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What’s on tap for Patriots, Seahawks on Monday in Phoenix

01.26.15 at 9:58 am ET
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PHOENIX — Following their Super Bowl send-off rally at City Hall Plaza at 11 a.m., the Patriots will depart for Arizona to join the Seahawks out West in preparation for Super Bowl XLIX. Here is the Monday schedule in Arizona:

2:45 MT: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll press conference
3:00 MT: Seahawks DE Cliff Avril media availability
3:00 MT: Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin media availability
3:00 MT: Seahawks S Cam Chancellor media availability
3:00 MT: Seahawks C Max Unger media availability
3:00 MT: Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner media availability
3:00 MT: Seahawks LB K.J. Wright media availability
4:30 MT (approx): Patriots arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
6:00 MT (approx): Patriots coach Bill Belichick press conference
6:15 MT (approx): Patriots QB Tom Brady media availability
6:15 MT (approx): Patriots S Devin McCourty media availability
6:15 MT (approx): Patriots WR Matthew Slater media availability
6:15 MT (approx): Patriots OL Dan Connolly media availability
6:15 MT (approx): Patriots DL Vince Wilfork media availability

WEEI.com and WEEI is live on site in Arizona all week leading up to and for the game. Here are a few stories to check out up on our site:

5 things to know about Seahawks, by Chris Price
Forget Legion of Boom — how will Seahawks score against Patriots? by John Tomase
BIll Belichick gets F in science, A+ in media relations, by Tim Benz

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX,

Tom Brady on D&C regarding Deflategate: ‘My feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me’

01.26.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show, acknowledged that his “feelings got hurt” during last week’s attacks on his integrity and again issued a staunch denial of any role in Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady insisted he has never told an equipment manager or ball boy to deflate a football after it was inspected by a game official, and that includes last Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Colts, when the Patriots’ offensive footballs were found to have been deflated more than the league rules allow.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “Look, I don’t want to keep getting into this. No, I didn’t and I haven’t and I never will. That’s obviously how I feel and the kind of person that I am.

“No one knows the facts. I picked 24 balls, that’s what I picked. Whatever happened after I did it and whatever the situation was where they measured them, I have no idea [about] any of those facts. I try to stay really humble and deal with the facts that I know. When you don’t know something, all I can say is I don’t know. I know that’s not always the answer that people want to hear, but that’s the reality.”

Asked if he had any idea why the balls were at the improper PSI, Brady offered no explanation.

“It’s all speculation,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, too. I’ve done that and I’m trying to move past that, because I continue to try to rehash things. I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that. Honestly, I’m not interested in trying to find out right now, because we have the biggest game of our season ahead.”

Brady said he’s turned a negative situation into a positive one by ignoring the critics and focusing on those who support him.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “Everyone will say, ‘God, it’s been a tough week for you.’ It’s been a great week for me. It’s been a great week for me to really be able to recalibrate the things that are important in my life and understand the people that support me and love me and care about me. That’s been the best thing to come out about this week.

“Like I said, it’s all part of the business. You deal with ups and downs, the good and the bad. I’m excited to play in the Super Bowl for the sixth time. It’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for our team based on where we started. That’s where I’m at. I’m at a great place. We’ve had a great week of practice. We’re going to go down and try to finish strong.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Tom Brady,

5 things you have to know about Seahawks

01.26.15 at 2:25 am ET
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Marshawn Lynch powers the Seattle ground game. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Marshawn Lynch powers the Seattle ground game. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Here are five things you have to know about the Seahawks, who will face the Patriots Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIX:

When it comes to their offense, their success starts on the ground.

The Seahawks offense has many powerful assets, but at its heart is the ground game, namely Marshawn Lynch. The Cal product has been tremendous the last few seasons, and finished the regular season with 1,306 yards on 280 carries, with a career-best 13 touchdowns and a whopping 4.7 yards per carry. The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder is nearly impossible to bring down in a one-on-one setting. That means the Patriots — whose attitude is always to try to take away the No. 1 offensive option on the other team –€” likely will load up, bringing a safety down into the box. Bottom line? They want to try to slow down Lynch by any means necessary. In a perfect world, if you’€™re the Patriots, that means they’€™ll try to force the Seahawks to throw as much as possible against a secondary that probably won’€™t be getting a lot of help. New England has to trust that its defensive backs –€” namely Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington, as well as Devin McCourty, who likely will play the role of single-high safety for most of the game –€” will be able to operate with minimal help, namely in one-on-one coverage against the likes of Doug Baldwin (team-high 66 catches for 825 yards and 3 TDs) and fellow wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (38 catches, 537 yards, 1 TD). While Wilson has produced terrific numbers over the course of his career as a pro (including a 63 percent completion rate, 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns this season) he’€™s occasionally been vulnerable when the game has been placed in his hands. He redeemed himself late after throwing some bad balls early in the NFC title game against the Packers.

