Countdown to Camp: Secondary


Countdown to Camp: Secondary

A position-by-position look on the Patriots heading into training camp. This position: Defensive secondary.

Comings: S Steve Gregory (FA, Chargers), CB Alfonzo Dennard (7th rounder), CB Marquice Cole (FA, Jets), S Tavon Wilson (2nd rounder), S Nate Ebner (6th rounder), CB Will Allen (FA, Dolphins)

Goings: CB Nate Jones, CB Antwaun Molden

Something To Prove: Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Patrick Chung, Josh Barrett, Dennard, Gregory, Marquice Cole, Sergio Brown

Nothing To Lose: Sterling Moore, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo, Ebner, Will Allen, Malcolm Williams, Ross Ventrone, Tavon Wilson.

Summary: There is talent at the back of the Patriots defense. Can it play with confidence and controlled aggression? That's been the problem. Start at corner, where Devin McCourty played scared and lost his confidence in 2011, undoing all the good he'd done in 2010 as a rookie. Then there's injury-plagued second-year man Ras-I Dowling, whose injury history is becoming a concern at the other corner. Safety Patrick Chung plays with aggression, but his smallish size and tendency to get dinged will have to be overcome for him to take the step toward becoming a Pro Bowler. Corner Kyle Arrington and safety Sterling Moore play with more stones than anyone at the back end and that's why they're fun to watch. Dennard, who plummeted to the the seventh round because of a pre-draft arrest, could hit the ground running as a corner with something to prove. Safety Steve Gregory is a free agent from the Chargers who is being paid starter's money. Barrett, Brown and Cole are on the bubble. Ihedigbo is a known quantity and a pro. Allen's on his last roundup. Ihedigbo will likely find a role. Ebner's a project. And Wilson will be groomed to play next to Chung.

Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh


Quick Slants Podcast: Antonio Brown’s betrayal; Matt Light; eyeing up Pittsburgh

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss the aftermath of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video. Curran interview Matt Light ahead of the AFC Championship. They dissect the press conferences of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and look at how to beat the Steelers.

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2:29 Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live aftermath

13:14 Stopping Le’Veon Bell

27:16 heywassyonumba? with Patrick Chung and Kyle Van Noy

32:30 Injury report updates for AFC Championship

36:51 Brady and Belichick’s press conferences

44:50 Matt Light interview

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

Belichick asked if playing at home helps: 'Go ask Dallas and Kansas City'

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick knows that how you play, not where, is what matters most. 

That's why when he was asked on Wednesday about the advantage the Patriots will have by playing at Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, he wasn't willing to go all-in on how a comfortable environment will positively impact his team.

"I don’t know," he said. "Go ask Dallas and Kansas City."

The Patriots apparently thought enough of home-field advantage that they played their starters throughout their regular-season finale win in Miami, exposing their best players to potential injury in order to maintain their positive momentum while simultaneously ensuring a better road to the Super Bowl. 

The Patriots fans in attendance on Sunday will help when the Patriots take on the Steelers, Belichick acknowledged. But there's much more to it than that. 

"Yeah, of course," he said, "but the game is won by the players on the field. That’s who wins football games – the players. And they’ll decide it Sunday night."

And if you needed any further proof, just ask the Cowboys and Chiefs how helpful their home crowds were in the Divisional Round.