|Bill Belichick is ‘way past’ Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib||10.29.14 at 2:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Much was made of it at the time when Bill Belichick called it, “one of the worst plays [he's] seen” when Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker hit then-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib on an apparent pick play across the middle of the field in last year’s AFC Championship game — knocking Talib out of the game with a hip injury and the Patriots lost the game 26-16, ending their season.
But, Wednesday in advance of the Broncos-Patriots matchup this Sunday, Belichick said he’s put that in the past and actually has “a lot of respect” for Welker.
“[I am] way past that,” Belichick said on a conference call with the Denver media. “I have a lot of respect for Wes and what he did for us and what he’s done for the Broncos and what he’s done throughout his career.”
Welker was a member of the Patriots from 2007-12 before the Broncos signed him prior to the 2013 season as a free agent when Welker and New England couldn’t agree on a contract.
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|A trip down memory lane with Aqib Talib||10.27.14 at 6:16 pm ET|
In his year-plus with the Patriots, cornerback Aqib Talib gained a reputation in the locker room with reporters as a terrific quote. In the wake of his discussion about the Patriots on Monday, in no particular order, here are our four favorite exchanges Talib had with the media over the course of the 2013 season:
1) “My bad, man. I had to say hi to Gisele.” — Apologizing to WEEI’s Mut & Merloni on Aug. 14 for being late to an on-air appearance
2) “It’s fun. It’s the NFL. You watch Tom Brady throw bombs, [and I think,] ‘He’s on my team. Hey man, that’s fun!'” — Speaking with reporters Aug. 7
3) “I don’t watch NFL Network or read the newspaper during the season. I’m a basketball fan. My TV pretty much stays on NBA TV. I don’t really read what nobody says.” — Responding to Stevie Johnson’s claim the Patriots didn’t have anybody who could stop him, on Sept. 5
4) “It’s never personal man. It’s never personal. I’m sure, if I see Steve, it’ll be, ‘Hey, what’s up? How you doing?’ It’s never personal. Him and the other guy from St. Louis? That was personal. I mean, he didn’t say he was going to punch me in my face after the game. He just told me to go get in the tub. Kind of thoughtful.” — On his confrontation with Steve Smith during the loss to Carolina on Nov. 20
Aqib Talib is returning to Foxboro.
The former Patriots corner, who signed with the Broncos as a free agent in the offseason, will be making his first trip back to New England since joining the Broncos. The eminently quotable Talib was at his best when he met the Denver media on Monday to discuss his return.
Talib, who played a year-plus with the Patriots — he was acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade deadline deal in 2012 — isn’t sure of the sort of reception he’ll get when he takes the field, but he’s pretty sure he’ll be amped come Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t know. We’ve got to put an amp meter on me or something,” he told reporters Monday. “I don’t really judge my ‘ampness’ for the game.
“But yeah, I get pretty excited for every game, though. So if I’m a little more juiced for this game, I guess you all will be the judge of that.”
Talib said Monday he enjoyed his time in New England, which included two trips to the AFC title game.
“Just the repetitions — the experiences,” he said when asked what made him a better player and better person in New England. “[When you] get older, you grow. I had a great coach, Bill Belichick — great coach. Playing against [QB] Tom [Brady], you learn stuff. Just getting older.
“It’s a real good atmosphere,” he added when asked about playing in Foxboro. “They play real well at home. It’s definitely hard to play there. They’ve got a great crowd. They’re going to be loud. They know when to be loud; they know when to get quiet. So it’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The NFL trade deadline is set for Tuesday at 4 p.m., and there’s already been some speculation about the Patriots pulling off at least one move beforehand. New England has never been shy about making trade deadline moves, including a last-minute pickup of cornerback Aqib Talib in 2012.
But according to Bill Belichick, when it comes to making deals, there’s usually a greater chance of something happening over the summer than right at the deadline.
“I think this is a lot different than at the end of preseason when you’re coming into the 53-man cut time,” Belichick said on a conference call with the media Monday morning. “You’re focused on your opening game, but you’re also focused on your roster, and [so] is every other team. There’s a lot of player movement at that time, as there is, I’d say through the first few weeks of the season on every team.
“If something comes along and it’s something that we think would be worth considering, then we’d talk about it,” he added. “But I wouldn’t say that there’s real heavy back and forth communication throughout the league on big trades. I’d be surprised if that took place on any team. It’s just not that common this time of year. Could it happen? Yeah, there could be a couple trades. But it’s a lot different than what it is at the end of training camp.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Julian Edelman on MFB: ‘We’re building up for the backstretch’ by getting more players involved||at 12:04 pm ET|
While Edelman was the standout through the first few weeks — without much support from the rest of receiving corps — Tom Brady has been spreading out the passes the last couple of weeks. Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell combined to make 20 catches for 173 yards and four touchdowns Sunday.
“You’re getting production out of a lot of guys,” Edelman said. “[Jonas Gray] came up again and had a big game. Timmy [Wright] comes in and has his touchdown. Gronk, Shane [Vereen] having some big plays. The more you have a lot more guys doing things, we’re building up for the backstretch.”
Added Edelman: “[LaFell is] playing lights out. He’s making plays and scoring touchdowns. It’s great for the offense.”
