Patriots

Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman goes all in trashing Patriots prior to Super Bowl LIII

Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman goes all in trashing Patriots prior to Super Bowl LIII

Whatever Bill Belichick said to Sean McVay on those postgame texts this season, it seems the two head coaches never got around to exchanging ideas on pregame chirping.

Rams’ corner Nickell Robey-Coleman’s interview with Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne is loaded with so much Patriot-directed vitriol that even Freddie Mitchell would say, “That’s kind of a lot.”

The Tom Brady disparagement will get most of the attention this week. But to me, the twisted video-game imagery of how the Rams will “do” the Patriots is the most bizarre.

"I know the art of war," Robey-Coleman says. "I know when to sink my teeth in. And when it's time to take advantage, when somebody's on their heels . . . you've got to come at them.

A LOOK BACK

“Stick a dagger in them. They're not a team that you want to play around with. Stick the dagger in them and don't leave it in them! Take it out!" says Robey-Coleman, then pulling out his knife. "And let them leak. Let them leak slow. Put the dagger in them, pull it out, and let them leak slow. Just kill 'em slowly. That's how you do them."

Easy there, Sun-Tzu.

The 5-foot-8, 181-pound Robey-Coleman is a decent slot-corner. Undrafted out of USC, he spent four seasons with the Bills before being released and landing with the Rams.

Prior to his interview with Dunne, his football epitaph promised to begin with his hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the NFC Championship that went unflagged. Now? He’s written some sizable checks.

On his feelings about the Patriots:

"I've got Buffalo blood running through my veins, so you know I hate these guys. I naturally hate them. I never liked New England."

On the Patriots’ blowout etiquette:

Writes Dunne: “It's the little things, he explains. The ‘arrogance.’ The fact that Bill Belichick is going to go for it on 4th-and-3 when he's leading 17-0 in the fourth quarter. The Patriots love 'antagonizing' teams, Robey-Coleman says.

" ‘S--t like that. Little s--t to look down upon a team,’ he adds. ‘Little assh--e stuff like that. That's what makes you not like New England.’ ”

Dunne saved the Brady stuff for late in his article. Here’s what Robey-Coleman had to say about a Brady decline.

"Age has definitely taken a toll. For him to still be doing it, that's a great compliment for him. But I think that he's definitely not the same quarterback he was,” Robey-Coleman assessed. "Movement. Speed. Velocity. Arm strength. He still can sling it, but he's not slinging it as much. Whatever he was doing -- because of his age and all that -- he's not doing as much of that anymore. He's still doing the same things; he's just not doing as much of it. And sometimes, it's not the sharpest. But it still gets done."

That’s far from disrespectful. But even an honest assessment that’s not 100 percent complimentary is pennies from heaven for a Patriots team that loves to have its fire stoked.

Can Robey-Coleman or any individual’s verbal sniping be the difference between winning and losing? There’s no way to definitively measure that. But anecdotal evidence amassed over the years certainly shows it can get a rise out of New England.

For a team that’s been at it as long as the Patriots have, Robey-Coleman’s commentary could serve as a little blue pill.

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.

 

Stephon Gilmore aptly captures Bill Belichick's insane attention to detail

Stephon Gilmore aptly captures Bill Belichick's insane attention to detail

Those best equipped to describe Bill Belichick's football genius are the players he shares that genius with.

Take it from Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who's developed into one of the best defensive backs in the league since coming to New England in 2016.

In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr, Gilmore recalled a detail Belichick shared with him prior to a 2018 game that may go overlooked on other coaching staffs.

"He said, ‘When the ball is traveling in this certain direction, the wind is blowing hard enough where you should probably trail the receiver just a little bit because the ball isn’t going that deep,' " Gilmore told Orr.

"I mean, nobody looks at those kinds of things. It’s the little things like that. You listen to him."

Gilmore seemingly reaped the benefits of Belichick's extra insight, too. As Orr points out, both of Gilmore's interceptions in 2018 came in outdoor stadiums -- Week 1 vs. Houston Texans, Week 11 at New York Jets -- on underthrown deep balls. (You can see them at the 0:01 and 6:17 marks of the video below).

 

Gilmore's anecdote shouldn't surprise you: Belichick is famous for leaving no stone unturned and makes a habit of surveying the field several hours before a game to gauge everything from wind speed to field conditions to the position of the sun.

But every once in a while, a player like Gilmore gives us a reminder that Belichick's relentless preparation hasn't changed as he enters his 20th season as Patriots head coach.

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.

How Eagles' Brandon Graham uses Tom Brady to cheer himself up on bad days

How Eagles' Brandon Graham uses Tom Brady to cheer himself up on bad days

If you're in a bad mood, it helps to recall happier times.

It just so happens that one of Brandon Graham's happiest moments came at the expense of the New England Patriots.

The Eagles defensive end famously recorded a strip sack on Tom Brady with 2:21 remaining in Super Bowl LII, a crucial play that thwarted New England's comeback attempt and helped Philadelphia score a 41-33 upset.

According to NBC Sports' Peter King, Graham relives that play quite often. From King's "Football Morning in America" column Monday:

Graham told me he has a video of him strip-sacking Tom Brady in the biggest moment of Super Bowl (LII) on his phone, and when he’s having a bad day, he’ll watch it.

Brady and the Patriots probably never want to see that play again. But they found a different way of cheering themselves up by rebounding to win Super Bowl LIII the following year, as Brady now has shining moments from six Super Bowl titles to look back on should he ever need a pick-me-up.

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.