Patriots

Chilly Brady can warm up to another playoff run

Chilly Brady can warm up to another playoff run

FOXBORO - If you were one of the hearty souls that braved single-digit temperatures and a wind chill that made it feel -50 (hey, I’m not a weatherman nor do I play one on TV), Tom Brady has a lot of love for you.

MORE PATRIOTS:

“That was pretty hardcore today,” said the still-thawing out quarterback after the Patriots’ 26-6 win over the Jets. “To be out there and to brave that weather, sit in the stands, that was pretty sweet. It was a great way to end the year. We started 2-2 and 13-3 is pretty good and to get the No. 1 seed. So, our biggest games are ahead of us, and hopefully, the fans enjoy that and they come out ready to go whenever we play.”

That weather had an impact on Brady Sunday afternoon. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes - that almost never happens - going 18–of-37 for 190 yards. Brady wasn’t razor sharp but neither were his receivers. There were a handful of drops, including a well-thrown deep ball to Philip Dorsett, and several miscommunications with Brandin Cooks and even Danny Amendola that probably shouldn’t happen at this point in the season.

“It just makes everything harder,” said Brady. “I mean, it’s harder to throw, it’s harder to catch, it’s harder to tackle. I mean, it’s just, I think for you guys standing out there in 10 degrees, it’s pretty tough. So, it’s a very technical sport. And, really, you’re not really playing the weather. You’re playing the other team. So, whoever handles it the best wins, and today winning 26-6, I think we handled it pretty well.”

Brady wasn’t in the best of moods postgame. Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was his performance or that of the offense in general. He was hurried on 11 of his 37 throws, though sacked just once. Brady also took a couple of hard shots, including one in which he landed on his right shoulder - the throwing shoulder - something he’s very conscious of avoiding. When asked about the group’s performance and where the unit was headed going into the playoffs, he kept it short.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I mean, it’s going to be a different defense, different plan and we’ve just got to get going and execute better, and I think we can do that.”

Past history would side with Brady. Heck, recent history - like early November - would also back that sentiment. On this day, the Pats clearly removed Rob Gronkowski from being a major piece of the game plan to more of a decoy, no doubt in effort to keep him healthy as the Pats head for the postseason. Gronk was not targeted once. In fact, watching from above, it looked like Brady never even looked in his direction. The Pats were also without Chris Hogan again this week, and Rex Burkhead and James White and Mike Gillislee and even Malcolm Mitchell, who returned to practice this week after re-injuring his knee back in August. Some - if not all of those players - are being counted on for a January return. 

“Yeah, it’s going to take – I mean, if those guys are able to get out there and play, I think anytime you get good players healthy, it helps a lot,” Brady said. “So, there’s a lot of guys, like Brandin Cooks, Danny [Amendola] – they played a lot of football this year and have been out there for a lot of snaps – Dion Lewis has. So, if guys can kind of take some snaps off, I think throughout the week of practice and the games, I think that really pays off. So, you’d like to be able to use everybody, and we have a good roster, especially on offense, and a lot of good skill players. I think it’s got to be more than just two or three guys doing it. If we can get five or six guys healthy and everyone plays a role, then that’s going to be great for the offense.”

There’s no denying that, nor the fact that Brady is at his best when he has a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal. But even without that, the Pats have put themselves in position to be in position for the next step, a home playoff game, then another and finally, they hope, a trip to Minnesota and another Super Bowl appearance.

“I mean, football’s a team sport. I mean, we’re 13-3. That’s the best in the AFC. That’s what we’re playing for, and that’s all that really matters.”

Indeed.
 

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

In an interview with The Big Lead, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long spoke on the drama surrounding Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

It's safe to say he doesn't put much stock into it

I just think any NFL team, any NFL locker room under a lot of stress over a year period, there are going to be storylines people can choose to kind of blow out of proportion or not pay attention to. I think everyone’s going to pay attention to sometimes really small issues. Whatever people are alluding to going on up there hasn’t affected their play, it hasn’t affected their bottom line. It hasn’t affected how they executed on Sundays. 

Long played with the Patriots during the 2016 season and won Super Bowl 51 with them before signing a two-year contract with the Eagles. The Eagles then went on to beat New England in Super Bowl 52. If anyone outside of the Patriots' locker room has an idea of the culture inside the past two years, Long has to be one of them. 

It took everything for us to beat them. It took a heroic performance by Nick Foles and we had to play our best game. So while everybody likes to always point to the Patriots as being under duress or there’s some drama in the locker room, there’s drama in every locker room that you could blow out of proportion. They’re just on top and those stories sell because they’ve been so great.

ESPN's Seth Wickersham released a story detailing some of the issues that arose in New England over the past few years in January, and with Brady missing almost all of the Patriots' voluntary workouts last month, some have started to wonder whether this is the end for one of both of Brady-Belichick. 

While their hasn't been much public acknowledgement from either side about the drama, but Long certainly doesn't see much substance to the noise. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction draws response from Tom Brady

Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction draws response from Tom Brady

Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction of the Jacksonville Jaguars taking over the AFC title from the Patriots and facing the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta in SB53 drew a response from Tom Brady on Instagram.

The NFL's official Instagram account posted a photo of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey with the prediction of Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys QB now the analyst on CBS' No. 1 NFL broadcast team. Here's a screenshot, complete with Brady's comment:

Appearing on the NFL Network earlier this week, Romo said rumors of a rift between Brady and coach Bill Belichick are overblown. “I think they probably squabble just like any married couple for 20 years, and then they also love each other.

“I just think when you work together for 15 to 20 years, whatever it is, I think that whenever you have the success that they have, people have to come up with stuff,” Romo said. “I also think that I’ve been upset with my coaches before, and then you come back and you’re fine. And then you get upset with them, and you come back and you’re fine. It’s a part of sports.”

Brady and the Patriots report to camp on July 26.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE