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Chris Hogan: ‘I could not care less’ about Roger Goodell deciding not to attend AFC championship game

01.17.17 at 6:32 pm ET
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Roger Goodell won't be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Much of New England seems to be upset Roger Goodell will not be in attendance Sunday for the AFC championship game as he will be in at Atlanta for the second straight weekend for the NFC title games.

But the Patriots players don’t seem to care at all.

“I could not care less,” wide receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so I can go out there on Sunday prepared.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater isn’t concerned about it, either.

“Not necessarily, I mean the game is going to be played and whoever is in attendance is in attendance,” he said. “We’re just worried about trying to play well.”

Hogan is also just glad to still be playing football this time of year considering this is his first playoff appearance.

“On a couch watching football, wishing that I was in this position,” he said of what he was doing last year at this time. “I’m fortunate to be in this position now and I’m going to go out there and give it everything I have to help this team win.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Chris Hogan, Matthew Slater, roger goodell,

Patriots get reminded of NFL social media policy following Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video

01.17.17 at 6:18 pm ET
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Matthew Slater wasn't bothered by Mike Tomlin's comments. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Matthew Slater wasn’t bothered by Mike Tomlin’s comments. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — While the Patriots had little reaction to Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video from after Sunday’s game in the Steelers locker room, they were reminded of the NFL’s social media policy.

The policy states players cannot post to social media 90 minutes before the game and not until postgame interviews are over.

“I believe there’s one for the NFL, and we were reminded of that,” receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater added: “Yes, we have a team policy on that. [It’s] strictly enforced, and we go from there.”

Despite Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots a-holes in the video, Slater said the video will not impact how how views him.

“I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin,” he said. “I appreciate the way he preps his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way.”

The Patriots will also not be using the video as motivation for Sunday, as it is the AFC title game after all.

“We’re playing in the AFC championship game,” Slater said. “If you can’t get motivated to play in this game, then you’re in the wrong sport.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Chris Hogan, Matthew Slater,

Chris Hogan (thigh) ‘feeling good,’ should be available for AFC championship game

01.17.17 at 5:31 pm ET
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Chris Hogan appears good to go for Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Chris Hogan appears good to go for Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Even before the Patriots practiced this week there was a good sign as wide receiver Chris Hogan walked through the locker room on Tuesday with no sign of a limp.

This comes after the receiver left Saturday’s game against the Texans with a thigh injury and didn’t return.

“I’m feeling good,” Hogan said. “I just had a little minor setback in the game. I am working back every single day. Feeling better everyday.”

The receiver, who was having a great game until getting injured (four catches on four targets for 95 yards), said he likely would have returned if the game were closer.

“There was if I had to get back in there,” he said. “Just with the training staff and coaches it was the right direction.”

Hogan is looking forward to getting back on the field, as this is his first playoff experience.

“Man, it’s an all or nothing kind of thing,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to win the last game and now we’re moving on. Everything that we have to win this game, we’re putting everything we have into it. Whatever we feel as players, as coaches, that we can do to help the team win we are going to do it this week.”

Given the fact Hogan spoke on Tuesday, it’s a good sign he will be available on Sunday.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Chris Hogan,

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC championship game

01.17.17 at 5:04 pm ET
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Terry McAulay will referee Sunday's AFC title game.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC title game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

McAulay began his NFL career as a side judge in 1998 before becoming a referee in 2001. However, New England games have been few and far between for McAulay as of late: This will be the first Patriots game for McAulay since Nov. 8. 2015, a contest at Gillette between the New England and Washington. Overall, it’s just his second Patriots’ game since the start of the 2014 season. (Here’s a closer look at his career, via Pro Football Reference.)

This is a complete list of who has worked as the referee for each Patriots’ game this year and the corresponding penalties for each contest, not counting the flags that were offset or declined:

Sept. 11 at Arizona: Tony Corrente — 8 penalties, 69 yards (Cardinals — 6 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 18 vs. Miami: Craig Wrolstad — 7 penalties, 65 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 22 vs. Houston: Walt Coleman — 3 penalties, 15 yards (Texans — 6 penalties, 43 yards)
Oct. 2 vs. Buffalo: Pete Morelli — 9 penalties, 74 yards (Bills — 6 penalties, 60 yards)
Oct. 9 at Cleveland: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 61 yards (Browns — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Cincinnati: Ronald Torbert — 6 penalties, 55 yards (Bengals — 7 penalties, 46 yards)
Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh: Craig Wrolstad — 4 penalties, 40 yards (Steelers — 10 penalties, 85 yards)
Oct. 30 at Buffalo: John Parry — 10 penalties, 116 yards (Bills — 12 penalties, 84 yards)
Nov. 13 vs. Seattle: Gene Steratore — 7 penalties, 61 yards (Seahawks — 8 penalties, 60 yards)
Nov. 20 at San Francisco: Jeff Triplette — 5 penalties, 40 yards (Niners — 10 penalties, 68 yards)
Nov. 27 at New York Jets: Brad Allen — 2 penalties, 15 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 66 yards)
Dec. 4 vs. Los Angeles: Jerome Boger — 8 penalties, 46 yards (Rams — 4 penalties, 30 yards)
Dec. 12 vs. Baltimore: Ed Hochuli — 5 penalties, 48 yards (Ravens — 8 penalties, 47 yards)
Dec. 18 at Denver: Walt Anderson — 4 penalties, 30 yards (Broncos — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Dec. 24 vs. Jets: Gene Steratore — 3 penalties, 20 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 77 yards)
Jan. 1 at Miami: John Parry — 7 penalties, 64 yards (Dolphins — 9 penalties, 73 yards)
Divisional Playoffs: Jan. 14 vs. Houston: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 50 yards (Houston — 5 penalties, 75 yards)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: penalties, Terry McAulay,

