No Huddle: Brady, Welker, and more postgame sound

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No Huddle: Brady, Welker, and more postgame sound

FOXBORO -- There's plenty of post-game sound to digest following New England's 20-18 loss to the Cardinals.
Here are the highlights.
Rob Gronkowski on Stephen Gostkowski taking the blame (the kicker missed the game-winning 42-yard field goal) and if Gronk considers it a team loss:
"Definitely it's a team loss. Stephen does a great job. He kicked four great field goals to keep us in the game. The loss is not on him. The loss could be on me. I got that penalty at the end, holding the guy. You can't have things like that happen. It's definitely not on Stephen. He's a great kicker and a great guy."
Gronkowski was actually whistled for two penalties on New England's final drive. The first was a holding call that wiped out a 30-yard go-ahead touchdown run by Danny Woodhead. Gronk was livid, believing he was victim of just being bigger than the guy he grabbed. The second penalty -- a false start -- came two plays later.
Tom Brady on whether or not he feels this was a game where he needs to say something to Gostkowski after:
"No, I mean, you miss kicks, you throw interceptions, you fumble the ball, you miss tackles. Over the course of a long season those things happen. There's no one play that lost the game; we did a lot of things that allowed us to lose this game. We had a lot of opportunity out there to make more plays than we did. Hopefully it never comes down to a 42-yard field goal at the end. Hopefully we do a better job on offense so it's not that kind of game at the end.
Current Cardinals, former Patriots safety James Sanders on the Gillette Stadium crowd booing the home team... frequently:
"It didn't surprise me. I let the guys know that the Patriots have great fans, but sometimes they can be impatient. I knew if it was a tight game, there would be some boos. We took it to them early and got on top of them and the fans turned on them. That helped us out a lot today."
New England's offensive impotence rankled the fans from the start. Whether it was the team's decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-2, or the election to have Danny Woodhead run it on third-and-32, Patriots fans didn't like the play calling and were noisy about it.
Sanders on how much losing Aaron Hernandez hurt the Patriots:
"They are a very potent offense, especially with him in the line-up. When he went down it took away a lot of things they are able to do. It's unfortunate for them, but, it helped us out as a unit. I just pray that he's healthy."
Hernandez suffered an ankle injury when teammate Julian Edelman, whom Hernandez was blocking for, landed on his ankle after being tackled. Was the fuss over his absence unwarranted? Not really. Only three players played every single snap in Week 1: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Hernandez.
But reactions as to whether or not the team will thrive without the valuable tight end (literally -- he signed a five-year, 37.5 million extension a few weeks ago) varied depending on who was asked....
Brandon Lloyd on how much the game changed without Hernandez:
"I think we just pretty much adapted. I didn't think twice about the adjustments that we made and just figured that we'd step up and move on."
Lloyd ended up leading all receivers with eight catches on 13 targets for 60 yards.
Wes Welker on if he was surprised to not be as involved in the offense as in years past:
"You know, you want to be out there, I think as a competitor and everything else, especially on Sundays. It's what we play for and what we for for, and you want to be out there. At the same time, Coach felt like whatever was best for the team, and I'm for that and I totally understand that, and I'm just there to help out however I can.
Fascinating. Paranoia over the "Welker Phase-Out" was amped up when the receiver was replaced in the starting lineup by Edelman. He didn't really get a hand in things until Hernandez got hurt. Welker has somehow always managed to play the good soldier role and he did Sunday night, but not without expressing desire to be on the field instead of the bench.
Welker on if there's an injury reason behind his playing time being cut:
"No. No, I feel great."
Kyle Arrington on if he feels the team was focused Sunday:
"Credit the Cardinals; they deserved to win this game. It started in the week in practice. Everybody will probably tell you that everybody knew what they were doing and we still couldn't even get it done in some instances on the practice field -- blown calls, lack of communication or whatever the case is, and it showed up today in the game. We had our chances, but like I said, give all the credit to Arizona.
Hard to argue with Arrington. Welker and Logan Mankins also mentioned the Bad Week of Practice, saying guys weren't on top of their assignments and doing their jobs. In that regard, the miscues on game day were unfortunately not surprising.
Matthew Slater on whether or not the team can pick themselves up after a difficult loss:
"We have 14 games left; now is not the time to panic. Now is not the time to get down on ourselves because if we do it's going to be a long season for us. So we just need to take it one day at a time and continue to try and perfect our craft as we come in here and watch the film tomorrow, and learn from it, and come out on the practice field, and put together good days of practice. And hopefully it will transfer to the game field."
Slater is always good for perspective. That's why the guy is a captain. 12 of the 20 teams to have played two games (as of 8:00 PM Sunday) have split 1-1 like the Patriots, including the Ravens, Packers, and Giants.

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”