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Tom Brady on Darrelle Revis: ‘He makes it tough’ 10.21.15 at 12:33 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady is ready for his old friend to come calling at Gillette Stadium this Sunday.

For one full season, the Patriots quarterback had the chance to compete against Darrelle Revis in practice and he would often rave about how much that competition in practice would help him gear up for a game.

Well, now Brady will call upon much of that experience from 2014 training camp and regular season practice as he’s back in the familiar position of facing No. 24 on the opposite side of ball come game day.

“There was a lot of competition in practice last year with him,” Brady said Wednesday. “He makes it tough. His instincts are incredible out there. He’s one of those guys that sees everything on the field. He sees the formations and routes and splits. Anything pre-snap that can help him get an idea of whether the ball coming his way or if it’s going the other way or if it’s a run or pass or deep throw or short throw. He’s a very dependable, consistent player. He’s been an incredible playmaker since he’s been in the league. He covers the top guys every week so I got a first-hand look at that last year every day in practice. It was great to have him a part [of team] here but he moved on so now he’s our competition again.”

Revis leads the Jets with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

“Revis is having a big year with those two stats,” Brady said. “A lot of playmakers. You’ve just got to be conscious of where you’re throwing the ball. You can’t just throw it up for grabs and see if they’ll catch it because they’ve got guys with great ball skills.”

When Revis left, Brady said Wednesday that he just wrote it off to business as usual in the NFL.

“That’s kind of NFL football, free agency and stuff like that,” Brady said. “A lot of players have switched teams over the years. We’ve had a lot of guys come to our team from that team, and vice versa. So, I’ve got a lot of respect for that team and the way they play football and how well they’re coached and how well they’re playing this year.”

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Antonio Cromartie jumps to Tom Brady’s defense, rips Roger Goodell 08.06.15 at 11:43 am ET
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Sounds like Antonio Cromartie has Tom Brady's back. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Sounds like Antonio Cromartie has Tom Brady‘s back. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Seems like several of Tom Brady‘s biggest rivals are supporting him.

Bernard Pollard and Terrell Suggs have all said Brady shouldn’t be suspended, or the whole mess has been way overblown. Now, Antonio Cromartie, who has gone off on Brady in the past, sprung to the defense of the quarterback on Thursday while ripping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his arbitrary brand of justice.

“I don’t think he should be suspended,” the Jets cornerback told ESPN Thursday when asked about Brady and his alleged role in Deflafegate.

“In the rulebook, there’s no suspension in the rules. There’s only a $25,000 fine,” he added. “So I don’t see how you can try to lay the hammer down on someone when the rule states for itself there’s no suspension for it. There’s only a maximum fine for $25,000.”

Cromartie continued: “Are we trying to go back to the Spygate and get more from that? Or are we just leading back to us, saying ‘Well, I have full control of everything. I made the rules as it goes, rather than follow the rules of what’s already been written.'”

Chromate said that when it comes to Deflategate, Goodell and his actions send an ominous message to the rest of the NFL.

“Nobody’s safe,” Cromartie said. “Nobody’s safe no matter who you are. Roger is going to do what he wants to do. It don’t matter what the rules say. He’s going to make his own rules as he goes. And it shouldn’t be like that. But at the end of the day, we as players gave him the freedom to do whatever he wants to do. We signed the sheet. So we had our own fault for doing it. We should have been more detailed. We shouldn’t have rushed into things. We should have pushed it to another month and a half and made the owners lose money, and then you go from there.”

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Deflategate, roger goodell, Tom Brady
Could Aqib Talib’s departure set stage for Patriots’ pursuit of Darrelle Revis? 03.12.14 at 1:32 am ET
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The departure of Aqib Talib for Denver — and a six-year, $57 million deal that includes $26 million in guaranteed money — leaves a hole in the Patriots secondary.

As it relates to the offseason, Talib’s decision changes the landscape for New England, namely when it comes to the possibility of Darrelle Revis in Foxboro. While the acquisition of Revis was a fantasy football-style pipe dream beforehand (just move some money around and voila!), now with Talib leaving for Denver, there’s the genuine possibility that the Patriots could acquire Revis.

The veteran corner, who apparently will be cut (or traded) by the Buccaneers on Wednesday, could be had for a little as a fifth-round pick, according to Jason LaCanfora, who tweeted Tuesday night that Revis wants to be in New England. A three-time first-team All-Pro who will turn 29 before the start of the 2014 season, the 6-foot, 205-pounder has established a well-earned reputation as one of the best defensive backs in the recent history of the game. He has 21 career picks in seven years in the league, and the only reason that number isn’t higher is because quarterbacks have almost stopped throwing in his direction entirely. According to the analytical site Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks threw in his direction just 63 times last year, the second-fewest pass attempts against any cornerback who had at least 800 snaps last year (he trailed only Seattle’s Richard Sherman).

