘€œ5-0’€ into his beard (his number) said he isn’€™t going to take a page out of Underwood’€™s book.

‘€œI’€™m going to stay away from getting it lined up. I don’€™t want to look like Underwood with a Patriot in my beard. I’€™ll stick to the lumberjack look,’€ he said. ‘€œHopefully, Sunday, I’€™ll be able to take it off, trim it down for a celebration. But I’€™m waiting until after that, after Sunday.’€

Read More: Rob Ninkovich, Tiquan Underwood, Wes Welker,

Bill Belichick’s quiet, hoodied war against conformity (and Madden ’12)

02.02.12 at 11:49 am ET
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Whether he is undermining the integrity of the injury report, answering questions in any given press conference, or dressing for games, Bill Belichick has always been his own person. Yahoo Sports scribe Dan Wetzel detailed Belichick’s individuality in a story Thursday that reveals the many subtle ways Belichick avoids conformity en route to becoming the “most anti-establishment figure” in the NFL.

For one, Belichick is not a member of the NFL Coaches Association. This is evident from Belichick’s absence in Madden NFL Football ’12, which has 31 head coaches listed with their teams and then lists the Patriots’ coach as simply “NE Coach.” Joining the NFLCA would require little work on Belichick’s part. In return, he would get paid for, among other deals, having his name in a video game. But Belichick has not joined. It is unclear whether Belichick has even been asked to join, since, when asked whether he has been approached by the NFLCA, Belichick simply replied (according to Wetzel), “I don’t know.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Troy Brown on M&M: 2008 Patriots had ‘atrocious’ practice before SB XLII

02.02.12 at 11:07 am ET
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Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown joined the Mut & Merloni show on Thursday to break down the forthcoming Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. Brown suggested that the Patriots seem far more relaxed and confident in preparing for Super Bowl XLVI than they did while getting ready for Super Bowl XLII, which New England lost by a stunning 17-14 score.

“They have a quiet confidence about them right now. Just being around them this morning, everyone was in a great mood, and I think that starts with the head coach,” said Brown. “I didn’t have that feeling in Arizona that everyone was relaxed.

“The way that team went to Arizona and the way that we performed during the week, it was atrocious. It was the worst practice I’ve ever seen, any team, have for an entire week on any level in any sport,” Brown added.”We couldn’t do the basic things. I was on that team so I have to say we. We couldn’t do basic things. We couldn’t complete, not even one-on-one passes. … Quarterback-center exchange, handoffs, the basic things of football, we could not perform during the course of the week.

“We left the field one day and just called practice, came back the next day and had two Friday practices just to try to get caught up because we were so far behind. Practice, it was bad. I’ve never seen a team, especially a championship team, perform that way during the week.”

This Patriots team, Brown suggested, seems to be in better shape in the days leading into the championship contest.

“They feel good about the way they’re prepared,” said Brown. “They feel good about their practices. They’ve had a couple of great days of preparation here. They feel good about it. When you see the guys, they’re smiling. They’re happy.”

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Super Bowl Roundup: New York papers delve into Gisele’s email and Gronk’s antecedents

02.02.12 at 10:28 am ET
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In an interesting piece of investigative journalism, the New York Post managed to obtain an email allegedly written by Gisele Bundchen asking those close to her to support husband Tom Brady in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The Post ran part of the email as follows: This sunday will be a really important day in my husband’€™s life. He and his team worked so hard to get to this point and now they need us more than ever to send them positive energy so they can fulfill their dream of winning this super bowl … So I kindly ask all of you to join me on this positive chain and pray for him, so he can feel confident, healthy and strong. Envision him happy and fulfilled experiencing with his team a victory this sunday.

The Post seemingly reached out to Bundchen after securing the email, as it included a response from her in the story.

I am surprised that you received this email, Bundchen wrote in a different email to the Post. It was a private note only sent to close friends and family.

The article does not say how the Post found a copy of the email, but it does go on to detail how the email reflects less confidence from Bundchen than Brady showed at the Patriots’ send-off Sunday, when Brady told fans, “Hopefully, we’ll have a lot more people at our party next weekend.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Gisele Bundchen, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Victor Cruz
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