|Details emerge of how Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey was stolen||03.20.17 at 11:58 am ET|
One of the bigger storylines following Super Bowl LI was not Tom Brady and the Patriots winning their fifth Super Bowl, but rather Brady’s jersey being stolen from the Patriots locker room after the game.
A month and a half later, it’s been found thanks to the FBI, along with his Super Bowl XLIX jersey that was also stolen — by the same person posing as an international media member.
On Fox Sports’ “Undisputed” Jay Glazer explained exactly what happened.
“Well he doesn’t have to go on eBay anymore, because the investigation is leading to that jersey, as well as his Super Bowl jersey from a couple of years ago, going back to the New England Patriots and Tom Brady,” Glazer said. “So here’s actually what happened. The FBI and the NFL security, along with Patriots security and the Houston PD, they actually went through all this video to try and track somebody down, and they zeroed in on somebody, a person of interest.
“That person of interest, from what I’m told, is an international member of the media. I don’t believe he’s actually a member of the media, but he was posing as a member of the international media. Got credentialed, it’s been going on for quite some time.
“And he actually, from what I’m told, they have him going into the locker room right behind Bill Belichick as if he’s with the team. Goes in there, loiters around a little while and is seen leaving the locker room – this is the video they’re trying to look at right now – seen leaving a little bit later with something under his arm.
“He goes in without anything under his arm, just your normal media backpack, comes out later with the backpack plus something under his arm. They’ve all zeroed in now, and from what I understand, Houston PD just put out that they were found down in Mexico and had to deal with authorities there to get them back on American soil. They had to authenticate them, make sure these were actually Tom Brady’s jerseys, and in fact they were. From what I understand, they will be returned to the Patriots and Brady some time this week.”
It’s also worth noting Glazer reported the same person that swiped Brady’s jerseys is suspected of taking Von Miller’s helmet after Super Bowl 50.
|What was the biggest key to Patriots’ win over Broncos? Marcus Cannon shutting down Von Miller||12.19.16 at 6:08 pm ET|
Going into Sunday’s game against the Broncos, there was great concern when it came to protecting Tom Brady, as the last time the Patriots faced the Broncos Brady was hit 20 times in the AFC title game, a 20-18 loss for the Patriots.
Sunday was a much different story partly because of the game plan, but also because of the strong play of the offensive line.
Brady was sacked just twice and hit only five times in the Patriots’ 16-3 win.
A major part in that was right tackle Marcus Cannon keeping Von Miller in check, as he finished the game with five tackles and no sacks or quarterback hits.
“He’s one of the best players in the league at any position, I’m talking about [Von] Miller, and their entire defense is tremendous. They’re really well-coached,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on Monday’s conference call. “Coach [Wade] Phillips does a great job. Their entire staff does a great job. They always have a great game plan, and they make every yard hard. We tried to have some presence on him, but I thought Marcus [Cannon] did a really consistent job of just trying to make it hard on him and keep him from having an easy path inside to the quarterback; tried to be physical when we had our opportunities. We ran the ball a lot, so that was a change for us in the last few games we’ve played against them.
“Marcus is continuing to improve and get better and better each week. He’s answered every challenge that’s been put in front of him and this was certainly one of if not the top players in the league, so Marcus did a nice job of doing his assignment, playing within the scheme, and trying to just make it tough for him to make big plays and impact the game in a negative fashion.”
Cannon also helped in the run game, as the Patriots rushed for 136 yards, including a season-high 95 for Dion Lewis.
Bill Belichick was impressed too, and noted how because of the way Denver played defense it was Miller consistently lining up opposite Cannon, instead of moving him around like they’ve done in the past.
“Denver put [Von] Miller on our right side most all the entire game,” Belichick said on Monday’s conference call. “Previously he had been mainly playing the ‘Sam’ in their base defense and going to the tight end. Yesterday he was almost always on our right, so those two really were matched up a lot. But I think Marcus [Cannon] did a real solid job for us, as he always does. Sometimes he was on Miller, sometimes he wasn’t. He was on defensive ends or combination blocking the linebackers and so forth. They certainly saw plenty of each other. I thought Marcus competed well.
“Our offensive line competed well against that front seven which is a very good group. But Marcus, he did a good job for us in the running game and the passing game. He’s done that for us all year.”
