Patriots

'Tuck rule' still a nightmare for Woodson

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'Tuck rule' still a nightmare for Woodson

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- Everybody has nightmares. Charles Woodson's seem to be recurring.

The 2001-02 AFC Divisional playoff game at a snowy Foxboro Stadium continues to haunt Woodson's dreams.

Now a cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, Woodson was the Oakland Raider who stripped Tom Brady of the ball in the fourth quarter of that playoff game.

But, as we all know, that play -- a fumble recovered by Oakland -- was reviewed and overturned because of the tuck rule. Brady's arm was just barely going forward, which, by the rules, meant it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble.

The Patriots retained the ball, drove down the field, tied the game with a field goal, and then won 16-13 with another field goal in overtime.

The rest is history.

Just ask Woodson, who will be reminded of that game once again if it snows Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

"You know, I've had that flashback more times than I would like," said Woodson in a conference call on Wednesday. "I catch that game on classic football channels sometimes. That's a bad memory for me. But, you know, it is what it is."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy began his NFL career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coaching staff in 1993 and 1994. Joe Monatana spent the last two seasons of his career as the quarterback for the Chiefs in both of those seasons.

Having to study for Tom Brady this week, in preparation for the Patriots on Sunday night, McCarthy said on Wednesday that he sees glimpses of Montana in the Patriots' quarterback.

"Joe was probably the most fundamental quarterback that I've had an opportunity to be around," said McCarthy. "I would say definitely, Tom is in that category. His fundamentals are outstanding."

Woodson agrees with the comparison as well.

"I think Brady's No. 1, as far as quarterbacks are concerned," said Woodson when asked who was the best quarterback in the league. "I guess there are some similarities. Joe Montana was 'Joe Cool' and Brady's no different. Watching him on film, and watching games when they're on television, the way he drops back, he sits in that pocket as if there's no rush coming.

"There's no panic in his game. And he's a winner, and Joe was a winner as well. That's the greatest comparison between the two."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

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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