|01.22.15 at 8:01 am ET|
Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe joined Dale & Holley on Wednesday to discuss the Deflategate story and also to look ahead to the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
As a former quarterback in the NFL, Bledsoe doesn’t think the story is a big deal, and really isn’t a serious issue that deserves harsh punishment.
“This story seems kind of silly to me,” said Bledsoe. “Did they actually deflate some footballs? I don’t know maybe. Does it really affect the game? I don’t think it does. It’s one of those stories that if they did it, they probably should’t have. Is it an offense that changes the outcome of a game, or dealt with in some serious matter? I don’t really think so.
“There was a time when I was playing that the referees would just show up with the balls and you kind of got what you got. That was rough because they didn’t get them broken in properly and all of that. Personally, I always wanted the balls more inflated than less inflated — I felt like I could control it better. If it is a story that they broke the rules, if they did they should probably be punished. Is it something that is a super serious offense? I don’t think so.”
Bledsoe, who played in New England from 1993-2001, says some of the reason for this story becoming as big as it has is because of the success of the team and people don’t like the Patriots constantly winning.
“There have been some people [firing] at them for a long time. That is the nature of the beast when you’re successful, people are going to take shots at you,” he said. “They certainly aren’t going to get the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think. Certainly not from the media and the population in general outside of New England just because they have been so successful for so long. That is the nature of the beast. You watch it happen with college programs. You don’t see sanctions applied to schools that aren’t winning, they are only applied to schools that are winning. With the Patriots they certainly are a target because of their unprecedented run of success.”
|01.22.15 at 6:00 am ET|
There was no question the Patriots’ game plan against the Ravens in the divisional round was to get rid of the ball quickly to try and offset their strong pass rush, which they did as quarterback Tom Brady took an average of 2.27 seconds from snap-to-throw by our numbers.
In the AFC championship against the Colts, this didn’t seem like it would be a featured piece of the offense, as when the two teams met on Nov. 16 he averaged 2.41 seconds from snap-to-throw.
But, it was a different story, as Brady took a season-low 1.8 seconds from snap-to-throw in the AFC title game. (Before Sunday it was Week 4 in their blowout loss in Kansas City when he took 1.97 seconds.)
With the offensive line missing center Bryan Stork, it’s possible the team looked to make up for that by Brady getting the ball out quickly, allowing less time for the defense to get to Brady. It was a consistent plan throughout, as Brady took an average of 1.81 seconds from snap-to-throw in the first half, and 1.80 in the second half.
By our same numbers, last week against Baltimore Brady took less than 2.25 seconds from snap-to-throw on 27 of his 50 (54 percent) drop backs, and against the Colts those numbers rose to 22-of-35 (63 percent). So, of Brady’s last 85 drop backs, 49 of them (58 percent) have took less than 2.25 seconds or less.
As a always, these numbers need to take into consideration of plays such as quick receiver screens effecting the numbers a bit, but it’s clear the Patriots have made a conscious effort over the last two games to get the ball out quick and into Julian Edelman‘s, Rob Gronkowski‘s and Brandon LaFell’s hands.
For the season getting the ball out quick has led to great success for Brady, as per Pro Football Focus, Brady has the most completions (331), and second-most drop backs (68 percent of Patriots’ offensive snaps) in the NFL when taking 2.5 seconds or less from snap-to-throw.
Compared to the other quarterbacks in the championship games last weekend, Brady’s numbers were exceptionally fast. According to Pro Football Focus, Russell Wilson took 2.74 seconds from snap-to-attempt, while Aaron Rodgers took 2.66. On the other side of the field from Brady, Andrew Luck took almost 1.5 seconds more than he did, as Luck took 3.04 seconds from snap-to-throw. (It’s worth mentioning, Brady’s high this season was 2.58 seconds Oct. 16 against the Jets, according to our numbers.)
With Seattle’s strong defense, this surely will be a topic of discussion throughout next week leading up to the game. Be sure to check back next week to see how opposing quarterbacks have done against the Seahawks defense when it comes to snap-to-throw release times.
|01.22.15 at 12:55 am ET|
On Wednesday, Andrew Luck shrugged off the Deflategate controversy, saying that “things in the media tend to be blown out of proportion.”
