Curran: Wilfork talks about a ton of fun


Curran: Wilfork talks about a ton of fun

INDIANAPOLIS - When he first went to a Super Bowl back in 2004, Vince Wilfork was a rookie surrounded by teammates seeking their third ring.

Now he's the elder statesman and he looked back Monday at the chemistry magic those teams had.

"Richard (Seymour), Willie McGinest and those guys were a fun bunch," Wilfork said during a media session at the JW Marriott. "When you build a football team and you talk about character and you talk about leadership, those guys always come to my mind.

"They played the game the way that it needed to be played. When it was time for business, it was time for business. When it was time for fun, it was time for fun. I think everybody rallied from that. I learned a lot from those guys. Some was good, some was bad. Ive tried to forget the bad."

Wilfork fills the same role McGinest did for this team. He's played bad cop some days, a big brother on others.Early in the season, when the defense was horrific, he was often too disgusted to stick around after games and share his feelings.

But as the Patriots slowly improved, he came to appreciate the diligence and attitude of the players he's been surrounded with.

"We have fun," said Wilfork. "You have to have fun playing this game. The guys I have in this locker room all think they're the best at whatever. I think I can throw the ball better than Tom (Brady).Tom think he can beat me in the 40. We have a lot of fun."

There's been an unmistakeable bounce in the verbal step of Bill Belichick this week. Asked about that on Monday, Wilfork said, "All year hes been like that. Its been kind of a relaxing year for all of us, just not knowing how much pressure he could put on us physically. Everything hes asked us to do, weve responded. Its been a fun season just seeing guys come to work each day.

"I think he appreciates that, and I appreciate that as a teammate," Wilfork added. "Trust me, at times Bill can be difficult to deal with. But I think he sees a difference in this team. I think he knows that he has a pretty tough football team, a smart football team and a team thats never going to let him down. We have one more game to go. Hopefully we wont let him down.

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.