|Report: Deflategate originated with D’Qwell Jackson interception, Colts notifying NFL||01.19.15 at 11:51 pm ET|
Deflategate has dominated the conversation following the Patriots’ 45-7 win in the AFC championship against the Colts. It was learned earlier on Monday the NFL was looking into the matter, and now we reportedly know where it all originated.
According to Newsday, it all started following Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s interception of Tom Brady in the second quarter. Jackson gave the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff who thought the ball was under-inflated. The staff member then told coach Chuck Pagano.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, who was sitting in the press box at Gillette Stadium, was then notified and he contacted NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil. Kensil then notified the officials on the field at halftime. The Patriots went onto score 21 third quarter points on their way to their 38-point romp.
It’s worth noting each team uses their own balls, so the Patriots have their own and the Colts have their own, rotating them when each offense is on the field.
“We would cooperate fully with whatever the league asks us, wants us to do.” Belichick said. “I didn’t know anything about it [until] this morning.”
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|Colts head coach Chuck Pagano: ‘If we’re not able to stop the run, we’re not going to have a chance’||01.15.15 at 5:24 pm ET|
New England has simply dominated the Colts in the running game of late.
In the team’s last three meetings the Patriots have ran for a total of 595 yards, including 257 yards in the last meeting on Nov. 16. If the Colts have any chance of upsetting the Patriots on Sunday, improving on their run defense will be imperative.
“The numbers speak for themselves, and if we don’t get that fixed and they’re able to run the ball the way that they’ve run it the last couple meetings, then we’re going to have a long, hard day,” Chuck Pagano told reporters on Wednesday.
“But having said that, I think our guys are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now,” he added. “Talking about it is one thing, but we’ve got to go up there and we’ve got to do the job and stop the run.”
Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns in the earlier meeting. After being inactive for the Patriots’ first playoff game, it will be interesting to see if he is active on Sunday. The Patriots really weren’t interested in running against the Ravens, as they finished with just 14 yards on 13 carries, including the three kneel downs at the end.
Rookie center Bryan Stork left Saturday’s game with a knee injury and hasn’t practiced all week, so the Patriots could be mixing and matching on their offensive line.
For the Colts, they didn’t have Arthur Jones (Chandler’s brother) on the defensive line in the earlier game, so his presence will be a positive for Indianapolis when stopping the run. It’s worth noting the Colts have allowed 100+ rushing yards in five of their last six games.
“Having a healthy Art Jones, makes our defense that much better,” defensive end Cory Redding said on Wednesday to reporters. “He commands double teams. He just loves football. When you have a guy in the trenches that loves eating up double teams, demands it, and if you block him one-on-one, he’s going to bull-rush to the quarterback or either run down the line and make tackles. It just makes our defensive line so much better. Having him, Art, in the lineup is huge for us.”
In Andrew Luck‘s career, the Patriots are 3-0 against him with the winning margin being an average of 26 points. Pagano and his team know in order to end that streak it will start with stopping the run.
“We’ve got to prepare the same way we prepared last week,” Pagano said. “We’ve got to do a better job because if we’re not able to stop the run, we’re not going to have a chance.”
|Chuck Pagano thinks Rob Gronkowski makes Patriots ‘more of a nightmare’||11.12.14 at 8:58 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick won’t admit it. Tom Brady will just smile in gratitude. And Rob Gronkowski certainly won’t acknowledge it. But the best tight end in football is a nightmare matchup for any opponent, especially one that has had difficulty defending much-lesser tight ends this season.
But Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was more than willing to detail just what kind of problem Gronkowski presents for his Colts this Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Tom’s spreading the ball around, but Rob’s a matchup nightmare,” Pagano said. “It’s all hands on deck to try to make sure that that guy doesn’t wreck a game. You see everybody trying to do that, but he finds a way to make unbelievable plays. He’s a great player and they’ve got a bunch of them, a bunch of skill guys that are making great plays.”
How big a game could Gronkowski have? Consider tight end Julius Thomas caught three touchdowns – in the second quarter – of Denver’s 31-24 win on opening night. The next week, Philly’s Zach Ertz had four catches for 87 yards. Against the Steelers in Week 8, Heath Miller had seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
What is Gronk expecting?
“They’re a very good team and we have to prepare to our max and we have to be ready for the game,” Gronkowski said, keeping everything cautiously vague. “We have to come out and perform to our best because, if not, they’re a very good team and we could struggle easily versus them if we’re not going out there prepared. You have to be ready and go out and be prepared.
