Curran: The hype machine is Jet-fueled


Curran: The hype machine is Jet-fueled

By Tom E. Curran

"Don't fuel the hype." That's something Bill Belichickpreaches to his players. This week, they won't need to.The hype will be self-sustaining. And if the hype ebbs, some wayward Jet is sure to throw a log on the fire.
Like, say, Braylon Edwards.In Week 2, heDougie'd on the fallen carcass of Darius Butler. In Week 13, he moped that the Patriots ran up the score in their 45-3 win. And in Week 18, soon after the Jets took out Indianapolis on Saturday night, Edwards had his attention turned to New England. "I give them all the credit in the world," Edwards said, referring to the Patriots 42-point win. "They played well. But with that said, we allowed them to do it. We played their game. They got up on us and went to cover-2 zone. Who the hell has three-quarters worth of cover-2 play? So, if we take advantage of them early on and their man-to-man coverage or their cover-3, now, they're forced to play our game. Now, we fight."A couple of points to ponder while digesting Braylon's wisdom. And his tweets. Edwards is certainly under the impression that the secondary he grooved on in Week 2 is the same in January as it was in September. Despite having played against it. Despite the fact another AFC East coach, Tony Sparano of the Dolphins, says the play of Patriots' corners Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty has been the key to New England's improvements. Further - while you can't expect the Jets to stop running their mouths because they subscribe to the Rex Ryan tenet of "This is who I am, this is what I do . . . " - the ferocity of the Patriots beating should at least be recalled, not dismissed. The Jets lost by seven touchdowns. In Sun Tzu's "Art of War" there's a passage that saysIf you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
"We knew we'd get back at them," said Edwards. "We just knew. In the back of our minds, we always felt as though we would get back to them and it would be about us."It's not even about revenge," Edwards added. "That's regular season. Who cares? Yeah, we got embarrassed, but that's the regular season. This is the playoffs."It's even seemingly innocuous comments like that can be used as kindling. Edwards - he of the four career playoff games - holding court on the importance of the postseason, when Tom Brady's played 18 of them? The Jets certainly have talented football players and nobody's saying their coaching staff is a collection of morons (Sal Aloisi may qualify, though), but they are mooks. They are so self-absorbed in trying to live up to the back-slapping, backroom brawling, loose-lipped, renegade persona their head coach has hatched for them, they can't see how what they say impacts opponents. Or what it says about them. Ryan's drive-by belittling of Tom Brady last week didn't seem intentional. Ryan was simply trying to make a point about Peyton Manning's preparation. Before he knew it, he was saying Tom Brady may think he studies the game but he doesn't do it like Manning. Next breath, he realized he'd dope-slapped Brady and decided to credit Belichick. Which, in turn, made it seem like he was belittling the Indianapolis coaches for not being as sharp as Belichick and being dumber than Manning. It's just disorganized. And while the fans and media love Rex in all his unvarnished, foot-worshipping ridiculousness, it's not conducive to winning football. "Say little when you win. Say less when you lose."Brady's trotted that line out a few times during his career. Seems to work well.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip


Brady enjoying "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


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.


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: