Devin McCourty explains what new WR Mohamed Sanu will bring to Patriots

Devin McCourty explains what new WR Mohamed Sanu will bring to Patriots

Settling in on a new team midseason isn't easy, but for New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, the transition to a different locker room should be a little easier given his relationships with some of the veteran players in Foxboro.

Sanu was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday. He played college football at Rutgers, and his time with the Scarlet Knights overlapped with two Patriots defensive backs -- Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon.

"I think from a personal level, knowing us won’t help him on offense or learn the playbook," McCourty told reporters Wednesday. "But, I think when you get somewhere and you’re trying to acclimate, whether it’s family coming up, or where you want to live, I think it always helps to have guys you know and guys that know you personally. That can help you out and can kind of figure out the whole lay of the land.

"Like I’ve always said, there’s a lot that goes into being a football player that isn’t the playbook and being on the field, but having everything worked out in your personal life. And when you move to a whole new state and new area, you’ve got to figure some things out, so I think we’ll try to help him out with those things."

What will Sanu bring to the field when he makes his Patriots debut?

"I love him because he’s always been tough," McCourty said. "He’s been a really good receiver in the NFL, but I always say he came to Rutgers as a safety. I was at corner; I was excited. You know, you get this big kid that can run and hit, and I think he’s taken that to the offensive side. Physical guy. Each time we played him, we talked about him being a bigger guy who'll line up in the slot, line up outside. So, I’m excited just to see him. It’s not often you get guys – I guess for me, it’s happened quite a bit, with my brother and now Sanu – guys that I actually follow and keep up with. So, it’s a fun time just to have that personal relationship."

The Patriots host the Cleveland Browns in a Week 8 matchup Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Sanu won't know the whole playbook by Sunday, but he should still feature in the offense, especially with veteran wide receiver Josh Gordon unavailable to play after he was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Sanu's versatility -- his ability to play in the slot or outside -- gives the Patriots more flexibility with their playcalling. 

How long it will take Sanu to get comfortable in the offense is unknown, but McCourty is confident he'll work as hard as possible to reach that point.

"(He's) one of the hardest working guys I got to be around when he was a young guy at Rutgers, so I’m excited just to see him here, and I know he’ll do well in this environment because of his work ethic and playing together in college, what we experienced together," McCourty said. "I’m excited to see him here."

Tom E. Curran's takeaways on the Sanu trade>>>

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NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

Love 'em or hate 'em, the New England Patriots garner the attention of the masses.

That was evident during last year's AFC Championship game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, when an average crowd of 53.9 million people tuned in to watch the Patriots win in an overtime thriller and advance to Super Bowl 53.

To put that into perspective, this year's late-window matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers drew only 42.7 million viewers, per Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily.

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Of course, much of that discrepancy has to do with Pats-Chiefs being far more competitive than Packers-Niners. Plenty of viewers likely tuned out of the latter matchup when San Francisco led Green Bay 27-0 at halftime.

Even so, it just goes to show how much more attention is paid to the NFL playoffs when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of New England is involved. This year's AFC Championship featuring the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs marked the first without the Patriots since 2011, and it was the smallest audience (41.1 million) for an AFC title game in 11 years.

In comparison, the early game in 2019 (Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints) averaged roughly 44 million.

The Chiefs and 49ers will meet in Miami for Super Bowl 54. It'll be interesting to see how those ratings compare to last year's Patriots-Rams matchup.

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George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle had a little fun with his quarterback after the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night's NFC Championship Game to clinch a berth in Super Bowl LIV.

The All-Pro tight end showed up to his postgame press conference with a custom t-shirt that included a shirtless photo and autograph of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Check it out in the tweet below:

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Garoppolo was asked by reporters about Kittle's shirt, and he couldn't hold back his laughter.

“I got him earlier in the week with a shirt, showed it to the media and everything, so he had to get me back a little bit," a smiling Garoppolo said, per 95.7 The Game. "I thought it was a nice shirt he had on. Maybe we’ll get them in the team store soon.”

Garoppolo is no stranger to the Super Bowl. He made two Super Bowl appearances with the New England Patriots as Tom Brady's backup, and in two weeks he'll make his first start on that stage.

The 49ers quarterback hasn't had to play at an elite level for his team to reach the Super Bowl, but that should change in Miami on Feb. 2. The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs have an offense that looks unstoppable right now, so Garoppolo likely will need to play one of his best games as a pro to give San Francisco a strong chance to win its sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

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