Sanchez says all the right things about Patriots secondary


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."

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.”