Patriots

Gregory fondly remembers 2008 NFL London trip

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Gregory fondly remembers 2008 NFL London trip

FOXBORO -- There are several players in the Patriots locker room who've played in an NFL London game before. Among them: Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski, Logan Mankins and Wes Welker.

In total, there are 13 current Patriots who played for New England in the team's 35-7 trouncing of Tampa Bay in 2009. (Note: Patriots linebacker Niko Koutouvides was with the Buccaneers at the time.)

Steve Gregory had a different experience. In 2008, the safety was part of a Chargers squad that lost 37-32 to New Orleans at historic Wembley Stadium.

Despite the loss, his memories of the trip are warm.

"It was great," Gregory said. "We went out for a whole week. We played in Buffalo first and then flew straight out there. It was great. Obviously I'd never been there before, so to see London, the overall experience was amazing. Playing in that stadium. Some of the people had all different jerseys on and stuff.

"I think the fans were cheering more when the guys kicked a field goal than a regular play," he laughed. "But it was fun, it was a good time."

His availability for this trip is unknown; Gregory is still recovering from a hip injury suffered back in Week 4.

If he does go he's not worried about the truncated timeline. Though the Chargers had more time to sight-see in London, Gregory said the Patriots won't suffer for leaving Thursday night.

"It is what it is. We'll get out there in plenty of time to adjust to the time and all that stuff. It'll be a good experience for the guys that haven't been."

Acclimation in the context of football is most important. The Patriots players had Monday off, making Tuesday more like a typical Wednesday in terms of preparation. Head coach Bill Belichick said this morning that the team can add time onto the back end of the week for football operations once the team lands in London.

Much like Belichick, Gregory sounded resigned to the schedule.

"Obviously it's a long flight and things like that, but no longer than going out to the West Coast or something like that.

"But that just comes with traveling. Any time you play on the road, it doesn't matter where you are, your routine gets a little bit adjusted, and you've got to kind of adjust to where you are and the things that you're doing. We'll adjust and we'll get those things going right."

Who knows -- there could be time enough to visit the Queen. Gregory laughed at the thought.

"Yeah, if she'll let me."

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

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EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

On this episode of The Ex-Pats Podcast...

0:10 - Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen give their takeaways from the Patriots win over the Falcons including the defense coming up strong against Atlanta but New England still taking too many penalties.

2:00 - Why it felt like this game meant more to the Patriots, their sense of excitement after the win, and building chemistry off a good victory.

6:20 - Falcons losing their identity without Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and their bad play calling and decisions on 4th downs.

10:00 -  A discussion about Matt Ryan not making the throws he needed against the Patriots and if he has falling off the MVP caliber-type player he was last season.

14:00 - How and why the Patriots secondary seems to be playing better without Stephon Gilmore and why Malcolm Butler has been able to turn up his play as of late.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

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Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."