By Phil Perry
When the Patriots lost to the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs last season, it stung. The Pats were 14-2 in the regular season and had recently laid a 45-3 beat down on the Jets just one month prior.
Not only that, but the loss came at Foxboro, simultaneously justifying Rex Ryan's gum-flapping and causing Patriots players to suggest afterward that they weren't well enough prepared -- sacrilege under coach Bill Belichick's roof.
How badly did it hurt? Badly enough that Monday, seven months after the defeat, Brady told WEEI that the loss was "as painful as a loss I think we've ever had here as a team."
Strong statement. Not that we need to remind you, but Brady and the Patriots once experienced a loss in February of 2008 in which they lost the Super Bowl and a chance at a perfect season.
No doubt, Brady remembers falling to the Giants in SB XLII, but what he told WEEI on Monday might just go to show how strong the rivalry between the Jets and Patriots has become.
"The Jets, Ill never get over that loss," Brady said. "Thats as painful as a loss as I think weve ever had here as a team. They can rush the passer. Theyre a good team. They pressure the quarterback, thats what we have to be prepared for with them. And they always try and find a way to confuse the quarterback, whether thats by pass rush, whether thats by coverage and often times both.
"We gave them a lot of credit when they won and I think we have to learn from that and understand what it takes to beat good teams under tough conditions. Thats what we have to try and accomplish this year."
The Patriots and Jets will square off for the first time this season on Oct. 9.
Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room.
"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."
Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.
During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday.
As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.
Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court.
After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
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