Russell Wilson is the best pure running quarterback the Patriots will have faced this season.

The Seahawks have great success up front when it comes to Wilson and his ability to operate as an option in their zone-based running game, which has developed into a nice complement to Lynch in the run game. You have to load up up front to stop Lynch, but you also have to be mindful of Wilson’€™s ability as an extra running back as well. Wilson was the second-leading rusher on the team behind Lynch with 849 yards and an average of 7.2 yards per carry. (He led all quarterbacks in rushing yards, and actually was 16th in the league.) He can gash you with the run –€” it’€™s absolutely vital the Patriots defensive front maintains gap discipline and contain on the likes of Wilson. One tactic is to employ a spy — a defender whose responsibility it is to keep his eyes on Wilson and not let him break free if he decides to fake the handoff to Lynch. That might be defensive end Rob Ninkovich — who did it last year against Cam Newton — as well as linebacker Jamie Collins.

There are some matchup advantages that could be exploited by the Patriots.

The Patriots likely will have a couple of opportunities in the passing game, namely tight end Rob Gronkowski. In the same way that New England likely will make Lynch it’€™s No. 1 focus on defense, Seattle will try to do the same when it comes to Gronkowski. According to Football Outsiders, one of the Seahawks’€™ two biggest defensive vulnerabilities in the passing game is against tight ends, where they are 18th in the league. Seattle has done well to limit some big time tight ends like Julius Thomas and Greg Olsen. But where opposing teams have done well with tight ends is finding holes in Seattle’€™s Cover 3 — specifically, the middle of the field. (Antonio Gates had three touchdowns in a win over the Seahawks earlier in the season.) If Gronk is lined up in the slot or flush against a tackle, look for him to draw some combo coverage that includes the likes of Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas, as well as linebacker Bobby Wagner or K.J. Wright. One other thing — when he’€™s split wide, look for a potential matchup against Richard Sherman or Byron Maxwell. The other guy who might be able to achieve some matchup advantages is running back Shane Vereen. One of the only five backs in the league this year who had at least 50 catches and 50 carries, Vereen’s speed and shiftiness can be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Look for the Patriots to try plenty of presnap movement in hopes of getting Vereen matched up against a slower linebacker, or just getting him in space against a bigger defender. (The Seahawks are also 18th in the league in defending running backs in the passing game.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

Tom Brady: NFL will likely touch base after season on Deflategate

01.26.15 at 1:16 am ET
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Tom Brady answered questions for over 30 minutes on Thursday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tom Brady answered questions for over 30 minutes on Thursday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — It wouldn’t be an interview with Tom Brady the week after the AFC championship game without a few Deflategate questions.

Appearing on ESPN during halftime of the Pro Bowl, Brady confirmed again the NFL hasn’t reached out to him, and he believes they will following the Super Bowl.

“No, no. I believe they’re going to do after the season, so we’ll deal with it after this game,” Brady said.

The quarterback doesn’t believe this has distracted the team in any way, as even with all the attention on the team last week, the team remained focused on the task at hand, which is the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

“I certainly hope not,” said Brady. “I think we’re a pretty mentally tough team, and I think we’ve dealt with other things in the past,” Brady said. “I think coach [Bill Belichick] has always said ‘ignore the noise’ and we have to focus on the task at hand, which is a great Seahawks team. I’m excited to play in another Super Bowl. You don’t get many of these opportunities in your life. … We finished our last practice [Sunday] here in Foxboro and we head out [Monday] to Phoenix, so it will be good to get there and get into the week. I think we feel good about where we’re at.”

The Patriots will hold a Super Bowl send-off Monday afternoon at City Hall Plaza, before departing for Arizona. The team will have their first availability in Arizona late Monday night.

“I think everybody’s locked in, ready to go for this Super Bowl,” said Brady. “It’s a great opportunity for us, you know, and our guys have worked really hard so, hopefully we can go out there and play our best on Sunday.”

