Patriots

Brady on the injury he suffered Sunday: 'I've had worse'

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Brady on the injury he suffered Sunday: 'I've had worse'

One day after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury in the second quarter of New England's loss to Miami on Sunday, 20-10, Tom Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show with Kirk Minihane that he was "all right."

"I’m doing all right," he said. "I’m doing all right. We’ll see how it goes this week. Sure there will be some treatment, as always. A lot of guys are banged up. Just part of football season."

Brady said that what he was dealing with wasn't anything markedly worse than plenty of other injuries he's suffered over the course of his career. The only injury that has forced Brady to miss any significant amount of time in his career was when he tore his ACL in the season-opener of the 2008 campaign. He also suffered an ankle injury in the AFC Championship Game in 2001.  

"I’ve had worse," Brady said on Monday morning. "I’ve had plenty of worse injuries than this one."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Brady underwent an MRI on the ankle that revealed a sprain but no breaks, no fractures and he's expected to be ready for the Patriots playoff opener in Foxboro Jan. 16. 

In the WEEI interview, as Brady tried to downplay the ailment, he explained that there wasn't anything more important to him at the moment than feeling close to 100 percent. 

"Suh’s a big guy," Brady said. "He just came down on the back of me. Obviously however big he is — 300 pounds — he just kind of collapses on the back of your leg, there’s going to be some residual damage to that. It’s part of football.

"I’ll just work hard to get the right treatment. I’ve always dealt with injuries. I’m very confident I know how to deal with injuries. Believe me, I’ll be doing everything I can to be out there. There’s nothing else in my life that’s a priority at this point other than getting to feel like I’m a hundred percent."

Brady was asked if he would have been able to play had the Patriots been forced to compete this weekend. Thankfully, Brady replied, he doesn't have to worry about that. 

"I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll just say I’m glad we have a week off," he said. "That obviously helps. I wanted to stay in there and play yesterday and see if I could do some stuff to help our team. We just couldn’t make enough plays. I feel like I’ve said that a lot the last six weeks, but we’re going to have to make more plays offensively if we want to keep advancing. It’s a challenge. You get every team’s best effort. They game-plan us. They’re trying to slow the things down that we do well. We’re going to have to in a way kind of reinvent how he [win], and do the things that we need to do to win the game."

'Man, why do we continue to do this?' Patriots FG block work finally pays off

'Man, why do we continue to do this?' Patriots FG block work finally pays off

FOXBORO -- Stay low. Drive off the tight end's inside shoulder. And whatever you do, keep your feet. You don't want to be falling into kicker and picking up a penalty. 

Those were the kinds of things that were bouncing around somewhere in Cassius Marsh's subconscious as he lined up to try to block Falcons kicker Matt Bryant's field-goal attempt from 37 yards away at the end of the first quarter. Swimming past his blocker off the snap, Marsh got both arms extended and into the path of Bryant's kick, knocking it down and giving his team a boost. 

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"Guys work hard on that every week," Bill Belichick said after his team's 23-7 win. "Cassius has gotten some opportunities in practice. It’s hard to block Steve [Gostkowski]. Steve gets good height on the ball, gets the ball off quickly. I think this one with not quite as much height maybe as Steve's ball, or at least what Steve's balls were in practice, Cassius got a hand on it. 

"It was a big play for us because, again, we worked so hard on that and that’s everybody across the board. That’s all 11 guys, not just the guy that blocks it. The other guys have to do their job and if they block Cassius and take him away then that gives somebody else an opportunity so we never know how that’s going to go. We just want everybody to come hard and do their job right and wherever the opening is it is. That was a big play for us . . . 

"You can see the whole team – we were all excited. Sideline, players, guys on the field. That was a big moment for us. Our special teams units work very hard. They take a lot of pride in their job. The return teams, the coverage teams, the field goal and the field goal block team. It’s good to see that hard work pay off in a big play like that."

It was a big enough play that it earned Marsh a high-five from his coach. Marsh laughed about his reception on the sideline, remembering that the last time he got that kind of recognition from Belichick it came after a Week 4 sack.

"That's pretty much it that I can remember," Marsh said, beaming. "He only really smiles in situations like that so you've gotta cherish those moments."

The Patriots recovered at their own 26-yard line and embarked on an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to get them on the scoreboard.

"With the defense playing as well as they were, to be able to preserve the shutout at the time was big," said special teams captain Matthew Slater. "Those are huge momentum plays when you're able to block a kick. It's not a traditional play that happens every game. Huge play. A UCLA guy stepping up, who would've thought? 

"You gotta tip your hat to those guys because they coach that, they work that and sometimes it seems like, 'Man, why do we continue to do this?' But it paid off for us tonight. You tip your cap to not only Cash but the rest of the guys on that unit." 

While Marsh's block was the highlight, it was a strong night overall for New England's special teams units. Every Falcons drive started inside their own 30-yard line, and Gostkowski had kicks returned to the 12, 19 and 18 before they were stopped.

Slater called it the most complementary game the Patriots played all season. Offense, defense, special teams. They all worked together to make Sunday perhaps their most dominating performance of the year. 

"That's the effort that we've been looking for and striving for all year," Slater said. "I think that's a good starting point for us. Lot of football left. Nine games left so we're going to have to continue to do it and be consistent week in and week out."

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Butler credits improved Patriots defense for 'playing smarter'

Butler credits improved Patriots defense for 'playing smarter'

As safety Duron Harmon emerged from the showers following the Patriots 23-7 win over the Falcons, he noticed a crowd gathered by his locker. As one of the captains of the team - and a man nicknamed by teammates as “The Voice” because of his ability to articulate the right words at the right time, the affable safety is a must listen postgame. But for a change, Harmon knew the mass gathering of media wasn’t there for him - at least not yet. We were there for Malcolm Butler, who had just played his best game of the season.

“You all want to talk to Malcolm?” Harmon sang. “I’d want to talk to Malcolm too.”

Devin McCourty got in on the act as well with some good-natured chirping in Butler’s direction. Both safeties were energized by the victory but also, it seemed, by the performance of a player they’ve come to rely on in games just like this. 

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“Awww man, Malcolm. . . Malcolm was great for us,” said Harmon later. “We need that.”

It's hard not to draw the parallel between Butler having his best performance of the season a week after making two of the biggest plays in the game against the Jets. He did all this while the man who indirectly caused so much of the 28-year old’s troubles - Stephon Gilmore - hasn’t been able to play because of a concussion. Meanwhile, an undrafted player in his 6th year, Johnson Bademosi, has emerged opposite Butler to play very sound football.

“Communication,” said Butler of the team’s defensive improvements. “Just playing smarter and better. That’s all.”

Butler himself didn’t want to spend much time analyzing his own performance. That’s usually not his thing. And it wasn’t as if that performance was perfect. Far from it. But Butler’s energy was evident right from the jump. He stuck his nose in there on running plays to his side, including a terrific submarine tackle of Tevin Coleman in the opening quarter. Butler also got his fair share of Julio Jones over the course of the night. Even though he surrendered that late touchdown to the Falcons wideout, he showed not only a willingness to play the big dog, but to go right at him. That is - after all - a Butler trademark. 

“Just competing,” said Butler. “Great player; you just got to compete.”

It’s not just competing, but it’s playing with confidence, something Butler said was an issue for him in the aftermath of his snap reduction in New Orleans. But now? That seems long gone and hard to find.

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