Patriots determined to win turnover battle


Patriots determined to win turnover battle

FOXBORO -- When it comes to turnovers, the Patriots defense has a pretty simple idea in mind.
"Anytime we can get Tom Brady the ball, anytime the defense can get our offense the ball, it's going to help our team win."
So said Rob Ninkovich on Wednesday. But ask any member of New England's 'D' and you'll probably hear the same thing.
"Anytime they're on the field, they're scoring, they're putting points up," Ninkovich continued. "The more times we can get turnovers and get them the ball, the more it's going to help us out in the long run."
The Patriots have six interceptions and eight forced fumbles through five games. Four of the last five turnovers caused by the defense have translated to points scored by the offense.
New England's quarterback is appreciative.
"I think weve done a great job of getting the ball off the other team," Brady said. "Like last week, its a totally different game if we dont get that fumble there at the end or that strip-sack that Rob got. That strip that Sterling Moore got on Demaryius Thomas, theyre critical. I think offensively, we have to understand were going up against a team thats created I think 14 fumbles. I dont think theyve recovered them all, but thats a lot of fumbles in five games. I think that really speaks to their tenacity, them getting after the football."
Don't forget, before complimenting his opponent, Brady first said New England's no slouch.
Safety Patrick Chung said it comes down to one thing: Practice.
It may be true a guy can have 'a nose for the ball,' but it's more true that working every single day, on every single situation, will produce favorable results for multiple guys.
"Whenever the ball's in the air, you just try to get it," Chung stated simply. "It's just something we practice all the time. Ball's in the air -- go get it. If the ball's on the ground -- go get it. Even if it's an incomplete pass. Just pick it up and act like it's a fumble."
Even Bill Belichick admitted this week he's pleased with his team's giveawaytakeaway ratio. As he should -- New England's plus-10 is tied with Atlanta for best in the NFL.
He just wants to make sure the Patriots don't rest on past performances.
"Hopefully we can be on the plus side of the turnovers against Seattle, but thats hard to do because they do an excellent job of taking it away and they do a great job of protecting it," said Belichick. "Their backs really run hard, they get a lot of extra yardage. Thats often a time when backs will be less protective of the ball because theyre struggling for those extra yards and trying to break tackles and all that but not these guys. They run hard, break tackles, gain extra yards and dont fumble.
"Well see how it all plays out Sunday but just because it happened in a couple other games or didnt happen, I dont think that really means anything for Sunday."
Sounds like a chance for Belichick's team to prove him wrong.

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.”