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

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady,

Richard Sherman takes shot at Robert Kraft-Roger Goodell relationship regarding Deflategate

01.26.15 at 1:02 am ET
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Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

PHOENIX — The Seahawks wasted no time calling out the Patriots, as at their first availability in Arizona, Richard Sherman called out Robert Kraft when it comes to the Patriots’ possible discipline for Delfategate.

“Will they be punished? Probably not,” Sherman said. “Not as long as Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes. I think it was just at Kraft’€™s house last week before the AFC championship, you know. Talk about conflict of interest.’€

Kraft supported Goodell in wake of the Ray Rice situation earlier this year, and has been a long time supporter of the commissioner.

Sherman said the events in New England this past week haven’t impacted the Seahawks‘ view of the Patriots at all.

‘€œIt was indifferent. It doesn’€™t really affect us at all,” said Sherman. “It wasn’€™t like we cared either way, honestly. It didn’€™t really affect us either way.’€

As for his injured elbow, Sherman says he will be good to go come next Sunday.

‘€œIt’€™s getting better. I had a good week of practice so it should be good,” he said.

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

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Richard Sherman, Robert Kraft, Super Bowl XLIX

Julian Edelman is mentally ready to prepare for ‘ferocious’ Legion of Boom secondary

01.25.15 at 4:58 pm ET
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Julian Edelman (left) is looking to connect with Tom Brady often in the Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman (left) is looking to connect with Tom Brady often in the Super Bowl. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman is more than aware of the challenge ahead of him.

One of the best timing route receivers in the league has to find a way to get open against arguably the most physical secondary in football on the game’s biggest stage. Edelman hasn’t played against Seattle since 2012, when the “Legion of Boom” was coming into its own.

Cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas present the biggest challenge Edelman has seen as a starting slot receiver in the NFL.

“They’€™re a little different because they’€™re all big,” Edelman said. “They’€™re all big, strong, ferocious players. They play in their scheme. They’€™re well coached. They play hard. We certainly have some guys that are big, but this a completely different group and like you said, I’€™ve never played against them. [We’€™ve] got to take these next few days [to] prepare [and] get ready for them and try to bring out the ‘A’ game.”

How does Edelman feel about the progress in the game plan so far?

“I feel good. Practice has had a high tempo; guys are focused,” Edelman said. “We still have a long way to go. We still have a few days out in Arizona to prepare so we’€™re going to try to take advantage of that. It’€™s been pretty good.”

This is Edelman’s second Super Bowl experience. Three years ago, Wes Welker had his job before leaving for Denver. Edelman was returning kicks and playing on special teams. He returned three kicks for 73 yards, including a 31-yarder. What did the experience in Super Bowl XLVI teach him about the crazy week leading up to the game?

“Just all the scheduling of everything, definitely being at one has helped,” Edelman said. “It’€™s always a little different every year I guess. I’€™m a little more familiar with what you’€™ve got going on when you’€™re there [and] being able to ignore a bunch of distractions and all that kind of stuff. It really is a business trip for us. [I’€™m] looking forward to that.”

Edelman made it clear that he’s anxious to get out to Arizona and take the game prep to the next level.

“Definitely. You’€™re anxious to get out there and kind of feel your surroundings, see what you’€™re going to be working with that week as far as facility, the meeting rooms,” Edelman said. “[You] don’€™t have to worry about anything else. You should have all your off-the-field stuff taken care of. You’€™re definitely anxious to get out there and start the preparing process out there. It’€™ll be nice to be in some 70-degree weather. That’€™s always nice. [We’€™ll] go out there and try to win the last game.

“Anytime you go to a Super Bowl it’€™s pretty exciting so I don’€™t know. I was really excited last time, I’€™m excited this time. Probably a little more focused this time as far as knowing what you have to do out there, knowing what’€™s going on ‘€“ experiencing all that kind of stuff. That’€™s how I feel about that question I guess.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Julian Edelman, Legion of Boom, New England Patriots, nfl

Tom Brady (via Facebook video) asks: ‘Who’s with us?!’

01.25.15 at 4:26 pm ET
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Before taking off for Arizona on Monday for the Super Bowl, Tom Brady did a little social networking Sunday.

The Patriots embattled quarterback put out a call on Facebook, via a produced video, to rally Patriots fans around the organization.

Read More: 2015 playoffs, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLIX

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