FOXBORO - The Patriotstopic du semaine has been the Giants devastating pass rush. You may remember it well. The Giants may have taken an unexpected personnel hit on Thursday though. Jason Pierre-Paul, who leads the Giants with 8.5 sacks, injured his neck during practice.
Pierre-Paul sat out Friday's practice. Also watching were wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who hasn't practiced all week, and Ahmad Bradshaw. So the Giants may be without their leading receiver, running back and pass rusher. Could be a boon for New England, but the Steelers didn't have James Harrison, James Farrior and Hines Ward last week and things worked OK for them. Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick lauded Pierre-Paul, a second-year player out of South Florida. "We played against him in last year in preseason and just from last year to this year he's improved," said Belichick. "He's a great talent. He's long, very athletic, fast, quick. He's got good power. He runs well. He makes plays in pursuit. But from a technique standpoint, just overall understanding, recognizing draws, screens, the different pass sets, those kind of things. You can see he's made a lot of improvement over the last year."The Giants took Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick last year. Belichick was just getting warmed up with his raving with those opening statements.
"He's a good football player," Belichick added. "He's very disruptive. They play him everywhere too. Which is another sign that when you move a player around he must be catching on fairly well. He plays on our left side, on our right side, plays inside. ....He's a very disruptive player and they put him in a lot of different spots. When you come out of the huddle offensively, you're not sure where he's gonna be. There's not a lot of defensive lineman you can say that about. Usually they play one spot, maybe two, but he can pretty much be anywhere."Makes you wonder if the Patriots might have been interested in Pierre-Paul if he was on the board when they chose. Then you remember they don't draft guys who rush the passer and dismiss the notion entirely.
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When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening.
On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.
Talk about intimidation.
Vince Wilfork will be one of many well-known athletes to strip down and pose nude for photographs in ESPN The Magazine's's Body issue, joining a group that includes Cubs pitcher Jake Arrietta, Broncos defensive end Von Miller and Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Judging by his latest tweet, the former Patriots defensive lineman -- who is listed at 325 pounds -- is getting pretty comfortable with the idea of becoming a model.
Now it's up to Tom Brady to play match-maker, it seems. Gisele retired from the runway last year so maybe her people are on the lookout for some new talent.
Bill Belichick released a statement on Buddy Ryan's passing Tuesday afternoon.
"Today is a sad day in football due to the passing of Buddy Ryan," Belichick said. "It was always very challenging to compete against Coach Ryan, who was father to a great football family that carries on his coaching and defensive tradition. My condolences are with the Ryan Family."
Belichick is certainly very familiar with Ryan's legacy and the tradition Ryan passed down to his sons Rex and Rob. The Patriots coach has competed against all three.
Rex Ryan has squared off with Belichick during his time as head coach for the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-present), and their matchups go back to Rex's days with the Ravens (1999-2008) when he was a defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator.
Rob Ryan, like his brother, got his first NFL break when his father was the head coach of the Cardinals in the mid-1990s. His second break, though, came from Belichick. He joined the Patriots staff during Belichick's first year as head coach in 2000 and coached linebackers for four seasons in New England. He has since competed against Belichick as a defensive coordinator for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and Saints. Rob joined Rex in Buffalo this year to serve as an assistant on the staff there.
For Belichick's thoughts on the impact of Buddy Ryan's famous "46" defense, we dug up some of his comments from a 2012 press conference that you can find here. He called the combination of Ryan's scheme and the talented players Ryan had at his disposal as defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears "pretty unblockable."