The Big Nickel: Deion Brach talks about Darrelle Revis, Tedy Bruschi on the Jets and Terrell Suggs takes another shot at Tom Brady
|12.01.10 at 4:00 pm ET|
The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots today:
1. There was no availability with the Patriots today, but wide receiver Deion Branch spent some quality time with the New York media on a conference call, and was asked if he thought New York cornerback Darrelle Revis looked like he was back to form after suffering a hamstring injury.
“He looks great on film to me,” Branch said. “I can’t say how he feels, but I think, looking at him on film and everything, he looks good. He’s moving pretty good. The guy is a problem. He’s a good player and the coaches know what they have in him. I think the times that he did take the field, 60 to 70 percent, the coach knew that and they took those chances. I think from I’m seeing on film, he looks good.”
It remains to be seen how the Jets will go about defending Branch — there’s a school of thought that Revis will match up with Wes Welker, which would leave Antonio Cromartie occupied with either Branch or tight end Aaron Hernandez.
2. The Tedy Bruschi conference call was written about earlier today, but the former Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst also weighed in on a couple of other topics in his chat with reporters, including his thoughts on the Jets. Bruschi, who called Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez a “front-runner” earlier this season — he has since retreated from those comments, saying he was wrong — believes that the Sanchez/Rex Ryan Jets are a legitimate, long-time threat to the Patriots when it comes to AFC East supremacy.
“In the past, we won so many division championships and a lot of those times we weren’t looking at teams in division as threats down the line. There were times division was over and I remember getting hats and t-shirts that said ‘AFC East champions’ (with weeks to go in the regular season), but now it’s you win the AFC East and you’re going to be a contender,” he said. “Now it looks like Jets are the serious contenders. It’s opposite, the way these teams handle things, but i think the Jets have solidified themselves as legitimate threats. This year is the first year it’s in doubt whether the Patriots will win the division.”
3. Outside of his Wednesday chats with the media and his Monday morning sitdown with Dennis & Callahan, Tom Brady Q&A’s are few and far between. But the quarterback took some time to talk with Rich Eisen of the NFL Network for his series of podcasts (check out the link here). In it, Brady touched on a few topics having to do with this week’s showdown with the Jets, most notably the fact that the Patriots look like an awful different team than the one that played — and lost to — New York back in Week 2.
“We’re [different], but they are, too. We both like to think we’ve improved. And really, the identity of your team starts to take shape around now,” said Brady, who was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the 16th time in his career on Wednesday. “All the guys you’ve brought in over the course of the offseason, they’ve had a chance to be coached and a lot of the depth of each team is showing through. You see the teams that are mentally tough and work hard and are committed to doing what their coaches ask. That shows up this time of year. We’ve always played better in the second half of the season, and I think both us and the Jets are very confident this week.”
Brady also never misses a chance to get in a little jab the Jets — on more than one occasion he’s talked good-naturedly about his hatred for them. He explained that too.
“It’s a Boston-New York thing. The way the Red Sox fans talk about the Yankees or the way the Jets fans talk about the Patriots and vice versa. I think the reason why is, we’ve played so many meaningful games between the two cities. There’s not any love lost between them. Believe me, when I’m walking the streets of New York, I hear it all the time. I’m sure the Jets fans hear it when they’re walking the streets of Boston,” he said. “With everything going on with the impending lockout, it’s really a brotherhood of players. We understand we’re all one. But I don’t think there will be any sense of that come Monday night.”
4. Speaking of beefs with Brady, Terrell Suggs is the gift that keeps on giving. According to Baltimore-area reporters, the Ravens linebacker was asked Wednesday about a recent brawl that took place between Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Houston receiver Andre Johnson, and proceeded to take a not-so-subtle shot at the New England quarterback. “Maybe I throw some punches at a certain quarterback with a bad hairdo, maybe I get thrown out of the league,” Suggs said. This is the latest in a long-running back-and-forth between the two, one that included a postgame shot at Suggs after the Patriots beat the Ravens earlier this season: “They talk a lot for only beating us once in nine years,” Brady told WEEI after that one.
5. Got this latest statistical nugget from our man Gary — consider this a teaser to his massive, info-packed preview of Pats-Jets, which will be coming on Monday. So far in 2010, the Pats are minus-33 in net first downs through 11 games (-3.0 per game). Assuming that they keep up that pace, they’ll end up at minus-48. Since 1993, only three teams with a minus-48 or worse have won more than than they lost:
10-6: New England, 1997 (-55).
9-7: Chicago, 2008 (-50).
9-7: Washington, 1996 (-51).
Six teams have gone 8-8.
Of the 82 teams since 1993 that have finished with a -48 or worse first-down margin, the average number of wins was 4.96. That’s closer to getting the first pick than it is to getting the first seed.
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