|01.17.11 at 12:46 pm ET|
Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork stopped by to chat with Dale & Holley from Gillette Stadium on Monday afternoon as part of WEEI’s Patriots Monday. Wilfork said the Jets “didn’t do anything we didn’t prepare for,” making Sunday’s 28-21 loss that much more frustrating. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Wilfork, who did not speak to the media Sunday night because he was afraid he would have said something he would later regret, tried to accentuate the positive.
“All year, we’ve grown as a team,” he said. “To end like this is kind of heartbreaking. But at the same time, you can go look back and reflect on this season and say it was a very successful season. People never gave us a chance at the beginning of the year. To go 14-2 and see a lot of young guys grow into professionals, it says a lot to this organization and this team.
“With the loss to the Jets, we hate that we lost that ballgame. We picked the wrong time to play the way we played.”
Asked about the Jets’ trash-talking, Wilfork said: “We can’t sit back and criticize any of the things they said, because they performed. They won the football game. As bad as that sounds, it is what it is. What they said, you have to roll with it.”
Asked if he was tempted to respond to some of the Jets’ comments last week, Wilfork said: “Of course. That’s the one thing. We sit back. We’re not about talking in the media and doing all that. But at some point, it gets aggravating. Where we come from, most of the guys, you’re a punk. You let anybody talk to you in any kind of way. It is very tempting at times. It is very tempting. But you have to be the bigger man in those situations.”
Wilfork said he didn’t think Bill Belichick‘s benching of Wes Welker for the opening series was a big deal, but he would not have handled it the same way. “I didn’t hear about that until the end of the game,” he said. “That was something Bill and Wes went through. Me, personally, I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s the head man making a point about what we represent. I wouldn’t have done it. That’s just me. Biggest game of the year so far, and probably one of your biggest players not being on the field. That’s just me. Everybody has their opinion. That’s my opinion. I wouldn’t have done it.”
|01.17.11 at 11:10 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick and the Patriots now have to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement to be worked out before moving forward with several veteran players such as Logan Mankins and Matt Light. The Patriots coach admitted that this off-season is a little different simply because they will have to wait to see what the rules and guidelines are for signing players, both their own and free agents.
“So, rather than try and get too far ahead of ourselves on things like that with our current players, we’ll wait and give that some time and see exactly what are the rules of the off-season, if there is no collective bargaining agreement,” Belichick said.
The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association expires March 3, with no new deal on the horizon. If the two sides don’t reach agreement before then, the players will not be allowed to attend team-related training activities.
“We’ll wait and see what happens,” added Belichick. “For right now, I’d say the draft is the one thing pretty much cemented in the future. We all know what the situation is on that. It’s different but similar to two other situations I was involved in, in ’82 and ’87, it’s the same type of thing. If you’re in the business long enough, that’s part of it. It’s uncertain in that situation. Eventually, I’m sure it’ll get resolved in time, whenever that is, at some point.”
The last two labor impasses that resulted in games lost occurred in the nine-game season of 1982 and the 15-game slate in 1987, which included three games of replacement players.
“I would say that certainly between now and whenever it is, the beginning of March, we’ll know more at the beginning of March than we know today,” Belichick said. “It might not be much more, it might be a lot more, I don’t know. We’ll know more so at least until that point, it’s still some degree of speculation.”
Players will have exit physicals on Monday and a team meeting with Belichick. The Patriots coach said he will then take the next several days evaluating where the team is now and how to move forward.
“In the meantime, you do what you can do,” Belichick said. “Those things are out of my control as a coach. I don’t have anything to do with any of that, so whenever it’s resolved, it’s resolved. In the meantime, we’ll do the best we can with the opportunities or information we have. When those things become defined, we’ll deal with those definitions, whatever they happen to be.
“I would say that certainly between now and whenever it is, the beginning of March, we’ll know more at the beginning of March than we know today. It might not be much more, it might be a lot more, I don’t know. We’ll know more so at least until that point, it’s still some degree of speculation.”
|01.17.11 at 11:07 am ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick just wrapped up his season-ending press conference, and touched on a number of topics, including Sunday’s loss to the Jets, what lies ahead for the Patriots and his thoughts on working the Pro Bowl.