Meanwhile, Edelman’s production has declined. He had just one reception Sunday. He said it isn’t a matter of defenses adjusting to him.
“I think it’s more just: One week it’s this guy, the next week it’s that guy,” he said. “Hopefully it comes back.”
Added Edelman: “The offense has been doing well. You don’t want to do anything differently to disrupt that. I’m sure I’ll be getting targets my way or something like that. It’s the flows of the game. You’re going to be hot sometimes, and sometimes you’re going to be playing a different role. As long as the team’s winning, that’s all it’s about.”
Next up for the Patriots is a game against the AFC-leading Broncos.
“I’ve played in a few of these now, so you’re kind of used to it,” Edelman said, adding: “It’s a conference game. There’s some meaning behind this game, because the winner can put themselves a foot forward in the standings. Its Denver, they’re a good team. They’ve obviously been on TV a bunch. You’ve got Peyton Manning. But I don’t necessarily play against Peyton Manning. I play against the defense.”
“It’s going to be fun, because I loved Talib when he was here,” Edelman said. “We got along real well. I thought he was a great teammate and I enjoyed playing with him. So it’s going to be fun. I also know T.J. Ward a little bit. We train in the offseason together. It will be fun to go out there and play against premier competition.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
|Revis Report, Week 2: Corner could face unique challenge in Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson||09.11.14 at 11:35 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England travels to Minnesota for a date with the Vikings.
Overview: This will mark Darrelle Revis‘ second regular-season game with the Patriots, and his first against the Vikings since he was with the Jets on Oct. 11, 2010. New England is coming off a surprising 33-20 loss to the Dolphins in the regular-season opener.
“We’re ready to go,” Revis told reporters after practice on Thursday. “We had a great practice today [and] we’ve just got to focus on [Friday] and tie all three practices together, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Last week: According to NFL gamebooks, Revis played 62 of a possible 74 snaps against the Dolphins (84 percent), and after looking at the All-22 film, we had him lined up on the left side for 61 of the possible 62 snaps. (This would certainly jibe with what we saw from him over the course of the preseason, where he was on the left side for 33 of his 36 preseason snaps.) In all, he was targeted five times by Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and yielded two catches for a total of 36 yards to Miami’s Mike Wallace, and also had two pass breakups.
While Revis stuck to one side of the field for the bulk of the afternoon, most of his action came in head-to-head matchups with Wallace. The most eventful play came in the first half when Wallace dropped an impressive double-move on Revis, allowing him to get some separation on the cornerback and get some clearance on the way to the end zone. However, the ball was just slightly off the mark, and Wallace was unable to come down with the ball inbounds. Revis ended the game with one tackle and a fumble recovery.
(For what it’s worth, Wallace’s move caused us to think about the most notable quote of the previous week from Revis on the receiver, saying that his speed can sometimes be deceptive. “Film can play tricks on your eyes sometimes when you watch it,” Revis said when asked about preparing for Wallace. “Until you get out there … film speed and game speed are totally two different things. I played against him in the past — a lot of guys on this team have — and I know how fast he is. He’s probably the fastest receiver in the league.”)
Ultimately, Wallace ended the game with seven catches (on 11 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown, an uptick from the numbers he had averaged against Revis-led defenses in the past (four catches for 41 yards per contest).
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|Revis Report, Week 1: Will it be Mike Wallace or Charles Clay?||09.04.14 at 11:13 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback over the coming week. This week, it’s the first regular-season game for the Patriots, as they travel to Miami for a date with the Dolphins.
Overview: This is Darrelle Revis‘ first game with the Patriots, and so there’s not much to go on in terms of history within New England’s system. Over the course of the preseason, the cornerback played two games, and took 36 snaps overall. By our highly unscientific count, he was on the right side for 33 of those snaps, and on the left for three. He was thrown at three times, and there was one completion, a pass from Cam Newton to Kelvin Benjamin.
“I’m very excited. It’s the first week — it’s good to get things going now,” Revis said Thursday when asked if he was excited to get the regular season started. “I think we’re all excited. We’ve been waiting for this for awhile, and now, it’s here.”
Possible man matchups: Revis will likely be utilized against one of two people — either wide receiver Mike Wallace or tight end Charles Clay. Revis said Thursday he’s matched up against Wallace on several occasions times in the past — it appears the last time the two went head-to-head was Week 2 of the 2012 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis played in 43 of a possible 85 defensive snaps before going down with a knee injury that ultimately left him on the shelf for the rest of the season.
Then, there’s Clay. Why would Bill Belichick have Revis work against a tight end? A few reasons. First, Belichick has traditionally been all about trying to stop the opposing team’s No. 1 offensive option, and he has a clear level of respect for Clay, so much so that he assigned lead corner Aqib Talib (with some help) to Clay in last year’s contest against the Dolphins in Miami. Clay had one catch for six yards in the loss to the Dolphins.
Clay presents a myriad of challenges for a defender who might be assigned to him in single coverage, including the fact that he could line up at several different positions.
“You have to find him,” Belichick said of Clay earlier this week. “He’s all over. Sometimes he’s in the normal tight end location but you certainly can’t count on that — flex, could be in the backfield, could be detached as a receiver.”
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