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Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘I think there is a form of bitterness’ from Tom Brady toward Patriots 10.07.14 at 12:12 pm ET
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NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The big story of the past week was the reported tension between Tom Brady and the coaching staff. Brady denied the report, but Harrison said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was some frustration there.

“It’s not just Brady. All players talk about — whether it’s to their wives, whether it’s to their buddies, to other players — about maybe moves that have been made, free agents that have been brought in, or guys that have been released, and you might not be happy with it. But unfortunately it’s a situation where you can’t control any of that,” Harrison said.

Tom Brady, he’s human just like the rest of us. If he sees someone gets released or traded or something like that, of course if he’s not happy with it he’s going to discuss it with someone. But I can’t begin to think that after Tom Brady’s been there for 15 years, to think that’s he’s just going to open up to somebody and just completely blast [Bill] Belichick. And Belichick, over the course of all these years he’s done a wonderful job of putting great talent around Tom and building a team.

“Unfortunately every year you can’t have the A-list players. Sometimes you have to go through growing pains. Unfortunately it’s just that Tom is in the latter part of his career and he’s going through those pains right now.”

Harrison acknowledged that Brady sacrificed financially and the team has not done a good job of using that money to surround him with quality talent.

“I think there is a form of bitterness,” Harrison said. “But at the same time, I think it’s still business/professional relationship, where every decision that coach Belichick makes, Tom’s not going to be be in complete agreement with, but at the same time, Tom knows that he can only control his job, be a leader on that team and continue to try to win football games.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Rodney Harrison, Tom Brady,
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen insists ‘tensions were there’ between Tom Brady, Patriots coaches: ‘There’s a little trouble in paradise’ 10.06.14 at 2:02 pm ET
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Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who reported that Tom Brady was having “tension” with the Patriots coaching staff, checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday afternoon to offer more information and analysis of the quarterback situation in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“I was fascinated last night by the Patriots’ passion,” Mortensen said. “I also was fascinated by the fact that it looked like some of the issues which people I spoke with talked about, that Brady’s input, which had been significantly diminished and that he normally had in previous years, that those things seemed to be implemented. You saw passion. You saw passion out of Tom, you saw the offensive line blocking, you saw obviously the implementation of Tim Wright, who they acquired in the Logan Mankins trade. So we saw all that passion.

“I also was fascinated by the Bengals not stepping up again. Because we perceive to be the Bengals as maybe the team to beat in the AFC.”

Added Mortensen: “I looked at the story and I said hey, what it does is there’s an unsettling picture here. There has been tension between Brady and the staff. I didn’t identify which members of the the staff, but everything I reported was true and it was not a personal opinion. The only personal opinion really was about the fact that if they beat the Bengals things are going to be calm.”

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There have been complaints about the play-calling, but Mortensen said with Brady struggling and the new receivers yet to catch on, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was limited in what he could do.

“I had one person just suggest that, hey, listen, it hasn’t been good with Tom, he’s going to have to pick it up, too,” Mortensen said. “But I had one team source that told me that the conservative approach had been necessary and calls for everybody just to calm down and be patient while they get everybody on the same page.

“There’s circumstances here that have created the tension. At the same time, not having the same input — do you think if Peyton Manning didn’t have the same input as he has at other places that he would not have significant tension with the coaching staff? I know that he would. Certainly Tom has.

“At the same time, what I found interesting is that two people who I believe are pretty much in tune say that listen, drafting Ryan Mallett or even a Kevin O’Connell is one thing in the third round, when they drafted Jimmy Garappolo, they were drafting Tom’s successor. Now, they didn’t say that would happen this year, but that is something certainly as we go forward that we’re going to monitor. … But I wasn’t burying Tom Brady. It was just painting a picture that there’s a little trouble in paradise. And last night a win kind of calmed things down, which I anticipated that a win against the Bengals would calm things down. I was impressed with the passion I saw from the Patriots as a whole.”

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Read More: Chris Mortensen, Tom Brady,
Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We didn’t worry about what everyone else was saying’ 10.06.14 at 12:55 pm ET
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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and defensive end Chandler Jones joined Middays with MFB on Monday, following Sunday’s 43-17 victory over the Bengals. To hear the interviews, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots were coming off a challenging week — a Monday night blowout loss to the Chiefs followed by days of reports about alleged rifts between players and coaches.

“All that aside — we ignore the noise around here — it was good to go out there and play a tough opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals on prime-time TV and go out and get a win and do some good things on that night,” Edelman said. “We have some stuff to fix. We have to turn it around, we have a quick turnaround for a divisional game with Buffalo, which is going to be a tough one [with] them coming after a win. But it was definitely good to get a win.”

Added Edelman: “We didn’t worry about what everyone else was saying about everything. We kind of just stuck together as a team and focused on the Cincinnati Bengals, because we really didn’t have a choice. It was a short week, they’re a tough opponent, they were 3-0. We had no choice but to just put our hard hats on, bring the lunch pail to work and then go out and grind out a good week of work.”

Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones

Jones said the team had a good week of practice leading up to the Bengals game, but he said it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

“Honestly, practice is always intense over here with the Patriots,” Jones said. “That’s what I like. Even if we win or if we had lost, no matter what the score is, that’s how I expect it next week, even though we did win this week. Our practice is always going to be intense. That’s how things are here.

“And I want to add to that: I also feel like the players, even in the locker room, we knew what we had to do. Not even down on ourselves because of the loss, but it’s like we knew what we had to do this week, and we went out and did what we had to do.”

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Tom Brady on D&C: Reports of issues with coaches not true, ‘I’ve always had input on what we do’ 10.06.14 at 10:54 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday night’s 43-17 rout of the Bengals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Patriots rebounded from last Monday’s humiliating loss to the Chiefs and tuned out all the criticism to put together a bounceback performance against the previously undefeated Bengals.

“There’s a lot of people outside of our locker room that never want to really see the Patriots win or do well. Certainly our opponents in the AFC East,” Brady said. “The more you eliminate distractions and eliminate listening to what people may say or think about you, the more you can focus on what you’re able to do. It was a really tough loss for us last week, we understand that it was one game and we didn’t play well and we can perform a lot better than we did, and we went out there and did it last night, which was really great to see, ’cause we’re a team that has a lot of mental toughness and a lot of heart. I’m glad that we went out and played our best game of the year so far.

“It’s a great step, it’s just a building block, it’s one game in a long season. We’ve got a huge one this week against Buffalo. So we’ve got to bring the same attitude, like we do every week, really an urgency to get better, make improvements, and then go out there and let it rip next Sunday.”

There was an ESPN report that there was “tension” between Brady and the coaches, and the quarterback’s input in game plans had been “significantly diminished.” Brady said that’s not the case.

“I’ve always had input on what we do,” he said. “I think that’s what’s been so great for me being here, is I’ve always had the opportunity to say how I feel and what I think. Those are very personal discussions I have with my coaches. They have so much respect for me, I have so much respect for them. I don’t feel that way, I would never say that way. It’s nice to for me to have an opportunity when you hear from my voice how I really feel. I feel there’s no place I’d rather play. Certainly there’s no coach I’d ever want to play for than coach [Bill] Belichick. My relationship with the offensive coaches is great. I respect them way more than they even know for the work that they put in to try to get us players ready to play.

“I think we’ve had a good thing going for a long time. I can see why people could try to be divisive when things aren’t going well. That’s not what our team’s always been about.The problems we’ve experienced this year have nothing to do with anything that’s been written or said. I try to tell you guys it’s about our execution and what us players need to do.

“Our coaches put us in a great position to win every week. And the way that they prepare, there’s nobody that has more respect for them than me. And certainly, if I ever had an issue with anybody in our organization, then how we deal with it as men is we go talk to each other about it. It’s unfortunate when things get said because I said after the game there’s very personal relationships that I have that you have years and years of trust and support with. And then someone other than myself says something and it gets reported as if it’s a fact. But there’s certainly no truth to it, to the way that I feel. And they know the way that I feel about them. It’s actually a great opportunity for me to say that from my own voice of how much I respect and love the job that they do for us players, because I don’t think there’s a better staff in the league that puts us into to position to win each week as players.”

Added Brady: “Absolutely not [true]. I’ve always had input. There’s not one play that’s ever been called in a game that I’ve said, ‘Look, I don’t want to run that play.’ That’s not the way it works. I think there’s always a great working relationship that I’ve had certainly when Charlie [Weis] was here, when Josh [McDaniels] was here the first time, when Billy [O'Brien] was calling plays, when Josh was calling plays this time. And we talk all the time. I’ve always had the ability to do those things. That’s what makes going to work every day challenging ’cause there’s always so much to learn and to work with people that you trust and respect — and they’re a hell of a lot smarter than me — that usually brings out the best in me. As I said, I’m very lucky to have those guys.”

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Read More: Josh McDaniels, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady
Ted Johnson on MFB: Patriots need more leadership, newer players ‘have to buy in right away’ 10.02.14 at 2:22 pm ET
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Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, now a sports radio host in Houston, checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss his former team’s rough start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Johnson agreed with many people’s assessment that the offensive line is the biggest issue on the team.

“That’s the main thing, is keep [Tom Brady] clean so that he has a clean pocket,” Johnson said. “For years, with Dante Scarnecchia there — that was a huge loss, too, you guys. Dante not only was the offensive line coach but I think he was the assistant head coach. He was very much a stabilizing force . . . in that locker room. Guys — not only offensive line but the entire team — had a lot of respect for him. Now he’s retired and he’s moved on, so that’s part of it, too.”

Brady is not playing like he has in past years, and Johnson suggested the increase in pressure could be a big reason why.

