Sanchez says all the right things about Patriots secondary

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Sanchez says all the right things about Patriots secondary

FOXBORO -- Mark Sanchez was late for his conference call.
He claims he was busy studying some tape and "trying to figure out how to win" on Sunday.
If we see him on the cover of next month's GQ, we'll know he lied to us. If he doesn't throw like crazy on the Patriots secondary Sunday, we'll know he really lied to us.
Of course, Sanchez said all the right things when asked about the Patriots and their shoddy pass defense, but there's no doubting his hopes of jump starting that 49.7 completion percentage of his.
"I think they're a great group of players," Sanchez said of New England's secondary. "I know they're always capable of having big games and I know they're going to be in the right position, so it's my job to be smart with the football. And it's always a challenge no matter what the numbers say against these guys. I have a lot of respect for their team."
Always going to be in the right position... good one, Mark!
But all kidding aside, sure, it'll be a challenge nobody says it won't be. And New England's defense won't just stand around and watch Sanchez air it out. But how can Sanchez explain why team's have been so successful going deep? He can't or wouldn't really.
"Different plays happen at different times for different reasons," he said.
Ah, of course! Why didn't we think of that? But he continued.
"I think some of them have been really good throws, some have been pretty good schemes that have gotten guys open. So that type of stuff happens to any secondary, but I think these guys are a tough group and they always play well."
Sanchez has played well against New England in years past, but he hasn't taken the leap that many thought he would take to the "elite" level of quarterbacks. In fact, some think he's peaked as a QB. One thing he has taken is a lot of flack from the New York media and fans, but has done what he can to block it out.
"You are what your record says. Statistics, that's the way that you're judged. So there's a ton of teams at 3-3 and we're trying to just keep playing hard and do well. But as far as my personal play we just have to get more wins. I think there are a few throws that I want back and stuff but that's natural. We're working through some personnel issues here getting guys healthy so that's helped this last week. But I'm just trying to find ways to get wins and not really worry about outside opinion."

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

Patriots players got a refresher on NFL social media policy because of Brown

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's live stream of coach Mike Tomlin's postgame speech on Sunday had a ripple effect that traveled all the way to New England: Just in case Patriots players weren't familiar with the league's social-media policy, they were reminded of it this week. 

"We were reminded of that," receiver Chris Hogan said. "I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room."

Players are prohibited from using social media in the locker room until media outlets have been given an opportunity to talk to players following games. Brown's Facebook Live video, which garnered national attention almost as soon as it went online, was shot well before the visitor's locker room at Arrowhead Stadium opened following Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City.

"We have a team policy on that," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "Strictly enforced. We go from there."

Of course part of the reason the video became as widely disseminated as it did was because it caught Tomlin calling the Patriots "a--holes."

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin," Slater said when asked about Tomlin's speech. "I appreciate the way he prepares his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way."

Both Slater and Hogan insisted that their focus will be trained solely on preparing for what Tomlin and his players will do when they arrive to Gillette Stadium Sunday night -- not what they say leading up to kickoff.

"You come in here, you're automatically bought into what we preach here, what coach [Bill] Belichick preaches," Hogan said. "It's football. We're 100 percent football here. It's not about anything outside. Between the media or whatever it is outside of football, whatever we're doing. When we come here, it's 100 percent football. That's all we're focused on is the opponent we're playing that week."

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could not care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."