Speaking at the Pro Bowl draft, the Colts quarterback appeared to dismiss the uproar of underinflated footballs that were reportedly used by the Patriots in the AFC title game last Sunday in Foxboro.
“Everybody has a preference and our equipment managers sort of handle our footballs in a sense,” Luck told reporters. “I get them as they are, I guess.”
When it came to how he felt about preparing for the Pro Bowl instead of the Super Bowl, Luck appeared to fire off a good Deflategate one-liner, even if it reporters who were present believed it might have been inadvertent.
“The energy is sucked out of you. You feel deflated,” he said before perhaps realizing his gaffe, smiling, and adding, “Aww, shoot” with a sheepish laugh.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|01.21.15 at 9:44 pm ET|
The Seahawks were just over nine minutes away from falling to 3-3 on the 2012 season. They trailed the Patriots 23-10 on their home turf.
Things didn’t look good for Seattle or rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Then he completed a touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards to make it close down the stretch. Still, Seattle trailed 23-17 and had the ball at their own 43 with 2:38 left in the fourth.
Wilson, a rookie out of Wisconsin was still learning the NFL game. That was the season that many Seahawks fans wondered why the rookie was getting the call at quarterback over recently signed free agent Matt Flynn and 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson. With one deep pass to Sydney Rice over the Patriots secondary, Wilson validated the decision of head coach Pete Carroll.
The perfectly-placed 46-yarder resulted in a touchdown and gave the Seahawks a 24-23 win. The win improved Seattle to 4-2 but more importantly, established confidence in the locker room in the young kid and Seattle finished 11-5. The next season, Seattle overcame the 49ers in the NFC championship and won Super Bowl XLVIII.
Last week, Wilson did it again, overcoming a 19-7 hole in the final three minutes to post a heart-pounding 28-22 win in overtime to punch Seattle’s second straight ticket to the Super Bowl, and sent Wilson into tears.
“I’m not a very good crier,” Wilson joked. “I was ugly when I cry. No, it’s just a blessing to be on this football team. Just thinking about all the things we’ve been through this year and all the fight and one of the greatest come backs in my opinion. Especially with the circumstances with three minutes or so to go and score two touchdowns, then get the ball in overtime and win the game and go to the Super Bowl. I just think about my teammates. I think about all the hard work we’ve put in and it’s just been a blessing to come a mighty long way.”
On Wednesday, Wilson pointed back to that game on Oct. 14, 2012 as the turning point for him and the franchise.
“To go back to my rookie season, it seems like forever ago. But to go back to my rookie season, and to play the Patriots, I truly think that was one of the biggest games for me personally just to be able to come back against a great team and to take the lead throwing the ball to Sidney Rice. Tremendous receiver makes a big time play for us to win the game with about a minute and a half left. That was a huge comeback for us.
“I think that was kind of the momentum starter for the past three years really, to be honest with you. I think Chicago (23-17 OT win) was another big game for our offense and for me personally. So, I think back to those games and just remember the experience, the grit that it takes to win, especially against a big time quarterback like Tom Brady and their football team and what they do so well. They’re always on it, they’re always ready to go, and so we’re going to have to play our best football that’s for sure.”
What is the biggest difference playing the Patriots now as opposed to 2012?
“I think the biggest difference between me in my rookie year against the Patriots and now, I just think the experience, the composure, all the reps that I’ve had, all the practices, all the games, all the big games, and quote on quote, ‘big games’. I try not to look at them as big games, I just try to look at them as great moments and you just try to add up those moments and more great moments than bad moments,” Wilson said. “You just trust the guys you have around you. For me, just the development of our offense and what we can really do and the versatility of our offense and how we can quickly score and all the things that we can do.
|01.21.15 at 9:11 pm ET|
Even though the Patriots didn’t practice on Wednesday, the team released a projected practice report if they were to have practiced.
Bryan Stork (knee) was the only player who would not have practiced. He didn’t play in the AFC championship game after leaving the divisional round game in the second quarter. Him not going on injured reserve seems like a sign that there is a chance he will be able to play in the Super Bowl.