Opening statement: ‘Today is a day that’s sort of like one where you ‘¦ things ended unexpectedly. You always think your season is going to continue. We had a lot of confidence going into the game, and it didn’t work out, so a disappointing day. We had our chances yesterday, but in the end couldn’t make as many plays as they did, so that’s the result. That’s playoff football. There’s certainly a lot of good things that happened for us this season, but that definitely gets overshadowed by the final results. We’ll have to work hard to get back to this point in the future. We’ll go forward. There are a lot of things in the future that are questions that we just can’t answer and probably won’t be able to answer for quite awhile, a lot of things that are out of our control as an individual football team that are related to a bigger picture. We’ll deal with those in due course, but in the meantime, we’ll try to deal with the things that we can have some control over and move forward in preparations for the offseason, things like the draft and stuff like that that we know we’ll have an opportunity to work on. That’s where we’re at for today.’
On the uncertain labor situation: ‘All of the relations between the clubs and the players, I would say that right now there is a template or a format. My understanding is, though, that is obviously something that can be negotiated. It may or may not change, so rather than trying to get too far ahead of ourselves on things like that with our current players, we’ll wait and give that some time and see what exactly are the rules of the offseason and so forth, if there is not a collective-bargaining agreement. Really, all of that stuff is secondary. We’ll wait and see what happens. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it then. Right now, I’d say the draft is the one thing that is pretty well-cemented in the future. We all know what the situation is on that.’
On the Jets being able to bring pressure on Brady: ‘I’d say it was a combination of things, a couple times where they had us scheme-wise where we really didn’t have it picked up. There were other times when we had it picked up, but either the route wasn’t open, or we didn’t do a good job of getting open on the route, or the protection broke down, it was a physical breakdown, things like that. It was a combination of things.’
On that fourth quarter drive, were you hoping for more urgency? ‘I hoped to score. That’s what I hoped for. I hoped to score. There’s five minutes to go in the game, over five minutes to go in the game, when we were stopped on the fourth-and-13. But if we score on that drive, it’s a one-score game with five minutes to go in the game. That’s not the position you want to be in, but it’s not a bad position to be in. Without the score, now you’re down by two scores with five minutes to go. Now that’s a problem.’
Would you go hurry up? ‘I wouldn’t have done that, no. Nope.’
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|01.17.11 at 10:48 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his final weekly Patriots Monday appearance of the season. Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Sunday’s 28-21 loss to the Jets that ended New England’s season.ï»¿
“Believe me, every Patriot player that was in uniform yesterday didn’t sleep well last night knowing that we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game,” Brady said. “And certainly, I’m right at the top of the list in my disappointment in myself, that I really let the team down and didn’t play the way I was capable.”
Brady was asked about the trash-talking the Jets did last week, specifically Antonio Cromartie‘s comments that he hated the Patriots quarterback. “Honestly, I don’t care,” Brady said. “I’ve never met the guy. I don’t know why people say those things. I don’t really care why they say those things. It doesn’t affect me in my life. The guys that are most important to me are my teammates and my coaches, Mr. [Robert] Kraft, Jonathan [Kraft]. I’m very proud to be the quarterback of this team, and I take that very seriously and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Added Brady: “They’ve had a good year. When you have a good year, you can say whatever you want to say. I wish we’d won just to be able to shut them up. But we didn’t. So, you know what? It just validates what they think it takes to win. That’s where they gain their confidence from.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
It was futile at about 2. I’m sure a lot of guys were pretty restless. I was certainly one of them. It was just a rough night, a rough day. Certainly, we had much higher expectations. We just didn’t get the job done. Obviously, it was a great regular season, but we didn’t win the game that mattered most.
Was that as good a defensive game plan as you’ve seen all year from an opponent? Were your guys as covered as they have ever been this year?
I think the Jets did a good job. They got beat up pretty good by us on the Monday night game. And then watching them play the Colts, and they played a lot more zone coverage against the Colts as well, and really kept it a close game and won it in the fourth quarter. That definitely crossed our minds that they’d be doing similar-type things. I still felt like they were going to try to match up with our receivers, and they did some of that. I thought what they did a good job of was they really mixed what they were doing between playing a more conservative three-man rush and four-man rush. It certainly wasn’t a very big blitz game for them. It was a very big blitz game for them in the second game, and in the first game.