It was games like Sunday that prove Cannon is in fact worth his new five-year, $32 million contract.
|Aqib Talib: Broncos ‘aren’t scared of [Tom] Brady at all’||12.18.16 at 9:56 pm ET|
Overall, the Denver defense did a good job against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, limiting them to 16 points, their fewest since being shutout by the Bills in Week 4.
But despite the strong performance, the Broncos still fell to the Patriots, 16-3.
“We don’t fear Brady,” cornerback Aqib Talib told reporters after the game. “We aren’t scared of Brady at all, so we’re going to line up and play just like he’s any other quarterback. We’re going to prepare and play just like he’s any other quarterback. That’s what we feel like we did today.”
Another member of the secondary, Chris Harris Jr., said that was the toughest part of the loss — limiting Brady to just 16 points and still coming up short.
“That’s what makes it sick, when we come out and play stout like we did today,” he told reporters. “We could’ve played a little bit better, try to get some turnovers, but they didn’t really have to take a lot of chances. They didn’t really have to throw the ball down the field a lot. It’s hard to make plays when we don’t get that many targets.”
Added Harris Jr.: “Any time you lose a game to the Patriots or a rival game, everybody is frustrated. We feel like we played almost good enough defense to win that game. I don’t know if I’ve ever kept [Patriots QB Tom] Brady under 16 points, and we did that today.”
A big reason for the Patriots coming out on top was the job the offensive line did against Von Miller, limiting him to only five tackles and no sacks or quarterback hits.
The last time the Broncos faced the Patriots, they hit Brady 20 times in the AFC title game.
“Every team game plans against me,” Miller told reporters. “I’m still able to make it happen. The Patriots are one of the best teams in football, but we’ve made it happen before. We’ve just got to make it happen again. We’ll see those guys, whether it’s the playoffs or next year, we’ll see them again and we’ll be ready to go.”
It will now be an uphill battle for the Broncos to make the postseason, while for the Patriots two more wins will give them the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC.
|Scouting Report: What you have to know about Patriots-Broncos||12.17.16 at 12:24 pm ET|
Everything you need to know for Sunday’s game between the Patriots (11-2) and Broncos (8-5) in Denver.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN THE BALL
First, a mea culpa: I was completely wrong last week when it came to New England’s run game. I didn’t think the Patriots would have the stones to run it as much as they did against the Ravens, and I was stone cold wrong. LeGarrette Blount was immense in the win over Baltimore, leading the way against the toughest run defense in the league. With that out of the way, let me tell you that unless Blount (248 carries, 1,028 yards, 14 TDs) gets the ball 20-plus times against the Broncos, something is amiss. At 29th overall, Denver is one of the worst run defenses in the league, as the Broncos allow 127.2 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Blount and the New England run game is on a roll, with at least 80 yards per game in the last five contests. (That includes 171 rushing yards as a team against the Niners last month.) Expect the Patriots to go all-in on the likes of Blount, as well as James White (33 carries, 132 yards) and Dion Lewis (19 carries, 88 yards) in an attempt to overmatch the Broncos. The real impact should be felt in the second half; if New England is up double-digits in the third and fourth quarter, the Patriots will lean heavily on their big back down the stretch in hopes of getting them to the finish line. A winnable matchup for New England.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS THE BALL
Strength against strength. The Patriots are one of the best passing teams in the league (fourth at 280 yards per game, even without Tom Brady for the first month of the season), while the Broncos boast the best pass defense in the game (183 yards allowed per contest). When you throw in the fact that Brady has traditionally struggled in Denver (he’s pretty much a .500 proposition when facing Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips), it shouldn’t give you the same level of confidence if he was going up against, say, a Jack Del Rio defense. Denver has more interceptions (12) than touchdowns allowed (10). Aqib Talib and Darian Stewart have three interceptions each, while Von Miller (13.5 sacks) and Shane Ray (6 sacks) lead the pass rush. Additionally, the Broncos’ 38 sacks are second in the league to Carolina (39).
On Sunday, Brady (69 percent completion rate, 2,876 yards, 22 TDs, 2 INTs, 113.6 passer rating) will look for a variety of targets, including Julian Edelman (79 catches, 126 targets, 791 yards, 2 TDs), Martellus Bennett (48 catches, 62 targets, 614 yards, 5 TDs) and Malcolm Mitchell (28 catches, 42 targets, 358 yards, 4 TDs). Our guess is that Aqib Talib gets Edelman, at least for a sizable portion of the day. And while those guys can’t be discounted, it’s the running backs out of the backfield who could be the difference-makers on Sunday: the Broncos have occasionally struggled to defend backs in the passing game, and if that remains the case, the James White/Dion Lewis combo (50 catches, 474 yards, 4 TDs for White; 12 catches, 76 yards for Lewis) could be a big focus for Brady and the Patriots’ passing game on Sunday.