“I saw this, too, with Drew [Bledsoe],” Johnson said. “And I’m the biggest Drew Bledsoe fan in the world. Later in his career, guys, the more he got hit, the more he was like a cat on a hot tin roof back there. He was just throwing off his back foot and he could just feel what he thought was perceived pressure, and it wasn’t. So you really have to do a good job of keeping Tom upright to give you the best chance to win.”

That said, Johnson said Brady is far from finished.

“By no means. People want to say he’s done. Give me a break — Tom Brady? Are you kidding me? He’s still playing at a high level. He just needs more help,” Johnson said. “To put a bow on that, I just think the offensive line has to do a much better job. Again, he beats you with his brain, not the ability to scramble and make plays with his feet. That’s that.”

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Read More: Dante Scarnecchia, Drew Bledsoe, Ted Johnson, Tom Brady
Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I just do what I’m told. I’m not overanalyzing anything’ regarding removal from Monday’s game 10.01.14 at 8:38 am ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots were crushed Monday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tom Brady suffered one of his most embarrassing losses Monday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Making his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan, Tom Brady attempted to explain the team’s poor play in Monday’s embarrassing loss to the Chiefs and why the already-struggling offense appears to be getting worse. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Brady acknowledged he did not have a good game, but he downplayed the importance of one disastrous night for him and the team.

“I think you’ve got to have enough mental toughness to endure through all the situations,” Brady said. “This game, it tests your will, it tests your mental toughness, it tests your discipline and your work ethic. I think those are the things that are going to be tested by us the rest of the year. I don’t think it’s just going to be easy to just roll out helmets out there and expect to go out there and win games. We’ve got a lot of tough opponents, the competition’s tough.

“It was a tough loss the other night, but whether you lose by one point or you lose by 30, they’re all going to count the same in the end. We’ve got to figure out the things that we need to do better, which is quite a few things in order to be a lot more competitive than we were. It was a disappointing loss, but at the same time we’ve got to be able to move on. We’ve got a short week and we’ve got a great opponent. We don’t want one bad week to turn into two bad weeks. That’s where we’ve got to show, like I said, our mental toughness and our ability to move forward, learn from our mistakes and hopefully not repeat them.”

Brady was removed from the game in the fourth quarter, with the result no longer in doubt, and backup Jimmy Garoppolo entered and threw a touchdown pass. Bill Belichick laughed off a question in his postgame news conference about a quarterback controversy.

“I just do what I’m told. I’m not overanalyzing anything. We were getting our butts kicked,” Brady said. “It was a situation where we didn’t have a good game. That’s what coach wanted to do, so that’s what we did.”

Routs of the Patriots in the Belichick-Brady era are rare, and past teams have been able to avoid allowing bad games to lead to bad seasons. However, the 2014 team has underwhelmed since the start of the season, leading to questions about whether these Patriots can turn things around.

“There’s no magic play, there’s no magic scheme. It’s us as players playing a lot better than we’re playing,” Brady said. “This hasn’t been an isolated incident. I don’t think offensively we’ve played well all year. I don’t think we’ve played well for a long time. We’ve got to figure out the reasons why we’re not playing as well as we’re capable and try to improve them.”

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Rodney Harrison on MFB: ‘[Tom] Brady just looks like he’s scared to death back there’ 09.30.14 at 12:37 pm ET
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NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Patriots’ embarrassing 41-14 loss to the Chiefs on Monday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Harrison said he was “shocked” at the performance by his former team, as the Patriots were dominated for one of the rare times in the Bill Belichick era in Foxboro

“I’m trying to be mellow, but it really hurt me,” Harrison said. “I’m not used to seeing a team go out that was so unprepared, a team that was flat-out embarrassed. You expect your best players to step up and be able to make plays, and you put on that tape and you just see quarterbacks not afraid to go at [Darrelle] Revis, Vince Wilfork, he missed a tackle that could have stopped that touchdown, [Jerod] Mayo gets burned on a touchdown, [Tom] Brady just looks like he’s scared to death back there.

“It’s so many issues. If it was just one issue, then you could probably fix it. But it’s so many issues, that’s the concern that I have.”

Added Harrison: “This was a case of the Patriots going into a situation and you’d think the players just showed up and said, ‘OK, I’m part of the Patriots, we’re going to win this game.’ But if you look at the Oakland film, Oakland should have beat the Patriots. So this is a team that everyone says, ‘Hey, don’t worry, they’ll be fine.’ No, you have to worry, because they have a lot of looming issues.

“You look at the offensive line, they looked like basically Kansas City was going up against a high school offensive line. They have no deep threat. Where’s the deep threat? Then you pay Danny Amendola all this money and he’s just virtually nonexistent. So if I’m Bill, I’m definitely concerned. You look on the defensive side of the ball, you can’t even get a pass rush. So it’s a lot of issues there.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski
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