|Tom Brady on D&C: Win over Ravens ‘great test of character for us as a team’||12.23.13 at 10:55 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, following Sunday’s surprising 41-7 rout of the Ravens in Baltimore. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“It was a great win,” Brady said. “To go on the road against a team that we’ve struggled with the last bunch of times we’ve played them, really a huge win for our season. Yeah, it was satisfying. We talked about it all week, we had a pretty tough loss in Miami, and I think fought back through a long week. We put a lot into the week. There was a lot of preparation. I don’t think there were many people that thought we could go in and beat those guys. That was really a great test of character for us as a team.”
Brady didn’t deny using the Patriots’ underdog status as a motivator for Sunday, but he insisted the players try to avoid getting caught up in what the media says about the team.
“This week everyone will be picking us,” Brady said. “Across the board, everyone’s going to think, oh, Patriots over the Bills, like it’s going to be some easy win, which is so far from the case in the NFL. I just think you have to ignore all the noise because it’s all a bunch of hot air, it’s all a bunch of B.S. You just don’t want to listen to it. You want to try to focus on what you need to focus on.
“Every team presents different challenges. We went into the game feeling like we could match up against these guys. We played great defensively, we played great on special teams against one of the best special teams units in the league. And offensively we got off to a decent start. It was a good win. Now this game that’s coming up is the one that’s the most important one of the year.”
The Patriots relied more on their running game Sunday than they have in a while, rushing the ball 34 times compared to 26 passes.
“Well, we wanted to stay balanced; we always want to stay balanced,” Brady said. “It just turned out that our execution in the run game was really good all day, and our execution in the pass game probably wasn’t as good as what it’s been. As the game evolved, we got out to a lead and then tried to just play smart and play aggressive — try to play aggressive but for the most part try to force them to defend our running game, and our running game really set the tone there the whole second half. In the first half, too, we were really efficient running the ball. Our backs did a great job finding the holes. The line did a great job against a really good defensive front.”
|Logan Mankins really loves to stick it to so-called ‘experts’||12.22.13 at 10:24 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — The smile on his face said it all.
In the afterglow of a 41-7 romp over the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens, Logan Mankins was asked if he thought the Patriots and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels proved a point with their physical, pounding running game on Sunday.
“When he called the runs, we did a good job of encouraging him to keep calling them,” Mankins said of McDaniels. “If you go out there and get stuffed on the line of scrimmage every time, it’s hard for him to call it again. But if you’re productive, then it makes it easy for him to keep calling it.”
The Patriots ran the ball 34 times for 142 yards – a 4.2 yards per carry average. They passed just 26 times. Mankins started his first game of the season at left tackle in place of Nate Solder and contained Terrell Suggs all day.
“Well, the experts, I know they always have all the answers,” Mankins beamed. “They really had them when they picked the winner of this game. So, when they don’t mention us as physical I always say, ‘Just go ask the guy that lines up from us if we’re physical.'”
|Five things you have to know about the Ravens||12.17.13 at 7:15 pm ET|
The Patriots will try to close out the AFC East and put a major dent in the playoff hopes of the Ravens when they travel to Baltimore for a Sunday afternoon contest. Here are five things you have to know about the Ravens.
1. They almost always do a really good job at defending Tom Brady.
Old warhorses like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer around, but the Ravens remain are as stout as they come defensively. There are some questions about their ability to close defensively — they’ve allowed 96 points in the fourth quarter this season, the most of any AFC team still in the playoff chase — but there’s still a lot to like about what they’re doing. They’re in the top 10 when it comes to total defense (334 yards per game allowed, ninth-best in the league), run defense (102.4 rush yards per game allowed, seventh-best in the league) and points per game allowed (19.8 per game, seventh-best in the league). They are one team that consistently makes things difficult for Brady, who is 2-3 against them in his last five games. Over the course of his career, the quarterback averages 57 percent when it comes to his completion rate, and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 8-10 in his career against Baltimore. (According to Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, the Ravens have held Brady under 6.8 YPA in six of eight career meetings.) With New England facing a dicey situation when it comes to offensive line depth, particular at tackle, the pressure off the edges will be a concern — old friend Terrell Suggs (9 sacks) figures to have something to say about this one before the week is done, and Elvis Dumervil (9.5 sacks) should also be a handful for the Patriots offensive line.
