|Report: Brandon Spikes placed on IR due to tardiness at team meeting in bye week||01.11.14 at 11:36 am ET|
FOXBORO — On the morning of their divisional playoff game against the Colts, there is word that the latest starter on defense to end his season on injured reserve didn’t land there because of injury alone.
Brandon Spikes, who told the Boston Globe about playing through the pain of a knee injury this season, was placed on season-ending injured reserve last Monday because he showed up late to a team meeting during the playoff bye week, according to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
The team had practices and meetings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the team’s bye week, including the morning of the major snow storm “Hercules” that hit New England on Jan. 3. It was being late to that Friday meeting that Mortensen reported was the “final straw” for Bill Belichick.
The Globe’s Shalise Manza Young reported before the regular season finale that Spikes’ knee issues would require surgery as soon as the season was over.
Spikes played in all 16 games of the regular season for the first time in his four-year career, finished third in team tackles as the team’s best run-stopping linebacker. The news of Spikes being disciplined in this way is an ominous sign for his return to New England in 2014 as he is a free agent after the season.
Brandon Spikes hobbled with knee but being late to Friday's bye week practice was final straw for Belichick. Mutually, to IR, per sources
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 11, 2014
|Jerod Mayo and friends explain ‘The Patriot Way’ and what it means now||01.16.13 at 4:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The “Patriot Way’ means different things to different people, even inside the Patriots locker room.
So while, Ravens wide receiver was boldly predicting this year’s AFC championship ‘we’ll make it different, we’re gonna win,” Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo we’re humbly talking about what it’s like to be a part of a team where the individual doesn’t matter.
“I think Coach [Bill Belichick] always talks about doing your job,” Brady said. “You do your job so that everyone around you can do their job. When people trust each other, then you can play with anticipation and confidence and ultimately go out there and play aggressively. There’s no really no secret to it. It’s just coach puts a lot of pressure on us in practice every day to perform at a high level. When we don’t, we certainly hear about it. When you show up to work every day, you better have your game face on because you’ll end up on the low light film the next morning. I think the guys bring that attitude every day and over the course of a long season, it results in enough wins to get us into the playoffs, give us a chance.”
Brady pointed to past Patriots greats who helped teach him the ‘Patriot Way’.
“I think I was one of those guys that had to learn that too,” he added. “Tedy Bruschi took me aside and Willie McGinest took me aside and Lawyer Milloy took me aside. I think that’s part of the responsibility as a veteran player that you learn from these experiences and you try to convey the message to some of the younger players so they don’t have to learn the hard way. A lot of times you have to learn the hard way in life.
Wilfork echoed Brady’s old-school teachings from great Patriots of the recent past.
“I learned a long time ago with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinnest, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, I learned from some of the best that played around here,” Wilfork said. “The first thing that comes to your mind is that you can’t be selfish playing here. It is not about you. It is about the team and if you buy into that you will be very successful, and that is the one thing that I think this organization has had for a long time. Guys that come in here that aren’t selfish and they put the team first because it is a team sport. It definitely is a team sport. You need everybody working on the same page. If you have one or two that are not you can be in big trouble. That is the Patriot Way. We put team first and we win as a team and we lose as a team. I have won a lot of games in my career being here and I wouldn’t change it for nothing.”
The other irony Wednesday was comment from Jerod Mayo, on a day when it snowed in the morning making the rush hour commute difficult. He reminded everyone of Adalius Thomas without dropping his name. It was three years ago when Thomas, Randy Moss, Derrick Burgess and Gary Guyton were sent home for being late to an 8 a.m. meeting on the morning of a snow storm.
“The ‘Patriot Way’ to me, starts at the top with the Kraft family,” Mayo said. “Not only being a good football player, but being a good person and falling in line. If you want to be a good football team, you’ll never be stuck in rush hour traffic. You are the first one here and the last one to leave. I think guys really buy into that, guys that come from other teams, I think they follow the lead of the bulk of this team and it has worked well here.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots. WEEI 93.7FM will broadcast the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m.
|Justin Tuck wants to ‘kill the snake’ but Deion Branch confident Pats will protect Tom Brady||01.27.12 at 5:14 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady has been called a lot of things in his career.
On Friday, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck called him the head of the snake that is the powerful Patriots offense.
“The way to kill a snake is to take off its head,” said Tuck, who is a cousin of another pass rushing specialist – Adalius Thomas. “The way to kill an offense as potent as that … is to take care of Brady.”
Tuck, who added he has a ton of respect for Tom Terrific, was a force in Super Bowl XLII and again on Nov. 4 when the Giants beat the Patriots, 24-20.
Deion Branch got a really good laugh out of the analogy that Tuck provided.