“They’ve got a lot of good skill players, good linebackers, safeties, corners and you just have to be prepared for anything at any time. You never know what you’re going to get so you have to be prepared and expect anything.”
|Josh McDaniels expecting Chuck Pagano, Colts to blitz Patriots||11.10.14 at 2:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Normally, opposing teams try to stay away from blitzing Tom Brady because of his ability to read at the line of scrimmage and make big plays.
But Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is a little different.
Pagano, according to McDaniels, has been using the blitz to try and pressure quarterbacks since his secondary has been burned for big play after big play this year. The Colts defense is allowing 263.3 yards passing, including 31 plays of 20 or more yards and nine plays of 40 or more yards.
But the Colts have had their fair share of success getting to the quarterback, registering 24 sacks, tied for ninth-most in the NFL this season. Pagano is in his third season as Colts head coach, coming from the pressure based defensive schemes in Baltimore, where he served as defensive coordinator in 2011.
“I definitely think there is an element of that, certainly,” McDaniels said. “Chuck Pagano, obviously, that’s his background, and there is some of that there. But I also think there is a great blend here, and they’ve kind of created their own little package, and they do different things off of it each week.
In 2013, the Colts blitzed 33 percent of the time, according to the experts at Pro Football Focus.
“I think they really present a lot of different issues for you,” McDaniels said. “They blitz quite a bit more than most of the teams that we’ve played, which is going to be, I would say, a very critical factor in the game, our ability to handle that. They play a lot of tight man coverage. They have guys who do a really good job of covering man-to-man [in] one-on-one situations on the outside.”
Greg Toler and veteran Vontae Davis are the corners, while Sergio Brown and Mike Adams are the safeties. Brown and nickel corner Darius Butler are former Patriots who have faced Tom Brady in practice.
“They ask their safeties and linebackers to do the same thing, and they’ve got guys who can do that. They’ve been stopping the run, creating turnovers and getting to the quarterback, so there are not a lot of holes. I definitely see some of what we had faced in the past in Baltimore, but certainly this is their own defense. They’ve added different flavors to it, and we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us this week.”
Of course, if Brady is able to solve the blitz and get the ball to Rob Gronkowski, there is the potential for big plays in open space.
“I think with any skilled player, if you have an opportunity to release clean into the route in the passing game, it takes away something that you’re not really having to worry about or think about at the line of scrimmage, and then you can focus a little bit more on reading the coverage or whatever the route is that you’re running. I think that he gets played at the line of scrimmage some and some not.
“It’s kind of a mixture of all different things, but I would say that’s true for most or all of our skill players, especially our receivers. There are plenty of times where they get jammed and then there are some times when their corner plays them off. We work extremely hard on trying to help our guys release into the pattern. We spend a lot of time in practice doing that. [Tight ends] coach [Brian] Daboll [and] [wide receivers] coach [Chad] O’Shea do a great job of that. He knows that there are going to be challenges each week that different teams present, and we’ve got to do a good job of being prepared for those.”
|Colts coach Chuck Pagano: Just made sense to sign ex-Patriots WR Deion Branch||01.07.14 at 3:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Tuesday that there was no ulterior motive when it came to signing former Patriots receiver Deion Branch.
In a conference call with the New England media, Pagano said that there were several factors in play when it came to adding Branch, including the fact that they had brought him in for a workout last month, he was local, and he has a track record of success.
“We had worked out Deion three or four weeks ago,” Pagano said of the 34-year-old Branch. “[General Manager] Ryan [Grigson] and his staff bring in guys every week to work out and have guys that you know about and give physicals to in case you have an injury here or there, and we were a little bit short at the wide receiver position, and we had worked out Deion.
“He came in and had a great workout for us, he was in shape, he’s local, he’s right in our backyard, so we knew about him and knew who he was from a physical standpoint. Again, every decision we make is based on two things: what’s best for the team and what helps us win, and we feel like we got a guy that’s a former Super Bowl MVP that’s played a lot of good football at a high level, so he can help us.”
It’s debatable how much impact Branch will have on Saturday night — he only has a handful of days to try and get up to speed in a new system. But Indy quarterback Andrew Luck said he was looking forward to connecting with Branch.
“I definitely will pick his brain,’ Luck said in a conference call with the media. ‘”He’s going to be a great addition to our team. I haven’t had a chance to sit down yet. We’ve been rolling in and out of meetings.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of Branch Tuesday.