2. They have almost as much experience playing close games this season as the Patriots.
When the Patriots and Ravens meet Sunday, chances are good that it’ll be a close game. Eleven of the 14 games New England has played this year have been decided by seven points or less, while Baltimore has played in 10 games decided by seven points or less. The Ravens have gone 5-5 in their games decided by a touchdown or less, while the Patriots are 7-4. Baltimore has won their last three games by a total of seven points, which includes Monday’s win over the Lions, a contest that wasn’t decided until Justin Tucker connected on his sixth field goal of the night, a 61-yarder than lifted the Ravens to an 18-16 win. All that comes against a backdrop of almost nothing but close games between these two teams — since 2004, five of the eight games between Patriots and Ravens have been decided by six points or less. Expect another close one come Sunday afternoon.
|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘We don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them’||12.16.13 at 7:55 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was uncharacteristically brief in his postgame press conference following Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Dolphins, joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to expound on his frustration about the disappointing loss.
The Patriots had the ball deep in Miami territory in the final seconds but could not get the go-ahead touchdown in the loss that prevented the Patriots from clinching the AFC East title and cost them the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
“That was really one that we let kind of get away,” Brady said. “We had a lot of great opportunities to win the game and win a division title and just came up short. It’s just frustrating all the way around. We got off to a better start than we got off to the previous, whatever, three or four weeks, and went in at halftime with the lead. It felt like we moved the ball pretty good all day, we just couldn’t get enough points on the board. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get the ball in the end zone.”
The Patriots are playing without a number of key offensive weapons — Rob Gronkowski being the latest to go down with his season-ending knee injury last Sunday — but Brady isn’t interested in using that as an excuse for the team’s offensive struggles.
“The truth is we had plenty of chances anyway, so I don’t think any of things really matter yesterday,” Brady said. “Is it great to have everyone healthy? Yeah, of course it is. But that didn’t matter yesterday. We had plenty of chances without those guys on the field. We just have to come up with ways to score more points, because it’s not going to cut it, 20 points.
“Like I said, we do things well enough at times to move the ball down the field, get ourselves in good position. But then we don’t do enough to make plays when we really need to make them.”
As frustrated as he is with his team’s inability to score on the final possession, Brady said it’s just as important that the Patriots find a way to finish drives earlier in the game.
“If we can score more points and make it tougher on the other team, it won’t always have to come down to a last-second play,” Brady said. “We’ve made plenty of them this year, which has been great. Yesterday we were right on the cusp there of doing it again. We just didn’t quite do enough.”
Added Brady: “We just all have to do a better job, because our margin of error is very slim. We can’t make any mistakes or give them any opportunities. If we have plays that are there to be made, then I’ve got to throw it and hit it. We’ve got to come up with them.
“We’re not winning by 30 points. Every game comes down to the end. We’ve just got to do a better job when we have opportunities as a team in all three phases to make plays to help us secure wins.”
|Heath Evans on M&M: ‘Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth’||02.28.13 at 1:21 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to defend Tom Brady against critics of the quarterback’s new contract and call out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for being “an absolute fool” in his latest attack on the Patriots.
Brady generally has received high praise for his restructured contract, although there is a faction that is critical of him for setting the contractual bar lower. Some Boston media members sounded off on Brady on a local TV show Wednesday.
Said Evans: “There’s two parts of the media I never want to be equated with. One, I don’t know what I’m talking about, which those people don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know who they are, but you can tell them they can call me and apologize any time they want for not knowing what they’re talking about.
“And then two, the idea that they actually think this is going to affect other people’s contracts. Here’s the thought: In 2015 our cap changes. The cap is going to increase $20 million a year. So if Tom is still playing lights-out football like I expect he will be, he’s going to go right back to the table and get a whole bunch more guaranteed money. He’s not affecting his overall purse very much as long as he’s still playing well, which — we’re betting on Tom Brady, he’s going to be here.
“They make news out of nothing. This isn’t news. This is one of probably the greatest quarterbacks of all-time saying, ‘Hey, I want to put myself in a position in my twilight years to win another ring or two, or at least get back to the big dance and have a chance.’ That’s exactly what he did. We should applaud Brady for what he’s doing.”
Added Evans: “It’s stupid media, and I don’t ever want to be a part of that.”
Suggs, the Ravens veteran who blasted the Patriots after the AFC championship game, joined The Big Show on Wednesday and insisted “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots” due to their arrogance. Evans, who played fullback for the Patriots from 2005 until 2008, dismissed Suggs’ comments.
“He’s an absolute fool. He is,” Evans said. “Maybe he’s one of the best pass-rushers that we’ve seen in a long time, but he’s a fool if doesn’t believe that [teams respect the Patriots]. For me, I say things that I believe in. ‘¦ I just speak the truth. And the truth is, people are scared to death when they step on the field to face Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, a healthy [Rob] Gronkowski, a healthy Aaron Hernandez, defensively Jerod Mayo is one of the best middle linebackers in this game, Vince Wilfork, there is no match for him.
“Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth. Are you a heck of a player? Absolutely, an amazing player. But give me a break. I watch this film, I watch how people move and react according to what the Patriots do. I watch this whole league sit back and try to copy them. Heck, [Ravens tight ends] Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta is a formula of what New England is trying to do.
“So, give me a break. Don’t just get on airways and speak nonsense. Watch game tape, know this game inside and out, and then speak your opinion based on facts that are truly evident to everyone across this business, that knows this business inside and out. When people come out speaking that nonsense, it screams of insecurity. It screams of the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we actually beat them again, somehow we got lucky and actually did it, and whoo-hoo, and now we’ve got a Super Bowl ring.’ That’s what it says to me.”
|Terrell Suggs: ‘I guarantee the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots’||02.27.13 at 4:34 pm ET|
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs joined The Big Show on Wednesday, discussing his frustration with the Patriots and explaining why he called them “the most arrogant pricks in the world” after Baltimore defeated New England in the AFC championship game.
“Do I apologize for what I said? No. Do I mean what I said? Yeah,” Suggs said. “Could I have worded it a little better? Probably, but the fact of the matter is you can’t really consider it a rivalry because you have a few more championships than we do, but this has been steaming for a while.”
Suggs pointed to the way Patriots players behaved when the teams met in the 2007 season as why he doesn’t like them, adding that the league bent over backward to accommodate Tom Brady after his season-ending injury in 2008.
“There was the whole invention of the Brady rule,” he said. “Years before, I hit Drew Brees and I accidentally tore his knee up. No rule was made. Of all the quarterbacks in the NFL who got their knees blown out when they got hit — Carson Palmer got his knee blown out — but then one guy got hit and changed the whole rule for the NFL?”
Suggs said that he doesn’t feel the Patriots “respect anybody,” and that he “guarantees the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots.”
He also added that players who have played in New England share stories of what’s wrong with the organization, though he wouldn’t specify.
“The NFL is not very big,” he said. “You think we don’t talk to guys that have played for the New England Patriots, that have been on the New England Patriots that have been like, ‘Oh, it’s been like this.’
“It ain’t just me. Why did Bart Scott say the same thing? You think it’s just us? You think it’s just got something to do with us? No. This is because we have inside information. We know.”
For more on the Patriots, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Terrell Suggs may hate Patriots, but he has ‘utmost respect for No. 12′||01.21.13 at 1:55 am ET|
FOXBORO — Terrell Suggs insists he may hate the “arrogant” Patriots but he has nothing but respect for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after the Ravens beat the Patriots, 28-13, in the AFC championship Sunday at Gillette.
“All B.S. aside, all ego and arrogance aside,” Suggs said in referring to the Patriots, “that is one hell of a ballclub. You’ve got to play perfect to beat them. We did damn near just that to win this game. I’m speaking to you with so much humility because it’s a great victory for the city of Baltimore and the Ravens.
“If we went through somebody else, it wouldn’t have been the same. It is a rivalry between us and them, me and ’12’ but even enemies can show respect and they get the most.”
Did he get a chance to seek out Brady afterward?
“I didn’t,” he said. “I was too busy looking for my wife and celebrating with my fans.”
Suggs said what made the win so special was avenging the loss in New England 12 months earlier.
‘Any other team with this win would have been unjustified,” Suggs said. “Especially how the game last year ended, and who 12 (Tom Brady) is, and who their head coach is, and who their owner is. Between these two teams, you won’t get another battle like this between two AFC opponents. We have the utmost respect for them.’
Suggs went into a tirade against the Patriots after the game, walking off the field. How would he characterize the emotion?
‘It is still surreal,” he said. “What we did as a unit. But let’s not be fooled, that team isn’t done. It will probably be these two teams at it again next year.’
Are the Patriots truly arrogant?
‘They have the right to be,” he added. “You have three titles and six appearances, with 12 (Tom Brady) under center, they have the right to be. We respect them. That is it, even enemies can show respect.’
‘We still got one more win we aren’t satisfied. We know we match up real well with them. We are probably the only team in the AFC that matches up good with the boy number 12 over there and his coach. They are a good ball club, but we have a good one ourselves.’