|Chris Hogan in The Players’ Tribune: ‘Patriots aren’t satisfied with anything less’ than Super Bowl||02.03.17 at 2:23 pm ET|
The AFC championship game may have been a breakout performance for Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan, but as he wrote for The Players’ Tribune on Thursday, that victory is nothing compared to the one the Patriots are going for on Sunday.
“Tom Brady said, ‘Good job tonight, Chris. Now let’s go win one more,'” Hogan wrote. “One more. And that’s really the difference here in New England. Winning the Super Bowl is always the goal. It’s championship or bust, every year. The Patriots aren’t satisfied with anything less, and they expect to win.”
Hogan caught nine passes for 180 yards in the AFC title game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to help lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons.
After playing with Buffalo for the past three seasons, and seeing the Patriots success from afar, Hogan wrote the Pats were everything the Bills wanted to be.
“We weren’t the biggest fans of the Patriots, but we respected them,” Hogan wrote. “They were everything we aspired to be as an organization. They were winners. And each time we played them, it reminded us what we were all trying to be.”
Hogan’s story has become well-documented since his big game, with references to his lacrosse history at Penn State and his one season of college football at Monmouth.
Several members of the Patriots are appearing in their first playoffs, and Hogan is also looking for his first title in a long time.
“I haven’t won a championship of any kind since high school, and the celebration then wasn’t a huge production,” Hogan wrote. “We didn’t have confetti. So winning the AFC championship was the first confetti-worthy moment of my life. I was really just enjoying the moment, trying to take it all in. But I couldn’t help but be excited. I mean … we were going to the Super Bowl. I was so hyped I could barely contain myself.”
The last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, Rob Gronkowski took on Marshawn Lynch in “Mortal Combat X” on Conan O’Brien’s “Clueless Gamer” segment and it was hilarious.
This year’s edition maybe doesn’t quite live up to that, but it’s still very good. This time Tom Brady takes on Conan and Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney in “For Honor” and proves that he is just as much of a winner in video games as he is in football, dispatching both opponents in violent fashion.
The best part, however, is Gronkowski and Lynch returning for a rematch, which Gronkowski wins to cap off the Patriots’ video game dominance. LeGarrette Blount and Erin Andrews make guest appearances as well.
HOUSTON — Cyrus Jones has had an up-and-down first year in the NFL, but if the Patriots win on Sunday, the rookie will join some incredibly exclusive company.
The former Alabama cornerback and special teamer has a chance to be a part of a very short list of players that have won a national title one year and a Super Bowl the next. If the Patriots beat the Falcons, Jones would be part of a group that includes Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett (Pitt in 1976, Dallas in 1977), William Floyd (Florida State in 1993, San Francisco in 1994), ex-Pats cornerback Randall ”Blue” Gay, linebacker Eric Alexander and defensive linemen Marquise Hill (LSU in 2003, New England in 2004) and Courtney Upshaw (Alabama in 2011, Baltimore in 2012).
For all the struggles he’s endured this season, Jones acknowledges he has the chance to be part of a rare feat.
“It’s definitely a pretty special thing,” Jones said. “A lot of guys go to college and never have a chance to make it to a national championship. I was lucky enough to be able to win two. Guys come to this level and some of them have never made the playoffs. I’m here after winning two national championships at Bama, and in my first year here, I’m in the Super Bowl.
“It’s definitely a blessing. I’m grateful to be in this position and be a part of this great organization. A great group of guys. I’m ready to go out there and do my part.”
HOUSTON — Devin McCourty knows there’s a time and place for everything.
The veteran Patriots safety, appearing in his third Super Bowl Sunday, believes this is not the time to make a political statement.
In light of the recent demonstrations against President’s Trump immigration orders, celebrities like Lady Gaga have indicated that they would like to see some sort of statement of inclusion during the Super Bowl.
Lady Gaga, an outspoken opponent of the President, indicated that she would be making the same statement during her 13-minute halftime show that she has been making all along.
During the preseason, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a firestorm by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of what he felt was discrimination against Muslims and unfair treatment of minorities by police.
Several other players in the NFL, as well as other sports, followed with statements of their own. McCourty and Martellus Bennett raised their fists during the national anthem in the regular season opener in Arizona.
The Celtics locked arms together in unity during the national anthem in a preseason game against Philadelphia at UMass.
But McCourty said Thursday he will not be making any such statements on Sunday.
“Nah. I did that for a reason,” McCourty said. “I didn’t do it all season so I wouldn’t do it now. It was to get a point across. I was able to talk it and spread that word and do different things with that. I think it was good a learning experience for me to be able to speak out on something I felt passionate about.”
