|01.06.15 at 9:11 pm ET|
During Suggs’ meeting with the media in Baltimore, the first question was if he would say the name of the Patriots’ quarterback — Suggs wouldn’t.
“He’s the quarterback for the New England Patriots,” Suggs said to reporters.
Brady had nothing but positive things to say about Suggs on Tuesday when he was asked about the 12-year veteran — even calling him a “phenomenal player.”
“Say what?,” Suggs said when being told of the comments. “Did they record him? Like, they had a camera? I would love to see his face. But whatever, it is what it is now.”
In five regular-season games against the Patriots, Suggs is 0-5, but has sacked Brady five times. In the playoffs, Suggs is 2-1 and has sacked Brady once. In the three playoff games, he’s recorded two tackles in every game.
“It’s the same that all defensive players have with quarterbacks,” Suggs said of his interaction with Brady. “He’s a quarterback, I’m a defender. He has a job to do, and so do I. Naturally, there are going to be some disagreements there.”
The Patriots and Ravens are no strangers to each other in the postseason, as they have met in four of the last six postseasons, with the Ravens winning two of the last three — with all three games being played at Gillette Stadium. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots are 12-3 at home, but two of those three losses have come against the Ravens.
|01.06.15 at 8:51 pm ET|
At least, that’s what the Patriots quarterback would have you believe listening to him talk about the challenge of facing a defense that is hoping to pressure Brady off the spot Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
For the last four years, ever since voting for Ryan Fitzpatrick over Tom Brady (36 TDs, 4 INTs) for the Pro Bowl in 2010, Suggs has had a feud with Brady, mostly fueled by the Ravens linebacker. On Saturday night, after the Ravens beat the Steelers to set up another rematch with Brady, Suggs poured more gas on the fire.
“We all know the matchup the NFL wants to see. Something for the TV. Something for the sponsors,” Suggs told NFL.com, referencing of course a potential Brady-Peyton Manning AFC Championship game. “But we have faith in ourselves and Ravens Nation, and we’ll see if we can disrupt some people’s plans.”
Suggs famously said of his 2010 omission of Brady: “He [Brady] probably didn’t vote for me either.”
There was no joking, only vitriol, after the Ravens beat the Patriots in Jan. 2013 in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium.
“Those are the most arrogant p—ks in the world, starting with coach Belichick on down,” said Suggs. “That’s funny, ever since Spy Gate they haven’t been able to win.
Whether it’s Spy Gate or the “Tuck Rule,” Suggs has always called into question the legitimacy of Brady’s three Super Bowl rings, terming them “questionable.”
Two years ago, following the Ravens’ win over San Francisco in the Super Bowl, Suggs told ESPN that he didn’t think the Patriots “respected anybody,” adding, “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots.”
With all of that as a backdrop, Brady tried to kill the 32-year-old Ravens bodacious linebacker with kindness.
“He’s phenomenal,” Brady said. “He’s [in his] 12th year; it looks like it’s his third year out there. He’s the leader of that defense, he makes great plays. I think there’s the play that’s called, and then what he actually does. So even though he has a certain responsibility, if he sniffs it out he takes a shot and goes for it. He may have contain, but he may rip inside and try to make a play in the backfield. He’s just a smart player. We’ve played against him a bunch of times; he takes away a lot of stuff. I have a lot of respect for his ability to play the game at a high level; he’s phenomenal.”
|01.06.15 at 12:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There was perfect attendance Tuesday on the lower grass field as the Patriots returned to practice to get ready for the Ravens on Saturday in the AFC divisional round at Gillette Stadium.
Light snow and bitter cold greeted the players, many of whom had sweats on over their pads as the team held a full pads practice.
Brandon LaFell was in attendance after missing last week.
The team is not required to issue an injury report for Saturday’s game until Wednesday.
|01.06.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to preview this Saturday’s Patriots-Ravens divisional round game. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has excelled in the postseason, as in his last seven postseason games he has thrown 17 touchdowns and just one interception. Even with those numbers, Harrison doesn’t think Flacco is an elite quarterback.
“I think it is a special circumstance for Joe Flacco,” said Harrison. “This is a team, in my estimation, they got into the playoffs — they got lucky. They don’t view it that way. They feel like they won 10 games and felt like they earned the opportunity to be in the playoffs and feel like they can beat anyone, especially going up to Pittsburgh and beating them.
“Joe Flacco is a very confident guy, this whole argument of is this guy elite, is he not elite? I don’t think Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. It’s nothing that I would be afraid of, but Joe Flacco, he’s perfect for that system. He plays extremely well in that system. He’s very smart. He throws the best deep ball that I’ve seen the National Football League and he is very confident guy.”
Even though Harrison doesn’t think Flacco is elite, he still thinks the Ravens have a shot of upsetting the Patriots Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
“You top [Flacco] with their ability to run and their front-seven, and this team has the potential of knocking off the Patriots, no question about it,” said Harrison. “They have that veteran coaching staff. This is a very confident bunch coming into Foxboro. They’ve had success in the past. They feel like yes, we don’t have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, but we still have some of those core guys that went in there and beat them and we feel very confident.”
