Patriots

Winston on playing 'inspiration' Brady: 'A chance to witness greatness'

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Winston on playing 'inspiration' Brady: 'A chance to witness greatness'

The question seemed pretty generic. It had to do with the opportunity the Bucs had in front of them with the Patriots coming to town on Thursday night.

Where the answer went from there painted a picture of a young man getting the opportunity to play against his idol for the first time. The young man in this instance is Jameis Winston. His idol? Tom Brady, whom he'll be tasked with trying to beat.

"Really just a blessing for me personally," Jameis Winston said. "I don’t like talking about me, but to get a chance to witness greatness in front of us with Tom Brady coming into town, it gets you pumped up. It definitely makes you think about how hard you worked to get to this point. I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to him when I see him and meet him."

Winston watched film of Brady and others in the offseason, which was a quasi-continuation of what he did growing up, following Brady and his contemporaries from afar as a fan.

"Growing up, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, guys of that nature and more, every successful quarterback that was playing when I was coming up, I admired them," he said. "Tom Brady, in particular, he is the winningest. He has won more Super Bowls than each of those guys, so to me that is the most important part.

"His ability to protect the football and take advantage of those opportunities when they are given to him is impeccable. Just studying him, just seeing how calm he is [and] how precise he is, is very impressive. That is the reason why every offseason, every rep I get during the season that I’m trying to be better and better because I know that he’s still out there playing. He’s still getting better and better. He should be an inspiration."

Winston is one of the best young quarterbacks in football, who has shown improvement already from last season to this one, but there is certainly room for him to be more precise. He's completing 63 percent of his passes this year (19th in the NFL) and averaging a pick per game through three games. But thanks to some big-play weapons and an ability to extend plays within the pocket, Winston's numbers in terms of rating (No. 10 in the league) in terms of rating and he's sixth in the league in yards per attempt.

Winston -- who Brady touted as "a great leader, has been since he came into the league" -- said he won't necessarily take his leadership cues from Brady. He has a style all his own he's taken with him to the league from Florida State.

But in terms of playing style? He's open to being more like the guy who he considers walking, talking, passing greatness.

“You see his leadership with his team. We have all different types of leadership within teams," Winston explained. "Obviously, he’s a great leader, [but] I’m talking about play because that is very important. Imitating his leadership is huge, but the way that he plays . . . if you can imitate that, you’ll have more people happier with you."
 

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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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

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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.

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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: