Brady: Every player has 'adversity' to conquer

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Brady: Every player has 'adversity' to conquer

FOXBORO -- An interesting question was posed to Tom Brady on Tuesday morning. Does he see similarities between himself as the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and Tim Tebow, the 25th pick in the 2010 draft. On its face, the question definitely has merit. Tebow's been buffeted by waves of critics who questioned his suitability for playing NFL quarterback. Yet Tom Brady was never anybody's five-star high school recruit as Tebow was. Nor did Brady win a Heisman Trophy or become the most celebrated college athlete of the past several years.

Brady was a schmoe's schmoe until 2001. And even after that, there was debate for another two seasons whether he was the engine or just a cog in the machine. So it's not surprising that Brady's answer actually reflected some of his personal journey. "I think everybody's got a story to tell," Brady pointed out. "Every player that's made it this far has had to overcome some adversity. Every player's had that. Could be injuries. Could be lack of opportunities. Could be stuck behind someone. There's very few players who come to the NFL ushered in on a red carpet. I think everybody has to fight through some things which really, you can see someone's strength of character and what they're made of when they're faced with some adversity."Those that have -- in Brady's words -- enjoyed that red carpet ride have often found the going much rougher when the carpet crash-landed. Peyton Manning went 3-13 in his first NFL season and didn't win a Super Bowluntil 2006 and probably will never win another.Drew Bledsoe fits that suit too. Thearm-long list of No. 1 overall picks who've washed out in the league is, in many instances, proofthat beingtheanointed one can be a curse as well. What have they had to fight through? Brady said the timber of Tebow's personality -- and ofother Broncos -- is what makes them a worthy opponent. "They have a bunch of guys like that," said Brady. "Talking to Josh (McDaniels, the Patriots offensive assistant), he has a bunch of admiration for this team and players on this team and they're mental toughness. They're a tough team. We played them four weeks ago. We know them better than any team in the league."

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”

 

 

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)