|Tom Brady on playing 60 good minutes: ‘We’ve got to start doing that at some point’||12.04.13 at 6:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady knows the potential of these Patriots. He also knows it’s about time they start showing it for a whole game.
This weekend presents that opportunity as the 4-8 Cleveland Browns come calling at Gillette Stadium for a showdown with the 9-3 Patriots, who with a win, can clinch a playoff spot and possibly a division title.
With so much on the line, the Patriots do not want to come out and begin the game like they did last Sunday in Houston against the two-win Texans. They trailed 10-0 early and 17-7 at halftime.
“I know, We’ve started slow too many times this year, and it’s hard to keep playing from behind,” Brady said. “I think we talk about it; we’re trying to get better at it. There’s no magic formula, just like there’s really no magic formula to what we’re doing in the second half. It’s just really the execution needs to be a lot better at the start of the game, and really we’ve got to have great execution for the entire game.
“That’s the most important thing. We’ve played some really good teams, really good defenses that have put a lot of pressure on us, so it’s hard sometimes to play 60 good minutes of football, but we’ve got to start doing that at some point. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’ve got to put together a good game.”
Brady was also asked if he had heard about or seen the video of Cleveland back-up QB Alex Tanney, who is splitting reps in practice while Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are cleared for activity but not practice. In the video, Tanney is the “Minnesota Fats” of football, turning every pass into a trick shot.
“I haven’t seen it,” Brady admitted. “I will look it up. I remember the kicking [video]. That was pretty good. I saw that one.”
Brady was advised that the video is a “must see.”
“All right, I’ll check it out,” Brady said.
|Houston security guards fired for taking photos with Tom Brady||12.03.13 at 2:33 pm ET|
Two Reliant Stadium security guards who were working the Texans-Patriots game on Sunday lost their jobs after taking a picture with Tom Brady following New England’s 34-31 win.
Joel Williams, one of the security guards, told KHOU.com that he ran into Brady after he had clocked out of his shift for the day.
“I said, ‘Hey Tom Brady, good job, good game man.’ He looked at me and smiled,” Williams said. “He was very polite, very nice guy, humble. Sometimes I see players and say hello, and they just keep walking.”
After taking the picture, Williams was approached by his supervisor, who fired him on the spot.
“Immediately after I took the picture, I got ran down by a supervisor,” Williams said. “They didn’t really give a reason, they said you know you’re wrong and you’re fired.”
“What they say and what they practice are two different things,” said Christopher Moore, the other guard who was fired for taking a photo with Brady.. “What we see on a daily basis, whether it be Reliant or CSC employees, is them taking pictures and asking for autographs from players.”
CSC, which stands for Contemporary Services Corporation, justified its actions in a statement sent to KHOU.
“It is strictly against CSC policy for its employees to request photos or autographs from players. CSC stands by its decision to terminate the two employees who violated this policy.”
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 14: Patriots jump to No. 3||at 10:44 am ET|
The dominance continues. Seattle’s reign atop the WEEI NFL Power Rankings has reached its seventh straight week. The Seahawks look like a lock to play in New Jersey in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Panthers (2), Patriots (3) and Broncos (4) all inch one spot closer while the Saints drop out of the top five after being absolutely dismantled in Seattle. New Orleans won’t have much time to think about the loss because the red-hot Panthers are next on the schedule in a battle for the NFC South.
As the regular season draws closer to an end, we’ll see more teams officially eliminated from the playoffs. It looks like at least five playoff teams from 2012 won’t make a return trip in 2013. The Packers (20), Vikings (27), Redskins (28, already eliminated) Falcons (29) and Texans (32) have not lived up to expectations.
1. (1) Seahawks (11-1) – Good luck to any NFC team that has to go through Seattle to reach the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson hasn’t lost at CenturyLink Field and is 22-6 since becoming the starting QB last year.
2. (3) Panthers (9-3) — Owners of eight straight wins, the Panthers and their highly ranked defense will take on the Saints on Sunday night.
3. (4) Patriots (9-3) — As usual, the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady-led Patriots get stronger and better as the season shifts to November and December. They are one win and one Miami loss away from wrapping up their 11th division title in 13 seasons.
4. (5) Broncos (10-2) — The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through Denver. The Broncos’ remaining opponents have a combined 16-32 record. None of the four teams they will face have a record over .500.
