Quarterback compliments go to Brees on Tuesday

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Quarterback compliments go to Brees on Tuesday

FOXBORO -- Every week in New England there's buzz over the work of an elite quarterback. There was more of the same this Tuesday, people just weren't talking about Tom Brady.
Drew Brees is in town.
"I mean, you talk about trying to play those top guys in the league like Tom Brady and now having Drew in here, we dont get a break, so you really have to try to be perfect," Devin McCourty said after the joint practice session. "It sounds crazy so you try to be perfect on every play but when you go against quarterbacks of that caliber you really do because you know 90 percent of the time theyre going to be perfect. The ball is going to be where it has to be and you really have to play very well on defense to try and compete with those guys."
Brees had the best completion percentage among NFL quarterbacks, 71.2, in 2011. He was No. 1 for total yards (5,476) and touchdowns (46), and No. 2 for attempts for game (41.1). The numbers blow his statistics from 2010 -- the last time the Patriots and Saints met during preseason -- out of the water.
New England's defense is well aware.
"Hes a hell of a quarterback," said Vince Wilfork. "Hes very smart, hes very passionate about what he does and so is everybody else around him: the offensive line, his backs, his receivers."
"Thats just a good football team; offensively theyre very, very, very good. Going against them, seeing Brady and now Brees, its tough matchups for this defense, but they can make us better and thats what were looking for: to be better as a defense and hopefully we can help this ball club win some ball games this year."
Wilfork is smart to put Brady and Brees in the same sentence. Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo did the same thing.
Who knows better?
In his 30-year career Spagnuolo's coached against both quarterbacks (it was his Giants 'D' that gave Brady fits in Super Bowl XLII). On Tuesday, he said each presents unique challenges to even the best defenses.
They run the whole show. Not every quarterback can process everything going on in their mind. I have videotape of both of them with the TV cameras looking at them as they call out the signals, their eyes on the clock. Theyre looking at what the secondary is doing, they find out what the front is and get them in the right place and if youre one of the ten guys playing with those guys on offense, you know your chance for success on every play goes up.

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

Are Patriots still 'pissed off' at Ravens for Deflategate role?

The Patriots should always be motivated heading into games against the Ravens. After all, Baltimore might be the team’s primary rival. 

Yet Monday’s matchup might be about more than past meetings. It could be a revenge game for the Ravens’ role in the Deflategate fiasco. 

As Tom E. Curran notes in the above video, the then-recently eliminated Ravens set off the ordeal when they tipped off the Colts entering the 2014 AFC Championship game. From there, the year-and-a-half-long saga played itself out, ultimately resulting in Tom Brady accepting a four-game suspension from the league. 

Curran and Mike Giardi discussed whether Monday could be a revenge game, with them both concluding that they feel the Patriots are still “pissed off” at the Ravens. 

"I’m just reading the tea leaves,” Curran said. “Bill Belichick will usually throw bouquet after bouquet at the Baltimore Ravens any time they play, from Ozzie Newsome, to George Kokinis, to Eric DeCosta, to John Harbaugh, Dean Pees, everyone. Not a lot of that today. Make of that what you will; I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I do know that when the Patriots were going through the process early on, the fact that the Ravens had dropped a dime -- their assistant special teams coach Jerry Rosburg calling the Indianapolis Colts and saying, “Look there was some foolishness going on with the K balls.’

“Additionally, when that email from the Colts to the NFL was sent to Mike Kensil, it said, 'It’s well-known throughout the league that the Patriots screw with the balls after they’ve been checked by the officials.' So if that conversation was going on during the week between those two teams, one certainly has to surmise that they also spoke about the fact of deflating footballs. 

“So as much as John Harbaugh has tried to dissuade anyone from thinking there was involvement, Dean Pees was interviewed by Ted Wells, Jerry Rosburg was interviewed by Ted Wells. Those are the only two principals from other organizations who were involved, so yeah, I think they’re still probably pretty pissed off about it.” 

What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

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What if Belichick had coached the Ravens? 'I think we would've been competitive'

FOXBORO -- Ever wonder what might've been if Bill Belichick had remained the coach of the Browns, and later the Ravens, after they moved from Cleveland? He says he doesn't.

"I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it, no," Belichick told Baltimore reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. "I try to think ahead and make the best of the situation that I’m in, which is what I tried to do when I was in Cleveland. I took a team that wasn’t very good in 1991, prior to free agency and all of that, had a real good team in 1994. The team moved in 1995."

The decision to move the team helped undo the Browns season in 1995, and Belichick was later fired. There's little denying, though, that he left the pieces of a competitive roster behind. And he helped stock the Ravens' cupboard with valuable assets.

Five years after Belichick's tenure in Cleveland had expired, the franchise won a Super Bowl with linebacker Ray Lewis -- drafted with a pick Belichick had acquired -- as its foundational piece. 

"We made a trade that provided two first-round picks that Ozzie [Newsome] did a great job with," Belichick continued. "Ozzie and Ray Lewis were two of the cornerstones of that eventual championship team.

"I have a lot of confidence in my ability, I had a lot of confidence in the coaching staff and the players that we had at that time – 1995 wasn’t obviously a great year for us. I don’t think we need to talk about that. We all know what happened. But yeah, I think we would have been competitive if I had been the head coach there. I think we would have been competitive. We had a good team, we had a good staff, and we had a lot of good players.

"Ozzie did a good job with that team and made it better, and they won a championship five years later [with] some of the same players that we started with. But you know, it wasn’t my choice, Ted [Marchibroda] came in there and was going to transition that for what they needed at that point in time. But I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it, no."