Patriots

Brady lauds White, whose Super Bowl heroics haven't 'totally sunk in yet'

Brady lauds White, whose Super Bowl heroics haven't 'totally sunk in yet'

“It still hasn’t totally sunk in yet.”
 
It’s been a little more than a week since Patriots running back James White powered into the end zone, then made a mad dash toward the goalpost while cannons shot off red, white and blue confetti, all done in the shape of the Lombardi Trophy. White didn’t win the MVP, but his record-setting performance, one that included 14 receptions and 20 points, is still drawing rave reviews.
 
“I’m not surprised,” Dion Lewis told me. “He’s a playmaker. That’s what he does.”
 
“I’d say it was unreal but that wouldn’t be giving James enough credit,” said LeGarrette Blount. “He’s made plays for us every single week.”
 
When Lewis injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter, it helped pave the way for White to get the overtime winner. That TD run would gone to Lewis under normal circumstances, but a popped hamstring meant more White. Safe to say, the Pats benefitted.
 
“Surreal. Just surreal,” said White, looking back on his career night. “I was just doing whatever it took to get a victory. Had to leave it all out there.”
 
Said special teams captain Matthew Slater in the immediate aftermath of the win: “James is a professional. He’s put in so much work to become the player that he is.We trust him. Tom obviously trusts him.”
 
That Tom is Tom Brady, of course, and on Peter King’s MMQB podcast, King pointed out to the Pats QB that he targeted White 16 times in the Super Bowl, a year after throwing the same amount of passes to the running back in the AFC Championship game at Denver.

“It’s because of him,” gushed Brady. “I said this to someone earlier in the season, he’s like my oldest son. He never does anything wrong, so it’s hard to get mad at him. And even if he does something wrong, he didn’t really mean it and he feels worse about it than you do. That’s how James is. He never does anything anything wrong.”
 
Brady continued, “If it’s blitz pickup, it’s blitz pickup. If it’s run the route and catch the ball, that’s what he does. Make a tough decision, he makes it. He’s just been such a dependable, consistent player, so much in the mold of Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, just guys I’ve been in the backfield with who can just do it all. And James has been phenomenal in what he’s been asked to do, from the time he took over for Dion Lewis when he got hurt [against] Washington last year, to this year. He’s just made every play he’s been asked to make.”
 
When those comments were relayed to him, White chuckled and said, “Tom is the best of all-time so I’ll take it,” before adding, “but there’s still room to get better.” More laughs, but knowing how hard White has worked to get here, he’s not joking.
 

#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

giardi-perry-fri-mailbag.jpg

#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

FOXBORO - Every Friday, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi will take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or Friday Bag, as they call it.

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. But for now, give the latest edition of the Bag a read.

MG: Hopefully that’s not needed, Casey, but I will pass it on. 

MG: BIG GAME! Sure. Why the hell not?

MG: Allie, this is a question that’s I’ve been pondering for years, or at least months . . . ok, for about 3 minutes. Tarzan has either a) been duping us all this time and actually has a job, drives an BMW and has a colonial with 2 1/2 baths or b) he’s a baby face who never hit puberty. 

MG: Mikey! Here’s a quite from Todd Wash, Jags DC, when asked about Ramsey possibly covering Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Sunday: “I think the last thing you can do is to go into a game like this and you try and reinvent the wheel . . . Jalen is a good corner and he plays against wide receivers . . . "

So either he’s telling the truth or he doesn’t want to reveal a wrinkle. My opinion: Why waste Ramsey outside the entire game? Brady’s at his best attacking inside the numbers and even more to the point, inside the hashes. At the very least, I’d deploy Ramsey on Gronk in the red area and make Tommy boy look elsewhere.

MG: Yeah, tough injury. Jon Jones has been terrific on special teams for two years, a likely heir apparent to Matt Slater as that guy who ends up being in the Pro Bowl every year. Love almost every bit of what he brings. Would say Jonathan Bademosi will be active this week and move into that role. 

MG: Sizzle, for sure. We’ve done a lot of X’s and O’s on this one and one area where the Jags have been especially vulnerable is under the linebackers. That means running backs, that means shorter crossing patterns and that means combo platters designed to force these LBs to make a decision. Telvin Smith was targeted 13 times last weekend (according to Pro Football Focus) and surrendered 12 catches. A healthy Brady feasts on this.

MG: Goose making his #FridayBag debut. Welcome. Best matchup is Matt Patricia and his big brains versus Blake Bortles. If that kid thinks he’s going to be looking at the same thing very often, I got a bridge to sell him. Worst matchup is T.J. Yeldon on the linebackers. We’ve spent a ton of time talking about Leonard Fournette and what he brings if he’s healthy but Yeldon is both strong, shifty and can catch. With a skittish QB, Yeldon could be heavily involved.



PP: JP, checking in from the District! I'd say the chances are minimal. I would do it. You might do it. Go out on top and all that. But you and I haven't been saying for years that we're planing to work into our mid-40s. And we don't have post-retirement business plans that kind of hinge on our ability to work into our mid-40s. We also aren't about to be named MVP...of anything. We'll see, but I would be very surprised if this ends up being Brady's last season.



PP: Good question, Michael. Also a scary one for Patriots fans, I'd think. If the unexpected happens and Brady can't take the field, I think you'd have some packages in place for Chris Hogan or Jacob Hollister just in case something happened to Brian Hoyer. Hogan is arguably one of the most versatile athletes on the team, and he threw a pass (left-handed) at MetLife last year. Hollister was a walk-on quarterback at the University of Nevada. When he transferred to Arizona Western Community College, he made the transition to tight end.



PP: To me, all of these questions are related, so let's smash them all together. I do believe the Patriots will show plenty of "21" and "12" personnel in this game. That means either a) two receivers, two backs and one tight end, or b) two receivers, one back and two tight ends. In that scenario, the receivers would be -- in my opinion -- some combination of Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. I'd use the Cooks-Amendola combination most frequently unless it seems like Hogan has completely shaken the rust from his long regular-season absence. The reason it would be a good idea to use theses heavier formations -- as opposed to "11" personnel with three wideouts -- is that it attacks the Jaguars with their weaker coverage people on the field. If the Patriots deploy, say, James Develin, Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski in the same look, Jacksonville would likely have to respond by putting run-stuffing linebacker Paul Posluszny on the field. If the Patriots can manipulate the coverage to get any non-Develin weapon on Posluszny, that's a mismatch they can exploit. We go into further detail on how the Patriots can exploit the Jaguars' base defense -- which has struggled in coverage this season -- here

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