“I have no reaction to that,” Branch laughed. “Hey, if that’s the analogy that they’re taking, then that’s what it is. I think our job is to protect our guy, protect the snake, make sure he doesn’t get his head cut off. That’s Justin, he’s a great player. Trust me, we truly respect that guy, respect what he’s done for the league, what he’s doing for his team but no, we can’t worry about that part. We have to worry about what we’re doing and the snake will do his part.
“That’s just part of the game plan. We’re going to try and take advantage of every opportunity they give us. If we have to sit in and max-protect, that’s what we’re going to do. If our front line can handle the guys without max-protecting, then I’m pretty sure we’ll do that as well. It’s just all about taking advantage and making adjustments on the sidelines.”
Is Tuck right with the snake analogy?
“I don’t know,” Branch giggled. “I know a snake is dead if you cut it’s head off, a real snake, though. But Tom’s not a snake, Tom’s not a snake.”
But Branch confirmed that the Patriots offense will do everything possible to keep Brady’s head and that of the offense in place.
“We can switch positions with the linemen,” Branch said. “Overall, there’s a lot of things we can do. We’ll make those adjustments on the sidelines if we have to go to a quick game, if we’re getting pressure, if we have to max-protect and then give Tom enough time to push the ball down the field. You can do a lot of things, screens, draws, a lot of things to slow the rush down, chip the guys. I think we did a good job and I know the guys will do a good job next week.”
|Potential Patriots: LaMarr Woodley||02.08.11 at 11:38 pm ET|
Despite the looming labor uncertainty, as free agency approaches, WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that could be available to the Patriots in free agency this offseason.
Position: Outside linebacker
Weight: 265 pounds
Why the Patriots would be interested: New England has struggled to put together a consistent pass rush since the start of the 2009 season, and the arrival of someone like Woodley would bring an instant jolt of respectability to the outside linebacker spot. When it comes to pass rushers, Woodley figures to be one of the best available options on the free agent market — he has 39 sacks the last three years, including 13.5 in 2009 and 10 this past season. (He also had a sack in the Super Bowl XLV, which extended his NFL record of seven straight postseason games with a sack.)
Why it would happen: The 26-year-old is at the peak of his abilities. When you consider the Patriots were 14th in the league in sacks this past season with 36, the arrival of someone like Woodley would instantly change the look of the defense. In addition, he’s durable — according to Pro Football Focus, he played 1,132 of a possible 1,220 defensive snaps this season. (He played every snap of 15 of the Steelers’ 20 games this past season.)
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|The Big Nickel: Patriots still in shock over loss as rookies discuss playoffs and team faces looming labor questions||01.17.11 at 3:20 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The five most important things to know about the Patriots on Monday:
1. Patrick Chung (whose appearance was covered here by colleague Mike Petraglia) was one of several players who took time out from packing up their lockers to reflect on the end of the season. It was a group that included wide receiver Deion Branch, tight end Rob Gronkowski and cornerback Devin McCourty, as well as linebackers Rob Ninkovich and Tully Banta-Cain.
Chung’s admission that he was the one who botched the fake punt was the big news of the day, as the safety, who was working as the up man for punter Zoltan Mesko, said “blame me” for what happened.
“Of course, there are regrets,” Chung said. “That’s part of the game. That’s all on me, not Bill, not [special teams coach Scott O’Brien], none of them. I take full responsibility. I just saw a look we have. That’s how it goes. Make the call and it didn’t work out for us. Leave [Patriots coach] Bill [Belichick] alone, leave Scotty alone. I take responsibility, blame me.
“There’s no if. There’s no if. I didn’t catch it. That’s part of the game. That’s part of the game. Some things happen, you have to bounce back from it. That play is over now and it didn’t work out for us. I take full responsibility. No one else.”
Meanwhile, 12 hours after the loss to the Jets, the rest of the locker room was still dealing with the aftermath of the defeat.
“We obviously are all in shock. We weren’t expecting this to happen. It was one of those things where all you can do is just reflect and hope you do better going forward,” said Banta-Cain. “We had gained some momentum from the regular season going into the playoffs, and it kind of felt like we had some good steam behind that momentum, and for it to come to a screeching halt, no one was expecting that.”
“I think everybody has different thought process on how the season was going and how it ended,” said Branch. “But I think it all comes down to the fact that it ended the way we didn’t want it to end. I think that’s the biggest thing. We can all put our own spin on it, but it just didn’t end the way we wanted it to end.”
2. Belichick and the Patriots are now in a curious spot — the uncertain labor situation involving the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has the league facing murky future. Belichick does have some history in this area, having worked an assistant coach when work stoppages altered the 1982 and 1987 schedules, and he knows enough to know that as a coach, he has very little control over the situation.