What did McCourty take from the experience in September?
“I was actually about to speak with some officers and do different things like that in Boston,” McCourty added. “I thought it was a great thing. Myself, Marty and other teammates getting involved with being able to learn different aspects of life and what other people go through. It was a good experience.”
HOUSTON — On Thursday, Julian Edelman appeared to have some trouble remembering the name of one of his critics.
At media availability in Houston, the Patriots receiver was asked about the recent charge from Keyshawn Johnson, who said the Patriots wideouts probably wouldn’t make other 53-man rosters.
“When you see guys that fail and play for other teams at the receiver position, they can go to New England and excel and everybody goes, “Oh my God, Oh my God, these receivers are top of the game.’ Well, they couldn’t excel with other teams because of the system,” Johnson told 92.9 in Atlanta. “If they were on other teams right now, they probably wouldn’t be on the 53-man roster.”
Edelman took a few seconds to respond when asked about the statement.
“What did you say. Who?” Edelman replied.
Keyshawn. Keyshawn Johnson.
“Oh, Keyshawn,” Edelman said. “Isn’t he the disgruntled neighbor that like was waving down Bieber or something? Oh. That’s cool.”
Edelman added a small wink to punctuate the exchange. But the point had been made.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
HOUSTON — During Super Bowl week each team gets a designated pool reporter at each practice and gets to speak to the coach afterwards.
Peter King of MMQB.com has the Falcons this week and afterwards on Thursday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn told him he is “concerned” about Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and his injured left fibula.
“I just know his toughness and strength is so great,” Quinn said after another brisk and quick (88 minutes) practice on Rice’s grass practice field adjacent to Rice Stadium. “The good thing is I know he’s feeling better than he did in the NFC championship game. But yeah, I’m concerned. I’m not panicked, but I’m concerned.”
Quinn noted how a lot of the offensive protection is key for the center going against the Patriots defense.
“This game, because of the multiple fronts by New England, requires a lot of prep work by the center,” Quinn said. “Identifying this look, this front, this player’s positioning, they [Mack and back up Ben Garland] spend a lot of time in the film room together normally … and I would say it’s been even more these two weeks because this opponent requires even more.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
HOUSTON — Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to start the first four games of the season because of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.
That didn’t actually happen because in Week 2 against the Dolphins, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder. The Patriots’ Week 3 game was on a Thursday night, so he was almost immediately ruled out of that, but Week 4 against the Bills remained a possibility.
Despite doing everything he could to play in the game, even practicing on a limited basis that week, he just couldn’t get enough range of motion in his shoulder to play.
In fact, the quarterback said wasn’t until that Sunday morning he was told he wasn’t going to play.
“[I was] close,” Garoppolo said Thursday. “I mean, it just — things didn’t work out. The coaches kind of — I don’t know. It just didn’t work out, I guess.”
Added Garoppolo: “Throughout the week I was being optimistic trying to mentally get ready to play, but sometimes the shoulder can’t do the things you want it to do when you’re injured liked that.”
The Patriots were shutout by the Bills, 16-0, in the final game the team played without Brady.
Despite some speculation at the time of the team pressuring Garoppolo to play, he said that wasn’t the case.
“No. The whole organization, we’re a team organization,” he said. “We’re looking out for each other. Pressure is not the right word. People wanted you to play. I wanted to play. It sucked not being out there. That’s your team and it wasn’t fun.”
Working as hard as he did during training camp and over the first two weeks of the season, it was a real bummer for him to miss the two games that he did.
“It sucked. It was terrible,” Garoppolo said. “Just kind of one of those freak accidents. Things are going to happen. You’re going to get injured, people are going to get hurt, whatever it may be. That was the first time in my career, so it wasn’t fun.”
But, now that it is in the past, Garoppolo feels satisfied with what he did in Weeks 1 and part of 2, going 43-for-63 passing with 502 yards and four touchdowns.
“Yeah, I mean I did everything I could. I prepared as well as I could, had good practices, went out and performed well. Like I said, it sucked I couldn’t go all four, but Jacoby [Brissett] came in and did a great job.”
2017 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2017 NFL DRAFT
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Mike Gillislee's Patriots Contract Offer Sheet Declined by Bills
- Malcolm Butler Reportedly 'Highly Unlikely' to Be Traded Despite Saints...
- Patriots Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season
- 2017 New England Patriots Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV...
- Chiefs vs. Patriots to Open 2017 NFL Regular Season Schedule in...
- Patriots Favored in Updated Super Bowl 52 Odds Ahead of 2017 NFL Draft
- After Aaron Hernandez Suicide, Victim's Family Speaks: 'I Just Started...