“He covers big guys, small guys. He’€™s quick, he’€™s fast, he’€™s patient, he’€™s strong,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said of Revis prior to the Patriots-Bucs game last September. “He doesn’t have any weaknesses. I don’t think I’ve completed many balls on his side of the field very often. He’s not a guy that you want to test and see how well you’re going to do. He’€™s just a great all-around player.”

No one is debating the greatness of Revis, but it’s a double-edged sword when you talk about his current situation: If the Patriots decide to push their chips to the middle of the table and swing a deal for the defensive back, they’d be taking on a massive contract the likes of which they’ve rarely dealt with, as well as a player who has a history of holdouts. (For what it’s worth, the Patriots have never paid a cornerback more than $10 million annually. I know the financial landscape has changed over the years with the fluctuating cap numbers, but that’s a sizable milestone to consider when talking about a possible pickup of Revis.)

And if they wait out the process and try to pick him up if he’s cut, they almost certainly would be bidding against a series of teams like the Raiders and Browns who have a lot more cap space than New England has at this point.

If one was to read between the lines, if the Patriots would be interested in making a play for Revis, it would mean they would have to give themselves some financial flexibility. If you start to see names like Isaac Sopoaga hit the waiver wire on Wednesday, that would be a pretty fair indication that New England is doing whatever it can to create some cap room to accommodate the veteran corner.

It is worth mentioning that the Patriots do have some other options in free agency. Both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who recently ended talks with the Broncos) and Antonio Cromartie are on the market, as well as Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Walter Thurmond. (However, Jacksonville is considered the favorite to land Thurmond at this point, as former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is the head coach there.) In addition, this draft class is considered excellent when it comes to cornerbacks, with as many as five potential first- or second-rounders this year in Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Jason Verrett (TCU), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) and Bradley Roby (Ohio State).

But ultimately, none of those names would bring the same sort of star power to Foxboro. History tells us that it would be rare, but if the Patriots want to break with tradition go all in on a marquee cornerback, they could have their best chance to do it Wednesday.

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, antonio cromartie, Aqib Talib, Charles "Peanut" Tillman
Knee injury will force Aqib Talib to skip Pro Bowl 01.20.14 at 9:43 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib has bowed out of the Pro Bowl, and will be replaced by New York’s Antonio Cromartie.

Talib suffered a knee injury in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Broncos, and as a result, won’t get to make the trip to Hawaii. It was the first Pro Bowl invite for the 27-year-old, who finished the season with four picks.

The play on which the injury occurred has become a flashpoint, as New England coach Bill Belichick argued that Denver wide receiver Wes Welker made one of the “worst plays” he had ever seen when he deliberately crashed into Talib.

“It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open,” Belichick said. “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Wes Welker
Pats-Jets roundup: Mike DeVito says Jets are ‘loose’ heading into Thanksgiving night game 11.21.12 at 12:50 pm ET
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The Jets are 4-6 and heavy underdogs heading into Thursday night’s game against the Patriots, but one player indicated the team is feeling ‘€œloose’€ heading into the contest.

Jets defensive end Mike DeVito said the normal tightness associated with a matchup against the Patriots is missing this week, and he said the team is ready to go.

‘€œI feel like we were real loose this week at practice, which is good to see,’€ said DeVito a Cape Cod native who played collegiately at Maine. ‘€œI think a tendency that we’€™ve had in the past when it’€™s Patriots Week is to tighten up, you naturally get a little bit tight because you recognize the importance of the game, and how physical and ratcheted up it always is. … You play this game too tight, you’€™re not going to be successful. You play this game loose and with swag and having fun, that’€™s when you’€™re going to do well, and I think guys are happy about that.

‘€œI just know we play well when we feel like this.’€

Added DeVito when asked if the team was ready to play its best game: ‘€œWithout a doubt, yeah, without a doubt. Guys are really confident. We’€™re jelling as a team, we believe in each other, and I have no doubt that we’€™re going to be ready to go on Thursday night.’€

Jets center Matt Slauson wants it to be known that the Jets are ready to fight.

‘€œI would expect to see a high-motor, high-enthusiasm team. … We’€™re going to be flying around that field,” he said. “Regardless of what happens in the game, we’€™re going to fight until the very end of the game with everything we got.’€

‘™¦ Rex Ryan is not underestimating the talent level of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Jets coach hailed Brady as a ‘€œonce-in-a-generation quarterback’€ as he prepares his team to defend the Patriots offense.

‘€œThe thing about him, he’€™s a machine yet he’€™s passionate and a fiery leader,’€ Ryan said Tuesday. ‘€œYou wish he was just a machine. His competitive side elevates his team as well. That’€™s what you get from those once-in-a-generation-type quarterbacks.’€

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Read More: antonio cromartie, Darrelle Revis, Matt Slauson, Mike DeVito
Antonio Cromartie is not Darrelle Revis but he’s still ‘got a lot of talent’ 10.18.12 at 5:24 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Most observers assumed when Darrelle Revis went down on Sept. 23 in Miami with a torn ACL that the Jets defense – and specifically their secondary – was cooked.