“It’s different, but similar to two other situations I was involved in in ‘82 and ‘87. It’s the same type of thing,” Belichick said. “I’d say if you are in the business long enough, that’s part of it. It’s uncertain in that situation. I’m certain it will get resolved in time … whenever that is, at some point. In the meantime, you do what you can do. Those things are all out of my control as a coach. I don’t deal with any of that. Whenever it’s resolved, it’s resolved. In the meantime, we’ll do the best that we can with the opportunities and the information that we have.
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|Bill Belichick: No snow problem … gang’s all here||01.12.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The powerful blizzard that crippled New England on Wednesday didn’t keep the Patriots from making practice. As a matter of fact, every single player was on hand, according to coach Bill Belichick.
“They’re all here,” Belichick said. “We have some experienced Northeastern drivers here.”
Many players, coaches and staff stayed at the Renaissance Hotel next to Gillette Stadium to avoid having to commute to the Foxboro through the storm. Last year, linebackers Adalius Thomas, Gary Guyton and Derrick Burgess were late for a Wednesday morning meeting in December because of hazardous driving conditions.
The trio reported to work and was subsequently sent home for not taking the weather into consideration and being tardy.
|The Big Nickel: Don’t expect bulletin-board material from the Patriots, Tom Brady is a dork and Wednesday will be ‘snow problem’ for practice||01.11.11 at 3:19 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots on Tuesday:
1. Alge Crumpler knew what was coming. He was just surprised it took the media until the fourth question into his press conference.
“Here we go — I thought we would get a few days before some of the banter started, but it is what it is,” Crumpler said with a smile after he was asked about his “personal reaction” to what he’d heard coming out of New York.
“Like I said the last time we played, that team takes after their coach. We take after ours,” he said. “It all boils down to what you do on the field.”
The first day of media availability with New England players was Tuesday morning, and Crumpler’s comments were echoed by his teammates. While New York has spent the last few days making bold statements about what’s going to happen, New England players made it clear on Tuesday morning they have no plans on getting into a war of words with Rex Ryan and the Jets.
“It’s just the philosophy of our team. We’re just … we’re here to work,” said safety Jarrad Page. “When it’s game time, that’s when you’ve got to come out. You can do your talking then. You either win or lose — that’s the most important thing. We’ll let people talk about that instead of what we’re talking about during the week.”
“They’re just comments,” shrugged wide receiver Deion Branch. “Coach [Ryan] says and does what he does and we do what we do over here. Whatever he has to do to get his team motivated, I think that’s what he’s going to do.”
Linebackers Jerod Mayo and Tracy White say New England’s philosophy of well done is better than well said comes directly from the head coach.
“I also don’t think you have too many guys who talk trash on this team. They let their game do their talking,” White said. “I know coach preaches it to us every day, so we got used to not saying things, letting our game plan [speak] for ourselves instead of talking. You don’t need too many distractions.”
Apparently, Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a reminder to players about potential bulletin-board material this week. His advice?
“Just to let him handle it,” Mayo said. “He does a good job of doing it.”
2. Tom Brady’s study habits were called into question by Ryan over the last couple of weeks, who first suggested Peyton Manning studies more than he does, and then gently tweaked the Patriots quarterback on Monday after he was informed Brady was at “Lombardi” on Broadway last Saturday night instead of watching the Colts-Jets game.
“Peyton Manning would have been watching our game,” Ryan said with a smile.
(For what it’s worth, in his interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Monday, Brady did say he caught the second half of the game. “I saw the second half of the game — I got home and watched the second half,” he said. “You know what happens to me is I get very anxious watching those games. I was watching the second half and I was actually kind of pissed that I watched it because I didn’t go to sleep ‘til 3 in the morning. You just get riled up as I watch them, and then I start rooting for a team to win, and that’s not really what I want to be doing. I figure I’ll get enough, I’ll see the game. I’ve seen that game [on tape]. You know, it’s just something I wanted to do with my wife.)
However, in the wake of Ryan’s comments on Monday, Brady’s teammates were more than happy to talk about the quarterbacks’ study habits.
“He said he was watching ‘Lombardi.’ I believe him. He hasn’t steered me wrong,” said Crumpler. “I’m sure he’s watched every ounce of film going back to a lot of different games, as we all have.
“I think Tom does a great job, not only in his personal preparation, but in his delivery to what he wants to get across to, not only the coaches, but to us as players,” added Crumpler. “He has a real good, keen sense of what’s going on throughout the ball game and he gets his point across, whether it’s quietly or animated or whatever way you want to do it, he’s going to get his point across. And that really translates to us as players in terms of trying to be perfect in our execution on the field.”
“Tom studies a lot,” added Branch. “We get the bulk of it in the meeting rooms with just the players when we sit down to go over the things that he’s been looking at. It carries over to the practice field as well. Tom is a dork when it comes to that, so I’m going to leave that alone, but Tom is a dork in that meeting room.”
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