Patriots

Brady sympathizes with Colts...to a point

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Brady sympathizes with Colts...to a point

FOXBORO - The first two questions posed to Tom Brady on Wednesday were tailor-made for odes to Peyton.

Brady passed.

"Hopefully he'll be out there to say hi," was Brady's response to whether he'll miss Manning. His response when asked if the league misses the injured Colts quarterback was even more succinct: "I don't know."

What Brady does know -- and what he labored to make clear -- was that the winless Colts are dangerous. Dangerous despite scoring the second-fewest points in the league (150) and allowing the most (327).

"I think they've got some players that can really play," said Brady. "They've got Dwight Freeney. I wish he was out this week. He's a phenomenal player. If I could be a defensive guy I'd be like him. And Robert Mathis on the other side, those are guys who can really wreak havoc. Coach said this morning, Freeney's got like 99 career sacks and 43 forced fumbles. Almost half the time he sacks you he strips the ball."

Nicenumbers. But the breathless acts oforal persuasion aren't that effective no matter how earnest the Patriots want to make them.

The Colts are awful and they have no shot at winning. And, if they do win -- by some strange confluence of circumstances -- Bill Belichick will pop a vesselbecause good teams don't lose to 0-11 teams.

Although the one great late-seasonupset I remember during Belichick's tenurewas the Patriots 29-28 loss at Miami in 2004. The Patriots were 12-1 and the Dolphins 2-11 for that December 20 loss. And the Patriots still went on to win the Super Bowl.

But that is the kind of memory that Belichick and Brady can cultivate this week. They can also remind everyone how hard it is to be a successful NFL team.

"I think sometimes we take for granted here because(of our success)but it's hard to win an NFL game," said Brady. "Every team has talent. Every team can only spend to the cap . . . It's hard to win games. It really is. You never want to see a team have that kind of season because you know how miserable we are when we lose two in a row. At the same time, our job is to go out there and perform as well as we can against them this week."

In other words, sorry about this but, here is loss No. 12, Colts. Better luck next year. Against everybody but us.

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

None of us thought Johnson Bademosi would be starting this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets because -- well -- that’s not what we perceive the 27-year-old to be. He’s a special teamer. It’s how he’s made his mark in the NFL dating back to 2012 with Cleveland. So why would that change in mid-October for a team he’s only been with for six weeks? Because Bademosi is -- and has always been -- intent on proving he’s more than a niche player.

“I see myself as a football player,” he said, “and whatever position they put me in, I’m going to try to be the best because that’s how I operate and who I am as a person. Whether that’s as a cornerback, on special teams, if they ask me to play wildcat quarterback. Whatever…”

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Bill Belichick and his staff asked for Bademosi to go on the field and not come off. He played 73 defensive snaps in addition to his usual core four special teams duties. 

“I felt like I played a whole game,” Bademosi joked, before saying, “I love playing football so I’m going to go out there and empty myself.”

He did just that, getting targeted only two times in the 24-17 win over the Jets. It was hoped that Bademosi would return to his normal specialist role, but with Stephon Gilmore still out with a concussion, it now seems more and more likely that the sixth year pro will have to be an ironman again Sunday night in primetime against the Falcons. Historically, the Pats have defended bigger receivers. That means Bademosi may be responsible for one of the most dangerous players in the league, Julio Jones.

“He’s an amazing player," he said. “We all know what he’s capable of. As a defense, we have to be prepared for him.”

The Pats were on Super Bowl Sunday and Jones still made a couple of ridiculous plays with either Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe in coverage with safety help over the top.

“He’s fast. He’s physical. He can jump. He can run. He’s smart. He’s everything you want in a wide receiver,” said Bademosi without blinking an eye. That’s the kind of confidence you want from a player at that position and facing this type of challenge. 

“You gotta believe in yourself,” he said “ I’m confident in my abilities. I work hard and trust my preparation.”

Being an elite athlete certainly helps. Bademosi was a scholarship football player at Stanford -- “some guy named Jim Harbaugh called” -- before ending up in the NFL. But it’s Bademosi’s willingness to go all in in the film room that impressed safety Devin McCourty. 

“…I think, honestly, the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see,” said McCourty Thursday. “You know, when you’re a backup more, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But, I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘Alright, let me focus in on this.’ I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing.”

Bademosi will have to compete his ass off Sunday night, even against what has been to this point a physically compromised Jones. Based on what he did several days ago, there’s no reason to believe the Pats cornerback won’t bring everything he has, trying to prove again that he’s more than just a special teams whiz.

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