5. (6) 49ers (8-4) — The injuries on the offensive line combined with the inconsistency of the run game over the past two weeks are a concern heading into Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Salk & Holley on Monday afternoon to discuss New England’s 34-31 victory over the Texans on Sunday, the decision to bench Stevan Ridley in the game, and Antonio Smith‘s postgame comments regarding the Patriots’ second-half comeback.
Sunday’s game against Houston started off in similar fashion to the Patriots’ previous game against the Broncos, as New England looked sluggish and unfocused over the first two quarters. At the end of the first half, the 2-9 Texans had built a 17-7 lead.
“We’ve just got to do a better job, I’ve got to do a better job preparing the team for the beginning part of the game. We’ve got to do a better job executing then,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t great. I didn’t think we took advantage of some of the opportunities that we had and we gave them some, and obviously the interception set them up and fortunately we were able to hold them to three on that.
“We gave up two good drives defensively. … We were trying to find our rhythm and our execution on a number of things yesterday, and it wasn’t a great feeling.”
New England’s first-half slump would not last, as Tom Brady and company outscored the Texans by a 27-14 margin in the final two quarters to come away with the 34-31 victory.
One notable move that Belichick made before Sunday’s game was to list Ridley as inactive. Despite showing talent out of the backfield with 2,280 career yards in 42 NFL games, Ridley has struggled with holding on to the football, as he has nine fumbles in his career, with six of those being recovered by the opposing team.
“We make those decisions week to week,” Belichick said. “Every week, we have to make a decision as to who we feel are the players that we’ll activate for the game, and sometimes injuries and the availability of a player takes care of that. After that, it comes down to decisions that we make as a coaching staff. … That’s the way that it is every week.”
After the game, Smith, the Texans defensive lineman, made postgame comments questioning the Patriots’ ability to turn around their play in the second half, calling their adjustments “highly suspicious.” (Smith said Monday that he was joking.)
“I’m sure [Houston] is frustrated,” Belichick said. They lost to us twice last year and lost to us again down there at home. We’ve seen that before and I’m sure there was some frustration. … There’s nothing we can do about, we just have to worry about what we can do.”
|Antonio Smith: Patriots ‘spying’ comments were a joke||12.02.13 at 11:08 pm ET|
After saying there was something “fishy” and “highly suspicious” about the way the Patriots were able to make adjustments in the second half of New England’s 34-31 win over Houston on Sunday, Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith quickly backtracked from his comments on Monday, saying it was all a joke.
“It tickles me how much the country loves the Patriots so much they take everything so seriously,” Smith told reporters Monday evening. “I wasn’t angry or serious and I didn’t say that’s why they beat us.”
After the Patriots rallied from a 10-point deficit with a 27-point second half to pin the 10th straight loss of the year on the Texans, Smith intimated something was up with the way things happened in the second half.
“You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half,” Smith told reporters after the game. “It’s miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We’d not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right.
“Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they work so hard at their craft. But you have to be a descendent of ‘Tones-tradamus’ to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast. I’ve got the only crystal ball in existence. I don’t know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something’s going on.”
On Monday, Smith was singing a difference tune, saying he wasn’t aware his comments created such a controversy.
“I was definitely surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think anything else about it after we talked until I woke up this morning and everybody wanted to kill me on Instagram.
“My teammates were telling me about ESPN. I don’t really watch ESPN that much, but [my teammates] pretty much got a good laugh out of it, me being the butt of everybody’s jokes today. I had no idea it would have that (kind of) effect.”
Smith said it was taken the wrong way.
“I said it, but you have to check the manner in which I said it,” he added. “I didn’t accuse them of beating us with cheating. Come on, don’t you have a sense of humor? Though it may be something I was curious about it, I wasn’t thinking they spied on us or they were cheating.
“Half the stuff I say is spontaneous and witty, and I don’t think anything else about it. I’m sorry I said the word spying. I was joking and having fun with it.”
Asked about it on Monday, Belichick said it was a league matter, while Brady dismissed it, saying he didn’t think much of the allegations. And Texans coach Gary Kubiak didn’t sound like he was too pleased with Smith’s comments.
