Patriots

Devin McCourty explains key to Patriots' hot start on the road in 2019

Devin McCourty explains key to Patriots' hot start on the road in 2019

The New England Patriots struggled mightily on the road in 2018, posting a 3-5 record away from Gillette Stadium en route to their first season in which they didn't win 12 or more games since 2009.

The Patriots' road issues ultimately didn't cost them in the playoffs -- they beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium -- but it did make the road to Super Bowl LIII more difficult.

The defending Super Bowl champs have played much better on the road in 2019. They are 3-0 entering Monday night's Week 7 matchup versus the rival New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

What's led to the Patriots' improved performance away from home this season?

"I think coming out and playing well early, trying to get off to a good start and continuing to do that," Patriots safety Devin McCourty told reporters Thursday. "Playing for four quarters is something we’ve been talking about since training camp when we went on the road against Detroit and Tennessee of starting our mentality early of playing well on the road because we saw how much that hurt us last year of just not doing it.

"But, I think in this league, it’s not about being 3-0. It’s about how do you get to 4-0? How do you do it the next week? How do you prepare and play well again on the road? Just because you’ve done it doesn’t matter. Last year, we sucked on the road. We had to go to an AFC Championship game on the road. All that mattered was how we played in that one game. So, I think that’s the mentality we have to keep throughout the season."

The Patriots' road opponents through six games have mostly been pretty weak. Aside from a tough game in Buffalo against the Bills, the Patriots have played two easy matchups against the winless Miami Dolphins and the 1-5 Washington Redskins.

New England's schedule will get tougher, including difficult road matchups versus the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles, but the early success away from Gillette Stadium is an encouraging development for the Patriots as they continue toward locking up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

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Tom Brady 'proud' of ex-teammate Jimmy Garoppolo's success with 49ers

Tom Brady 'proud' of ex-teammate Jimmy Garoppolo's success with 49ers

Tom Brady is admiring ex-Patriots teammate Jimmy Garoppolo's success with the 49ers from afar.

Despite suffering his first loss of the season on Monday night vs. the Seahawks, the former Pats backup quarterback is thriving as San Francisco's starting QB. Garoppolo, like Brady, has his team off to an 8-1 start and pegged as a favorite to compete in Miami for Super Bowl LIV.

Brady talked about Garoppolo's early success on Monday during his weekly Westwood One interview with Jim Gray.

"He's done a great job. The point of playing football is to win, so when your team's winning and you're the quarterback, you're doing your job," Brady told Gray. "I'm certainly proud of everything that he's accomplished. He was a really great guy for me to get to know and to see on a daily basis.

"I think the great thing to see if players who take advantage of their opportunity. He had an organization that put a lot on the line to get him, and he's taken advantage of that opportunity. I know he had a tough injury last year, but he showed a lot of mental toughness in coming back from a tough injury and is playing great football."

Garoppolo was drafted by the Patriots in 2014 and served as Brady's backup until he was traded to the 49ers in 2017. The Eastern Illinois product got the chance to showcase his talents in two starts during the 2016 season, going 2-0 with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Since then, the 28-year-old has overcome a devastating knee injury and become the leader of an NFC powerhouse that looks like it'll be in the mix for years to come. Not a bad deal for the man once thought of as Brady's potential successor.

As for Brady and the Patriots, they'll look to bounce back from their Week 10 loss to the Ravens on Sunday when they face off against the Eagles. If all goes according to plan, a February reunion for Brady and Garoppolo in Miami could be in the works.

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Rob Gronkowski reunites with David Ortiz, calls him his 'new trainer'

Rob Gronkowski reunites with David Ortiz, calls him his 'new trainer'

Two of Boston's most beloved sports figures in the city's history did some reuniting on Monday.

Rob Gronkowski and David Ortiz joined forces for an Instagram video that certainly will add to the speculation about a possible comeback for the retired Patriots tight end.

“Big Papi’s my new trainer,” Gronkowski says in the video while flexing. “We are reunited.”

Watch below:

Don't get too excited though, Patriots fans. Gronk has pretty much already shut down the idea of a comeback this season and is preoccupied with some new television responsibilities. He has, however, left the door open to return to the gridiron one day.

If Gronk does decide to help out the Pats' current tight end situation, he has until Nov. 30 to make up his mind.

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