Patriots begin self-evaluation week

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Patriots begin self-evaluation week

FOXBORO -- On Monday, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said he would be off hunting this weekend when asked if he would be paying attention to the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
That was a day after New England had clinched a first-round bye.
Two days later, the tone inside the Patriots' locker room is "business as usual." And the responses to the "Will you be watching this weekend?" question was somewhat different than Ridley's.
 "I'll watch every game this weekend, closely," said Patriots' safety Steve Gregory after Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium.
"I'll probably watch HoustonCincinnati pretty closely, as I will all the games," said wide receiver Wes Welker. "And make sure I'm trying to stay on top of it all."
But until Saturday, the Patriots have a few days to not worry about their next opponent, mainly because, well, they don't know who that next opponent will be.
So there's no sense in preparing for three teams. Instead, they'll take the time to self-evaluate.
"We'll see how it plays out this weekend," said Gregory. "Right now, we're focused on us, getting some things corrected that we need to get corrected, and getting better.
"You want to narrow down on the things that you need to get fixed. And we've been doing that this week. So it's a good week for us, a big week for us to get better.
"It's just a week that we have an opportunity where we don't have to really necessarily game plan for one team," added Gregory. "It's a week where we can focus on ourselves a lot and get better at some of the things that we need to get better at."
Cornerback Aqib Talib referred to the bye week as a "free week."
"You can work on everything with a week like this," he said. "So, it's big for us."

Brady: Most meaningful of 201 wins was Super Bowl vs. Seahawks

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Brady: Most meaningful of 201 wins was Super Bowl vs. Seahawks

This was not asking Tom Brady to choose which one of his kids is his favorite. This was easy. 

Asked which of his record-setting 201 wins was most meaningful on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show, it didn't take long for Brady to come up with a response.

"One win? Probably the Seahawks Super Bowl," he said. "Just because it was so long . . . Three of the first four years I played to win, it was so strange because you almost . . . I don’t want to say you took it for granted, but you took it for granted. Just kind of, 'Yeah, we’re going to be in the playoffs every year, and we’re going to the Super Bowl every year.' It’s like, 'What's the big deal? Our season always ends in February anyway.'

"Then to go that long without winning another one and to realize, 'Man, this is so hard every year.’ [In] ’07 we had an incredible season, and 2010 we had a great year and didn’t win it. [In] 2011 we get to the Super Bowl and didn’t win it. Then ’12 and ’13 and finally to get there in ’14 and win it all again we just and incredible feeling, against a team that I thought was one of the best teams we’ve ever played against."

Brady also turned in one of the best quarterback performances in Super Bowl history that night. He completed 37-of-50 passes for 328 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, and he was at his best in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots overcome a 10-point deficit. He tied Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback, and he tied Montana with his third Super Bowl MVP award. 

After coming so close for so long, there was no other choice for No. 1 of 201 than Super Bowl XLIX. 

"That was probably the one," Brady said, "that sinks in the most when I think about just being . . .  It was a great team. It was a great game. It was the biggest moment. Our team came through. That’s my Malcolm's got the truck, man. Thank god for Malcolm Butler."

Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

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Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

The congratulatory messages rolled in for Tom Brady following win No. 201 on Sunday. He heard praise from his teammates and coach Bill Belichick and he received a game ball from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Two of the guys he recently passed on the all-time wins list reached out as well.

Both Brett Favre (199 career wins) and Peyton Manning (200) touched base with the new record-holder after he surpassed the two retired quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. 

Favre posted a video online to show his support for Brady, which Brady saw after a friend sent it his way, he told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show.

"We were in touch this week a few times just with a couple of things that we were talking about football-wise," Brady said of Favre. "We exchanged some text messages, too. He’s a great guy. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to . . . There’s nobody physically or mentally tougher than that guy and endured the streak that he had. It was incredible. I’ve always really looked up to him. It was really cool."

Manning checked in, as he's wont to do, with something a little more traditional.

"I did hear from Peyton. He's someone that I've always been in touch with for a long time. I've known him for 16 years. He sent me a very nice note," Brady said. "I have a lot of respect for him and all that he accomplished, too. He's a great guy. We share a lot of things in common and I just always appreciate him as well."

Kirk and Callahan co-host Gerry Callahan acknowledged that the NFL sent out a tweet recognizing Brady's achievement, but he wondered if Brady had heard anything from commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady laughed when he heard the question initially. When he didn't respond at first, Callahan circled up again.

"I don't hear anything from the league," Brady said.