Patriots

Patriots trust in Jonathan Jones to cover Jarvis Landry speaks volumes

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Patriots trust in Jonathan Jones to cover Jarvis Landry speaks volumes

FOXBORO -- To get a feel for just exactly how Bill Belichick feels about a player, there are a couple of ways to go about it.

Asking him about said player in a press conference setting will provide a response. But watching how Belichick is willing to deploy that player in a game situation is probably the most accurate window into his brain.

Judging by how the Patriots used Jonathan Jones two weeks ago against the Dolphins, when Jones shadowed Jarvis Landry for the majority of the afternoon, Belichick and the Patriots are very high on their second-year corner.

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"He's played quite a bit of football for us," Belichick said on Wednesday. "And I'd say quite a bit of good football for us. We have a lot of confidence in Jon. Jon's made a lot of plays for us. Plays in the kicking game. He's a tough kid. He's out there every day. And he plays in tough spots. Penetrator on the kickoff team. Gunner on the punt team. He's right in the middle of the action. 

"I think his toughness, competitiveness and his ability to cover . . . we have a lot of confidence in him. He always supports that confidence with very competitive performance. He plays hard, tough kid."

The evidence of the trust Jones has garnered has been there for much of the season. He saw significant action in Week 2 against the Saints, coming away with two pass breakups on seven targets in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, he's allowed a passer rating of 69.0 this season, which is the 19th-lowest in the NFL for qualifying corners, just a shade behind Cardinals star Patrick Peterson (68.9). 

By following Landry around at Gillette Stadium late last month, the Patriots dubbed Jones one of their most dependable defensive backs. Belichick reveres Landry. Has for a long time, and his respect for Landry's skill set was broadcast on NFL Films' "Turning Point" just last week. 

"It's obviously a Landry game," Belichick told CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn on the sidelines prior to kickoff. "We gotta do a good on on him. Not get it thrown over our head."

In two games against the Pats in 2016, Landry had 19 catches for 211 and a score. The 5-foot-11, 208-pounder's unique skill set was on full display in Miami when he lowered his shoulder into 265-pound linebacker Dont'a Hightower and plowed into the end zone.

"Very dangerous," Belichick said Wednesday when asked about Landry. "Hard guy to tackle. Super competitive player. Strong. Has good balance. Good quickness. Can make people miss but he's a very hard guy to tackle. He breaks a lot of tackles. Probably as many as any receiver in the league. He's targeted probably more than any receiver in the league. He gets the ball a lot, and he's really hard to tackle. Makes a lot of yards after the catch on his own. Both tackling, actually wrapping up and tackling is an issue, but also leverage because he has good vision, he can cut back against the grain, make people miss in the open field."

Because the Dolphins have depth at receiver -- plus a receiving tight end in Julius Thomas who could be considered another wideout in certain situations -- Belichick explained that "this is a big week for [Patriots] corners." 

They'll often have three on the field to check Miami's 11-personnel, and even with Eric Rowe back in the mix after a long absence due to a groin injury, Jones will likely be one of them.

Given all he's done this season and how he performed the last time the Patriots and Dolphins met -- holding Landry to 46 yards on five catches and six targets -- it would come as little surprise if he was trusted yet again to square off against Miami's best. 

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Brady to Oprah on Belichick: 'We don't agree on absolutely everything'

Brady to Oprah on Belichick: 'We don't agree on absolutely everything'

Most of the highlights of Tom Brady's sit-down with Oprah Winfrey were released here and here last week before the interview was broadcast Sunday morning on Winfrey's OWN channel.

Also, in the hour-long interview, the Patriots quarterback was asked by Winfrey, amid an offseason filled with reports of tension between him and coach Bill Belichick, “Is there something going on with you and Belichick?”

“Umm, no. I mean, I love him," Brady said. "I love that he is an incredible coach, mentor for me. He’s pushed me in a lot of ways. Like everything, we don’t agree on absolutely everything, but that’s relationships.”

When Winfrey asked about his "separate training place" - the TB12 Sports Therapy Center next to Gillette Stadium that Brady and business partner and trainer Alex Guerrero have run for five years - Brady said he wouldn't characterize it as separate.

“No, I wouldn’t say that,” said Brady, who stayed away from Patriots voluntary workouts this spring, has worked out on his own with teammates, but did report for mandatory mini-camp June 5-7. “I probably do some of my own techniques a little differently than the rest of the team. The team, I would say, like most teams, is very systematic in their approach. What I learned, I guess, is different than some of the things that are systematic, but that work for me.”

Brady said he's talked about those techniques with Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Belichick restricted Guerrero's access to the Patriots sideline and team flights last season. 

“It’s nothing that I don’t talk about with my coach and owner,” Brady said. “It is what I want to do and is what I need to be the best player I can be. Hopefully, you can support that.”

More highlights from the Brady interview: 

On why he gave up his court fight in the Deflategate case and served his NFL-imposed four-game suspension:

"Too much anxiety," Brady said. "And I realized I couldn't win." Watch that clip here: 

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How this Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in February was a little easier to take than his others, watch here: 

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James Harrison on Patriots' culture: 'I didn't have a problem with it’

James Harrison on Patriots' culture: 'I didn't have a problem with it’

As adversaries and former players openly wonder if the football culture in Foxboro is "fun" enough, recently-retired Pittsburgh Steelers legend James Harrison is asking, why does it matter?

In an interview with CBS Sports Network earlier this week, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year reflected on the final stop of his 15-year career, the Patriots, who signed him late in the 2017 regular season after Pittsburgh released him, as insurance for New England as they geared up for their run to Super Bowl LII.

The biggest takeaway from his time with the Patriots?

"Discipline. That’s the big thing," the five-time Pro Bowler said. "They’re not going to ask you to do anything that is outside of what you’re capable of doing. And it’s, you learn the system and you go out there and you play it. And like I said, it's very regimented, so if you’re a guy that’s not used to discipline, you’re not going to like it there."

Harrison said it was even stricter than his years with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, with whom he won his first Super Bowl in 2006.

"Cowher wasn't as regimented as Bill [Belichick] was," Harrison said. "Like I say, I didn’t have a problem with it. You know, I enjoyed my time there, you know, I thanked them for the opportunity they gave me to continue to play."

Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson has repeatedly mocked the Patriots since his team them in Super Bowl LII, calling them "arrogant" and a "fear-based organization", even telling the Pardon My Take podcast, "I'd much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls."

Meanwhile, 49ers defensive end Cassius Marsh, who was released after eight games with the Pats in 2017, says he hated his time in New England and didn't have fun, telling the San Francisco Chronicle, "I confronted [Belichick] about all the things that were going on. I won't get into detail, but it was B.S. things they were doing. It just wasn't a fan."

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