Patriots

Belichick: Tebow 'absolutely' brings value to Jets

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Belichick: Tebow 'absolutely' brings value to Jets

Somewhere between the folks devoted to covering every breath Tim Tebow takes and the people who would just as soon see him toddle off into football irrelevancy is the truth about Tim.

And Bill Belichick spoke to it on Tuesday. The truth is, there's nobody else like him and -- because of that -- he's got value to the Jets and creates issues for every team he plays. This week, it's the Patriots.

"They've pretty much used him at every spot," Belichick said when asked on a conference call about the difficulty of preparing for the Jets' backup. "He's played more quarterback than anything else but he's also played running back, he's played tight end, he's also been out as a receiver. They've put him in some different spots. As a quarterback, he can run, he can throw, he can run the option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays that Denver ran last year or that (Tony) Sparano ran when he was at Miami. He gives them a lot of versatility on all those things."

The last thing the Jets needed this season was the chaos that Tebow's presence engenders. And, in the mind of the perpetually football-obtuse Jets owner Woody Johnson, on-field ability runs neck-and-neck with buzz and marketability.

But the ancillary result of having Tebow is that -- in the end -- he does have to be dealt with. And there are layers to that.

"He doesn't always line up at quarterback when he's in there on offense so you have to be able to deal with him at other positions as well," Belichick continued. "He's a good runner, a strong runner. A very strong runner. He's mobile in the pocket, a smart player and he can do a lot of different things. You certainly have to be aware when he's in there.

So far, Tebow's thrown it three times -- including once on a fake punt last week against the Colts -- and completed two for 32 yards. He's run it 18 times for 64 yards and has picked up five first downs.

He must be accounted for.

"In the kicking game, he's dangerous," said Belichick. "It's not different than any other punting situation in that you have to cover the eligible receivers you have to be alert for them to snap the ball to the personal protector and whether he runs up the middle or goes on a sweep or however they do it. Those are things you have to prepare for every week with your punt return unit. But the fact that it's him and he's a big strong guy that's a good runner and can throw the ball, he can do a little bit more than a lot of guys that are back there."

So there's value to having him, Belichick was asked?

"Absolutely. There isn't any question about that. We saw him play last year, he quarterbacked that team to the playoffs. He's comfortable in addition to the quarterbacking things he's a versatile, valuable guy."

Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

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Brady enjoys 'unique experience' of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: