Patriots

Chase Winovich praised for high motor, doesn't know 'why he's built like that'

Chase Winovich praised for high motor, doesn't know 'why he's built like that'

Chase Winovich had another strong performance for the New England Patriots in the team's preseason win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.

Winovich was on the field for a good portion of the evening, and he got relentless pressure on the Titans' quarterbacks and wreaked havoc in the backfield. All told, he finished with 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for loss and showcased one of his top skills for all to see. And even Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted it in his postgame press conference.

"Chase is a high motor player," Belichick said to reporters after the Patriots victory. "He plays hard. He's very good in pursuit. You see it in the kicking game. You see it on defense. He's got a good motor. He plays hard."

Belichick wasn't the only one who noted Winovich's performance. Winovich's fellow rookie, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, also noted his superlative on-field effort.

"He's a great dude and has a motor like no other," Stidham said. "He's a heck of a player."

But why does Winovich play so hard? What drives that relentless motor? Winovich joked that it was because his grandmother promised him that if he played hard and didn't get hurt in high school, she'd give him $5 and a chocolate bar. So, he was looking to earn those in today's game.

Winovich did cite some of his motivations, including support from his hometown of Pittsburgh and the bond he feels with his teammates.

But in reality, Winovich doesn't know exactly why he plays hard. He just does it. It's how he plays.

"It's weird. I really don't know why I'm built like that," Winovich said. "It might be a gift and a curse sometimes when it's extremely hot and they're just trying to run the ball away ... But you'll see me just sprinting and trying to hit somebody or hit something."

It was abundantly clear that Winovich's goal was to always be involved in the play against the Titans. He particularly demonstrated that when he ran down running back Akeem Hunt on a play that saw Hunt break through the line of scrimmage and Winovich come from the backfield, after beating his man, to tackle Hunt nearly 15 yards down the field.

And when he wasn't chasing running backs downfield, he was blowing up plays at the line of scrimmage and making the lives of the Titans offensive linemen miserable.

Winovich's motor is certainly a trait that Belichick and the Patriots appreciate. If Winovich, a third-round rookie, can continue to impress and play hard, that should give him a chance to earn an important role with the squad. Either way, his relentless style will make an impact on New England, whether that's on special teams or as a pass rusher.

WATCH: Bill Belichick's awkward but funny halftime interview>>>

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Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick, Patriots process 'bulletin board material'

Matt Cassel: How Bill Belichick, Patriots process 'bulletin board material'

There's a sign every player sees when they leave the New England Patriots' facility.

It says, "Ignore the noise."

Starting in OTAs and minicamp, Bill Belichick's message to the team is always consistent. It’s, "Look, the media is out there to do a job. They have their stories they’re going to write. But our job is not to give them what they want. Our job is to stay consistent."

It’s a business-like environment: You go in and you get your work done, and when he says we’re turning the page to the next opponent, he truly means that.

But in terms of bulletin board material, if somebody is vocal about attacking a certain aspect of the Patriots -- a weakness or where they think they can expose us -- he’ll absolutely read those quotes to the team.

It’s not overboard and it’s not blown out of proportion. But it's his way of letting the team know, "This is what the opponent thinks of you."

We've already seen it this season. 

Before the Jets' game against the Patriots, Sam Darnold said something like, “We’ve got to go out there and find their weakness." 

That's just a common term most people use, but then you hear the Patriots' defense after the game say things like, ”I’m glad our weaknesses didn’t show up today.”

So, they obviously used that as a motivational tool to get themselves in the right frame of mind for the game.

He’ll absolutely read those quotes to the team. It's his way of letting the team know, "This is what the opponent thinks of you."

People are going to say things all the time. When I took over for Tom Brady in 2008, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter said something like, “Cassel’s not worth his s---.”

But it is what it is. The thing that New England does a great job of is focusing your attention on the opponent. Their strengths and weaknesses and how you're going to attack them this week: that’s the focal point.

It’s not about all the extracurriculars and all the extra stuff that’s said in the media. You’ve got your occasional bulletin board material, but as long as you know the approach and you’re consistent with it, then you're able to do a better job of ignoring the noise.

It's not like that in other organizations. I played for Rex Ryan in Buffalo, and on the first day of offseason workouts, he came in and said, "Our goal -- you can say it from Day 1 when they ask you -- is to win the Super Bowl."

He didn't restrict players when they talked to the media. He was like, "This is our goal, and if you want to say it, you can say it."

In New England, you feel a bit restricted at times in what you say. 

But you come to appreciate it, because it’s a consistent message throughout the organization. You’re not dealing with the outside distractions of, “This guy just said some outlandish comment," and now multiple players get asked about something one of your teammates said.

There are limitations to the distractions the Patriots have when dealing with the media because of their approach and consistency. 

Everybody in that organization understands it, so you don’t get the same bulletin board material coming out of New England that you see elsewhere.

That's because it starts at the top with Bill’s approach and consistency, and literally permeates throughout the entire organization.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

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Tom Brady explains why he's become 'much more guarded' with media

Tom Brady explains why he's become 'much more guarded' with media

Tom Brady isn't just frustrated with the New England Patriots' offense. He's frustrated with the people who talk about his frustration with the Patriots' offense.

E! News aired a 30-minute profile of the Patriots quarterback Wednesday night on its "In the Room" show, which featured host Jason Kennedy's exclusive interview with Brady.

And ironically, the first item Brady discussed was how much he dislikes interviews.

"I'd rather run out in front of 80,000 people and throw a football," Brady told Kennedy.

Brady then explained why he's become more careful with what he says on record.

"I've become much more guarded with the media, just because everyone is looking to (say), 'I gotcha, man! You said that!' " Brady said. "I definitely respect my private life, because it's very important to me, and it's very sacred."

"Especially in today's age it's very tricky, is what is too much exposure for people? Now everyone can show everything, and that's not my personality, which is why I won't do that.

"But I am a public person at this point based on my career, but there's still things that I want to just keep for myself so I can enjoy them without sharing them with anyone else."

Brady's wariness is understandable in a sense: He's one of the most heavily-scrutinized athletes in the world whose comments are always being dissected. (How does Brady REALLY feel about his rookie wide receivers?)

It's also why the 42-year-old has adopted an apparent solution: Say less to reporters and more on Facebook and Twitter, where he can control his own narrative.

This isn't the first time this season Brady has expressed his disregard for the media, and if New England hits any more bumps in the road down the stretch, that relationship likely won't improve.

Check out Brady's full interview with Kennedy here.

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