“I have the utmost respect for their organization, their players, their coaches, their head coach,” Kubiak said. “I mean, the standard that they’ve been setting for a long, long time in this league. They did a great job (Sunday). They’ve been doing it for a long time.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about New England’s 34-31 win over the Texans on Sunday.
The Patriots moved to 9-3 on the season, but Houston defensive end Antonio Smith stole the spotlight with his comments after his team’s 10th straight loss. After the game Smith said he was “very suspicious” of New England’s adjustments in the second half, after the Patriots fell behind 17-7 in the first 30 minutes.
“It’s kind of a silly comment,” Ninkovich said. “I’m sure they’re a little upset that in the second half they couldn’t stop Tom [Brady] and our offense. It’s a comment where I really don’t know where that would come from.”
Stephen Gostkowski kicked the game-winning field goal with just over three minutes remaining to complete the comeback. The Texans also held a 31-28 lead in the fourth quarter.
“It’s an emotional game that we play, and people put a lot of heart and effort into preparing for a football game,” Ninkovich said, adding: “That’s a tough loss. … When you lose 10 in a row, I’m sure there’s a ton of frustration in that locker room.”
Ninkovich and his defensive unit did not play well against the hapless Texans. Rookie quarterback Case Keenum threw for 272 yards, and running back Ben Tate rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns. Keenum also ran for a touchdown.
“We definitely do have to do a better job of playing our responsibilities and everyone doing their job,” said Ninkovich, who made four tackles and recorded two QB hits. “Good team defense is everybody playing their gap responsibly and not having those holes.”
The game was the Patriots’ second straight come-from-behind win. Two weeks ago, New England trailed the Broncos 24-0 heading into the third quarter. The Patriots went on to win 34-31 in overtime.
“We need to figure it out and play better, because you can’t spot a team 17, 24 [points], whatever it may be, in the first half and expect to win every game,” Ninkovich said.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, joining Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning for his weekly conversation, dismissed the insinuation by Texans defensive lineman Antonio Smith that the Patriots somehow cheated in order to gain an advantage in Sunday’s 34-31 comeback victory in Houston.
The Patriots trailed by 10 points at halftime but turned things around in the second half. Smith questioned how New England could have figured out what the Texans were doing defensively and made the necessary adjustments so quickly and seamlessly.
Brady said the players learned of Smith’s comments after their plane landed back home Sunday night.
“Truthfully, we just played a little bit better in the second half,” Brady said. “We’ve kind of been through a lot of this before, so I don’t really think much of it, truthfully. I just kind of have moved on. I’ve already started work on the Browns and trying to figure out a way to play those guys better and get off to a better start.
“Houston was a really good team and they played well. We certainly didn’t play well in the first half to get us in that deficit. They’ve got a good defense, they’ve got good cover guys. With [J.J.] Watt and Antonio Smith they can really rush the quarterback. It was a tough game, but we found a way to win on the road, which was something that we talked about all week.”
Brady explained that the Patriots did not make major adjustments until halftime, but he said the turnaround had more to do with performance than strategy.
“If you have a bad first drive, you don’t really come over to the sideline and go, ‘All right, guys, we’ve got to change everything. Let’s scrap all the crap we’ve been practicing all week and just start making stuff up on the fly.’ But I think by halftime you have really a good enough sample size to figure out how the game’s being played, the matchups that go in our favor and the matchups that don’t go in our favor, maybe there’s some new things that they’ve done that we’ve got to adjust to,” he said.
“But ultimately, after halftime when you get a chance to kind of evaluate and say, ‘OK, well, how did that half play out?,’ you’ve got to be able to say, ‘Well, let’s stick with it and stick with what we’re doing,’ kind of what we did against Denver, or last week we said, ‘OK, these are some of the things that we’re going to get to and these are some of the matchups that we like, and we’ve got to start making the plays that we’re capable of making.’ You can call the perfect play against the perfect defense, but if I make a crappy throw, it doesn’t matter. It’s a nonproductive play. I know it’s boring, but execution is the name of the game.
“I thought we did a good job there in the second half of trying to figure out — they had a few new things that they had implemented for our game, and they definitely did some different things than we were expecting, but nothing that really blew our mind. It just was different, and we had to adjust. Then the execution ultimately was better in the second half than it was in the first half, obviously. I think that was the major difference.”
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