One other potential area of focus for the Patriots: Denver has a fluid situation at inside linebacker, as inside linebacker Todd Davis is returning from a strained oblique that knocked him out of last week’s game, while fellow inside linebacker Brandon Marshall has already been ruled out because of a hamstring. With Denver’s defensive line and secondary so strong, there could be some vulnerabilities when it comes to short crossing patterns over the middle.
|Could David Andrews be the key to keeping Tom Brady safe from Von Miller?||12.14.16 at 9:04 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Last season, Tom Brady could be forgiven if he thought Von Miller turned into Lawrence Taylor.
In their first meeting on Nov. 29, 2015, Miller had four tackles and a sack. In the AFC championship, he was even more devastating. The would-be Super Bowl MVP recorded five tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception against Brady in a 20-18 win over the Patriots.
Miller is once again having a monstrous season and is in the conversation – along with Oakland’s Khalil Mack – for NFL defensive player of the year. He’s got 13.5 sacks, 60 tackles and two forced fumbles. What’s going through Brady’s mind when he sees Miller on film?
“I think he’s pretty great every single play, every game,” Brady said Wednesday. “I think he’s actually gotten better in all phases of the game, not just as a rusher but dropping into coverage, covering guys, playing the run. He’s a phenomenal player.
“I never played against Lawrence Taylor, but I watched a lot of Lawrence Taylor and they’ve got the same number, or two digits from one another, but they look like they can go kill the quarterback, so he’s done a great job of that.”
Last year, in both the game in the snow of late November and the AFC championship, Miller was able to jump the snap count. In both games, it was apparent that the team had protection issues along the line. In both games, Bryan Stork was the center. This time, it will be David Andrews. Both Brady and Belichick noted Wednesday how important he’s been in stabilizing the protection calls and what he might be able to do in keeping Miller and DeMarcus Ware somewhat off balance.
“He’s done a great job,” Brady said of Andrews. “He’s done a great job. He has been so consistent and dependable for us in his calls and his control of the line of scrimmage. He’s had an incredible year.
“They do a pretty good job of that. I think as the game goes on, I think they try to get a good understanding of how you’re snapping the ball, the cadence and the pace of things, so we’ve got to do a good job of keeping them off balance. I think every team tries to do that. When you go in there, you see the teams trying different things, but if you can’t communicate verbally, then you’ve got to do things non-verbally. We’ve just got to do a good job of keeping them from really teeing off.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|5 things to know about Broncos: Defending champs entering must-win mode||12.13.16 at 10:10 pm ET|
Five things you have to know about the Broncos (8-5) who will host the Patriots (11-2) Sunday in Denver.
They have a very good pass defense. The Broncos have been up and down across the board all season long, and while they have had serious problems when it comes to defending the run (more on that in a second), they are still the best in the league when it comes to pass defense. Denver allows an average of 183 passing yards per game, and have more interceptions as a team (12) than touchdown passes allowed (10). Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees were the only three quarterbacks to top 200 passing yards against Denver this season. Aqib Talib and Darian Stewart have three interceptions each. while Von Miller (13.5 sacks) and Shane Ray (6 sacks) lead the pass rush. As a team, their 38 sacks are second in the league to Carolina (39). Overall, Tom Brady is 5-3 when going against a Wade Phillips’ defense over the course of his career, with a 59 percent completion rate (202-for-343) with 2,493 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, seven interceptions and 16 sacks.
They do not have a good run defense. As good as the Broncos are when it comes to pass defense, they’re that bad against the run. Denver is 29th in the league against the run, allowing a whopping 127.2 rushing yards per game. The Broncos have struggled to hold opponents to under 100 yards on the ground; in eight of their 13 games, Denver has seen the opposition go over the century mark in rushing, and in three of their last five, teams have topped 150 yards. (Oakland put up 218 rushing yards in a win over the Broncos last month.) Might be a good day for LeGarrette Blount.
