Patriots

Do Patriots lack leadership? Rob Ninkovich issues challenge to ex-team

Do Patriots lack leadership? Rob Ninkovich issues challenge to ex-team

It's no surprise that critics are writing the New England Patriots' eulogy after back-to-back December losses.

But what do former Patriots think of the team's surprising struggles?

Rob Ninkovich was in New England's locker room during its rocky 2009 season, in which head coach Bill Belichick famously complained his team lacked mental toughness. So, does Ninkovich believe this 2018 Patriots squad has similar shortcomings -- and if so, can they fix those issues?

The former Pats linebacker gave a fiery answer to NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry on the latest edition of "The Ex-Pats Podcast."

 

"You can't just get it in a week. It's an attitude. It's a demeanor," Ninkovich said. "When you are kind of backed up into that corner, are you just going to kind of accept the fact that you're there or are you going to jump out and try to claw someone's face?"

Ninkovich then wondered aloud if anyone in the Patriots' locker room was holding their teammates accountable after Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which dropped the team to 9-5.

"Are you going to just sit there and let it happen to you or are you going to do something about it? I don't know," Ninkovich said. "There might need to be somebody in that locker room on that team that gets in people's faces. I don't know. Is there somebody in there that's saying, like, 'What are we doing?' "

Quarterback Tom Brady obviously serves in a leadership role, but Ninkovich was most concerned about New England's defense, which allowed 142 rushing yards to backup Jaylen Samuels on Sunday after surrendering 34 points to the Miami Dolphins in Week 14.

On that front, Ninkovich noted actions sometimes speak louder than words.

"Talk is cheap. Prove it to me. Show me," he said. "Nothing got me more aggravated when I would tell somebody, 'Hey, do this.' Or, 'Be here. Run this stunt. Run it this way.' and they didn't do it.

" ... And then you're just like, 'Man, get the hell off the field. Don't even be next to me if I can't trust you, if I can't rely on you to stay in your gap or to be there when we're going to run a stunt, give me the next guy. Give me another guy that's hungry and just does the right thing.' "

The Patriots have home games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets to right the ship before the playoffs. Perhaps they'll bring Ninkovich in for a guest pep talk to rally the troops.

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NFL Rumors: Patriots in consideration to host 2022 NFL Draft in Boston

NFL Rumors: Patriots in consideration to host 2022 NFL Draft in Boston

Could the NFL's biggest spectacle outside the Super Bowl be coming to the City of Champions?

The league is considering Boston as one of its potential host cities for the 2022 NFL Draft, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday night. 

"My understanding is what the NFL wants to do is go a little city, big city, and kind of alternate,” Rapoport said. “Obviously Nashville (in 2019) and then Vegas next, they’re basically saving a spot for a bigger city.

"And some of the ones that have been mentioned to me: Boston, potentially, with the Patriots hosting, that would be one. Washington, D.C., with the Redskins. Maybe Houston with the Texans, although usually these are reserved for teams that do not host Super Bowls. But figure that (2022) spot is saved for one of the bigger NFL cities."

The NFL has venues set for the 2020 (Las Vegas), 2021 (Cleveland) and 2023 (Kansas City) drafts, but according to Rapoport is eyeing a bigger NFL market for the 2022 draft. Boston would fit that mold, as the defending champion Patriots are one of the league's most visible teams.

Where in Boston the draft would take place is a different question, as the event has shifted to open-air venues in recent years after being held indoors at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

TD Garden is an obvious indoor candidate, while City Hall Plaza, the site of several Patriots Super Bowl send-off parties and championship rallies, could be an outdoor possibility. The Boston Common is one of the largest public gathering spaces in the city and might be considered an option.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Duron Harmon dresses as Jon Snow of 'Game of Thrones' in hilarious Instagram post

Duron Harmon dresses as Jon Snow of 'Game of Thrones' in hilarious Instagram post

Duron Harmon is a massive "Game of Thrones" fan, but what did the Patriots safety think of the series finale?

The answer to that question will have to wait until Harmon's recap this Sunday, which he previewed with a hilarious Instagram post showing him dressed as one of the show's main characters, Jon Snow.

See for yourself below:

That's dedication.

Prior to last week's series finale, Harmon gave his prediction on how the show would end. Since his prediction didn't come true, it'll be interesting to see what he thought of the series' polarizing ending.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.