“Deion had a great career here — I think he was here for seven years or north thereof,” Belichick said. “Very smart, professional player. Great leader. One of the top guys we’ve had here in terms of off the field work ethic, leadership, intelligence, preparation, all those things. He had some very productive seasons here. He’s a tremendous person. He’s had a great career.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, playoff edition: Peyton Manning’s Broncos No. 1||01.02.13 at 9:40 am ET|
It’s finally here. The postseason kicks off this Saturday and there are many teams capable of raising the Vince Lombardi trophy in New Orleans. Of the 12 playoff teams, four were not in the postseason last year (Colts, Seahawks, Redskins, Vikings). Three of those teams will have rookie quarterbacks leading the offense. Football fans are in for an entertaining postseason.
Leading the way are the Broncos (1). With 11 straight wins and as the only team to have both a top-five offense and defense, Denver is poised for a deep run. The No. 1 seed in the NFC is at No. 4 in the Power Rankings. The Falcons will enjoy a week off before Matt Ryan attempts to win his first playoff game. The two other teams that will enjoy a first-round bye are the Niners (3) and Patriots (4).
Will wild card weekend produce a few upsets? The Seahawks (6) could deliver one on the road against the Redskins (10).
1. Broncos (13-3) ‘ Peyton Manning has led the Broncos to 11 straight wins and guaranteed Denver home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The veteran quarterback has done a tremendous job getting the offense in sync. The passing attack is one of the most dynamic in the league. The defense is ranked in the top five of the league as well.
2. 49ers (11-4-1) ‘ One thing to watch is how Justin Smith deals with his triceps injury. The dominant D-lineman is a big reason why the 49ers defense is the best in the league. San Francisco will be facing some high-powered offenses in the postseason and will need Smith to wreak havoc up front like he usually does.
3. Patriots (12-4) ‘ We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but doesn’t it seem like the Patriots and Broncos are on a collision course for an AFC championship showdown? Grabbing a first-week bye puts the veteran Pats in a great position to return to the Super Bowl. A healthy Rob Gronkowski is key to this team’s success.
4. Falcons (13-3) ‘ The No. 1 seed in the AFC has a lot of doubters. The Falcons have been in this position before and have failed. The difference now is Matt Ryan is playing better, the offensive is filled with explosive playmakers, and new coordinator Mike Nolan has the defense playing inspired football.
5. Packers (11-5) ‘ No one wants to play the Packers in the playoffs, but Green Bay is vulnerable with a beat-up offensive line, shaky defense, and only one guaranteed game on the friendly confines of the frozen tundra.
|Chuck Pagano has good news for Patriots fans||12.26.12 at 6:30 pm ET|
Christmas was on Tuesday but on Wednesday – Boxing Day in Canada – there was some very good news from Indianapolis that might turn into a gift for the Patriots and their fans.
The returning Chuck Pagano – who will be coaching his first game since successful cancer treatment – told reporters that he intends to play all of his starters who are physically cleared to play, despite the fact that the Colts are slotted at the No. 5 seed in the AFC and that won’t change, win or lose.
It seems only fitting for a coach that just battled leukemia for the past three months.
‘It’s just not in our DNA. It’s not in our makeup,’ Pagano said Wednesday of playing his players to win. ‘These kids deserve it, their families deserve it. Our fans in this city deserve our best every game regardless of the situation and regardless of the circumstances.’
What’s at stake? If the Colts beat the 12-3 Texans and the 11-4 Patriots beat the Dolphins, the Patriots will have a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. The Colts also know that the Texans are playing for their playoff position, as a Houston win clinches the No. 1 seed and home field throughout the playoffs, as well as a first-round bye for the Texans.
Pagano ruled out running back Delone Carter (ankle) and center Samson Satele (ankle). The status of at least four others are likely game-time decisions.
‘Whether you agree with it or not, I think there is something to be said about keeping your momentum going and still going out and working on your craft,’ Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney said. ‘Guys who can play, should play. I don’t know if it’s going to be a whole game situation scenario, but that’s up to the coaching staff to decide. You are risking getting hurt, but that’s just part of the nature of this game.’
Pagano believes playing to win, whether Week 1 or Week 17 is still the main objective.
‘They’re going to roll a ball out there and it’s our job to go out there and try to win a football game,’ he said. ‘You want to win. You want to win at home. You want to go into the playoffs with momentum.’
And the Patriots would love that momentum to rest a week.