Patriots

Patriots defense fed off of Dion Dawkins trash talk: 'We definitely heard it'

Patriots defense fed off of Dion Dawkins trash talk: 'We definitely heard it'

ORCHARD PARK -- Dion Dawkins might not know it yet, but he had a hand in the Patriots defense leading its team to a 16-10 win at New Era Field Sunday.

"Just wanted to make sure," Kyle Van Noy said, "Dawkins knew who we were."

Earlier in the week, Dawkins spoke about the Patriots defense as though their record-setting three-game stretch to start the season without allowing a touchdown wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

"We don’t care what they’ve done [in] the games before, because they haven’t played us yet,” Dawkins said Wednesday.

“Once they play us — and if it doesn’t change — then that’s when [you] could start talking,” he said. “You guys have seen Josh [Allen], our coaches, really all of us. We’re just on a different mission. We have something going, and I don’t really care who it is [we're playing].”

In their first loss of the season, Dawkins and his offensive teammates were able to manage 375 yards -- a 5.3 yards per play clip. But they went just 3-for-15 on third and fourth-down conversion tries, they threw four interceptions, and they were sacked five times.

Though they scored the first touchdown allowed by the Patriots defense this season, it was not a performance worth writing home about.

"We definitely heard it," Duron Harmon said of Dawkins' comments. "The media gonna make sure we hear it, too. But Dawkins is a good football player. Plays hard for his team. He wanted to talk a little bit, but the winners get the last laugh."

"At the end of the day," Stephon Gilmore said, "We got the win so I guess you bite your words on that."

Gilmore added that any sort of challenge portrayed through the media might give the Patriots a little added juice -- "it adds a little bit more fire" -- going into a matchup.

Feeding off adversity is something the Patriots try to do consistently. Captain Devin McCourty often reminds his fellow defensive backs that they've all been counted out at one point in their careers. He did so again before Sunday's game.

"A lot of guys on this team, they've been through some adversity," Gilmore said. "We use that as fire for each other. Everybody's been through something. I think that allows us to push each other more. We know what we've been through. We just have to prove ourselves each and every day and prove to each other that we'll fight for each other.

"It lights you up a little bit more to fight for each other and put everything out there and to play for each other. It helps out a lot."

On Sunday, though he didn't mean it, it was Dawkins providing a little bit of help.

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Bill Belichick tells media to ask Robert Kraft about Antonio Brown apology

Bill Belichick tells media to ask Robert Kraft about Antonio Brown apology

One of Bill Belichick's cardinal press conference rules is that he only talks about players who are in the building.

So, it's no surprise he swatted away a question about one of his former employees Wednesday.

The Patriots head coach was asked about former New England wide receiver Antonio Brown apologizing to team owner Robert Kraft on social media Tuesday and quickly deferred to his boss.

"You'd have to talk to Robert about that," Belichick said.

"I mean, every week you guys ask me about a player who's not on our team, and every week it's going to be the same answer."

Brown was on the Patriots for about two weeks before New England released him amid allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Brown's conduct as those allegations came out reportedly "enraged" Kraft and may have been the last straw for the Patriots in releasing him.

Considering Brown directed his apology at Kraft, the Patriots owner may in fact be the best person to ask about the 30-year-old free agent, who is under NFL investigation but reportedly is hopeful he'll be cleared to play later this season.

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Patriots punter Jake Bailey wins AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after great performance

Patriots punter Jake Bailey wins AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after great performance

New England Patriots punter Jake Bailey might be the most impressive rookie from the team's 2019 NFL Draft class. 

The NFL announced Wednesday that Bailey is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week winner for Week 12. He also won this award after the Patriots' Week 3 win over the New York Jets.

Bailey put on a punting clinic in New England's 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. The Stanford product had six punts inside the 20-yard line and five punts that went over 50 yards. His punts helped the Patriots win the field position battle and forced the Eagles to go on long scoring drives. Bailey's kicks were among the primary factors in the Patriots holding the Eagles scoreless through the final three quarters.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Bailey's ability to pin the Eagles deep in their own territory amid the difficult kicking conditions in Philly.

“Yeah. I’d say at Stanford, not a lot of tough conditions out there – out there playing Arizona State and Arizona and UCLA and all. But he’s had a lot of, I would say, challenging conditions out here – both in the spring, and then as we’ve gone through the regular season," Belichick told reporters after Sunday's victory. "This year there have been days out there where it’s been cold, rainy, windy and I think he learned something every day. There’s cross winds and there’s winds in your face and it’s kicking with the wind and all that. There’s challenges in every one of them. If you’re kicking with the wind, that’s an advantage to the punter, but handling the snap, which is coming back into the wind, wobbles and things like that. It’s a little tougher snap for the snapper.

"He’s done a good job of, I would say, adapting to the conditions. He’s still got a long way to go. I’m sure he’ll learn a lot more as the season goes along, but between the holding, the kickoffs and the punting in various conditions and certainly situational football, which came up today. You know, the end-of-the-game punts and backed-up punts and plus 50-punts and the kickoffs and so forth. There were a lot of situations. But he’s a great kid. He works hard. He’s really played well for us this entire season and he’s been so valuable to this team and he proved it out there today. I wish he could have recovered that fumble, but he’s been great for us.”

Belichick doesn't often give that level of praise to a rookie, but it's certainly warranted in Bailey's case. He's been a tremendous asset to the Patriots not only as a punter, but also as the holder on field goals and player handling kickoff duties. That's the kind of versatility Belichick values so much.

Phil Perry: Jake Bailey, special teams excel in Week 12 report card>>>

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