Ugliness started on Patriots sidelines


Ugliness started on Patriots sidelines

By Tom E. Curran Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
DETROIT - There was no hemming and hawing from Bill Belichick Saturday night in Detroit. No"the other guys are getting paid too" nod to well-laid Patriot plans blown up by the Lions. The Patriots head coach put the focus squarely where it needed to be after his team's 34-10 beatdown in Detroit. He started with himself. "Well, there was no question about who the better team was tonight," he said dourly. "I think that obviously I did a poor job of having the team ready to play. We didnt really do anything very well, in any phase of the game, certainly not good enough to win. Lions are a good team, they played well. Jim did a great job with his team and they were a lot more efficient, a lot more ready to play, and played a lot better than our team did. I dont feel very good about the job that I did, dont feel very good about really anything we did tonight. We really werent competitive and weve obviously got a lot of work to do."Belichick discarded a request for specifics. In this instance, it wasn't a case of the Patriots being "outcoached" by Jim Schwartz and his staff. This was about New England's effort, decision-making, precision andpost-snap communication on both sides of the ball. They were not prepared to play in this game. You could see it before the game was 10 minutes old. Detroit had plays of 12, 8, 37, 6, 52 and 9 yards on its first 11 offensive snaps. On the Patriots' third play from scrimmage, Chad Ochocinco's hold wiped out a 15-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski. On the sixth play, Tom Brady was strip-sacked. The second Patriots offensive drive was their best of the night. They converted four straight first downs but then were stopped on the fifth, a third-and-1 carry for BenJarvus Green-Ellis with 31 seconds left in the first quarter. They settled for a field goal. They converted one third down after that and finished 5-for-16 on third down for the night. Lions coach Jim Schwartz probably gave the most telling evaluation of how it went badly for New England. "We say a lot of times in the preseason: you want to see players win, you don't want to see scheme win," Schwartz explained. "I think we saw some good match-ups today and not just our first group against their first group. A lot of times our twos matched up against their ones on defense and sometimes our threes matched up and we won some of those battles. Same thing defensively."Regardless of how improved the Lions are, the Patriots' starters should not be beaten individually by any third-stringers when the rosters are at 90 players. Period. "We just didn't come to play," said safety Brandon Meriweather. "Coach was telling us all week how good this team was and how we had to come out and start fast and we just didn't come out the way we wanted to. I don't know what happened. The more we tried to get over that hump, the more we fell behind."As Tom Brady pointed out, there's no need for a confidence crisis. And the fact Belichick's team didn't answer the bell for this game is not a sign of Patriots apocalypse. It's happened before and will happen again. "We need to go back to the drawing board and learn from the mistakes that were made," said veteran defensive tackle Gerard Warren. "I've seenperformances like this quitea few times in preseason. Just got to learn from the mistakes in the game and try to get better. Losing's always bad. Preseason or regular season. That's not what we want to put on film, not what we practiced all week." Said Belichick, "I don't think theres any other solution than to go back and work harder and try to correct a lot of mistakes. We need to do everything better. I dont think theres any one area that should be highlighted any more than anything else. I thought we had problems in every phase of the game. We obviously werent coached very well, and we didnt play very well.Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars


BEST OF BST PODCAST: Patriots advance to AFC title game vs. Jaguars

0:41 - Tom Curran and Albert Breer discuss some of the big takeaways from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

4:49 - Jalen Ramsey told the fans in Jacksonville that the Jaguars would be going to the Super Bowl. Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith talk about if they have a problem with what Ramsey said and if the Patriots would be using his quote as bulletin board material.

9:25 - Curran, Breer, and Giles discuss Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels likely not returning with the Patriots as Patricia seems to be headed towards the Lions while McDaniels goes to the Colts.

14:06 - Michael Hurley joins BST to preview the Jaguars/Patriots matchup and discuss the Patriots schedule and road to the Super Bowl. 

Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident


Patriots react to Ramsey's guarantee: He should be confident

FOXBORO -- Patriots players didn't seem all that bothered by Jalen Ramsey's proclamation that the Jaguars would win the AFC title game and head to Minnesota for the Super Bowl. 

"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's win in Pittsburgh. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that (expletive). We're going to win that (expletive)."

Asked about those comments on Monday, Patriots captain Matthew Slater showed no hint of disapproval. 

"Man, that guy’s really good," Slater said. "And he should be confident, because he’s very, very good. The good Lord made that guy, and he said, ‘Let there be corner.’ And there he is. I’d be confident if I were him, as well."

Ramsey was named a First-Team All-Pro for his work on the outside opposite Second-Team All-Pro corner AJ Bouye. They make up arguably the best cornerback duo in football, and Ramsey has already established himself as one of the best at his position despite being just 23 years old and in his second pro season.

"Hey, man, Jalen Ramsey’s a good player," Patriots captain Duron Harmon said. "He talks a lot of trash. That’s part of his game, and you can’t take that away from him. He’s confident. He should be confident in his team. He has a really good football team. The top two AFC teams are left, and he’s a part of one of them.

"His approach to the game is different than ours, but we can’t knock him for it. We know they’re going to come ready to play, and we’ve just got to match their type of physicality and also just their emotion and their readiness to get ready to play."

Ramsey's best work as a trash-talker came eariler this season after he shut down Bengals wideout AJ Green. What he said about the AFC Championship was certainly a step (or several) below that in terms of its intensity, and judging by their reaction Monday, it seems to be a mere blip on the Patriots' radar.