Sealver Siliga (foot) is the only new player to be added since last week. He injured the foot in Sunday’s game, but returned to action.
The Seahawks did hold practice on Wednesday and had five players not practicing. Marshawn Lynch (not injury related), Clint Gresham (neck), Michael Bennett (not injury related), JR Sweezy (ankle) and Earl Thomas (shoulder) didn’t practice. Justin Britt (knee) and Richard Sherman (elbow) were full participants.
Here is the complete Patriots projected practice report:
Did not practice
C Bryan Stork (knee)
CB Brandon Browner (knee)
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe)
DT Sealver Siliga (foot)
QB Tom Brady (ankle)
|01.21.15 at 8:53 pm ET|
The Patriots will get a Boston send off this time for the Super Bowl.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced Wednesday evening that his city will host a Super Bowl send-off rally for the Patriots on Monday morning at 11 o’clock in City Hall Plaza. The team’s last two Super Bowl send-off rallies were inside Gillette Stadium, and both resulted in Patriots losses to the New York Giants.
Perhaps a change of venue will result in a change of luck.
Another reason for the rally in Boston is the fact that the Patriots, because of Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Phoenix, are leaving on a weekday. Having it in City Hall Plaza will allow thousands of fans working in the city to make it over for the rally before and during lunchtime.
City Hall Plaza has often been the hub of post-championship celebrations in years past, as was the case with the Celtics and and Bruins in the 1970s and 80s before the Patriots started the tradition of the Duck Boat rallies in Feb. 2002, following their victory in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, President Jonathan Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick and Patriots captains Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater will address the fans in celebration of the Patriots’ AFC Championship before the team leaves for Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona.
“I am thrilled to host our conference champion New England Patriots at City Hall to rally before we send them off to another Super Bowl,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “This is an exciting time for Boston, and I remind all fans to celebrate responsibly and make our City proud.”
The rally will be hosted by Patriots public address announcer and WEEI.com contributor John Rooke, and will include performances by the New England Patriots cheerleaders, an appearance by New England Patriots‘ mascot Pat Patriot, and the Patriots End Zone Militia.
|01.21.15 at 8:17 pm ET|
Everyone recalls Sherman’s “You mad, bro?” comment towards Brady following the 2012 game in Seattle when the Seahawks came back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Patriots, 24-23. Sherman said Wednesday Brady was the one who actually started the trash talking.
“He was pretty much saying that we were nobodies,” Sherman said Wednesday via ESPN.com. “And we should come up to him after they got the win. He said stuff like that throughout the game. So we should just take that pretty well? Sure, can I get your autograph, too?”
The Seattle cornerback says the public perception of Brady is actually a lot different than what the 37-year-old Brady is like on the field.
“I think people somehow get a skewed view of Tom Brady,” Sherman said. “That he’s just a clean-cut guy that does everything right and never says a bad word to anyone. We know him to be otherwise.
“In that moment of him being himself, he said some things and we returned the favor. Unfortunately, he apparently didn’t remember what he said. I’m sure also in those moments when he’s yelling at the ref, he’s just saying, ‘Good job. You’re doing a fantastic job. Keep it up.'”
On Monday morning on Dennis & Callahan, Brady was asked of Sherman’s trash talking and the quarterback said at the time he didn’t even think he was trash talking him.
“Truthfully, at that time, I thought he was coming up to say, ‘Good game.’ That’s all I thought it was,” Brady said. “It was loud after that game so I didn’t really hear anything. And then I went into the locker room after the game and everyone said that whatever it was the next day, that he said he was, I don’t know, talking trash to me. I just thought he came up and said, ‘Good game.’ So that was all a bit of a surprise to me.”
As for the game next Sunday, Sherman is looking forward to it. Being one of the top cornerbacks in the league sometimes opposing quarterbacks are afraid to throw his way –Sherman hopes Brady goes after him.
“I don’t care,” Sherman said. “I hope so. It will give me more opportunities to get the ball. He had me in his sights before.”
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