Ben Roethlisberger ‘disappointed’ over Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video

01.17.17 at 3:47 pm ET
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Ben Roethlisberger wasn't thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

On Tuesday, Roethlisberger called the locker room “a sacred place,” which is one of the reasons he had an issue with what Brown did.

“I know he’s excited. Everyone’s excited. They want to share it with the world and with fans and all that stuff. And it’s hard, because you are excited. You’re happy, and you won a big game, and you made a big play to win the game,” he said.

“But I am a little disappointed that he did that, because that is a sacred thing. Coach talked, and then I talked. And you don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there in the family.

“It is what it is. I think it’ll get addressed tomorrow by coach. And we move on — that’s the way it has to be,” he said. “It’s not like this is some make-or-break thing for us, it just is something that’s kind of disappointing, and we move on from it.”

Roethlisberger called in “water under the bridge,” and anticipated it would be addressed by Tomlin sooner rather than later.

“It’s just more disappointing than anger,” he added. “I’m not angry at [Brown], it’s just disappointing that that sacred time was kind of violated a little bit, and that he wasn’t paying attention to coach and myself talking after the game.

“That’s all. Like I said, it’ll be water under the bridge here for me when we’re done talking about it.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin,

5 things Patriots need to improve on in order to beat Steelers in AFC championship

01.17.17 at 2:59 pm ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots will need to play better than they did on Saturday in order to beat Pittsburgh. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady and the Patriots will need to play better than they did on Saturday in order to beat Pittsburgh. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Clearly, the Patriots did not play their best football in Saturday’s win over the Texans at Gillette Stadium. While they won by 18 points — 34-16 — it was about as poorly as a team could play and still win by that much.

As Bill Belichick noted to his team after the game, if it plays like that again, the season will likely be over.

Here are five things the Patriots need to clean up when taking on the Steelers Sunday in the AFC title game.

1. Turnovers

The Patriots turned the ball over three times in the divisional round game against the Texans. If they do that again, there’s almost zero shot of them winning. Besides Tom Brady throwing two interceptions, Dion Lewis put the ball on the ground twice, but luckily the Patriots recovered one of them. Belichick constantly preaches to the team to play turnover-free ball, as that is the No. 1 stat that correlates to winning.

New England is 20-1 in the postseason when winning the turnover battle and also, since 2001 when not turning the ball over the Patriots are 91-10. If the Patriots don’t turn the ball over there’s a good chance they will be going to Houston for the Super Bowl, but if they do multiple times, there’s a good chance they will be watching the game from the couch.

2. Red-zone efficiency

There’s nothing more frustrating than leaving points on the board in the postseason. When the Patriots reach the red zone, they need touchdowns. Even further, when the Patriots have goal-to-goal situations, they really need touchdowns. Including Saturday against Houston, the Patriots have scored touchdowns in 11 of their last 16 red-zone opportunities, but have only eight touchdowns in their last 12 goal-to-goal chances.

The possession that stands out most was at the end of the first half against the Texans. The Patriots had first-and-goal from the two-yard line and came away with a field goal. Sometimes the offense tries to get too cute in these situations instead of handing it off to the NFL’s rushing touchdown leader in LeGarrette Blount. When the Patriots have a goal-to-goal situation, they need to come away with a touchdown.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady,

Mike Tomlin not pleased with Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video

01.17.17 at 2:04 pm ET
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Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown's video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Mike Tomlin addressed Antonio Brown’s video on Tuesday. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Mike Tomlin is not pleased with his wide receiver.

After Antonio Brown posted a Facebook Live video from the locker room after the win over the Chiefs where Tomlin is seen calling the Patriots a-holes, Tomlin responded Tuesday.

“I’ll be bluntly honest here: It was foolish of him to do that,” Tomlin said to reporters on Tuesday. “It was selfish for him to do that. And it was inconsiderate for him to do that. Not only is it a violation of our policy, it’s a violation of league policy, both of which he knows. So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won’t punish us. And we will do so swiftly, and we will do so internally.”

Tomlin added: “I’d imagine that there are consequences associated with the National Football League in that regard. I’m sure that he’ll appropriately absorb all of those things as he moves forward. But larger than that, he’s got to grow from this. He has to. He works extremely hard. He’s extremely talented. And those things get minimized with incidents such as this.”

Tomlin was not done there.

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Read More: Antonio Brown, Mike Tomlin,
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