They also struggle to run the ball. The Broncos are 27th in the league in rushing with an average of 93.8 rushing yards per game and their 3.8 yards per carry is 28th overall. There have been positive moments, but those have been few and far between this year. Things bottomed out for Denver last week when the Broncos had a season-low 18 rushing yards in a road loss to the Titans. Justin Forsett (6 carries, 17 yards) and Devontae Booker (149 carries, 511 yards, 3 TDs) have been tasked with carrying the load, but they’re coming up short. Overall, Denver has topped 100 yards on the ground in just six of its 13 games this season. With the recent improvements in New England’s run defense — the Patriots have gone from allowing 101.6 rushing yards per game a month ago to 90.2 entering this weekend — it probably won’t make much sense for the Broncos to challenge New England on the ground.
Trevor Siemian is no Peyton Manning. In his first full year as a starter, Siemian is 230-for-376 (61 percent) with 2,730 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passing rating of 89.7. OK, but not good enough to jumpstart an occasionally sluggish Denver offense. The best game of the year for the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder came in a September win over the Bengals in Cincinnati when he finished 23-for-35 for 312 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of 132.1. When he throws, he’s looking for Demaryius Thomas (76 catches, 119 targets, 925 yards, 5 TDs), Emmanuel Sanders (75 catches, 128 targets, 958 yards, 5 TDs) and Booker (21 catches, 29 targets, 153 yards). The simple truth is that the Broncos do not feature the sort of deep passing attack that has occasionally given the Patriots troubles this season. Sunday will mark his first start against a Bill Belichick-led defense.
There’s some desperation. The Broncos have lost three of their last five to fall to 8-5 on the season. Most years, that would still be enough to guarantee an AFC West title, but this isn’t most years. Denver, who is sixth in the current AFC playoff picture, needs a win Sunday to solidify its postseason chances, especially when you consider the Broncos have the toughest slate if you measure by opponents’ winning percentage. (Denver’s three remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .795.)
|As stretch drive looms, who holds lead in race for NFL MVP?||11.21.16 at 11:54 am ET|
In a wide-open chase for this year’s MVP, a handful of candidates have distinguished themselves at the start of the stretch drive. In no particular order, here’s our current top 10.
Quarterback Tom Brady: The quarterback has fallen off the red-hot pace he established through his first few games back after his Deflategate ban, but through his first six games, Brady is still posting comparable numbers to his remarkable 2007 campaign.
Brady, first 6 games, ’16: 145-206 (70%), 1,915 yds, 16 TDs, 1 INT
Brady, first 6 names, ’07: 148-204 (72%), 1,771 yds, 21 TDs, 2 INTs
— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) November 21, 2016
Bottom line? His team currently holds the top spot in the AFC and he’s putting up big numbers. In what is shaping up to be a season where there’s no consensus candidate, he remains a strong possibility to take home his third MVP award.
Quarterback Matt Ryan: The Boston College product has had the best season of his career to this point; with Brady missing the first four games of the year, Ryan is at or near the top of most major passing categories. (If he’s in second, more often than not, the only guy he’s trailing is Drew Brees. And HE isn’t getting any MVP votes this year.) Ryan is 236-for-346 (68 percent) with 3,247 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 115.1 for the 6-4 Falcons. Good numbers that should continue to have him in the hunt as the playoffs loom.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott: With Brady and Ryan, one of three serious candidates at this point on the calendar. The rookie out of Ohio State is having one of the best seasons of any young running back in recent history with 1,102 yards on 223 carries for nine touchdowns in 10 games. The 6-foot, 225-pounder us on pace to finish with a whopping 1,763 rushing yards. If he does that and the Cowboys finish 15-1 or 14-2, it would be hard for many national voters look past him.
Quarterback Dak Prescott: The Elliott-Prescott combination has really clicked for Dallas this year, and the quarterback has done more than his share in getting the Cowboys to 9-1. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder has gone 214-for-316 (68 percent), with 2,640 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, just two picks and a passer rating of 108.6. But could Prescott and Elliott end up splitting votes?
Quarterback Russell Wilson: From this perspective, Wilson has a fantastic opportunity to make a closing statement over the final month-plus of the season. The signal-caller, who finally appears to be over the health issues that dogged him for much of the first half of the season, has the Seahawks back on track and playing fantastic football. The numbers aren’t overwhelming when stacked against some of his contemporaries: on the year, he is 221-for-335 (66 percent), with 2,714 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 99.3 passer rating. But if he stays healthy, Seattle continues to play well down the stretch and ends up with 12 or more wins, Wilson is going to get lots of votes.
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