I thought they made some adjustments. I thought we did some good things at times and were able to move the ball, we just didn’t do it very consistently. Scoring points ultimately ‘ if you’re not making big plays ‘ comes down to consistent plays. And we didn’t do that as an offensive unit.
|01.17.11 at 8:53 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Patriots’ 28-21 loss to the Jets on Sunday in the AFC playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Esiason said Tom Brady‘s inability to match his play of the second half of the regular season was the thing that stood out to him. “Tom Brady was off,” Esiason said. “I don’t know what was wrong with him yesterday. I don’t know if he had the flu, he had the cold, or whatever it was. He just didn’t look like the player that we have seen in the last eight weeks at any point in that game.”
Added Esiason: “He just wasn’t right. There was something ‘ I don’t know if he wasn’t feeling right or wasn’t comfortable, or if it had anything to do with the Wes Welker [punishment]. I don’t know.”
Esiason did not support Bill Belichick‘s decision to hold out Welker on the offense’s opening series due to remarks Welker made last week poking fun at Jets coach Rex Ryan, the analyst saying that it “sends a negative connotation throughout the locker room.” Said Esiason: “I didn’t like the fact that he was being made an example of in the biggest game against your heated rival against all the things that went on last week.”
Added Esiason: “With this one I really scratch my head. You’re making an example out of somebody who you’re counting on, and somebody who is really, in my estimation, giving you everything that he possibly could, coming off of a knee injury, coming back, ready to start the season, sacrificing, making all those tough catches over the middle, getting his brains beat in, all of that stuff. And all he does is 30 seconds of what I considered a very witty press conference ‘ funny, humorous, kind of cutting through all the crap ‘ and it was great. And then not to start him, that would be pretty tough for me if I were Wes Welker.”
Esiason also lamented the Patriots’ lack of urgency on offense in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. “That, to me, has got to be answered,” he said. “That’s the question that should be on the tips of everybody’s tongue: Why was that offense so methodical?”
Patrick Chung‘s botched fake punt toward the end of the first half was perhaps the game’s key play, Esiason said. The former NFL quarterback wondered if Chung deserves the right to call that play in just his second season. “I don’t know if I would allow somebody to do that in such a big situation,” he said. “That’s not Lawyer Milloy, that’s not Asante Samuel, that’s not Rodney Harrison ‘ guys who have had six, seven years underneath their belt and have been around for such a long time.
|01.17.11 at 6:50 am ET|
Fox Sports broadcast video Sunday during the NFC championship game showing that the Patriots engaged in similar behavior on the sideline during a punt that earned the Jets a fine from the league. The video, from the Patriots’ Week 2 loss to the Jets, shows several Patriots players standing on the inside border of the sideline ‘ although not in a tight formation as the Jets were ‘ and one player sticking out his leg as the Jets gunner runs by. CBS also had video of the incident and identified the Patriots player as Ryan Wendell.
The Jets came under fire when strength coach Sal Alosi stuck out his knee and tripped Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll during a game Dec. 12. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff denied being aware of the behavior but noted that the Patriots, among other teams, also engaged in the practice. New York was hit with a $100,000 fine for the trip and the comments.
Here’s the video of the Patriots sideline.
|01.17.11 at 3:16 am ET|
Patrick Chung was the one who called for the fake punt late in the second quarter of Sunday’s playoff loss to the Jets, according to punter Zoltan Mesko. Mesko told NESN.com that Chung, who was working as the up-man on the play, made the call. “We trust the decision Patrick makes,” Mesko said. “It just didn’t work out in that particular occasion. That’s why the coaches trust him to run it, and that’s why they give him the green light, if he has it.” Chung appeared to bobble the snap and lost a yard, giving the Jets great field position as the Patriots turned it over on downs. New York cashed in four plays later when Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards on a 15-yard pass play to give the Jets a 14-3 lead shortly before the end of the half.
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