Harrison noted how much of an advantage the Patriots have with Rob Gronkowski, as Baltimore doesn’t have anyone that can cover the powerful New England tight end, who will be playing in his first postseason game since Jan. 13, 2012.
“They can’t cover him, they can’t,” said Harrison. “They flat out can’t over him. I don’t care if they put Lardarius Webb on him, he’s too small — cornerback, their best cover guy. They just don’t have the guys. They might try Will Hill. I think he had a couple of big hits last week, but there is no one on that team that can cover Rob Gronkowski, so I expect him to get a lot of work.”
|01.06.15 at 12:12 pm ET|
Bill Vinovich will work as the referee for Saturday’s divisional playoff contest between the Patriots and Ravens, according to FootballZebras.com.
Vinovich is in his ninth year as an NFL official and sixth as a referee. According to Football Zebras, this marks his sixth postseason assignment (two Wild Card Playoffs, three Divisional Playoffs and one Conference Championship). This marks Vinovich’s second Patriots game of the year. He was the lead official for a December contest at Gillette between the Patriots and Dolphins.
(For what it’s worth, Broncos fans are probably thrilled about the fact that Vinovich wasn’t assigned to the Denver-Indy contest. There are some in Colorado who believe that Vinovich has it in for the Broncos.)
Here’s a look at who has worked as the lead official for each New England game this year, and the corresponding penalties for each game, not counting the flags that were offset or declined.
Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 100 yards (Dolphins — 4 penalties, 26 yards)
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente — 15 penalties, 163 yards (Vikings — 7 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli — 6 penalties, 59 yards (Raiders — 6 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry — 3 penalties, 30 yards (Chiefs — 4 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati: Jerome Boger — 12 penalties, 114 yards (Bengals — 4 penalties, 37 yards)
Oct. 12 at Buffalo: Walt Coleman — 9 penalties, 60 yards (Bills — 8 penalties, 107 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Jets: Bill Leavy — 9 penalties, 64 yards (Jets — 7 penalties, 70 yards)
Oct. 23 vs. Chicago: Brad Allen — 7 penalties, 38 yards (Bears — 5 penalties, 41 yards)
Nov. 2 vs. Denver: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 71 yards (Broncos — 10 penalties, 72 yards)
Nov. 16 at Indy: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 53 yards (Colts — 4 penalties, 27 yards)
Nov. 23 vs. Detroit: Tony Corrente — 11 penalties, 89 yards (Lions — 9 penalties, 54 yards)
Nov. 30 at Green Bay: Ed Hochuli — 4 penalties, 25 yards (Packers — 4 penalties, 22 yards)
Dec. 7 at San Diego: Bill Leavy — 6 penalties, 70 yards (Chargers — 8 penalties, 61 yards)
Dec. 14 vs. Miami: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 51 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Dec. 21 at Jets: Brad Allen — 5 penalties, 38 yards (Jets — 2 penalties, 14 yards)
Dec. 28 vs. Bills: Terry McAulay — 5 penalties, 55 yards (Bills — 5 penalties, 44 yards)
For more on Vinovich’s work as a referee, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. For more information on this week’s assignments, click through to the always reliable Football Zebras. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|01.06.15 at 10:27 am ET|
FOXBORO — There’s plenty of reasons for Bill Belichick to be concerned with the Ravens this week.
Forsett has allowed the Ravens to move on from the disgraced departure of Ray Rice while the Smiths are helping Flacco stretch the field.
“All right, feel like we’re back in the division again,” Belichick said in his opening remarks Tuesday morning. “We’ve done a lot of work on Baltimore in the last couple of days. Impressive team. I think coach Harbaugh, his staff, the organization have done a great job with that team, as they usually do. They’re great in all three phases of the game.”
“Defensively, physical up front, do a good job of stopping the run, hitting the quarterback. Real good red area team, good third down team. Good situational football.”
But, for as much as the Ravens present a big challenge to the Patriots offensive line, it’s the offense the Patriots must contain in this game. The Patriots defense has been revamped in the last 12 months, and with the exception of Jerod Mayo, appears ready to play its best game at the most important time. Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Devin McCourty anchor the secondary while Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the heart and soul of the linebacking corps. With Vince Wilfork healthy and Alan Branch and Sealver Siliga ready to provide reinforcements in the middle of the line, the Patriots defense should match up well against a very versatile offense.
|01.06.15 at 10:10 am ET|
FOXBORO – Bill Belichick is pretty familiar with the Ravens’ offensive game plan, as he’s faced Baltimore offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak on a number of occasions at Kubiak’s previous stops, which have included Denver and Houston.
One of the fundamental elements of a Kubiak offense is a zone-blocking run scheme, which calls for occasional cut blocks on the part of the offensive line. Cut blocking isn’t wildly popular among defensive linemen, as it calls for offensive linemen to go low to take out the legs of a defender.
Belichick was talking about the Ravens zone-blocking scheme when he was asked if “they cut.”
“Is the Pope Catholic? Yeah, they cut,” Belichick said. “The same offense they ran in Denver, the same offense they ran in Houston, it’s the same offense Kubiak runs in Baltimore. All the characteristics from those other teams are the same characteristics in Baltimore.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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