Patriots

Tomlin/Steelers vs. Belichick/Patriots: Different strokes for different folks

Tomlin/Steelers vs. Belichick/Patriots: Different strokes for different folks

FOXBORO -- Mike Tomlin has been Pittsburgh’s head coach since 2007, named to the post at the ripe old age of 35. A year later, he and the Steelers won a Super Bowl.

More Lombardi Trophies seemed certain to follow, but -- despite a half-dozen seasons of 10 wins or more -- Pittsburgh and that stacked roster has come up short ever since, including an AFC Championship Game loss at New England last season.

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You might think that would dim Tomlin’s confidence. No chance. He may be a decade older, but he still has oodles of swagger. We saw that earlier in the year when during an interview with Tony Dungy prior to Sunday Night Football, he admitted to looking ahead to the Steelers’ matchup with the Pats.

"I'm going to embrace the elephant in the room. (The game) going to be fireworks," Tomlin said in that conversation. "And it's probably going to be Part 1. That's going to be a big game. But probably, if we're both doing what we're supposed to, the second one is really going to be a big game. Then what happens in the first is going to set up the second one, which is going to determine the location of the second one."

You’d never hear Bill Belichick go that route and he’s won five Super Bowls here in New England. We are now conditioned to believe that’s not only the right way but the only way to do business. I would tend to agree. History doesn’t lie.

Tomlin, however. isn’t adopting Belichick’s public approach. He says he’ll be forthright with the media because he’s doing what he’s supposed to do in his job. Perhaps that’s a little jab at Belichick and the Pats, who have long been less than forthcoming.

“I don’t know if any of us were looking ahead, to be quite honest with you," he said "That was the way it was described by (the media). We were simply answering questions. We were doing our professional due diligence. When we do interviews and people ask us about potential big games down the road, we’re going to politely answer questions and do so honestly. That’s not us down the road, that is us simply performing our professional duties.”

An exuberant fellow, Tomlin thinks it’s foolish to not admit there are larger things at play during the course of a season.

“If you set out on the season to be world champs, obviously you’re going to play in significant games along the way,” he said. “The road gets increasingly narrower. That is part of being [on] the pursuit of a world championship play. It’s ridiculous to goal set and not to acknowledge natural things that occur along the way if you are committed to the pursuit of your goals.”

To reach those goals, Tomlin’s Steelers usually need to go through the Patriots. This season is no different. Right now, Pittsburgh is the top seed in the AFC. The Pats are number two but can reclaim that spot with a win Sunday afternoon.

The Patriots may not have a real rival in the AFC East, but what they have with the Steelers is real.

“It's an awesome thing to be a part of," said Tomlin. "Not something that I or we take for granted. To be in significant games is just part of chasing what it is that we're chasing and to have a routine dance partner that just speaks to their commitment and achievements in similar ways. We're excited to be a part of it. We don't take it for granted. We realize that these type games are just part of what we desire to be.”

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Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

Jags coach jokes: Brady could 'probably throw left-handed'

FOXBORO - Who knows if Tom Brady’s injured right hand is cause for concern? The quarterback reportedly injured himself on a botched handoff at practice Wednesday and was got X-rays to determine if there was a break. A source close to Brady said the 40-year old “should be ok,” but that’s hardly definitive. 

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This morning, the news was presented to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. He’s no dummy. 

“I’m sure he could probably throw left-handed if he has a problem with his right hand and throw just as well,” he said.  Marrone's Jags face the Patriots Sunday in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady has missed a fair share of practices this year and been limited for a number of others. That hasn’t prevented the Pats QB from being the odds-on-favorite to win the NFL’s MVP. Patriot players didn’t notice difference yesterday, and if they did, they sure as heck weren’t sharing.

“He looked good, like he always does,” said Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Eric Rowe added, “Shoot, I don’t know. He looked like Tom. He was doing the same stuff he always does.”

Brady is coming off a 35-of-53 for 337 yards and three-touchdown performance in the Divisional Round playoff game vs. Tennessee. 

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Brady present at Patriots practice, wearing a glove on injured hand

patriots_tom_brady_121117.jpg

Brady present at Patriots practice, wearing a glove on injured hand

FOXBORO - Tom Brady was back on the Patriots practice field Thursday after suffering an injury to his throwing hand the previous day. 

Members of the media were permitted access to the stretching portion of Patriots practice, and Brady was out there with his teammates, wearing bright red gloves on his hands. If Brady opts for a glove, he typically wears one on his left hand -- not his throwing hand. 

Other than pulling at his right pinky very briefly -- he could've been adjusting his glove -- he did not seem to favor his right hand in any way. 

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The team also announced that Brady's press availability, which had been scheduled for Thursday afternoon, had been moved to Friday. 

The Patriots will release an injury report later on Thursday, listing Brady as either a limited or full participant. 

The Patriots worked out on the lower practice field behind Gillette Stadium after holding several practices on the Gillette Stadium turf. Players, in general, favor the grass of the practice fields over the turf inside the stadium. 

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