After all, Antonio Cromartie – the man immediately pegged as Revis’ replacement – had been good but he didn’t figure to have leadership qualities that Revis commands when he enters a defensive backs meeting.

But Cromartie has stepped up to become the defensive back the Jets thought they were getting in 2010 when he joined the team after four seasons with the Chargers. He leads the Jets with three interceptions, including one each in New York’s last two games without Revis. The Jets are allowing just 209 passing yards per game. Only four defenses in the NFL are better this year against the pass.

“He’s talented,” said Brandon Lloyd, who faced Cromartie across the line of scrimmage in 2010, when Lloyd was with the Broncos. “He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of speed and plays really well.”

Lloyd had four catches for 74 yards, including one grab for 29 yards, in that Oct. 2010 meeting.

Then there’s Tom Brady, who was called a not-so nice name by Cromartie before their playoff game in Jan. 2011.

Now? Well, it’s all about mutual respect.

“I’€™ve always said I think he’s a great player,” Brady said this week. “I mean, he’s one of the best corners in the league and has been for a while. I usually don’€™t get into it much. Wish I could help you more.”

Brady did admit it will be strange to look out to his right and not see No. 24 in “Gang Green.”

“He’€™s a great player ‘€“ one of the best I’€™ve ever gone against. At the same time, I think they’€™ve moved on from that situation and played really well last week against Indianapolis without him. They still have a very good defense. It’€™s built around their team and their scheme and they have very good players: big, powerful guys that run well, very instinctive.

“They have a lot of veteran players at safety and linebacker. Cromartie is a heck of a player in his own right and he’s had a great season, so he’s really assumed the role of matching to the opponent’€™s No. 1 receiver ‘€“ or perceived No. 1 receiver. They seem like they’re still doing what they’€™ve always done and playing very well.”

Read More: antonio cromartie, Brandon Lloyd, Darrelle Revis, New England Patriots
Patriots Positional Playoff Preview: Tight ends 01.04.12 at 3:08 pm ET
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With the Patriots off this weekend and the postseason ready to begin, we’€™ve got the Patriots Positional Playoff Preview, a weeklong, position-by-position look at the Patriots and how they look heading into the postseason. We’€™ve already broken down the running backs and quarterback. Now, it’€™s the tight ends.

Depth chart: Rob Gronkowski (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 17 receiving touchdowns), Aaron Hernandez (79 catches, 910 yards, seven touchdowns).

Overview: In just over a year, the Patriots’€™ passing game has evolved from a system that had almost no input from the tight ends into one that has become more reliant on tight ends than any other passing game in the league. The combination of Hernandez and Gronkowski represents a matchup nightmare for almost every opposing defense in the NFL — Hernandez, who has the build of a wide receiver, can be used as an in-line blocker, in the slot or split wide, while Gronkowski’€™s size and catch radius make him one of the best and most dependable targets in the league.

Gronkowski set numerous marks this year: his 1,327 receiving yards were a new record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end. In addition, he finished the season with 18 overall touchdowns (17 receiving, 1 rushing). His 17 overall touchdowns passed Curtis Martin (17 overall in 1996) for the second highest single-season total in Patriots history and the most in NFL history by a tight end. In addition, he was fourth in the league in yards after catch with 668.

It’€™s not just their pass-catching abilities that make them unique. In the case of Gronkowski, he has become one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, and over the last month, with the New England offensive line in a state of recent reconstruction, he has been utilized more as a blocker. Going forward, the Patriots will continue to face some elite pass rushers, and so it wouldn’€™t be a surprised to see Gronkowski used as a blocker more often. That would put more of a burden on Hernandez to step up his game, and down the stretch, he has certainly done that.

Best Moment: Both had several incredible moments over the course of the season, but our vote goes to Gronkowski’€™s performance in the Dec. 11 win over the Redskins in Washington, where he rumbled for an extraordinary 160 yards on six catches, including a Bavaro-esque 49-yard catch and run where he shook a handful of Redskins’€™ tacklers on the way to the Washington red zone.

Worst Moment: It’€™s almost nitpicking, but perhaps the worst of the season came late in the first half of the win over the Jets where Hernandez bobbled a Tom Brady pass on the goal line that would have given New England a touchdown. Instead, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie snatched it out of the air and took it back to midfield at the end of the half. As for Gronkowski, he was the second-most penalized player on the team this season with six flags against him.

By the numbers, courtesy of Nuggetpalooza: A Patriots’ tight end caught at least one pass for a gain of 20+ yards in 15 of the 16 games this season. No other team’€™s tight end managed such a catch in more than 12.

Money quote: ‘€œThe skill set of both those players really allows us to be flexible. Not only are they good blockers, but they can catch the ball, too. You can run it behind them, you can play-action pass and then they’€™ve become pretty efficient in the passing game also, just to spread them out and be able to run them on different run combinations. They’€™re very good players.’€ ‘€“ Brady on Gronkowski and Hernandez

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, antonio cromartie, Curtis Martin, Patriots Position Breakdowns 2012 Playoffs



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